Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wilford Woodruff 1880 reflections

Excerpts of Wilford Woodruff's 1880 reflections,
In 1889, Wilford Woodruff became the fourth prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church).  Throughout his life he kept an extensive journal, and at the end of some years, summarized his religious views.

Below are events leading up to Wilford Woodruff's summation at the end of 1880, followed by a revelation and a prayer of damnation
that comprise his 1880 reflections (to read his thoughts at other times, see here). 

Significant events between 1876 and 1880 include:
  • 1876 March 31 -- Dedicates ZCMI building
  • 1876 November 13 -- Called to write script of temple endowment ceremony
  • 1877 January 1 -- Dedicates portions of St. George temple
  • 1877 January 1 -- Serves as the first president of the St. George Utah Temple.
  • 1877 January 10 -- With Brigham Young administers first ordinances in St. George temple
  • 1877 March 10 -- Marries Eudora Lovina Young (Gates) as plural wife, Brigham Young performing ceremony
  • 1877 April 1 -- General Conference in St. George temple; public dedication of temple
  • 1877 August 21 -- Baptized for signers of Declaration of Independence
  • 1877 August 29 -- Learns of the death of President Brigham Young
  • 1878 April 10 -- As chair of auditing committee, reports completion of negotiations with executors of Brigham Young estate; contested in court by Young family members
  • 1878 June 15 -- Copies record of his 12 December 1877 vision of destruction of American cities
  • 1879, January 6 -- U.S. Supreme Court upheld 1862 antibigamy law in George Reynolds case.
  • 1879 February 7 -- Begins life on the underground to avoid arrest for bigamy
  • 1879 March 6 -- Departs for Arizona and New Mexico; spends rest of year there; works among Indians
  • 1880 January 26 -- Receives Wilderness Revelation
  • 1880 January 28 -- Receives manifestation that apostles should wash feet in temple against enemies of church
  • 1880, April 6 -- Fiftieth year since organization of Church declared Year of Jubilee.
  • 1880 October 9 -- First Presidency reorganized with George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith as counselors to John Taylor; Woodruff sustained as president of Twelve
  • 1880 October 10 -- Pearl of Great Price accepted as standard work.
  • 1880 December 19 -- First telephone call
  • 1881 January 19 -- First Presidency and Twelve wash feet against enemies of church
Instead of summarizing his reflections at the end of 1880, Wilford Woodruff recorded two items he felt were of great importance, a revelation and a related prayer of damnation.

After the supreme court upheld the conviction of George Reynolds for polygamy in 1879, the U.S. Marshall went to St. George in search of polygamists in general, and Wilford Woodruff in particular.  Woodruff went into hiding, and on January 27th, 1880 while staying at a sheep herder's camp, record a revelation received the night before discussing plagues to be poured out on the United States, with instructions for the apostles and others to wash their feet as a testimony against the leaders of the nation including the President, Congress, the Supreme Court and others.

