"I Will Go and Do: The Principle of Obedience"

by Kristi Favro

Lehi Traveling Near the Red Sea by Gary Smith

Wilford Woodruff taught many lessons through his words and example about being obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He once shared, “I have been blessed at times with certain gifts and graces, certain revelations and ministrations; but with them all I have never found anything that I could place more dependence upon than the still small voice of the Holy Ghost.”1

Nephi learned the same lesson over and over throughout his life—he could always depend on the Holy Spirit to guide him. When Nephi was commanded to return to Jerusalem and obtain the plates of brass from Laban, he obediently responded, “I will go and do the things the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7). 

Like Nephi, Wilford Woodruff demonstrated his obedience to the principle of going and doing as the Lord commands. He recorded one such account in one of his autobiographies:

After attending a large annual conference in Salt Lake City, and, having a good deal of business to attend to, I was somewhat weary, and at the close of the conference I thought I would retire to my home and have a rest.

As I went into the yard the Spirit said to me, “Take your team and go to the farm,” which is some three miles south of the tabernacle.

As I was hitching the horses to the wagon Mrs. Woodruff asked where I was going. I said, “To the farm.”

“What for?” she asked.

“I do not know,” I replied; but when I arrived there I found out.

The creek had overflowed, broken through my ditch, surrounded my home and filled my barn-yard and pig pen. . . . 

Through my own exertions I soon turned it, and prevented much damage that might have occurred had I not obeyed the voice of the Spirit.2

Wilford Woodruff followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit, not knowing the reasons for the direction he was given. Through his choices, he was saying, “I will go and do.” Like Nephi, Wilford and his family were blessed immensely for his obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

We are blessed with agency and the power to decide each day if we will be obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I pray that we take advantage of the tremendous blessing our Heavenly Father has given to help us in our journey—the constant companionship and guidance of His Spirit. I pray that we will go and do as the Lord commands.

Kristi recently joined the Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation as the Chief Operating Officer and feels privileged to be a part of this meaningful project to make Wilford’s records universally accessible. She and her husband live in Southern California and are blessed to have a blended family with eight amazing children. 

1 Discourse by Wilford Woodruff, July 3, 1880, p. 2, The Wilford Woodruff Papers, wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/discourse/1880-07-03.

2 Leaves from My Journal, p. 101, The Wilford Woodruff Papers, wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/autobiography/leaves-from-my-journal.