After their deaths, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young visited their successors. Joseph Smith appeared to Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff. Brigham Young appeared to John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff. Here are some accounts:
Visitation of Joseph Smith to President Brigham Young
On February 17, 1847, while at Winter Quarters, three years after his death, the Prophet Joseph Smith appeared to President Brigham Young. They discussed their friendship and the affairs of the church. Brother Brigham sought Joseph’s advice about leading the church. The Prophet counseled:
“Tell the, brethren to be humble and faithful and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, and it will lead them aright. Be careful and not turn away the small, still voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom.
“Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them their hearts will be ready to receive it…. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits – it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts, and their whole desire will be to do good.
“Tell the brethren if they will follow the Spirit of the Lord, they will go right….
“Tell the people to be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord and follow it and it will lead them just right.”
(See: Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, Chapter 6, p. 41; Juvenile Instructor, Volume 8, p. 114, 1873; Manuscript History of Brigham Young: 1846–47, Historical Dept., pp. 528–31)
Visitation of Joseph Smith and Jesus to President John Taylor
After the federal government made polygamy a felony, LDS leaders were hunted and imprisoned by federal marshals. To avoid capture, many of the leaders went into hiding. President John Taylor hid at a farmhouse in Centerville, Utah.
During that time, Lorin Wooley acted as President Taylor’s bodyguard. On the night of September 26, 1886, Brother Lorin noticed a bright light coming from beneath Pres. Taylor’s door. Lorin heard three men talking, Pres. Taylor and two others. Lorin had not seen any visitors come into the house, so he checked Pres. Taylor’s door. It was bolted shut. Lorin listened to the voices until about midnight. By the sound, he would tell that one of the men in Pres. Taylor’s room had left. The other one stayed.
“I returned to my post and continued to hear the voices in that room. They were so audible that, although I did not see the parties, I could place their positions in the room from the sound of their voices.”
When Pres. Taylor came out his room the next morning, he “glowed.” Lorin explained, “we could scarcely look at him on account of the brightness of his personage.’
Lorin asked who the voices belonged to. President Taylor replied, “I had a very pleasant conversation all night with Prophet Joseph.”
When Lorin asked who the “other” man was, Pres. Taylor declared, “Brother Lorin, that was your Lord.”
(Lynn L. Bishop, The 1886 Visitations of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to John Taylor: The Centerville meetings, Latter Day Publications, Salt Lake City, 1998, p. 17-20)
Visitations of Joseph Smith to President Wilford Woodruff
While serving as President of the Church, Wilford Woodruff was visited by the Prophet Joseph Smith several times. Brother Wilford recorded:
“Joseph visited me and laid before me a great many things. Among other things, he told me to get the Spirit of God.”
“Joseph Smith visited me a great deal after his death and taught me many important principles.
“The last time he visited me was while I was in a storm at sea. I was going on my last mission to preside in England…. The night following this [miracle of stilling the storm] Joseph and Hyrum visited me, and the Prophet laid before me a great many things.
“Among other things, he told me to get the Spirit of God; that all of us needed it….
“Joseph Smith continued visiting myself and others up to a certain time, and then it stopped.
The last time I saw him was in heaven. In the night vision I saw him at the door of the temple in heaven. He came and spoke to me. He said he could not stop to talk with me because he was in a hurry….
“By and by I saw the Prophet again, and I got the privilege to ask him a question. ‘Now,’ said I, ‘I want to know why you are in a hurry. I have been in a hurry all through my life; but I expected my hurry would be over when I got into the kingdom of heaven, if I ever did.’
“Joseph said: ‘I will tell you, Brother Woodruff. Every dispensation that has had the Priesthood on the earth and has gone into the celestial kingdom, has had a certain amount of work to do to prepare to go to the earth with the Savior when He goes to reign on the earth. Each dispensation has had ample time to do this work. We have not. We are the last dispensation, and so much work has to be done, and we need to be in a hurry in order to accomplish it.’ Of course, that was satisfactory to me, but it was new doctrine to me.”
“I have had many interviews with Brother Joseph until the last fifteen or twenty years of my life; I have not seen him for that length of time.”
(See: Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 21:317-318; Ludwall, ed. Temples of the Most High, 1960, pp. 321-322; Wilford Woodruff discourse at the Weber Stake Conf. Oct 19, 1896; Alonzo Gaskill, “To Every Man is Given a Gift: Spiritual Legacy of Wilford Woodruff,” BYU Religious Studies Center; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 2:478-479, Nov. 1, 1844; 3:578-579, Oct. 20, 1850))
Visitation of Brigham Young to President John Taylor
Within months of becoming president of the Church, John Taylor met with Zina Young Williams, the dean of women of the Brigham Young Academy, and a daughter of Brigham Young. Sister Williams was worried about the future of the academy. President Taylor took her hand “in a fatherly way” and said:
“My dear child, I have something of importance to tell you that I know will make you happy. I have been visited by your father. He came to me in the silence of the night clothed in brightness and with a face beaming with love and confidence told me things of great importance and among others that the school being taught by Brother [Karl G.] Maeser was accepted in the heavens and was a part of the great plan of life and salvation; . . . and there was a bright future in store for . . . preparing . . . the children of the covenant for future usefulness in the Kingdom of God, and that Christ himself was directing, and had a care over this school.”
(See: Leonard J. Arrington, ed., The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1986), pp. 108109.)
Brigham Young Academy grew into Brigham Young University with it several campuses, international and internet programs. BYU has prepared countless students for “usefulness in the Kingdom.” Scores of prophets, apostles, general authorities, general officers, and local leaders have attended BYU.
Visitation of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball to President Wilford Woodruff
Several years after Joseph Smith’s last appearance to Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young appeared to him:
“On one occasion, I saw Brother Brigham and Brother Heber Kimball. They were dressed in the most priestly robes. I asked President Young if he would preach at conference. He said, ‘No, I have finished my testimony in the flesh. I shall not speak to this people anymore.’
“’I have come to see you. I have come to watch over you, and to see what the people are doing.’
“’I want you to teach the people, and I want you to follow this counsel yourself, that they must labor and so live as to obtain the Holy Spirit. For without this you cannot build the kingdom. Without the Spirit of God you are in danger of walking in the dark.’”
“’Brother Joseph taught me this principle.’”
(See: Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 21:317-318; Ludwall, ed. Temples of the Most High, 1960, pp. 321-322; Wilford Woodruff discourse at the Weber Stake Conf. Oct 19, 1896; Alonzo Gaskill, “To Every Man is Given a Gift: Spiritual Legacy of Wilford Woodruff,” BYU Religious Studies Center; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 2:478-479, Nov. 1, 1844; 3:578-579, Oct. 20, 1850; Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, 5; The Holy Ghost and Personal Revelation, From the Life of Wilford Woodruff, 46)
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