Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 15a, 1862

Ingraham, William S.

Lodi, Wisconsin

February 28, 1862

See variant Lt 15, 1862. Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Ingraham,

Our meeting at Avon closed last Monday. We hope that good has been effected. We were very sorry you were absent. You should have been present if it was among the possibles. I bore my testimony; told them what had been shown me in regard to them and their condition—that the leaven of envy, jealousy, and malice was fast leavening the lump. I presented before them that Satan and his evil angels were at work with them to tear each other down; that Satan had controlled their minds and they had been growing more and more befogged, darker and darker; and unless they should now resist the devil, souls would be taken in the net Satan had prepared and the heathen around would say, Where is thy God? 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 1

I had many things to say to them: that Satan had led them to attend every other’s business but their own; that their feelings in regard to Brother Wood were wrong; that they have been jealous, suspicious, and envious, and without a cause. Brother Wood felt aggrieved and injured. He was represented to me as standing with his arms folded, alone. He was then too stiff. He felt that he had been misused. He had suffered much in his mind, and had lost sleep and rest from these causeless trials which arose from a mere atom. He was made an offender for a word. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 2

The Spirit of the Lord was in the meeting and humble, heartfelt confessions were made. All was moving on aright until Brother Smith arose and brought up matters which had been settled between him and Brother Wood. Then the spirit of the meeting changed. Before Brother Smith arose, Brother Wood had made satisfactory confession to all. And then was brought in the caution Brother Wood had given to Brother Smith in regard to your family and they had held Brother Wood to a confession. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 3

I had not brought in your name but the matters took such a turn that I was obliged to speak and not let the innocent suffer. I spoke out a few things of what had been shown me in regard to you; that I had been shown that Brother Ingraham erred in judgment. He was a powerful man and when laboring in new fields exerted a powerful influence; but Brother Ingraham failed in judgment when he engaged in church difficulties. He is sympathetic, and has received impressions by persons relating difficulties and trials to him, and has wrongfully judged; and when these impressions are once made upon Brother Ingraham’s mind they are not easily effaced. He settles strong and then moves upon these impressions. He has not helped matters in Avon, but left the difficulties in a more perplexed state than before. He does not judge trials correctly. (This I kept back, that you excuse those who deserve censure and censure those who are innocent.) 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 4

Brother Smith grew quite warm against Brother Wood, and warmed up and manifested a wrong spirit and brought great distress upon the meeting. We cried earnestly to God with freedom. Brother Smith begged them to leave his name out and go on with the organization. After laboring till near sundown without effecting anything, Brother Smith’s name was left. This was the only sad feature of the meeting. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 5

I had a straight and yet encouraging message for Brother Grimes, that his mind was directed in the wrong channel. He must bring it back to dwell upon present truth, etc. He humbled himself and confessed with an excellent spirit. He fully received the testimony and united with the church. Brother Smith has been reluctantly left behind. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 6

Now, Brother Ingraham, I have tried to write you a little in regard to the meeting. I mentioned just as little in regard to you as I could, but had to say something and fear I have not said all that I should. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 7

I had a little conversation with you in the sleigh. Should have been glad to have talked more fully. From what was shown me, Brother Ingraham, you lacked judgment in acting in the trials at Avon. As the matter was shown me there was not any need of your engaging in those trials. You excited jealousy and suspicion in the minds of many who would otherwise have stood clear if you had let those trials alone. Brother Ingraham, you have moved in the dark. Your own spirit has guided you. You have followed your mind, instead of the counsel of God. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 8

Dear Brother Ingraham, I wish to present some points before you that I have not mentioned definitely and separately. Testimony Number Six is before me. Please notice particularly the last paragraph on page 8 and the first on page 9. You may not understand these two paragraphs. In the first paragraph referred to I will quote: “You have not been in harmony with the straight testimony. You have shunned to lay your hand decidedly upon wrong, and you have been tried with those who have felt compelled to do so. Disaffected ones have had your sympathy, which has had a tendency to make you a weak man.” This lack which was shown me does not refer to your preaching but to your duty to individuals. You do not shun pointed testimony in the desk, but when out of the desk you censure those whom you should unite with and upon whose judgment you could rely. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 9

