I did not blame him, as all the preachers he had ever been
acquainted with rode on fine horses or in fine carriages, clothed
in broadcloth, and had large salaries, and would see this
whole world sink to perdition before they would wade through
one hundred and seventy miles of mud to save the people.
The landlord wanted a little fun, so he said he would
keep me if I would preach. He wanted to see if I could
I must confess that by this time I became a little mischiev-
ous, and pleaded with him not to set me preaching.
The more I plead to be excused, the more determined Mr.
Jackson was that I should preach. He took my valise, and
the landlady got me a good supper.
I sat down in a large hall to eat supper. Before I got
through, the room began to be filled by some of the rich and
fashionable of Memphis, dressed in their broadcloth and
silk, while my appearance was such as you can imagine, after
traveling through the mud as I had been.
When I had finished eating, the table was carried out of
the room over the heads of the people. I was placed in the
corner of the room, with a stand having a Bible, hymn book
and candle on it, hemmed in by a dozen men, with the land-
lord in the center.
There were present some five hundred persons who had
come together, not to hear a gospel sermon, but to have some
Now, boys, how would you like this position? On your
first mission, without a companion or friend, and to be called
upon to preach to such a congregation! With me it was
one of the most pleasing hours of my life, although I felt as
though I should like company.
I read a hymn, and asked them to sing. Not a soul would
sing a word.
I told them I had not the gift of singing; but with the
help of the Lord, I would both pray and preach. I knelt
down to pray, and the men around me dropped on their
knees. I prayed to the Lord to give me His Spirit and to
show me the hearts of the people. I promised the Lord in my
prayer I would deliver to that congregation whatever He
"Leaves From My Journal," p. 29, The Wilford Woodruff Papers, accessed January 27, 2022, https://wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/documents/8b2aa80a-b208-418b-81eb-43a596287c6f/page/9696c47e-c77c-4b98-870b-80a3679ec129