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"I Love to Hear Him Talk and Rehearse"

The Life and Teachings of Lorin C. Woolley

 by Brian C. Hales

Presented at the Mormon History Association, Provo, Utah 2003 

During the 1920s, Lorin C. Woolley became popular as a speaker among groups of individuals who disagreed with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  His greatest acceptance was among men and women who had been excommunicated for practicing polygamy.  On one occasion Joseph White Musser (1872-1954), a polygamist who had listened to him many times, recorded:  "I love to hear him talk and rehearse."[1]  During his lifetime, Lorin C. Woolley talked about important religious ideas and rehearsed many fascinating stories with his listeners. 

                       THE IMPORTANCE OF LORIN C. WOOLLEY 

Ever since President Joseph F. Smith restricted the practice of plural marriage in 1904, the banner for the continuation of polygamy outside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been carried by a number of interesting and dedicated individuals.  Many have served as leaders in their respective pseudo-church organizations.  These men and women have demonstrated sincerity, charisma and commitment to their cause.  They have endured persecution from members of the LDS Church and state governments even to the point of incarceration.  Notwithstanding, none of their contributions to the practice of modern polygamy compares with the offering presented by Lorin C. Woolley.  Through his claims and recollections, he provided his followers with access to a line of priesthood authority, ostensibly allowing them to seal plural marriages eternally.

It is estimated that up to ninety percent of polygamists across the Wasatch Front today trace their sealing authority through his alleged priesthood line.[2]  Included are the Kingstonites, the Apostolic United Brethren (leader Owen Allred) and the FLDS Church on the Utah-Arizona border. 

The Need For Legitimate Authority 

The Lord emphasized the need for proper authority: 

All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.  (D&C 132:7; italics added.)

Here the Lord identifies two important principles for anyone wishing to seal an eternal marriage, whether it is monogamist or polygamist.  First the marriage must be sealed by proper authority and second that authority is controlled by one man "on the earth at a time."

In the first 19 verses of section 132 the Lord refers to this one man four times (verses 7 - twice, 18 and 19).  The Lord explains why one man holds this power:  "Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion" (D&C 132:8, 18).  He also specifies what happens to a union that might be performed with the correct wording and sincerity, but without the authority controlled by the one man.  Such a marriage "is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory" (D&C 132:18; italics added).

Woolley's contribution to the modern polygamist movement was unique and immensely important because it alleged legitimate authority to perform valid plural marriages.  No other leader among the prominent polygamist groups has asserted anything even remotely as significant and Woolley's claims to sealing priesthood authority.  In addition, he had many other fascinating teachings and prophecies that have received little attention by even some of his current followers. 

Researching Lorin's History 

Despite the obvious importance of Lorin Woolley and his teachings, comparatively little contemporary historical information regarding his life and teachings is available.  Part of the reason for this may be due to the difficulties encountered researching his past.  The number of documents that shed light upon his life and accomplishments is apparently small.  He did not keep a journal and did very little writing of any kind.[3]  However, through secondary sources we can learn a great deal about his beliefs and recollections, which he related on numerous occasions.[4]

This article will attempt to better acquaint the reader with Lorin C. Woolley, his life and teachings.  It is separated into four sections: 

1.  His history as gleaned from contemporary sources.

2.  Several of his remarkable recollections concerning his own history.

3.  His many stories recounting personal association with immortal beings.

4.  Other fascinating teachings and prophecies. 


     Lorin C. Woolley was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 23, 1856 to John Wickersham Woolley and Julia Searles Ensign.[5]  He moved to Centerville, Utah in 1863,  where he attended Davis County Schools.  While growing up, Lorin helped with the chores on his father's farm and became an expert horseman.  Later he worked as a dairy farmer and reportedly kept his farm neat and orderly.

On January 5, 1883 Lorin married Sarah Ann Roberts in the Endowment House on Temple Square.[6]  Together they had nine children.[7]  As a father and husband, Lorin Woolley was supportive and caring.  As his children grew, he taught them gospel principles and encouraged them to support Church leaders.  Several of his children reported that they never heard him teach about polygamy or a need to practice plural marriage.[8]  Neither is there any record suggesting that his wife, Sarah, was involved with ideas he would actively promote in the 1920s.

While it is known that Lorin took Goulda Kmetzsch as a plural wife in 1932, there is no record or other historical evidence of him having entered into polygamy prior to that time.  Some authors have speculated that he may have married plural wives in the decades prior to 1932.  Candidates include four of his first cousins Alice, Viola, Lucy and Elnora Woolley.[9]  Some of Woolley's followers also suggest that he was married to a plural wife who lived in the Yucatan, Mexico.[10]  

Church Involvement

     Lorin was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 18, 1868 by his father.  Church records show that he was ordained an elder on March 10, 1873, at the age of sixteen by John Lyon.[11]

During the latter part of the 1880s, a number of the General Authorities of the Church went into hiding on the "underground" to avoid federal marshals.  Lawmen were on the lookout, seeking to arrest Church leaders on polygamy charges.  Between October of 1886 and February of 1887, Lorin was helpful to some of the brethren by serving as a mail carrier for them.  Samuel Bateman, one of the body guards of Church leaders during that period, recorded Lorin's participation with the Brethren in his journal:[12]

 "Loren [sic] C. Woolley went with the mail."  (21 October 1886)

 "At night we were all invited over to Lorin C. Woolley's to supper."  (1 November 1886)

 "At night Lorin Woolley went with the mail."  (19 November 1886)

 "D.R.B. [Daniel R. Bateman] and Lorin Woolley went to Bro Rouche's with the out-going mail."  (8 December 1886)

 "Lorin C. Woolley came with the mail at half past 12 o'clock."  (10 December 1886)

 "I went over to Lorin Woolley's.  Changed mail."  (25 December 1886)

"At night I went to the city, took the mail.  H. C. Birrell went with me.  Met B. Young [Brigham Young Jr.] at tithing office.  Stayed at Sister Burt's.  Met Sister Luke there, Lorin Woolley went in my place while I was gone."  (31 December 1886)

 "I sent Lorin Woolley with the mail to the city.  He got back a  little before 6 o'clock p.m.  His wife went with him."  (7 Janunary 1887)

 "All day at Do [Church President's hideout], reading, playing checkers Lorin Woolley, I beat...  Lorin Woolley came at 2 o'clock a.m.  Went away at night and took the mail."  (11 January 1887)

 "Lorin Woolley came this morning at one o'clock a.m."  (24 January 1887)

 "Lorin C. Woolley came at 1 o'clock."  (29 January 1887)

 "Lorin Woolley came at half past 5 o'clock a.m.  At night took the mail on horse back."  (3 February 1887)

 "At night I left G.Q.C. [George Q. Cannon] at the half-way house.  Lorin Woolley was to take him back.  Lorin had come down.  He had gone up to my place.  He brought the mail."[13]  (5 February 1887)

     It appears that Lorin gave valuable service to Church leaders during that tense period, even socializing with them at times.

Woolley served as a missionary in the Church's Southern States Mission from October 31, 1887 to October 6, 1889.[14]  Then after being ordained a Seventy and becoming a member of the Seventieth Quorum at Centerville, he served a second mission from December 23, 1896, to April 6, 1897.[15]  Those three and a half months were spent representing the Church in the Indian Territories.

In 1912, Lorin wrote an interesting account concerning John Taylor who had been staying at his father's home in September, 1886:

     In the latter part of September, 1886, the exact day being not now known to me, President John Taylor was staying at the home of my father, John W. Woolley, in Centerville, Davis County, Utah.

At the particular time herein referred to, President Taylor was in hiding (on the under-ground).  Charles H. Bearrell and I were the "guardsmen" on watch for the protection of the President.  Two were usually selected each night, and they took turns standing guard to protect the President from trespass or approaching danger.  Exceptional activity was exercised by the U.S. Federal Officers in their prosecutions of the Mormon people on account of their family relations in supposed violation of the Federal Laws.

Soon after our watch began, Charles H. Bearrell reclined on a pallet and went to sleep.  President Taylor had entered the south room to retire for the night.  There was no door-way entrance to the room occupied by President Taylor, except the entrance from the room occupied by the guardsmen.  Soon after 9 o'clock, I heard the voice of another man engaged in conversation with President Taylor, and I observed that a very brilliant light was illuminating the room occupied by the president.  I wakened Bearrell and told him what I had heard and seen, and we both remained awake and on watch the balance of the night.  The conversation was carried on all night between President Taylor and the visitor, and never discontinued until the day began to dawn -- when it ceased and the light disappeared.  We heard the voices in conversation while the conference continued and we saw the light.

My father came into the room where we were on watch, and was there when President Taylor came into the room that morning.  As the President entered the room he remarked, "I had a very pleasant conversation all night with the Prophet Joseph."  At the time President Taylor entered the room his countenance was very bright and could be seen for several hours after.  After observing that some one was in conversation with the President, I went out and examined all of the windows, and found them fastened as usual.

The brethren were considerably agitated about this time over the agitation about Plural Marriage, and some were insisting that the Church issue some kind of edict to be used in Congress, concerning the surrendering of Plural Marriage, and that if some policy were not adopted to relieve the strain the government would force the Church to surrender.  Much was said in their deliberations for and against some edict or manifesto that had been prepared, and at a meeting that afternoon, at which a number there were present and myself, I heard President Taylor say; "Brethren, I will suffer my right hand to be cut off before I will sign such a document."

I, Lorin C. Woolley, of Centerville, Utah, do hereby certify, that I have carefully made and read the foregoing statement of facts and the same is true to the best of my knowledge.  Dated this 6th day of October, 1912.


(signed)   Lorin C. Woolley[16]

     This document was recorded twenty-six years after the facts, but contains information and historical detail that is consistent with the time described. 

There is one important assertion recorded by Lorin that is unsupported by available records.  It involves his claims to have been a "body guard" to John Taylor.  The men known to have served as guards for President Taylor's party were chosen for their physical qualifications as well as for their courage and faithfulness.  Lorin Woolley was a small, frail man, with a physical stature generally felt to be unsuited for the duties of a bodyguard.  Neither are there any contemporary accounts suggesting that he possessed a reputation for courage and bravery.

The itinerary of President Taylor places him at the home of John W. Woolley from 12 October through 3 November of 1886.[17]  In addition, some Church members were aware of stories that were circulated in the mid 1880s saying that President Taylor had been visited by Joseph Smith while on the "underground." 

