“He was naturally fond of the young”

“He was naturally fond of the young” April 3, 2018


JS with child on swing
A still photo from “Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration,” a film that, in this particular depiction, accords with abundant testimony from those who knew Joseph Smith well.


Lyman O. Littlefield was a boy of thirteen when he met Joseph Smith in 1834.  These are excerpts from his reminiscences of the Prophet, as they are reproduced in Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, Personal Glimpses of the Prophet Joseph Smith (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2009):


I first beheld him a tall, well-proportioned man, busily mingling with the members of Zion’s Camp, shaking hands with them, meeting them with friendly greetings and carefully seeing to their comforts.  His familiar, yet courteous and dignified manner, his pleasant and intelligent countenance, the pleasant smile and the happy light that beamed from his mild blue eyes; all these were among the attractive attributes that at once awakened a response interest in the minds of every kindly beholder.  (82)


I was too young and too small of stature to act with the men.  This created in me some lonesome reflections.  The journey was extremely toilsome for all.  I sat down upon a rock where the men were passing, the better to observe their movements.  As the Camp was making ready to depart, I sat tired and brooding by the roadside.  The Prophet was the busiest man of the Camp; and yet when he saw me he turned from the great press of other duties to say a word of comfort to a child.    That man, who to me appeared so good and godlike, really halted in his hurry to notice me — only a little boy.  Placing his hand upon my head, he said, “Is there no place for you, my boy?  If not, we must make one.”

This circumstance made an impression upon my mind which long lapse of time and cares of riper years have not effaced.  (82-83)


He was naturally fond of the young — especially little children.  He did not like to pass a child, however small, without speaking to it.  He has been known to actually cross a street if he saw a child alone on the opposite side, to speak to it or to inquire if it had lost its way.  (83)


He was not only kind and gentle to the youth, but the aged he treated with the respect due their whitened locks, ever ready and willing to support them with his strong arm.  (83)



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