Last night, descendants of Wilford Woodruff, the fourth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met at Temple Square to commemorate the 200th anniversary of President Woodruff’s birth.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — the second highest governing body of the Church — and his wife, Patricia Holland, recounted the significant contributions President Woodruff made to the Church.
“We stand in awe of this majestic man who played such a personal role in our own lives but played the same role in the lives of tens of thousands — now millions — of others,” said Elder Holland. “His many missions, his role in the settlement of the valley here, his love for temples, and especially his courage, strength, determination and devotion in that unprecedented era of such great trouble surrounding the issuing of the Manifesto — these and so many more elements of his legacy to us cause us to reverence him all the more as the work unfolds and decades roll on.”
President Woodruff was a convert to the Church who was baptized in 1833 — three years after the Church was officially organized. Before becoming an apostle, he served two missions for the Church, one in which he went to England and baptized many converts. The site of many of those baptisms, Benbow’s Farm in Herefordshire, England, is considered a historic site for the Church.
Woodruff became the fourth president of the Church in 1889.
In 1890, he issued the Manifesto — a revelation that Church members would no longer practice polygamy.
Patricia Holland had been asked to speak at last night’s event because her great-great-grandfather Zera Pulsipher baptized Wilford Woodruff. In turn, Wilford Woodruff baptized Ellen Benbow, Elder Holland’s great-great-grandmother.