In October 1946, Joseph F. Smith II, LDS Church patriarch, was released from his calling in LDS General Conference. He had not served for several months, the official reason being that he was ill, confined to his home in Centerville, Utah. What wasn’t known publicly was that Smith had been forbidden to give patriarchal blessings since May 1. In fact, after that day, his secretary never saw him again. As historian Gary James Bergera recounts in the winter 2012 issue of The Journal of Mormon History, Smith’s tenure stopped after this course of events: President George Albert Smith received communication from member Lorenzo Dow Browning, a Utah State Tax Commission appraiser and father of a Byram Dow Browning, 20. The father alleged an intimate relationship between Patriarch Smith and his son. He also mentioned that he had spoken with the patriarch recently, Later, Byram Dow Browning’s uncle, LeGrand Chandler, discussed the issue with the LDS prophet. That prompted a two and a half hour meeting between George Albert Smith and Joseph F. Smith II. Bergera writes, “… Joseph F., evidently devastated by the encounter, immediately ‘left for home’,” (George Albert Smith’s diary.)
We may never know if Joseph F. Smith II had a physical sexual relationship with Byram Browning, who attended the University of Utah, where Smith, a legitimate scholar and accomplished actor, taught speech and drama. There are accounts that claim Joseph F. Smith II had a history of homosexuality that extended as far back as the 1920s. The problem, as Bergera notes, is that many of the sources derive from the family of Eldred G. Smith, who had been passed over as Church patriarch by Heber G. Grant (yet later replaced him). According to research from historian D. Michael Quinn, members of the Smith family, including the Salt Lake City Police Department’s captain of the anti-vice squad, warned Church President Heber J. Grant of Joseph F. Smith II’s homosexual acts.