Alice C. Smith (1913-2006)

Alice C. Smith graduated from Columbia University in 1934. In 1946 she attended Utah State University and earned a Master’s in Sociology and subsequently joined the faculty. She was an assistant professor until the mid-1970’s, when she resigned to serve with the Relief Society general board to do service work around the world. It’s said she brought a “cosmopolitan and scholarly perspective” to the board.

I particularly like these remarks Alice made about women in the 60’s:

“I used to protest about ‘Patty Perfect’ all the time. I used to say that’s not real, that’s not the real world, nor is it the gospel….I think the Lord meant be perfect in being loved. Be loving, kind, and merciful. He wasn’t talking about getting up in the morning and combing your hair.”

In 1979, Smith described herself as belonging “to the school that feels that Jesus was not a salesman but a teacher…I believe that he was there to create behavioral changes that were permanent.”

Alice was a great believer in the small acts of women to change the world. From the pulpit in Salt Lake City in 1969, Alice spoke to thousands of women from around the world about their role in relieving suffering:

“[Women] will help combat the loneliness which plagues our world and impersonality of the big cities. They will look after the stranger, the widow, the orphan, the wounded, and distressed…They will be needed as my grandmother was when she left her warm pioneer bed on stormy nights to drive miles with a horse and buggy in response to a cry of need. As my mother during the depression found the hungry, so will they…They will help relieve physical, emotional, and mental suffering. They will aid the sinner and comfort the sorrowing. They will carry a message of gospel love to all our sisters throughout the world. As their warm, tender care spreads its web around the world, they will become a standard to the nations.”

Prophetic!

Thank you Alice.

Sources: At the Pulpit, Reeder and Holbrook

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