Facebook Twitter

Picturing history: President Wilford Woodruff sites — Western US

SHARE Picturing history: President Wilford Woodruff sites — Western US

Elder Wilford Woodruff came west in 1847 with President Brigham Young and the pioneer company of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. By the time they reached present-day Echo, Utah, Brigham Young was seriously ill. Elder Woodruff and some others climbed up to a stone monolith called Sentinnel Rock and held a special prayer service petitioning the Lord to bless their leader.

An extant farm home of Elder Wilford Woodruff in Salt Lake City.

An extant farm home of Elder Wilford Woodruff in Salt Lake City.

Kenneth Mays

Elder Woodruff and President Young entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Statues of those two along with Heber C. Kimball now stand on the This Is the Place Monument at the mouth of Emigration Canyon on the east side of Salt Lake City. Several days later they ascended Ensign Peak to view the area.

Over the next decades, Elder Woodruff had significant experiences at multiple other sites. He was stung by a scorpion in the desert of Warner Valley near St. George. As a church authority, he visited a prisoner at the state penitentiary just hours before the man was executed for a heinous crime. Elder Woodruff had various places of residence in the Salt Lake area, Provo, Randolph and Smithfield.

Elder Woodruff was called as the first president of the St. George Temple and in January 1877 he was asked by President Young to help put the entire temple endowment ceremony in writing to “ensure that the ordinances and ceremonies were correct and would be uniformly administered by all future temple workers” (see Jennifer Ann Mackley's "Wilford Woodruff’s Witness of the Development of Temple Doctrine").

As president of the LDS Church, Wilford Woodruff dedicated the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1893.