Lorin C. Woolley
|Lorin C. Woolley|
|Born||Lorin Calvin Woolley
October 23, 1856
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
|Died||September 19, 1934
Centerville, Utah, U.S.
|Resting place||Centerville City Cemetery
Centerville, Utah, U.S.
|Known for||Mormon Fundamentalist leader|
|Spouse(s)||Sarah Ann Roberts
Alice May Woolley
|Parents||John Wickersham and Julia Searles (Ensign) Woolley|
Woolley was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the third son of Mormon pioneer John W. Woolley and his first wife, Julia Searles Ensign. The family moved to Centerville in 1863, where he was ordained an elder in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) by John Lyon on his sixteenth birthday. In 1883, he married his first wife, Sarah Ann Roberts, in the Endowment House on Temple Square. They would have nine children together.
Woolley served as a missionary for the LDS Church in the Indian Territory Mission from October 1887 to October 1889. He was later called to the Seventieth Quorum of Seventy (a local calling, based in Centerville), and shortly thereafter served a four-month mission to Indian Territory, starting in December 1896.
Between October 1886 and February 1887 Woolley became a mail carrier for the LDS Church leaders who were hiding from state authorities during the crack-down against Mormon polygamy. In 1912, he gave the first written account of the background to the 1886 Revelation, which included a September 1886 visitation of Joseph Smith to LDS Church president John Taylor at Woolley's father's home, and of a subsequent meeting in which Taylor stated that plural marriage must and would continue. After Taylor's death, the church officially abandoned polygamy in 1890.
Woolley was excommunicated from the LDS Church in January 1924 for alleging that church president Heber J. Grant and apostle James E. Talmage had taken plural wives in the "recent past". Woolley claimed that he had learned of such behavior because he was employed by the United States Secret Service to spy on LDS Church leaders. The official reason for his excommunication was that he was "found guilty of pernicious falsehood." Grant publicly denied Woolley's claims in a general conference of the church in April 1931.
Mormon fundamentalist leader
Most Mormon fundamentalists believe that upon his father's death in December 1928, Lorin Woolley succeeded him as President of the Priesthood. The following spring, Woolley ordained a new quorum of seven apostles (known as the Council of Friends), including J. Leslie Broadbent, John Yeates Barlow and Joseph White Musser, to ensure the perpetuation of plural marriage.
Woolley married at least four plural wives, three of whom were his first cousins: Sarah, Viola, and Alice May Woolley by 1915, and Goulda Kmetzsch in 1932.
As a leader of the Mormon fundamentalists, Woolley claimed to have been visited by a number of angels and resurrected beings, including Jesus; Joseph Smith, Jr.; Brigham Young; John Taylor; Joseph F. Smith; his father; one of the Three Nephites, who was named "Nephi"; and a Lamanite prophet.
- Brian C. Hales, "'I Love to Hear Him Talk and Rehearse': The Life and Teachings of Lorin C. Woolley", Mormon History Association, 2003.
- James E. Talmage Correspondence File, January 18, 1924, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City
- Norman C. Pierce, 3½ Years, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1963, pp. 77–78
- Lorin C. Woolley. Biography of Lorin C. Woolley located at www.fldstruth.org (official FLDS website)
- The Life and Teachings of Lorin C. Woolley
John Wickersham Woolley
|Mormon Fundamentalist Leaders
Joseph Leslie Broadbent