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In 1877, the Founding Fathers of the United States and other eminent men and women appeared in a vision to Wilford Woodruff, president of the St. George Temple, for the purpose of completing their temple work. President Woodruff, assisted by others, immediately went forth and had the ordinances performed for these men and women. A listing of those who appeared can be found below.

Date: 1877

Location: St. George Temple

Inspiring Narrative by Wilford Woodruff

Eminent Spirits Appear to Wilford Woodruff, Joseph Smith Foundation
Vision of Wilford Woodruff, by Ken Corbett

Two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, “You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.

Everyone of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence, with General Washington, called upon me as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the House of God for them.

I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others.

When Brother McAllister had baptized me for the 100 names I baptized him for 21, including General Washington and his forefathers and all the Presidents of the United States–except three. Sister Lucy Bigelow Young went forth into the font and was baptized for Martha Washington and her family and 70 of the ’eminent women’ of the world.

Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report, April 10, 1898; Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 160-61; Wilford Woodruff Journal, August 21, 1877.

In the April 1898 General Conference, President Woodruff again recalled this sacred experience:

I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if I never do it again in my life, that those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord.

Another thing I am going to say here, because I have a right to say it.  Everyone of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence, with General Washington, called upon me, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the House of God for them.  Men are here, I believe, that know of this, Brother J. D. T. McAllister, David H. Cannon and James S. Bleak.  Brother McAllister baptized me for all those men, and then I told these brethren that it was their duty to go into the Temple and labor until they had got endowments for all of them.  They did it.  Would those spirits have called up on me, as an Elder in Israel to perform that work if they had not been noble spirits before God?  They would not.”

Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report, April 1989, pp. 89-90.

List of Eminent Spirits

These are the names recorded in the journal of Wilford Woodruff and on the Temple records as those who appeared to him for two consecutive nights requesting their ordinance work be completed:

Family of George Washington

George Washington (was ordained a High Priest at this time)

Mary Ball Washington, Mother of George Washington

Martha Dandridge, Wife of George Washington

Martha Parke Custis, Daughter of Martha Washington

John Washington

Wife of John Washington

Sir Henry Washington

Wife of Henry Washington

Lawrence Washington

Anne Fairfax, Wife of Lawrence Washington

Wife of Lawrence Washington

Augustine Washington

M. Washington, father of Augustine

Mildred Warner, Mother of Augustine Washington

Jane Butler, Wife of Augustine Washington

Eleanor Calvert, Wife of John Parke Custis

Parke Custis


Signers of the Declaration of Independence

New Hampshire

Josiah Barlett

Matthew Thornton

William Whipple


John Hancock

John Adams

Abigail Smith, Wife of John Adams

Samuel Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Rhode Island

Elbridge Gerry

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery


Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott

New York

William Floyd

Philip Livinston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham Clark


Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin (was ordained a High Priest at this time)

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross


Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas M’Kean


Samuel Chase

Thomas Stone

William Paca

Charles Carroll, of Carrollton


George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Martha Wales, Wife of Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton

North Carolina

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton


Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

Presidents of the United States (except three)

James Madison

Dorothy “Dolly” Madison, Wife of James Madison (America)

James Monroe

John Quincy Adams

Andrew Jackson

Rachel Donelson, Wife of Andrew Jackson (America)

William Henry Harrison

John Tyler

James Knox Polk

Zachary Taylor

Millard Fillmore

Franklin Pierce

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Other Eminent Men and Women (organized according to occupation)


David Garrick (1717-1779) English Actor and Director

Eva Maria Veigel, Wife of David Garrick (England)

John Phillip Kemble (1757-1823) English Shakespearean Actor, Director

Pricilla Hopkins, Wife of John Phillip Kemble (England)

Sarah Kemble Siddon, English Actress (Wales)


Sir Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) English Historian

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) Father of German Literature

Christiane Vulpius, Wife of Goethe (Prussia)

Washington Irving (1783-1859) Father of American Literature

Matilda Hoffman, Betrothed of Washington Irving (America)

