Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 11, 1862

Regarding Elder J. H. Waggoner


c. 1862

Previously unpublished.

I have been shown the cases of several of our ministering brethren, and from what has been shown me there is a very great lack among ministers. Quite a number of our preachers have companions who are unconsecrated to God, who lack religion, and some are Satan’s agents. He works through them to destroy the influence of their husbands, and in almost every case because of the wife, the husband permits himself to be influenced and hindered in the work the great Head of the church has assigned him. Her inclinations he must gratify; her will carry out, whether it is for the advancement of the cause or a detriment to it. Ministers who will be thus influenced have not an eye single to the glory of God. They can be drawn this way or that just as Satan pleases. All he has to do is to operate upon the feelings of the wife and then through her the husband can be brought where he can lead and govern. These backening influences make the minister weak, easily controlled by a wrong influence. I saw that if we had men to preach the truth who lived for God and devoted their lives to Him, the cause and work of God would be far in advance of what it now is. 1LtMs, Ms 11, 1862, par. 1

There is a great lack of true Godliness. There is with Brother [J. H.] Waggoner a due gravity in the pulpit and out, but he is in some respects a weak man. Satan influences his wife, and if Brother W is engaged in ever so important a work, a letter [is received] from his wife relating an exaggerated list of grievances and abuses, he fires up in a moment against the brethren, and if he followed his own judgment would hasten to his suffering wife, who all the while, is treated better, far better, than either he or she deserves to be treated; and there is not the least foundation to the framed complaints she has made against the church to her husband. She has acted this over repeatedly, yet he is the same weak man, believing what she says and acting upon it. She has so often made her complaints against her brethren which were utterly false, yet the cause must be wounded continually by such persons because their husbands permit themselves to be influenced by them. 1LtMs, Ms 11, 1862, par. 2

The work of Brother Waggoner in Iowa was not a good one. He was exacting; he sought to measure all by a rule which he did not fit but came far short himself. He judged cruelly in Marshall, tore things to pieces there and nearly destroyed the few souls there by his overbearing, crushing spirit. Brother Waggoner’s labors are worse than lost until he begins to work upon an entirely different principle and confides less in his own ability, has less confidence in himself as being capable of managing, and is kindly considerate of his brethren. 1LtMs, Ms 11, 1862, par. 3

Bro. Cornell has erred in Ohio, greatly lacked judgment. Brother Hull has almost fallen. He is sedate and grave in the pulpit but is a boy out of the pulpit. He lacks true godliness. 1LtMs, Ms 11, 1862, par. 4

Where is the burden for souls? Where is the weeping between the porch and the altar, crying, “Spare Thy people Lord, Spare Thy people Lord”? [Joel 2:17.] Chosen men were anciently appointed to take the care and burden of the temporal necessities or business matters of the church. What for? “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.” [Acts 6:4.] The result was the Word of God increased and the number of disciples multiplied. If the ministers were more faithful and godly, God could work for them in great power. Ministers are not to laugh and joke with the young but to be ensamples to them, that they may follow Christ as they themselves who preach to them the way of salvation follow Him. Ministers are not to be led by their wives but are to lead and instruct them, and the wife should, if she has one spark of the love for souls, ever set aside her will, her desires, and her way, and let that will and pleasure of hers be ever governed by the will of God. Hers should be a life of continual submission. 1LtMs, Ms 11, 1862, par. 5