Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)




Lt 1, 1864

Bates, Brother and Sister



Previously unpublished.

Brother and Sister Bates,

In the last vision I was shown much in regard to ministers and their families, and then was shown the condition of the churches. As a general [thing], the churches were shown me in advance of their ministers. There are a few exceptions in every church—a few hangers-on who have no experience in the things of God. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 1

As I wrote out the testimony for ministers in Number 9, that which had been shown me for you came clear to my mind. I was shown that you had not realized and acted upon the vision given. Especially has Sister Bates failed to see her wrongs. I saw that you were both in a state of mind to be easily tried, and to bring a great trial upon the church. If you continue to occupy the same position you have done, you will prove the greatest trial to the church in Monterey they have ever had, and will prove an injury to the cause of God. As you now are, the church at Monterey are a thousand times better off without your influence than with it. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 2

I was shown that the church in Monterey understood our position in a much clearer light than Brother Bates could present it to them; therefore the efforts which he may make are not a help but a hindrance. I was pointed back to the trial brought upon the church by the course pursued by your daughter Mary. She was permitted by you both to live with you, and be supported by the church, and then you suffered her to have her own way, to go and come as she pleased, choose her own society, write to whom she pleased, talk and tattle as she pleased, and yet the church must bear it. They must do for you, labor to please you, support her, and let her bring awful trials upon the church, and by her loose habits bring a reproach upon the cause of God. And yet you thought the church must bear and say nothing. They bore with you and her until forbearance ceased to be a virtue. God was displeased with you and displeased with the church that they suffered Mary to remain with you so long, giving the enemies of our faith occasion to speak reproachfully of our faith. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 3

I saw, Brother and Sister Bates, just as long as Mary was under your roof, she should have conformed to your rules, and been restrained by your counsel and wishes. When she would not consent to do this, then she should no longer remain dependent on you and on the church. God’s anger has been kindled against you as it was against Eli. Brother Bates, had another pursued the course your daughter Mary has pursued, you would see it all, you would give it no quarter, you would bear down upon it in the most unsparing manner. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 4

Again I was pointed to your course pursued at Green Vale, Illinois, in regard to Darius Myers. Here is an instance where you failed to read character. You failed to manage his case wisely. Then I saw that his sin in the sight of God was not nearly as great as in Mary’s case. You bore down upon Darius Myers with an unsparing hand. You made a public matter of what should have been private. How different your course toward your daughter! She was bound to her husband by the marriage vow; yet she has scattered her ways to strangers, and has encouraged the addresses of corrupt and vile men. And how earnestly and energetically you have labored to clear Mary and cover up her course of action which has been the greatest source of trial the Monterey church has ever had. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 5

I have been shown that the church will cheerfully take care of you; but they should not bear the least burden of your proud, vain, extravagant children. They have chosen their own course and must be the sufferers. They must reap that which they have sown, and Sister Bates must reap that which she has sown. She has sown the seed,—the fruit is manifested. She has gratified the wishes and wills of her children, and has not taught them to deny themselves, and has not restrained their desires. And now in their old age, when Brother and Sister Bates should have faithful, devoted children to lean upon, their children are nearly worthless, hardly capable of bearing their own weight in the world, and others have to act the part which their children should. I saw that it would do your children good to know real want and privation. I saw that it was not the duty of Brother and Sister Bates to take the burden of their children upon them in the least. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 6

Sister Bates, a page of your history was presented before me. I saw that in most cases you had ruled in your house and family. You would have things just as you wanted them, or you would raise a storm. You have had a set will which has been hard for you to yield. You have had exalted views of your own doings, and have had things about your own way. Now in your old age, these traits of character are strong. You do not know what it is to yield, and you think that others must look up to you. You have certain ideas of gentility and politeness, and customs of the world which do not correspond with the simplicity of the truth. Your brethren and sisters do not view these things as you do. Their interest for the truth swallows up ceremonies and forms which seem essential to you, but which you would be better off without, and far happier. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 7

I saw that you, Sister Bates, are so apt to complain, you watch the moves of your brethren and sisters with a jealous eye and imagine you are neglected and abused, and are continually watching to see if you are not slighted and neglected. You notice the most innocent movements and put on an air of one that has been wronged. Satan takes advantage of your state of feeling and construes everything in the wrong light. You do not shut the enemy out but open wide the door for him to enter, and you both have a real miserable and unhappy time of it. You bring grievous trials upon yourselves. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 8

