Thursday, February 28, 2019

Willford Woodruff embellished his life story.....

I've realized that every "miracle" in Mormon History has been embellished.  I've been slogging through Woodruff's personal history.  These are examples of what he wrote in his daily journal and then how he re-wrote the stories in 1865.  In each case, they became more miraculous.  

John Taylor Almost Died - August 28, 1839

Actual Journal Entry
28 We rode through Williamstown & pleasant garden & other towns & spent the night. Elder Taylor had a poor turn & fainted to the ground. He soon recoverd & was well at evening.
29th We Passed through Indianapolis the Capitol of the State. Rode two miles & stoped. But this was a gloomy day to my soul & body both. The enemy made a powerful grasp upon the life of Elder John Taylor. He fainted several times & it seemed as though he would die. We were oblieged to stop. We called for a few hours in a house by the way side. We then took him into the waggon & drove to Elder Eldridge & spent the day nursing Elder Taylor. He took a Course of Thompsonian medicine.
Publication version
On the 28th, while travelling, Elder Taylor fell to the ground as though he had been knocked down. We administered to him, and he revived. On the following day he fell again, and fainted several times; it seemed as though the destroyer would take his life. We travelled with him four days after he was taken sick. His sickness proved to be bilious fever. We stopped with him two days at a German tavern, in Germantown, Wayne County, Indiana, with a kind family with whom he was acquainted. Father Coltrin would stay no longer. I proposed to remain with Brother Taylor, but as I was sick with fever and ague, and not able to take care of myself, Brother Taylor advised me to continue my journey with Father Coltrin, saying, "It is easier to take care of one sick man than two." I committed him into the hands of God, and the family promised to do all in their power to make him comfortable. I parted from him with a heavy heart.

Changes in the story
In the revised version Woodruff adds that he had administered to Taylor and revived him.  He also comments more on his own sickeness and how much he wanted to help Taylor and how sad it was to leave him.  He also doesn't mention that Taylor had taken a medicine.  The word enemy is changed to be "destroyer".  

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Wilford Woodruff Embellishments - July 22, 1839

Did Wilford Woodruff Embellish his journal?  

Journal Entry as written in 1839
22 Joseph was in Montrose & it was a day of Gods power. There was many Sick among  the Saints on [p.348] both sides of the river & Joseph went through the midst of them taking them by the hand & in a loud voice Commanding them in the name of Jesus Christ to arise from their beds & be made whole & they leaped from their beds made whole by the power of God. Elder Eligah Fordham was one among the number & he with the rest of the sick rose from his bed & followed Joseph from house to house & it was truly a time of rejoicing.
What Woodruff wrote in 1862 when preparing his Journal for publication:  
July 22.--I was with President Joseph Smith [Jr.] and his council and the Twelve; it was a day of God's power with the Prophet. He healed many who were sick nigh unto death, among whom were Elijah Fordham and Joseph B. Nobles [Noble]; even the wicked rabble followed to see the sick healed. As Joseph was about to cross the river, a man came to him and asked him if he would go about three miles and heal two of his small children, who were twins, about three months old, and were sick nigh unto death. He was a man of the world, he had never heard a sermon preached by a Latter-day Saint. Joseph said he could not go, but he would send a man. After hesitating a moment, he turned to me and said, "You go with this man and heal his children," at the same time giving me a red silk handkerchief, and said, "After you lay hands upon them, wipe their faces with it, and they shall be healed; and as long as you will keep that handkerchief, it shall ever remain as a league between you and me." I went and did as I was commanded, and the children were healed.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Wilford Woodruff Leaving for his British Mission....

I'm bothered by embellishment of Church History stories and have written about them for years.  This one might be the worst.

Comparison of Wilford Woodruff Journal Entry and the re-write of it 20 years later for publication.  

Phebe Woodruff
Wilford Woodruff

August 8th, 1839
"Early on this important morning I took my departure from the embraces of my companion to go on my mission. She parted with me with that fortitude that becometh a Saint realizing the call & responsibility of her companion. Phebe farewell. Be of good cheer. Remember me in your prayers esspecially as the sun sets in the western horizon. I leave these pages for your careful perusal while I am gone. I shall see thy face again in the flesh. I am gone to obey the Command of JESUS CHRIST."   

The time had come for me to take my departure from my family to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations of Europe in fulfillment of the commands of God. Accordingly I left a parting blessing with my wife & took my farewell of her & other Saints on the morn of the 8th day of Oct Aug 1839 & left Montrose & crossed the Missisippi river for the purpose of commencing my mission of about six thousand miles & I started without purs or scrip and that to with the fever & ague resting upon me every other day  (original spelling)

August 8, 1839
"I laid my hands upon my wife and children, blessed them, committed them into the hands of God, and started upon my English mission, leaving my family sick, and with not more than four days' provisions.
Brother Brigham Young rowed me across the Mississippi in a boat; I was sick and feeble. When I landed, I laid down upon the bank of the river on a side of sole leather. The Prophet Joseph [Smith, Jr.] came along and looked at me, and said, "You are starting on your mission." I said,"Yes, but I look like a poor instrument for a missionary; I look more fit for a hospital or dissecting room than a mission." He replied, "What do you say that for? Go ahead in the name of the Lord, and you shall be healed and blessed on your mission." I thanked him.
A brother came along with a wagon, carried me a few miles on my road. I started without purse or scrip, and passed by Parley P. Pratt, who was hewing logs for a house; he was barefooted, bareheaded, without coat or vest on. He said, "I have no money, but I have an empty purse; I will give you that."
I went a few rods, and found Elder H. [Heber] C. Kimball building a log cabin. He said, "I have one dollar, I will give you that to put in your purse." He blessed me, and I went my way, accompanied by Elder John Taylor. I had a shake of the ague every other day, and lay on the bottom of the wagon while I travelled."

My commentary
Comments on original Journal Entry: 
Like most men leaving on a mission, his thoughts as he left Nauvoo were about his wife and family.  His journal entry mentioned his wife by name.  He missed her.  He promised her that he would see her again.  

Comments on Woodruff's rewrite of Entry for Publication:  
Woodruff embellished all these details 20 years later:
  1. That he we was so sick he couldn't even walk.
  2. He stated that his family only had four days worth of food. 
  3. He failed to mention the name of his wife Phebe. (by 1862 he had 9 wives) 
  4. Woodruff bragged about how humble his was.
  5. That he laid hands on his wife and family to bless them.  
  6. That he ran into Joseph Smith who gave him a blessing and promises.
  7. That he ran into a nearly naked Parley P. Pratt who gave him a purse. 
  8. That he ran into Heber C. Kimball who gave him a dollar.
  9. It's obvious that he want to show that he left without "Purse or script" but God provided. 
  10. It's amazing that he happened to run into all the most important men in the church.  And that he didn't run into any of the men that by 1862 were considered evil apostates:   William Law, Sidney Rigdon, William Smith, John C. Bennett.  

British Converts leaving for America