Ever Learning, Ever Teaching

Lessons from Joseph F. Smith

David M. Whitchurch

David M. Whitchurch, “Ever Learning, Ever Teaching: Lessons from Joseph F. Smith,” in Teach One Another Words of Wisdom, ed. Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and David M. Whitchurch (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2009), 43–71.

David M. Whitchurch is an associate professor of ancient scripture at BYU.

When Carole Call King lost her mother (1986) and her father (1993),[1] she had no idea of the written legacy they had passed on to her. Actively involved in family history, she was given the family’s genealogical records, but it would be three years before she discovered the significance of all she inherited. Somehow, the contents of one box were overlooked. Upon closer examination, she found hundreds of letters written to her great-grandmother Martha Ann Smith Harris, the daughter of Hyrum and Mary Fielding Smith. Among the letters were nearly a hundred written to Martha Ann from her brother, Joseph F. Smith, including an 1854 letter written from the Sandwich Isles that contained a lock of his hair.

This newly discovered treasure trove of letters provides a fresh and personal view into the lives of an early leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and of his sister during a unique era of Church history. After the death of Mary Fielding Smith, the bond between her children was solidified and assuaged, to a small degree, through the medium of pen and paper. Seven decades of correspondence demonstrate the tremendous devotion between her children as they shared their innermost feelings, joys, heartaches, determinations, and family happenings. Their correspondence imparts a wealth of insights into the personal, caring nature of Joseph F. Smith and of the love he and his sister shared.

The letters range in dates from 1854, when Joseph F. Smith was a fifteen-year-old missionary in Hawaii, to 1916, just two years before his death. Additional Joseph F. and Martha Ann letters have been collected and added to those in the possession of Carole King. To date, 164 Joseph F. Smith and 48 Martha Ann Smith Harris letters have been collected and transcribed. The following chart summarizes the origin and number of letters sent.



Time Written


Joseph F. Smith

Sandwich Isles




Nauvoo Legion

Salt Lake City Area




European Mission/

British Isles Mission




Sandwich Isles




Salt Lake City




European Mission/

British Isles Mission




Salt Lake City




European Mission/

British Isles Mission




Salt Lake City




Exile/Hiding in

Sandwich Isles




Exile/Hiding—Possibly Washington, D.C. Area





Utah Area




Salt Lake City







Martha Ann Harris

Salt Lake City











A letter collection such this provides multiple opportunities for researchers and interested historians to understand better the personal nature of Joseph F. Smith in the cultural/sociological framework of the early Church of Jesus Christ. The entire letter collection, along with its historical context, will be forthcoming in a book coauthored with Richard Neitzel Holzapfel.

This article will examine some of Joseph F. Smith’s pedagogical methods as seen throughout his letters to Martha Ann. The categories and teaching methods are broad and yet somewhat limited—partially because of missing letters (especially those from Martha Ann Smith Harris) as well as difficulties of interpreting behavior changes through written correspondence. Nevertheless, the insights gained regarding Joseph F. Smith’s personality and his talent as a teacher still provide considerable personal reflection and insight into his teaching capabilities. First, a brief background of Joseph F. Smith and his sister Martha Ann will be provided, followed by a general discussion on pedagogy. Finally, a small sampling of the letters themselves will be used to demonstrate some of Joseph F. Smith’s teaching methods.

Background of Joseph Fielding (Joseph F.) Smith

In the spring and summer of 1836, Parley P. Pratt traveled in the vicinity of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr.[2] Elder Pratt successfully arranged a meeting at a local farmhouse where a number of neighbors had gathered to hear his message. Included among his listeners was a man by the name of Joseph Fielding and “his two amiable and intelligent sisters,” Mary and Mercy.[3]

Elder Pratt’s message of the Restoration bore fruit, resulting in a number of baptisms, which included the Fieldings. Shortly after their conversion to the Church, Mary Fielding moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where she met and soon married the widower Hyrum Smith. Hyrum’s wife, Jerusha Barden, had recently passed away, leaving him to care for their five children.[4]

Mary Fielding Smith’s life was filled with hardship and trial. In the fall of 1838, persecution against the Church and its members forced Hyrum and his family to move from Kirtland, Ohio, to Far West, Missouri. On November 1, just two days after the Haun’s Mill massacre, Hyrum, Joseph Smith Jr., and others were arrested and imprisoned. Their incarceration lasted nearly six months, leaving Mary Fielding to give birth to her firstborn child and care for Hyrum’s five children without him. Joseph F. was born on November 13, 1838.[5]

Mary spent much of the next four months weak and bedridden. In January 1839, she traveled to Liberty, Missouri, in the back of a wagon so she and Joseph F. could visit Hyrum.

Continued harassment required Mary to move to Quincy, Illinois, in midwinter. After Hyrum’s unexpected release from Liberty Jail, they left Quincy and moved to Commerce (Nauvoo), Illinois, where, for the next five years, they enjoyed a slight respite. It was during this lull that Mary gave birth to her second child, Martha Ann. She was born on May 14, 1841, in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.

In the spring and summer of 1844, the persecution against the Church again intensified. On June 27, Hyrum and Joseph Smith Jr. were martyred while jailed at Carthage, Illinois. Over the next two years, a series of events led to another exodus of the Saints. By the fall of 1846, Mary and her family left Nauvoo and moved to Winter Quarters (Florence), Nebraska, where they remained until the spring of 1848. Circumstances were such that when the family moved west with other migrating Saints, nine-year-old Joseph F. drove one of the family wagons to the Great Salt Lake Valley.[6] Four years after their arrival, Mary Fielding Smith died from illness brought about by exhaustion and lack of proper nutrition.

