Reed Smoot (January 10, 1862 – February 9, 1941) was a businessman and apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) when he was elected by the Utah state legislature to the United States Senate in 1902; he served as a Republican senator from 1903 to 1933. From his time in the Senate, Smoot is primarily remembered as the co-sponsor of the 1930 Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act, which increased almost 900 American import duties. Thomas Lamont, a partner at J.P. Morgan at the time said, “That Act intensified nationalism all over the world”. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act is widely regarded as one of the catalysts for the Great Depression.
Smoot was a prominent leader of the LDS Church, chosen to serve as an apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1900. His role in the LDS Church (together with rumors of a secret church policy continuing polygamy and a secret oath against the United States) led to a lengthy controversy of four years after he was elected to the Senate in 1903. A Senate committee investigated his eligibility to serve, known as the Reed Smoot hearings, and recommended against him, but the full Senate voted to seat him. Smoot continued to be reelected to successive terms until he lost his seat in the 1932 elections. Smoot returned to Utah in 1933. Retiring from politics and business, he devoted himself to the church. At the time of his death, he was third in the line of succession to lead the LDS Church.
Smoot was born in 1862 in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. He was the son of Mormon pioneer from Kentucky and Iowa, Abraham O. Smoot, who served as mayor of the city from 1856 to 1862. His mother was Anne Kristina Morrison Smoot, also known as Anne Kirstine Mauritzen before her marriage. Anne Kristina Morrison Smoot was Smoot’s father’s fifth wife of six plural marriages and 27 children, three of whom Abraham O. Smoot adopted.: 99–102 The family moved to Provo, Utah, when his father was called by Brigham Young to head the stake there. Smoot attended the University of Utah and graduated from Brigham Young Academy (now Brigham Young University) in Provo in 1879. Following which, Smoot served as a Mormon missionary in England. After returning to Utah, Smoot married Alpha M. Eldredge of Salt Lake City on September 17, 1884. They had six children together. Thereafter, Smoot became a successful businessman in the Salt Lake City area. In 1895, he became increasingly involved in the hierarchy of the LDS Church, advancing in authority. On April 8, 1900, Smoot was ordained an LDS Church apostle and member of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.