-- Mar 1, 1877
[Apostle Wilford Woodruff Journal] March 1, 1877 I Wilford Woodruff record in my Journal A History of the Celebration of this my Seventieth birth day. I arived at the Temple of the Lord in Saint George Washington County, Utah, at 8 oclok in the Morning. I was there Surrounded with one hundred and fifty four virgins, Maidens Daughters and Mothers in Zion from the age of fourteen to the Aged Mother leaning upon her Staff. All had assembled for the purpose of Entering into the Temple of the Lord to make me a birth day Present by being washed And Anointed and receiving their Endowments for and behalf of One hundred and Thirty of my wives who were dead and in the spirit world the majority of which had been sealed to me and the remainder were to be. These persons had been sealed to me during the last fifteen years by Presidets Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Daniel H. Wells, G. Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith. Also twenty four near relatives were added to this list of wives for whom these beloved Sisters in Zion were to receive their Endowments this day. As this was to be Confined to the Sisters alone No men were to receive their Endowments to day.
I put into this list all my near Relatives and saved none of the Thompson, Hart, or Woodruff family Except My own Mother Bulah Thompson Woodruff and Grand Mother /Dinah/ Woodford Woodruff. My Step Mother Azubah Woodruff was officiated for. Eudora L. Young officiated for my ownly Sister Eunice Woodruff. And when this record was All made out the Sisters occupied all five of the washing Bathes in the Temple. All the sisters were washed and Anointed. Among the number were three wives and four daughters of Presidet Brigham Young viz Lucy B. Young Margarett Pierce Young, Naamah C. Young, /Twiss/ and Susie Young Dunford, Eudora Young, Rhoda M Young, Shamira Young, & Ruth Young.
When they had all assembled to gether in the Creation Room I presented myself before them Clothed in my white Doe skin Temple dress. I there delivered unto them a short address, But I had not Enough of immortality about me to fully answer my mind. My soul was almost to full for utterance. The following is a synopsis of my speech:
My Beloved Sisters I present myself before you this morning, not ownly with prayer and fasting, but [with] a heart filled with praise and Thanksgiving to my Heavenly Father for his mercy and kindness unto me, And also to you my sisters for a Blessing of such magnitude as you are presenting unto me this day. I do not suppose that A scene of this kind was Ever presented before the heavens or the Earth, before God, Angels, or Man from this Earth since the foundation of world was laid: Therefore I feel justified in changing the order of the lecture usally given here. There is no men here and all of you here heretofore received your Endowments. I feel that it is due you at this time and place to give you the origin of this scene which is presented before us today.
Ever Since I have been working in this Temple my mind has been Exercised in behalf of the dead, And [I] have felt a great desire to see my dead redeemed before I passed away. A few days ago I went into the Cealing room whare I often go to Pray for I Consider there is no spot on this Earth more acceptable than this Temple and while there I went befor the Lord with this subjet resting upon my mind and I Pray the Lord to open My way to see my Dead Redeemed. And while I prayed the spirit of the Lord rested upon me and Conveyed the following Testimony to me:
Let my servant Wilford Call upon the virgins Maidens, Daughters, & Mothers in Zion and let them Enter into my /Holy/ Temple on the 1 day of March the day that my servant Wilford has seen the time alloted to man, Three score years and Ten, and there let them received their washing and Anointing and Endowments for and behalf of the wives who are dead and have been sealed to my servant Wilford, or those who are to be Sealed to him, and this shall be acceptable unto me Saith the Lord, and the dead of my servant shall be redeemed in the spirit world and be prepared to meet my servant at the time of his Coming which shall be at the time appointed unto him, though not revealed to man in the flesh. Now go to and perform this work and all shall be accomplished according to the desire of your heart.
This was merely a key to me. Light burst upon my understanding. I saw an Eff[etual?] door open to me for the redemption of my dead. And when I saw this I felt like shouting Glory Hallalulah to God and the Lamb.
Now in this matter you Can be baptized for any number on the same day, but when you come to giving Endowments one person Can ownly attend to one in a day. Some of those women you have been officiating for have been sealed to me, some have not. Those that were sealed to me were sealed at various times during the last twenty years, By Presidet Young, H C. Kimball, D. H. Wells, G. Q. Cannon and J F Smith. I have never taken this Course without consulting Presidet Young. When this thing was manifest to me I said to some of the sisters that I would like to have them Come on my Birth day and make me a present by getting Endowments for some of my dead, and as a testimony to me all were willing. When I saw the magnitude of this I spoke to Presidet Young about it. He said he would furnish half a dozen himself and He has in this assembly 5 daughters and 3 wives. I feel thankful to you my sisters for this manifestation of Kindness for you might have searched the world over and you Could not have found a present as dear to me as this.