A year and a half after Mary Fielding Smith passed away, Joseph F.’s life took a dramatic turn. It was during the April 1854 general conference that President Brigham Young, speaking from the pulpit, read the names of those being called to serve missions for the Church. Without any previous inclination or advance notice, Joseph F. heard his name called as a missionary to go to the “Pacific Isles.”[7]

The April 13, 1854, Deseret News reported the names of missionaries being sent to England, the United States, the Pacific Isles, Ireland, and British North America (that is, Canada). The Deseret News reported, “The following persons were then appointed and unanimously voted to go on missions, viz. . . . To the Pacific Isles: Orson Whitney, John Young (son of Lorenzo), Washington B. Rodgers, Simpson M. Molen, George Spiers [sic], Joseph Smith (son of Hyrum), Silas S. Smith (son of Silas), Silas Smith (son of Asahel), Sextus Johnson, John T. Caine.”[8]

The difficulty and challenges of Joseph F.’s mission proved to be a superb training ground for his lifelong service in the Church. As previously mentioned, his time in the Pacific was also the beginning of an exchange of letters between himself and his sister. After nearly four years in the Sandwich Isles, he returned home in 1858 and joined the Nauvoo Legion in the Church’s effort to thwart Johnston’s army from coming into the Great Salt Lake Valley.[9]

Following a peaceful negotiation between Brigham Young and the United States government, Joseph F. Smith turned his attention to other matters, including marriage. On April 5, 1859, he married Levira Smith, a daughter of Samuel H. Smith. Other wives followed, including Julina Lambson (1866), Sarah Ellen Richards (1868), Edna Lambson (1871), Alice Ann Kimball (1883), and Mary Taylor Schwartz (1884). From these marriages came a total of forty-eight children.[10]

After serving two more missions, one to the British Isles and another to the Sandwich Isles, Joseph F. was called at age twenty-seven by Brigham Young as an Apostle and was named Second Counselor in the First Presidency.[11] A little over a year later, Joseph F. was set apart as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Joseph F. Smith’s service as a counselor in the First Presidency continued under Presidents John Taylor and Lorenzo Snow. Passage of antipolygamy legislation and Joseph F. Smith’s high profile caused him to go into exile and remain in hiding from August 1884 until President Benjamin Harrison granted him amnesty in the fall of 1891.[12]

On October 17, 1901, Joseph F. Smith was sustained as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he served until his death at age eighty, passing away on November 19, 1918, in Salt Lake City.[13]

Brief Background of Martha Ann

Martha Ann Smith was born May 14, 1841, in Nauvoo, Illinois. Although we have less recorded history of her than we do her better-known brother, she must have endured the same trials as the rest of her family of living at Winter Quarters and of crossing the plains. After her mother’s death, Martha Ann and Joseph F. moved in with a close family friend, Hannah Grinnells, where they remained until Hannah died a little more than a year later. Martha Ann then moved in with her mother’s sister, Mercy Fielding Thompson.[14] Soon afterward, Joseph F. received his mission call to the Sandwich Isles. From the letters of Joseph F. and Martha Ann, it appears that Martha Ann also lived with Hyrum Smith and Jerusha Barden’s son, John, prior to her marriage.

Heber C. Kimball married the fifteen-year-old Martha Ann to William Jasper Harris on April 21, 1857. Two days later, William left on a mission to the British Isles. Martha Ann moved in with her mother-in-law, Emily Harris Smoot, the plural wife of Bishop Abraham O. Smoot.[15] William returned home early from his mission in 1858 when missionaries were called from the mission field because of concerns over Johnston’s army.

During the early summer of 1859, tragedy befell the Harris family. William was struck by lightning while plowing a field in Salt Lake City. Besides being badly burned, he was caught in the reins and dragged unconscious by runaway horses. Martha Ann nursed him back to health as best she could, but William never fully recovered, remaining weak for the rest of his life.

Eight years after this incident, Martha Ann and William moved to Provo with their five children. While in Provo, they added six more children to their family. The Harrises struggled financially much of their lives. William worked a variety of jobs. He served as a bodyguard for Brigham Young, worked in freighting, served as a policeman, and participated in mining activities.[16] Martha Ann frequently supplemented the family income by sewing buckskin gloves and temple clothes.[17] William Jasper Harris died on April 24, 1909, after being hit by a team of horses. His wife, Martha Ann, died October 19, 1923, at age eighty-three.

The Transcription Process

The primary objectives that guided the transcription of the Joseph F. Smith and Martha Ann Smith Harris letter collection were readability and accuracy. Transcriptions for each letter retain the original spelling, punctuation, superscripts, underlined words, and strike throughs whenever possible. The transcribers have done as little editing as possible, although minimal punctuation was added for clarity. To minimize reader distraction, we lowercased many letters that were written in capitals. For example, Martha Ann Smith Harris inconsistently used the capitals D, F, J, L, M, and S, and Joseph F.’s inconsistencies were most frequently seen in the letters A, J, L, M, and S. For readability purposes, editor discretion was used to standardize these letters.

Empty square brackets [ ] are used to represent a hole, tear, or otherwise missing portion of a letter. Broken words that begin on one line and finish on the next or words that end a line with a portion of the word written above or below it have been joined to read as a single word. Angle brackets < > are used for the original author’s insertions. New paragraphs have been indented regardless of the page justification on the original letter. The symbol [—] was used to indicate unreadable letters within a word; [o] for one unreadable letter in a word; and “\” for a single word or series of words that could not be deciphered.

Pedagogy of Joseph F. Smith

After the passing of Mary Fielding Smith, circumstances dictated that Joseph F. function, in some regards, as both brother and parent to his younger sister. Not surprisingly, Martha Ann seems to have accepted the role of child as well as that of sister. She willingly listened to Joseph F.’s counsel and did her best to do what he asked. For example, from an extract of a letter written by Joseph F. (age seventeen) to Martha Ann (age fourteen) dated February 18, 1856, he wrote:

Now then may I give you a little advice in regard how to \ act. Well the first is, do not seek to exalt yourself above your companions nor you must not try to act refined when you know nothing about refinement, but act stedy, mild, and be humble, meak and lowly in heart, and continually pray for the spirit of god to abide with you, for I tell you Martha Ann the spirit of god will Teach you the perfict rules of deacency, for it embodies no hypocracy, no superflues desines nor nothing of the sort, prayerfulness, humility, percivereance in righteousness, diligence, and long suffering combined will perfect us, and nothing els will enable us to attain to the glory and blessings prepaired for the faithful in the kingdom of God.

Although we do not presently have the corresponding letter to the one above, on numerous occasions, Martha Ann responded to his advice in a positive manner. In a letter dated sometime in the spring (likely April) of 1856—shortly after the above letter—she wrote:

I receivd your letter and was glad to hear so kind and affectionate a letter it done me good to read it and it always does do me good to read a letter from you for I always learn something new that does me good. . . . I know what you want and and I will strive to do the best I can and the best I know how. I do not feel above taking your council but I want you [p. 2] to advise me what to do for you are older than I am and hav been tried mor than I hav. I consdder from whence your good advice comes I consider that it comes from a brother who wishes me wel and who I had rather re as live receive advice from as any boddy in the world.