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English Moralist, Writer, Lexicographer

Sarah Ford, Mother of Samuel Johnson (England)

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English Historian, Essayist, Politician

Lydia Huntley, Author (America)

Emily Chubboch Judson, Author (Pen Name: “Fanny Forester”) (America)

Hannah More, Religious Author (England)

Anna Murphy, Author/Archeologist (Ireland)


George Stephenson (1781-1848) English Father of the Railway

Frances “Fanny” Henderson, Wife of George Stephenson (England)

Military Leaders

Admiral David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870) American Naval Officer

Frederick the Great (1712-1786) King of Prussia

Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863) American Confederate General

Mary Anna Judkins, Wife of “Stonewall” Jackson (America)

Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) British Naval Hero

Frances “Lady Nelson” Herbert, Wife of Lord Horatio Nelson (England)


Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) Swiss-American Naturalist

Michael Faraday (1791-1867) English Scientist–Father of Electronics

Sarah Barnard, Wife of Michael Faraday (England)

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) Father of Physical Geography

Baron Justus von Liebig (1808-1873) Father of Organic Chemistry

Mary Fairfax Somerville, Mathmatician (Scotland)


Christopher Columbus  (1451-1506) Discover of the New World (was ordained a High Priest at this time)

Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512) Italian Navigator


Baron Edward George Lytton-Bulwer (1803-1873) English Novelist, Politician

Oliver Goldsmith (1763-1846) Irish/English Poet, Playwrite, Novelist

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1836) Poet, Novelist

Charlotte Margaret Carpenter, Wife of Sir Walther Scott (England)

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) English Humorist, Satirist, Novelist

Isabella Shaw, Wife of William Makepeace Thackeray (England)

Jane Austen, Novelist (England)

Charlotte Bronte, Novelist (England)

Maria Edgeworth, Novelist (England)

Lady Sydney Morgan, Novelist (Ireland)

Catherine Maria Sedgewick, Novelist

Francis “Fanny” Burney (Madam d’Arblay) (England)


Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) English Painter


David Livingstone (1813-1873) Scottish Missionary, Physician


Mary Russell Miford, Playwrite/Novelist (England)


Robert Burns (1759-1796) Scottish Poet

Jean Armour, Wife of Robert Burns (Scotland)

Lord George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) English Poet

Anna Isabella Milbanke, Wife of Lord Byron (England)

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805) German Poet, Dramatist, Historian

Charlotte Von Lingefeld, wife of Fredrick Schiller (Prussia)

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) English Poet

Mary Hutchinson, Wife of William Wordsworth (England)

Felecia Barrett Browne, Poet (England)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Poet (England)

Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Poet (England)

Francis Locke, Poet (America)


Hiram Powers (1805-1873) American Sculptor


Euphrosyne Parepa, Opera Singer (England)

Countess Demetrius Parepa, Mother of Euphrosyne Parepa (England)

Social Reformer

Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) Scottish Divine, Reformer

George Peabody (1795-1869) American Philanthropist

John Wesley (1703-1791) Divinity Scholar (was ordained a High Priest at this time)

Sarah Margaret (Ossoli) Fuller, Social Reformer (America)

Elizabeth Gurney, Religious Social Reformer (England)


Martin Luther (1483-1546) Leader in Protestant Reformation


Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon III (1808-1873) Emperor of France, nephew to Napolean

Lord Henry Brougham (1778-1868) Statesman/Lord Chancellor of England

Mary Ann Eden, Wife of Lord Henry Brougham (England)

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Irish/English Statesman, Political Author

Jane Nugent, Wife of Edmund Burke (England)

John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) American Statesman

Count Camillo de Cavour (1810-1861) Italian Statesman, Diplomat

Richard Cobden (1804-1865) English Leader of the Free Trade

Henry Clay (1777-1852) U.S. Statesman, “The Great Compromiser”

John Filpot Curran (1750-1817) Irish Statesman

Henry Grattan (1746-1820) Irish Statesman

Henrietta Fitzgerald, Wife of Henry Grattan (Ireland)