The journal of John Moon Clements records for 31 July 1886: "Went to the High Priests meeting held in the Font house.  Philo Dibble spoke of this being the resurrection day.  And that Joseph Smith had been to Prest John Taylor and conversed in his body with him about this crusade against us..."[18]  This visit may have occurred in the home of John Carlisle where John Taylor concealed himself several times in 1885 and early 1886.  It is believed by many in the Carlisle family that Joseph Smith appeared to John Taylor in the Carlisle Home while Alfred Carlisle, a son of John Carlisle, was standing guard.  Alfred Carlisle's niece recorded the story:

     One night he [Alfred Carlisle] was asked by President Taylor to stand guard at the upstairs bedroom where he was going to spend the night.  He entered the room alone and bolted the door from the inside.  It had a heavy bolt lock that was on the door many years later while I lived in the home.  During the night it sounded as if two people were talking in the room and when President Taylor came out alone the next morning my uncle told him about hearing voices.  He told him he had been conversing with the Prophet Joseph Smith.  He also showed my uncle the ugly scar on his body where he was wounded while in Carthage jail with the prophet.  My uncle felt these experience were given to him for a purpose so he could testify of what he had seen and heard.[19]

     The visitation Lorin mentioned in his 1912 account reportedly occurred at the home of his father, John W. Woolley, several months after the Carlisle visit.

 John Wickersham Woolley

     Lorin's father John Wickersham Woolley was born in 1931 to Edwin D. and Mary Wickersham Woolley.  He was acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith and was an active member of the Church, having served as a temple worker and later as a patriarch.  However, the elder Woolley did not support the Manifesto and was excommunicated from the Church in 1914 for performing plural marriages.  When questioned about his authority to seal those marriages, he told Church leaders that he believed he had authorization from the Church President through Matthias Cowley, a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve.  At his excommunication the elder Woolley wrote that Cowley had instructed him that if any good men came to him seeking the sealing of a plural marriage, he was not to "turn them down."[20]  This claim Cowley vehemently denied.[21]

The years following his excommunication found John desiring Church membership again.  He even asked his brother, George E. Woolley (Lorin's uncle) who was an active Church member to help.  Specifically, John asked George to approach some of the General Authorities on  his behalf to use his "influence in getting him back into the Church."[22]  John explained that he truly wanted to be reinstated and related how "he felt very keenly being on the outside of the Church" and that "he had suffered very much in his feelings" as a consequence of his excommunication.[23]

Shortly after John Woolley made this appeal to his brother, he was asked to dedicate the grave of his deceased sister-in-law Vinnie Woolley (Mary Lavina Bentley Woolley).  This request put him in a delicate position.  John did not want to further agitate Church leaders by claiming to use priesthood authority after his excommunication.  Yet, he also wanted to fulfill the petition to dedicate the grave.  The episode was described by George in a letter to his brother Orson who resided in Magrath, Canada:

I suppose you have read of the death of Vinnie, Gordon's wife.  She was buried Thursday from the 27th Ward Chapel.  I presume I got myself into bad repute with the sympathizers of our Bro. John.  At the conclusion of the services the Brother in charge announced that John Woolley would dedicate the grave.  It struck me as being out of place and wrong.  John had not heard the statement as he is hard of hearing and when on the outside of the chapel and the funeral procession was forming, Loren told John of the announcement.  Loren apparently being in harmony with same.  [Brother] Sell was at the funeral and I tried to find him and ask if he thought it was proper thing for John to do.  I could not locate him, however, and I felt some delicacy myself of broaching the matter to John, feeling that he might think me prejudiced.  I started to walk up to the cemetery which is just a very short distance from the 27th. Ward Chapel and over took Taylor Woolley.  I remarked that I hoped John would not dedicate the grave.  He wanted to know why.  I told him John had been in to see me within ten days and asked me if he dedicated the grave and the authorities heard of it would hinder any action they might feel disposed to takeThat John could not dedicate the grave by virtue of any priesthood he held and without the priesthood it would be no dedication.  At first Taylor thought I was wrong, but soon concluded that I was right and said he would go and speak to John.  He started but his courage oozed out and he said he would not.  The auto carrying John, Fannie, Rachel and Maria coming along just then I jumped on the step of the auto and asked John if he intended to dedicate the grave.  He said he did not want to but they had asked him and he didn't know what he would do.  I told him in my judgement, it would be a mistake and gave him my reason.  Fanny, Maria and Rachel thought it was awful of me to say such a thing.  That there could be no objection.  Seeing Loren, I dropped off and took the matter up with him.  He said he believed I was right but left it with his father.  Well, John dedicated (?) the grave [sic].  Did not do it by virtue of any priesthood...[24]

While the account is brief concerning Lorin's participation, it suggests that Lorin ultimately agreed with his Uncle George Woolley.  George believed that John might further compromise his efforts to regain his Church membership if he would fain claim to priesthood authority during the dedicatory prayer.  Apparently Lorin concurred and John complied, giving only a prayer.  Despite his submission in this instance, John Woolley was never reinstated and died in 1928 a nonmember.  Notwithstanding, Lorin taught in 1932 that his father through "the power of faith and the priesthood he held, called one of his wives up a resurrected being, some months before his death."[25] 


Lorin Woolley's excommunication occurred on January 15, 1924, six years after the described episode.  Polygamy was not the charge.  He was called up to a Church court for teaching "pernicious falsehoods."  The "falsehoods" included assertions that President Heber J. Grant and Apostle James E. Talmage had taken plural wives in the "recent past."[26]  Woolley claimed to have learned of these plural marriage through his activities as an agent of the Secret Service of the United States of America, declaring that he was commissioned in 1890 to spy on Church leaders and monitor their activities.  These claims are further examined later in this article.

Ultimately, President Heber J. Grant publicly denounced Woolley in the April 4th, 1931 morning session of General Conference saying:

One man by the name of Lorin C. Woolley said that Anthony W. Ivins and Heber J. Grant went to Los Angeles, that he followed them, that they went into a hotel and that Anthony W. Ivins married a plural wife to Heber J. Grant.

Anthony W. Ivins and Heber J. Grant were never in a hotel together in Los Angeles.  Heber J. Grant has never suggested to any human being during his entire administration as President of the Church that anybody should ever enter into plural marriage.  On the contrary, every man or woman who has ever opened his or her mouth to him on this subject he has taught to the contrary.[27]

Business Dealings with Nathaniel Baldwin

Besides his work maintaining a farm, Lorin Woolley also became involved in business ventures when they presented themselves.  Woolley's relationship with a man named Nathaniel Baldwin gives us some insight into Lorin's commercial pursuits.

Nathaniel Baldwin was a prominent Utah inventor during the 1920s.  His successes included "Baldy Phones," headphones used to listen to the radio receivers of the period.[28]  Baldwin possessed a strong personality and appears to have been involved in post-manifesto polygamy resulting in his excommunication from the Church in December of 1921.  For decades prior, he had openly sympathized with several prominent apostates, helping them publish their views.[29]

Baldwin's relationship with Lorin C. Woolley began on August 28, 1921 when Baldwin attended a meeting of individuals who had been cut off "for practicing plural marriage."[30]  Woolley was one of the notable speakers.  Baldwin listened to Lorin speak again in September and heard "remarkable testimonies"[31] and in October he wrote of the "very interesting accounts of strange happenings"[32] that Woolley had related.   He listened to Lorin speak several times during the next few months and even went with him to Alpine and Salem, Utah seeking gold and buried records.[33]

The religious association between Woolley and Baldwin expanded into a business relationship by April of 1922.  Baldwin recorded that he "called on Lorin C. Woolley in evening.  He advised letting a home company have the work on royalty."[34]  By June of that year, Woolley was a member of the board of directors of the Omega Investment Company,[35] which was a parent company to his other radio corporations.  The Omega Board of directors would meet each Thursday night and generally discuss religious topics.  In July, Woolley "came to stay a few days and look around the [radio manufacturing] shop and observe with the object of offering suggestions."[36]

It is unclear exactly what impact Lorin C. Woolley's leadership had on Baldwin's business ventures, if any.  His overall influence might actually have been minimal if Lorin had not teamed up with his cousin, Ernest R. Woolley[37] to play an expanded role in the development of Baldwin's businesses.

The Baldwin radio products had sold well up through the latter part of 1922, but competition set in and by November of that year, cash flow problems had begun to appear.  Baldwin wrote on November 7, "the situation is serious."  Notwithstanding, he was able to keep his business afloat for over a year before disaster was imminent.

Ernest R. Woolley was known as a man of affluence.  Whether he really had much wealth is subject to speculation, but it is clear he knew how to manipulate business transactions to his advantage.  Baldwin first met Ernest in January of 1924 and shortly thereafter was warned of a "scheme of Ernest Woolley to get in on our business" by a Judge Stewart.  But Nathaniel passed it off as simply "hearsay."[38]

By August of 1924, Baldwin's financial problems had worsened and he was required to seek a $50,000 loan from Continental National Bank, but Ernest offered to lend the same amount.  The entry in Baldwin's journal for August 9 reads:  "Lorin C. [Woolley] and I met with Ernest Woolley who wants to take over our entire sales business.  He also consented to lend us $50,000 whether he gets the sales business or not."

On the 15th, Baldwin and Lorin went to visit Ernest Woolley only to discover that Ernest did not have the money, but he thought he could get it through previous sugar-related deal.  Between August 15th and September 10th, Ernest made multiple assurances concerning the promised loan, but was unsuccessful in every case.  He laid the blame upon Church opposition, an excuse that Baldwin readily accepted.  On September 11th, Ernest pledged $40,000, which he sought to raise through a property mortgage.  This also failed.

In the mean time, the financial woes of the Baldwin Radio Companies continued to worsen and he was faced with being thrown into receivership.  His fear of receivership prompted him to grant a number of contracts to Ernest Woolley that would supposedly prevent a court appointed receiver from taking full control of the companies.  However, the contracts also gave Ernest Woolley significant control.  "t the time, Ernest was promising money from one source or another to meet Baldwin's needs.  It apparently seemed logical to Baldwin to allow Ernest Woolley, an expected financial backer, to gain some control over the companies.  Concerning the actual signing of some of the contracts, Baldwin recorded: "Ernest brought me back home again.  John T. Clark[39] and Lorin C. Woolley came out also.  I finished up the contract.  John T. Clark suggested that we make it for 5 years instead of 2 years and so to be contrary I made it for 10 years."[40]    

In spite of Ernest's formal association with Baldwin's corporations, he still did not provide any of the loan money promised.  Financial difficulties worsened and Baldwin found himself in receivership on October 8th.  On October 14th, Nathaniel met with John T. Clark, Lorin C. and Ernest Woolley.  "Went to city in afternoon expecting to get about $8000.00 from Ernest R. Woolley to relieve the strained situation with the Omega Co. and the Farmington Mining Co. etc.  Nothing produced because impatient and doubtful [sic].  The question arises as to whether some of the men are sincere.  Some things look suspicious.  Maybe they (Ernest and Lorin) are purposely letting me get in distress to get a stronger hold.  I hope it is a false suspicion and that I may be forgiven."[41]    

The receiver indeed attempted to evade the contracts made with Ernest Woolley, but Ernest had used stratagem in his own business maneuvers.  "Ernest reported that a receivership for the Nathaniel Baldwin Sales Co. had been applied for and granted by Judge Richie in a manner similar to that of the Incorporated.  This would destroy Ernest's contracts and placed us all at the mercy of the receivers; but -- anticipating such a move Ernest organized a Nathaniel Baldwin Sales Company at New York under the laws of Delaware and transferred to them all his contracts with us, and this was done legally more than a week ahead of their movement."[42]

Initially Ernest Woolley's tactics may have appeared desirable to Baldwin, but soon he became concerned about whether Ernest was a true friend or not.  He confided in his journal of November 8th, "The question is how to get away from the tie up with Ernest Woolley.  He may be all right but still there is a question."

