President Wilford Woodruff and the Utah Sugar Industry
Elder Heber J. Grant writes of how Mormon Church President Wilford Woodruff shunned expert advice and followed through on inspiration from God.
"Many years ago President Woodruff announced that the Lord would like the great business of manufacturing sugar established in our midst. A committee was appointed from the directorate of two of the largest Church institutions, two of the most substantial in all Israel, to look into the matter. They investigated the advisability of establishing the beet sugar industry in this state and unanimously reported adversely.
"President Woodruff was not satisfied. Another committee was appointed. I was on the first committee and he appointed me on the second committee. I begged to be excused, because I had already formed my opinion, had already signed my name to a report, but he would not listen to my request to be excused. We went into the matter again, thoroughly and carefully, and the second committee reported adversely. President Woodruff said: 'Never mind the report. The inspiration to me is to establish the sugar industry.' ...
"After we had let the contract for the building of the sugar factory at Lehi, the panic of 1891 came on. There was a provision in the contract that before the machinery was shipped by the Dyer Company, if we would pay a forfeit of fifty thousand dollars the contract could be canceled. I had been sent to New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and other places, by the Presidency, to try to raise the money necessary to build this factory, but it looked like an impossibility to get the money. It was the opinion of business men and others that we should pay the fifty thousand dollars forfeit and abandon the enterprise. But when the recommendation was presented, Wilford Woodruff's answer was this:
"'From the day I received a knowledge of the divinity of the gospel of Jesus Christ revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, from the day that I went out as a humble priest to proclaim that gospel, although it looked like death in front of me, if the path of duty that the gospel required me to tread called me to face death, I have never turned to the right nor turned to the left, And now the inspiration of the Lord to me is to build this factory. Every time I think of abandoning it there is darkness; and every time I think of building it, there is light. We will build the factory if it bursts the Church.'
"We did build it and it did not burst the Church. It and subsequent factories have made millions of dollars for our people."
Heber J. Grant, "Gospel Standards", 1943