Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 14, 1862

Lyon, Mary

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 13, 1862

Previously unpublished.

Dear Sister Mary [Lyon],

Some things were shown me in regard to you. You were shown me as looking upon the world as though it were a blank to you. I saw a cloud arise, so dark that to you it seemed to cover the world, and you stood looking on, perplexed, distressed, and nearly insane. I was then shown a man standing a little distance from you, watching you narrowly. You seemed to be repulsing him with an expression of great dislike. He looked sad and then perplexed and angry. Then you seemed so unhappy, so wretched. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 1

Your mother loved you, but she did not try to make you happy. Her temperament and yours were so unlike there was a constant jar. If you differed with her she fretted, censured, and blamed, which encouraged in you a stubborn and unyielding spirit. It was your natural disposition to be independent and this trait of character has become confirmed under the influence of continued opposition. Your track has been crossed too much for your good. Opposition from your home has led you, when opposed, to argue and justify yourself. It has soured your disposition, and caused you to be impatient under censure or reproof, even if it was deserved. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 2

Then I was shown you listening to the presentation of the truth. You saw the light and beauty of the message, and joy and wonder filled your heart. You feasted upon the truth, you delighted in it, and eagerly sought to satisfy the longing of your soul with drinking in its refreshing influence. Then an expression of peace and joy rested upon your countenance. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 3

Again I saw you troubled; anxiety marked your countenance, and you were conversing with the same man I had noticed before. He seemed to have suffered; marks of anxiety were visible upon his countenance. I looked to see if there were any elements of union existing between you, any union of spirit, but there seemed to be none. His temperament was ardent; he could love ardently and hate just as strongly. He was impulsive, overbearing, determined. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 4

Again I saw you in much distress, and the man mentioned was pointing and beckoning you to a path which led you from the society of God’s people and from their watchcare. The path looked dark, so very dark. You seemed to make an effort to follow in the way he directed, then an angel stepped in between you and him, and you turned your course and seemed relieved. It seemed to me to be utter darkness to follow in the course the man was pointing out, and that if you followed it your happiness and peace were gone forever. After your way was intercepted, you turned from the man with a shivering, shrinking gesture. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 5

Again, I saw him beckoning you, and you advanced a step or two towards him. Then I saw his brow grow clouded and dark; he stamped his foot upon the ground, and his face grew dark with passion. Again you shrank away and lifted your voice in praise to God. Then I was carried back and shown this man was untrue; he has broken the seventh commandment more than once; he has ventured on forbidden ground more than once, yet professed to be a man of principle with much zeal toward God. He felt no condemnation for his sin, and might venture again under similar circumstances. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 6

His connection with you—the result, your separation—has placed him in a very trying, suffering, tempted position. For years he has been tortured in mind, yet your temperament and his can never agree. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 7

January 4th I was shown how dearly you prized the truth, yet Satan was at work to destroy your confidence in your brethren and sisters. Mary, I saw you could not be right, be protected, or overcome without their reproof and counsel. You must be willing to be admonished as well as comforted and encouraged. I saw that you, Mary, had much to learn. Your trials at home have had a tendency to cause you to maintain an independence which many times ought to be yielded. The opposition from your parents, their course to compel you to do as they wished you to do, has not given you a favorable opportunity to form an even character and disposition. You have had to argue and be unyielding at home, and it has caused you to manifest self-will and decision in your religious experience among your brethren, which, unless you are diligent to overcome, will finally separate you from them. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 8

Dear Mary, I saw that there was with you a lack of that sobriety which is so becoming in a follower of Jesus, especially those who believe that the end of all things is at hand. You are often thrown on Satan’s battleground by giving way to your own feelings, and often when you feel bad you lose control of yourself and give yourself up to a strain of folly and fun which grieves the Spirit of God and leaves your own soul in barrenness. You must encourage an even frame of mind. You need to discipline yourself to effect this. Joking and jesting will not tend to your advancement in the divine life, or make you a better Christian. The nearer you live to God, the greater will be your disrelish of these things. Indulging in this light and trifling strain causes you to lose your self-control, your self-respect, and as God is displeased with all such hilarity and glee, you are left weak in faith and shorn of your strength. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 9

You can obtain the victory, but you must not be so weak and so easily swayed by the enemy. You often suffer him to pervert your judgment when a firm purpose to direct your mind in another channel would thwart his devices and prevent Satan from coming in like a flood. It is in your power, by God’s assistance, to lift up a standard against him, and obtain victories over him. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 10

I was directed to this scripture: “Ye are made a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] The concentrated gaze of many eyes is upon you. Some would exult in your downfall; others rejoice in your advancement. Your influence should be holy. A cloud of witnesses are watching us. What testimony do our acts and lives bear to them? Do we honor the cause we have espoused? Are we faithful representatives of the truth? I was shown, Mary, that many idle words have fallen from your lips. If the recording angel should place them before you, it would astonish, distress, and alarm you. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 11

Mary, I was shown there was danger ahead for you unless you manifest more caution and exercise more wisdom in regard to Brother Phillips. Many words have been spoken to him, possibly in a jesting strain, which have been no benefit to him or to you. There is more familiarity in your conversation with Brother Phillips than there ought to be, or that is proper. Mary, this familiarity has no saving influence upon you, upon Brother Phillips, or Eliza. If Brother Phillips is not careful of his moves, reproach will follow him. If he wishes to marry, then his course is more justifiable; if not, he must change his course and be more guarded, for his course is censurable. He is losing his vitality, his spirituality. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 12

Guard yourself, dear Mary, from a messing spirit, selecting one or two and lavishing your affection upon them to the exclusion of others, and making them your confidantes. You are in danger here of going to extremes. It is time that we were right, that we moved from reason instead of impulse. Our speech should be sound, our words well chosen, and a holy solemnity resting upon us that our influence may tell. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 13

Mary, I was shown that the enemy places the words and doings of your brethren and sisters before you in a wrong light. You mistake the nature of your feelings. You think it is quick perception and discernment when it is jealousy. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 14

You have received views and ideas in regard to the influence of one mind upon another, which, if you carry them out, will lead you to make shipwreck of your faith. The instruction which you have readily received in regard to these things will lead you, if it has not already, to undervalue the Word of God and the power and works of Christ. You are advancing on dangerous ground. Your imagination is active and you are suffering your mind to dwell upon the wrong theme. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 15

Satan’s insinuations in regard to this science of the mind are tremendous. Here, serpent-like, he imperceptibly steals in to corrupt and adulterate the pure and genuine faith in the miracles and works of Christ, and makes it all human. If Satan should come direct, if he should make a powerful, bold attack, it would bring you in distress and agony on your face at the feet of your Redeemer, and the strong and mighty Deliverer would affright the bold adversary away. But Satan transformed into an angel of light works upon the mind and imagination to allure from the only safe and right path. You have lent a ready ear to instruction upon the power of one mind upon another and the power of the human will, which has led thousands to infidelity; and it is poisoning your mind and adulterating your faith. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 16

Satan is well pleased to have this science of the human mind spread wide. It is an open door for him to enter and have access to minds. While this knowledge is considered a benefaction to mankind, and it is believed one person so wonderfully affects and relieves the other, Satan is ready at hand to insinuate himself and has worked on the right hand and left. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1862, par. 17