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Wilford Woodruff's Witness The Development of Temple Doctrine

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About the book

Many existing books and articles discuss specific temple ordinances, but the historical development of all temple ordinances has never been included in a single volume -- until now. Wilford Woodruff's Witness provides new insight even to those who are very familiar with the history of the Restoration.

The account unfolds in Wilford Woodruff's own words, drawn from primary sources including his journals, discourses, and letters, and the narrative is augmented by 120 archival images, as well as extensive footnotes and citations allowing for further study.

This Enhanced Second Edition includes updated information and links to sources recently transcribed and published online at as part of the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project.


“I now have a much richer understanding of how the saints struggled to comprehend the greater light the Lord was trying to give them. Much of the wonderful insight we have today is the product of Wilford Woodruff's lifelong efforts to understand the will of God concerning the temple ceremony. Highly recommend this book.”

John Hamilton

“Even readers well-versed in the temple and its history will learn from Wilford Woodruff's Witness.”

Steven C. Harper

Professor of Church
History and Doctrine at BYU

“Those who read this book will have a better understanding of the development of modern temple worship and come away with an appreciation for those who, like President Woodruff, wore out their lives in making possible the temple blessings we enjoy today.”

Richard E. Turley, Jr.

Latter-Day Saint Historian

Wilford Woodruff's Witness is a fascinating work. It is a thorough and well-structured historical journey. I saw both the attorney and the historical researcher in the written word, yet the author treats a sacred subject with the proper sensitivity and reverence that it requires. The book’s content flows well to enlighten and leave no doubt as to the importance of the message.”

Alan H.

“Mackley organizes an immense amount of statistics, events, numbers, and peoples covering almost nine full decades. She then presents a compelling history, at times personally intense, of Wilford Woodruff and the Restoration with its myriad events and people.... Her narrative is easily delivered and easy to follow. Buy one for yourself and give copies as gifts for your friends because this is a serious book for serious scholars of the Restored Gospel.”

Melvin C. Johnson

Association for Mormon Letters

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Learn more about why Jennifer Ann Mackley wrote Wilford Woodruff's Witness.

About the Author

Jennifer Ann Mackley is a native of Seattle, Washington. Her curiosity about Wilford Woodruff's vision of the Founding Fathers in 1877 led to her 15-year odyssey researching Wilford's life within the context of LDS Church history.

In 2019 Jennifer co-founded the Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation with BYU professor Donald W. Parry to make all of Wilford Woodruff’s writing universally accessible online at Her hope in transcribing and publishing Wilford Woodruff's Papers is to help Church members and historians alike understand the importance of the temple and gain insights into the Restoration through Wilford's unique perspective of the revelatory process.

Prior to becoming Executive Director of the Foundation, she worked as an attorney for 25 years and formed Mackley & Mackley, PLLC with her husband Carter. They are the parents of three miraculous children.