Question: Did Wilford Woodruff have knowledge of the First Vision prior to his 1855 remarks about an angel?


Question: Did Wilford Woodruff have knowledge of the First Vision prior to his 1855 remarks about an angel?

Before Elder Woodruff made his 1855 remarks six other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles published First Vision accounts

It is difficult to believe that Elder Wilford Woodruff did not have an accurate knowledge of the traditional First Vision story prior to his 1855 remarks since on 3 February 1842 he became the superintendent of the printing office in Nauvoo, Illinois where the Times and Seasons newspaper was published[1] and remained there through at least 8 November 1843.[2] These dates are significant because in-between them the Prophet Joseph Smith had two separate accounts of the First Vision printed on the pages of the Times and Seasons and so Elder Woodruff would have been the person who was ultimatey responsible for their production and distribution.

  • Times and Seasons 3 no. 9 (1 March 1842), 706–707. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) [Wentworth Letter First Vision account].
  • Times and Seasons 3 no. 11 (1 April 1842), 748–749. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) [History of the Church official First Vision account].

It should also be noted that before Elder Woodruff made his 1855 remarks six other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles published First Vision accounts: (Orson Pratt - 1840, 1850, 1851); (Orson Hyde - 1842); (John E. Page - 1844); (John Taylor - 1850); (Lorenzo Snow - 1850); (Franklin D. Richards - 1851, 1852). It seems highly unlikely that Elder Woodruff would have remained unaware of these publications, which were made available to the public by his closest associates.

Notes

  1. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 4:513. Volume 4 link
  2. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:63. Volume 6 link