Throughout Joseph F.’s correspondence with his sister, it becomes increasingly evident that Martha Ann looked to him as a confidant, adviser, and mentor. Each of these words denotes teaching. The word teacher comes from Old English and means “to show the way (as in a person); to direct, conduct; or guide.”[18]

Additional insights into the role of a teacher can be found if we examine its Greek counterpart pedagogue, from which the word pedagogy is derived. In the component parts of the word pedagogue, pais connotes “child” and agoge means “to lead out or away.” When these terms are combined, the result suggests that pedagogy was originally concerned with the training of children. One scholar summarized the concept of pedagogy as “a temporarily defined process of intellectual and social development.”[19]

When such definitions are applied to Joseph F. Smith, the result is his exemplification of an ideal teacher. Although he received little formal education and was only two and a half years older than Martha Ann, the death of their parents, his missionary experiences, and his ability to communicate seem to have placed him in the role of a teacher for Martha Ann. The techniques and principles discerned throughout his letters to her are much the same that modern educators espouse. Standards of effective teaching do not tire with age.

Numerous studies have examined quality teaching. At one time or another, surveys have been directed at groups such as school administrators, teachers, and students to examine the characteristics and traits of an ideal teacher. Educators James Banner and Harold Cannon reported, “Qualities that make for effective teaching are neither mysterious nor possessed by only a few exceptional instructors. They’re inherent in all of us. One need not study those qualities so much as become aware of and employ them. . . . What teachers do cannot be distinguished from who they are.”[20]

A similar case might be made for any good person—regardless of his or her education or chosen profession. A thoughtful examination of the apostles and prophets in our dispensation from Joseph Smith Jr. to Gordon B. Hinckley reveals individuals who have the ability—as stated earlier—to “direct, conduct; or guide”—in other words, to teach. Several studies were examined to help identify what makes a good teacher.[21] The lists generated from the various surveys were often too lengthy or unwieldy for the purposes of this paper.[22] Also included in many of the surveys were items such as fair grading, the encouragement of class discussion, suitable classroom environment, and classroom administration. Those deemed unsuitable for the circumstances of Joseph F. Smith and Martha Ann Smith Harris were eliminated. A shortened list was generated, and teaching traits were selected that were frequently reported as important in a majority of the studies examined.

The following five general teacher characteristics were identified and used to guide the rest of this article: (1) genuine concern or love for the persons being taught; (2) the ability to motivate; (3) the ability to communicate effectively; (4) the treating of others with respect; and (5) knowledge of the subject.

Genuine Concern or Love for the Persons Being Taught

In Helen Keller’s autobiography, she described the following incident:

The most important day I remember in all my life is the one on which my teacher, Anne Mansfield Sullivan, came to me. I am filled with wonder when I consider the immeasurable contrast between the two lives which it connects. It was the third of March, 1887, three months before I was seven years old. . . .

I felt approaching footsteps. I stretched out my hand as I supposed to my mother. Some one took it, and I was caught up and held close in the arms of her who had come to reveal all things to me, and, more than all things else, to love me.[23]

Elder Dallin H. Oaks in a 1999 general conference address confirmed the essential ingredient of caring. He said, “A national author wrote a book about his greatest teacher. At the heart of this college teacher’s powerful impact on his student was the student’s conviction that this teacher really cared for him and wanted him to learn and do what would help him find happiness.”[24] Martha Ann found such an individual in her brother. In the following letter that Joseph F. Smith wrote to his sister on June 22, 1864, he fondly reminisced about Hyrum, her ten-month-old son, and shared the great love he had for her and her family. The letter is written from the Sandwich Isles. Joseph F. had recently returned to Hawaii to help Elder Lorenzo Snow and other Church leaders respond to the apostate Walter Gibson.

My Dear Sister Martha Ann:— . . .

I sincerely hope that little Hyrum is better. I can hardly bear to think of seeing him changed in any way from his little, picture in my minde. I can always see him, streight and portly, strung up to the highest point of nerve, full of animation and life—& in a commanding manner & tone issuing weighty orders, that cannot be regarded lightly—or slighted with impunity, by the most majestic of his small but growing Empire! As he stands—in photograph—upon the tablet of my memory—he “is monarch of all he surveys,” he knows no fear, no equel, he commands and—is obeyed, or woe! befall us!!! well he is my ideal—of male baby perfection! of genuine infantile nobility, & magnanimity!!

You well know I love the babies, they are all interresting to me from two months old, and upward. I wonder of Willie and Joseph will forget me, I guess not. kiss all of them for me, & tell them that I think of & pray for them ofton. that they may grow up—worthy of the great mercies of Him whos Image they so nobly bear. I think you have great cause to be proud of your boys. If they are not good men, it will not be their fault. The soil is your own, see that it lacks not cultivation.

In another letter written December 23, 1869, from Salt Lake City, Joseph F. expressed both encouragement and his desire to see Martha Ann. In this letter, he mentioned his second wife, Sarah, to whom he had been married for about a year. Only the last paragraph is quoted:

Martha Ann

My Dear Sister:— . . .

Sarah getting breakfast ready. I have dated this for tomorrow morning. Sarah gets things ready over night, and in the morning gets breakfast in 3/4 of an hour. I wish you could come and see us, and that I know how you are getting along. I have felt considerable anxiety for you, but I have not known how to avoid it, or in other words how to change fate. I feel condemned sometimes when I see the comfortable situation of my family and know that my own sister does not enjoy as much. I wish it were otherwise, but who can change it? Cheer up my sister something whispers to me it will not always be thus with you, and it may not even with me. There is allways a bright hope for the good, and a sure promis of reward. God bless you and yours. I will send you some paper and pens the first chance.

Although only two examples are provided of Joseph F.’s love for Martha Ann and her family, the letter collection offers ample evidence of a lifelong commitment to her—both in word and deed. King Benjamin’s words find a fitting example in Joseph F. Smith as Martha Ann’s surrogate parent, as he heeded the counsel that parents are to care for their children and “teach them to love one another, and to serve one another” (Mosiah 4:14–15). Besides expressions of praise, encouragement, and love, the letter collection indicates that Joseph F. frequently provided monetary help to his sister. His willingness to share becomes more remarkable when we consider the economic challenges he faced in meeting the needs of his own large family.

The Ability to Motivate and to Communicate Effectively

The delineation between motivation and communication can be difficult to assess, especially since effective communication is so integral to pedagogy. Joseph F. Smith’s letters and his ability to communicate stand on their own merit. His success and his ability to motivate others are grounded in effective communication skills.

