In 1889, Wilford Woodruff became the fourth prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Throughout his life he kept an extensive journal, and at the end of some years, summarized his religious views.
Wilford Woodruff’s reflections at the end of 1860 (to read his thoughts at other times, see here):
This is the last day of 1860 which Ends this important & momentious year, which has been looked forward to by thousands for many years as a period which would date the Commencement of great & mighty Changes in the Earth, Changes which would greatly Effet the interest & welfare of all Nations under Heaven. Now what are the facts in the Case as far as they have Come to the knowledge of the Historian. They are these:
The whole European World have appeared inspired to spend millions & labor with all their might to build Navies & Equipt armies & prepare For a mighty struggle & deadly Conflict with Each others. [Details of political turmoil in Italy, France, England and China].
But the United States of America is the spot whare 1860 markes the Commencement of a new Erea in the History of that Government & people. It is [in] the midst of this Government whare the God of Heaven has set up his kingdom in the Latter Days. He sent An angel to this people thirty years ago raised up a prophet Called & ordained him to preach the gospel of Christ & Esstablish his Church & kingdom in the midst of the people.
Joseph the prophet of God was Faithful to his Calling, esstablished the Church of Christ, was filled with revelation & prophesy declaired the word of God unto the people told them what would Come to pass in there midst the wars and Judgments of God that awaited them because of there wickedness and as Jesus told the Jews the Fate & Calamities that awaited the Jewish Nation So Joseph Smith the Prophet of God told the people of the United States Government what awaited them & there final Destiny as a Nation because of there wickedness & abominations & because they would shed the Blood of Prophets & Saints.
He said in 1832, 28 years ago that South Carolinia would rise up in rebelion and that war would Commence at that place & that the Southern States would arise up in rebelion against the Northern States & the Northern States against the Southern States & that war would be poured out upon all Nations which would End in the death & misery of many Souls & because of these things or as the prophet has said the people of the United States have put to death the prophet Joseph the Patriarchs Apostle & many Saints and driven the Church of Christ from place to place for about thirty years and Finally have driven them into the wilderness even into these vallies of the Mountain and the Lord told us “to plead at the feet of the Judges Governors & Presidets of the United States & if they Heed us not and do not redress us of our wrongs (then the Lord says) I will arise out of my hiding place & in my fury I will vex the Nation and I will Cut off those wicked & unjust Stewards and appoint them there portions with Hipocritts & unbelievers.
1860 has laid the foundation for the fulfillment of these things. During this year the Abolitionest of Republicans of the Northern States Elected their President and Vice President and this has been taken as a pretext and the Southern States are rising up in rebelion against the Northern States are holding Conventions & preparing to Cecede from the Union as Joseph Smith said they would. South Carolinia Ceceded from the Union on the 20 Dec 1860 and others are preparing to follow their example. This has caused a great Convultion throughout the United States. All Banking & monied institutions are suspending specie payment and the wheels of Government are begining to be Cloged. Alarm & Confusion is spreading throughout the whole land. The Lord is withdrawing his spirit from the Nation and they are begining to be filled with madness towards Each other and the Southern States are arming & preparing for A Deadly Conflict against the Northern States. And whom the Lord wants to destroy he first makes mad and the people are being inspired with madness to such a degree that they are ready to devour each other.
The foundation has been laid during the year 1860 To break up & annihilate the American Government and the scenes which will follow in quick succession will be terrible & horrible in their detail. This Nation is guilty of sheding the Blood of the Lords anointed, of his Prophets & Saints and the Lord Almighty has decreed their destruction. The Lord has Commenced a Controversy with the American Government and Nation in 1860 and he will never cease untill they are destroyed from under heaven, and the Kingdom of God Esstablished upon their ruins. Let the Gentiles upon this land prepare to meet their God.
1860 Ralph Farnham the last survivor of the battle of Bunker Hill died on the morning of Dec 26 1860 in Acton Maine Aged 104 years 5 months & 29 days.
Source: Wilford Woodruff’s Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, edited by Scott Kenney, Signature Books, available here.
* To read Wilford Woodruff’s reflections at other times, see here
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