Excerpts of Wilford Woodruff's "Wilderness Revelation" (the entire revelation can be read here).
Thus saith the Lord unto my servant, Wilford Woodruff, .... I have decreed plagues to go forth and waste my enemies, and not many years hence they shall not be left to pollute my heritage.
The devil is ruling over his kingdom and my spirit has no place in the hearts of the rulers of this nation, and the devil stirs them up to defy my power and to make war upon my Saints.
... Go ye alone by yourselves, whether in heat or in cold and cleanse your feet in water, pure water, it matters not whether it be by the running streams, or in your closets; but leave these testimonies before the Lord and the heavenly hosts; and when you have all done this, then gather yourselves together in your Holy places and clothe yourselves with the robes of the Holy Priesthood and there offer up your prayers according to my Holy Law.
Let him who presides be mouth and kneel at the Holy altar, and there let mine Apostles bring all these testimonies before my face and before the heavenly hosts ...  when you bring these testimonies before me, let them be presented by name as far as the Spirit shall present them unto you: The Presidents of the United States, the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, the Senate and Houses of Congress of the United States, the Governors of the States and Territories, the judges and others...
And what I the Lord say unto you, mine Apostles, I also say unto my servants- the Seventies, the High Priests, the Elders, the Priests and all my servants who are pure in heart and who have borne testimony unto the nations. Let them go forth and cleanse their feet in pure water and bear testimony of it unto their Father who is in heaven.
...The nation is ripened in iniquity and the cup of the wrath of mine indignation is full and I will not stay my hand in judgments upon this nation or the nations of the earth....I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts.
...woe unto that nation or house or people who seek to hinder my people from obeying the Patriarchal law of Abraham [plural marriage] which leadeth to Celestial Glory, which has been revealed unto my Saints through the mouth of my servant Joseph...
... this nation and the nations of the earth be made to feel the chastening hand of an Almighty God until they are broken up and destroyed and wasted away from under heaven, and no power can stay my hand. ...Therefore, be ye faithful until I come. My coming is at the door....
No man knoweth the day nor the hour, but the signs of both heaven and earth indicate His coming, as promised by the mouths of my disciples; the fig tree is leafing and the hour is nigh. ...
And while my servant John Taylor is your President, I wish to ask the rest of my servants of the Apostles the question, although you have one to preside over your Quorum, which is the order of God in all generations, do you not, all of you, hold the apostleship, which is the highest authority ever given to men on earth? You do. Therefore you hold in common the Keys of the Kingdom of God in all the world.
You each of you have the power to unlock the veil of eternity and hold converse with God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ and to have the ministrations of angels
... And whenever any one of you receives the word of the Lord, let it be written and presented in your councils and whatever by united consent you deem wisdom to be presented unto the people, let it be presented by the President, my servant John Taylor, as the word of the Lord. In this way you will uphold him and strengthen his hands, as all the burden should not lie upon one man....
Fear not, for lo, I am with you until I come and I come quickly. Even so, Amen.

On January 19th, 1881, an assembly of general authorities gathered.  John Taylor knelt at the alter and uttered the prayer penned by Wilford Woodruff as instructed in the Wilderness Revelation. That prayer was also included in Woodruff's journal at the end of 1880 (full version available here). 

Excerpts of the prayer of condemnation:

A Prayer written By Wilford Woodruff By request of President John Taylor to be Presented at the Altar

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

O God Our Eternal Father ...Thou hast Commanded us O Our God through the mouth of thy Servant Joseph Smith the Prophet, that whenever any Nation or people or house or individual rejects us or our testimony of Jesus Christ or his gospel we should go alone by ourselves and Cleanse our feet with water pure water ...

And the wicked of this Nation have Continued to persecute thy servants from time to time, untill the present hour. The wicked of this Nation have driven thy people from town to town from state to State and finally driven them from the Nation into the wilderness, into these Mountains of Israel.

And now our Enemies are not satisfied because we still live and prosper. Even Our Nation itself is taking a stand against thy Church and Kingdom and has passed laws forbidding us to obey the Law of the [del]Celestial[:del] Patriarchal Order of marriage which thou hast Commanded us to obey. The blood of one of thy servants has been shed. Others have been imprisioned because they would not deny thy word. ...

And now O Lord our God Thou hast Commanded us that when we have done this we should gather ourselves together in our holy Places and Clothed in the Robes of the Holy Priesthood should unite ourselves together in Prayer and supplication and that we should bear our testimony against these men by name as far as wisdom should dictate. ...

Now O Lord our God we present before thee, the God of Israel and thy son Jesus Christ and Before the heavenly hosts, and Before Abraham Isaac & Jacob, And all the Justified spirits made perfect And Before the Altar the following names:

 O Lord may this Nation not have power to prevent thy Saints from keeping thy Commandments, from building the Temples of our God and redeeming Our dead.

Cloth thy servants John Taylor George Q Cannon and Joseph F Smith with the power of God and the Revelations of Jesus Christ and also their Brethren the Apostles that they may be of one heart & one Mind and have power to lead Israel unto Salvation and Eternal life. ...

O Lord hear us from heaven thy Holy dwelling place and answer our Pe[ti]tions Sustain thine anointed ones and deliver us from the hands of Our Enemies. Overthrow the Evil designs of the wicked and ungodly against thy Saints and break Evry weapon formed against us. Give thy people O Lord power to build up Zion and Redeem Our dead and be prepared for the Coming of the Son of Man. And we will ascribe all the honor power and Glory unto God and the Lamb both Now and forever. Amen.

Source: Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, Vol. 7, p.61 (entry after December 31, 1880)

For additional historical background, see "An Apostle in Exile: Wilford Woodruff and the St. George Connection" by Thomas G. Alexander

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