The Apostolic Succession of Joseph F. Smith
Patrick A. Bishop
Patrick A. Bishop, “The Apostolic Succession of Joseph F. Smith,” in Joseph F. Smith: Reflections on the Man and His Times, ed. Craig K. Manscill, Brian D. Reeves, Guy L. Dorius, and J. B. Haws (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013), 249–64.
Patrick A. Bishop is a coordinator of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion for the Casper and Gillette Wyoming Stakes and Rapid City and Pierre South Dakota Stakes.
The ordination to the office of Apostle and his subsequent placement as a counselor in the First Presidency would set Joseph F. Smith on a path as the longest-serving Apostle in the First Presidency.  (See appendix A for a timeline of his service.) However, because of his ordination as an Apostle and placement in the First Presidency before he was placed in the Quorum of the Twelve, many questions have been raised about Joseph F. Smith’s seniority in the presiding quorums of the Church. A sequential narrative studying these questions—including ordination to Apostle, call to the Twelve, service in the First Presidency, call as President, and sustaining in a special general conference—will guide this paper. The decisions reached during Joseph F. Smith’s lifetime regarding seniority have solidified the Church’s policies regarding succession to the presidency.
Ordination to Apostle
Upon returning home from his second mission to the Sandwich Islands, or present-day Hawaii, Joseph F. Smith was called by Brigham Young as a clerk in the Church historian’s office. Consequently, Joseph F. was present at many of the council meetings of the presiding officers of the Church. On July 1, 1866, Joseph F. recorded, “Pres. Brigham Young, Elders John Taylor, W Woodruff, Geo. A Smith, Geo. Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith met and prayed.”  Although this entry is vague as to what happened during this meeting, it was one of the most sacred experiences in Joseph F. Smith’s life. The Church Historian’s Office’s Journal History of the Church gives a more complete account of this sacred meeting:
[Figure 1 here] Joseph F. Smith’s own handwriting. Church Historian’s Office Journal, vol. 28, October 16, 1864–May 31, 1866, CR100 1_29_25s, July 1, 1866, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.
Saturday Sunday afternoon July 1, 1866, Pres. Brigham Young of the First Presidency and Elders John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Geo. A. Smith and Geo. Q. Cannon of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Jos. F. Smith, son of Hyrum Smith, met as usual in the upper room of the Historian’s Office in the prayer circle. After we were dressed . . . Elder John Taylor offered up the opening prayer and Pres. Brigham Young was mouth in the Circle and offered up a prayer with great spirit and power. When we had finished Pres. Brigham Young arose from his knees . . . [and started] undressing. Of a sudden he stopped and exclaimed: “Hold on, shall I do as I feel led?” I always feel well to do as the spirit constrains me. It is in my mind to ordain Bro. Jos. F. Smith to the Apostleship and to be one of my counselors. He then called on each one of us for an expression of our feelings, and we, individually, responded that it met our hearty approval, . . . after which Jos. F. Smith knelt upon the altar and . . . we laid our hands upon him, Bro. Brigham being mouth and we repeating after him in the usual form. He said: “Bro. Joseph F. Smith. We lay our hands upon your head in the name of Jesus Christ, and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood we ordain you to be an Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to be a special witness to the nations of the Earth. We seal upon your head all the authority, power and keys of this Holy Apostleship, and we ordain you to be a counselor unto the First Presidency of the Church and Kingdom of God upon the Earth. These blessings we seal upon you in the name Jesus Christ and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood Amen.”
After the ordination Bro. Brigham said: “This is the first time that any person has been ordained in this manner, and, though right, I do not wish in recording it that it should be written in a way to lead others to think that this mode is essential or the only way in which such ordinations can be performed.” He suggested to us that it would be wisdom for us to keep the fact of this ordination to ourselves, but to be sure and record it. 
