Smith was the younger brother of Joseph Smith, Senior, uncle of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, father of George A. Smith, grandfather of John Henry Smith, and great-grandfather of George Albert Smith. Smith served as president of the stake in Lee County, Iowa during the Nauvoo period. He was also the first president of the Salt Lake Stake, the first stake in Utah Territory, and as such was the leader of the Latter-day Saints in Utah in the winter of 1847-1848.
Smith practiced plural marriage and fathered four children.
Smith died at Salt Lake City and was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.