Pablo Benito Juarez (1806-1872) Mexican President, Statesman

Margarita Maza, Wife of Benito Juarez (Mexico)

Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) Irish Statesman

Mary O’Connell, Wife of Daniel O’Connell (Ireland)

Dimitrius Parepa (ca. 1800’s) Baron Georgiades de Boyescu, Romania

William Henry Seward (1801-1872) American Statesman

Daniel Webster (1782-1852) American, Defender of the Constitution

Abigail Eastman, Mother of Daniel Webster (America)

Grace Fletcher, Wife of Daniel Webster (America)

Charlotte Corday, French Patriot (Normandy)

Marie Antoinette, Queen (France)

Empress Maria Theresa, Mother of Marie Antoinette (Austria)

Mary (Moore) Philipse, English Patriot (America)

Misc. Women

Martha Caldwell, Mother of Patrick Calhoun (America)

Elizabeth Christiana, Wife of Frederick IV (Prussia)

Sarah Creagh, Wife of John Curran (Ireland)

Emily Lamb Melbourne, Lady Palmerston, Wife of Lord Palmerston (England)

Lady Catherine Pakenham, Wife of the Duke of Wellington (England)

Elizabeth Dykes, Wife of Thomas Moore, Poet (Ireland)

Sarah Van Burgh Livingston, Wife of John Jay (America)

Matthias E. Cowley

On the night of March 19th, 1894, he [Wilford Woodruff] had a dream which followed his meditations upon the future life and the work that he had done for the dead.  In his dream there appeared to him Benjamin Franklin for whom he had performed important ceremonies in the House of God.  This distinguished patriot, according to his dream, sought further blessings in the Temple of God at the hands of his benefactor.  President Woodruff wrote:  ‘I spent some time with him and we talked over our Temple ordinances which had been administered for Franklin and others.  He wanted more work done for him than had already been done.  I promised him it should be done.  I awoke and then made up my mind to receive further blessings for Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

The appearance, therefore, in his dream of Franklin was to him a satisfying conclusion that he had at least received joyfully the blessings that came to him from the ordinances of the Lord’s House.

Matthias E. Cowley, Wilfrod Woodruff–His Life and Labors, p. 585-9.

Comments by Ezra Taft Benson

Shortly after Spencer W. Kimball became president of the Church, we met together in one of out weekly meetings. We spoke of the sacred records that are in the vaults of the various temples of the Church. As I was soon to fill a conference assignment to St. George, President Kimball asked if I would go into the vault at the temple and check the early records. In so doing, I realized the fulfillment of a dream I had had ever since learning of the visit of the Founding Fathers to this sacred place. I saw with my own eyes the records of the work that was done for the Founding Fathers of this great nation, beginning with George Washington. I was deeply moved on that occasion to realize that these great men returned to this promised land by permission of the Lord and had their ordinance work done for them. If they had not been faithful men, if they had not been God-fearing men, would they have come to the elders of Israel to seek their temple blessings? I think not. The Lord raised them up, sanctioned their work, and proclaimed them “wise men.” Moreover, a president of the Church declared them to be the “best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth,” and testified that they were “choice spirits” and “inspired of the Lord.”

Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 603-604.

The temple work for the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence and other Founding Fathers has been done. All these appeared to Wilford Woodruff when he was President of the St. George Temple. President George Washington was ordained a high priest at that time. You will also be interested to know that according to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus were also ordained high priests at that time. When one casts doubt about the character of these noble sons of God, I believe he or she will have to answer to the God of heaven for it. Yes, with Lincoln I say: ‘To add brightness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington is . . . impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name and in its deathless splendor, leave it shining on.’

Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 604; and This Nation Shall Endure, p. 18.

