Insights in the Papers: Karly Lay

by Karly Lay

Have you ever experienced a moment of intense pain—physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual?

On page 39 of his memoir "Leaves From My Journal," Wilford Woodruff recorded two separate accounts of immediate and complete healing: a woman possessed of a devil and a baby on the verge of death. Wilford’s wording is interesting; in the first account, upon commanding "the devil, in the name of Jesus Christ, to depart out of her," Wilford noted that "it was immediately done," and in the second account, the baby was "made whole immediately, and [he] handed it back to the mother entirely healed…and the parents praised God for His goodness."1 These repeated notions of immediate, total healing are certainly inspiring; however, most of us have experienced intense pain, be it physical, mental, or spiritual, that was not immediately or totally healed.

These experiences are also represented in Wilford’s writings—accounts of delayed or limited healing that teach us that, even when our healing isn't as dramatic or as instant as the aforementioned accounts, God is still aware of us and will help us through our most difficult moments. On April 1, 1897, Wilford Woodruff recorded that he “spent a bad night”—so bad, in fact, that “at one time [his] breath seemed to stop for a minute so [he] could not [breathe] through [his] lungs.”2 We, too, have terrible nights, whether those be literal or figurative. But even though God didn't send Wilford immediate healing in this account, He sent angels to help. Emma, Owen, and Alice Woodruff provided immediate care; George Q. Cannon called on the family and arranged for some help to be found; Franklin D. Richards stopped by; and Brother Nuttall provided care on this day and several days afterward. And there were even more people listed in this journal entry and in later ones who came by to make sure everything was all right. God sent a veritable legion of angels in Wilford’s time of desperate need, showing His love even though it was not His will that Wilford’s sickness be taken away completely, unlike the sicknesses in his earlier journal. How comforting it is to know that God walks beside us in our suffering and will send angels to help us on our individual roads to healing and peace.

 [1] “Leaves From My Journal,” Wilford Woodruff Papers, 39, accessed August 15, 2022,

[2] “Wilford Woodruff Journal: January 1893-April 1897, Section 14,” accessed August 15, 2022,