In the Whirlpool
The Pre-Manifesto Letters of President Wilford Woodruff to the William Atkin Family, 1885–1890
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: The Arthur H. Clark Company
240 Pages | 6 x 9 | 18 b&w illus., 1 Map
Woodruff's nearly 60 letters reproduced here depict a man "in the midst of a whirlpool." The church leader believed he and his people were being denied the basic American right to practice the religion of their choice, yet he recognized that polygamy was incompatible with American society. The letters also reveal Woodruff's humanity—his longing to be with friends, his sorrow over the loss of his first wife, and his struggle with illness.
Essays by Neilson, Jan Shipps, and Thomas G. Alexander provide context for
Woodruff's writing. Neilson discusses the Atkins' family life, Alexander offers a history of plural marriage among Mormons, and Shipps analyzes the impact of the Manifesto on Mormon women and men. Nearly 20 images further flesh out the correspondence and its depiction of Mormon people—who were then, like Woodruff, in the midst of change.