It was agreed that I would go into the archives of that great temple [St. George] and review the sacred documents that were there. We were planning for the remodeling and renovating of the St. George Temple and thought that the records might possibly be moved to Salt Lake for safekeeping. And there in the St. George Temple I saw what I had always hoped and prayed that someday I would see. Ever since I returned as a humble missionary and first learned that the Founding Fathers had appeared in that temple, I wanted to see the record. And I saw the record. They did appear to Wilford Woodruff twice and asked why the work hadn’t been done for them. They had founded this country and the Constitution of this land, and they had been true to those principles. Later the work was done for them.

In the archives of the temple, I saw in a book, in bold handwriting, the names of the Founding Fathers and others, including Columbus and other great Americans, for whom the work had been done in the house of the Lord. This is all one great program on both sides of the veil. We are fortunate to be engaged in it on this side of the veil. I think the Lord expects us to take an active part in preserving the Constitution and our freedom.

Ezra Taft Benson in Sandy, Utah, on December 30, 1978; Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 603.

James G. Bleak

“I was also present in the St. George Temple and witnessed the appearance of the Spirits of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. And also the spirits of the Presidents of the U.S. up to that time. And also others, such as Martin Luther and John Wesley, who came to Wilford Woodruff and demanded that their baptism and endowments be done. Wilford Woodruff was baptized for all of them. While I and Brothers J.D.T. McAllister and David H. Cannon (who were witnesses to the request) were endowed for them. These men that we did work for, were choice Spirits, not wicked men. They laid the foundation of this American Gov., and signed the Declaration of Independence and were the best spirits that the God of Heaven could find on the face of the Earth to perform this work. Martin Luther and John Wesley helped to release the people from religious bondage that held them during the dark ages. They also prepared the people’s hearts so long as they would be ready to receive the restored gospel when the Lord sent it again to men on Earth.”

Personal journal of James Godson Bleak, Chief Recorder in the St. George Temple.

Vicki Jo Anderson, author of the book, The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff

Vicki Jo Anderson is the author of the book, The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff. This book is the effort of her years of research to bring forth biographical sketches of the “other eminent men” mentioned by Wilford Woodruff who appeared to him in the St. George Temple, asking that their temple work be done. In the introduction to her book, she explains her reasons for compiling this book, as well as the Divine help she received throughout its compilation:

One day, while reading from the book “The Vision or The Degrees of Glory” (a compilation of talks and writings of the early brethren of the Church), she came across the testimony of President Wilford Woodruff regarding the appearance of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence in the St. George Temple in August 1877. Quoting from the introduction to her book, Sis. Anderson writes:

The purpose of their visit was to request their temple ordinances be done. . . . President Woodruff stated that not only was he baptized for the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, but also ‘fifty other eminent men.’

Fifty other eminent men–the phrase seemed to leap at me. I was struck with a great desire to know the names of these men. . . . [I was told] that I could find their names in Wilford Woodruff’s journal. That summer we were able to visit Brigham Young University. My husband and I went to the Special Collections section of the library to see if we could locate the names. Because we had limited research time, we began anxiously searching through the many volumes of President Woodruff’s journals. At random we selected one from a group of four or five volumes. . . . When I lifted the cover of my book, the pages seemed to turn themselves until they fell open to the page containing names of the signers, and the ‘other eminent men’! It was as if someone was at my shoulder, ,as anxious as I, to have these men’s names known.

President Woodruff said of these men in his journal that they were noted men of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; two exceptions were Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci. After recording the names of each of these eminent men and stating that he was baptized personally for them, President Woodruff wrote: ‘Sister Lucy Bigelow Young went forth into the font and was baptized for Martha Washington and her family and seventy of the eminent women of the world.’ This present volume contains only the biographies of the eminent men. The women will appear in a later volume.

Although President Woodruff gave the number as fifty men, he recorded only forty-five names. I believe that President Woodruff’s statement was not precise, but rather an estimate of the number of many men who appeared. In his journal he specified that there were one hundred men in all. The names of the signers total fifty-four; by adding the forty-five listed eminent men, the total number comes to ninety-nine. As we searched the temple records, we found in the endowmnets of these eminent men the name of Sir Edmund Burke, whose name was not listed in the journal. It is possible that a clerical error was made, omitting Burke’s name. I am including Edmund Burke, bringing the total number of eminent men to forty-six, matching President Woodruff’s journal total of one hundred. These one hundred names do not include the United States presidents whose names were also recorded in President Woodruff’s journal. . . .