During the latter part of November, Lorin and Ernest Woolley went to Chicago, Illinois to work a "deal" that would result in financial relief for the companies.  On December 16, Nathaniel "sent a telegram to Lorin requesting full particulars of their doings, but never received them."   The next day he recorded:  "Went to city to answer a telegram from Lorin which was difficult to understand.  Received word that the money was ready and that Ernest and Lorin would soon be on the way home."

After returning from Chicago, Ernest told Baldwin on December 22nd that "he has raised the money to remove the receiver."  Nevertheless, no money was presented and two days later Ernest Woolley made a speech asking for one half interest in the business.  Baldwin recorded, "Some gall!"[43] but ultimately acquiesced to Ernest's demands.

Nathaniel Baldwin eventually concluded that Ernest Woolley, with Lorin's help, had conspired against him to break his companies.  Baldwin ultimately file a lawsuit against Ernest, but the companies went into the hands of Banker's Trust Company, a court appointed receiver, anyway.  The new owners quickly reshuffled personnel and began to operate at a profit.[44]

It is unclear exactly how much Lorin C. Woolley was involved with the doings of his cousin, Ernest R. Woolley, though he was clearly positioned to understand what was going on.  It is equally difficult to know the level of sincerity possessing both men as they, at least vocally, attempted to support Baldwin's flailing companies.  Nathaniel Baldwin, however,  believed the worst and wrote a paper he entitled "The Woolley Steal."  He also felt Lorin Woolley to be an integral part of the alleged plot because he recorded several times in his journal that he had been working on "the story of Lorin Woolley in the 'Woolley Steal'."[45]  Baldwin had little use for Lorin C. Woolley or his claims after this episode.

Interestingly, a few weeks after Lorin's death, Nathaniel Baldwin's son Nathan confessed a belief in Woolley's teachings.  On 30 November 1834 Joseph Musser recorded in his journal: "This morning Nathan Baldwin came in the office and related a dream he had recently which convinced him that Lorin C. Woolley held the keys to priesthood as claimed, and that he was a truthful and righteous man.  He had been led to believe him to be the opposite in view of [indecipherable] integrity by Nathaniel's father.  He said he was now going to try and get his father in shape." 


The preceding review of Lorin Woolley's life is incomplete by any standard.  However, it reveals a man who was hard-working and generally respected by his peers.  He demonstrated his support of the Church and its leaders by serving as a missionary twice and carrying the mail for those in hiding in the 1880s.  He manifested his faith by being married in the Endowment House and appears to have sustained the Church as late as 1918.  As a father and husband he was supportive of his wife and children.

During the 1920s Lorin C. Woolley shared with his listeners many details of his life that are difficult to document, but nevertheless intriguing.  For example, he taught that he was a thirty-third degree Mason of the Scottish Rites Lodge, Washington, D.C. and only one of eight thirty-third degree Masons in all of New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and St. Louis.[46]  We will briefly examine a few more of these:

1.  Lorin's ordination as an apostle

2.  Recollections of exceptional events on September 26-27th 1886, including an 8-hour meeting and his reception of extraordinary priesthood authority to seal marriages

3.  Lorin Woolley and the 1890 Manifesto

4.  His commission as a spy for the Church and U.S. Government

5.  Defending Matthias Cowley and Church Leaders

Lorin's Priesthood Ordination

In 1922 Lorin taught that he became an elder in 1879 at age 13 and was later ordained an apostle.  On April 9, Joseph Musser recorded: "Brother Woolley was ordained an Elder at the age of 13, and was ordained an Apostle by President John Taylor and Geo. Q. Cannon."

Some confusion exists concerning the alleged ordination because in 1929 Lorin taught that Brigham Young, not John Taylor and George Q. Cannon, had given him his ordination to be an apostle.  "[Lorin] stated, March 20, 1870, I was called by President Brigham Young to receive my endowments and was ordained an Apostle by Pres. Young.  Among other things he stated, 'You will yet be called to an important position in the Church...'"[47]

 There is no known record supporting this claim.  Charles Zitting, a polygamist leader after 1930, listened to Woolley teach on numerous occasions.  He believed that Lorin's original priesthood ordination came "from John Lyon."[48]

Recollections of an 1886 Meeting and Ordination

Without a doubt, the most significant teaching Woolley ever shared was an expanded account of the 1912 incident quoted above.  In 1929 Musser and others encouraged Lorin to write down more of the details of the experiences that he had been relating to them for several years.  Particularly there was a desire to have a "statement for future generations"[49] regarding Lorin's experiences with John Taylor in September, 1886.  Lorin declined to write anything, but encouraged Musser to compose a statement that he would sign.

A review of Musser's journal entries suggests that much of the account was compiled from teachings that Joseph had recorded from both Lorin and Daniel R. Bateman in 1922.[50]  Also included is information Musser received second hand from the charismatic John T. Clark concerning Lorin's teachings.[51]  In addition, Musser met with Woolley at least four times in September and October of 1929 specifically to "go over" the statement.[52]  When completed, Lorin placed his signature upon it.  Over the past few decades it has been reprinted multiple times in fundamentalist publications and has been analyzed by both supporters and critics.[53] 

This 1929 account contains many more particulars regarding the alleged events of September 26-27, 1886.  One added detail includes an eight hour meeting occurring the next day Monday, September 27th.  Lorin recalled, "We had no breakfast, but assembled ourselves in a meeting.  I forget who opened the meeting.  I was called to offer the benediction.  I think my father, John W. Woolley, offered the opening prayer...  The meeting was held from about nine o'clock in the morning until five in the afternoon without intermission, being about eight hours in all."[54]  Lorin reported that during that meeting, John Taylor made several prophesies and received a revelation.[55]

Most importantly, Woolley spoke of special ordinations given during that meeting wherein he and four others received authority to continue plural marriage. 

 He [John Taylor] called five of us together: Samuel Bateman, Charles H. Wilkins, George Q. Cannon, John W. Woolley, and my self.  He then set us apart[56] and place us under covenant that while we lived we would see to it that no year passed by without children being born in the principle of plural marriage.  We were given authority to ordain others if necessary to carry this work on, they in turn to be given authority to ordain others when necessary, under the direction of the worthy senior (by ordination), so that there should be no cessation in the work....

John Taylor set the five mentioned apart and gave them authority to perform marriage ceremonies, and also to set others apart to do the same thing as long as they remained on the earth... 

Within these two paragraphs we find perhaps the most important assertion Lorin Woolley or any other Mormon fundamentalist has ever shared.  Earlier we reviewed the importance of the proper authority in sealing plural marriages.  If the details presented are true, Woolley is describing a legitimate connection to the keys of sealing then held by John Taylor.

This account, however, is not without its problems.  Is the "worthy senior" mentioned also the "one man on earth at a time" who is anointed and appointed to hold the keys of sealing as described by Joseph Smith in D&C 132?  Or is this group and the "worthy senior" somehow independent of that "one man"?  Likewise, are these men authorized to perform plural marriages once John Taylor has died or do they need to consult the next President of the High Priesthood (senior apostle) for permission?  Other questions emerge regarding the fact that Lorin's testimony is the only one in existence attesting to these important ordinations[57] and  problems with "secret ordinations."[58]

A brief examination of the other four men does little to clarify the possibility that they were set apart with special sealing authority in 1886.  Samuel Bateman was a powerfully built man who had led the first platoon under Captain Lot Smith in the guerrilla action against the invading U.S. Army in 1857.  He worked as an assistant to famed Orrin Porter Rockwell. Israel Bennion referred to Rockwell and Samuel Bateman as "keepers of the peace who filled the gap between no control and the control of law and order which slowly developed" in the Utah territory.[59]  Later he served as a member of the Salt Lake City police force and also was know to accompany Brigham Young on his tours throughout the territory.[60]   An investigation into his life reveals nothing to support that he ever performed marriages of any kind.  Records show that he was an active Church member who felt a special "power" come over him during the October Conference when the 1890 Manifesto was presented.  That "power" compelled him to sustain it.[61] 

Samuel Bateman's son Daniel, was an avid supporter of Lorin Woolley during the 1920s and 1930s.  Ironically, Daniel reported that his father never taught him about the need to continue plural marriage after the Manifesto, nor about an 1886 ordination giving him authority to seal plural marriages.  Daniel and his father were very close, living only a short distance from each other for many years after 1886.[62]  If the elder Bateman held some kind of lofty priesthood power, by his son's own admission, he was very successful in hiding it from his own family.[63]  Daniel reported that he learned of his father's priesthood ordination from a friend who told him about it years after his father's death.[64]

Charles H. Wilkins Wilcken was also a large man, a veteran of the German army who had been decorated with the Iron Cross for bravery on the battlefield.  He came to Utah with General Albert Sidney Johnston's invading army in 1858 and was converted to the gospel.  He then attached himself to Brigham Young as his devoted protector. Following Young's death in 1877, his allegiance shifted to George Q. Cannon and President John Taylor.[65]  While less is known about him, nothing has been identified to date to suggest he performed plural marriages or had received the commission and authority Woolley would claim for him after his death.

George Q. Cannon was ordained an apostle in 1886.  As an apostle, it seems that he could not have gained any new authority or keys through the ordination described by Lorin Woolley.  Brigham Young taught:  "The High Priesthood, and the Lesser Priesthood, and all the Priesthood there is are combined, centered in, composed of, and circumscribed by the apostleship"[66] that Cannon already held.

John W. Woolley is the only one of the five men, besides Lorin, who was still alive during the 1920s when the younger Woolley taught of 1886 ordinations.  John was in his nineties at the time and was quite hard of hearing.[67]  He indeed performed plural marriages before and after his excommunication in 1914.  We recall that during his excommunication trial, when questioned about his authority, John Woolley assumed authorization through a comment from Matthias Cowley.  We also noted that John later attempted to regain his Church membership.  Fundamentalists may assert that these behaviors were simply antics to conceal his higher priesthood calling.