Motivation manifests itself in many ways. Whether it be money, prestige, or the need to belong, motivation is typified in change. This change can be brought about by simple factors such as thirst on a hot summer’s day. How much is ice-cold water worth? It often depends on how thirsty the potential customer is. Another powerful motivator of change is love. The scriptures simply state, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). One author put it this way: “We work hard and go that extra mile for those we love.”[25] Studies have shown that students who like their teachers are much more likely to work harder and perform better than those who don’t.

In responding to the question, “What does good teaching involve?” Robert Leamnson, author of Thinking about Teaching and Learning, stated, “I see the major elements as exposing, and inspiring.”[26] Joseph F. Smith adeptly addressed areas that he felt Martha Ann needed to improve on. There is little question about Martha Ann’s love and commitment to her older brother. How much influence his counsel had on her is impossible to measure; yet, because of her love for him, we can assume only that Martha Ann carefully listened to her older brother and responded as best she could. For example, when Joseph F. was just sixteen years old, he penned from the Island of Maui the following letter (dated January 28, 1855) to his thirteen-year-old sister, encouraging her to live a life worthy of God’s blessings. Still displaying his youth and lack of formal education, he wrote:

My Dear and affectionate <Sister> Martha.

Haveing jest finished writing a letter to Jerusha. I thought that I would try and write one to you also thinking that a fiew lines from me would be acceptibal to you. I am well and Harty. and Have grew conciderable since you saw me last and I have no reasons to doubt but what you have grew much larger you ware when I last saw you. if you have you Have got to be quiet a woman and I supose that you have got so that you can look over the heds of your Sisters. and now I would like to give you some little council, if you will take it and that is this. be Humbel and prayorful, and be kind to your connections and you will Have the Spirit of the Lord abiding with you at all times and the lord will bless you and you will give up in the footsteps of your Mother and you will be blessed with every thing even as your Mother was. and you will neve[ ] lack for the comferts of life if you will only growe up in the footstep[ ] of our Mother who has gon before us. only be kind to your Sisters and mind what they say to you and never git above them for they are your older Sisters, and it is for them to give council and also for our oldest Brothers. you be kind to them and do what they and donot get cross. and study your books. and stop at home as much as posible and do not think because you have not the priveliges of meny that you are slited but be sober and prayorful, and you will groe up in the footsteps of our Mother. and I would rather groe up in the ways of my Mother than to have all the riches in this world, and be wild and rude, and unprayorful. for if you groe up after your Mother you will never lack for the comferts of life. I will ask you a question. did you ever know the time when we were not provided for by the Hand of our Mother [p. 2] I answer, the time never was known. ask those who knows. I could give you much council Moty, that would be benifissial to you as long as you live upon this earth. Only remember what I have alredy sed and se if it will not be good in days to come. I must now bring my letter to close. Preying the Lord to bless you and prosper you all the day long. and I want you to write to me as often as you can and let me know how you are giting along.

One thing more never feel down harted but be merry <in your hart,> and joyful. and keepe a prayorful hand and a thoughtful mind and the Lord will L Bless you.

This particular letter demonstrates the tremendous love and esteem Joseph F. held for his mother as well as his personal recognition of the many sacrifices she made for her family. His reference to their mother must have been compelling to a young Martha Ann as she grappled with the challenges of her older siblings (Hyrum and Jerusha’s children) and the insecurities that would naturally accompany the loss of her parents and separation from her brother.

Another means of motivation comes from sharing personal experience. Stories tend to elicit feelings of tenderness and endearment that, in turn, motivate change. Advertisers often use stories to create feelings of acceptance or need. For years, the Church has used a series of short radio and television spots that capture unique family moments to elicit feelings of reflection on the importance of family. The spots usually end with the catch phrase, “Family—isn’t it about . . . time?”

On numerous occasions, the scriptures use stories to teach and motivate. On one occasion, while traveling through Samaria, Jesus stopped at a well in Sychar and spoke with a woman who had come to draw water (see John 4). During His conversation with her, He said, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water” (4:10). Their exchange led to His personal testimony of His divinity. Many of Jesus’s teaching moments were prompted by circumstances or events—for example, the cursing of the fig tree (see Matthew 21:19–22), His disciples’ plucking and eating grain on the Sabbath (see Mark 2:23–28), and the healing of the woman with an eighteen-year infirmity (see Luke 13:11–17).

Joseph F. Smith also used current events and personal experiences to teach God’s providence in his life. Such examples likely helped motivate Martha Ann to live a life worthy of such blessings. Two such examples are provided below. The first comes from a letter written April 17, 1857, from Lahaina, Sandwich Islands. An eighteen-year-old Joseph F. eloquently communicated two personal experiences to his fifteen-year-old sister:

My Dear Sister Martha Ann:—

It is with no ordinary feeling that I seat myself this morning to reciprocate your favor of December 17th ’56, it graced my presence on the 28th ultimo, but I have had no oppertunity of answering it untill now, owing to my travels to Conference, &c. which came off on the 7th, 8th and 9th of this month. We had a good time togather. I am well and hearty at the present, altho’ I feel verry sore and and dull this morning becaus of sleeplessness, and labor for the last three days and nights

Eight of us started from the Island of Lanai on Wednesday, and on acount of contrary and high winds we ware compelled to return to port, here we slept out doors with nothing but a verry thin mat for a bead, and another one for a covering, our carpet-sacks serving for pillows, at moon rise in the morning, (1 o clock) we went on board of our little Boat and started for this Island. Martha it would make you wonder if you could see us being tossed and driven by the waves of the mighty Paciffic, when every wave seemed like it was the next moment going to engulf us in the its auful surge, yes, to see us in an open Boat, with a tract of Ocean before us of some 15 miles, and only a one fourth inch of pine boards between us and the tremenduous, dreadful, yawning grave of thousands of poor ill-fated beings, who ware not so fortunate as ourselves; when you get with in a quarter of an inch of death itself, then who can save you? Marth, the arm on which we trusted is that which hath delivered, it is ever willing to deliver, and will deliver all who lean upon it, and put all their trust on it, therefore lets be faithful. [p. 2] Well, we arived at this place, at 10 o clock in the morning of the next day, after we started.—and this morning several of the Brethren started for Wailuku leaving three of us at this place. I have been appointed to preside over the Molokai, conference, which is about 15 miles from this place, and on another Island, so you see I have to cross another strip of Ocean before I get to my field of labor. When we arived at this place we found that 33.50$ of money recieved for Books of Mormon, that has been solde to the Native Saints had been stolen, who the perpetrator of this dead was, we are at loss to know or finde out. certain, it is we are in distress because of it, and that any person who would take money from us , who knew our situation, is wors than a murderor! but it seems that the Devil exerts his utmoste power to thwart every thing that we attempt to do for the prosperity and emelioration of this people. the Lord only knows what will take place next. to impede his moste holy work, who could endure what we have to, but mormon Elders? I do not believe, that man lives outside of the kingdom of God that would begin to endure to allmoste indurable trials and privations that seem to beset us on every hand, and that we have to pass thro’ evry day of our lives on these degraded lands, yet it is all for the best. I feel to rejoice, Martha, all the day long. I feel buoyant & hopeful, and like pressing forward, notwithstanding the hardships I have to encounter, because I know what I am doing, and for whom I am laboring, it is not as though I was seaking for gane, or secularly striving for the vain things of this world. if it was so, no one could have escaped despondancy, provided this was his dernier <prospects> for [p. 3] advancement.—

