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Wilford Woodruff'S Testimony - In His Own Voice!


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Perhaps it's just me, but there are a few things that I cannot (contextually) overlook when analyzing Woodruff's testimony.

He makes two important points relevant to a debate that was quite prominent in Utah in 1897, both of which aim at defending the legitimacy of the Utah church's claim to be the rightful heir of the faith Joseph Smith founded.

The first is his claim that Joseph bestowed the keys of the kingdom upon Brigham Young and others of the Twelve in early 1844.

The second is his claim that he received the endowment from Joseph, and that he witnessed others who had also received the ordinance.

By 1890, as Roger Launius notes in the Utah History Encyclopedia, there were over a thousand members of the Reorganized church living in Utah. The overall population at the time was 210,000, but the RLDS church was likely the largest alternative restorationist movement in the state. RLDS missionaries had experienced moderate success in Utah and southeast Idaho in the 1860s, peaking in the 1890s. The Salt Lake Tribune frequently featured testimonies from RLDS leaders and laymen that undermined the leadership of the Utah church. Likewise, the LDS church would use the Deseret News for the same purpose against dissenters.

RLDS missionaries and leaders at the time denied the legitimacy of Brigham Young's succession via priesthood structure, and also disputed that Joseph had introduced the endowment in Nauvoo prior to his death. Of the myriad of topics Woodruff could've covered, he chose to place emphasis on these two - perhaps because it would be useful in defending the LDS church's claims against those of the Reorganization.

Edited by kolipoki09
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