This post marks the first post in what aims to be a regular feature of The Juvenile Instructor, “From the Archives.” Each post will feature an interesting quote or entry from an early LDS journal, periodical, sermon, or letter. This first installment features Wilford Woodruff’s journal entry for May 15, 1842. At this time, Woodruff was in Nauvoo, Illinois working as editor of the Times & Seasons.
Vengance is mine. I will repay saith The Lord.
May 15th 1842 Sunday True information has just reached us that the Noted Governor Boggs of Missouri who By his orders expeled ten thousand Latter Day Saints, Has just Been assassinated in his own house & fallen in his own Blood. Three Ball wer shot through his head two through his Brains & one through his mouth, tongue & throat. Thus this ungodly wretch has fallen in the midst of his iniquity & the vengance of God has overtaken him at last & he has met his Just deserts though by an unknown hand. This information is proclaimed through all the papers & By dispatched messengers & hand Bills through the land. Thus Boggs hath died as a fool dieth & gone to his place to receive the reward of his works.
* * *
*Boggs was shot but did not die but has sinc recove[red] from his wounds. 
What strikes me about this passage (aside from Woodruff writing such a detailed entry about a death that didn’t happen) is that the entry before it Woodruff is busy preaching and the entry after it simply notes “I spent in the printing office.” What does this reveal about the culture of early Mormonism? Was this seeming attitude of divine vengeance typical of Mormons? Was it at all typical of early 19th-century American culture? Is this attitude at all prevalent in Mormonism today? I imagine most Latter-day Saints today don’t see God’s vengeful hand in others’ deaths, but are we still inclined to see the fate of others as a sign of divine involvement and judgment?
 The entry can be found in Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Typescript, ed. Scott G. Kenney (Midvale: Utah, Signature Books, 1983), 2: 176; It is also included in Waiting for the World’s End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodfruff, ed. Susan Staker (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1993), 55-56.
*The last sentence was inserted after the initial entry.
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