This was not the only private and undisclosed ordination that Brigham Young had administered. Brigham Young Jr. was ordained an Apostle by his father on February 4, 1864, in a private ordination that was not made known until two months later in another private setting. On April 17, 1864, “Pres. Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Geo. A. Smith met and prayed.”  Wilford Woodruff, Church Historian at the time, indicates that much more took place at this prayer meeting. President Young said: “I am going to tell you [John Taylor and George A. Smith] something that I have never before mentioned to any other person. I have ordained my sons, Joseph A., Brigham, and John W., apostles and my counsellors, have you any objections? Brother Taylor, George A. Smith said that they had not that it was his own affair and they considered it under his own direction. . . . Signed John Taylor, and George A. Smith. 
Although Brigham Young Jr. and Joseph F. Smith had both been ordained to the office of Apostle, they were not part of the Quorum of the Twelve. These two brethren were not the only ones ordained to this office but placed outside of the Quorum. Many were ordained as Apostles who never served as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Those in Joseph F. Smith’s lifetime who were ordained to the apostleship either before they were made members of the Quorum of the Twelve or never became members of the Twelve include Jedediah Grant, John W. Young, Daniel H. Wells, and Joseph A. Young.
Called to the Quorum of the Twelve
Almost eighteen months after Joseph F.’s ordination to the office of Apostle, on October 6, 1867, Amasa Lyman of the Twelve was excommunicated and released from his position in the Quorum. Wilford Woodruff wrote of this action:
The Presidency & Twelve held a Council at Noon & Cut off Amasa Lyman from the Quorum of the Twelve & Set apart Joseph Fielding Smith as one of the Twelve Apostles. He had been ordained an Apostle before. President Young said He did not wish to Ordain Joseph F Smith to take Amasas Place or to take his Crown But He ordain him an Apostle to take his own Crown & his own place. He viewed all the Apostles in the Same light. Presidet Young was mouth in setting Joseph F Smith Apart as one of the Twelve & as a Special witness to all Nations. 
In 1868, Heber C. Kimball, who had been serving as First Councilor in the First Presidency, passed away. George A. Smith was called to serve as First Counselor in the First Presidency. George A. Smith’s vacancy in the Twelve was filled by Brigham Young Jr. This set of circumstances raised another question: Was Brigham Young Jr. or Joseph F. Smith the senior apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve? Brigham had been ordained an Apostle first, but Joseph was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve first.
At the October conference in 1868, Brigham Young Jr. was sustained as the junior member of the Quorum of the Twelve, right behind Joseph F. Smith. However, at the following conference in April of 1869, his name was placed ahead of Joseph F. Smith’s. This probably was done on the basis of the earlier ordination to the office of an Apostle that Brigham Jr. had received. Brigham Young Jr. later wrote that this question of seniority plagued his mind for a time:
I submitted this matter to father one day and he said rather severely, “It is just right the way it is, and you let it alone.” I never had courage to tackle [the] question again; still I am of the opinion that when a man is ordained an apostle and seeks to magnify that office, no new man can rank him in being set apart to fill a vacancy in [the] Quorum of the Twelve. I am anxious for God through my brethren to decide this question and I yield my views to theirs with all my heart. 
It was not until April 5, 1900, that the question of date of ordination or the date of entrance into the quorum was resolved. In a meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve, this issue was brought up. It was decided that the date of entrance into the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles rather than the date of ordination to the office of the Apostle determined seniority.
The minutes of the meeting reveal some of the logic and inspiration behind the decision:
Bro. John Henry Smith said that he regarded this as a very important question from the fact that he understood there had been quite a number of men ordained apostles who had never been voted upon as such by the church. His kinsman, for instance, Joseph Smith, who stood at the head of the Re-organized Church, claims he was ordained an apostle by his father. . . . On this phase of the proposition, the question of man was simply this: Has a father—himself being an apostle—a right to ordain his son to the apostleship, and that son to preside without the action of the church, his ordination antedating that of the man chosen and acted upon by the church? The speaker said, to his mind there was but one view to be taken to safeguard the church and this council, and to the maintenance of their dignity in the world, such ordinations were dependent upon joint action, first, on the presentation by the First Presidency to the Council of the Apostles for their acceptance, and then to the people for their approval, and then he must be ordained in the proper way. . . . His view therefore was that the safety of the organization of the church must be based on the action of the people, the action of the Presidency and Apostles, and the final action of ordination after having been passed upon legitimate lines. 
