3 Lessons from Lucy Mack Smith and How They Can Change Your Life
This post is in loving memory of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s mother, Lucy Mack Smith. It is part of a series celebrating the Prophet’s birth this month (December 23).
She has been described as a determined, courageous, a women for all seasons, honest, delighted in truth and a women of exceptional talent. Her character and accomplishments are inspiring and yet she seems to have been forgotten in recent times. What do you know about Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of Prophets Joseph and Hyrum Smith? Does her life have lessons for young women in the Church today?
1. She studied scripture seriously
Lucy Mack Smith’s life was characterized by consistently seeking the Kingdom of God over personal ease. As a young women (before her marriage at the age of 21) she was overwhelmed with a thirst to experience a change of heart. She undertook an intense study of scripture to discover the truth of repentance and salvation. She, like her son Joseph, intensely desired to understand which church, if any, were true. Lucy Mack Smith sought for a church which reflected the Early Church as established by Christ.
How many of us can say that our own lives are marked with similar devotion to understand the doctrines of Christ’s church? As young women today, we are highly privileged to live in a time when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored and is freely available. Has the ease and comfort we currently enjoy drawn us into a spiritually dead sleep, making us unconcerned and even apathetic to a thorough knowledge of the scriptures?
Lucy Mack Smith “perused the Bible”, “prayed incessantly” and raised her children with a deep love for scripture. Her soul burned with testimony of the Book of Mormon and she did not hesitate to proclaim that testimony to all those who would hear.
If we desire to have eternal life, we must know God (John 17:3). How will we know who He is if we have not studied it out for ourselves?
2. Her life was dedicated to God
As a young mother with two small boys (Alvin and Hyrum), Lucy Smith became deathly ill and grew so weak that the doctors gave her up for dead. They concluded that she would not recover, leaving her husband a widower and her children motherless. She described what happened next.
“[I] looked to the Lord, and begged and pleaded with him to spare my life, in order that I might bring up my children, and be a comfort to my husband. . . . During this night, I made a solemn covenant with God, that, if he would let me live, I would endeavor to serve him according to the best of my abilities. Shortly after this, I heard a voice say to me. “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Let your heart be comforted; ye believe in God, believe also in me.” (History of the Prophet by His Mother, pg. 44)
Mother Smith, as she would later be called, was healed and the her life is a testimony that she kept her covenant with God. The miracles and service Lucy Mack Smith accomplished for the world were the result of covenants she made with God and her consecrated life. Her worthiness earned her a reward in the Celestial Kingdom. D&C 137 records that the Prophet Joseph Smith saw his mother and father in the Celestial Kingdom.
If we want to do work for the Lord today, our lives must likewise be pledged to God. In the last days, it has been prophesied that “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17, Joel 2:28) If we want to experience these prophesied dreams and visions we must be faithful, committed and consecrated to the Lord.
3. She was a faithful wife and mother
Throughout her life, Lucy Mack Smith placed her family above other cares and distractions in the world. She supported and encouraged her husband, raised her children in the fear of the Lord and exemplified true Godly womanhood. In a world that belittles the family and mocks the sacred role the Lord has given mothers and daughters, we can look to women in the past who changed the world by fulfilling the mission God gave them. The service her grandson and great-grandson President Joseph F. Smith and President Joseph Fielding Smith gave to the church through their leadership and doctrinal wisdom is invaluable. We can find hope through Mother Smith’s example that if we fulfill our mission the Lord will bless us and our children with a multi-generational legacy.
The legacy of Lucy Mack Smith is remarkable and should not be forgotten. We with the first Patriarch of the Church, Joseph Smith Sr. remember Lucy Mack Smith as “one of the most singular women in the world”. If you have not already read her autobiography/biography of the Prophet Joseph Smith, I highly recommend that you obtain a copy or read it online. Studying the early days of the Church will help us prepare for the difficult days ahead.