Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 12, 1862

Testimony Regarding the Wager Family


Circa 1862

Previously unpublished.

I was shown that a heavy cloud hangs over Bro. Wager’s family. I saw that Bro. and Sister Wager’s example is not what it ought to be. They have not that high sense of God’s requirements they should have. They have not been devotional, and in their conversation, words, acts, and in all their deportment, exemplified the life of Christ. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 1

They have not understood their duty to their children. They have not fully understood to what evils they were exposed and how carefully they must be shielded from temptation peculiar to youth. Satan is constantly pouring in upon and around our children a flood of darkness and evil, to corrupt and poison their minds. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 2

Parents should be on their watch continually to cut off this current of evil. They cannot roll back the heavy weight of evil Satan is pressing in upon our children, in their own strength. By earnest prayer and living faith they can do much. They should not cease to do their part. By firmness and continual watchfulness and prayer, great victories will be gained. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 3

Brother and Sister Wager, you have not done your duty to your children. You have not realized the responsibilities resting upon you. You are not clear in the sight of heaven. You have not given your children that religious education you should have given them. In the morning your first thoughts should be upon God. You should not make your worldly labor and your own interest your first business. You should feel the necessity of prayer as much as did Daniel. He prayed in the morning, at noon, and at night, and ceased not even when he was threatened with death. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 4

Before leaving the house for labor, all the family should be collected and taught to respect and reverence the hour of prayer, and then should the father, or the mother (if the father is absent), with humility and a heart full of feeling, with a sense of the temptation and dangers before themselves and their children, plead fervently before God that He would keep the children entrusted to their care and preserve them from evils to which they would be exposed through the day. By faith bind these children upon the altar, committing them to the care of the Lord. Ministering angels will guard these children who are thus dedicated to God. If these children are left to Satan’s power all through the day, evil will take firm root in the heart. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 5

It is the parent’s duty morning and night, by earnest prayer and persevering faith, to make a hedge about their children. And then patiently instruct them kindly, pityingly, teach them to live in a manner that they may please God. Keep the fear of God ever before them. You have too many times corrected your children severely and in impatience. You have not reasoned with them and wept over them and prayed for them as you should. Impatience in the parent begets impatience in the children. Passion begets passion and stirs up all the evil in the child’s nature. Continual whipping only hardens children and weans them from their parents. You have both managed your children all wrong. You have not given them a school education or a religious education. Neither of these should have been neglected. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 6

Children’s minds will be active. If not engaged in duty and occupied with books and diligent labor, they will be filled with mischief. The soil of the heart, uncultivated but neglected, will be producing a plentiful crop of weeds. Satan is not idle and he will be sowing corrupt and evil seed in the soil so well prepared for corrupt seed to flourish. While the parents are asleep, Satan is awake and sowing thorns which will take root, grow up, and yield a bountiful crop without culture, and will crowd out the precious plants. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 7

Children need to have a watchful eye over them constantly. They should be supplied with useful and interesting books. It is a sin to suffer children to grow up in ignorance. The minds of our children must be devoted and made as intellectual as possible. The mind left to itself, uncultivated, will be generally low, sensual and corrupt. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 8

Brother and Sister Wager, you have both been asleep as to the corrupting influence of the devil and his peculiar power and control of the minds of youth and children. Parents should watch the going out and the coming in of their children. They should instruct them. It should be line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. A parent’s duty is never done. They should never be off their guard. It is their duty to know where their children are and what company they are in every time. It is the duty of parents to choose the society for their children and hold with a firm yet gentle, loving, power their control over them. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 9

You commit sin every time you speak and act impatiently to your children. You sin every time you correct them in anger. Never correct them until you can first reason with them and show them their wrong and sin. Then show them they have not only sinned against you but against God. With your heart subdued and full of pity and sorrow for your erring children, pray over them. Then your correction will not cause your children to hate you. They will love you. They will see that you do not punish them because they have put you to inconvenience, or because you wish to vent your displeasure upon them, but from a sense of duty for their good that they may not be left to grow up in sin and wickedness. Oh, how little of this work have you done! How little have you felt burdened and distressed on the account of your children! How little have you agonized with God in their behalf for their salvation. Can it be that you dare raise children as you have and then feel so little responsibility in regard to their religious training? Can it be that you are bringing children into the world to be destroyed by the seven last plagues? 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 10

The recording angel writes every impatient, fretful word either of you utter. Every neglect on your part to talk with your children and show them the sinfulness of sin and the evil and result of a wrong course, the angel marks [as] a spot upon your Christian character. All our acts are recorded whether they are good or evil. [For] every unguarded, careless word spoken before your children, foolishly or in jest, and your words [that are] not chaste and elevated but corrupt, a dark spot is placed against your name. In order for you to control and govern your children with success, you must first have perfect government, perfect control, over yourselves. You must first subdue yourself, have your words and the expression of your countenance, and the tones of your voice, in perfect submission and control; then can you with success govern and subdue your children. Those who overcome will be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 11

Brother and Sister Lindsey have had exalted views of you. They have appreciated you above your true worth. Sister Lindsey thought you were just the man the church needed to go ahead and lead. That family felt a special interest for you, and they discommoded themselves to work for your interest. They expected that you would be a great help to them in spiritual matters, that your life would be a good example before their children. But [the true state of] your Christian character has been more fully developed and they find that you are not what they thought you to be. Their hopes and their expectations have been cruelly disappointed. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 12