Much discussion has occurred regarding this eight hour meeting.  Five journals are believed to exist covering those dates.  They were kept by: Samuel Bateman, George Q. Cannon, the First Presidency, L. John Nuttall and John Taylor.  The latter two are not available[68] but the first three have been published and contain nothing to suggest a meeting was held that day.[69]  Many fundamentalists believe that do to the secret nature of the things presented in the meeting, references to it in personal journals would have been inappropriate.

B. Harvey Allred, father of Rulon C. Allred, is often listed as a witness, though he was not physically present that day.  He claimed to have seen a portion of that meeting in a "vision of the event,"[70] which was given to him as he wrote his popular, A Leaf In Review.[71]

Regardless, by far the most significant element associated with the eight hour meeting on 27 September 1886 was the claims to authority to seal plural marriages. 

Lorin Woolley and the Manifesto 

Another closely related story told by Lorin concerns his first hand knowledge of the 1890 Manifesto and the activities surrounding it.  In 1922, Musser recorded that Lorin "said he knew the Manifesto, because he helped to make it, and cited reasons for knowing that it had not been kept by the leading authorities."[72]  Despite this claim, none of the contemporary journal entries mention Lorin Woolley as having any influence with Church leaders in the 1890 period.

At one point in 1930, Woolley told Joseph Musser another story regarding his involvement with the 1890 Manifesto.  Lorin explained that he had received an "appointment to a special mission by Pres. Snow to middle west states to allay prejudice after Manifesto was issued."[73]  Since Lorin claimed to have received a commission in 1886 to continue plural marriage and had taught that the Manifesto was uninspired, his willingness "to allay prejudice" in the "middle west states" after it was issued was confusing to Musser.  Joseph identified an apparent contradiction and questioned Lorin concerning it.  He wrote: "This appointment appeared to conflict with that given by Pres. Taylor previously, but as a matter of fact there was no conflict as all parties understood the situation." [74]  Lorin's explanation at that time seems to have satisfied Musser. 

Lorin Woolley as a Spy 

     One intriguing claim that Lorin made on several occasions involved his work as a spy.  "In 1874, at the age of 18, Lorin C. Woolley was set apart by Brigham Young to learn of and keep track of activities pertaining to the battle for and against the fullness of the gospel, including Plural Marriage.  This was necessary for the protection of the saints who were trying to keep the Lord's commandments."[75]  Moroni Jessop reported that "Porter Rockwell, who as also working on the underground for the Kingdom of God, died June 9, 1878.  Lorin C. Woolley then took his place."[76]

Apparently Lorin also worked as a government agent.  Fred Cleveland recalled in 1965 that "Lorin Woolley explained that he was brought into the Secret Service by President Theodore Roosevelt and worked up to the position of Major."[77]  Reportedly some of his duties included spying on Church leaders.[78]  He explained that he "had been a government official and as such had learned many things about the brethren who are now so pronounced against the principle of plural marriage."[79]

It was claims such as these that eventually led to his excommunication.  In a letter to a stake president dated January 18, 1924, Elder James E. Talmage of the Quorum of the Twelve wrote:

I think you should be informed of the fact that this Lorin C. Woolley has been brought to trial before the High Council of South Davis Stake, aided by the advisory assistance of the Twelve through myself, and that on Tuesday last he was excommunicated from the Church, having been found guilty of pernicious falsehood.

As testified to by witnesses, he had repeatedly stated that in his capacity as an officer of the United States Government Secret Service, he had trailed certain of the leading authorities of the Church, and knew of their having been guilty of violating the Church rule and law against the practice of plural marriage.  Last night I had conversation with the Chief of the United States Government Secret Service, and he positively denies that Lorin C. Woolley was connected with that service in any capacity whatsoever; and, moreover, he further intimated that he may have to proceed against Woolley for making any such claim.[80] 

If Lorin had actually been employed by the government as some kind of secret agent, officers in the various agencies might not actually be aware of his service, or possibly they would deny his association to maintain his cover.[81]  Nevertheless, since the Secret Service at that time was dedicated to protecting government leaders and prosecuting counterfeiters, it is strange to learn that he, as one of their agents, would be commissioned to monitor the activities of individuals suspected of other crimes such as polygamy, which normally would fall to the FBI.

Regardless, Moroni Jessop wrote: "Lorin was selected when a young man to join the secret service of the United States, and became before his death, on of the greatest mortal detectives in modern times.  He told me while working for him and living with him of many dangerous exploits he had."[82]

Woolley Claims to Have Helped Church Leaders

     Up until the mid-1920s, Matthias Cowley[83] befriended various polygamists like Joseph Musser.  Whether Lorin and Elder Cowley were ever close acquaintances is unclear.  However, Woolley asserted that he had used his influence with Anthony Ivins, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to benefit Cowley during Cowley's Church trial in 1911.  Ivins discussed these claims with Nathaniel Baldwin in 1922.  Baldwin recalled that President Ivins "tried to convince me that the stories told by Lorin C. Woolley regarding the authorized continuance of plural marriage were lies.  Said he had not performed any such ceremonies since Pres. Smith forbade him in 1904.  Said he was not acquainted with Lorin Woolley, that the Quorum of Apostles had not been divided in Brother Cowley's case, that Lorin Woolley had not persuaded him to stand up for Brother Cowley, that he had done that himself without any such persuasion, and that Brother Cowley had not been on trial for his fellowship.[84]

Two years later Nathaniel recorded other interesting assertions suggesting that Church leaders were pleading for Lorin's assistance: "Lorin C. Woolley reports that brethren from high stations in the church have pleaded with him not to have the matter between Ernest Woolley and the banks go to the courts because if it does it will go to the Federal Courts and will not likely stop with financial matters but that other matters which Lorin says are true may be proved and the church authorities may be discredited by the people of the Church and may lose their lives.  Some remarkable confessions."[85]

Polygamist follower Rhea Kunz reported that  "Lorin personally told me and others that Heber J. Grant had offered to buy an island off the Pacific coast on which to transplant us [polygamists] in a body.  Brother Lorin told us that he replied to them, 'This is the place where this issue must be fought out and this principle established'."[86]


On numerous occasions Lorin Woolley shared with his audiences experiences that invariably placed him in the presence of resurrected and translated beings.  Lorin was a popular speaker at funerals, possibly due his willingness to share veil-rending experiences.  In the following accounts, the angelic beings are marked in bold.

Woolley is Transported to Mexico

On several occasions Lorin related stories that involved a Lamanite prophet living in the Yucatan, Mexico.  In 1931 he shared:  "A Lamanite Prophet is laboring among the Lamanites in Yucatan, [and has] been laboring there about eight months.  The three Nephites are laboring among the Lamanites of South and Central America and Mexico."[87]  He also taught that he had visited the Lamanite prophet.

One night when Woolley was staying at the home of J. Leslie Broadbent, he reported that he had "been visited by one of the three Nephite apostles and conversed from one half to three quarters of an hour with him:"

[Woolley] was conducted by him to a Temple in the Yucatan, South America [sic], that was built shortly after the days of the Savior in mortality.  It was about the size and architectural design as the Salt Lake Temple.  No ordinance work is being done in it, but apparently three Lamanite Chiefs have charge of it.  It is immaculately kept clean, its location is not known by the natives generally.  One of the chiefs spoke of having seven wives and another five.  It took about two hours from the time Lorin left his home until his return.  He was sleeping with John Y. Barlow and during the night was seen to be missing by a member of the household who looked into the room.


While Lorin was there he was introduced to a congregation of about 300 people, who were awaiting instructions on the Gospel.  Some had become dissatisfied because of the attitude of the brethren here, talking one thing for white man and another for the Lamanite.  Lorin was previously taken there and introduced to the leader by the Prophet Joseph Smith, under the direction of the Lord...

Nephi was the name of Apostle who came for Lorin.[88] 

Another account gives additional details: "Lorin Woolley explained that he was taken to a city of white Nephites, secreted in a jungle area in the Yukatan [sic] peninsula.  He explained that when he was first taken there, he found them living the fullness of the gospel, including plural marriage.  They had a temple and were very industrious, delightsome and righteous people."[89]

Some Mormon fundamentalists believe that Lorin gave his priesthood keys to a Lamanite prophet living there in the Yucatan.  These "independent" fundamentalists reject the idea that a Lorin's authority was passed on to the likes of John Y. Barlow, Joseph W. Musser, Rulon Allred, Rulon Jeffs or Eldon Kingston. 

 On April 7th, 1932, according to Lorin Woolley's testimony, he was visited in the night by an angel of the Lord, who conducted him to the southern end of Old Mexico, to a holy city of white Indians, or Nephites, well concealed on a high plateau of a great jungle vastness.  He found them with their temple and a quorum of twelve, living the fullness of the gospel to perfection.

Under the direction of this angel, Lorin C. Woolley conferred all the priesthood keys which he held upon the head of their senior chief apostle, -- the mighty and wise prophet, known better in holy writ as the Branch.

Two years later, on Sept. 19, 1934, Lorin C. Woolley passed away, thereby making the transfer of seniority to this great Branch Prophet complete.[90] 

Not all listeners agreed in their recollections of Woolley's claims concerning his trip to the Yucatan.  Decades later Nathaniel Baldwin wrote the following in his journal: 

In the afternoon I visited I.W. Barlow and asked him to tell me again about Lorin Woolley's statement about taking certain keys to the Indians in Mexico.  As well as I remember he told me years ago that at one meeting at Broadbent's house Lorin said that he was taken there by a relative in a flying machine and that at a later meeting at the same place, Lorin (evidently reconsidering and seeing there was not time to go there in a flying machine in the short time he was away) told the story differently by saying he was taken there by some of the three Nephites.[91] 

A Lofty Council Convenes on Lorin's Behalf 

Another story often related by Lorin Woolley involved the visit of Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith and John Taylor: 

While on his mission to the Indian Territory[94] at the age of about thirty, Lorin C. Woolley became seriously sick and his life was despaired of.  His missionary companion had no faith in his recovery.

He had been seriously sick for some days.  When in this condition four personages came to his room and stood by his bed.  He was lying with his head to the north, the foot of the bed being to the south.  These personages stood from left to right, from the position he was lying.  The first one he did not know: the second was Joseph Smith; the third Brigham Young, an the fourth John Taylor.

