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Testimonies: President Wilford Woodruff
Fourth President of the Church. Member of the Council of Twelve from April 26, 1839, to April 7, 1889. Church Historian and General Church Recorder from October, 1883, to April 7, 1889. President of the Church from April, 1889, to September 2, 1898.
I have been acquainted long enough with this work to know its truth; I have had sufficient experience in it to see and to know that the hand of God is in it, and that it is controlled and guided by the spirit of the Almighty and the revelations of Heaven; to know that from the commencement of it, it has been the design of the God of Heaven to establish His Kingdom upon the earth, to be thrown down no more forever.
Those who have been acquainted with the Prophet Joseph, who laid the foundation of this Church and Kingdom, who was an instrument in the hand of God in bringing to light the Gospel in this last dispensation, know well that every feeling of his soul, every sentiment of his mind, and every act of his life proved that he was determined to maintain the principle of truth even to the sacrificing of his life. His soul swelled wide as eternity for the welfare of the human family.
The Gospel has gone forth in our day in its true glory, power, order and light, as it always did when God had a people among men that He acknowledged. That same organization and Gospel that Christ died for, and the apostles spilled their blood to vindicate, is again established in this generation. How did it come? By the ministering of an Holy Angel of God out of heaven, who held converse with man and revealed unto him the darkness that enveloped the world, and unfolded unto him the gross darkness that surrounded the nations, those scenes that should take place in this generation, and would follow each other in quick succession, even unto the coming of the Messiah.
The Angel taught Joseph Smith those principles which are necessary for the salvation of the world; and the Lord gave him commandments and sealed upon him the Priesthood, and gave him power to administer the ordinances of the house of the Lord. He told him the Gospel was not among men and that there was not a true organization of His kingdom in the world, that the people had turned away from His true order, changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant, and inherited lies and things wherein there was no profit.
He told him the time had come to lay the foundation for the establishment of the Kingdom of God among men for the last time, preparatory to the winding up scene. Joseph was strengthened by the Spirit and power of God, and was enabled to listen to the teachings of the Angel. He told him he should be made an instrument in the hands of the Lord, if he kept His commandments, in doing a good work upon the earth; that his name should be held in honor by the honest in heart, and in dishonor throughout the nations by the wicked. He told him he should be an instrument in laying the foundation of a work that should gather tens of thousands of the children of men, in the generation in which he lived, from every nation under heaven, who should hear the sound of it through his instrumentality. He told him the nations were wrapped in wickedness and abominations, and that the judgments of God were ready to be poured out upon them in their fullness; that the angels were holding the vials of His wrath in readiness; but the decree is, that they shall not be poured out until the nations are warned, that they may be left without an excuse.
The Latter-day Saint in the vision of his mind sees displayed on the great panorama of the world all the scenes that are to transpire in the present day, while the wicked are ignorant of what is about to transpire; they do not know what is the matter; while there are cholera, whirlwinds, storms, thunder and lightning, and earthquakes in divers places, and kingdom is rising against kingdom in battle array, they are ignorant of [p.54] what will be the end of these matters and the cause of their existence, because the things of God are not before their eyes. They see naturally but do not understand. They read the scriptures, but do not look for the fulfilment of the words of the prophets, and they do not understand what those things mean when they are fulfilled before their eyes. Did they understand the scriptures they could see and understand what is the matter in the world.
But this is only the beginning of sorrow and trouble; the heavens are full of great judgments, which are about to be poured out on the world. The words of the prophets cannot have their fulfilment unless these things take place.
One reason why the Lord will pour out His judgments upon the nations is the blasphemous spirit of wickedness and corruption that reigns among men. This is only a synopsis of the vision of the things that present themselves to our minds, while we sit and meditate upon the scenes that present themselves to our view. No man can contemplate the truth concerning the nations of the earth without sorrow, when he sees the wailing, the mourning, and death that will come in consequence of judgments, plagues and war. It has already begun and it will continue to multiply and increase until the scene is ended and wound up.
It is the decree of the Almighty God that the Kingdom of Heaven shall be established and shall never again be overthrown, that judgments shall lay waste the nations, enough at least to give that kingdom room to grow and spread and prosper. This is the truth and you will find it so. Those judgments have begun that will never leave the earth until it is swept as with the besom of destruction, until thrones are cast down and kingdoms overthrown, until each man draws his sword against his neighbor, and every nation and kingdom that exists will be at war with each other, except the inhabitants of Zion. The Lord has spoken it and it will come to pass.
(See Biography of Wilford Woodruff; Testimonies home page)
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