Dymock Village | Following Wilford Woodruff's Steps in England
Speaker: Peter Fagg
Videographer: James Dalrymple
Producer: Smith Family Foundation
We're sitting here in Dymock.
This was the home of a man called Thomas Kington. In 1812, there had been a group formed called the Primitive Methodists, who felt that the traditional Methodist church had fallen away and become too standardized from what John Wesley had founded in the 1700s. But by 1832, some 20 years later, he felt that had become too standardized as well.
What he was looking for is a more simplistic way of worship; that we still get dreams, we still get visions. We still have apostles and prophets. Returning to the nature of what the Bible really taught. And so he began to talk to likeminded individuals. And by the time Wilford Woodruff turns up here in 1840, he's organized 42 congregations scattered throughout three counties in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, and Worcestershire. He was, truly, a John the Baptist; he was a forerunner to the Restoration. Because of him, when Wilford Woodruff turns up here in 1840, we have about 600 people prepared to hear this gospel message.
In this village, we have one of the first recorded miracles. Wilford had gone up to the north and he brought back with him Brigham Young, and then Willard Richards joined them a bit later as well, and they all come here and they meet a family called the Pitts.
Now, William Pitt was the choir master of this church. He listened, he was converted, which caused a bit of problems with the church minister here now William's sister, Mary, had been sick for about 11 years, and for six of those she had been bedbound. Well, in steps Brigham Young, he gives her a priesthood blessing, and then Mary gets up, walks down the streets of Dymock here, unaided by any crutch. And of course, everybody who lives in this village knows Mary. And of course, many of, again, are warm to that and recognize it for what it was, a miracle of God. This minister's still not happy with this. He's now losing a choir master, he's seen other people in the village start to turn their hearts to this new message that's coming into his parish.
And a group is organized, they know where Wilford is preaching in one of the Dymock homes. And this gang gathers outside and they start to stone the building. They smash windows, they break some tiles. William Pitt actually goes outside from this cascade of stones to try and identify the local people, and years later at his funeral service, Wilford Woodruff talks about this brave moment when he courageously stepped out of his door as the house was being attacked.
So this was one of the main areas, and Thomas Kington soon began to prove that his leadership of creating the United Brethren now transferred over to being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.