Restoration and Church History
Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: Wilford Woodruff

Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: Wilford Woodruff, Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources (2021)

Wilford Woodruff, Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources (2021)

Wilford Woodruff

(1807–98)

Wilford Woodruff

Wilford Woodruff, ca. 1843–1844, daguerreotype, Church History Library, PH 10143.

Wilford Woodruff was born in Farmington, Connecticut, in 1807. In December 1833, he was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints near Richland, New York. In 1834 he moved to Kirtland, Ohio, and participated in the Camp of Israel expedition to Missouri. From 1834 to 1836, he served a mission to Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In 1836 he was ordained a Seventy. The following year, he married Phebe Carter in Kirtland. During 1837 and 1838, Woodruff served missions to New England and the Fox Islands. In July 1838, he was called by revelation to fill a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Doctrine and Covenants 118:6). He then served a mission in Great Britain from 1839 to 1841. In 1841 he moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, where he was a member of the Council of Fifty. From 1844 to 1846, Woodruff presided over the British Mission. In 1846–47 he migrated to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah Territory. Over the next four decades he served in a variety of positions in the Church, including Church historian and president of the temple in St. George, Utah Territory. After John Taylor’s death in 1887, Woodruff was sustained as the fourth President of the Church. He received revelation, announced in the Manifesto in 1890 (Official Declaration 1), that led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church. In 1893 he dedicated the Salt Lake Temple. President Woodruff announced revelation in 1894 limiting adoptive sealings and focusing on sealing marriages and parent-child relationships. He exhorted members to “trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers.” (See Church History Topic, “Sealing.”) He died in September 1898.

References in the Doctrine and Covenants

Doctrine and Covenants 118, 124, 136, 138 Official Declaration 1