"I Thank My Heavenly Father for the Preservation of My Life"

by Natalie Hancock

Wilford Woodruff was rescued after drowning in 30 feet of water, he survived a train crash, and he recovered after being crushed by a falling tree. Wilford also went through several other traumatic experiences that should have ended in his death.1

One such experience began on December 8, 1879, when Wilford woke up feeling very sick. To try to help with the pain, he put a flannel lined with brown paper, covered with lard and nutmeg, on his chest. Even though he was in pain, he spent his day working and writing letters. The next day he woke up still hurting. His throat felt raw, and he was coughing up blood. He was suffering with a severe bout of bilious colic. But thankfully, he was soon able to recover from this awful sickness.2

Even after all these experiences, Woodruff wrote in his journal on almost every birthday about how grateful he was for his life. On the birthday after he had bilious colic he stated in his journal, “I Wilford Woodruff am 73 years of age this day. I thank my Heavenly Father for the Preservation of my life for this long Period and for his blessings over me.”3 Instead of choosing to curse God for allowing him to go through so many hard times, he chose to remain constantly grateful and aware of the many miracles that preserved his life. We, like Wilford, can choose to be grateful this Thanksgiving even in the midst of the hard trials in our lives.

— Natalie Hancock, Editorial Assistant

Some original text has been edited for clarity and readability.

[1] “Wilford Woodruff's Miraculously Preserved Life,” Wilford Woodruff Papers, https://wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/timeline.

[2] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, December 8–11, 1879, pp. 462–463, Wilford Woodruff Papers, wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/journal/1879-12-08.

[3] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, March 1, 1880, p. 12, Wilford Woodruff Papers, wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/journal/1880-03-01