     Some years pervious, President Young had blessed Brother Woolley and made certain promises to him.  (Among other blessings received, he was ordained an Apostle at the age of thirteen.)  After that, President John Taylor, having chosen Bro. Woolley for a hazardous undertaking which greatly endangered his life, and which contemplated his coming to Salt Lake and getting a certain man who was an official of the Church out at that time surrounding the house, and giving Bro. Woolley a promise which was, "You shall yet live to become great and mighty in the Church and Kingdom of God."

These four persons were discussing Bro. Woolley's condition.  It seemed that his grandfather, Bishop Edwin D. Woolley, wanted him in the spirit world to help perform a certain work, and in anticipation of this want Bro. Woolley was supposed to be on his death-bed.  John Taylor and Brigham Young were pleading his cause, saying that certain promises had been made to him, and he was clinging to those promises.

He had previously, by the way, told the Elders who administered to him, but who had no faith in his recovery, that he would recover because he had had certain promises made to him that had not yet been fulfilled.  He knew he would get well.

It was this subject that was being discussed between the four personages.  Bro. Woolley heard the discussion.  The Elders in the room did not hear it, but they felt impressed with what they later described as the presence of angels or heavenly beings.

The argument was, Brother Edwin D. Woolley wants him on the other side and the answer was that we have made certain promises to him that he is clinging to.  Finally the question was asked, "Hasn't Bro. Woolley someone else he can use as well as Lorin?"  The answer was "Yes, Bert.  (Henry Alberta Woolley, a son of Edwin D. Woolley.)  He is qualified and can do the work."  Finally the personage Bro. Woolley did not know definitely, but who he assumed to be the Lord Jesus Christ, turned to Joseph Smith and told him to take this other man and leave Brother Woolley here.

Joseph Smith then instructed Bro. Taylor along similar lines.  John Taylor then went around the brethren over to the head of the bed, and placed his hands on Bro. Woolley, which  he felt and asked, "Boss, who is the other party:"  and as he looked around while asking the question the three had disappeared, then as he looked in the direction of John Taylor, whose hands had been on his head, he had also disappeared, and that was the end of the vision.

Brother Woolley immediately arose and was healed.  Those who were in the room said that they felt the presence of heavenly beings and heard Bro. Woolley talk and ask the question, but they did not hear the voices of heavenly beings.[95] 

Visions of the Savior, Deceased Church Leaders, His Father and Others 

Lorin C. Woolley recalled having seen a resurrected John Taylor on several different occasions.  The first was mentioned above.  A second comes from the journal of Nathaniel Baldwin: "[Brother Woolley] spoke of the resurrection, he being a witness, having seen and shaken hands with John Taylor two years after his death."[96]  Still another account includes the participation of Lorin's father, John Woolley and John Taylor: 


[Lorin C. Woolley] had met the Savior, Brigham Young, John Taylor, since the death of the two latter; also Joseph Smith, and had heard the voice of his father since his death.

Joseph Smith and John Taylor had visited him at his father's home, before his father's death,[97] and after he had been handled,[98] and through the mouth of John Taylor, he was comforted and instructed.

Later when he prayed for light regarding the publishing of a certain book[99] by one of the Brethren, he was told by the voice of his father under the direction of Joseph Smith, that his mission was not to set the Church in order, but to do what he was set apart to do.  The book was not published.[100] 

The timing of this visitations suggests that it may have been a third visitation of John Taylor.  Lorin gave recollections of other visits from deceased father: 

Lorin Told us of five separate visits that his father had made to him in the first 3 1/2 years after his father's death.  About two weeks after his death, John Woolley first visited Lorin who stated that his father was then resurrected.  In the four subsequent visits over a 3 1/2 year period of time, with each succeeding visit John Woolley seemed to be about ten years younger than in the last visit, until in the fifth visit he appeared to be in the "prime of life," about 45 years of age and much lighter in weight than in his later years.  Lorin said that John looked just as he did in mortality at that age, as pertains to his physical vitality and body weight.[101] 

On 23 April 1930, Joseph Musser recorded an additional teaching of Lorin C. Woolley that implied personal knowledge of a resurrected Wilford Woodruff: "[Lorin C. Woolley] averred that Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and, of course, Joseph Smith, had been resurrected, and that Joseph Smith, in resurrected form, had led the people to these mountains in 1847."[102]

One very interesting reference related by Lorin in 1933 includes a resurrected Joseph F. Smith (who died in 1918): "Joseph F. Smith was resurrected.  Seen in the Temple within the last two years, and shook hands with certain parties."[103]  Since Lorin was excommunicated in 1924, it seems unlikely that he would have been welcomed in the Salt Lake Temple after 1931 when this allegedly occurred.[104]  Perhaps it was all seen in vision.

The earliest known record of Woolley's claims to interaction with resurrected beings was recorded in 1897 by Andrew Kimball.  Andrew Kimball was Lorin's Mission President while he was serving a mission to the Indian Territories.  He recorded: "Priesthood meeting at 10 and instructed the Elders.  Elders Knight and Woolley also spoke.  Afternoon meeting at one. Elder Woolley testified that he knew that the Prophets Joseph, Brigham and Heber lived for he had seen them as they appeared to Prest. John Taylor in Bro. John Woolley's house."[105]  This account is distinct for two reasons.  First it shows that Lorin was sharing his remarkable claims long before the 1920s.[106]  Second, it is the only known account that includes mention of Heber C. Kimball.  Woolley's testimony undoubtedly impressed his mission president who was Heber's son.

Lorin's also shared his experiences meeting Jesus Christ.  Rhea Allred Kunz Baird remembered in 1972 that "Lorin plainly told us that he had seen and talked with the Savior on the temple grounds at conference time more than once when He came to see for himself what was happening."[107]  Harold Allred related in 1965: "Lorin C. Woolley, Joseph F. Smith, George Q. Cannon, and John W. Woolley met the Savior in Farmington Canyon.  The appointment was for 11:00.  Lorin C. Woolley asked what time it was.  One of them looked and said it was 10:59.  Then at exactly 11:00 the Savior walked up from the woods and met them."[108]  On another occasion "Lorin C. Woolley said to some friends that the remark about Jesus never laughing was not true, 'For, I have seen him laugh.'"[109]

                      OTHER TEACHINGS OF LORIN C. WOOLLEY 

Lorin's listeners recorded other enlightening teachings over a wide range of topics. 

The "Grand Council of the Kingdom" 

Several accounts record Lorin C. Woolley speaking about a "Grand Council of the Kingdom of God" whose membership included "honorable men of the earth"[110] and was organized in 1843-44.[111]  In this regard, Woolley's "Grand Council of the Kingdom" is similar to the Council of Fifty organized by Joseph Smith in 1843.[112]  Lorin taught: 

The Grand Council of Kingdom of God has been attended by such men as Boneparte, Gladstone and Disraeli in order to get their views and purposes of government, and the reasons for doing certain things.  These men had as their ideal the attainment of the Kingdom of God.[113] 

On 30 July 1931, Woolley also told Joseph Musser that his father, A. Milton Musser, "was a member of the Grand Council of the K[ingdom] of G[od]."  Such members are selected by Jesus Christ himself and annointed by him."[114]  Lorin also instructed: "W[ilford] W[oodruff was] tried and dropped from Grand Council and forfeited the keys, nor for issuing the Manifesto, but for betrayal of trust - forsaking his family.  Selected his last wife - the younger one to live with and abandoned the others."[115]  "Neither Orson Hyde or [sic] Orson Pratt were members of the G[rand] C[ouncil] of K[ingdom] of G[od]."[116]

The "flag of the U.S. is as much inspired as was the constitution.  It is the flag of the K[ingdom] of G[od].  The blue field - meaning God's Kingdom.  Stripes: Purity of government and shedding of blood if necessary.  Stars: representing the nations coming in under it."[117]

Lorin taught that "10 July 1927" was "a date on the pyramids - indicates [the] first time in this dispensation the Lord presided in person at a meeting of the Kingdom of God."[118] 

Government and its Leaders 

Lorin C. Woolley claimed intimate knowledge of governmental leaders of the world, including presidents of the United States.  He apparently had great respect for Theodore Roosevelt because he referred to him on several occasions.  Lorin taught that he personally had converted Roosevelt to the gospel[119] and that the President was also a polygamist saying "T[heodore] R[oosevelt] joined Church, received endowments shortly after ascending to Presidency after death of McKinley."[120]  "Hoover apparently leans to Catholicism, while Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the Council of the Kingdom of God, and entered the Patriarchal Order of Marriage (i.e. polygamy)."[121]

Concerning president Calvin Coolidge, Woolley taught:  "Ex-President Coolidge died suddenly today of heart failure.  He was a member of the Grand Council -- an honorable man -- and did yeoman service.  He held the Priesthood."[122]

Regarding a later president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woolley shared:


Franklin D. Roosevelt is much like his cousin Theodore.  He believes in religious liberty and those who live the Patriarchal Order of Marriage as a religious rite he claims cannot be interfered with under the constitution.  He has been consulted and promised to do the right thing if elected.  Roosevelt split with Taft over matters pertaining to the Mormons and the Church and Kingdom of God...

Other Presidents such as Taft, Wilson, Hoover and Curtis have broken their covenants[123] 

In 1965 Fred Cleveland remembered that "President Harding told Lorin Woolley that he intended to stop the practice of Plural Marriage.  Lorin Woolley then replied that Harding would die first, which he did."[124]

A review of Lorin's life fails to reveal any opportunity for Lorin to have conversed with U.S. Presidents or to understand their religious beliefs.  Nevertheless, Lorin's teachings concerning them were impressive.  Rhea Allred Baird recalled: 

Lorin C. Woolley was asked in October of 1932, "Whom would you advise us to vote for?"  He replied that he should not tell people how to vote, that he had promised F.D. Roosevelt personally that he would give him his vote, but," said Bro. Woolley, "I had my reasons for promising that, but I'm not advising you to vote for him.  I'll tell you this much, if he is elected he will bring things to a head quicker."  We plainly understood this statement presaged evil, and yet we knew it had to come to fulfill prophecy.[125] 

Woolley's experiences with several Presidents of the United States are a stark contrast to Joseph Smith's encounter with President Martin Van Buren in November, 1839.  Van Buren treated Joseph "very insolently" telling him, "your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you."[126]

Local Geography 

Certainly some of his more intriguing tales concerned lost Nephite cities.  In 1972 Harold Allred recalled: 

I shall never forget how thrilled I was to listen to Lorin tell of an ancient Nephite city on the bottom of the Great Salt Lake.  He said man would rejoice to discover this wonderfully preserved city.  This preservation would be chiefly through the salt from the lake.  He also told of a city buried under the mountains east of Salt Lake City.  He said an earthquake would restore the city under the lake, and the one under the Wasatch Mountains would be uncovered by the power of the Priesthood.  He definitely said that these two cities would be rebuilt and would be places of refuge.[127] 

Such discoveries have yet to be made.  Salt water is usually corrosive rather than preservative.  Woolley shared an interesting prophesy regarding the future of the inter-mountain area.  Again from Harold Allred speaking in 1972:


At one time when we were at Leslie Broadbent's home, I heard Lorin speak of the plague that is coming.  He said it will be terrible and devastating.  He spoke of the fear that people will have of this plague.  He said there would be businessmen in town who would be called on the phone by their families and told of this plague -- the families apparently hearing about it before the husbands did.  It would create so much fear, Lorin said, that there would be cases where the businessmen would be too frightened to return home.  They would jump in their cars and leave the city.  Thousands would flee from this valley and many of the homes would be deserted and vacant.  He said, "There are many of you people living now who will have no homes, and the time is coming when you will be able to move into some of the finest homes in Salt Lake City.[128]


[Recorded Feb. 17, 1932] Section near Lee's Ferry, in Arizona, is the hub of this inter‑mountain country between Yucatan and Canada, and was set apart under the direction of Brigham Young by John W. Woolley for the gathering of the Saints.  It is a choice land,  One acre will prove as productive as five acres in other parts of Utah.  One well will develop enough water for 1,000 acres.  Here is one place water will bubble up in the desert as spoken by Isaiah.  Prayer circles of the Priesthood will be scattered from Yucatan in Mexico, through that section to Canada, to keep the Asiatics and Europeans from overrunning this country.  (Utah and surroundings.)

