Eden Smith

(1806-1851)

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D&C 75:36; 80:1-5

By Susan Easton Black

Eden Smith was employed as a common laborer before entering baptismal waters in 1831. From the time of his baptism until 1833, he fulfilled several short missions within five to fifteen miles of his home. One such mission with Micah Welton began in Northampton, Ohio on December 10, 1831 and ended nine days later (See D&C 75:36). Eden kept a journal of his missionary experiences from September 25, 1831 to August 21, 1832. One journal entry reads: “I went to Stow and preachd in the fore noon and did tonight and then attended in the afternoon and preachd and then returned home and Laboured for the support of my familey.”1

In March 1832 at Hiram, Ohio, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation directing Eden to serve with Stephen Burnett “to preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west” (D&C 80:3). According to Eden’s journal, he and Stephen Burnett served in eastern Ohio, holding many meetings. They were not successful, however, in bringing converts to the Church.

The Prophet Joseph Smith and his counselor Frederick G. Williams wrote a letter to Eden’s father John Smith on July 2, 1833 concerning a contentious spirit observed in both him and his son Eden: “God withdrew His Spirit from you, and left you in darkness. . . . It seems also that your son Eden is confederate with you, and needs to be reproved, together with yourself, in all humility before the Lord, or you must expect to be dealt with according to the laws of the Church.”2

The First Presidency addressed the following letter to the Eugene Branch in Indiana:

Dear Brethren it is truly painful to be under the necessity of writing on a subject which engages our attention at this time viz the case of John Smith and Eden Smith his son. We have just received a letter from you concerning their standing in the Church, we do not hold them in fellowship we would inform you that John Smith has been dealt with and his authority taken from him and you are required not to receive his teachings but to treat him as a transgressor until he repents and humbles himself before the Lord to the entire satisfaction of the Church and also you have authority to call a conference and sit in Judgment on Edens case and deal with him as the law directs we feel to rebuke the Elders of that <​branch of the​> church of Christ for not magnifying their office and letting the transgressor go unpunished.3

Eden was disfellowshipped on July 2, 1833. He repented of his sins and was rebaptized on August 27, 1834 in Eugene, Indiana by William E. McLellin.

Eden joined other Latter-day Saints in Missouri and later in Nauvoo, Illinois. In April 1843 he was called to serve a mission with Benjamin Leland to Erie County, Pennsylvania. When the Saints went West, Eden returned to Indiana. He died on December 7, 1851 in Vermillion County, Indiana at age of forty-five.

1. Eden Smith Journal, typescript, p. 1. L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

2. History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834], p. 316.

3. Letter to Church Leaders in Eugene, Indiana, 2 July 1833, p. 54. Joseph Smith Papers.