Without actually intending to write a book, I began to research the lives of these men and women. My sole object was to find the greatness in the lives of these men and women and use them in teaching my own children. . . . As time passed, I began to sense the value of the information I was finding. A desire grew within me to share what I had found. The lives of each of these men carried such powerful messages that I knew their stories must be told.

. . . [my uncle Patriarch] gave me a blessing regarding this work. In the blessing he mentioned that these men and women had appeared to Wilford Woodruff and to others, and that this work would be written to edify and uplift. The blessing stated:

“You will not look upon that which tears down, finds fault, criticizes. They [the eminent men and women] fulfilled their measure and calling upon the earth. For that reason they were permitted after their death to come to Wilford Woodruff so rapidly and have their temple work done. It is the Lord who judges from the intent of the heart, not from the popular opinion of the day. Nor should we judge by only a few facts. As you write and study the intent of the hearts of these men and women you will find that they were uniform. They came to Wilford Woodruff and reminded him that they lad the foundations of freedom . . .

It is this approach that must be taken in compiling this history, so that the children of men, the faithful, the righteous children of our Heavenly Father, may realize that they too have a premortal life, that they have a calling. They have an assignment and it is for them to study and follow the feelings and promptings of the spirit in righteousness. You will write about the good things, the fine things, their accomplishments.”

These instructions gave me a new perspective, a perspective that is perhaps different from that of others who have previously written these men’s stories. My duty was to seek out and record that which was good and noble in the lives of these men and women who so much desired the blessings of the gospel in their post-mortal lives.

. . . We discovered in our years of historical research, that history written prior to 1920 was often written of great men and women who performed great deeds. After 1920, history has highlighted the miseries of men. As Brother Dean Belnap once stated: “Young people of our generation have been deprived of their birthright, which is to be conscious that they are the children of a high destiny in the line of great men who performed great deeds.” One cannot appreciate the future unless there is an understanding of the past. It is the intent of this book to illustrate from the lives of these eminent men, that one individual can make a difference. Hopefully this approach might give the reader the courage, determination, and hope needed to fulfill his or her own measure and calling upon this earth. We live in the greatest time history will ever be written. Therefore, we have the greatest measures and callings that have ever been given.

In writing this book I have received a great deal of help. Some of the research has come in truly miraculous ways. [The author then relates some of the miracles in her research–very fascinating stories.] . . .

The lists of eminent men and women are not meant to imply that there were not other eminent people of the time nor that others were not great in the sight of the Lord. But those who appeared to President Woodruff helped lay the foundation for others in the spirit world to obtain their future blessings.1

Lessons of God’s Superintending Care

To fulfill the purpose of His omniscient design, our Heavenly Father foreordained certain valiant spirit children and assigned them to come to earth at specific times and places to fulfill their appointments. The greatest of these spirits He reserved to come as prophets and priesthood leaders in His kingdom. “Every man,” said the Prophet Joseph Smith, “who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of Heaven before this world was” 2.

Other good and valiant spirits were foreappointed to lay the foundation for man’s liberty through their service in political matters. The Founding Fathers of this American nation were in this category. President Wilford Woodruff said, “They are the best spirits the God of Heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits.” They were held in reserve to collectively come in the time and at the place when one of history’s greatest crises demanded their talents. 3

The foundation of the United States of America is spiritual. We must never forget this vital truth. This country was founded on a belief in the sovereignty of God, and He, not man, granted man his rights. This was possible because the Founding Fathers of this nation were God-fearing men disposed to deliberately acknowledge the hand of God in the events that brought about the nation’s independence.

