Wilford Woodruff raises his wife from the dead, as related by Wilford Woodruff himself
Elder Wilford Woodruff, as a 31-year old elder, served a mission to the Fox Islands in the year 1838. The Fox Islands are located off the coast of Maine. His mission was highly successful, with over 100 persons being converted to the Gospel. From October 3, 1838 to December 19, 1838, Elder Woodruff led a group of over 50 Fox Island saints from Maine to Ohio. During the trek, Elder Woodruff’s wife, Phoebe, was stricken with a cholera-like illness and with severe headaches. The following are Elder Woodruff’s own words:
“The 1st of December was a trying day to my soul. My wife continued to fail, and about in the afternoon appeared to be stricken with death. I stopped my team, and it seemed as if she then would breathe her last, lying there in the wagon. Two of the sisters sat beside her, to see if they could do anything for her in her last moments. I stood upon the ground, in deep affliction, and meditated. Then I cried to the Lord, praying that she might live and not be taken from me, and claiming the promises the Lord had made to me through the Prophet and Patriarch. Her spirit revived, and I drove a short distance to a tavern, got her into a room and worked over her and her baby all night, praying to the Lord to preserve their lives.
“In the morning circumstances were such that I was under the necessity of removing them from the inn, as there was so much noise and confusion there that my wife could not endure it. I carried her out to her bed in the wagon and drove two miles, when I alighted at a house and carried my wife and her bed into it, with a determination to tarry there until she recovered her health or passed away. This was on Sunday morning, December 2nd. After getting my wife and things into the house and providing wood to keep up a fire, I employed my time in taking care of her. It looked as if she had but a short time to live. She called me to her bedside in the evening, and said she felt as if a few moments more would end her existence in this life. She manifested great confidence in the cause we had embraced, and
exhorted me to have confidence in God, and to keep His commandments. To all appearances she was dying. I laid my hands upon her and prayed for her, and she
soon revived, and slept some during the night.
“December 3rd found my wife very low. I spent the day in taking care of her, and the day following I returned to Eaton to get some things for her. She seemed to be sinking gradually, and in the evening the spirit apparently left her body, and she was dead. The sisters gathered around, weeping, while I stood looking at her in sorrow. The spirit and power of God began to rest upon upon me until, for the first time during her sickness, faith filled my soul, although she lay before me as one dead. “I had some oil that was consecrated for anointing while in Kirtland. I took it and consecrated it again before the Lord, for anointing the sick. I then bowed down before the Lord, prayed for the life of my companion, and in the name of the Lord anointed her body with the oil. I then laid my hands upon her, and in the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuked the power of death and of the destroyer, and commanded the same to depart from her and the spirit of life to enter her body. Her spirit returned to her body, and from that hour she was made whole, and we all felt to praise the name of God, and to trust in Him and keep His commandments.
“While I was undergoing this ordeal (as my wife related afterwards), her spirit left her body, and she saw it lying upon the bed and the sisters there weeping. She looked at them and at me, and upon her baby; while gazing upon this scene, two persons came into the room, and told her they had come for her. One of these messengers said to her that she might have her choice – she might go to rest in the spirit world, or, upon one condition, she could have the privilege of returning to her tabernacle and of continuing her labors upon the earth. The condition was that if she felt she could stand by her husband, and with him pass through all the
cares, trials, tribulations, and afflictions of life which he would be called upon to pass through for the gospel’s sake to the end, she might return. When she looked at the situation of her husband and child she said, ‘Yes, I will do it.’ At the moment that decision was made the power of faith rested upon me, and when I administered to her, her spirit re-entered her tabernacle.”
“Wilford Woodruff”, a history of his life and labors, by Matthias F. Cowley, pages 96-98.
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