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Wilford Woodruff Journal

Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898), forth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is known for keeping a daily record of his life from shortly after his baptism at Zerah's hands in 1833 until the end of his life. This record is considered to be one of the most important historical sources for early Mormonism.

Not surprisingly, Zerah Pulsipher is found in the Wilford Woodruff Journals from time to time. Most of the entries posted here are from single-volume abridgments of the full Woodruff Journals and will be until time allows the author to search the full journals in depth.

Journal 1 Introduction (Recorded mid-to-late 1834)

From the age of 14 to 23 my mind was often exercised upon the subject of my souls salvation yet without submision [sic] to God or being led by his spirit untill [sic] the age of 23. Then at that age, I resolved by the grace of God assisting me to be led by the spirit and the word of God into that truth which maketh free thereby.

I had no desire to join any of the sectarian Church for I found by compareing [sic] the Churches with the records of divine truth that they were neither contending nor receiving the faith once delivered to the Saints. I could not discover the Church or body of Christ visible among men. I believed the Church of Christ was in the wilderness and that there had been a falling away from the pure and undefiled religion before God. And I was a looking for the Church to arise and again be established upon the foundation of the ancient Apostles and Prophets Christ Jesus the Chief Corner Stone.

After remaining in this state of mind for nearly the term of four years I herd [sic] a report circulating on the 29th day of Dec 1833 that there was to be a meeting held in the neighbourhood by a Mormon priest. This meeting was to be held in the town of Richland Oswego County New York. I had moved two years previous to this from Connecticut to this place, with my older Brother Azmon Woodruff. We had purchased a farm together and been living on it nearly two years. We both were anxious to attend the meeting.

Accordingly we went and found a full congregation of people. The person that was to preach was Zerah Pulsipher an elder in the Church of Christ or of the latter day saints. He commenced the meeting with some introductory remarks and then prayed. I felt the spirit of God to bear witness that he was the servant of God. He then commenced preaching and that to [sic] as with authority, and when he had finished his discourse I truly felt that it was the first gospel sermon that I had ever herd [sic]. I thought it was what I had long been looking for. I could not feel it my duty to leeve [sic] the house without bearing witness to the truth before the people. I opened my eyes to see my ears to hear my heart to understand & my doors to entertain him who had administered to us. 

Brother Pulsipher Continued labouring with us for several days and on the 31th of Dec I with my Brother Azmon Woodruff with two young females which had been healed by the laying on of hands went forward in baptism. The day following there were several others followed our example. Among the rest was Noah Hatton a preacher in the freewill Baptist Church and several of the members of his Church followed him in the ordinance of baptism.

And on the 2th of Janry [sic] 1834 Brother Pulsipher esstablished [sic] a branch of the Church of Christ in Richaldn Oswego Co. N. Y. containing twelve members. He ordained Brother Azmon Woodruff & Brother Noah Hatton Elders and myself a teacher in the Church of Christ (quoted in Woodruff, Wilford. Waiting for the World’s End, ed. By Susan Staker [Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993], 1-2).

I truly felt that I could exclaim with the servant of God that it was better to be a door keeper in the house of God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. I felt much of the spirit of God bearing witness To the Book of Mormon. I believed it was light out of darkness and truth out of the ground.

The license which I receieved reads thus:

A Power and authority given to Willford Woodruff proving that he is a Teacher in the Church of Christ by the will of God the Father according to his holy Calling and the gift /& power/ of the Holy ghost agreeable to the Revelations of Jesus Christ signifying that he has been baptized and receieved into the Church according to the articles and [p.7] Covenants of the same and ordained under the hand of Zerah Pulsipher.

Given at Richland Janry 2th AD 1834

Zerah Pulsipher

I continued with my Brethren in Richland through the months of Janry Febuary and March labouring with the Church. We had considerable opposition yet inasmuch as we were humble the Lord ever delivered us.

I went with Brother Hatton to meet Brother Pulsipher and several other brethren and sisters at Brother Newcomes house in Fabius. We had an interesting meeting. The spirit of the Lord was with us. We returned home rejoiceing (Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Scott Kenney, ed. [Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1984], 1:6-7).

November 17, 1841

I sold 5 acres of Daniel S. Miles land in section 32 for $10 dollars per acre to Sister Mary Pitt for which she paid me $50 in gold which money I deliverd to Zerah Pulsipher as one of the commitee of the company. He gave his recept for the Same (Kenney, 2:138).

January 19, 1847

President Heber C. Kimball organized his family company this night, at the Council House, consisting of about 200 persons. I, Wilford Woodruff, organized my family company this night at my own house, consisting of 40 men, mostly head men of families. Those that joined me entered into a covenant with uplifted hands to heaven to keep all the commandments and statutes of the Lord our God, and to sustain me in my office. The following are the names of those who were present with me in this organization: Wilford Woodruff, Aphak Woodruff, John Fowler, Abraham O. Smoot, William C.A. Smoot, John Gricman, Chaney W. Porter, John Benbow, Simeon Blanchard. Jacob Burnham, Little John Utley, Samuel Turnbow, Elijah F. Sheets, Jacob F. Secrist, Benjamin Aber, Andrew J. Allen, Ezra Clark, Edward Stevenson, Zera Pulsipher. John M. Wolley, Albert Dewey, Wm. Stewart, Thomas Clark, Hezekiah Pack, being 24 persons in all that were present, the remainder were absent on business. We dismissed and parted in good spirits and feelings. I went to bed and fell asleep and dreaming which was a singular dream.

