Jason Godfrey: Wilford Woodruff Strengthens My Testimony of Missionary Work and Family History

Videographer: Luke Hauver

Speaker: Jason Godfrey



My name is Jason Godfrey, and I am the letters team lead for the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project. 

Participating in the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project has allowed me to discover and learn more about my family history in ways that I wouldn't have been able to have learned about them before. During President Woodruff's ministry, he received thousands of missionary acceptance letters that were endorsed by bishops of those missionaries or a member of the bishopric.

I am blessed to have ancestors be among those bishops, including three of my third great grandfathers, Henry Ballard, Alonza Norton and William Griffin. John Jardine, my fourth great grandfather was also one of those bishops and Mariner Wood Merrill who served as an apostle during Wilford Woodruff's presidency is my third great grandfather.

As I've come to research and work intimately with these letters, I've been able to come across my ancestors' correspondence with Wilford Woodruff, and every time I am able to read them, my testimony of missionary work is strengthened.

One letter that is particularly special to me is the mission acceptance letter of my third great grandfather, George Godfrey, who was living in Cache Valley, Utah, and was responding to his mission call to serve in Great Britain in 1891. I'm not sure what the circumstances were for George, but instead of writing the letter himself, he had his Bishop, who was John Jardine, who was my fourth great grandfather, write the letter for him.

That letter is meaningful to me because it illustrates the faith and dedication my ancestors had to follow the prophet and to serve where and how they were needed. It's also special to me, as I too, was able to serve a mission in Great Britain, not too long ago. 

I'm grateful for the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project and I know that it's a meaningful endeavor as it's allowing not only the life records of Wilford Woodruff, but the records of people like my ancestors to be universally accessible. 

I have a testimony of this project and of our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of their love for each of us and I know that the experiences that we have in this life help us to come closer unto them and to our ancestors as well. I testify of that in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.