Sister Bates has felt if the brethren had anything she desired, she was entitled to it, and they were not using her right unless they let her have it. This is the old feeling and spirit which she had years ago, which is now being manifested in a different form. Sister Bates, unless you reform and overcome you cannot possess heaven, for there are spots and wrinkles upon your Christian character which will shut you from a pure and holy heaven. You complain, and misconstrue the acts and words of your brethren and sisters. You are fretful and exacting to Brother Bates, and charge this all to nervousness. You increase that malady greatly by giving your feelings vent. You must keep your tongue as with a bridle. “He that offendeth not in word the same is a perfect man, and able, also, to bridle the whole body.” [James 3:2.] Here is a work before you, which God requires you to perform. I saw that you do not practice that self-denial you should. You increase disease and nervousness by preparing your food too rich. You tax your digestive organs, and in this you sin. You make too much parade for company. You spend precious time and strength preparing a variety for the stomach, which the stomach would do much better without. Days and days you have suffered with headache brought upon yourself by improper diet and your unnecessary labor in preparing it. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 9

There is more need of a reform with you than with any of the faithful believers in Monterey. You are so anxious to keep up appearances that you exhaust yourself in doing that which others are obliged to let alone even if appearances do not suit them. It would be much more pleasing to heaven if you would study and labor more earnestly for a thankful, contented, happy frame of mind. You will have to spend more earnest, persevering labor upon these important points or you will surely fail of heaven. Labor more earnestly for the approbation of God, and less for to carry out appearances. If you do this you will live in the hearts of the church and they will love to do for you, and will have a care for you which not one of your children now possess. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 10

The patience of the church in Monterey you have taxed greatly. It should not be so. If you were ripening up for heaven you would manifest patience, sweet contentment, and gratitude. But as you are and have been, Sister Bates, you are a burden. It is not the duty of the Monterey church to be constantly studying what course they shall pursue to save Brother and Sister Bates from trial. It is your duty to get where you will not be so easily tried, where you will not notice every move and word of your brethren and feel that you are slighted. The officers in the church at Monterey are men who move understandingly in the fear of God. They feel the burden of the cause of God upon them, and feel compelled to move for the best interest of the cause. They can see things to be avoided and shunned which you would not think of. Their minds are clear, they have good judgment; they study from cause to effect, and try to shun everything which would cause unbelievers to take advantage of us and reproach our faith. Your mind is not even as clear as it once was. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 11

In years past all the way up to the present time you would weave into your discourses things which were fanciful, erroneous ideas, which injured the cause of God, and which caused a great deal of labor to do away the prejudices you created. Your course all the way up has been marked with a peculiar stubbornness which has severely tried the souls of your brethren and exhausted their patience and destroyed their courage. And now as you are in the decline of life you are far less capable of doing justice to our faith by presenting it to others, for your memory and strength of mind have failed. You never were willing to be corrected by your brethren. Much labor has been spent in vain to enlighten you in regard to erroneous views you received. You would not understand the plain facts presented to you by your brethren. You were independent and stubborn and would not yield until corrected through vision. Now in the decline of life it is more difficult for you to see the inconsistency of any course you may take. Your perceptive faculties are duller than they were. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 12

The men in Monterey, who have the burden of the cause of God upon them, should not feel gaged in their course of action, that they must not follow their best judgment unless they counsel with you. They should go about their duty which God has for them to do. If you get in their way you must be the sufferer. It is your duty now in your old age to be guided and counseled by younger minds,—the officers of the church in Monterey who have the burden of the cause of God upon them. It is wrong for you to stand back upon your dignity and think that your brethren and sisters must conform to ceremonies and forms which you consider needful. When you yield your own will and your own set ways, then you can see the matter which I have written to you in the true light. But you have both been very blind to your state. Sister Bates has ever had too much influence upon her husband. He has ever labored too hard to gratify her notions and desires and wishes; he has been very careful not to cross her set will. And now it will be a hopeless task for anyone to take the burden upon them of pleasing Sister Bates and coming up to her ideas, and giving her all the attention she requires. She must see the necessity of a change, a thorough change in herself or she will be very unhappy, make herself a great amount of trouble and will cause others great trouble. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 13

I saw in some things at his home and in his family Brother Bates has been more set than the case required; he could have yielded and not compromised his dignity in the least. Angels cannot delight to minister unto you and hover in your house until there is a reform. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 14

I saw, Brother and Sister Bates, that you have despised the advice and counsel of the Monterey church. You have felt that it was more in place for you to instruct them, and counsel them, than for you to listen to and be counseled by them. You have been too independent, have stood back too much upon your dignity. I saw that you have been anxious to preach, to give a discourse, but I saw that you leave out much that is important, and bring in much that does not belong to it. You introduce foreign matter which is not connected with the subject, which destroys the harmony of your discourse and makes it a disconnected, tangled mass, and leaves upon minds a worse impression than if you had made no effort at all. You do not see how you fail and are not the proper judge of your own efforts. Your brethren see where you fail to make points and connections, and they are in continual fear that you will hurt souls who are inexperienced. You lack judgment and must let those who are capable judge for you. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1864, par. 15