A Miraculous Request to President Wilford Woodruff – Saint George Temple 1877
President Ezra Taft Benson – Elder and later President of the Church
“Shortly after Spencer W. Kimball became President of the Church, we met together in one of our weekly meetings. We spoke of the sacred records that are in the vaults of the various temples of the Church. As I was soon to fill a conference assignment to St. George, President Kimball asked if I would go into the vault at the temple and check the early records. In so doing, I realized the fulfillment of a dream I had had ever since learning of the visit of the Founding Fathers to this sacred place. I saw with my own eyes the records of the work that was done for the Founding Fathers of this great nation, beginning with George Washington. I was deeply moved on that occasion to realize that these great men returned to this promised land by permission of the Lord and had their ordinance work done for them.” – The Faith of our Founding Fathers” p. 21
Malachi’s Prophecy 4:5-6
5 ¶ Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Wilford Woodruff – President of the Saint George Temple
“I will here say, before closing, that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead
gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, ‘You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.’ These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights.
I thought it very singular, that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them. The thought never entered my heart, from the fact, I suppose, that heretofore our minds were reaching after our more immediate friends and relatives.
I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McAllister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them.” – Journal of Discourses 19:228–29
James G. Bleak – Temple Recorder
“I was also present in the St. George Temple and witnessed the appearance of the spirits of the Signers…The spirits of the Presidents…And also others, such as Martin Luther and John Wesley…Who came to Wilford Woodruff and demanded that their baptism and endowments be done. Wilford Woodruff was baptized for all of them. While I and Brothers J.D.T. McAllister and David H Cannon (who were witnesses to the request) were endowed for them. These men…laid the foundation of this American Gov., and signed the Declaration of Independence and were the best spirits the God of Heaven could find on the face of the earth to perform this work. Martin Luther and John Wesley helped to release the people from religious bondage that held them during the dark ages. They also prepared the people’s hearts so they would be ready to receive the restored gospel when the Lord sent it again to men on the earth.” – Personal Journal of James Godson Bleak
The Eminent Women in the Painting
The Artist’s Thoughts:
Between August 21-23, the temple work was completed not only for the Founding Fathers and Eminent Men but for Eminent Women as well. While working on the painting depicting this sacred event, the artist felt impressed to include these noble women of faith who had given and sacrificed so much. As of this printing we have not yet found the record of the actual appearance of these women. However, the Saint George Temple records do show that the work was done in their behalf in the same time period. It is generally felt that if husbands and fellow peers were there, they also were likely present, even if not seen.