Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 14, 1863

Ministers in Minnesota:


May 1863

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 294.

To Ministers in Minnesota:

In my last vision I was shown some things in regard to Minnesota. I saw that the people were not in as good a condition to be helped as they were two or three years ago. There has been a lack of efficient labor there, and while the prejudice against the truth is growing stronger, and prevails, the influence of the truth is growing weaker. The truth has been poorly represented and all the time it is growing harder for efficient laborers. It would require a great amount of labor now to remove the prejudice before any real good could be accomplished and souls brought out into the truth. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1863, par. 1

Elder [W. M.] Allen is not a suitable man to enter new fields, for his influence is not what it ought to be. Those who dealt with Elder Allen did not move with the greatest wisdom and there was too much selfish interest manifested. Brother Morse has tried to do what he could in Minnesota and has had a little success. Influences have come in which have led Brother Morse to labor to correct the wrong, which was too much for him in his own strength. A selfish feeling came in, and Brother Morse put on too much the airs and authority of an experienced minister. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1863, par. 2

Here is the great evil in Minnesota: it is in men who are not qualified, thinking that God has called them to preach this message. They are not fitted up by experience in the message and they run the truth of God into the ground. And the men whom God shall send to labor in Minnesota will have a heavy burden on their shoulders, and it will be a laborious task to counteract the influence which others have exerted in placing the cause where it is. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1863, par. 3

I saw that Brother Ingraham hurt the cause of truth in Minnesota by tolerating an unruly son, and many in Minnesota judged his labor in the cause just according to the management he exhibited in regard to his boy. Had Brother Ingraham possessed the talent of the ablest man, his influence would be of but little account there, for the exhibition of such miserable management of his son and the mischievous, annoying, sly, abusive tricks, and the general willful disobedient conduct of the boy would destroy the influence of ten such as Brother Ingraham. They considered that if that was the way he ruled his house he was incompetent to rule the church. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1863, par. 4

Brother [John] Bostwick is not at all calculated to build up the cause in Minnesota. He lacks the perseverance to carry out and finish the efforts he commences; he does not concentrate his labor; his mind is all over—a touch here and there, doing nothing thoroughly—he expends no persevering effort and can show but little fruit. Such labor is worse than nothing. Some think he is just the man for Minnesota, but such greatly err in regard to the wants of the cause. He does not understand the wants of the cause. He is not willing to be led. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1863, par. 5

If, before he attempted to teach the truth, he had availed himself of the privilege of being under the influence of some experienced preacher who was systematic in his labor, and learned of him as a pupil at school would learn of his teacher, by this time he might do something which would tell. But he has so long labored on his own hook, going hither and thither without having a definite object and matured plans to carry out in laboring for souls, that it is about useless to expect that he can now take hold of the labor as every minister should who gives himself to the work of the ministry. Everything depends upon young ministers starting right. They must have system, a purpose, and a will to do. Where they lack this, their labor is worse than nothing. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1863, par. 6

Brother Bostwick visits many places, introduces some points of the truth, stirs up prejudice, and leaves them to do the same in another place. A minister should not introduce the truth in a place unless he can accomplish the labor he has begun, for if he just introduces the truth and does not remove prejudice and objections from minds, it is ten times worse than if he had never struck a blow. God will acknowledge only thorough workmen as laborers in His cause. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1863, par. 7

Brother Bostwick is not a thorough laborer. He has not learned from others what he might have learned had he been teachable. He has not been willing to receive instruction and has the idea that he is competent to do a great work. He has not understood himself. Minnesota is a good field, but it has been hurt with inexperienced workmen. Brother Bostwick thinks he knows it all. Unless he can lead and control he is unwilling to do anything. He can not lead, he lacks ability, perseverance. He is too much given to change. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1863, par. 8

The influence of his wife is not calculated to elevate the cause of God. Her habits are untidy and in this respect she is unfitted to benefit the church at all. She must reform and possess habits of neatness and order, or the blessing of God cannot rest upon her. Neatness and order are the essential characteristics of every true follower of Jesus. God was very particular in regard to His ancient Israel. He gave them special directions in regard to cleanliness lest the Lord should pass by and see their uncleanness and would not go out with their armies to battle against their enemies. I saw that God was no less particular now than He was anciently. If those who embrace the truth receive it in the heart, it will commence its purifying process. The purity of truth and cleanliness are twin sisters. The truth will not long dwell with uncleanness, and will cleanse from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit causing the receiver to perfect holiness in the fear of God. If it does not do this work it is not because the truth is insufficient, but the receiver has not drunk deep enough at the fountain of truth. He needs a deeper draught. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1863, par. 9

The appearance of Brother Bostwick’s wife is disorderly and slack; the hair is in disorder, the garments are not cleanly, and are carelessly arranged on her person. 1LtMs, Lt 14, 1863, par. 10