January 26, 1847

I spent the day at home & night at Br Pulsipher & had a plesent time in conversing about times in past days (in Kenney, 3:124).

May 19, 1848

I gave A power of Attorney to Z Pulsipher, John Benbow and A. O. Smoot to transact business for me in the valley. I assisted John Benbow to pack his waggon. He had a full load (Kenney, 3:349).

January 13, 1849

I done up A Bundle of Papers of 100 or more & sent to President Brigham Young put into A Box of Br A.P. Rockwood which he will take charge of. I sent in the same bundle several Papers to W. Richards Aphek Woodruff John Benbow A. O Smoot Z Pulsipher & others. I Also wrote a letter to President B. Young concerning the Papers (Kenney 3:405).

September 8, 1851

B Pulsipher spoke & said I feel thankful to Hear the Aged Brethren speak & bear their testimony of the Prophet Joseph. We have had many revelations. Let us improve upon them (Kenney 4:66).

October 9, 1851

Afternoon prayer by Cardon. H.C. Kimball says A. Cardon is nominated to be a traveling bishop: carried unanimously. He was ordained under the hands of H.C. Kimball, John and G.A. Smith. Heber C. Kimball sealed upon his head all the keys of the Priesthood, said the power of God should rest upon his head to preside over other bishops. Another thing is necessary which will affect the whole world--that is a reformation. Chose men who are filled with the Holy Ghost to go forth as missionaries to stir up the feelings of the Saints in all these valleys of the mountains. I thank God that we are free. Joseph Young, D. Fulmer. and Z. Pulsipher were appointed as missionaries.

 April 7, 1852

Zera Pulsipher spoke & Bore testimony of the [ ] work (Kenney, 4:119).

April 9, 1853

Prayer by T Bullock. Z Pulsipher spoke of the mob scenes in Missouri. Elder O Hyde spoke on the principles of sanctifycation & blesings of the Almighty giving a parables of a flock of sheep with Shepherd dogs.

February 2, 1855

I visited Brother Pulsipher & family in the afternoon & attended the grammar school in the evening.

October 7, 1856

I met at Early candle light with the seventies & Elders in the Tabernacle. The House was nearly Full. The First Seven Presidents were present with Joseph Young presiding. President Joseph Young occupied the

forepart of the meeting in transacting the business of the Quorum. Seventy Quorum were called upon and found to be mostly full. President J. Young then Called for a subscription for the Seventies. He got but Little.

[77] President J M Grant then arose & said I feel that there are some things that greeve [sic] me. President Young was asked if it would not be well to send the Presidents of seventies out. He said No they would Preach the people to sleep and then to Hell. Now this shows me that the Presidents of the seventies[,] the first seven Presidents[,] are asleep and there is sumthing [sic] wrong with them. If this is the case that they would preach the people to sleep & then to Hell Then this body of Counsellors [sic] are guilty of Great sins either of omission or Commission, & I would advise Joseph Young to cut off his council & drop them & appoint men in his stead who are full of the Holy Ghost & will act with him & assist him.

Now we will take up his Council & look at them. Now here is brother Levi Hancock. Why he will fiddle diddle di, fiddle diddle do, fiddle diddle cum, and twaddle diddle ta. Now he might preach a month & there would be no more spirit of God in it than there would be in a Cabbage Leaf. Now if you would preach the people to sleep & to Hell you are guilty of some great Henious [sic] sins, either of commission or omission. You have either committed Adultery or some other sins & you ought to be dropped.

Here is Brother Harriman. Now if you will preach the people to sleep & to Hell you are guilty of some great sins either of Commission or Omission have committed Adultery or some great sins & you ought to be dropped. Brother Harriman might preach a month then you might put it all in the eye of a Cambrick Needle & there would be as much room in it as there would be for a bullfrog in the Atlantic Ocean.

Albert P. Rockwood, if you would preach the people to sleep then to Hell you are asleep dead, & guilty of committing Adultery or some great sins. There is no sap in you. You are as dry as an old muskrat skin & you ought to be dropped.

And Zerah Pulsipher if He would preach the people to sleep & [78] are guilty of some abominable sins of commission or omission of committing Adultery or some great sins & ought to be dropped & I will say the same of Benjamin Clapp & H. S. Eldredge. According to the presidents words they are asleep and ought to be dropped.

I think that Brother Joseph ought to Cut them off & prune the trees around him. How can the body be kept awake & Healthy when the head is asleep & dead? It has been with great reluctance that I have voted for the presidents of the seventies for a long time. And I will say to these seventies if your Presidents have gone to sleep dont you go to sleep, but keep awake. If your Presidency have committed Adultery & done wrong & committed great sins that will damn them dont you do it but wake up.

