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

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