Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 4b, 1864

Phillips, Brother

Battle Creek, Michigan

[January 12, 1864]

Variant of Lt 4, 1864. Portions of this letter are published in UL 93; 1T 455.

Dear Brother Phillips:

In the vision given me June 6 I was shown some things in regard to you. I saw that you have been very selfish and were wrapped up in self. You are close and penurious. 1LtMs, Lt 4b, 1864, par. 1

Your business, the patent rights which you have engaged in, has not been an advantage but a detriment to you spiritually. Your course has been wrong. Your faith has given you influence among Sabbath-keeping brethren. You have made it in your way to tarry with them, sleep in their beds, and eat at their tables, and have then urged some of your patents upon them, talking away objections which would naturally arise in their minds. You succeeded too well, and many became entangled and involved by thus engaging in the patent rights and making investments in these things. The trouble of mind some have felt on account of their expectations not being realized has driven them nearly to despair. 1LtMs, Lt 4b, 1864, par. 2

You have led poor brethren into expense and difficulty. You lost nearly all the spirit of the truth. The whole secret of your backsliding is your extreme love of gain. You are worldly minded in every sense of the word, and the truth has lost its power to charm you. God does not approbate your course. His frown is upon you. 1LtMs, Lt 4b, 1864, par. 3

You killed yourself and injured the precious cause of truth by your attachment for Mary Lyon. That was no sanctified, reasonable attachment. You were mesmerized, bewitched, and befooled. If the truth with its sanctifying influence had lived in your heart, you would not have been thus deceived and led astray. 1LtMs, Lt 4b, 1864, par. 4

But the cause of all this was in the past. You were not what God required you to be. Your love of ease, love of self, led you to shun responsibility and shift the burdens upon others which you should bear. Therefore God did not have a special care of you, but left you to care for yourself. You have fallen into many snares. Your influence has been an injury instead of a benefit and blessing. 1LtMs, Lt 4b, 1864, par. 5

You have drawn believers in present truth into difficulty and God will not hold you guiltless until you make good to these brethren who have been decoyed into engaging in patent rights. You have a work to do. Brethren in different states have felt embarrassed to a greater or less degree with these miserable inventions which have obtained their confidence because recommended by believers in the truth. You have traveled about with your patents and made it in your way to go among brethren as much as possible, that your expense of entertainment might be small, and have left them that which has been a curse, a perplexity, an annoyance, instead of a blessing. 1LtMs, Lt 4b, 1864, par. 6

You have a work to do, Brother Phillips, to get rid of your supreme selfishness. You are growing so close and love money so well that every penny looks large to you and the whole generosity of your character is changed to love of money, desire to accumulate and lay up. You have gained some money, but oh, at what a loss! What an expense! The saving power of faith and the truth has been cruelly sacrificed. 1LtMs, Lt 4b, 1864, par. 7

Brethren in present truth should let these uncertain enterprises alone. Seek some steady employment, even if the income be small, and do not be given to much change. Many of our brethren involve themselves by engaging in patent rights which look promising to them; but after they are caught in the snare they find themselves disappointed, and their means gone—means which should have been used to support their family and advance the cause of present truth. Then come remorse, self-reproach, and regret, and some conscientious ones cast away their confidence and lose their spiritual enjoyment, and in consequence their health. 1LtMs, Lt 4b, 1864, par. 8

Those who believe the truth should practice economy, live upon plain, wholesome food, always making it a rule to live within their means even if they sometimes have to go a little short. They should never engage in a new enterprise without consulting their experienced brethren who are good managers in temporal and spiritual matters. By doing this they would save themselves much perplexity and would enjoy happiness of mind. 1LtMs, Lt 4b, 1864, par. 9