Frederick M. Smith

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Frederick Madison Smith (January 21, 1874 – March 20, 1946), generally known among his followers as "Freddie M.", was an American religious leader and author and the third Prophet-President of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (renamed the Community of Christ in 2001), serving from 1915 until his death.

Smith's paternal grandfather was Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and his father was Joseph Smith III, the first president after the Church's "Reorganization." The first graduate of Graceland University, Fred M. earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University in 1916, setting him apart as one of the most highly educated members of his church at the time.[1]

Smith’s leadership was ambitious and visionary, but also controversial. One biographer has called him “a man of paradox” [2] and “one of the most controversial figures in Reorganization history.”[3] His presidency saw the church initiate a series of major projects, but it was also marred by the controversy over what became known as “Supreme Directional Control.”[4]

Contents

Biography

Fred M. was one of nine children of Joseph Smith III and his second wife, Bertha Madison Smith. He was born on Jan 21, 1874, at Plano, Illinois, and baptized on July 20, 1883.

Summary of education:

On August 3, 1897, Smith married Alice Lyman Cobb (died May 4, 1926).

Succession to the Presidency

Fred M. Smith became a counselor in the RLDS Church’s First Presidency in 1902. As his father’s health declined, Fred M. assumed greater and greater responsibilities in the management of the church and its auxiliary institutions. Joseph Smith III passed away on December 10, 1914, and Fred M. was ordained as the new Prophet-President the following spring on May 5, 1915.[5]

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