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First Hand Testimony of President Wilford Woodruff about Joseph Smith on Freedom of Religion and Temple Endowments

Written by Michael A. KennedyCreated: 17 December 2017

Below is an eye witness testimony of President Wilford Woodruff given on Friday, March 19, 1897 concerning his experience with the Prophet Joseph Smith calling the Quorum of Twelve Apostles concerning the authoring of the Temple endowments. President Woodruff and George Q. Cannon at the office. President Woodruff again spoke into the graphaphone or talking machine, repeating what he said on the 12th inst., as recorded in this journal. The object of the repetition was to obtain, if possible, better results than were obtained on the previous occasion. In order to procure President Woodruff’s signature to the testimony he bears, it is herewith repeated and signed by himself:

“I bear my testimony that the Prophet Joseph Smith said, before a large assemblage in Illinois, that if he were the emperor of the world and had control over the whole human family he would sustain every man, woman and child in the enjoyment of their religion. Those are my sentiments today.
I bear my testimony that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God ordained of God to lay the foundation of his church and kingdom in the last dispensation of the fulness of times.

“I bear my testimony that in the early spring of 1844, in Nauvoo, the Prophet Joseph Smith called the Twelve Apostles together and he delivered unto them the ordinances of the Church and kingdom of God; and all the keys and powers that God had bestowed upon him, he sealed upon our heads, and he told us that we must round up our shoulders and bear off this kingdom, or we would be damned. I am the only man now living in the flesh who heard that testimony from his mouth, and I know that it was true by the power of God manifest to him. At that meeting he stood on his feet for about three hours and taught us the things of the kingdom. His face was as clear as amber, and he was covered with a power that I had never seen in any man in the flesh before.

“I bear testimony that Joseph Smith was the author of the endowments as received by the Latter-day Saints. I received my own endowments under his hands and direction, and I know they are true principles. I not only received my own endowments under his hands, but I bear my testimony that Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, George A. Smith, John Taylor and other brethren received their endowments under the hands and direction of the Prophet Joseph; and also my wife Pheobe, Bathsheba Smith, Leonora Taylor, Mary Smith, and others whose names I cannot recall now.

“The Prophet Joseph Smith laid down his life for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ, and he will be crowned as a martyr in the presence of God and the Lamb. In all his testimonies to us the power of God was visibly manifest with the Prophet Joseph. This is my testimony, spoken by myself into a talking machine on this the 19th day of March, 1897, in the 91st year of my age.”

Wilford Woodruff