The Lord raised up the founders of the United States, sanctioned their work, and designated them “wise men.” His approbation of their work is recorded in section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants: “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (D&C 101:80). 4

The restoration of the gospel and the establishment of the Lord’s Church could not come to pass until the Founding Fathers were raised up and completed their foreordained missions. Those great souls who were responsible for the freedoms we enjoy acknowledged the guiding hand of Providence. For their efforts we are indebted.5


Scanned Images of Temple Work

The following are some of the temple records noting work done for the eminent spirits of Wilford Woodruff.


Anderson, Vicki Jo (1994), The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff, Cottonwood, AZ: Zichron, ISBN 0-9642524-0-6.


Artist renditions of this event

Matthew David Grant

Harold Hopkinson (father, artist of original rendition now found in the St. George Temple

Glen Hopkinson (son, recently made his own version of this event)

  1. Vicki Jo Anderson, The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff, 1-7.
  2. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 365
  3. “The Crises of Our Constitution,” Salt Lake Valley Utah Central Area Special Interest Lecture Series, September 8, 1977; Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), 21.
  4. Ezra Taft Benson, “The Faith of our Founding Fathers,” in Faith, p. 20
  5. Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 604; Bicentennial Ball, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 18, 1987.

20 thoughts to “Eminent Spirits Appear to Wilford Woodruff

  • John Jerdon

    How was he able to recognize them even if he had seen a painting or photo of them, since LDS Doctrine teaches when one dies they become spirit and resemble their eternal not earthly parents image, which is someone in the prime of their life not old age. The “Founding Fathers” certainly would not be wearing white wigs and clothing of the type worn at the signing of the Declaration of Independence! Wilford Woodruff claimed this incident was actual, not a vision or dream. Woodruff also declared that they were all men, yet when you look at the list of people for whom the work was done there are many female names! Considering how sacred Mormons hold the U.S. Constitution, how did Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863) an American Confederate General’s name make it on a list of “the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth.”, since he sought to overthrow the U.S. Government during the Civil War? From the number of English statesmen, authors and poets listed as “eminent”, it appears Woodruff made his list based upon the books in his library (Perhaps collected while serving as a missionary and Mission President in England). D&C 129 gives the three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God and exposes this story to be false.

  • Ken Downs

    Thanks so much for this!

  • Kenneth Reeves

    John, how can you reference latter-day scripture, accepting it as truth, yet claim the testimony of two latter-day prophets as false? If you read President Woodruff’s account in it’s entirety, he performed the ordinances for the men; there was a woman at the temple who was proxy for the “eminent women”. How did “Stonewall” Jackson make it on “the list”? That is between him and the Lord. Finally, it only makes sense that President Woodruff would load his personal library with the writings of “eminent men and women”, as judged by the Lord.

  • J. Grant

    I can see that you are searching for truth. Read “The Message” by Lance Richardson. You may find answers to many of your questions there. Remember as you read that Lance isn’t a professional writer, just a man who is relating a wonderful experience!

  • HR

    He could know who they were because they probably told him their names.

  • HR

    Yes also those people may have gotten some things figured out after they died, because missionary work continues in the spirit world. It is entirely possible that as long as they meet the requirements, they can be baptized and receive all of their eternal blessings. Thus the need for temple work here on the earth of course, because those ordinances have to be done in the body, though they still have their spirit bodies there.

  • Researcher

    Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal that he spent Sunday evening, August 19, 1877 preparing a list of some of the “noted men” of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He used Evert A. Duyckinck’s two-volume work entitled “Eminent Men and Women of Europe and America.” He added the names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and presidents of the United States to those he had gathered from Duyckinck’s books. He waited until Tuesday, the day designated for baptismal work, to take his list to the temple, and asked John D. T. McAllister to baptize him for 54 of the 56 Signers and 45 other eminent men, including John Wesley, Columbus, Daniel Webster, Napoleon, and three generations of George Washington’s extended family. Wilford then baptized John for all the deceased U.S. Presidents, except Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan because of their actions against the Saints. That night he recorded the experience and listed the names of the eminent men in his journal.

