A Day of God’s Power With The Prophet Joseph

From the journal of Wilford Woodruff.

 

While I was living in this cabin in the old barracks, we experienced a day of God’s power with the Prophet Joseph.  The large number of saints who had been driven out of Missouri were flocking into Commerce [afterwards named Nauvoo]; many were sick through the exposure they were subjected to.  Brother Joseph had waited on the sick until he was worn out and nearly sick himself.

On the morning of the 22nd of July, 1839, he arose and called upon the Lord in prayer, and the power of God rested upon him mightily – Jospeh the Prophet of God healed all around on this occasion.  He healed all in his house; then, in company with Sidney Rigdon and several of the Twelve he went among the sick and he commanded them in a loud voice, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come up and be made whole, and they were all healed.

When he had healed all that were sick on the east side of the river, they crossed the Mississippi to Montrose. They first went into Brigham Young’s house and healed him.  As they were passing by my door, Brother Joseph said:  “Brother Woodruff, follow me.”  When we entered the house of Brother Fordham, Brother Fordham had been dying for an hour, and we expected each minute to be his last.  Brother Joseph walked up to Brother Fordham, and took him by the right hand.  Brother Fordham’s eyes were glazed and he was speechless and unconscious.  Joseph said, “Brother Fordham, do you not know me?”  He again said, “Elijah, do you not know me?”  With a low whisper, Brother Fordham answered, “Yes!”

The Prophet then said, “Have you not faith to be healed?”  The answer was, “I am afraid it is too late.  If you had come sooner, I think I might have been.”  He had the appearance of a man waking from the sleep of death.  Joseph then said, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ?”  “I do, Brother Joseph.” was the response.  The the Prophet of God spoke with a loud voice: “Elijah, I command you, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, to arise and be made whole!”  The words of the Prophet were not like the words of man, but like the voice of God.  Elijah Fordham leaped from his bed like a man raised from the dead.  A healthy colour came to his face, and life was manifested in every act.  His feet were done up in Indian meal poultices.  He kicked them off his feet, and then called for his clothes and put them on.  He asked for a bowl of bread and milk and ate it; then put on his hat and followed us into the street.  THrough the blessing of God, Elijah Fordham lived up til 1880, in which year he died in Utah.

Vision of the Saviour in a Dream of Orson F. Whitney

Born July 1, 1855 in Salt Lake City, Orson F. Whitney, a poet, historian and apostle, was the grandson of one of the original twelve apostles under Joseph Smith, Jr., Heber C. Kimball.  At twenty-one he was called to serve a mission to preach in Pennsylvania, the first of his many mission fields over the years.

Elder Whitney admitted that during this time he was still not fully committed to the work of spreading the gospel. He wrote of a dream that completely turned him around:

“I thought I was in the garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior’s agony. I seemed to be standing behind a tree in the foreground of the picture, from which point I could see without being seen. The Savior, with the Apostles Peter, James and John, entered the garden through a little wicket gate at my right, where he stationed them in a group, telling them to pray. He then passed over to my left, but still in front of me, where he knelt and prayed also. His face, which was towards me, streamed with tears, as he besought the Father to let the cup pass, and added, ‘not my will but thine be done.’ Having finished his prayer, he arose and crossed to where the Apostles were kneeling fast asleep. He shook them gently, they awoke and he reproved them for their apathy. Again he bade them pray, and again crossed to his place and prayed, returning as before to find them sleeping. This happened three times, until I was perfectly familiar with his face, form and movements. He was much taller than ordinary men, and though meek, far more dignified than any being I had ever beheld; and he wore a look of ineffable tenderness and compassion, even while reproving His disciples. My heart went out to him as never before to anybody or to anything; I loved him with all my soul. I wept at seeing him weep, and felt for him the deepest sympathy.