Is there any man that is in that Council that has been ordained a counselor to Joseph Young? If so, I do not know it. But each man was ordained a president & is under as much obligation as Joseph Young is to magnify his Calling & do his duty. But they never think of such a thing of taking any burden upon their shoulders but leave it all for Joseph Young to do & he has to drag them along. When I vote for Rockwood, Pulsipher, Harriman & Levi Hancock I do it very reluctantly, & I have done so for years & now I want to have you wake up & do your duty. There is no life spirit sap or Juice in Hancock, Harriman, Pulsipher & Rockwood[‘]s preaching no more than there is in an old mummy. These are the kind of men that are your presidents And the seventies as a body are as dry & dead as an old chip & you are as tight as the back of a tree. It is the duty of the seventies to sustain Brother Joseph Young to furnish him with food, fuel & rament [sic] that he may give himself to the work of the ministry. Who has established the president to take men who were in the battallion to be presidents? I would take men who were full of the Holy Ghost. I do not care where the hell [79] they come from. This is what I want. I say again, the Presidents of the Seventies are asleep, and if they do not wake up, they should be cut off. (He spoke in the power of God and the gift of the Holy Ghost.)

Levi Hancock followed him & said He had not commit Adultery. He never Courted any woman but his wife & she Courted him. He justified himself in a measure. He was followed by Benjamin Clap who said He had not committed adultery & if he had gone to sleep he had done it since he came here for he was not asleep when he came home. He intends to serve God with all his heart & was willing to go through this territory with his pack upon his back & preach the gospel. A. P. Rockwood received the chastizement [sic] & meant to repent & go into the waters of Baptism as soon as He got a chance.

J. M. Grant asked me if I had not sumthing to say[,] that the seventies were under the Twelve. I told him I would like to bear testimony to what He had said. I Arose & said to the people that I wished them not to trifle with the teachings of President Grant for what He had said was true. He had shot arrows of the Almighty among the people and if they did not wake up & take the warning & repent of their sins for the day has come when it will not do to trifle with the Things of God, nor with his servants who hold the keys of the kingdom & are called to lead us. I called upon the Presidents of the seventies & all the Seventies to begin this hour to call upon God for the Holy spirit & advised them to stop work & give themselves to prayer until they could get the spirit of God. I had the spirit of God in speaking unto the people. I told them I had recorded what Elder Grant had said and I should keep it on record.

December 22, 1856

At the meeting of the Seventies in the evening, Elder O. Hyde spoke; then I followed and the spirit and power of God rested upon me like a burning flame, and so it did upon Brother Snow and Brother Richards as they spoke. We all advised the First Presidents of the Seventies to go forward and present a resignation of their Presidency to President Young and let some man take that place who could magnify it. Hancock and Z. Pulsipher said they would and B. L. Clapp spoke. We had the spirit and power of God rest upon us like fire shut up in our bones revealed many things unto us. I went home and did not feel like going to bed. I felt as though I wanted to sit up and pray all night.

February 23, 1859

The Twelve met in the Prayer Closset [sic] at the Historians Office at 1/2 10 [to discuss the duties of the apostles, their relationship to the First Presidency, and their right to receive special revelation,] there being present O. Hyde O. Pratt, W. Woodruff J. Taylor, G. A. Smith E. T. Benson C. C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow Erastus Snow F. D. Richards....

At a quarter to 12 oclok [sic] H. C. Kimball & D. H. Wells called. H. C. Kimball said this made me think of the time when I returned from England. Joseph [Foster?] /was presidet [sic-present]/ and the presidency of the Seventies /they/ had met with a seer stones to see what they could see. When I went in they treated me vary Cool Z. Pulsipher said dont be excited Brother Kimball is Nothing but a man. They treated me vary [sic] Cooly & I went home and wept. Then we [the Twelve] all rose up & shook hands with them & received them Joyfully.

O. Hyde explained to Brother Kimball & Wells what we had done, and would like to hear from them (in Waiting for the World to End, 225-226).

April 12, 1862 

I went to the Seventies Hall and attended the trial of Zera Pulsipher, who had been sealing women to men without authority. He was required to be rebaptized and had the privilege of being ordained into the High Priests Quorum.

February 14, 1877

I spent the day in the Temple. We Baptized for the dead 792.    W Woodruff gave Seconed Anointing to 28 persons 10 for the dead & 18 for the living (David H Cannon 1, John Pimm 6, Anson P Winser 3 Willard G McMullin 3, Thomas A[lman?] 1, Daniel Duncan McArthur 6, Marius Ensign 3, James Bird 2 John Pulsipher 3, his Mother & Father Zera Pulsipher dead and himself) (Kenney 7:404).

March 14, 1878

We gave Endowments to 120. Ordained 48 Elders for the Dead. W Woodruff sealed 11 Children to Zerah Pulsipher Dead and Mary Brow Pulsipher living. W Woodruff gave 4 dead wives of J. D. T McAllister their second Annointings. W Woodruff sealed 11 Couple. We gave 91 sealings. We gave 32 Children to Parents (Kenney, 7:404).