Wilford Woodruff’s Vision of the Resurrection

From a discourse delivered by President Wilford Woodruff at the Weber Stake Conference in Ogden, Utah on Monday, October 19, 1896 (Deseret Weekly, 7 November 1896, 642–43).

“After laboring in that part [Memphis, Tennessee] for a length of time, I received a letter from Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, in which they requested me to stay in that country and take charge of the churches that we had built up there. The Prophet promised me many things, and said I should lose no blessings by tarrying in that country and doing as he wished me, and letting the other brethren go and get their endowments.

I was then at the house of Brother Abraham O. Smoot’s mother. I received this about sundown. I went into a little room where there was a sofa, to pray alone. I felt full of joy and rejoicings at the promises God had made to me through the Prophet. While I was upon my knees praying, my room was filled with light. I looked and a messenger stood by my side. I arose, and the personage told me he had come to instruct me. He presented before me a panorama. He told me he wanted me to see with my eyes and understand with my mind what was coming to pass in the earth before the coming of the Son of Man.

He commenced with what the revelations say about the sun being turned to darkness, the moon to blood, and the stars falling from heaven. Those things were all presented to me one after another, as they will be, I suppose, when they are manifest before the coming of the Son of Man.

Then he showed me the resurrection of the dead – what is termed the first and second resurrection. In the first resurrection I saw no graves nor anyone raised from the grave. I saw legions of celestial beings, men and women who had received the Gospel all clothed in white robes. In the form they were presented to me, they had already been raised from the grave.

After this he showed me what is termed the second resurrection. Vast fields of graves were before me, and the Spirit of God rested upon the earth like a shower of gentle rain, and when that fell upon the graves they were opened, and an immense host of human beings came forth. They were just as diversified in their dress as we are here, or as they were laid down. This personage taught me with regard to these things.

Among other things he showed me, there were seven lions like burning brass placed in the heavens. I asked the messenger what they were for. He said they were representative of the different dispensations of the Gospel of Christ to men, and they would all be seen in the heavens among the signs that would be shown.

After this passed by me, he disappeared. Now, if I had been a painter I could have drawn everything that I saw. It made an impression upon me that has never left me from that day to this. The next day we had a meeting in the academy. Brother Smoot and some others went with me; but I was a lost man. I hardly knew where I was, so enveloped was I in that which I had seen.”

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