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Select Quotations from The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff (Edited by G. Homer Durham)

The following quotes come from the book The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, which were citations from the fourth president of the church and edited by G. Homer Durham, originally printed by Bookcraft, Inc. in 1946.  This was an employee gift by the First Presidency in 1997. To visit the site with all of the books and quotes from these, go here.


“GOD IS INCREASING IN KNOWLEDGE. If there was a point where man in his progression could not proceed any further, the very idea would throw a gloom over every intelligent and reflecting mind. God Himself is increasing and professing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end. It is just so with us. We are in a probation, which is a school of experience.–JD 6:120, December 6, 1857” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 3).

Joseph Smith

“GREATNESS OF JOSEPH SMITH. I look upon Joseph Smith as the greatest prophet that ever breathed the breath of life, excepting Jesus Christ. Father Adam, as I have said, stands at the head; but Jospeh Smith was reserved to lay the foundation of this great kingdom and dispensation of salvation to the whole human family in these last days, to build up Zion, to establish God’s kingdom, and to prepare it for the coming of the Son of Man. He held these keys . . . .  After him, as has been said, came Brother Brigham.–DW 38:389, March 3, 1889” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 67. Ellipsis in original).

“Read the life of Brigham Young and you can hardly find a revelation that he had wherein he said, ‘Thus saith the Lord;’ but the Holy Ghost was with him; he taught by inspiration and by revelation. But with one exception he did not give those revelations in the form that Jesus did; for they were not written and given as revelations and commandments to the church in the words and name of the Savior. Joseph said, “Thus saith the Lord’ almost every day of his life in laying the foundation of this work. But those who followed him have not deemed it always necessary to say ‘Thus saith the Lord’; yet they have led the people by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 213).


“All men are saved by and through the blood of Jesus Christ, through obedience to the gospel.–JD 23:130, May 14, 1882” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 23).

“HOW TO OBTAIN FULL SALVATION. If I ever obtain a full salvation, it will be by my keeping the laws of God.–JD 19:362, June 30, 1878” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 23).

Plural Marriage

“The question is this: Which is the wisest course for the Latter-day Saints to pursue–to continue to attempt to practice plural marriage, with the laws of the nation against it and the opposition of sixty millions of people, and at the cost of the confiscation and loss of all the temples, and the stopping of all the ordinances therein, both for the living and the dead, and the imprisonment of the First Presidency and Twelve and the heads of families in the Church, and the confiscation of personal property of the people (all of which of themselves would stop the practice); or, after doing and suffering what we have through our adherence to this principle to cease the practice and submit to the law, and through doing so leave the prophets, apostles and fathers at home, so that they can instruct the people and attend to the duties of the Church, and also leave the temples in the hands of the Saints, so that they can attend to the ordinances of the gospel, both for the living and the dead? The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would take place if we did not stop this practice” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 215).

“Yes, I saw by vision and revelation this Temple in the hands of the wicked. I saw our city in the hands of the wicked. I saw every temple in these valleys in the hands of the wicked. I saw great destruction among the people. All these things would have come to pass, as God Almighty lives, had not that Manifesto been given. Therefore, the Son of God felt disposed to have that thing presented to the Church and to the world for purposes in his own mind. The Lord had decreed the establishment of Zion. He had decreed the finishing of this temple. He had decreed that the salvation of the living and the dead should be given in these valleys of the mountains. And Almighty God decreed that the Devil should not thwart it. If you can understand that, that is a key to it” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 218).


“Of course, we are required to practice what we preach. I believe in that doctrine. Now, I know for myself, that the Presidency of this Church pay their tithing. As chairman of the auditing committee, I know what their tithing is. The Twelve Apostles pay their tithing. Bishop Hunter and his counselors pay their tithing, as well as a great many others in the Church and kingdom. I would not preach tithing if I did not pay it. I consider it my duty to pay my tithing. I consider it a law of God to me, and I am no poorer for obeying it. I wish my brethren and sisters to take this principle to heart. As the President has said, the Lord does not care anything about our cattle, our gold and our silver. The law of tithing is a law of God to us. Obedience is better than sacrifice.–JD 22:208-209, January 9, 1881” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 179-180).


“TRUTH IS WHAT WE ARE AFTER. Truth is what we are after, and we are not afraid of the doctrines of any man; we are willing to stand by the revelations of God.–JD 17:194, October 7 1874” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 63).

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