Wallace Smith Obituary, Death -1“It is with heavy hearts that we remember the passing of Wallace B. Smith, the former prophet of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), who left an indelible mark on the church during his tenure. As the great-grandson of Joseph and Emma Smith, Wallace B. Smith carried with him a rich heritage and a deep sense of responsibility. His time as prophet, which began in 1984, was marked by significant changes within the RLDS Church, most notably the historic decision to allow the ordination of women. In this article, we pay tribute to a remarkable leader whose legacy of inclusivity and progress continues to shape the church’s path today.
Wallace B. Smith was born on March 24, 1929, into a family deeply rooted in the history of the Latter Day Saint movement. His great-grandparents, Joseph and Emma Smith, played pivotal roles in the early years of the movement. Wallace’s father, W. Wallace Smith, served as RLDS prophet, and his upbringing within the church instilled in him a strong sense of faith and devotion. In 1984, Wallace B. Smith assumed the role of prophet, succeeding his father. His leadership brought with it a vision for the RLDS Church that embraced inclusivity, progress, and a willingness to adapt to the changing times. One of the most notable aspects of his tenure was his commitment to gender equality within the church.
One of the defining moments of Wallace B. Smith’s leadership was the historic decision to allow the ordination of women in the RLDS Church. This groundbreaking move, which took place in 1984, marked a significant departure from traditional practices within the Latter-Day Saint movement. It was a decision that showcased his deep commitment to inclusivity and his belief in the equality of all members of the church. The decision to ordain women as ministers was not without its challenges and controversies. It required a shift in perspective and a willingness to reinterpret certain doctrinal aspects of the church’s history. However, Wallace B. Smith remained steadfast in his conviction that this change was essential to the church’s growth and relevance in the modern world.
Wallace B. Smith’s leadership was characterized by his dedication to fostering an inclusive and welcoming community within the RLDS Church. His advocacy for women’s ordination was just one aspect of this commitment. He also worked to bridge theological gaps within the church and to promote dialogue and understanding among members with diverse perspectives. Under his leadership, the RLDS Church continued to evolve, embracing new approaches to outreach, social justice, and community involvement. These efforts reflected a deep belief in the church’s capacity to adapt and grow while staying true to its core principles.
Wallace B. Smith’s passing is a somber moment for the RLDS Church and the wider Latter Day Saint movement. His legacy as a prophet who championed inclusivity, progress, and the ordination of women will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come. His leadership reshaped the church and paved the way for a more inclusive and diverse community of believers. As we mourn the loss of a dedicated and visionary leader, let us also remember his enduring legacy and the continued journey of the RLDS Church towards a brighter and more inclusive future. Wallace B. Smith’s contributions will forever serve as a testament to the power of faith and leadership in effecting positive change within religious communities.