Perspectives gained through sharing personal trials and experiences often enhance a person’s ability to deal with life’s difficulties. Consider the inspiration and perspective the Old Testament story of Job has had on its readers. With no way of measuring the impact of Joseph F. Smith’s letters on Martha Ann, we may never realize just how influential they really were for her; yet the stories and lessons shared in his letters should not be overlooked. Quality teaching requires an investment of self—a sharing from the heart. The strength and effectiveness of Joseph F.’s letters come, in part, through his conveyance of his extraordinary circumstances. Most teachers anticipate that by sharing such personal experiences, they will influence their students to strive toward some greater good. Hopefully, Martha Ann’s newly acquired perspective from her brother’s letters influenced her in a similar manner.

Another letter of Joseph F. provides a look at how the weather and the two-month anniversary of the passing of his firstborn child triggered memories of early childhood events. Joseph F. was thirty-one years old at the time as he reminisced about Mercy Josephine, his daughter with Julina Lambson Smith. Mercy Josephine was less than ten months old at her passing:

City, Aug. 6th. 1870

Martha Ann

My Dear Sister:— . . .

The weather is very oppressive, and the atmosphere sultry and merky, as tho’ impregnated with smoke. Much as it was on the days memorable as the 27th, of June 1844. And the 21st. and 22nd of Sept. 1852—the day of fathers death, and the death and burial of Mother, I recollect them distinctly. It is two months to day since my own sweet babe joined her grand father and mother in the spirit world, leaving in my hearts affections a void and broken space that time nor earth can ever fill. I mourn the earthly loss of the brightest, purest, dearest, treasure God ever gave me. the one, I prized and cherished most, within the great circle of that greatest gift of God “Eternal Life”, [p. 2] which is incomparable, being “All in All,” and yet as if to compensate in some degree, for my bereavement, fresh sweetness and beauty, increasing inteligence, and love daily developes in my precious, cheerful, merry little “rose bud”, left me to bloom and blossom in my cottage “alone.” O! in the midst of sorrow, I can say, I thank God for my three sweet, perfect little gifts, “one on earth and two in heaven”, the centre of my love, my own sweet “Jode”. The fountain of my tears has never closed when I have permitted them to flow, but I complain only of my own weakness and ignorence.

Martha Ann’s own sympathetic ear must have been stirred as she read her brother’s letter. Presumably, she wrote Joseph F. of her own worries about her children (unfortunately, this letter is not included in our collection). Whatever Martha Ann wrote to him, he responded to her letter with his own letter dated August 18, 1870:

The Lord says he will have a “tried people”, all that [p. 2] is dross must sooner or later be consumed, for only the “gold” will remain. I hope for the sake of parantage as well as for our own sake, and the sake of our children, we may be proven to be the pure mettal. I must say that Mormonism, or the Gospel in all its parts grows brighter and brighter with me, & this will inevitably be the case the more it is rubbed, and the Devil and all his imps seem bent on polishing us <it> up. There is one consolation, that is, the wicked can do nothing against, but for the cause of truth. My family are well, [ ]y has had several [ ]s of diarhea but nothing serious. Julina is very careful, “burnt child dreads the fire”, we dread sickness or even the slightest illness of baby. O! may God spare here for my sake.

Joseph F. Smith seems to have drawn strength and resolve from his knowledge of gospel principles. His very faith reflects his understanding. Measuring motivation is difficult, especially as observed through personal correspondence written so long ago. Even so, Joseph F.’s passion and earnest entreaties conveyed through this letter disclose his feelings of compassion and an understanding of why misfortune and heartache occur. Although we may never know how his letters motivated or helped Martha Ann deal with the hardships of early western living, their capacity to comfort and provide her with new perspective to meet those challenges is readily visible in his writings.

The Treating of Others with Respect

Another element of effective teaching is the ability to respect those whom teachers teach. Teachers need to recognize that they often learn as much from their students as they teach them—that is, teaching is a two-way street. Effective teachers demonstrate respect for their students as the teachers listen and interact with the students. Parker Palmer, in an article entitled “The Heart of a Teacher: Identity and Integrity in Teaching,” stated:

Teaching, like any truly human activity, emerges from one’s inwardness, for better or worse. As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together. The entanglements I experience in the classroom are often no more or less than the convolutions of my inner life. Viewed from this angle, teaching holds a mirror to the soul. If I am willing to look in that mirror, and not run from what I see, I have a chance to gain self-knowledge—and knowing myself is as crucial to good teaching as knowing my students and my subject.[27]

The Savior demonstrated this principle when traveling in the area of Tyre and Sidon (see Mark 7:24–30). While He was there, a non-Israelite woman pleaded with Him to heal her unclean daughter. Jesus responded by saying, “Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs” (7:27). In essence, He was telling her His mission was not to the Gentiles and that He would not heal her daughter. Not satisfied, the woman reminded the Savior that even household pets receive bread from their master’s table. After hearing her, Jesus responded by healing her daughter. For teaching to be genuine, students need to know that teachers do listen and respond accordingly. Joseph F. Smith demonstrates his own willingness to listen to Martha Ann in the following letter:

Sandwich Islands

June 14, 1857. . .