This could be interpreted as a change in policy, but a more accurate observation is that this step in the succession question harmonized several revealed gospel principles. Private ordinations had often been problematic when these ordinations affected public administration. The Lord revealed in 1831 the pattern for officers that publicly administer in the Church: “Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to anyone to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by someone who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church” (D&C 42:11). In other words, Brigham Young Jr.’s and Joseph F. Smith’s private ordinations were not made “known to the Church that they had authority,” and Brigham Young Jr. was only ordained by the head and not “ordained by the heads of the church.” Furthermore, Joseph F. Smith was ordained by the “heads of the Church” and was the first of the two to become “known to the church” in October of 1867. This shows the significance in turning to the revealed word of the Lord to answer questions of this nature. Up to this date, a practical application of this scriptural text regarding succession was not realized. Therefore, since 1900, seniority has been based on the date one becomes a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and not on a prior ordination to the office of an Apostle.
Joseph F. Smith’s own words describe his reaction to the decision:
It was unanimously decided that the acceptance of a member into the council or quorum of the Twelve fixed his rank or position in the Apostleship. That the Apostles took precedence from the date they entered the quorum. Thus today, President Snow is the senior Apostle. President George Q. Cannon next, myself next, Brigham Young next, Francis M. Lyman next, and so on to the last one received into the quorum. In the case of the death of President Snow, President Cannon surviving him, would succeed to the Presidency, and so on according to seniority in the Apostleship of the Twelve; that ordination to the Apostleship under the hands of any Apostle other than to fill a vacancy in the quorum, and authorized by the General Authorities of the Church did not count in precedence; that if the First Presidency were dissolved by the death of the President, his counselors having been ordained Apostles in the Quorum of the Twelve would resume their places in the quorum, according to the seniority of their ordinations into that quorum. This important ruling settles a long unsettled point, and is most timely. 
If the date of ordination to the apostleship was the determining factor in seniority in the Twelve, when Brigham Young Jr. and Joseph F. Smith were placed in the Twelve, Brigham Young Jr. would have become President of the Twelve before Joseph F. Smith. In this case, Brigham Young Jr. would have been President of the Church for three years prior to Joseph F. Smith.
Call to Become President
On January 23, 1881, some of the leading brethren were attending a stake conference in Ogden, Utah. Wilford Woodruff recorded, “Joseph F Smith spoke in much power for one hour and 35 M. . . . W. Woodruff then Spoke One hour . . . said Joseph F Smith was One of the first Presidency and would be President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in his DAY.” 
This prophecy was misinterpreted by some that Joseph F. Smith would be the next President of the Church after John Taylor. This caused some stir in the Church that the tradition of the senior Apostle succeeding would need to be altered if Joseph F. Smith should become the next President of the Church. Elder Woodruff responded to the spin on his prophecy thus,
It was said that that prophecy was recorded. I will also make a statement, that I Wilford Woodruff, heard Heber C. Kimball and Joseph Young say that they heard Joseph Smith say in their presence and in the presence of others in 1832, the first time that Joseph Smith ever had an interview with Brigham Young he said Brigham Young would yet be President of the Church, and that was four years before there was any Twelve Apostles chosen, and no man knew that Brigham Young would ever be an Apostle (unless God revealed it to the Prophet). And still, after sixteen years of revelation and change, Brigham Young was president of the Church, without turning to the right or left from the path marked out to be the revelation of God. And that prophecy was also recorded. And there was not one chance in ten for that to be fulfilled that there is for Joseph F. Smith to be president of the Church in the regular channel of the order of God. 