I was shown that your failure has been a lack of judgment and yet you are not aware of that lack. You are quite set and willful in your opinion and think that you know best and that your preaching brethren are not right and lack judgment, when the wrong and lack of judgment are in yourself. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 10

In the last vision I was shown that you feel chafed because perfect confidence is not placed in your judgment by your ministering brethren. But, Brother Ingraham, your course has destroyed that confidence. You have not felt right toward your preaching brethren—the very ones you should harness up with, and counsel with, and whose advice and judgment you should receive, [who have wisdom] where you lack. You have pulled apart from Brother Sanborn and Brother Loughborough, and have felt jealous of them, and have injured their influence. You, Brother Ingraham, have no true sense of the injury of your course. The influence has been sad. It has scattered and torn down and yet you are not pulling strong with your fellow laborers. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 11

I wrote you some things in regard to your wife and children. Brother Ingraham, there has been, and still is, a great lack in your family. You and your wife are so constituted that if your children are censured you receive strong prejudice against the one who blames them. In whatever church you should settle your family you would have trials, because your children are unruly and you are both extremely sensitive upon the point of their faults being spoken of and reproved. Your wife becomes jealous if her children are reproved, speaks impatiently towards others, and cuts loose from them in her feelings when they are only doing their duty. This causes irritated feelings and such an influence will tear down any young church. There is lack of patience and ruling her own spirit. I should advise you to stay where you now are instead of settling among any other church, for your influence will be better and it will be better for the cause of God. Move in the counsel of God. Don’t let your own blind judgment lead you. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 12

Brother Ingraham, you have oppressed those who deserved your sympathy, and encouraged those who were wrong and deserved your censure. A great work must be accomplished for you both. And you, Brother Ingraham, must not keep looking at your wrongs and grieve over them, but be sure and see them, for you will not reform unless you see where you have erred. Plant your feet upon the right ground and stand there. Don’t let Satan gain the victory by your following your own feelings in regard to this one and that. Lose sight of what you think wrong in them but first search your own heart. Sister Ingraham must reform and put away this easily irritated spirit and possess the qualifications of a Christian. It is time we were right, and we must take hold earnestly to be right, and just right. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 13

It was very difficult for us to feel reconciled to be placed in such a trying position in Avon. I knew from what had been shown me that if you had stood in the counsel of God all that trouble and difficulty might have been saved. You lifted a burden from the shoulders of one who deserved to bear the burden and placed it upon another who did not deserve it, and if the soul of the erring is saved, it will be but a hair’s breadth escape. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 14

Satan works on the right hand and on the left unperceived, and the most deplorable thing is that he uses ministers as his agents and accomplishes a work through them that he can not accomplish in any other way. He deceives ministers who minister in word and doctrine. He insinuates himself, takes advantage of their different organizations, leads them to differ in opinion, to be very sanguine of their own opinions and judgment, and to think their ways, course, and judgment the best. Then he introduces his jealousy, evil surmising, and faultfinding, that the church may become affected and sympathize with one minister, while another sympathizes with another. Confusion is in the body. For years past I have been shown that the unwise course of the ministers was the foundation of most all the difficulties in the church. Nearly all the troubles can be traced back to the preachers. This need not be. It is the work of Satan. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 15

Brother Ingraham, if you feel disaffected toward your preaching brethren you will show it out in some way by disagreeing with them, by finding fault with things that they have done to the brethren and sisters, and suggesting amendments in their course. All this has a tremendous influence and raises doubts in the minds of the brethren and sisters which you could not easily do away again. You have not searched carefully enough to know that evil surmising and jealousy leads you to throw out hints, insinuations, etc. God can not prosper you till you see these things as they are, and [you would] rather yield anything than that the brethren and sisters should perceive the least difference of opinion between you and your ministering brethren. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 16

It is very easy and natural, Brother Ingraham, for you to dissent from your preaching brethren and you have carried out your feeling in the matter and persisted in some cases to differ with your preaching brethren and bring them in fault while you have excused the guilty. Sometimes you have moved blindly in this matter by receiving the testimonies of interested individuals and acting upon their testimonies when they were greatly at fault; and then you have sometimes persisted in your own opinions and in decisions you have come to when your own feelings and jealousies urged you to it. As the different things I have seen from time to time come vividly to my mind, I pray the Lord to help me to present them to you as they were presented to me. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 17