Dearest Sister. one short sentence in your letter, struck me like the mighty surge of Occeans tempestuous swell! what was it?— “I feel that I am a weak and frail being—& why should not God bless you, who is much more worthy than I am, for, he has blessd me”—martha, do not tempt me. that language, tho’ simple—speaks louder than the bolts of Heaven, that you do love me. and that you do desire to live humbe, and prayerful. Oh! humility! how beutious are thy influances. how profoundly, deep thy serenity and bliss! this subject, subdews—it melts me!—Martha what you said admonished me. I kindely accept its chastening influance, although quite undirected. when I read it something seemed to whisper gently in my minde, Joseph? “understandest thou what thou readest”? “let him that readeth understand”, these th admonishing thoughts came to my minde with the words, “wake up more fully to your duty!” I can look back and see where I might have bettered my course. where I might have been more dilegent in descharge of my duty. but then, these thoughts are dispelled by the strictly varacious adage “time once past never will return, the moment lost, is lost for ever”! therefore why morne for things we cannot help. or in the words of Dear [p. 2] Cousin Josephine, why, “sigh o’er the plesures now faided. And the joys time can never restore?” there is no use, I am fully resolved to take things as they come, and as they fleet along by with [ ] unchangible goings of time, I feel to say, farewell, thou hurring time. thou industrious time, that wateth not for the sluggard, neither can man stay thy speading progress. but do thy duty in hastening the period when all creation shall reach the end for which they were created.

Martha Ann’s mild rebuff became an opportunity for Joseph F. to examine his heart and make some course corrections in his own life. The Oxford English Dictionary defines respect as follows: “to treat or regard with deference, esteem, or honor.”[28] Effective teachers demonstrate deference for their students by listening to them and making appropriate changes. Teachers who lack respect for their students may do so for the following reasons:

First, teachers may mistakenly believe that listening to their students somehow makes teachers vulnerable to additional criticism (that is, if it worked once, it might work again).

Second, teachers might be afraid to expose their personal weaknesses to their students because doing so shows that teachers do make mistakes and really do not have all the answers. In reality, however, the drawbacks of such thinking far exceed the benefits. Students who see the humanity in their teachers are much more likely to reciprocate in their responses to teacher demands and expectations. Parker Palmer provides some insight into those teachers who open themselves up to their students:

As good teachers weave the fabric that joins them with students and subjects, the heart is the loom on which the threads are tied: the tension is held, the shuttle flies, and the fabric is stretched tight. Small wonder, then, that teaching tugs at the heart, opens the heart, even breaks the heart—and the more one loves teaching, the more heartbreaking it can be.

We became teachers for reasons of the heart, animated by a passion for some subject and for helping people to learn. . . . The courage to teach is the courage to keep one’s heart open in those very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than it is able, so that teacher and students and subject can be woven into the fabric of community that learning, and living, require.[29]

Another letter that demonstrates Joseph F.’s respect for his sister can be seen in an exchange of letters on marriage. On May 3, 1857, Martha Ann wrote to her brother to tell him she was married. She was just two weeks from her sixteenth birthday and wrote with some concern as to how Joseph F. would respond:

B Dear b<rother> I have an itam of news to write to you and my hand trembles when I go to write it for my concence is gilty before my brother for I fear that he will think I have slited him but for give me dear brother if I say that I have \ but I fear that it will dampen your feelings but I can not help it now I must say it enny how I am married—to William harris. I suppose that this will shock you to hear \ <it>, it almost shocks me to thnk of it my sellf when I thnk of it but it is really sow now I must tell you the whis and the whare fors and then I hope you wll not blame me so much he had been keepping companey with me John[30] gave him leave to do so and I had no objection to it and my I began to think considderable of him and he began to think considerrabe of me. to tell the of the matter my \ thaughts has been that way for some time for 2 years at the least and my mind has not been among studys as you can plainly se my mind heart was young and tender and I let it go to far and John notesed it for I did not tell it to enny boddy not even to you who was my nearest and dearst friend and I tr<i>ed to concal my all could \ but John found it out in site of me [p. 3] for he could se that I did not learn much and he had to know the resoning and I had to tell him and \ John went to brother kimbol[31] about it and he said that we had better git married be fore he went away and John thaught that it would \ be the best and then my mind would be setteld and then I could learn some thing but other wse I could not. and wll william went up to git his parting blesings and I did not know for certain that I should git married befor he went away. and brother Kimible sent him after me and told \ him that he had better git have it all done up that day and he came and I went and was seald over the alter. and he started to ingland to drag on a mission to drag a hand cart acrosst the plains we was married on tusday and he started on thursdas so you see that I did not stop long with him and I am glad of it for if he had not have going to away money could not have herd me to have ben married untll you come home for I have long wished for your <re>turn with a longing heart that I mght be the same when you come back as I was when you went away. but allas things can not be just as the huane heart would desire. I am just the same as I was onely I am married I will be free for three years yet. and dear brother I beseach of you to is treat me as you always did if you dont it will almost break my heart give me council and I wil try to abid it I am not perfect yet and I shall thank you for your council<cil> and I am not ofended to you if I was I thinks I would be be a fool \ and would need castisements for it I am thankful to my [p. 4] father for giving me a brother that cears for mya. wefare for I know that you care for my welfarre more than enny boddy else can feel <care> fore upon this irth O Joseph would to god that I could expres feellings just as they are and \ I express my thanks to you for your kindnes to me. I can never for git you for ever no not for an hour I have never forgotts you senc you left me to far away from your home. I have thaught of you in what ever place I have been no matter whare.

On June 14, 1857, Joseph F. wrote a letter to Martha Ann before receiving the above letter. Interestingly, Joseph F., not knowing that Martha Ann had married William Harris, wrote a letter that addressed the topic of marriage. A brief excerpt from it provides the tone:

. . . well, now am I bound to any one? No, I am not. is any one bound to me, by her sacred vows for life No, there are non. now what is the reason?— I will reveal the secret. I have not my life ensured, only by my own goodness, my own true merrit. then God will, or has ensured my life to enjoy many great blessings. therefor if I am spaired to join my life with one in whome there is a spark of heavenly fire, that beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity and that is willing to shair the humble lot of One whome God knows loves the humble and honest heart. then I will say to God be the glory, what hour is mine? what moment is my own? at what time may God say, Joseph, thy soul is required of thee—? can I say no? I cannot, then I say thank the Lord no soul is bownd to mine at stake of houer. varasity, and vertue, no, I am free as the air, so are <is> avery one free from me, I wish to be tied to no one till I am able to provide and take care of her, untill then hear ye O—fair ones, ye are free from me,—where no vows are made no hearts are broken. now the whole amount of this is, when sumed up. I do not want you to make any vows, with any one if you can avoid it. . . .

