Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Wilford Woodruff’s First Mission, part 12 (Graphic History)

Wilford Woodruff’s First Mission, part 12 (Graphic History)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 29, 2009

Adapted from Leaves from My Journal, by Wilford Woodruff; artwork by Douglas Johnson.







to be continued …

Text from Leaves from My Journal

… He laughed and said that I did not look much like a preacher. I did not blame him, as all the preachers he had ever been acquainted with rode on fine horses or in fine carriages, clothed in broadcloth, and had large salaries, and would see this whole world sink to perdition before they would wade through one hundred and seventy miles of mud to save the people.

The landlord wanted a little fun, so he said he would keep me if I would preach. He wanted to see if I could preach. I must confess that by this time I became a little mischievous, and pleaded with him not to set me to preaching. the more I pled to be excused, the more determined Mr. Jackson was that I should preach. he took my valise, and the landlady got me a good supper.

I sat down in a large hall to eat supper. Before I got through, the room began to be filled with some of the rich and fashionable of Memphis, dressed in their broadcloth and silk, while my appearance was such as you can imagine, after traveling through the mud as I had been.

When I had finished eating, the table was carried out of the room over the heads of the people. I was placed in the corner of the room, with a stand having a Bible, hymn book and candle on it, hemmed in by a dozen men, with the landlord in the center. There were present some five hundred persons who had come together, not to hear a good sermon, but to have some fun.

Now, boys, how would you like this position? On your first mission, without a companion or friend, and to be called upon to preach to such a congregation? With me it was one of the most pleasing hours of my life, although I felt as though I should like company.

I read a hymn, and asked them to sing. Not a soul would sing a word. I told them I had not the gift of singing; but with the help of the Lord I would pray and preach. I knelt down to pray and the men around me dropped on their knees. I prayed to the Lord to give me His spirit and to show me the hearts of the people. I promised the Lord in my prayer I would deliver to that congregation whatever He would give me. I arose and spoke one hour and a half and it was one of the best sermons of my life. The lives of the congregation were opened to the vision of my mind, and I told them of their wicked deeds and the reward they would obtain. The men who surrounded me dropped their heads. Three minutes after I closed I was the only person in the room.

Soon I was shown to a bed, in a room adjoining a large one in which were assembled many of the men whom I had been preaching to. I could hear their conversation. One man said he would like to know how that Mormon boy knew of their past lives. In a little while they got to disputing about some doctrinal point. …

Wilford Woodruff’s First Mission (Graphic History) part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14, part 15, part 16, part 17, part 18



  1. How cool is this?! I really do believe that WW’s mission to AR and TN was extremely important in preparing WW for his future missions and leadership in the Church. This really gives me a better perspective on it.

    Comment by Steve C. — November 29, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  2. I confess that as famous as “Leaves from My Journal” is, I had never read it. In fact, I’m reading it as it appears here, not reading ahead. :) There’s no doubt that I’m going to remember the story better for having seen the pictures and waiting through the cliffhangers for the next installment!

    Glad to know there’s someone else still reading along with me, Steve.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 29, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

  3. Thanks, Ardis.

    Comment by crazywomancreek — November 29, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

  4. I’m still reading (even though he’s not in Arkansas anymore). :-)

    Comment by Steve C. — November 29, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  5. I continue to enjoy the series. I keep meaning to print out the installments for one of my boys to look at during church. Perhaps for Christmas.

    Comment by Researcher — November 29, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  6. I agree Steve. His mission to AR and TN was a magnificent training ground for him. So was Zion’s Camp (he sold his land and possessions to participate), his short stay in Missouri, and so many other events in his life so far.

    I love this, Ardis.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — November 29, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

  7. i’m still reading and loving these installments, too. it’s kind of embarrassing that the illustrations pique my interest in the story. i’m a bit past primary age. =)

    Comment by ellen — November 29, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

  8. Oh, lots of us still reading! Good. I don’t feel any need to apologize for coming for the illustrations, ellen. Maybe we should read other kids’ books, too — just to, you know, evaluate their quality and suitability for Researcher’s son. Yeah, that’s it. 😉

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 29, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

  9. Still reading. Still liking. :)

    Comment by Jami — November 29, 2009 @ 8:36 pm

  10. Amen — still reading and enjoying. Thanks.

    Comment by Hunter — November 29, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

  11. I’m still reading, also. I hate the cliff hangers, but they keep me anxiously waiting for the next week.

    Comment by Maurine — November 29, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

  12. This is an 18-part series, so we still have five cliffhangers and a grand conclusion to look forward to. (I’m not kidding — I haven’t looked ahead, either. Even though I’ve got the posts drafted and pictures pasted in, I add the text at the last minute before posting so that my eye won’t accidentally pick up what’s coming. The pictures are all handled as coded links so I don’t get any clues from them.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 29, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

  13. Since you are not reading ahead, I’ll not tempt you by getting to far ahead of your posts. :)

    Actually I had already decided to hold off until your illustrated version of Woodruff’s mission had caught up to what I have. But you gave me one more reason.

    You know, his suit really does look pretty nice for having walked through 170 miles of mud. :)

    Comment by Bruce Crow — November 29, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

  14. Thanks, Bruce. 😀

    Must be an 1830s version of Mr. Mac’s teflon missionary suits … those things don’t look any worse (or any better) at the end of two years today …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 30, 2009 @ 7:30 am

  15. I love this series, Ardith. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Brian Duffin — November 30, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

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