Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 22, 1868

Testimony Regarding the Wilson and Maynard Families



This manuscript is published in entirety in 2T 73-77.

I was shown that while Sister Wilson and Brother and Sister Maynard see the wrongs and errors in Brother and Sister Noyse and the Gravel family, they have not made that effort to correct their wrongs and help them that they ought to have made. They have left them too much alone, held them off at arms’ length, and have felt that it was no use to try to do anything for them. This is wrong. They commit an error in thus doing. Christ said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] The Lord would have us help those who most need help. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 1

While they have seen the errors and wrongs, they have shut themselves up too much to themselves, and have been too selfish in their enjoyment of the truth. God does not approbate this selfishly enjoying the truth, being satisfied with the truth and yet making but little sacrifice to aid and strengthen those who most need strength. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 2

We are not all organized alike. Some have not been educated right; their education has been deficient. Some have had transmitted to them a quick, fiery temper, and their education in childhood has not been of that order to teach them self-control. With this fiery temper is frequently united envy and jealousy. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 3

Others are faulty in other respects. Some are dishonest in deal, and overreach in trade. Others are arbitrary in their families, domineering, loving to rule. Their lives are far from being correct. Their education was all wrong, and evil fruits were manifested without their being told the evil and sin of being controlled by them. Sin does not appear to them exceedingly sinful. Others, whose education has not been as faulty, who have had better training, have developed a much less objectionable character. The Christian life of all is very much affected for good or for evil, according to their previous education. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 4

Jesus, our Advocate, is acquainted with all the circumstances with which we are surrounded, and deals with us according to the light we have had and the circumstances in which we are placed. Some have a much better organization than others. While some are continually harassed, afflicted, and in trouble because of the unhappy traits in their character, having to war with internal foes and corruptions of their nature, others have not half so much to battle against. They pass along almost free from the difficulties their brethren and sisters who are not as favorably organized are laboring under. They do not, in very many cases, labor half as hard to overcome and live daily the life of a Christian as do some of those unfortunate ones I have mentioned. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 5

The latter appear to disadvantage almost every time, while the former appear much better because it is natural for them to do so. They may not labor half as hard to watch and keep self under, yet at the same time they make a comparison of their lives with the lives of others who are unfortunately organized and badly educated, and flatter themselves with the contrast. They talk of the errors, the wrongs, the failures of the unfortunate, but do not feel that they have any burden in the matter further than to dwell upon these wrongs and shun those who are guilty of them. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 6

The prominent position these—the Wilson family—occupy in the church makes it highly necessary for them to be burden bearers. Not that they are to take burdens from those who are able to bear their own burdens and aid others to bear theirs; but they are to help those who stand most in need of help, those who are less favorably situated, who are erring, who are faulty, who may have injured them and tried their patience to the utmost. It is just such ones whom Jesus pities, because Satan has more power over them and is constantly taking advantage of their weak points and driving his arrows to hit them where they are the least protected. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 7

Jesus exercised His power and His mercy for just such pitiable cases. He asked Peter [Simon], Who loved most? Said Peter [Simon], “He to whom he forgave most.” [Luke 7:42, 43.] Thus it will be. Jesus did not shun the unfortunate, the helpless, and weak, but He helped such as needed help. Jesus did not confine His visits and labors to a class more intelligent and less faulty, to the neglect of the unfortunate. He did not inquire whether it was agreeable or pleasant for Him to be a companion of the poorest, the most needful. These are the ones whose company He sought—the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 8

This is the work you have neglected. You have shunned disagreeable responsibilities and have not gone to the erring and visited them, and manifested an interest and love for them, and made yourselves familiar with them. You have not had a spirit of Christlike forgiveness. You have marked out just such a course, just such a line, that all must come up to before you could throw over them your mantle of charity. You are not required to cloak sin, but to exercise that pitying love to the erring that Christ has exercised towards you. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 9

You are placed under the most favorable circumstances for the development of good Christian characters. You are not where you feel pinching want, or where your souls are galled, worried, and distressed with the conduct of disobedient, unthankful, rebellious children. There is no dissenting, unbelieving voice in your house. You have all that heart can wish. Yet, notwithstanding your favorable surroundings, you have faults and errors, and much to overcome in order to be free from all spiritual pride, selfishness, a hasty spirit, jealousy, and evil surmisings. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 10

Brother Maynard has not the sin of evil-speaking to repent of, as very many have, but he lacks a willingness to help those who most need help. He is selfish. He loves his home, loves quiet, loves rest, freedom from care, perplexity, and trials; therefore he pleases himself too much. He does not bear the burdens Heaven has assigned him. He shuns disagreeable responsibilities, and shuts himself up too much to his love of quietness. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 11

He has been quite liberal with means, but when he comes to where self is to be denied, where there is to be a deprivation on his part to do some good, where real sacrifice on his part is called for, he has but little experience in this line, and must learn it. He fears he will be blamed if he ventures to help the erring; fears reproach. “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me.” [Romans 15:1-3.] 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 12

Those who are partakers of this great salvation have something to do to help those who are hanging on the skirts of Zion. They are not required to cut off their hold and thrust them away from making any efforts to overcome and be prepared for the judgment. Oh, no indeed! While they are bleating around the fold, they should be encouraged and strengthened by all the aid it is in our power to bestow. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 13

You as a family have too rigid rules and set ideas, which cannot be made to fit every case. You lack love, gentleness, tenderness, and pity for those who are not just as they should be. This spirit has prevailed to such an extent that you are withering. You are not flourishing in the Lord. Your interest and efforts and anxiety are for your family and your relatives, but to reach out for others around you, and overcome your reluctance to exert an influence outside of a special circle, you have not entertained the idea. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 14

You idolize yours, and shut yourselves with yourselves. That the Lord can save me and mine is the great burden. This spirit will have to die before you flourish in the Lord, before you can make spiritual advancement, and the church grow and souls be added unto them of such as shall be saved. You are all narrowed up and must change your base of operations. Your relatives are no dearer in the eyes of God than any other poor souls who need salvation. Self and selfishness must be put under our feet, and we must exemplify in our lives the spirit of self-sacrifice and disinterested benevolence manifested by Jesus when He was upon earth. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 15

All should have an interest for their relatives, but they should not allow themselves to be so closely shut up to them as though they were the only ones Jesus came to save. 1LtMs, Ms 22, 1868, par. 16