We can only wonder exactly how Joseph F. initially responded to Martha Ann’s news, knowing that he did not want her to get married yet. The letter he wrote to her helps demonstrate his capacity to respect Martha Ann. The following letter was written on July 25, 1857:

Dear Sister Martha Ann:—I recieved your long letter of May 3rd—about a week ago, and was verry glad indeed to hear from you; I was somwhat surprised on hearing of your marriage. but as I was not there to partisipate in the in the scene, I can only wish you much joy;—and happy life You have now taken the moste important step of your life—or existance—under the Bonds of the Gospel. upon the step you have just taken is pending all the social enjoyments—and happiness of your present existance—and the Blessings of a happy and chearful home. as well as an obediant and God-like posterity,—or the misories and heart-rending scenes: of discontent,—discord & bitter unhappiness;—I almoste quake when I think upon this all obsorbing subject—to the center. when I look around me and reflect upon the many direful circumstanses accuring from day to day,—among the great and the Learned, the Small and the Ignorant, as well as the Rich and the Poor;—of “heart-Broken” women, distracted husbands, “Jealousy” in all its hideous formes—suspicion with all his train of poisonous rancour. with his drawn daggar and un-cheathed vengense. ready to spill the hearts Blood of “Wives”, “Husbands”, & “Children”! I shrink with horro<u>r from the scene:— It does seem curious in the extreem to me, why folks go so head-long into business that so greatly concerns their future prosperity and happiness on the other hand will bring down upon them ponderous grieveancies, and a world of truble,—from which they may never extract themselvs—and inverriably a Bad name—however—with all these conciderations—before us—it is not with us, as it is with the World at Learge—we have the the light of the Gospel the—influance of the Holy Spirit—the teachings of the Prophits & servants of God, to “Lead us into all truth” and teach us our duty— If you have adhered to counsel—it is all right—and you will come off victorioous. You will certainly leave off Girl-ism now. I hope you will remem[p. 2]ber your possition, and let your actions and conduct in all things, and at all times be such as will store up for you Respect, Esteem, and Friendship in the heart of every honest and good person. now, do you want me to tell you the way to attain to this desireable possition?—prayer—with faith, and hope on Jesus and his Gospel, will alone do it. a person that holdes your stateon in the True Kingdom of God, need never fear the face of “Clay.”

Rather than chastise or condemn Martha Ann for getting married, Joseph F. demonstrates his maturity by wishing her joy and happiness followed with gentle and kind counsel. His respect for his sister is even more remarkable when we consider he was just eighteen years old at the time he wrote this letter. Effective teachers recognize where their students are in life and, rather than judge them harshly for decisions they make, turn life’s circumstances into opportunities to teach. The doctrinal insights Joseph F. Smith shared in the latter portion of this letter demonstrate just how much gospel knowledge he had gained at such a young age. Throughout his life, he used this knowledge to bless others.

Knowledge of the Subject

Joseph F. Smith’s lifelong commitment to knowledge and his practical talent to share it resonate throughout his letters to Martha Ann. Solomon stated, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). The latter half of this poetic couplet suggests that wisdom requires knowledge. The dictionary corroborates this assertion, as its definition comprises words like “practical knowledge” or “understanding.”[32]

Few would argue that teaching requires at least a limited amount of knowledge, but most realize and fully recognize that effective teaching—the kind that brings about real change—demands wisdom. President Boyd K. Packer said, “I have long believed that the study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than talking about behavior will improve behavior.”[33]

From the time that Joseph F. Smith left on his mission, he demonstrated a precocious understanding of the Restoration and its truths; with this knowledge, he sought to bless others by bringing positive change into their lives. Although his life was filled with many hardships and heartaches, he must have taken great delight in testifying of Jesus Christ and the truths of the restored gospel. At just sixteen years of age, he wrote the following letter to Martha Ann from Maui, Sandwich Isles, on June 9, 1855:

My Dear and affectionate

Sister, Martha Ann. . . .

. . . be a Mormon out, and out, and you will be pl blessed, I find that thare is nothing that will try a person so as to tell this world that he is a mormon, but I feel first rate. I am fat, and stout, I feel like I could through all the hays down that thare is in the valeys. (but I donot know how it would be if I should try it)

I am a Preaching (Marty) like a good one, (you had aught to here me) or (or my voys, (I suppose if you wase any whare nee the Islands you could) we had a good meeting this morning, and I was caled upon to Preach, I acordingly, made an attempt.

As Joseph F’s enthusiasm and ability to teach the gospel matured, he also learned to take personal comfort in his knowledge and conviction of the plan of salvation. In a letter dated August 26, 1883, he wrote from Salt Lake City following the death of his son, Albert Jesse Smith:[34]

My Dear sister Martha Ann,

Once more, and now for the sixth time, by the inexorable will of an inscrutible providence we have been called upon to part with one of our dearest, most preacious treasures.

This time the pitiless monster, death, has chosen for his “shining mark” our beautiful, inteligent, bright and lovely little Albert Jesse. His death occurred yesterday at 11.35 a.m. after an illness of about 13 days, most of which time I was absent from home, travelling thro’ the settlements north with Pres. Taylor. I arrived home on thursday morning having been sent for, and being honorably released by the President. I had the [p. 2] sorrowful pleasure of watching and waiting upon him, my darling boy, for 52 hours, with heart-felt prayers and scalding tears not a few, but the heavens were brass over our heads. our crys and tears fell alike to the earth and all were buried this day with the lifeless, beautious form of our hearts’ treasure in the grave! and yet not all were buried, for still our cry would assend, why is it so? O. God why had it to be? and still our tears seak the earth to releave if not to bury our heart-aches in its feelingless bosom.

