Apples

August 12, 2006 | 7 comments
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Wilford Woodruff’s journal entry for Tuesday, December 5, 1865, is short: “I spent the day packing away Apples.” (The entry for the 6th is equally short: “I undertook to make some Cider to day. It was to Cold to get the Juece out of the Apples.”) This is a man who, we believe, was acting at the time as an apostle of the Lord, and who would later become a prophet and leader of the church. However, his day was spent in the sort of labor that today we contract out to machines or migrant farm workers.

Then-Elder Woodruff’s 1865 summary is also divided between the sacred and the mundane:

I Travelled 1,983 Miles; I Attended 170 Public Meetings; I Preached 64 discourses; I Attended two General Conferences; I Attended 62 Prayer Circles; I Ordained 4 Seventies; I Blessed 52 Missionaries in Company with the Twelve; I Spent 54 days in the Endowment House; We Gave Endowments to 1,342 persons; President B Young sealed several Couple; President H C Kimball sealed 182 Couple; I Sealed 451 Couple; G. Q. Cannon sealed 529 Couple; I Attended the dedication of One Meeting House June 22; I wrote 27 Letters; I Received 24 Letters; I Attended the 40 days Session of the Legislative Council; I was a Member of the Senate of the State of Deserett; I Attended the Meetings of the D. A. & M. Society; I Attended as Treasurer of the Jordon Irrigation Co.; I Administered to 16 sick persons by the laying on of hands; I Paid my Tithing for 1865 $229.57 cts; I spent the rest of my time upon my farm & in My Garden laboring for the support of my Family. (emphasis added)

Even for those men who we revere as prophets, seers, and revelators, life is not merely a series of theophanies. Often, the day is spent packing away apples and making cider.

7 Responses to Apples

  1. Julie M. Smith on August 12, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    Nice post. My best guess is that the apple picking prompts the prophesying.

    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=2251

  2. Ardis on August 12, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    … or tending to black walnut trees in the backyard, a la President Hinckley.

    At the same time Wilford Woodruff was packing away apples, Brigham Young was on his knees teaching young boys how to fit wood floors in the Salt Lake Theatre, and watching out the back window of the Beehive House as the trusses for the bridge over the Jordan River (the same type of trusses used in the Tabernacle) were being assembled in his garden. I have a client (I do Mormon/Utah historical research for hire) who cannot understand this mix of the sacred and profane. He sees it as Brigham Young micromanaging the work of others. I see it as following Mosiah 18:24, where Alma teaches the priests to labor with their hands for their own support. Building the kingdom was all of a kind to the generation of Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff — didn’t matter whether you were preaching a sermon or building a fence, it all helped (as long as you didn’t do one when you were supposed to be doing the other).

    When most of us spend our own livees packing away apples and making cider, I think our challenge is to see how our labors contribute to building eternal lives and the kingdom of God. When we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, keeping in mind the real purpose of our mortal labors, maybe we’d have the occasional minor theophany down there with the apples.

  3. Julie M. Smith on August 12, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    “Building the kingdom was all of a kind to the generation of Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff”

    I got this impression in spades when reading about Heber J. Grant.

  4. Don on August 12, 2006 at 6:37 pm

    Without the internet, soccer practice, video games, T.V. reality shows, cars, drive-in, the movies, malls, and wal-mart no wonder he had time to press apples. I juice mine in October, he’s right it’s too cold in December.

  5. Costanza on August 12, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    It is interesting you mention Heber J. Grant, Julie. He was widely regarded by many Mormons as too worldly to be a good prophet because of his reputation as a worldy-wise businessman. I think he surprised them all.

  6. manaen on August 13, 2006 at 6:01 pm

    5. … and SWK was foreseen to be a “caretaker prophet” coming after the giants that immediately preceded him. Another of the Lord’s little surprises.

  7. Christian Y. Cardall on August 14, 2006 at 10:15 am

    And thus we see that obsession with numbers in an eternal principle that far predates the ascendancy of the corporate types… Of course the scriptures are fond of quoting numbers too, at least in connection with Book of Mormon wars, not to mention the war in heaven.

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