Family News – August 16, 2015

Help Celebrate the Success of Josephs Miracle Run

A Smith Family Fireside will be held on Friday, September 11, 2015, 7:00 pm at the Hanover & Lebanon New Hampshire Wards building, 667 Dartmouth College Highway, Lebanon, NH 03766?2044. Dr. Wirthlin will be giving a presentation on the miracle of Josephs surgery and the leg saving work of Dr. Nathan Smith. Dr. LeRoy Wirthlin is a former professor at Harvard Medical School and later a practicing surgeon who researched Josephs leg operation and Dr. Nathan Smith and has published articles in BYU Studies and the Ensign magazines.

This is an opportunity to hear the story while in the area it took place. Please let us know if you are living in or travelling in this area and plan on attending this activity and respond to


The run was held on August 3, 2013 at This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. 1017 people attended and participated throughout the four days events.


Dr. Nathan Smith

Pictures below used with permission from Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth


Nathan Smith (1762?1828), Founder of Dartmouth Medical School Credit: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; gift of Edmund Randolph Peaslee, Class of 1836


Nathan Smith_Dykstra_Dwaihy

Riding with Nathan Smith, 2004, Oil on Canvas, 72″ x 96″ by Sara Dykstra and Joseph Dwaihy (DMS ’06)


Smiths came from the following states to take part in the reunion and/or the race: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Family also came from Canada and as far away as Romania.


Dr. Nathan Smith descendants (Stephanie & Dr. David Longcope) participating in Josephs Miracle Run, August 3, 2013.


Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family
c/o Steve and Frances Orton
381 W 3700 N, Provo UT 84604
Phone: (801) 226?6054 Fax: (801) 452?6567

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Race marks bicentennial of surgery that saved Joseph Smith’s leg

By Lucy Schouten
For the Deseret News

The Josephs Miracle Run 5K race, sponsored by the Smith Foundation, celebrated the 200th anniversary of the surgery to save Joseph Smiths leg on Aug. 3, 1813

The race was held at This Is The Place Heritage Park as part of the Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith reunion held Aug. 1-4. Of the roughly 500 participants in the 5K race and the childrens race immediately afterward, 300 were Smith descendants.

Francis Orton, a foundation member and race organizer, said the race was planned a year and a half in advance. When they realized that 2013 would be the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smiths boyhood surgery by renowned Dr. Nathan Smith, they saw an opportunity to publish Josephs name for good, she said.

The race proceeds and donations will go toward a $10,000 scholarship at Dartmouth Medical School, which was founded by Dr. Nathan Smith. The hope is for the race to be an annual event to create a perpetual scholarship.

Wed like to make it an annual event for at least the next few years, said Daniel Adams, a Hyrum Smith descendant and member of the foundation who helped organize the race. It took [Josephs leg] three years to heal so he could walk well again.

Adams views the surgery itself as miraculous because it was a cutting-edge operation that would not become an accepted medical practice until after World War One. The trial also developed the love and courage of the Smith family.

Hyrum would squeeze his leg and massage it for hours every day just so that he could handle the pain, Adams said, describing Josephs lengthy recovery process. This is why Joseph and Hyrum are so close, and so Hyrum will never leave Joseph, even in Carthage Jail.

One Hyrum descendant felt a special connection to the events. Ruth Whites son, Nathaniel, was born at the medical school at Yale, which Nathan Smith co-founded. Her son was born with many birth defects and now uses a wheelchair.

As soon as I heard about [the race] I felt the connection right off, she said.

White got an especially loud cheer as she crossed the 5K finish line, pushing her 10-year-old in a jogging stroller.

He was the only one who volunteered to train with me, White said with a laugh. Having him with me just made it more meaningful.

Also helping at the race were 35 missionaries who arrived at 5 a.m. Saturday morning to set up and then guide the runners. Two senior missionaries were stationed at the finish line, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve awarded each finisher a medal after the race.

Emily Birningham, 83, and Marilyn Critchlow, both Smith descendants, walked the end of the race course to make sure all the grandkids finished the race successfully. Critchlow travelled from Romania for the event, and she spoke enthusiastically about the good turn-out and the excitement of getting the family together.

This is such a great activity, Critchlow said. It was worth it [to travel from Romania] just to hear the opening prayer at a race and the bagpipes.

And to have my 25 children and grandchildren in the race, added Birningham as they neared the finish line.

Lucy Schouten is an Arizona native studying journalism and Middle Eastern studies at Brigham Young University. Contact her


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