What is gold or silver in Comparison to the redemption of our dead? Nothing. If I Can redeem my dead, and save myself and family I will be satisfyed. I feel that when we get into the spirit world we shall see the importance of this days work. This is my birth day. I am three score years and ten to day. You are to day in this Endowment without a man with you. But we shall furnish one Man as an Adam. L John Nuttall will officiate as such. Sisters you have the Blessings and Gratitude of my heart, And I hope I may not ownly partake of Eternal life with those whom you are redeeming to day, But with all of you who are laboring for them this day. I pray that we may all meet with them in the Celestial kingdom of our God. Amen.
I went through the Endowments of the day more like being in vision than a reality. These 154 Sisters were led to three veils and three of us Wilford Woodruff J. D. T McAllister & L John Nuttall all dressed in Temple Clothing took them all through the three veils. I took through about 60, at the Middle veil, which I attended (there was no sealing to day). Presidet Young was preset at the Temple in witnessing the Ceremonies.
At the Close of the labor at the temple I took a Carriage and rode to David M Cannons. From there I was Accompanied to St George Hall by McAllister, Raleigh and Nuttall & D M Cannon and placed in the midst of a surprize Party Got up for the Occasion the Room decorated, and a Table set loaded with all the luxeries of life, Surrounded by nearly One hundred of those who had been receiving Endowments for my dead during the day.
Presidet Young sat at the head of the Table surrounded By his family and after Blessing was asked their was presented before me a present of a birth day Bridal Cake three Stories high adorned with the beasts of the field from the Elephant down, and Ornamented with two Satin Sheets Covered with Printed Poetry Composed for the occasion. And these two sheets of Poetry had to be taken and read Before the Assembly by Susan Young Dunford. The following is the poetry Contained on the two Sheets of Satin on the other Page. This scene this day is among the most wonderful Events of the last dispensation and fulness of times in which we live. And this door which is open for the redemption of the Dead in this manner will accomplish great and important Results, for it is now being Carried out in a great many instances in the Temple of the Lord, and will Continue to be more and more unto the end.
This above remark is made on the 12 day of March upon the Events taken place since the 1 day of March. By this labor in redeeming our dead by Proxey much Can be accomplished. Our dead Can be redeemed. This principle has given me great Joy unspeakable at the thought that I Can live on the Earth to behold my Numerous friends redeemed who are in the spirit World. This principle says to us in loud language that the Lord is Good and Gracious, and his Mercies Endureth forever.
To Elder Wilford Woodruff, On the anniversary of his 70 Birthday, spent in the Temple of the Lord, officiating for his dead (By proxey). June Hazel Dall
Thy seventieth year is now Complete.
Oh, what a glorious day!
We in Gods Holy Temple meet
And in his name we pray,
That you may many more such days
Upon this Earth still see
And that the bliss of Endless lives
On all thy race may be.
Oh, long live Wilford Woodruff,
And may his years increase;
For ownly with his life on Earth,
His works of Love will cease.
We meet to day with Joy to act
A Proxy for thy dead,
And Give thee scores of wives who'll be
Like Crowns upon thy head.
This day will never be forgot
In heaven or on Earth below,
Gods Blessings on Each one will rest
This, this we surely know.
Thy time and talents thou hast spent
To do the work of God--
Pleased to obey our Fathers Call--
And thought not of reward.
Thou, faithful Servant, never dreamed,
For thee there was in Store,
A Birth day such as this on Earth
None have Enjoyed before.
The Prision Gates have opened been
The dead have been set free,
And many who have known thy worth
Salvation gain through thee.
Their Glad Hosannahs will resound
Through heaven's etherial space
That with the ransomed, they Can meet
Around the Throne of Grace.
Mrs A Randall
St George (1)
-- Mar 30, 1877
[Apostle Wilford Woodruff Journal] March 30, 1877 This is the first day I ever went [to] the [Temp?]le to get Endowments for the Dead. I got Endowments to day for the Prophets Robert Mason. We gave Endowments to 150. There was 52 Elders ordained. W Woodruff ordained 2. I was ordained a High Priest & Patriarch for the Prophet Mason. There was 152 of the dead of the Hart family baptized for to day. Bulah A Woodruff Beatie was Baptized for 60 of them.
The Quorum of the Twelve arived to day in the Temple to day. We met in Council in the Presidets office in the Evening.
I sealed 14 dead Persons to President Young. E Snow sealed [ ] Couple. (W Woodruff gave Seconed Anointing to Wilford Woodruff jr for his Grand Father Ezra Carter & Anointed Phebe W. Woodruff for her Mother Sarah Fabyan Carter.) <I anointed Sarah Campbell Smith.> Phebe WW got Endowments for Mary Fabyan & for Mr Samuel Woodruff. Wilford Woodruff jr. got Endowments for Asahel Woodruff./ (1)
1 - Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies
LDS History Chronology: Unconventional Baptisms
Mormon History Timeline: Forms of Rebaptism in LDS History