General Prophet Joseph Smith
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My parents wanted to name their first son Michael. Unfortunately, my mother's sister beat them to it by naming her son Michael a couple years before I was born. So they settled for making my middle name Michael.

As we grew up in Minnesota, cousin Michael and I played together often since he was the closest in age to me of all my cousins. When we became adults I moved to Utah and we saw very little of each other. Still throughout the years I never lost the feeling that Mike was a special cousin for me.

Then one day I found out Mike had malignant skin cancer. I thank God that my job brought me to Minnesota for a couple weeks and I was able to spend some time with him and his family, which consisted of a wonderful wife, two sweet children, and a third on the way, because a month later he died.

So I think it appropriate that for my professional name I begin to use the name we shared in common as a memorial to him. And I think it very appropriate to dedicate this opera about Joseph Smith, a man who died at a similar age and left behind a wonderful wife, four sweet children, and a fifth on the way:

To cousin Michael.

--D. Michael Martindale

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