In regard to your labors in Monroe, I was shown that in sections of country around, minds were inquiring if these things were so, and that wise management and a thorough laborer would have preserved a large church there. But you placed all confidence in your own judgment. You thought that you understood perfectly how to manage. God gave you victory in preaching the truth in your first labors in Monroe. Then if you had continued in the right course, there would be a living church in the vicinity of Monroe. But Satan came in, and because your influence had been powerful in your public labors in Monroe you began to depend much upon your own weak judgment to manage when your ability to manage is weaker than your brethren’s generally. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 18

This led you to move wrongly at Crane’s Grove, to censure my husband, whom you should have helped, and to cast a burden upon him to save the feelings of an unconsecrated, unconverted few whom God frowned upon. Your influence in the train of circumstances which have occurred has placed things at Craves Grove in a position where today we cannot have that influence there [that] we should have. They have not seen things clearly and been entirely free from the impression they then received. They do not see it, and from the light given me in the last vision we have no work to do there. I know that they mean to do right, but it is easier to make a wrong impression than to efface it after it is made, for Satan impresses upon minds wrong ideas that one minister has unwisely given, that all the messengers in the field would not efface, and which can be wiped out only by the power of God. After that meeting at Crane’s Grove God did not prosper you. You followed your selfish, blind judgment, and all the cautions of your brethren and sisters and your preaching brethren had no more effect upon you to arrest your blind course than the blowing of the wind. Satan controlled your labors and your course. And since that time I was shown that upon the whole, taking your labors all together, the injury you have done overbalances the good. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 19

You have not seen your error as God looks upon it. You think that you have been unfortunate, made a few mistakes, but upon the whole you have been about right. Now, Brother Ingraham, unless you can be convinced of your lack of judgment and management and can see where your sympathy has been perverted and led you to take an entirely wrong course, your labors cannot effect much. You have sought to bring the labor to you in the vicinity of your home, instead of accommodating yourself to the field of your labor. You managed and planned for the tent to be placed in the localities you selected and there was not half accomplished by the tent that might have been. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 20

I have been shown, Brother Ingraham, that when through your labors a company is brought out into the truth you must make thorough work before you leave them for a new field. You must visit them and labor to thoroughly finish the work you have begun. You dread to bring them up and plant them where they should be, enforce upon them the necessity of systematic benevolence, and urging upon them the necessity of pursuing their investigation, of taking the Review and studying the truths it publishes. They should be brought up on every point—to lay aside their idols, upon the gifts, etc. If the minister who has been the instrument of bringing souls into the truth goes and leaves them for another to come in and rein them up upon points that their favorite minister neglected, some will be almost sure to make shipwreck. It is very important that a thorough blow be struck, thorough work done before leaving a company who has embraced the truth. Another cannot do this half as well as the one who presented the truth to them. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 21

But, Brother Ingraham, you had rather not take this disagreeable responsibility and burden upon yourself of talking in private and public and to individuals in regard to their duty on these important things. You do not love to impress upon minds their individual duty, to walk right up to systematic benevolence, and have it all arranged and established before leaving a company. But God will not own and approbate as efficient laborers those who do half the work and leave all the disagreeable part for some other one to do. God will have thoroughgoing, decided, straightforward men. Now Satan must be shut out every time. He must not have place for a moment. Ministers must be thoroughgoing and shrink not to lay their hand on individual wrong. You must stand out of the way of your own light and stand in the light and counsel of God. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 22

Brother Ingraham, do not take upon yourself or suffer the brethren to engage in church trials. You cannot with discretion and wisdom decide matters in church trials. You fail to rule well your own house, and how then can you rule the church? You are blind as to the condition of your family. You see not the depths of evil in the hearts of your children, and the strong power Satan has over their minds. You count those [as] your enemies, who out of a sense of duty, for your interest and the children’s good, strive in the most careful manner to suggest the necessity of your restraining children. You cut yourself loose very quickly from such. Every particle of that spirit has yet to be torn from you and you call things by their right name; call good good, and evil evil; do not call good evil and evil good. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 23


Since reading the above my husband does not feel it his duty to go to McConnell’s Grove, Princeton [Princeville ?], or Crane’s Grove. 1LtMs, Lt 15a, 1862, par. 24