From the Life of President Wilford Woodruff


A Successful Missionary

Adapted from Leon R. Hartshorn, ed., Classic Stories from the Lives of Our Prophets (1971), 120–123.
Wilford Woodruff(click to view larger) Events in the life of Wilford Woodruff(click to view larger)

Illustrated by Sal Velluto and Eugenio Mattozzi

Wilford Woodruff was a very influential missionary, bringing thousands of people into the Church. While serving in England in 1840, he met the Benbow family. After hearing his message, the Benbows talked with Elder Woodruff about the gospel until 2 a.m.

Brother Benbow: I thank the Lord that you have found us! We, and hundreds of our friends, have been searching for the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mr. Benbow told his friends about the missionary who would be preaching at his house.

On the first day, six people—including the Benbows—were baptized. On the second day, Elder Woodruff baptized 600 people!

Among those baptized were 45 preachers, who owned chapels and houses that could be used for teaching the gospel.

Wilford Woodruff: The Lord has truly prepared this place to receive His word.

One Sunday, nearly a thousand people came to listen to Elder Woodruff speak. The leader of a local church was angry and asked a constable to arrest Elder Woodruff.

Constable: I’ve come to arrest you for preaching illegally to the people.

Wilford Woodruff: I have a license that allows me to preach. Our meeting is about to start, but if you would like to sit here, I’d be happy to talk to you more after the meeting.

As the constable listened, he felt the Spirit. Elder Woodruff then asked if anyone would like to be baptized.

Constable: Mr. Woodruff, I would like to be baptized.

The constable returned to the leader of the local church and told him he would not arrest Elder Woodruff. The leader sent two of his clerks to spy on Elder Woodruff, but they got baptized as well. After that, he did not dare send anyone else!