In the Lee's Ferry section of Arizona is the principle place where Jesus met the people after his resurrection.[129] 

Other Teachings 

On several occasions Lorin gave insight into ancient languages, including the Adamic language: "Joseph Smith was called Gazelam, or one who gazes..."[130]  "Fasting is from the Adamic word "Kaluka" and means prayer or praying, as expressed in the Hebrew, or feasting.  Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights, but did partake of food to sustain his body."[131]  "Halloween is a corruption of Elohim, having reference to the evening of October 31st, and is supposed to be the date when Elohim said, 'Let us go down and make an earth'."[132]  "A small group in the interior of Tibet-China, retain and speak the pure Adamic language."[133]

Regarding Joseph Smith's corpse: "Lorin Woolley told me that when Brigham Young came to this valley and said, 'This is the place,' he was riding in Brother Woolley's wagon.  Lorin Woolley said that the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith were dug up, put in new caskets, and brought to the Salt Lake Valley at a very early date.  Lorin further stated that the bodies were buried in the Salt Lake temple grounds..."[134]  Another witness added that "they were buried beneath where the monuments to Joseph and Hyrum now stand."[135]

Lorin also shared teachings regarding the Jews: "Two Jewish brethren have been translated in our day and are now working among the Jews.  This happened recently, one within a year ago." [Stated May 12, 1932.][136] "Wickersham,[137] Rosenbaum, and Izenstein are the three Jewish prophets that are in Jerusalem.  There is a Lamanite prophet in Yucatan laboring among the Lamanites commencing 1930..."[138]  "Russia: Jews there are seeking to establish the Order of Enoch, but are starting wrong.  When the Gospel of the Kingdom is preached in fulness, the Russian Jews will accept it and a nation will be born in a day." [139]  "Russia will likely fight for the rights of the Jews, and the Bear will put its paw on the Lion.  Jewish money will make the war possible and will be controlled by the Priesthood.  Jews are friends, Catholics are enemies."[140]

On 2 September 1932 Lorin explained: "[King] David [is] still in hell, but [is] there preaching the gospel and rejoicing in his blessings. [He] will have wives given unto him by the Lord."[141]

He also taught:  "Abraham was required to offer up Isaac as an atonement for the sin of permitting Sarah to cast Hagar out after becoming Abraham's wife.  Abraham, Isaac and Sarah all understood the matter."[142]

Concerning children who die before age eight Lorin taught:


Children dying before reaching the age of accountability are subjects of the K[ingdom] of G[od].  Those not born under the covenant, become servants to the faithful.  While those born under the covenant may become a part of their parents' kingdom and raise up seed for the glorification thereof, but can never become Gods.  As is also true of the L.D.S. who fail in mortality to live the fulness of the Gospel.  They may, through vicarious work, be permitted to help their parents who were faithful.  Status before we came here determines our final exaltation.[143] 

Moroni Jessop recalled Lorin's teachings regarding Moroni, son of Mormon: "He told me he had seen him.  He said he is a little larger man than either Joseph Smith or the Savior.  He said, he had almost a straight nose and blue eyes.  He was a little broader shouldered.  All three men, Joseph, the Savior and Moroni B all were blue eyed men.  Lorin said, 'The Savior's hair was a deep auburn.  Joseph's hair was a dark auburn.'"[144] 

Lorin gave interesting teachings regarding an Old Testament personality named "Peleg."  The Standard Works mention Peleg 7 times,[145] twice noting that "in his days was the earth divided."[146] Joseph Smith apparently never discussed him and neither source ever refers to him as a "prophet."  Woolley taught: 

Peleg was a great and mighty prophet who, with his people, was taken from the earth as Enoch was.  These like Enoch and Peleg, who are faithful and are taken away ascend away from the earth.[147]                                                               

Peleg took with him a greater amount of earth than either Enoch or the lost tribes.  He was the greatest prophet in the Adamic dispensation.[148]

In the days of Peleg the earth was divided -- so says the Bible.  Peleg was a great prophet.  He was persecuted by those who claimed to live the Gospel and was vilely used and abused even to the extent of having been unsexed.  He forgave his seducers and persecutors in accordance with the principle laid down in Doc. & cove. Sec. 98, not only four times but even ten times; then they were stricken though claiming to be Saints of God, are went [sic] to hell, while he and his faithful followers were taken away on the planet of earth as was Enoch.  After being unsexed, his body was restored, or renewed, in accordance with the Lord's promise in Doc. & Cov. 84.  He had 61 wives and had 25 children born to them after being renewed.  What a prophet![149] 

Lorin helped complete LDS scripture saying:  "As a continuation of the revelation Section 132 the Lord revealed: 'A man, dishonoring his priesthood and his marriage covenants, forfeits his wives and children; the wife being released by the same authority that sealed her, is free to marry another worthy man.  Her children automatically going to him without an adoption ceremony.  They follow their mother and her sealing to a husband [and] takes them with her.'"

Prophecies of Lorin C. Woolley 

Woolley's teachings include a number of prophesies: 

 Look for the earth to be so wasted with calamities during next four years, the Lord will come and reorganize the government.  [Recorded November 8, 1932.][150]


Anarchy may be manifested in streets of Salt Lake and other cities of 100,000 people, or less, before March 4, 1933.[151]


At 1886 meeting John Taylor said: "Kings and Queens and the rulers of the earth will pay tribute to some of you and your associates."[152]


Don't expect another presidential inaugurated under present form of government after March 4, 1933... [153]


[9 March 1933] War eminent [sic] between Japan and United states.  50,000 Japs [sic] recently sent in to Mexico to colonize.  About 200,000 Japs there now.  They will likely take West Coast making San Diego a base.

Russia has so much of the blood of Israel.  Millions will likely receive the gospel when the time comes, after which there will probably be a financial fight between Russia and England."[154] 


Temple of Jackson County to be built before 1936, perhaps  by next April (1934).  Saw temple lot swept clean - being cleansed by hundreds of men with rakes, hoes etc.[155]


Joseph Smith prophesied they (the Saints) would be using the temple (Jackson County) within 100 year form October 1834...

President Taylor said, "Lorin boy, " with hands on my head, "your spirit will not leave this place until the end of the millennium, then you will be one of those who will be changed in the twinkling of an eye."

Brigham Young said, "You will be one of those who will not see death until after the millennium."[156]


On the 100th anniversary of the prophet's martyrdom, a sacred council will be held in the temple in Jackson County, of Sanhedrin, Grand Council, Patriarchs.  Summer of 1936 Temple will be ready for ordinance work and will be commenced before the end of 1934.  Five feet longer and 2 1/2 feet wider than the Salt Lake Temple.[157] 


Who was Lorin C. Woolley?  On several occasions he was heard to say, "I am no one but little old Lorin Woolley."[158]  No matter an individuals personal feelings towards him, most people would be impressed with his teachings and claims. 

Lorin C. Woolley professed intimate knowledge of the Savior, deceased Church Presidents, world leaders and even men mentioned in the Old Testament.  He told of personal visits with the three translated Nephite apostles and related how they helped him transfer his priesthood keys to a Lamanite Prophet living in the distant Yucatan (Mexico).  On the home front, he declared he had baptized a U.S. President and had detailed conversations with them concerning their religious and political beliefs.  He also spoke of his commission as an agent of the Secret Service.  As a prophet-scholar, Lorin shared detailed understanding concerning the Adamic language and geography with his listeners.  Also he claimed to be "a 33 degree mason of the Scottish Rites Lodge, Washington, D.C."  And he made many prophecies.

In addition, Lorin shared dreams wherein he was shown to be superior to the Church's First Presidency[159] and perhaps the most important priesthood holder on the planet.[160]

Most importantly, he asserted that he had sealing authority to solemnize eternal marriages.

To thousands of fundamentalists today he is revered as a great prophet and bearer of priesthood keys.  Upon his death Joseph Musser wrote: "In his passing God summoned home the President of the Priesthood and who held the Keys to the patriarchal order.  Upon him as a thin thread the Priesthood rested, with the Keys from late in 1928 to Feb or March 1929."[161]

Yet, it is surprising that relatively little has been written about him by fundamentalist writers.[162]  No biography or other monograph dedicated to his life has been produced by those who profess his prophetic calling.  A few individuals have attempted to preserve his instructions and ideas.  However, no collection of his teachings and precepts has been published by those who believe his claims to legitimate priesthood authority. 

Those who doubt Woolley's statements may observe that even Joseph Smith was not so free in sharing his sacred experiences and the mysteries of the kingdom.  The Prophet reminded the saints saying: "The reason we do not have the secrets of the Lord revealed unto us, is because we do not keep them but reveal them; we do not keep our own secrets, but reveal our difficulties to the world, even to our enemies, then how would we keep the secrets of the Lord?  I can keep a secret till Doomsday."[163]  Brigham Young echoed the same concern: "The Lord has no confidence in those who reveal secrets, for He cannot safely reveal Himself to such persons."

Critics may simply assert that Lorin was deceived.  Sincere inquirers are left to prayerfully study and then ask Heavenly Father who has promised to communicate the truth to our spirits.[164]


[1].  Unpublished Journals of Joseph W. Musser, August 13, 1922.  Church Historical Department (hereafter CHD).

[2].  D. Michael Quinn, "Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism," in Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds., Fundamentalisms and Society: Reclaiming the Sciences, Education, and the Family, Vol. 2 of the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 244.