“Then of a sudden the circumstances changed, though the scene remained the same. Instead of before the crucifixion, it was after. The Savior and the three Apostles, whom he had beckoned to him, now stood in a group at the left, and were about to take their departure, ascending into heaven. I could endure it no longer, but rushed out from behind the tree, fell at his feet, clasped him around the knees and begged him to take me also. With a look of infinite tenderness, as of a father or an elder brother, he stooped, lifted me up and embraced me, saying as he did so in the kindest and gentlest manner possible, while slowly shaking his head and sweetly smiling, ‘No, my son, these can go with me; for they have finished their work; but you must stay and finish yours!’ Still I clung to him, and the contact was so real that I felt the warmth of his bosom as I rested upon it. Gazing up into his face, I once more besought him, ‘Well, promise me that I will come to you at the last.’ Again he smiled sweetly, and there was a look as if he would have gladly granted my request had it been wise to do so. He then said, ‘That will depend entirely upon yourself.’ I awoke with a sob, and it was morning. This dream made a wonderful impression upon me, paving the way to my thorough conversion, which soon followed. Among the things it taught me was not to sleep at my post, and to regard first the duties of my mission, and not allow anything to interfere with them.” (Source: Jensen, Andrew, “Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” Oct 2005)

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. . . .

Wilford Woodruff’s Wife Has a Near-Death Experience

In October 1838, Wilford Woodruff began to lead 53 new Saints from his missionary labors in Maine to Nauvoo, Illinois.  It took them three months traveling in wagons.  Wilford took his wife and only child on this journey.  Early in his travels, he became sick as did his wife, their child, and several others.  In the afternoon of December 1st, it seemed as though his wife, Phoebe, would breathe her last breath.

Wilford cried to the Lord, and prayed that she might not be taken.  After settling her into a house on Sunday 2 December, it looked as though she had just a short time to live.  On the evening of 4 December, her spirit apparently left her body and according to Wilford she was dead.  Wilford recalls that “faith filled my soul” and he administered to her with oil.  He writes:

“I laid my hands upon her, and in the name of Jesus Christ I rebuked the power of death and the destroyer, and commanded the same to depart from her, and the spirit of life to enter her body.  Her spirit returned to her body, and from that hour she was made whole.

“While this operation was going on with me [as my wife related afterwards] her spirit left her body, and she saw it lying on the bed.  She looked at me and upon her babe, and , while gazing upon the scene, two personages came into the room carrying a coffin and told her they had come for her body.  One of these messengers informed her that she could have her choice: she might go to rest in the spirit world, or, on one condition she could have the privilege of returning to her tabernacle and continuing her labors upon the earth.  The condition was, if she felt she could stand by her husband, and with him pass through all the cares, trials, tribulations, and affliction of life which he would be called to pass through for the gospel’s sake unto the end.  When she looked at the situation of her husband and child she said: ‘Yes, I will do it!’

“At the moment that decision was made the power of faith rested upon me, and when I administered unto her, her spirit entered her tabernacle, and she saw the messengers carry the coffin out at the door.”

Phoebe W. Carter Woodruff went with Wilford to the Salt Lake Valley in 1850 and died there in 1885.

Wilford Woodruff, Leaves From My Journal, p. 66-67

A Remarkable Sign in the Heavens Seen by Wilford Woodruff

This event took place on the North Fox Island off the coast of Maine on 21 February 1838:

“On the evening of the 21st of February, as we came out of the schoolhouse, a light appeared in the northeastern horizon, and spread to the west and soon rolled over our heads.  It had the appearance of fire, blood, and smoke, and at times resembled contending armies.  The heavens were illuminated for the space of half an hour.  It seemed at times as thought the veil was about to rend in twin and the elements were contending with each other.

We looked upon it as one of the signs in the heavens predicted by the prophets of old, as to appear in the last days.  We were wading through deep snowdrifts most of the time while witnessing this remarkable scen.”

Wilford Woodruff,  Leaves From My Journal,  p.50