A VISION GIVEN TO WILFORD WOODRUFF (Dec 16, 1877)
Wilford Woodruff Journals
June 15, 1878
Church Historian’s Office
In black is the part about NYC
(quoted by WW from the writings of John Taylor?)
I went to bed as usual at about 7:30PM. I had been readÂing a revelaÂtion in the French lanÂguage. My mind was calm, more so than usual if possible, so I composed myself for sleep, but could not. I felt a strange feeling come over me and apparently beÂcame partially unconÂscious. Still I was not asleep, nor exÂactly awake, with dreary feeling. The first thing that I recognized was that I was in the tabernacle of Ogden, Utah. I was sitÂting in the back part of the buildÂing for fear they would call on me to preach, which however they did, for after singÂing the second time they called me to the stand.
I arose to speak and said that I didÂn't know that I had anything esÂpecially to say, exÂcept to bear my tesÂtimony of the Latter-day work, when all at once it seemed as if I was lifted out of myself and I said, "Yes, I have something to say and that is this: Some of my brethren have been askÂing, "What is beÂcoming of us? What is the wind blowing?" I will answer you right here what is coming very shortly."
I was then in a dream, imÂmediately in the city of Salt Lake, and wandering around in the streets and in all parts of the city, and on the doors of the houses I found badges of mournÂing and I could not find a house but was in mourning. I passed my own house and found the same sign there, and I asked the quesÂtion, "Is that me that is dead?" Someone gave me the anÂswer, "No, you will get through it all."
It seemed strange to me that I saw no person in the streets in all my wanÂdering around the counÂtry. I seemed to be in their houses with the sick, but saw no funeral procesÂsion, nor anything of the kind, but the city looking still and as though the people were praying. And it seemed that they had controlled the disÂease, but what the disÂease was I did not learn; it was not made known to me. I then looked over the country, north, east, south, and west, and the same mourning was in every land and in every place.
The next thing I knew I was just this side of Omaha. It seemed though I was above the earth, and lookÂing down upon it. As I passed along upon my way east I saw the road full of people, mostly women, with just what they could carry in bundles on their backs, travÂeling to the mounÂtains on foot. I wonÂdered how they would get through with such a small pack on their backs. It was reÂmarkable to us[?] that there were so few men among them. It didn't seem to me as though the cars were runÂning, the rails looked rusty and the roads abanÂdoned; and I have no conÂception of how I traveled as I looked down upon the peoÂple.
I continued east by the way of Omaha and Council Bluffs, which were full of disease. There were women everyÂwhere. The state of Illinois and MisÂsouri were in a tumult, men killing one anÂother, women joining the fightÂing, famÂily against family in the most horrid manner.
I imagined next that I was in WashÂington and I found desolaÂtion there. The White House was empty and the Halls of Congress the same, and everything in ruÂins. The people seemed to have left the city and left it to take care of itself.
I was in Baltimore. In the square where the Monument of 1812 stands in front of the CharÂles Hotel. I saw dead piled up so as to fill the street square. I saw mothers cutting the throats of their own children for their blood. I saw them suck it from their throats to quench their own thirst and then lie down and die. The water of CheÂsapeake Bay was stagnant, and the stench arising from it on acÂcount of their throwÂing their bodÂies into it so terrible, that the very smell carried death with it. I saw no man exÂcept they were dead or dying in the streets and very few women. Those I saw were crazy and in an ugly condiÂtion. Everywhere I went I beheld the same sights all over the city; it was terrible beÂyond description to look upon.
I thought this must be the end; but no, I was seemingly in an instant in the city of PhiladelÂphia. There eveÂrything was still. No living soul was there to greet me. It seemed the whole city was withÂout any inhabiÂtants. In the south of Chestnut Street and in fact everywhere I went, the putrefaction of the dead caused such a stench that it was imposÂsible for any living thing to breathe, nor did I see any living thing in the city.
Next I found myself in Broadway, in the city of New York, and there it seemed the people had done the best they could to overcome the disease, but in wandering down BroadÂway I saw the bodies of beautiful women lying, some dead and othÂers in a dyÂing condition, on the sidewalks. I saw men come out of cellars and ravish the perÂsons of some that were yet alive and then kill them and rob their bodies of all the valuÂables they had upon them. Then before they could get back to the cellar they would roll over a time or two and die in agÂony. In some of the back streets I saw them kill some of their own offspring and eat their raw flesh, and in a few minutes die themÂselves. EveryÂwhere I went I saw the same scene of horror and deÂstruction and death and rapÂine.
No carÂriages, buggies, or cars were running; but death and deÂstrucÂtion were everyÂwhere. Then I saw fire start and just at that moment a mighty East wind sprang up and carÂried the flames over the city and it burned until there was not a sinÂgle building left standing there, even down to the waters edge. Wharves and shipping all seemed to burn and follow in common destruction where the "great city" was a short time ago. The stench from the bodies that were burnÂing was so great that it was carried a long disÂtance cross the Hudson Bay and carried death and destruction wherever it peneÂtrated. I cannot paint in words the horror that seemed to compass me about; it was beyond description of man.
I supÂposed this was the end; but it was not. I was given to understand the same horror was being enÂacted all over the counÂtry, east, west, north, and south. Few were left alive, still there were some.
Immediately after I seemed to be standing on the left bank of the MisÂsouri River, opposite e the City of InÂdeÂpendence, but there was no city. I saw the whole state of Missouri and IlliÂnois and all of Iowa, a complete desert with no living being there. A short disÂtance from the river howÂever, I saw twelve men dressed in temple robes, standÂing in a square or nearly so (and I underÂstood it repreÂsented the Twelve Gates of the New JerusaÂlem.) Their hands were uplifted in consecration of the ground and layÂing the corner stone of the temÂple. I saw myraids of anÂgels hovering over them, and saw also an immense pilÂlar of clouds over them and heard the angels singing the most heavÂenly music. The words were "Now is estabÂlished the KingÂdom of God and his Christ, which shall never more be thrown down."
I saw people comÂing from the river and from the desert places a long way off to help build the temple and it seemed that hosts of anÂgels all helped to get material to build with and I saw some of them who wore temple clothes come and build the temÂple and the city, and all the time I saw the great pillar of clouds hovering over the place.
Instantly, however, I found myÂself again in the taberÂnacle at Ogden. And yet, I could still see the building go on and I got quite animated in callÂing on the people in the tabernacle to listen to the beautiful music, for the anÂgels were singing the same music I had heard beÂfore. "Now is estabÂlished the KingÂdom of God and his Christ, which shall never more be thrown down."
At this I seemed to stagger back from the pulpit and Brother Francis D. Richards and some others caught my arm and prevented me from falling. Then I finÂished so abruptly. Still even then I had not fainted, but was simply exÂhausted.
They I rolled over in bed and awoke just as the city clock was strikÂing twelve.