[3].  Only one document is known to exist in his handwriting: a 1912 "Statement of Facts."

[4].  The primary source for information regarding Lorin Woolley and his life and teachings are the journals and writings of Joseph White Musser (1872-1954).  He recorded pages of Woolley's teachings in his private journal, which is currently unpublished.  In addition, on 20 March 1932 he began his own Book of Remembrance wherein he apparently compiled previous notes and began recording new teachings of "Gazelam," as he referred to Lorin.  Musser's Book of Remembrance remains unpublished.  However, a significant number of excerpts have been printed in Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph Musser, which has received limited circulation.  Another prominent, but inherently less reliable source of information is found in the transcripts of a series of interviews conducted by Rhea Allred Kunz Baird in the 1970s and published as Reminiscences of John W. Woolley and Lorin C. Woolley, volumes 1-5.  Lynn L. Bishop and Steven L. Bishop also conducted their own sets of interviews in the 1960s and later.  These are referred to as "Journal Notes" in their writings The Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated (1971) and The 1886 Visitations of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to John Taylor, Salt Lake City, Utah: Latter Day Publications, 1998.

[5].  Preston Woolley Parkinson The Utah Woolley Family, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret New Press, 1967, p. 313.

[6]Ibid.  See also Stephen L. and Lynn L. Bishop, The Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated, Draper Utah, 1971, pp. 146-152.

[7].  Lorin Ross (1883), Gordon Roberts (1888),  Hugh Roberts (1890), John Dilworth (1892), Thomas Matthew (1894), Gwendolyn, (1896), Earl Roberts (1899), Calvin Roberts (1901), and Olive (1905).

[8].  Personal communication with several of the children reveals that his leadership and teachings in their home were consistent with those promoted by Church leaders.  If Lorin was involved with polygamy while they were growing up, he successfully hid it from them.  Their youngest daughter, Olive Woolley Combs, became aware of his support of polygamy when she was an adult.  But it appears that he never included his own children as he taught and promoted the practice of plural marriage.  Olive continued as a monogamist Church member throughout her life.  Some other family members were actually offended by any suggestion that their father was involved with polygamy in any way.

[9].  Lynn L. Bishop, The 1886 Visitation of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to John Taylor, pp. 194-195.

[10]Ibid., p. 202.

[11].  Church Membership records of the South Davis Stake.  See Polygamy Story: Fiction and Fact, Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press, 1979, p. 145, (footnote 31).

[12].  Photocopy of typescript in possession of the author.

9.  The only other reference to Lorin C. Woolley during the period between February 5, 1887 and March 16, 1888 mentions that he was on a mission to the "Indian Territory." 

[14].  Missionary Book B, p. 97, no. 236, CHD.  See Polygamy Story: Fiction and Fact, p. 145, footnote 32.

[15].  Missionary Book C, p. 38, no. 741, CHD.  See Polygamy Story, Fiction and Fact, p. 145, footnote 33.

[16].  Lorin C. Woolley, "Statement of Facts," 1912. 

[17].  Fred Collier, "Re-Examining the Lorin Woolley Story," Doctrine of the Priesthood, February 1981, SLC, UT vol. 1, No. 2. P. 16.

[18].  Journal of John Moon Clements, CHD.

[19].  [The John Carlisle and William H. Hill homes] 1978, CHD.

[20].  Affidavit in Anthony W. Ivins papers, Utah State Historical Society.

[21].  D. Michael Quinn, Lecture given at Bluffdale, Utah, 11 August 1991.

[22].  Letter from George E. Woolley to Alvira Woolley, 26 July 1918.  CHD.  I am indebted to Don Bradley for bringing these letters to my attention.

[23].  Letter from George E. Woolley to Orson A. Woolley, 27 July 1918.

[24].  Letter dated 26 July 1918.  CHD.  Italics added.

[25].  15 December 1932, ibid., p. 51.

[26].  James E. Talmage Journals, 15 January 1924.  CHD.

[27]Conference Report, April, 1931, p. 10.

[28].  Merrill Singer, "Nathaniel Baldwin, Utah Inventor and Patron of the Fundamentalist Movement," Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 47 (Winter 1979) 1:42-53.

[29].  Baldwin purchased a mimeograph machine that allowed him to make multiple copies of his and other dissenter's writings.  He also financed the publication of a book entitled The One Mighty and Strong, written by John T. Clark in 1922.

[30].  Nathaniel Baldwin Journals for date, CHD.

[31]Ibid., 15 September 1921.

[32]Ibid., 4 October 1921.

[33]Ibid., 6 October 1921.

[34]Ibid., 25 April 1922.

[35].  Lorin Woolley would later testify that he did not know he was on the board of directors, though he signed the "articles of incorporation," (21 June 1922, Nathaniel Baldwin Journals).

[36]Ibid., 11 July 1922.

[37].  Ernest R. Woolley was the son of Hyrum Smith Woolley, half brother to John Wickersham Woolley.

[38]Ibid., 26 April 1924.

[39].  John T. Clark was a friend of Baldwin and Lorin Woolley.  Clark proclaimed himself a prophet and during the 1920s competed with Lorin Woolley for supporters.  Joseph Musser was among the group of possible followers.  Musser finally sided with Woolley after Clark's death.  See The Priesthood of Modern Polygamy, Salt Lake City, Utah, NPI, 1992, pp. 188-192.

[40].  Nathaniel Baldwin Journals, 27 September 1924.

[41]Ibid., 14 October 1924. 

[42]Ibid., 21 October 1924.

[43]Ibid., 22 December 1924.

[44].  Singer, op. cit., p. 52.

[45].  Nathaniel Baldwin Journals, 6, 10, 31, October 1925 etc.

[46].  30 July 1931, Book of Remembrance of Joseph Musser, p. 7.

[47]Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 10 and Truth 4:130.

[48].  Laura Tree Zitting, Life of Charles Frederick Zitting,  p. 61, N.p., 1988, (available from Pioneer Press).

[49].  Musser Journals, 22 September 1929.

[50].  See Musser Journals, 12 March 1922 where Daniel Bateman also claimed to have been a "guard and stableman" for President John Taylor.  See also 9 April, [14 June], 9 July, 13 August 1922.

[51]. John T. Clark claimed to be the "one mighty and strong" mentioned in D&C 85.  Lorin later disagreed (Musser Journals, 31 March 1930).  Regardless, portions of the 1929 account signed by Woolley appear almost word-for-word as reported by John T. Clark to Musser and recorded in Musser's journal 14 June 1922.

[52].  See Musser Journals, 22 September, 6, 8, 9 October.

[53].  Supportive analyses can be found by Fred Collier, "Re-Examining the Lorin Woolley Story," Doctrine of the Priesthood, February 1981, SLC, UT vol. 1, No. 2. And Robert R. Openshaw, The Notes, pp.423-432, 500-514.  A critical examination is found in J. Max Anderson's, Polygamy Story: Fiction and Fact.

[54]. Joseph W. Musser, Supplement to the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage, Salt Lake City, Utah, N.p. 1934, pp. 58-59.  The evidence regarding the possibility of the occurrence of this meeting has been critically analyzed by J. Max Anderson in Polygamy Story, Fiction and Fact, pp.  45-54.

[55].  The 1886 Revelation to John Taylor has been widely distributed by fundamentalists.  It appears that it is a personal revelation President Taylor, which his son John W. Taylor found after his father's death.  Church leaders attempted to dismiss the revelation by denying its authenticity.  In response, fundamentalists have aggressively promoted its apparent reality. 

It is significant because in it God states: "I have not revoked this law nor will I."  By interpreting "this law" to mean strictly plural marriage, fundamentalists assert that the Lord was saying plural marriage could never be suspended.  (See further discussion on

[56].  On 27 September 1932 Musser recorded Woolley saying: "Instructions to the Five: You will have the weight of this world upon you, and one of you will have to stand alone.  Joseph S[mith] laid his hands upon the heads while J[ohn] T[aylor] set them apart or acted as mouth."

[57]. Daniel Bateman also signed the 1929 account, affirming its accuracy but admitted that he "was not present when the five spoken of by Brother Woolley were set apart for special work..."  Supplement, p. 62.  There are second hand reports that John Woolley also spoke of 1886 ordinations.  But to date, Lorin's "witness" to this important ordinance is the only one available to sincere inquirers.  This contrasts the Lord's promise that "in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (D&C 6:28).

[58].  D&C 42:11 teaches that secret ordinations are problematic.

[59].  Israel Bennion papers.  LDS Archives.

[60].  Gustive 0. Larson, The "Americanization" of Utah for Statehood, San Marino, Calif: The Huntington Library, 1971, pp. 155‑56. 

[61].  Quoted by Carmen Hardy, Solemn Covenant, Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1992, p. 137.  Juliaetta Bateman Jensen, Little Gold Pieces: The Story of My Mormon Mother's Life (Salt Lake City: Stanway, 1948), 129‑30.

[62].Samuel Bateman recorded meetings with his son on the following dates during the first year after the proposed September 27, 1886 ordinations: (for the remainder of 1886) September 30; October 8,11,12,16,17,25; November 3,11,13,22,24,27,29; December 5,6,8,13,15,16,17,22,23,25. For 1887: January 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,12,14,18,20,29,30; February 4,7,10,18,19,20,26; March 2,5,7,8,9,10,12,13,21,24,27,28,29; April 2,5,7,8,9,11,13,19,23,25,30; May 1,3,4,7,9,14,16,20,21,31; June 2,11,12,14,16,17,28; July 4,5,10,25,26,27,28; August 2,3,4,5,7,8,15,16,18,20; September 6,8,14,16,18,19,20,23,26. Letters were sent to or received from Daniel Bateman on the following dates (1886) September 28; October 1,10,22,23,25; November 10. For 1887: January 22,25; February 1,7,18,23; April 16; May 2,4,25; June 7,8,30; July 2,13,15,22,28,31; August 1.

[63].  See The Priesthood of Modern Polygamy, pp. 69-70.

[64].  Musser Journals, 21 December 1936.

[65].  Gustive 0. Larson, The "Americanization" of Utah for Statehood, San Marino, Calif: The Huntington Library, 1971, pp. 155‑56.

[66]Journal of Discourses 1:134.

[67].  On November 10, 1921 Baldwin wrote: "Brother Clark and I went to Centerville in the evening to visit Brother Woolley.  Tried to fit the father, John Woolley, with an instrument to help his hearing."

[68].  L. John Nuttall's journal for that month and several months thereafter are lost, perhaps due to the "underground" activities of that period (personal communication with D. Michael Quinn).  John Taylor's personal journal is not available and is assumed to be locked up in the First Presidency's vault.

