In 1889, Wilford Woodruff became the fourth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - more commonly known as the Mormon Church.

As president, he was seen as a living prophet, someone who could receive wisdom and advice from Jesus Christ. And he was certainly in need of advice - his church was in crisis.

For 40 years, Mormons had been at loggerheads with the US Congress over the issue of polygamy, which was encouraged among male believers. The government said it was illegal, and held that religious conviction was no defence.

Woodruff and others lived a precarious life, moving around in an attempt to dodge marshals with arrest warrants for bigamy. In 1890, the government brought things to a head by moving to confiscate all of the church's assets.

It was then, Woodruff said, that Jesus Christ appeared to him in a vision and showed him the future of the Mormon Church if the practice wasn't stopped - and it wasn't pretty. Although he did not renounce plural marriage, he issued a manifesto banning it.