Since there wouldn’t be a Pioneer Day if there wasn’t a restoration and since Joseph Smith is a large part of the restoration, and also since Joseph Smith was told at the time of Moroni’s visit that his name would be known for good and bad, I guess the question could be asked, where does Joseph Smith rank on America’s Most Influential list?
C. A newspaper with the information to 60 family names of deceased relatives
In May 1884, Bishop Henry Ballard of the Logan Second Ward was signing temple recommends at his home. Henry’s nine-year-old daughter, who was talking with fiends on the side walk near her home, saw two elderly men approaching. They called to her, handed her a newspaper, and told her to take it to her father.
The girl did as she was asked. Bishop Ballard saw that the paper, the Newbury Weekly News, published in England, contained the names of more than 60 of his and his father’s acquaintances, along with genealogical information. This newspaper, dated 15 May 1884, had been given to him only three days after it was printed. In a time long before air transportation, when mail took several weeks to get from England to western America, this was a miracle.
The next day, Bishop Ballard took the newspaper to the temple and told the story of its arrival to Marriner W. Merrill, the temple president. President Merrill declared, “Brother Ballard, someone on the other side is anxious for their work to be done and they knew that you would do it if this paper got into your hands.” This newspaper is preserved in the Church Historical Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Our Heritage, A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), 99.