One hundred years ago, President Joseph F. Smith received the revelation we know today as Doctrine and Covenants 138. Now both the Church History Library and the historic Beehive House have exhibits honoring this important and momentous event in Church history.
President Smith was no stranger to loss and death. As President Ballard mentioned in his 2018 conference talk, during 80 years of life, President Smith buried his father, his mother, one brother, two sisters, two wives, and thirteen children. In the months leading up to his vision, sometimes called the vision of the redemption of the dead, he lost his firstborn son, a son-in-law, and a daughter-in-law. World War I had also recently claimed the lives of more than 20 million people and the Spanish Flu pandemic was spreading around the world, taking as many as 100 million lives.
On October 3, 1918, President Smith had his remarkable vision of the spirit world. He saw Eve, Adam, prophets, and other deceased righteous souls preaching the gospel to their fellow spirits. This vision was monumental because it brought President Smith—and the rest of the Church—comfort and new understanding about the spirit world and the role of spirits in preaching the gospel to others beyond the veil.
According to the Church History Library’s blog, their new exhibit, entitled “Joseph F. Smith’s Vision of the Redemption of the Dead,” includes artifacts such as President Smith’s journal where he recorded the event, a handwritten letter from President Smith to his daughter Edith Smith Patrick about the vision, and a special insert printed by the Church in 1976 so members could add the vision to their personal copies of the Pearl of Great Price.
The Church History Library exhibit will be open to the public until November 18, 2022.
Additionally, the historic Beehive House in Salt Lake City recently refurbished two rooms to reflect the time when President Joseph F. Smith lived there. These rooms—a bedroom and an office—were added to the back of the building after Brigham Young’s death and were likely the location where President Smith received his vision of the spirit world.
President Smith was the last Church president to reside in the Beehive House and received his vision in the home just six weeks before his death in 1918.
To accurately represent and refurbish the rooms, staff members at the Church History Department studied President Smith’s life and his final months in the Beehive House. As reported by Newsroom, artifacts in the two newly refurbished rooms include Joseph F. Smith’s personal collection of the Millennial Star and his wife Julina Lambson Smith’s copies of An Author’s Digest and Library of Health.
“When you step from the hallway into the office you’re transported from the Brigham Young era right into the Joseph F. Smith era, the early 1900s,” Andrea Maxfield, curator of Church historic sites, told Newsroom.