    Along with the list of eminent men, Wilford also compiled, or directed the compilation of, a list of 68 eminent women. All but two of those women’s names were included in Evert Duyckinck’s books. Those two women are Euphroysne Parepa-Rosa and her mother Elizabeth. Her father was included on the list of other eminent men.He asked Lucy Bigelow Young, the supervisor over the female temple workers, to act as proxy and he baptized her on behalf of all the women on his list. The eminent men he listed in his journal are well-known and, for the most part, their lives are well documented. The eminent women, on the other hand, range from infamous to unknown. Some were admired figures, including the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning and novelists Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Others, such as Charlotte de Corday and Marie Antoinette, were more controversial historical figures. Eleven of the women were members of George Washington’s extended family. Thirty-seven were wives of the eminent men Wilford had chosen. Although 24 of the other women he included on his list were also married, whether intentionally or by oversight, he did not include their husbands on the list of eminent men.

    Wilford Woodruff was very clear that the Founding Fathers appeared, not the other eminent men and not the eminent women. He didn’t need to recognize them, or ask for their individual names and birthdates. The Founding Fathers names were all on the Declaration of Independence and their information was widely published. The incredible impact of this experience is not diminished by the fact that he made a list of the other individuals using a book. The appearance of the Founding Fathers inspired him to turn his attention to those outside his immediate family … and has served as an inspiration for millions of other church members to do the same.

  • Linda

    This is valuable information. Thank you for publishing it. I know what Wilford Woodruff said happened did in reality happen. The Holy Ghost will reveal the truth of it unto any who will pray with a sincere heart and real intent to know of this truth or any other truth. Heavenly Father knows what the truth is so just ask Him. It really is that simple.

    • Leszek

      This is very valuable information, because these men were true heroes to the cause of Freedom. Today there are many who would like to discredit them as such and by doing so undermine the Constitution which they bore. The very document which laid foundation of the Last Bastion of Freedom on earth in our days.

  • Where can I find the list of Native American Indian's that also had their Temple work done?

    Do you have a list of the Native American Indians that also had their work done in the Temple with all the others?

    • James Winegardner

      Does anyone have any verifiable information that this actually occurred?
      I have been unable to find any ***proof*** that any temple ordinances for any ancient native American Indians have had their Temple work done? It appears to be just rumor?

      • Joseph Smith Foundation

        Please see the last three images under “Scanned Images of Temple Work” at the bottom of this article!

  • Kim

    I love this!
    I have been inspired by how these great men and women appeared to Wilford Woodruff. Ever since I first heard about this, I always wondered why Emily Bronte was not there, but her sister Charlotte was. I have surmised such things as perhaps Emily wasn’t quite ready at the time, but of course, I don’t know. Sorry, just a thought. I just wanted to quickly type a little post.

  • Randy

    John Hancock and William Floyd did not have their work completed by Wilford Woodruff, as those founding fathers had already had their work taken care of earlier. Levi Ward Hancock is known to have done the work for his third cousin John Hancock. More info and sources at

  • Sonya Ray

    This was so inspiring! I teach true history about the Founding Fathers in our little LDS-based private school, and this article is something I want to share with my students. I have always felt in my heart that the Founding Fathers were great men. So thank you for this!

  • Jaelin Rask

    Why would President Andrew Jackson and President Abraham Lincoln be allowed to have Temple Ordinances performed and fulfilled at that time? Considering that Andrew Jackson is responsible for the terrible treatment of Native Americans, forced removal from traditional territory, broken treaty promises, the death of thousands. President Abraham Lincoln gave his authority and approval of the mass execution of 38 Santee Dakota Sioux Indians at Mankato MN. I’m Nakota Sioux from Canada and my Aboriginal ancestors or only just receiving their ordinances in 2014/2015. Why have they had to wait so long for their names to be read in the temple? I think President Woodruff may have been a little out of his mind. This can’t be true! I don’t believe that those two US presidents were very admirable or noble, I don’t believe that God would be so quick to usher in blessings like that for these two. They have much to answer for in my opinion. Native Lives matter!