Wilford Woodruff would obviously not live to see this prophecy fulfilled, but Joseph F. would later become the President of the Church following the “path marked out to be the revelation of God.” Wilford Woodruff was not the only man to make the prediction that Joseph F. would become President of the Church. Lorenzo Snow told Joseph F. personally, “You will live to be the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and when that time comes you should proceed at once and reorganize the Presidency of the Church.”  It should be noted that George Q. Cannon and Brigham Young Jr. still held seniority over Joseph F. at that time.
In keeping with the instruction received by President Snow—namely, that the First Presidency should be immediately reorganized—the Council of the Twelve met on October 17, 1901. Elders Marriner W. Merrill and John Henry Smith, two members of the Twelve at the time, wrote that President Smith was “set apart” as President of the Church on that day. Elder Merrill’s journal states, “we organized the First Presidency again. Joseph F. Smith was unanimously sustained as the President and was set apart as such by his brother, Patriarch John Smith. He chose his Counselors, John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund.”  This action of the Patriarch to the Church setting apart the new President of the Church had never been done before. The question has been raised, did the patriarch have the authority to “set apart” the President of the Church?
The phrase “set apart” used in Elder Merrill’s journal is of great interest. Note that the terms “ordain,” “appoint,” “anoint,” and “bless” were not used in the account. Just two years earlier, the First Presidency and Twelve had had a lengthy discussion on this subject, a discussion which filled nearly six full pages in the Journal History of the Church dated April 13, 1899. The minutes of this meeting state, “A question as to the proper use of the terms ‘ordain’ and ‘set apart’ came up and was discussed at length.”  Elder Anthon Lund was the member of the quorum that brought the question up after “setting apart” a member of the presidency of the Seventy and not using the word “ordain.” The brethren in the meeting had many differing views on this subject. Some were of the view that prominent offices in the Church should use the word “ordain” instead of “set apart.” However, Joseph F. Smith was of the view that
the Presidency of the Church is a prominent office, but the First Presidency are not ordained. . . . The words “set apart” used in the case of a President of Seventies were just as proper and appropriate as in the case of the Presidency of the Church, or in that of a Stake President, since it conferred no higher Priesthood upon either of them to call them to act in the Presidency of these several organizations. 
The latter reasoning is probably why Joseph F. Smith felt it proper to have his brother, the Patriarch to the Church, set him apart as President of the Church. Hoyt Brewster offers his own interpretation of this action:
While the patriarch [John Smith] did not hold the apostolic keys, one must understand that this setting apart was not a conferral of keys; for . . . President Joseph F. Smith already possessed the keys of the priesthood in their fulness by virtue of his apostolic office. This setting apart was simply the conferral of a priesthood blessing, which the patriarch, by virtue of his holding the Melchizedek Priesthood and having been invited by the senior apostle to do so, had a right to bestow. 
With this reasoning, there still seem to be questions regarding the terms “set apart” and “ordain” in connection with the President of the Church. Current publications state that the President of the Church is ordained and set apart. The official Church publications have used this language from David O. McKay to the present. The standard works even seem to suggest that ordination should be part of the call of the President of the Church: “Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church” (D&C 107:22). Note the words “appoint and ordain” to a “quorum.” Typically a quorum is a collection of multiple men that are ordained to an office in the priesthood. However, the Lord does state in this revelation that the minimum office needed to function in the “quorum of the Presidency of the Church” is high priest and not some other office in the priesthood. Thus the word “ordain” in the context of this 1835 revelation would have been appropriate, as the men called to the First Presidency would have also needed to be ordained to the appropriate office of high priest. Just as there seems to be no final consensus on this topic today, so it was on April 13, 1899, as the brethren were discussing it. Toward the end of the meeting, “President Snow expressed the belief that no further light would be obtained by discussing the question any longer,”  and the topic was tabled.
Perhaps Joseph F. Smith’s final thought on this topic is the one we can all apply. He said that “he did not think, even if we failed to confine ourselves strictly to those prescribed forms, that it would vitiate our actions, if the intent was pure; as authority and intent would govern in such cases.” 
