Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 16, 1862

Wood, Brother



Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Wood:

I have been much burdened since I have from time to time written out to different ones connected with the Avon Church. As I have written out what has been shown me, some things have come before me more particularly in regard to you, which it is very important that you should have. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1862, par. 1

I was shown that in the trials at Avon that you have been more or less connected with, you have been too stiff, stood with your arms folded, separate in your feelings from the church. You felt that they had misjudged you, injured you, and you were not as yielding as you should have been. At times you are impatient and manifested a wrong spirit, and it was natural for you to find it hard to confess, to make a frank acknowledgement of errors or wrongs. You mean to be just right, to take a straightforward course, and wish others to do so. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1862, par. 2

I saw that in your position your only safe course is to cultivate humility, that the church may have no occasion to stumble over you or to be tried with your course. I was pointed back and saw you in connection with the trials at Avon. If you had yielded in some things, and admitted or confessed some things, and not stood off so stiff and with such a set will, the difficulties would have been in a better shape. The church felt wrong toward you and toward each other, and they were jealous, as I related at the meeting. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1862, par. 3

Now Brother Wood, I write this because I fear that you will not take all the care and pains you should to heal, to remedy difficulties. Even if you were wrong it would be difficult for you to see it or confess it right out for fear it might hurt your influence or lower you in the esteem of your brethren. Brother Wood, don’t let the enemy deceive you in this. Your position is such that you cannot be of the least use unless you are in the confidence of, and hearts of, your brethren; and the most sure way for you to be there is to be humble, childlike, yielding, and suffer anything rather than the church should be injured or thrown upon the devil’s battleground. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1862, par. 4

I was shown some few things I have not named to any one, which have come vividly before me. I was shown you praying in meeting and some seemed to be wearied and uneasy; then I saw that your position would be more acceptable if your prayers were short, right to the point, and then stop. Also your exhortations short, right to the point, and the influence in the meeting would be much better. Others would feel rebuked for their tedious prayers and the meetings would be far more interesting. God is not pleased with the plan of lengthy prayers and exhortations in meeting. After the people’s or brethren’s interest ceases in a prayer, it is a dry thing and every word wearies and brings darkness. Here, dear brother, I was shown [there] has been a little self-exaltation, and not that humility that God approbates. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1862, par. 5

There is danger, dear brother, of your feeling that your judgment is superior to that of your brethren, and not consulting them and advising with them. These things will separate the feelings of your brethren from you. Your judgment may be better than that of your brethren in many respects, yet you are in danger of erring. In some things the brethren’s judgment may be superior to yours. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1862, par. 6

Now, Brother Wood, in some things you are too straight, too stiff, are too hopeless in regard to souls embracing the truth, and do not encourage in yourself and others all that winning spirit that you should to win souls unto the truth. You are so fearful of yielding the truth that you stand off from souls and do not come as close to them as you should and manifest all the courteous spirit that the disciples of Christ manifested to save souls. And if your brethren err, you are in danger of manifesting the same standing-off spirit. If you would more often yield, bend your will, and make admissions just as far as you can and not injure your conscience, it would be better for you. But, Brother Wood, you do mistake sometimes, and are fearful of injuring your self-dignity. Come right up to your brethren, press to them, ever stand decided for the right. You need not sacrifice one principle of truth. But if you sacrifice self-dignity, it will only serve to exalt you in the sight of God and in the opinion of your brethren. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1862, par. 7