3a: A Recorded Witness

There is in existence a recording of speech of an actual contemporary of Joseph Smith, Wilford Woodruff, who was born in 1807 in Connecticut and spent many years in conversation with the Prophet Joseph himself. It’s not unreasonable to believe that being fellow New Englanders, Joseph and Wilford would have spoken similarly to one another. In 1897, at the age of 91, Wilford Woodruff had his testimony recorded into a “talking machine,” wherein we are able to hear that intonation of speech now familiar to us through the speakers of Tangier, Virginia. Though the recording quality is not great, one can also make out vowel differences that sound more like that of the “hillbilly” variety spoken in the Appalachians. Listen here: