Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Julina Lambson Smith and Joseph F. Smith (sixth President of the Church).
Baptism and confirmation
Baptized and confirmed by his father, Joseph F. Smith. Received his first personal copy of the Book of Mormon from his father.
Attended the Salt Lake Temple dedication
Began working at ZCMI
Received his patriarchal blessing
His patriarchal blessing proclaimed, "It shall be thy duty to sit in counsel with thy brethren and to preside among the people."
Received the Melchizedek Priesthood
Received the temple endowment and was ordained an elder.
Married Louie Emily Shurtliff in the Salt Lake Temple.
Appointed to the Salt Lake Stake YMMIA Board
Served a full-time mission to England
Served through July 1901.
Began employment in the Church Historian’s office
Served as a home missionary in the Salt Lake Stake
Served through 1910.
Published a family history booklet
Booklet titled "Asael Smith of Topsfield, Massachusetts, with Some Account of the Smith Family." This was the first of his many publications, including 25 books and numerous articles for Church magazines and periodicals.
Served as a member of the YMMIA General Board
Served through 1919.
Called to the Salt Lake Stake high council
Called as the Assistant Church Historian
Sustained in general conference as Assistant Church Historian. He held this position until March 1921.
Began work with the Genealogical Society
Commissioned by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor to collect statistics of the Church for a religious census being compiled at that time.
Appointed to serve on a general Church committee
The committee's purpose was to prepare data for the defense of the Church against its enemies.
Death of Louie Shurtliff Smith
Louie Shurtliff Smith died after suffering from a severe illness related to her third pregnancy.
Appointed director and librarian of the Genealogical Society
Married Ethel Georgina Reynolds
Appointed to the general board of religion classes
Also named the librarian and treasurer of the Genealogical Society.
Ordained an Apostle
He was ordained an Apostle by his father, President Joseph F. Smith.
Worked for the "Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine"
Became the first associate editor and business manager of the magazine.
Served as the secretary of the Genealogical Society of Utah
Served through 1922.
Appointed to the BYU Board of Trustees
Appointed to the Church Board of Education
Death of Hyrum Mack Smith
Hyrum Mack Smith (an Apostle and Joseph's half brother) died of complications associated with a ruptured appendix.
Recorded his father’s revelation on the redemption of the dead
The revelation was dictated by his father, Joseph F. Smith, who was President of the Church at the time. This revelation is now found in Doctrine and Covenants 138.
Death of President Joseph F. Smith
President Joseph F. Smith (Joseph's father) died.
Appointed as a counselor in the Salt Lake Temple presidency
He held this position until 1935.
Named as Church Historian
He held this position until 1970.
Published "Essentials in Church History"
Named president of the Genealogical Society of Utah
He held this position until 1961.
Death of Ethel Reynolds Smith
Ethel Reynolds Smith died after suffering with an illness for four years.
Married Jessie Ella Evans in the Salt Lake Temple
Toured the California mission
Toured European missions
Filled a special assignment in Europe with his wife Jessie, visiting England, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Germany. Directed the evacuation of all American missionaries from Europe after the outbreak of World War II.
Trained new Assistants to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Joseph's son Lewis killed in WWII
Served as the president of the Salt Lake Temple
He held this position until 1949.
Set apart as the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Toured the Texas-Louisiana mission
Sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Received an honorary doctor of letters degree from BYU
Toured the Far East and dedicated four countries for the preaching of the gospel
Filled a special assignment in Asia, with Jessie accompanying him. Dedicated Guam, Korea, Okinawa, and the Philippines for the preaching of the gospel. Divided the Japanese mission to form the Northern Far East and Southern Far East Missions. Served through August 1955.
"Church News" printed a tribute to Joseph Fielding Smith
The "Church News" printed a tribute to President Smith on his 80th birthday: "Behind a seeming brusqueness and severity of manner is a kind, sympathetic friendliness and understanding that wins the love and admiration of all who know him."
Attended the London England Temple dedication
Visited stakes and missions in New Zealand and Australia
Named honorary brigadier general of the Utah National Guard
Visited Church leaders and missionaries in Central and South America
Served through January 1961
Officiated at the cornerstone ceremony for the Oakland California Temple
Dedicated historic sites in Missouri
Dedicated the Pioneer Monument in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Liberty Jail Historic Site in Liberty, Missouri.
Called to the First Presidency
Called to serve as a Counselor in the First Presidency under the direction of President David O. McKay.
Historic collection named after him
A collection of books and materials at BYU on Church history was named in his honor.
Became the senior Apostle
Became the senior Apostle and presiding leader of the Church at the death of President David O. McKay.
Set apart as President of the Church
Became President of the Church, with Harold B. Lee and N. Eldon Tanner as His counselors.
Spoke at the cornerstone ceremony for the Ogden Utah Temple
Attended ward and stake events. Spoke at Church College of Hawaii.
Set apart four temple presidencies
Set apart the presidencies for the Mesa Arizona, Idaho Falls Idaho, Los Angeles California, and St. George Utah Temples.
Sustained in general conference as President of the Church
Visited Mexico City
Spoke at Benemerito de Los Americas (Church school) and two stake conferences.
Acted as the Days of '47 parade marshal in Salt Lake City
Greeted President and Mrs. Richard M. Nixon at the parade.
Designated Monday night for Family Home Evening
Spoke to thousands of youth
Spoke to nearly 10,000 youth at Utah State University Institute of Religion and 13,000 youth in southern California.
Gave a baccalaureate sermon at Ricks College
Spoke at the cornerstone ceremony for the Provo Utah Temple
Dedicated the Laguna Hills Ward chapel in California and the Independence Visitors' Center in Missouri
Death of Jessie Evans Smith
Presided at the Church’s first area conference
The conference was held in Manchester, England.
Offered the dedicatory prayer for the Ogden Utah Temple
Presided at the dedication of the Provo Utah Temple
President Harold B. Lee offered the dedicatory prayer, which was written by President Smith.
Addressed the MIA in a June conference as his last public address
Spoke at the mission president's seminar in Salt Lake City
At this time, a new program of supervision for the missions was announced.
Died in Salt Lake City, Utah, 17 days before his 96th birthday.
Buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery following funeral services in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.