If for the sorrows of parting with our little, innocent ones in this world, we are to be rewarded with joy in the near or distant future, then may I not hope for a rich reward hereafter! Have I not laid up treasures in heaven? Sarah Ella, Mercy Josephine, Heber John, Alfred Jason, Rhoda Ann, and now Albert Jesse, all hold out their loving arms to “Papa,” from the other side. What a happy meeting awaits me! and I trust, that in that ransomed [p. 3] throng no hearts nor hands will welcome me more warmly than those of Father, Mother, Hyrum, Mary, (whom we knew not) and Sarah,[35] and Lovina,[36] and hosts of Kindred dead who being “dead yet live”, they having tasted of the living waters of christ, and died in Him. By far the greatest number are beyond the vail, the ties which draw us thither are fast becoming stronger than those which bind us here. Yet I look upon my little flocks now drawing upon me for their daily food, and none in store, but trusting in providence, and depending upon my mortal life for <their> help and protection and I breathe the earnest prayor, O! let me stay to battle with the ills and ups and downs of life yet a little longer in the world for their dear sakes. Were it not for this, now while my soul is cleansed by poignant grief I would rather go than stay. and yet I half feel that I am neither good enough to go or stay. It seemes not [p. 4] always an easy task to acknowledge the hand of God in All things. yet I will do it. and my heart says, “tho’ He slay me yet will I trust in Him,”[37] for “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”[38] I would rather have to pass through the the scenes of the past few days, harrowing as they have been, to the heart and soul, time and time again than never to have had my precious boy. Our aim can be no higher or nobler than to aspire to be worthy of an eternal union with, and possession of the pure, innocent trusting and loving little souls, such as those with whom God has blessed me only for so such short and happy periods of time. God help us to be worthy of them. Joseph

Any parent naturally feels the loss and pain that accompany the death of a child. Through that loss, Joseph F. Smith’s knowledge of the gospel provided hope and a determination to live worthily so he could be reunited with his family in the life to come. Few dimensions of the gospel hold more importance. We do not know how Martha Ann reacted to her brother’s grief; yet we can suppose that she, too, felt the sorrow and hopeful resolve to live a life worthy of eternal reunion.


Joseph F. Smith’s pedagogical talent provides an ideal example of what teachers can and should be. As indicated earlier, the standards of effective teaching do not tire with age. Although a limited number of teaching traits and characteristics were explored in this paper, Joseph F. Smith’s letters confirm his capacity to teach as he helped direct, conduct, and guide Martha Ann in her intellectual, social, and spiritual progress. His letters clearly show that his depth of gospel knowledge, along with his profound ability to love, respect, motivate, and communicate effectively, were an integral part of Martha Ann’s development.

The greatest explanation for Joseph F. Smith’s teaching success may simply be that he was a successful person who loved God and did all in his power to bless the lives of those around him. No less should be expected from any disciple of Jesus Christ. The charge given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland regarding teachers helps remind us all of our duty to be effective teachers:

Now, at a time when our prophet is calling for more faith through hearing the word of God, we must revitalize and reenthrone superior teaching in the Church—at home, from the pulpit, in our administrative meetings, and surely in the classroom. Inspired teaching must never become a lost art in the Church, and we must make certain our quest for it does not become a lost tradition. . . .

When crises come in our lives—and they will—the philosophies of men interlaced with a few scriptures and poems just won’t do. Are we really nurturing our youth and our new members in a way that will sustain them when the stresses of life appear? Or are we giving them a kind of theological Twinkie—spiritually empty calories? President John Taylor once called such teaching “fried froth,” the kind of thing you could eat all day and yet finish feeling totally unsatisfied. . . .

Whether we are instructing our children at home or standing before an audience at church, let us never make our faith difficult to detect. Remember, we are to be teachers “come from God.” . . . Give scripturally based sermons. Teach the revealed doctrine. Bear heartfelt testimony.[39]


[1] Her mother, Verna Passey Call, died October 8, 1986, and her father, Anson Bowen Call Jr., died on June 1, 1993.

[2] Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 110.

[3] Pratt, Autobiography, 128.

[4] Francis M. Gibbons, Joseph F. Smith: Patriarch and Preacher, Prophet of God (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1984), 1–2.

[5] In Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 3:1350.

[6] Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 3:1350.

[7] Gibbons, Joseph F. Smith, 27.

[8] Deseret News, April 13, 1854.

[9] Gibbons, Joseph F. Smith, 45–46.

[10] Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 3:1352.

[11] Gibbons, Joseph F. Smith, 87.

[12] Gibbons, Joseph F. Smith, 130–32, 181–82.

[13] Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 3:1352.

[14] Sarah Harris Passey, History of Martha Ann Smith Harris, unpublished manuscript, 4; Sarah Harris Passey is a daughter.

[15] Carole Call King, History of William Jasper Harris, 1836–1909, unpublished manuscript, 2; Carole Call King is a great-granddaughter.

[16] King, History of William Jasper Harris, 5–6.

[17] Passey, History of Martha Ann Smith Harris, 5–6.

[18] Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., version 2.0, s.v. “teach” (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 1999).

[19] Yun Lee Too, The Pedagogical Contract (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2000), 123.

[20] James M. Banner Jr. and Harold C. Cannon, “The Personal Qualities of Teaching,” Change 29, no. 6 (November/December 1997): 43.

[21] For example, see Teresa Pica, Gregory A. Barnes, and Alexis Gerard Finger, Teaching Matters: Skills and Strategies for International Teaching Assistants (New York: HarperCollins, 1990), 166–67; Banner and Cannon, “The Personal Qualities of Teaching,” 40; Gary Gordon, “Teacher Talent and Urban Schools,” Phi Delta Kappan 81, no. 4 (December 1999): 4; Peter G. Beidler, “What Makes a Good Teacher,” in Inspiring Teaching, ed. John K. Roth (Boston: Anker, 1997).

[22] Banner and Cannon, “The Personal Qualities of Teaching,” 43.

[23] Helen Keller, The Story of My Life (Norwalk, Connecticut: Easton Press, 1988), 21–22; emphasis added.

[24] Dallin H. Oaks, “Gospel Teaching,” Ensign, November 1999, 78.

[25] Robert Leamnson, Thinking about Teaching and Learning (Stirling, VA: Stylus, 1999), 8.

[26] Leamnson, Thinking about Teaching and Learning, 54.

[27] Parker J. Palmer, “The Heart of a Teacher: Identity and Integrity in Teaching,” Change 29, no. 6 (November/December 1997): 15.

[28] Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “respect.”

[29] Palmer, “The Heart of a Teacher: Identity and Integrity in Teaching,” 18.

[30] Third child (oldest son) of Hyrum Smith and Jerusha Barden. He was born September 22, 1832, making him twenty-four years old.

[31] Heber C. Kimball (first counselor in the First Presidency).

[32] Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “wisdom.”

[33] Boyd K. Packer, in Conference Report, April 1997, 8.

[34] Albert Jesse Smith was born September 16, 1881, and died, as stated in the letter, August 25, 1883.

[35] Sixth child of Hyrum Smith and Jerusha Barden; born October 2, 1837; died November 6, 1876.

[36] Oldest child of Hyrum Smith and Jerusha Barden; born September 16, 1827; died October 8, 1876.

[37] Job 13:15.

[38] Job 1:21.

[39] Jeffrey R. Holland, in Conference Report, April 1998, 31–34.