  • Dan

    Yes Jaelin, the lives of the Native Americans matter very deeply to our Lord. In fact, the Book of Mormon states many promises to them.

    Also, Christ visited with some Natives in Walker Lake Nevada in 1890. An event the local Mormons knew about.

    You can read more about that sacred event here.

  • Tertium Squid

    Jaelin, temple ordinances are needed for all eternal kingdoms. President Jackson will go to the kingdom he is best suited for, as will I and you and everyone else.

    Anyway, look at the scanned documents above. There were native names baptized for that month too.

  • Jaelin Rask

    38 Names of the Dakota Sioux men to be hung at Mankato Minnesota and Abe’s signature of approval. Nothing but a witch hunt trial with false testimony and lying witnesses. Abraham Lincoln is a devil. Why in Gods name would you Mormons ever believe that he was a noble or honourable man? You guys just blindly accept everything your prophets tell you! Your hero’s are fake and false. [In mocking fashion] “I had a dream … I saw President Lincoln and Jackson … honorable, noble, valient men and God told me to make sure they get their ordinances” blah blah blah
    I think they could’ve waited a 1000 years and more!

    1. Ta-he-do-ne-cha, (One who forbids his house.)
    2. Plan-doo-ta, (Red Otter.)
    3. Wy-a-tah-ta-wa, (His People.)
    4. Hin-hau-shoon-ko-yag-ma-ne, (One who walks clothed in an Owl’s Tail.)
    5. Ma-za-bom-doo, (Iron Blower.)
    6. Wak-pa-doo-ta, (Red Leaf.)
    7. Wa-he-hua, _____.
    8. Sua-ma-ne, (Tinkling Walker.)
    9. Ta-tay-me-ma, (Round Wind) — respited.
    10. Rda-in-yan-ka, (Rattling Runner.)
    11. Doo-wau-sa, (The Singer.)
    12. Ha-pau, (Second child of a son.)
    13. Shoon-ka-ska, (White Dog.)
    14. Toon-kau-e-cha-tag-ma-ne, (One who walks by his Grandfather.)
    15. E-tay-doo-tay, (Red Face.)
    16. Am-da-cha, (Broken to Pieces.)
    17. Hay-pe-pau, (Third child of a son.)
    18. Mah-pe-o-ke-na-jui, (Who stands on the Clouds.)
    19. Harry Milord, (Half Breed.)
    20. Chas-kay-dau, (First born of a son.)
    21. Baptiste Campbell, _____.
    22. Ta-ta-ka-gay, (Wind Maker.)
    23. Hay-pin-kpa, (The Tips of the Horn.)
    24. Hypolite Auge, (Half-breed.)
    25. Ka-pay-shue, (One who does not Flee.)
    26. Wa-kau-tau-ka, (Great Spirit.)
    27. Toon-kau-ko-yag-e-na-jui, (One who stands clothed with his Grandfather.)
    28. Wa-ka-ta-e-na-jui, (One who stands on the earth.)
    29. Pa-za-koo-tay-ma-ne, (One who walks prepared to shoot.)
    30. Ta-tay-hde-dau, (Wind comes home.)
    31. Wa-she-choon, (Frenchman.)
    32. A-c-cha-ga, (To grow upon.)
    33. Ho-tan-in-koo, (Voice that appears coming.)
    34. Khay-tan-hoon-ka, (The Parent Hawk.)
    35. Chau-ka-hda, (Near the Wood.)
    36 Hda-hin-hday, (To make a rattling voice.)
    37. O-ya-tay-a-kee, (The Coming People.)
    38. Ma-hoo-way-ma, (He comes for me.)
    39. Wa-kin-yan-wa, (Little Thunder.)

  • Wendy

    I am fascinated by some of the ‘Other Eminent Men and Women’ that had their work done at this time. I am also just as interested in those whose names are not on this list and would like to do further investigation to see if their work has since been done. Some very significant figures of the Revolution do not appear here such as Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, Joseph Warren, and George Mason. I so hope these gentlemen have heard the gospel message and have accepted it.

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