Woodruff was sustained as an Apostle at the age of 32. He served in five seperate missions of the Church during his ministry and was married to five women (although he practiced plural marriage, not all the marriages were concurrent), and had 33 children.
Woodruff was a farmer by trade, and also wrote extensively for Church periodicals.
He was the first to preside over the first completed temple in Utah, the Saint George, Utah Temple, Organized the Genealogical Society of Utah, and Dedicated the Salt Lake Temple.
During his time as temple president in Saint George, Woodruff standardized temple ceremonies and was baptized for the dead in behalf of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and other founding fathers, after he claimed to recieve a vision, visitation or manifestation of the departed spirits of these men.
Many historians consider his journals Woodruff's most important contribution to the Church. He kept a daily record of his life and the Church since his baptism in the 1830s until his death, which provides insight into not only the doctrines and daily actions of Church leaders, but also into the social and cultural aspects of early Mormonism.
Woodruff also issued "the Manifesto" which ended polygamy or plural marriage in the Territory of Utah and directed Latter-day Saints only to enter into marriages that are recognized by the laws in the areas in which they reside. Some historians consider this his most important contribution the the Church.