[69].  Max Anderson, Polygamy Story: Fiction and Fact, chapter six, p. 45.

[70].  Lynn L. Bishop, The 1886 Visitations of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to John Taylor, pp. 250-251.

[71].  B. Harvey Allred, A Leaf in Review, Caldwell, Id, The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1933.

[72].  Musser Journals, 9 April 1922.

[73].  Musser Journals, 18 April 1930.

[74] Ibid.

[75].  Quoted in Lynn L. Bishop, The 1886 Visitations of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to John Taylor, p. 170.

[76]Testimony of Moroni Jessop, p. 9.

[77].  Quoted in Lynn L. Bishop, The 1886 Visitations of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to John Taylor, p. 172.

[78].  See Polygamy Story: Fiction and Fact, pp. 145-147.

[79]. Musser Journals, 9 April 1922.

[80].  James E. Talmage Correspondence File, 18 January 1924, CHD.  Quoted in Polygamy Story: Fiction and Fact p. 146.

[81].  On another occasion Woolley promoted a dream with President Heber J. Grant that portrayed Woolley as an agent of the Church and not the government as previously claimed: "I asked him [Heber J. Grant] about his wives, telling him who they were and when and where they were married.  At this Heber seemed greatly astonished and asked me how I knew these things.  I stated I had been set apart in 1874, at the age of 18, by President Young, to learn of and keep track of such things for the protection of the brethren." (Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser p. 34.)

[82]Testimony of Moroni Jessop, privately published, p. 6.

[83].  Matthias Cowley was dropped from the Quorum of the Twelve in 1905 and barred from using his priesthood in a Church court in 1911.

[84].  Baldwin journals, 30 September 1922.

[85]Ibid., 10 September 1924.

[86].  Rhea Kunz reported in Reminiscences 2:18.

[87].  January 1931, ibid., p. 18.

[88].  Recorded 8 April 1832, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 21.  See also  Rhea A. Baird, Reminiscences of John W. and Lorin C. Woolley, N.p., N.d. to 1987, 5 vols., vol. 5, pp. 11-12.  See also Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 16.

[89]Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated, pp. 317-318.  See also A Leaf in Review pp. 218-219 and Joseph Musser Journals, 20 July 1935.

[90].  Norman C. Pierce, 3 1/2 Years, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1963, pp. 77-78.

[91].  Baldwin Journals, 13 November 1960.

[92].  Woolley also taught: Keys of the Patriarchal Order of the Priesthood, are not necessarily held by the Presiding Patriarch of Church.  (25 August 1932, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 33.)  No fundamentalist has provided any additional details on the significance of these keys or how they relate to current priesthood leaders.

[93].  6 March 1932, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 15; italics added.  Names were abbreviated in orginal.

[94].  Records show that a "year and a half after John Taylor's death" or 1889, Lorin was on a mission to the Southern States.  His mission to the "Indian Territories" occurred later, 1896-1897.

[95]Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, pp. 10-11.  Musser earlier recorded in his journal: "While on a mission in the Indian Territory about a year and half after death of Pres. John Taylor, he [Lorin C. Woolley] took very sick and was thought to be dying.  He was visited by whom he supposed to be the Lord, Joseph Smith and John Taylor, and he was blessed by President Taylor to live and was healed immediately.  These brethren were all resurrected.  Later he was introduced to the Savior by Pres. Taylor, and from then on became a real Apostle, a witness of Christ." (Joseph Musser Journals - 9 April 1922.)

[96].  Nathaniel Baldwin Journals, entry for 28 November 1923.  While this interaction seems to coincide chronologically with the vision (which included Joseph Smith and the Savior) already mentioned, we might assume this is a separate encounter because he did not apparently "shake hands" with President Taylor in that vision.

[97].  John Woolley died in 1928.

[98].  The term "handled" commonly refers to someone's excommunication from the Church.

[99].  Lorin apparently never specified what publication he was alluding to.

[100].  Musser Journals, 31 March 1930. 

[101].  8 April 1932, Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 16; Reminiscences, Volume 4, First section, p. 4.

[102]. Joseph Musser Journals, April 23, 1930.

[103]Items from a Book of Remembrance, p. 21; Reminiscences, vol. 5, p. 40.

[104].  See Nathaniel Baldwin journals, entry for 27 March 1925.

[105].  Andrew Kimball Journal, 25 January 1897, CHD.

[106].  A mission companion, B. Harvey Allred recorded another similar testimony in his journal two months later on 28 March 1897: 

We all at attended Sunday School at 10 A.M. and studied during the day.  I fasted until 5 P.M. and in the evening we attended Church.  Elder L.C. Woolley spoke of the power and authority of the Priesthood bearing a great testimony to the people of the Divine calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith; saying that he had seen him personally since his, the Prophet's death. 

See also the 1912 Account.

[107]Reminiscences, Interview with William Thomas, Volume 4, Second section, p. 16.

[108].  Cited from "Journal Notes" - an interview recorded 27 November 1965 in Fruitland, Id.  Quoted in Lynn L. Bishop, The 1886 Visitations of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to John Taylor, p. 131.

[109]Reminiscences, Vol. 5, p. 34.

[110].  Musser Journals, 13 August 1930.

[111]Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 23.

[112].  See Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pp. 326-327.

[113].  Recorded 6 March 1932, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 17, Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 15, and Reminiscences vol. 5, p. 36.

[114].  30 July 1931, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 4,

[115].  6 March 1932, ibid., p. 15.

[116].  25 August 1932, ibid., p. 35.

[117].  27 September 1932, ibid., p. 38.

[118].  Undated, ibid., p. 74.

[119].  An interview with Charles W. Kingston, October 1971, Reminiscences 3:9.

[120].  8 November 1932, Book of Remembrance of Joseph Musser, p. 45.

[121]Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser p. 15; Reminiscences. 5:36.

[122].  5 January 1933, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W.  Musser, p. 53.  Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser  p. 22.

[123].  2 September 1932, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 37.  Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 23. 

[124].  Lynn L. Bishop, The 1886 Visitation of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to John Taylor, p. 173

[125]Reminiscences 5:27; italics added.

[126]. History of the Church, 4:80.

[127]Reminiscences, 4: [section I] 6-7.

[128]Reminiscences 4: [section I] 10.

[129].  17 February 1932, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 12. Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 17.  Reminiscences  5:20.

[130].  6 March 1932,  Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 13.  Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser p. 4.

[131].  12 June 1932, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 28.  Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser p. 18.

[132].  18 October 1932, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 40.  Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser p. 25.

[133].  Recalled by Moroni and Joseph L. Jessop on 2 October 1938.  Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p.75.

[134].  Charles Kingston in Reminiscences 3:25.

[135] Ibid.

[136]Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser p. 16.

[137]. Lorin Woolley's paternal grandmother was a Wickersham.  His father's middle name was also Wickersham (John Wickersham Woolley).

[138]Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser pp. 21, 26.  Reminiscences 5:27.  See also 3 November 1932, Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser, p. 44.

[139].  27 September 1932, Book of Remembrance of Joseph Musser, p. 38.

[140]Ibid., p. 39.

[141].  2 September 1932, ibid. p. 35.

[142].  15 December 1932, ibid. P. 51.  Punctuation standardized.

[143].  7 December 1932, ibid. p. 50.

[144]Testimony of Moroni Jessop, p. 40.

[145]. See Genesis 10:25, 11:16, 17, 18, 19, 1 Chronicles 1:19, and 25.

[146].  Gen 10:25, 1 Chron. 1:19.

[147].  3 December 1931, Book of Remembrance of Joseph Musser, p. 9.

[148]Ibid., p. 13, 6 March 1932.

[149].  5 April 1933, ibid., p. 60.  Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser  pp. 22-23. 

[150].  8 November 1932,  Book of Remembrance of Joseph Musser, p. 45.

[151].  25 November 1932, ibid. p. 49.

[152].  25 January 1933, ibid. p. 54.

[153].  16 February 1933, ibid. p. 56.

[154].  9 March 1933, ibid. P. 57.

[155].  5 April 1933,  ibid. p. 61.

[156].  5 April 1933,  ibid. p. 62.

[157].  10 January 1934, ibid. p. 72.

[158].  Quoted in Lynn L. Bishop, The 1886 Visitations of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to John Taylor, p. 158.

[159].  Dream of 19 April 1933: [Anthony Ivins] did little talking in the dream, Heber [J. Grant] and Reuben [Clark] being the main spokesmen.  Reuben mildly rebuked me, asking why I did not uncover my head in the presence of the [First] Presidency as they themselves had done.  I replied, "A king never uncovers to his subjects.";  That statement greatly astonished Reuben, and the statement, in varied forms, was made several times during the conversation."  (Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser p. 34-35; italics added.)

[160].  A dream or vision related by L.C.W., Dec. 1, 1930:   In about the year 1886, after having retired to rest, all of the sudden I appeared to be standing on a high range of mountains, from which point I could see a Cordon of Elders reaching Yucatan, Central America, north to the Arctic regions.  Then there appeared a black cloud in the Balkans traveling westward.  It only reached to the shores of the United States when it seemed to stop and go back to its starting point.  Then it came again and covered all the eastern part of the United States and north to Canada.  As I looked I saw what appeared to be large birds (now interpreted as airplanes) emerge from the dark cloud; also horseless carriages appeared (automobiles) all loaded principally with women traveling westward.  We made no effort to stop them.

As the cloud traveled westward, groups of men holding the priesthood seemed to run in circles, one in the center of each group, rebuking the cloud through prayer.  The cloud would stop and start again and it made headway until it reached the Missouri Rive west of Independence.  At this point three groups of Elders with three men (instead of one as before) in the center of each group, formed in circles, one group being in Canada, one group in the United States and one in Mexico (Lorin being in the center of the center circle).  As we prayed the black cloud also over the Pacific Ocean and traveled eastward as far as the Sierra Nevada mountains where it was arrested, not reaching Utah.

In relating the above to pres. John Taylor and others of the brethren, Pres. Taylor said the vision showed two wars, the first reaching only to the eastern shores of the United States, while the second would reach to the shores of the Missouri River.  The Asiatics will overrun the west coast, but will not be able to hold it.  He said, "It will be a war of desolation, and you (Lorin) will see it." (Items from a Book of Remembrance of Joseph W. Musser pp. 35-36; Reminiscences 5:12; italics added.)

[161].  Musser Journals, 30 September 1934.

[162].  The index to the 21 volumes of Truth magazine, published between 1935 and 1956 contains only nine references to Lorin Woolley or any of his teachings.  Four of the nine refer to copies of the 1929 account.

[163]History of the Church 4:479 and Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 195.

[164].  D&C 9:8-9, Moroni 10:4-5.