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Wilford Woodruff personal Bible, son’s journals acquired by foundation

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The Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation has acquired the early church leader’s Bible and six volumes of journals from his son, Asahel Hart Woodruff.

The Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation has acquired the early church leader’s Bible and six volumes of journals from his son, Asahel Hart Woodruff.

Screengrab WilfordWoodruffPapers.org

The Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation has acquired some significant historical documents in recent months.

The foundation recently announced the additions of Wilford Woodruff’s personal Bible and six volumes of journals authored by one of his 18 sons, Asahel Hart Woodruff, according to a news release.

Why it matters

Wilford Woodruff was one of the earliest and most successful missionaries of the restored Latter-day Saint faith. He served seven missions that spanned more than 10 years before becoming the fourth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Wilford Woodruff’s personal Bible

President Woodruff’s Bible was inherited by Kathy Young Bates, who donated it to the Wilford Woodruff Papers digital collection in March. An initial announcement regarding the Bible was made at the annual Wilford Woodruff Family Association devotional.

A digitized version of the Bible will allow historians to examine the verses President Woodruff marked and notes he made, providing a more intimate look into his thoughts as a Latter-day Saint missionary.

“It’s an incredible piece of history not only for the Woodruff family but for the world to understand his insights and the notes he recorded in his scriptures during his missionary service in the 1830s,” Jennifer Ann Mackley, the foundation’s executive director, said in a news release.

Wilford Woodruff’s personal Bible was recently donated to the The Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation.

Wilford Woodruff’s personal Bible was recently donated to the The Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation.

Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation

Asahel Hart Woodruff’s six volumes of journals

Asahel H. Woodruff was born in Salt Lake City in 1863. He later served as president of the church’s Northern States Mission from 1902-04.

His journals were donated to the Church History Library, where they will be physically preserved and shared with the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project.

The journals will be made accessible at wilfordwoodruffpapers.org.

The Woodruff family decision to donate and share the journals was championed by Stephen W. Owen, who served as the church’s Young Men general president from 2015-2020. He is a great-great-grandson of Wilford Woodruff and a great-grandson of Asahel Hart Woodruff.

“This is something that will impact all members of the church,” he said in a news release. “The real intent is to make it easier for people to access the information. I feel that the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project will help strengthen the faith of the rising generation.”

The Gadfield Elm Chapel in England where Wilford Woodruff converted hundreds in 1840.

The Gadfield Elm Chapel in England is pictured on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. Wilford Woodruff converted hundreds from the United Brethren Church to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1840.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

What is the Wilford Woodruff Papers project?

The Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation is working in cooperation with the Wilford Woodruff Family Association and with the Church History Department to locate and digitize all of the early church leader’s surviving records. The collection includes:

  • Thirty-one day books and journals.
  • More than 30,000 letters he wrote and received.
  • His various autobiographies.
  • Over 3,500 discourses he delivered.
  • Thousands of other documents he wrote and preserved between 1828 and 1898.

The foundation has located, digitized and organized more than 114,000 pages of President Woodruff’s writings since the project was launched on March 1, 2020, with thousands of documents still to go.

The foundation believes the documents will increase understanding of the church’s Restoration through President Woodruff’s eyewitness account and inspire faith in Jesus Christ.

“The mission of the foundation is to publish all of Wilford Woodruff’s writings that have survived; to add another witness of the truths restored through latter-day prophets and the blessings that are available to those who follow Jesus Christ,” Mackley said. “We hope that as the project continues moving forward, many people will be willing to digitally share additional documents.”

Learn more about the Wilford Woodruff Papers project by visiting wilfordwoodruffpapers.org or sending an email to contact@wilfordwoodruffpapers.org.