Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 17, 1863

Fish, Emory


late 1863

Previously unpublished.

Dear Sir Emory Fish,

It is my duty to write you a few things. Last June your case was presented before me. I was shown that you have not been right. You professed to believe the truth which was sanctifying in its influence, elevating the receiver when the pure principles of truth were carried out; but you have failed to live out the truth, to carry out its holy principles. You are guilty of the transgression of God’s law. You have been criminally intimate with a young woman who lived in your family. Labor was spent in your case which you did not receive. You chose your own course, and were left to go on still farther and destroy your influence and to[bring] reproach [on] the cause of truth. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1863, par. 1

Your discipline in childhood was not what it ought to have been. You were indulged, had your own way about as you chose. The lack is seen now in your religious experience. You never were subdued in childhood. Your passions were not controlled then and have not been controlled since. The truth carried out in life would have wrought a reformation for you, but you sipped too lightly at the fountain of truth, and its influence failed to refine and correct your life. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1863, par. 2

Your family is an unhappy one. You have caused your wife much sorrow. She has loved you but your course has stirred up all the evil in her nature and often she exhibits no affection but feels hard and bitter towards you. She is a proud woman, but few have understood her true feelings. You have planted a thorn in her heart which wounds every day. She has not taken a wise course to correct your wrong course and to retain your affection and love. Years ago you were an unhappy, miserable family. But if you had both unitedly laid hold of the truth and conformed your life to its holy principles, ceased to have done evil, learned to have done well, you both would have been sanctified through the truth and been a happy family. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1863, par. 3

Your wife has often repulsed you because she had cause to suspect, cause to know, that you were not true to the marriage vow. Had her course been different she would have saved herself much trouble and had a redeeming influence upon you. She has held back and has not professed the truth as you have. You have professed the truth and have stood directly in her way. You have at times been almost upon the point of acknowledging your errors and wrongs to some of the church, but then it was so humiliating you could not have courage to do so. You thought that the church had not wisdom to deal wisely with your case, because you have seen a lack of wisdom manifested by them in other things, therefore you have braced yourself up and would have chosen the church to separate you from them and thus lessen the danger of an exposure in your case and thereby (you have thought) save the cause of truth from being reproached. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1863, par. 4

Satan has completely bewildered your mind. You have viewed things from a wrong standpoint. Your only hope for salvation is a true humble confession of your course, and heart repentance before God. Your course has been a great burden to the church, a hindrance to their advancement. The church was shown me in confusion through various causes. Your case has been the most trying. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1863, par. 5

There is a great work before you. You have wronged your wife, wronged the church, and are in a state of darkness and self-deception in regard to yourself. When your wife censures or reproaches you, do not retaliate. Feel that you deserve it, and hold your peace. Do not add fuel to the fire. If instead of giving way to temper, flying into a passion and heaping reproaches upon you, she had received the truth in her heart and all her actions had been governed by the principles of truth, she would in sorrow [have] gone away alone to the great burden Bearer and laid her oppressed, wearied heart at His feet. Jesus would have strengthened her to endure her trials until you had reformed or the Lord had rebuked you for your faithlessness to her whom you solemnly vowed at the marriage altar to love, respect, and be faithful to until death. God help you to see the enormity of your sin that you may have that repentance which needeth not to be repented of. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1863, par. 6

In haste. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1863, par. 7