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Day in the Life

Feb 19, 1855

Journal Entry

February 19, 1855 ~ Monday

19th I spent a part of the day in the Historians office & the
evening in the Grammar school.


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we as a people have to sanctify ourselves before the Lord in order to sanctify have the blessings & approbation of the Lord upon us. It will be far better for us to restrain our children from Evil than to suffer them to go headlong to ruin & they will thank God to all Eternity that there parents have given them good council & restrained them from Evil rather than to be permitted to plunge into misery sin sorrow & woe we should treat our wives & children with kindness & affection & give them good council & when we have done all we can for them then if they will do ^w^rong & go to ruin our gar- ments are clear & I hope from this time forth that we may not look upon sin with any degree of allowance of approbation which may God grant for Christ Amen
~ Wilford Woodruff

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Discourse 1855-02-18
G. S. L. City, . MINUTES. Great Salt Lake City, Tuesday evening, Dec. 19, 1854, pursuant to public notice, a meeting was held in the 16th Ward School House, Elder W. Woodruff presiding. Tho- mas R. Hawkins stated the object and design of the meeting, the benefits that would result, &c., and also that it was designed to form a museum, library, and a reading room. Elder Woodruff then spoke upon the prin- ciples, and importance of education, and was followed by several others, who spoke highly of the benefts that would accrue from such a society. It was then resolved to or- ganize a Philosophical Society, and Thomas R. Hawkins, A. McDonald, George B. Wallace, James Cowdy, and James Galley were appointed to draw up a constitution and by-laws. Monday evening, January 8, 1855, the committee met according to notice at President Brigham Young's offce. Many useful hints in regard to establishing the Society were given by President Young, who suggested that the name be changed from "Philosophical Society" to "Uni- versal Scientific Society," that its name might be appli- cable to the universal diffusion of knowledge and science, and requested the Society to be blended with the Board of Regents, and act in concert with them. He very much approved of a reading room, and a museum, and said, "Go a-head," and gave every encouragement to the com- mittee to persevere, and organize the Society, elect active officers, and have lectures on every branch of science. Saturday evening, February 3, 1855, the Society met in the Council House, Elder Wilford Woodruff in the chair, when the following constitution and rules were read: CONSTITUTION. Inasmuch as the inhabitants of these vallies have been blessed by the Almighty, and surrounded with the comforts of life, and that many have been inspired to reflect on the importance and necessity of an institution for the diffusion of useful knowledge in every branch of art and science: also believing that such an institution can now be advantageously organized, we hereby adopt the follow- ing constitution: ARTICLE I—Title—"Universal Scientific Society." ARTICLE II—Object—The improvement and elevation of the intellectual powers and pursuits of its members. 1. By having lectures and essays on every branch of useful arts and sciences. 2. Through the use of a good library and reading room. 3. By collections in every department to form an ex- tensive museum. 4. By obtaining instruments and apparatus to illustrate and advance the arts and sciences, and by every other laudable means within their reach. ARTICLE III—The Society to be governed by a pre- sident, seven vice-presidents, secretary and assistant se- cretary, a corresponding secretary and an assistant, a treasurer, two auditors, and two reporters, who shall hold their office for the term of one year, or until their successors are duely elected and qualified. ARTICLE IV—The above-named officers shall constitute a board of managers, empowered to elect all other officers, make all other laws and regulations, and do all other things that may appear to them advisable to pro- mote the interests of the Society. ARTICLE V—The officers to be elected annually by the majority of members present. The first annual meet- ing to be held on the 7th day of April, 1855, at which financial and general reports will be given. ARTICLE VI—Regular meetings to be held weekly for lectures, &c., unless otherwise ordered by the board of managers. ARTICLE VII—Persons desirous to become members may be admitted to membership by the majority of mem- bers present at any regular meeting of the Society. ARTICLE VIII—Each member to pay a quarterly sub- scription of one dollar in advance. ARTICLE IX—The treasurer shall be required to give bonds with approved security to the amount of $5,000, payable to the said society, said bonds to be filed in the secretary's office of the University of the State of Deseret. RULE I—Any officer refusing to fulfil the duties of his office, shall be liable to be removed by a majority of the board of managers. RULE II—Any member shall be liable to be expelled from the Society by the board of managers for immoral and unchristian-like conduct. After some remarks from Elders Woodruff, L. Snow, G. B. Wallace, and James Cowdy, the constitution and rules were unanimously adopted. Voted unanimously that the Chancellor and Boards of Regents of the University of the State of Deseret be solicited to extend their aid and guardianship to this Society, in consonance with their chartered rights and privileges. The following officers were unanimously elected, viz: Wilford Woodruff, president; John Taylor, E. T. Benson, Lorenzo Snow, Orson Spencer, Albert Carrington, S. W. Richards, and John Lyon, vice- presidents; Robert L. Campbell, secretary; George D. Watt, assistant secretary; Geo. A. Smith, corresponding secretary; W. W. Phelps, assistant corresponding