(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)
On July 26,
1996, while working in the sealing office of the Salt Lake Temple, I was making
preparations for the sealings which were to take place in the evening.
that Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve was to come in at
5:30 p.m. for a sealing. This is not particularly unusual for the Brethren to
come, but it was unusual that he was going to do just one child-to-parent
There was an envelope containing the information that he would use. I made the preparations, then removed the card from the envelope. I noted that a son born in 1797 in Turbridge, Orange County, Vermont was to be sealed to Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack. He had never been named or sealed to his mother and father.
Ballard arrived with two of his daughters and their husbands. They needed one
more to complete the sealing group, and Brother Ballard invited me to sit in as
were seated in the sealing room, he proceeded to explain the situation. It was
understood for many years that Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack had eleven
children, and that the first child was a daughter. During the last several
years, however, research has suggested that this child was a son. It has now
been concluded that the first child born to the family was a son, and that he
was born in 1797 at Turbridge, Orange County, Vermont. This son was born three
years before Hyrum and eight years before Joseph Smith, Jr.
Smith, Sr., on 9 December 1834, in speaking to
his family, said he had lost a son and the next son was Alvin. That
would make Joseph the fourth son. Brigham Young also spoke of Joseph being the
Brother Ballard was able to perform this important sealing with a son-in-law
and daughter representing Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack, and another son
representing their firstborn. I was greatly honored to be with them. I felt
this was a magnificent occasion.