Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 16, 1859

Rhodes, Brother

Hubbardsville, New York

October 28, 1859

Previously unpublished. See also Annotations.

Dear Brother Rhodes:

Duty compels me to write you a few lines. While at Dartmouth, Massachusetts, I was shown the individual cases of some, and among them of those who had been laboring in word and doctrine. The course that has been pursued by different ones and the influence that has been exerted among the flock of God were presented before me. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 1

I was shown, dear brother, the course that has been pursued by yourself, and its influence. I was shown that you could not be right until you undo what you have done. What had been shown in your case was again presented before me. I saw that you had covered this up, instead of acting upon it and counteracting the wrong influence you have exerted. I saw that there had been fears in your mind that if the churches were aware of the reproofs you have had, and you should acknowledge you had moved wrongly, that it would destroy your influence, destroy the confidence of the church in you. Here the enemy deceives you, and the wrong influence you have exerted has been, and still is, a stumbling block to many. This stumbling block must be removed by yourself. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 2

I can hold my peace no longer. There are things that must be corrected in the church if they are ever brought into the unity of the faith. You have moved from impulse. You have acted out your feelings and talked hard to different ones, reproving sharply, bearing on individuals with much severity, when there was no occasion for it, except your feelings. You feel strong and act strong—go to extremes. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 3

I was shown that it would be some time before the churches in this state lived down and come out from all the wrong instruction they have received. At Roosevelt I saw it was cleaving to them like the leprosy, and they will be plunged into darkness and trial until they take an entirely different course. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 4

Your course in dictating to individuals is all wrong. It was no part of your work, telling what this one must do, and that one. It is for you to preach the Word and allow your brethren to have consciences, as well as yourself. You have been too forward to mark out the track for others. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 5

I was shown the sad state of things in Lincklaen. Such a state of things need not have been. Your hard speeches and severe reproofs, your decided, unyielding course, have been the means of placing the cause there in almost a hopeless condition. God does not approbate harsh dealing in the church. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 6

Lorraine was presented before me. Circumstances have come under your observation and you have made quick decisions, accordingly gave your opinion, and counseled when it would have been much better had you remained silent. Your counsel, and the position you took in the cases of Brother Brigham and his wife, instead of mending the difficulty, made it worse. He is a quick-tempered, passionate man, but your influence and advice were not correct. Sister Brigham was in fault and was not careful and judicious to carry herself just as she should, and has taken advantage from what you have said to get out of her place. She has not always occupied the position a wife should. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 7

Sister Horr has not been right; she has exercised more authority than she should and had she feared less the influence of her husband and occupied the humble position a wife should, she would have saved herself much trouble and perplexity that she has endured. There has been a great deal of fear of her husband’s influence that was all unnecessary. She has done wrong. You have been at fault in deciding for or against individuals by what comes under your observation. There are always two sides to a matter, and many times your influence has been cast all on the wrong side. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 8

Dear Brother, your quick, sharp rebukes, your dictating to individuals, and marking out the course they should follow, has been wrong. Independent, thinking minds will not bear it. And God has not laid that work upon you. You could have had a good influence in this state, but you have killed your own influence by sharp talk, if one differed from you, to pass sentence upon him. The church of God will not bear this; they know it is not the spirit in which the gospel should be carried. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 9

There may be times when we shall be called upon to deal plainly, to rebuke, to reprove with all longsuffering and doctrine. The doctrine must do this sharp work, not our words, and there must be longsuffering. You must not be impatient and in a great hurry to have one come up exactly where you think he ought to come at once. Leave time for the angels of God to do their work, to move on hearts, to correct wrongs. Let the truth carry on its purifying process. Teach individuals to move from principle, not from feelings or impulse. Allow that others have a conscience as well as you, and let the angels of God convict that conscience, and then the individuals will have an experience that is worth everything to them. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 10

Many have depended on you to have an experience for them, because you have told them what they must do, and what they must not do. Everyone must have a living experience of his own, an individual experience. “Let brotherly love continue.” [Hebrews 13:1.] “Be pitiful, be courteous.” [1 Peter 3:8.] 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 11

Dear brother, it grieves me while I write, but I dare not withhold. You have not acted on what the Lord has shown concerning you. You have not done as you would mark out for others to do in like circumstances. It is your duty to correct the wrong influence you have exerted. You have set the church an example and have noticed little things, and have had many church trials that have proved a curse instead of a blessing. You have not dwelt upon the living principles of our faith but descended to little particulars, and entered into family matters that in no way concerned you. Many that God loved, you have rebuked and reproved in such a manner that they have been driven off and become completely discouraged. Yet God’s pitiful eye is over them, and He will yet reach down His arm to receive them. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 12

Those who carry the truth must take a thoughtful, steady course, and their everyday life must be marked with kindness, mercy, compassion, and tenderness. It must not be fitful, impulsive, quick, or retaliating. The servants of Jesus Christ must take such a consistent course that their faith will recommend itself to the understanding of good men, and win unbelievers to the truth. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 13

Servants of God must manifest great wisdom and judgment in dealing with minds. They must remember there are many minds and many differences, and these minds are to be made as one mind. The great principles of our faith are to be brought to harmonize the different minds and make them of one mind and one judgment, but this work cannot be done at once. The ministers of Christ are to do their work, preach the Word, talk the principles, and the angels of God are moving upon these minds constantly to correct evils and bring them into the one channel. You have been in too great a hurry, and have felt too uneasy, nervous, and easily irritated, and this has had a scattering influence. We should all be coworkers together to have a gathering instead of a scattering influence; gather with the angels of God. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 14

Dear Brother, you have not been calm, patient with your brethren. You have not been impartial, but your judgment has often been partial and one-sided. May the Lord help you to purify your soul through obeying the truth. I saw that you have a work to do. Undo what you have done. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 15

Don’t smother what the Lord has shown in regard to you. There is scarcely an individual that knows that you have ever been reproved. You have felt afraid to let matters come out as they are. You must change your course, and come into a different position. You have been easily irritated. You have let your tried feelings run away with you. You have destroyed your own influence, and cut and hewed to the right hand and the left and wounded others and your own soul. You have been very set and willful and very unwilling to confess your wrongs in this state. May the Lord open your eyes to see clearly, is my prayer. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1859, par. 16