Reported to the Council of Twelve Apostles 16 December 1877 & Recorded in the Journal of Wilford Woodruff under that Date
I went to bed as usual, about 7:30 p.m. I had been reading a revelation in the French language. My mind was calm, more so than usual if possible, so I composed myself for sleep, but could not. I felt a strange feeling come over me and apparently became partially unconscious; still I was not exactly asleep nor awake with that dreary feeling. The first thing that I recognized was that I was sitting in the back of the Ogden Tabernacle for fear they would ask me to preach, which however they did. After singing the second song, they called me to the stand. I arose to speak and said that I did not know what to say especially, except to bear my testimony of the latter day work, when all at once it seemed as if I had lifted out of myself and I said: "Yes, I do have something to say, and it is this: Some of you brethren have been asking
what is to become of the Saints. What is the wind blowing up? I will answer you right here what is to shortly come."
I was then in a dream immediately in Salt Lake City, and I was wandering in the streets in all parts of the city. On the doors of the houses I found the badges of mourning. I passed my own house and the same sign was there. I asked the question, "Is that me who is dead?" Someone answered, "No, you will get through it all right."
It seemed strange to me that I saw no persons in the streets, in all of my wanderings about the country. It seemed all the people were in their houses with the sick. I saw no funeral processions or anything of the kind, but the city was still as if the people were all in prayers. It seemed that they had controlled the trouble, but what it was, I did not learn. It was not made known to me. I then looked over the country, north, south, east and west and the same conditions were in every land and every place. The next I saw was just this side of Omaha. It seemed as though I was above the earth, looking down on it as I passed my way east. I saw the road full of people, mostly women with just what they could carry on their backs, traveling to the
mountains on foot. I wondered how they would get through with such small packs on their backs. It was so remarkable to me that there were so few men among them. I didn't seem to see the cars running; the railroads were abandoned, and the roads also, and I have no idea of how I traveled as I looked down on the people.
I continued my way east by way of Omaha and Council Bluffs which were just full of disease; there were women everywhere. The state of Illinois and Missouri were in turmoil. Men were killing one another, and women were joining the fighting. Families were against each other the most horrid manner.
I imagined next that I was in Washington, and I found desolation there; the White House was empty and the Hall of Congress the same. Everything was in ruins. People seemed to have left the city to take care of itself. I was next in Baltimore in the square where the monument of 1812 stands, in front of the Charles Hotel. I saw the dead piled up so as to fill the street
squares. I saw mothers cut the throats of their own children for their blood and suck it from their throats to quench their thirst, and then lie down and die. The waters of the Chesapeake Bay were so stagnant, on account of their throwing dead bodies into it that the very smell carried death with it.
I saw no men there except the dead ones, or those dying on the streets, and only a few women, and those I did see were crazy and in ugly condition. Everywhere I went I beheld the same sight all over the city. It was terrible beyond description to look at. I thought that this must be the end, but no, I was seemingly in an instant in the city of Philadelphia, PA. There everything was still. No living soul was there to greet me. It seemed that the whole city was without inhabitants. In the south of Chestnut street and in fact everywhere I went, the putrefaction of the dead caused such a stench that it was impossible for anything to breath, nor did I see anything alive in the entire city.
Next I was on Broadway in New York, and there it seemed the people had done the best they could to overcome the disease or trouble, but in wandering down Broadway, I saw the bodies of beautiful women, lying in the street, some dead, others dying, and I saw men come out of the cellars and rob their bodies of the valuables on them, and then they would roll over a few
times and die in agony also. In some of the back streets I saw them kill some of their own offspring and eat the raw flesh and in a few minutes die themselves.
Everywhere I went I saw scenes of horror and destruction and death. No vehicles, cars, carriages or buggies were running, but death and destruction were everywhere. Then I saw a fire start, and just at that moment, a mighty east wind sprang up and carried the flame over the city, and it burned until there was not a single building left standing, even down to the water's
edge. It burned the ships, the wharves and all seemed to follow to common destruction, and nothing remained where there was a city but a sort time ago. The stench from the bodies that were burning was so great that it was carried a long distance across the Hudson Bay and carried death and destruction wherever it penetrated. I can't bring the words of horror that seemed to encompass us about. It was beyond the description of man.
I supposed that this was the end, but no, I was given to understand that the same horrors were being enacted all over the country, east, west, north and south. Few were left alive, but still there were some. Immediately after, I seemed to be standing on the left bank of the Missouri river, opposite the city of Independence, yet seemed that I saw the whole states of Illinois,
Missouri and Iowa a complete desert with no living being there. A short distance from the river, I saw 12 men dressed in Temple robes standing in a square, or nearly so, and understood that they represented the 12 stakes of the New Jerusalem. Their hands were uplifted, consecrating the ground and laying the cornerstone of the Temple. I saw many angels hovering over them, and also saw an impervious pillar, or cloud towering over them. I heard angels singing the most beautiful heavenly music. The words were, "Now is established the Kingdom of God and His Christ, which will never be thrown down." I saw some of them who wore temple clothes come help build the temple and city, and all the time I saw a great pillar or cloud hovering over the place. Instantly I found myself in the tabernacle at Ogden again and I could see the building going on; I got quite animated in calling the people in the tabernacle to listen to the beautiful music.
At this I staggered back and Brother F. D. Richards and others caught me from falling. I requested Brother Richards to apologize to the congregation for my stopping so suddenly. I then rolled over in bed and awoke just as the city clock struck 12 midnight.