You have felt jealous of Brother Lindsey’s family. Your feelings have been envious and bitter. You have both been exalted and manifested a spirit of independence entirely unbecoming a humble follower of Christ. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 13

You have been wrong. You have not had occasion to feel as you have. You have imagined and guessed at matters and taken it for granted that it was so when the only foundation was your imagination. You have been very sensitive, easily touched, easily embittered. A hint, a word, whether it had reference to you or not coming from Brother Lindsey’s family has led you to think they were watching you or dictating to you. You would become inflamed at once. Your feelings would be stirred up, your jealousy would grow strong, and by thus giving Satan control over you, you entered a wide field of temptation. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 14

The purpose of Brother Lindsey’s family has been to take a correct and straightforward course, which has often been a rebuke to your loose way of living; and then jealousy, evil surmising and envy has come in and made you very miserable. I was shown that sin does not appear to you as sinful as it is. The course your daughter has pursued has been a grief to you. She has scattered her ways to strangers. She has greatly sinned. Harrison Smith has doubly sinned and has fallen. His case was shown me darker than midnight. A heavier sin rests upon him than that of breaking the seventh commandment. He has violated more than one precept of the decalogue. A fearful retribution awaits him. He has sought to cover up and hide his sin, but God’s eye has noticed it all. All is written in the book, even the most secret works. Even the thoughts of his heart are written. He and Sarah have agreed to cover up and to pass on smoothly as though no great wrong had been committed after all. His heart is corrupt, his hands are unclean. He is a guilty man. They have brought a stain and a heavy reproach upon the cause of God. Better would it have been for them both to have had a millstone hung about their necks and they cast into the depths of the sea. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 15

God’s anger has been kindled against you because you have daubed yourself with untempered mortar. You have whitewashed over this matter and lightly regarded this heinous sin, because you did not show your disgust and horror on account of it. You are unfit to take any leading, responsible position in the church until you entirely reform and view sin and sinners from altogether a different standpoint than you ever yet have done. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 16

God’s anger is kindled against you because you call darkness light and light darkness. You seek to make it appear that evil is good. You would permit those sinners to come into the church. One sinner in the camp of Israel anciently did much harm. All Israel suffered the wrath of God on account of Achan, who coveted and hid a golden wedge and a Babylonish garment. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 17

The armies of Israel were driven before their enemies and there was a great slaughter. This one man’s sins cost the lives of many of the children of Israel, and when he was searched out he was destroyed without mercy. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 18

If Mr. Smith and Sarah seem to repent, the church should not be cursed by their being in it. Let them remain outside, and if they can repent, live a life of continual repentance. But he should have no part in the church privileges. He has added sin to sin. He has put on a bold front, a brazen face, to drive matters through. He has deceived. He has told falsehoods and made it appear as though, after all, his course has been righteous. But in time unless he becomes too hardened, his conscience will be so weighed down under a sense of his heaven-daring crimes, that death will be desired rather than life. Up to a certain point he did well. He had a faithful care of Sister Smith. If he had only waited and continued true to her and borne his burden cheerfully, as long as God saw fit to spare her life, his would have been a reward. But Satan took advantage of him. Your daughter was not discreet and modest and reserved. Her thoughts and mind were directed in the wrong channel. She had been overcome very easily before and therefore was prepared to act the part Satan would have her again. Mr. Smith tempted and [she] did not resist, and then comes the dreadful work, the acts which heaven has faithfully recorded. He knows of what he is guilty. He knows to what I refer. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 19

Your children, Brother and Sister Wager, have not been prospered. God’s blessing has not attended them. You have not done all your duty to them. How will you answer for them before God? What plan can you make? What excuse urge? 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 20

You should never neglect to pray with and for your children morning and night. You should bring them to God in the morning and entreat the mercy and care of the Lord to be over them through the day. At night you should gather them around you and make confessions for them to God and should plead with Him to forgive their sins and wrongs through the day, which they have committed against Him. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 21

If it was necessary for Daniel to pray three times a day in order to have strength to resist the corrupting influence of the king’s court, it is necessary that fathers and mothers should pray even more than Daniel to be preserved from the corrupting influence of this evil age. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 22

We are amid the perils of the last days and we must watch continually and pray unceasingly. It is out of reason now to joke or sport. You are not careful of your words and acts. Your life is not circumspect and elevated. You come down from the dignified, holy position your profession and faith require you to occupy. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 23

You have had years to obtain an experience in the truth and the work of God, but you have made but little progress. Your influence before the young has not been what it had ought to be. Your words have not been seasoned with grace. You have led the young into temptation by your example. You have not watched to shield them from every injurious influence, but have been like a boy among boys. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 24

You can pray and talk in an acceptable manner, but you lack corresponding fruits. Your influence does not tend to the glory of God. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 25

Brother Lindsey’s family have had exalted views of Brother Wager’s Christian character. They have been disappointed. You have given them occasion to feel hurt in regard to your course. They have tried to do right, but in some instances the young men have spoken and acted unadvisedly. They failed on account of your lack. Had you been right and acted and talked according to your profession, they would not have been led astray by your influence. You have at times descended to the level of the unbeliever. Your life has not been well ordered before the Lord. Your example before unbelievers has not been worthy of imitation. You have not let your light so shine before men that they, by seeing your good works, would take knowledge of you and be led to glorify your Father which is in heaven. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 26

You have both of you a great work to perform. There is a great work before your children. No one can do this work for you. You must lay hold [on] it resolutely yourselves and make thorough work for eternity. 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862, par. 27