secre- tary; David Fulmer, treasurer; George B. Wallace and A. F. McDonald, auditors; J. V. Long and Walter Thompson, reporters; T. R. Hawkins, secretary pro. tem. ADDRESS Of WILFORD WOODRUFF, President of the Universal Scientific Society, delivered in the upper room of the Council House, on Saturday evening, Feb. 18, 1855. We do not wish to be understood because we have adopt- ed this title, "Universal Scientific Society," that we profess to be in possession of all the truths which apper- tain to universal science; but we wish to be understood that we are desirous of learning and possessing every truth which will exalt and benefit mankind as far as it our privilege. We wish to be made acquainted as far as pos- sible with every law, truth, and principle belonging to art, science, or any subject which has ever proved a benefit to God, angels, or men. The proverb that knowledge is power is a truth which cannot be denied. One person is a cannibal, and will kill and eat his fellow-man, because he is ignorant; another person is a God, and can organize worlds and give laws to a universe of intelligent beings, and rule over them for their good, because he possesses knowledge and has the art and power to use it. The pa- triarchs and prophets looked upon their posterity as the greatest blessing which God could bestow upon them, as laying the foundation for their exaltation and glory, and an increase of their seeds to all eternity; while the millions consider children a curse, and when born wish them dead, because they have come into the world naked, since they will have them to clothe. One man believes the earth is flat, and if it was to turn over his mill-pond would spill out, and he with his mill be hurled down through space, while another man well knows that if the earth was to cease its rotation but one day, the rush of the oceans from their watery beds, with other convulsions of nature would destroy both man and beast. The Indian looks upon a watch, carding-machine, locomotive, or telegraph wire, with as much astonishment and wonder, as the machinist or artist would in gazing upon the red-hot billows of a crater, the raging tornado, or the shower of fire and brim- stone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. One will carry a peck of corn in one end of a bag, with a stone in the other to balance it, while another will construct a hydraulic press of some 300 lbs. weight, which will lift 200 tons. The mower will cut down his fields of herbs and variegated flowers, but sees in them no materials only for hay, while the botanist beholds in them a field of knowledge, the study of which affords him great delight and pleasure. The mass who cultivate the earth for a living, plant and sow corn, wheat, rye, barley, cotton, rice, and other grain and vegetables, promiscuously, without any regard to the kind of soil made use of, while the chemical practical farmer would carefully study the component parts of each kind of grain and vegetables, and understand well the various qualities and properties of his soil. One looks upon man as the noblest work of God, wonderfully made, containing thousands of arteries, veins, muscles, bones, and joints, with flesh and skin, with its thousand strings, kept in tune by the great Architect, while he is gazed upon by others only as a block of wood. The ignorant of all nations convey their ideas and wishes by making use of detached words and sentences in a mingled manner, with their talents like gold in the mine concealed from human view; while the linguist will hold the souls of men spell-bound through the well-tuned language by which he conveys the thoughts and sentiments of his mind. The question is asked what is a mountain? to some it is to feed cattle upon; to others it is a deposit of iron, lead, copper, silver, gold, and other minerals; to others it is trap rock, slate, quartz, granite, marble, and other strata. One man will study from the library contained in its bowels, many truths with great interest; he will seek to trace the whole life and history of that mountain from its first organization to its decomposition, with feelings of great satisfaction; awhile at the same time to most of us it is nothing but a mountain. What are the starry heavens? To the astronomer it is a polar system, containing the sun, moon, planets, comets, and stars; it is the height of enjoyment to him to study their appearance, size, shape, arrangement, distance, mo- tions, physical constitution, and mutual influence upon each other. He tells us that all the planets revolve in elliptical orbits, having the sun in one of their foci; that the radius vector passes over equal spaces in equal por- tions of time; also, that the squares of the times of the revolutions of the planets around the sun are proportional to the cubes of their mean distances from the sun; he gives us the diameter of each planet, the distance they are from the earth and each other; he weighs them in his scales, and explains their forces and the laws by which they are governed. Thus are the starry heavens to the astronomer; but to the prophets of God, in every age of the world, they are an innumerable company of worlds, each containing a God enthroned in light, intelligence, glory, and dominion, surrounded with an innumerable company of intelligent, immortal, and glorified beings, who have kept the same celestial law given them by their Creator, as the planet has upon which they dwell, who are filled with joy and happiness, with a sure hope that their glory will increase to all eternity; but to the millions the starry heavens are only clouds, skies, stars, and the milky way. For what purpose is man placed here, and what is his life upon the earth? One class of men verily believe and assuredly know that they existed before they came here, and were sent here by their Father in heaven, that they might prove themselves true in a second estate, that they might search out the laws of God, and obtain a knowledge of the true and