The Testimony of Phoebe W. Carter Woodruff

Phoebe W. Carter Woodruff, 1807-1885

Autobiography in Edward W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom, New York, 1877 pp. 399-400, 411- 414.

SELECTIONS FROM THE WRITINGS OF PHOEBE W. CARTER WOODRUFF

[Phoebe W. Carter was born in Scarboro, in the state of Maine, March 8th, 1807. Her father was of English descent, connecting with America at about the close of the seventeenth century. Her mother, Sarah Fabyan, was of the same place, and three generations from England. . . . In the year 1834 she embraced the gospel, and, about a year after, left her parents and kindred and journeyed to Kirtland, a distance of one thousand miles–a lone maid, sustained only by a lofty faith and trust in Israel’s God.]

My friends marveled at my course, as did I, but something within impelled me on. My mother’s grief at my leaving home was almost more than I could bear; and had it not been for the spirit within I should have faltered at the last. My mother told me she would rather see me buried than going thus alone out into the heartless world. “Phoebe,” she said, impressively, “will you come back to me if you find Mormonism false?” I answered, “yes, mother; I will, thrice.” These were my words, and she knew I would keep my promise. My answer relieved her trouble; but it cost us all much sorrow to part. When the time came for my departure I dared not trust myself to say farewell; so I wrote my good-byes to each, and leaving them on my table, ran downstairs and jumped into the carriage. Thus I left the beloved home of my childhood to link my life with the saints of God.

When I arrived in Kirtland I became acquainted with the Prophet, Joseph Smith, and received more evidence of his divine mission. There in Kirtland I formed the acquaintance of Elder Wilford Woodruff, to whom I was married in 1836. With him I went to the “islands of the sea,” and to England, on missions.

Of Joseph, my testimony is that he was one of the greatest prophets the Lord ever called; that he lived for the redemption of mankind, and died a martyr for the truth. The love of the Saints for him will never die.

It was after the martyrdom of Joseph that I accompanied my husband to England, in 1845. On our return the advance companies of the Saints had just left Nauvoo under President Young and others of the twelve. We followed immediately and journeyed to Winter Quarters.

The next year Wilford went with the pioneers to the mountains, while the care of the family devolved on me. After his return, and the reorganization of the First Presidency, I accompanied my husband on his mission to the Eastern States. In 1850 we arrived in the valley, and since that time Salt Lake City has been my home.

Of my husband I can truly say, I have found him a worthy man, with scarcely his equal on earth. He has built up a branch wherever he has labored. He has been faithful to God and his family every day of his life. My respect for him has increased with our years, and my desire for an eternal union with him will be the last wish of my mortal life. . . .

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