A friend asked me to write a tribute, scripture style, to Bishop Smith. This is a tradition in our ward (congregation) when a Bishop is released. Bishop Gibson, the second Bishop of the Tijeras Canyon ward wrote the first such tribute for Bishop Campbell, the first Bishop and I was given the assignment. (Thank you Aaron Shorr for reading it for me.) I tried to emulate Bishop Gibson’s tribute, but his was 7 pages long. (Bless him—he is lacking any brief bones.) My tribute is woefully short in comparison, but because it was requested, here it is. (And yes, I plagiarized some scriptures. I don’t think St. Paul will mind.)
Tales of Tijeras: The Reign of the Righteous Bishop Smith
And now there was no contention in all the land of Tijeras Canyon, among all the people who belonged to Bishop Gibson, so that Bishop Gibson had continual peace all the remainder of his days. And it came to pass that after Bishop Gibson had made an end of teaching his people, that he waxed tired, and he saw that he must very soon go the way of all the emeritus bishops; therefore, he thought it expedient that he should confer the kingdom upon one of his sons in the gospel.
Therefore, President Brennan came before him, saying: I would that ye should make a proclamation throughout all this land among all this people, or the people of Tijeras Canyon, and all the people who dwell in the land, that thereby they may be gathered together; for on the morrow I shall proclaim unto this my people out of mine own mouth that a new bishop will be called to be a protector and a ruler over this people, whom the Lord our God hath given us.
And the much beloved Bishop Gibson retired to the seats of the congregation and Bishop Kent Smith was called to lead the people in the Tijeras Canyon vineyard.
But Bishop Smith feared greatly, saying, “But I am but an accountant, surfer and volleyball player—who am I to teach the doctrine of Christ?”
But it was soon to be discovered that not only could Bishop Smith jump after volleyballs, but he could also jump off of boulders of exceeding great heights and do backward flips into the water! Yea, so great were the spiritual heights of Bishop Smith that many sought to follow his example and counsel.
Bishop Smith never bustled in to primary to do his part and then depart as a busy bishop could do. He participated in singing time jumping up at "sunbeam!" and speeding through "Head, Shoulders, Knees And Toes. Yea, so great was his joy that he leapt high into the air, spinning 360 degrees while singing Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam. And he loved to sing, even with marshmallows in his mouth, yea, sometimes as many as eight marshmallows in his mouth! By this we know that he loves the children of God, and because he loves God, he keeps his commandments.
Many were the missionaries who were prepared to serve valiantly in far distant kingdoms under the direction of Bishop Smith. And many souls were led to the waters of baptism, too many to even number. And many families were sealed in the temples of our God. The gifts of the people soared and flourished.
For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. And it came to pass that people gathered to share their talents and gifts. Many did sing and dance, but only the very valiant chose to do so in swim trunks, snorkeling gear and fins. Yea, to the much astonishment of the people, Bishop Smith, accompanied by his elect, preformed a synchronized swimming routine. And there was much rejoicing.
Bishop Smith led his people through the darkness, yea even the darkness of night surfing. Even though the seas raged all around, the young men of the Tijeras Canyon Ward valiantly faced the treacherous waves deep and dark armed with naught but their faith in their leader and their surf boards.
Yea, many were the camp-outs, conferences, firesides, ordinations, baptisms, blessings, mission calls and sacred ordinations. And the Tijeras Canyon ward grew in love and faith, ever rejoicing in the goodness of God for granting the blessings of the gospel.
Therefore, the people of Tijeras Canyon sought to express their love to their great bishop. Knowing that their own words would fail them, they turned to the scriptures and likened Bishop Smith to Captain Moroni, a man of mighty valor, courage and strength. A Captain Moroni who never failed to have a worthy supply of M&Ms on his desk.
Yea, Bishop Smith did truly exemplify the teachings of the Apostle Paul as he wrote to Timothy:
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.
And Bishop Smith, having truly served with much love must now go the way of all emeritus Bishops, serving the people, proclaiming the doctrines of Christ and rejoicing in service wherever he is called, leaving those who have felt his faith and strength of testimony to marvel in his exceeding kindness.