In the 1901 semiannual general conference of the Church, held the first weekend of October, Lorenzo Snow addressed the people, but within a week President Snow had crossed the veil of death. With the immediate reorganization of the First Presidency, a special conference was held on November 10, 1901, for the purpose of sustaining the new general authorities of the Church. Joseph F. Smith was the first speaker. He talked of the need for a complete organization of the priesthood, hence the reason of this conference to sustain the new First Presidency. This was not the only topic of priesthood organization he addressed, however. It seems that the office of patriarch was weighing heavily on his mind from the time that his brother set him apart until this address. He said:
We have not always carried out strictly the order of the Priesthood; we have varied from it to some extent; but we hope in due time that, by the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we will be led up into the exact channel and course that the Lord has marked out for us to pursue, and adhere strictly to the order that He has established. I will read from a revelation that was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, at Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, January 19, 1841, which stands as the law of the Church in relation to the presentation of the authorities of the Holy Priesthood as they were established in the Church, and from which I feel that we have no right to depart. The Lord says:
“First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith, to be a Patriarch unto you, to hold sealing blessings of my Church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall, notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.”
It may be considered strange that the Lord should give first of all the Patriarch; yet I do not know any law, any revelation or any commandment from God to the contrary, that has ever been given through any of the Prophets or Presidents of the Church. At the same time we well know that this order has not been strictly followed from the day we came into these valleys until now—and we will not make any change at present. But we will first take it into consideration; we will pray over it, we will get the mind of the Spirit of God upon it, as upon other subjects, and be united before we take any action different to that which has been done. 
It appears from the previous quotation that President Smith’s desire was to sustain the Patriarch of the Church before all other General Authorities. However, he was cautious not to make this change until the “mind of the Spirit of God” directed him to do so. It appears that this direction never came during President Smith’s administration, and it is unlikely that it will come, with the office of Church Patriarch now retired.  What was the purpose for naming Hyrum Smith first in the officers of the church? Many connected it to the office of patriarch, which he held. But it must be remembered that Hyrum held two offices jointly, Assistant President of the Church and Church Patriarch. Section 124:91–95 makes this clear:
Hyrum may take the office of Priesthood and Patriarch which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also by right;
That from henceforth he shall hold the keys of the Patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people,
That whomsoever he blesses shall be blessed, and whomsoever he curses shall be cursed; that whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
And from this time forth I appoint unto him that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my Church, as well as my servant Joseph;
That he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph, and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and Priesthood, and gifts of the Priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery.
The possible chiastic structure of these verses seems to connect the keys of blessing and sealing powers that Hyrum was given with the office of patriarch, but the titles prophet, seer and revelator, along with other keys, were in connection to his office as Assistant President, the same office that Oliver Cowdery once held. (See appendix B.) It seems that the Lord in section 124:124–125 was doing what had been done on the first day that the Church was organized, namely sustaining the first and second elders of the Church, or President and Assistant President. Why Hyrum was named first in section 124 has not been explained. Perhaps it was because he was older and also had the honor of holding the office of Church Patriarch. Although there was some deliberation on the role of a Church Patriarch in the succession question, time has shown that the Quorum of the Twelve is led by the senior Apostle and is the governing body of the Church when the First Presidency is dissolved. “They form a quorum equal in authority and power to the three presidents” (D&C 107:24).
During the service of Joseph F. Smith in the presiding councils of the Church, many questions regarding succession and seniority were answered. Apostles received seniority based on entrance into the Quorum of the Twelve and not by ordination to the office. The importance of public announcement of ordination and common consent also came to light during this time. The need to reorganize the First Presidency immediately was highlighted. The question of the “setting apart” versus “ordaining” the President of the Church was discussed. And the question of the place of the patriarch in succession dissolved. The smooth process of succession in the Church today can be traced to the apostolic succession of Joseph F. Smith.