only plan of salvation, whereby man can be saved and have part in the first resurrection, and be exalted to a fulness of celestial glory in the presence of that God whose name thy have honored upon the earth, by keeping his laws and obeying his will. When that class of men have obtained a knowledge of the laws of God and the gospel of Jesus Christs, they have laid hold of it with all their hearts, and practised it in their lives, and have ever been ready to seal their testimony with their blood in its defence. Another class profess to be- lieve in God, in rewards and punishments, in a future state, and that some form of religion is necessary, though not at all essential or particular what that form is, or how varied or diversified their customs or mode of wor- ship, or adminis[t]ering of ordinances, may be among men, if they only sui[t] their traditions, consciences, and cir- cumstances. The mass of man[k]ind who inhabit the earth, appear to think, if we judge by their acts, that the chief end of man is to obtain pounds, s[h]illlings, and pence, dollars and cents —to devour each othe[r]—to blaspheme the name of God, and to worship every other being and thing upon earth, except that being who alone is the author of every bles- sing bestowed upon them, and the only bring who has power to save and exalt man to immortality and eternal life. Thus we have quoted a few examples of contrast out of the multitude of cases that p[r]esent themselves to the re- flecting mind of man. What causes this vast contrast with intelligent beings? The difference in a great mea- sure consists in the different degrees of truth and intelli- gence which men possess. The mysteries and wonders which hang over the laws and works of nature, and the arts of men, all vanish away when we possess a know- ledge of the laws by which they are governed, and the principles by which they are constructed. The resurrec- tion of the dead, the formation of worlds, and the laws by which they are governed, would be as easily comprehended and understood by man, if he was now in possession of that knowledge which he is destined to obtain, as he can now comprehend the construction of a steamboat or the organization of a state. We know that many persons have, by diligent search and study, sought out and obtained much truth and intel- ligence which has proved of great benefit to themselves and their fellow-men. We wish to obtain the same ou- rselves: there is a fountain of talent shut up in these chambers of the mountains, which we wish to call into requisition. We would be glad to see all Israel unite in joining this Universal Scientific Society, or branches of the same, and unlock their trunks, and bring forth their useful books, and form a universal library, with its branches, that the whole people may have the privilege of obtaining out of the best books, by study and by faith, a knowledge of the arts and sciences, and of kingdoms and countries, and the laws of nations. A large and useful library could be collected out of the materials that already exist in these mountains, which are now lying dormant and doing but little good. An interest should be created in the minds of our young men sufficiently great to inspire them to improve well their time, and use their talents in a manner that their minds may be stored with useful knowledge, that they may be armed with intelligence and power to act well their part upon the stage of life as husbandmen, mechanics, soldiers, parents, statesmen, and prophets of God. We should as soon as possible make a commencement for the collection of a museum. There are no people who exist upon earth that have greater resources and facilities from which to form an interesting and useful library and museum, than the inhabitants of Deseret. Our represen- tatives, in the capacity of travelers, statesmen, and mis- sionaries, will plough every ocean, tread every soil, visit every clime, mingle with every people, of all languages, tongues, and dialects upon the face of the whole earth: they will thereby be enabled to obtain a specimen of every man and chart, of every art and science, the productions of every press, a specimen from every mountain, land, and sea; every beast, fowl, fish, and insect, and every plant and herb, and instruments for the practical illustration of every art and science. We should as soon as practicable erect a good substantial building, divided into suitable apartments for a library, museum, reading room, with a hall for public lectures. These are some of the prominent objects for which this Society is now formed. Do you ask will it prosper—will it become a permament institution, or will it fall to the ground? This, gentlemen, will depend altogether upon yourselves, who are or may become members of the Society, and upon the blessings of God. The power is within your- selves; you have talent and means. If our theologians, astronomers, geographers, philosophers, mathematicians, chemists, geologists, mineralogists, botanists, agriculturists, horticulturists, phonographers, teachers of the Deseret alphabet, anatomists, surgeons, jurists, political econo- mists, professors of music, logicians, tacticians, gram- marians, poets, journalists, historians, linguists, and those acquainted with any subject which is useful and beneficial, will come forward and deliver lectures before the Society, that we may have an exchange of the views and senti- ments of each other, upon the various subjects with which men are acquainted, then our time may be spent in a pro- fitable and interesting manner. If the members of this Society will contribute of their books and means for the formation of a library, museum, and reading-room, and our representatives abroad will take pains for forward ma- terial for the same, and if all will take a general interest, then we can lay a foundation which may be permanent, useful, and beneficial to the inhabitants of these mountains.


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Feb 19, 1855