Appendix A: Timeline of Service
July 1, 1866–Oct. 8, 1867, as additional counselor to Brigham Young (464 days)
Oct. 8, 1867–Oct. 10, 1880, as member of the Quorum of the Twelve (4,751 days)
Oct. 10, 1880–July 25, 1887, as Second Counselor to John Taylor (2,479 days)
July 25, 1887–April 7, 1889, as member of the Quorum of the Twelve (622 days)
April 7, 1889–Sept. 2, 1898, as Second Counselor to Wilford Woodruff (3,435 days)
Sept. 2, 1898–Sept. 13, 1898, as member of the Quorum of Twelve (11 days)
Sept. 13, 1898–April 12, 1901, as Second Counselor to Lorenzo Snow (941 days)
April 12, 1901–Oct. 10, 1901, as First Counselor to Lorenzo Snow (never set apart) (181 days)
Oct. 10, 1901–Oct. 17, 1901, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve (7 days)
Oct. 17, 1901–Nov. 19, 1918, as President of the Church (6,242 days)
For a total of 19,133 days served in First Presidencies of the Church
Appendix B: Structure of Doctrine and Covenants 124:91–97
 Joseph F. Smith has gone down in history as the man who has served the longest period of time in a First Presidency. He served as counselor to Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Lorenzo Snow. His time as a counselor to these Presidents totaled twenty and a half years. He then became President of the Church, making the total time of his service in a First Presidency just over thirty-seven and a half years. This mark will probably never be reached by any other man.
 Joseph F. Smith, in Church Historian’s Office Journal, vol. 28, July 1, 1866, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.
 Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, July 1, 1866, Church History Library. The manner or mode of this ordination as Brigham Young described it deserves noting. Previous to this, all other ordinations to a priesthood office were done simply by a group of brethren forming a circle and laying hands on the one to whom the power was being conferred. It appears from the record that the members dressed in sacred clothing, formed a sacred prayer circle, and repeated the words of the prayer. Brigham Young said that this was “the first time that any person has been ordained in this manner, and, though right, [he did] not wish in recording it that it should be written in a way to lead others to think that this mode is essential or the only way in which such ordinations can be preformed.”
 Church Historian’s Office Journal, 1844–1879, 252, Church History Library.
 Eugene E. Campbell, Establishing Zion: The Mormon Church in the American West, 1847–1869 (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1988), 154. See also Wilford Woodruff, Historian’s Private Journal, 1858–78, April 17, 1864, as cited by D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Powers (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997), 164.
 Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1833–1898 Typescript, vol. 6, 1 January 1862 to 31 December 1870, ed. Scott G. Kenney (Midvale, UT: Signature Books, 1983–84), 6:367.
 Brigham Young Jr., diary, 1874–1899, September 9, 1898, Church History Library.
 Minutes of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, April 5, 1900 Church History Library; see also Steven H. Heath, “Notes on Apostolic Succession,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 20, no. 2 (Summer 1987): 49–50.
 Joseph Fielding Smith, Life of Joseph F. Smith, Sixth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1938), 311.
 Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, vol. 8, 1 January 1881 to 31 December 1888, 8.
 Heath, “Notes on Apostolic Succession,” 46–47.
 Lorenzo Snow, quoted by Joseph F. Smith, in Conference Report, November 1901, 71..
 Marriner Wood Merrill, Notes from the Miscellaneous Record Book, 1886–1906 Church History Library. See also Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith, ed. Jean Bickmore White (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), 496.
 Journal History of the Church, April 13, 1899.
 Journal History of the Church, April 13, 1899.
 Hoyt W. Brewster Jr., Prophets, Priesthood Keys, and Succession (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991), 90.
 Journal History of the Church, April 13, 1899.
 Journal History of the Church, April 13, 1899.
 Joseph F. Smith, in Conference Report, November 1901, 71.
 At the October 1979 semiannual general conference, Elder Eldred G. Smith was given emeritus status, and the office of Patriarch to the Church was eliminated.