Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 8, 1863

Sawyer, Brother



Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 261-262.

Dear Brother Sawyer:

I have been meaning to write you for some time, but have been so busily engaged writing for Testimony No. 9 that I have not had opportunity to write to you. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 1

I was shown some things in regard to you. I saw that you have something to do. You believe the truth, but you get fanciful views of Scripture and talk out these ideas which your mind has run upon, which have injured your efforts in the Sabbath school. You must restrain your mind upon this point. The plain chain of truth has been dug out and presented in publications and from the desk. In reading and studying the Scriptures you are in danger of getting a fanciful understanding of them—original views of your own which do not harmonize with the faith of the body. In reading and explaining the Scriptures you should be very careful not to depart from the expressed and established views which have been given by those in the faith who have sought for truth as for hid treasure, who have endured any labor and spared no expense, who have in the fear of God presented a harmonious chain of truth. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 2

I saw, Brother Sawyer, that your inclinations to be rather fanatical injured your usefulness and placed you where it was unsafe for you to bear any great responsibility in the church. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 3

I saw that you are in danger and must guard yourself on every side or the enemy will take great advantage of you. You feel a zeal for the truth, and there would not be any special danger in this zeal if you did not let it carry you too far. You get some fanciful views and interpretations of Scripture and get very animated upon them and lead minds in a wrong direction. There is enough plain Scripture truth for young and old to safely dwell upon with profit, and you should more closely confine yourself to the explanation of those scriptures which have been dug out, and the body settled upon their meaning, and then you will not raise a controversy or cause a jangle in the feelings of your brethren. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 4

You must restrain the disposition within you of being original. You must lean upon the faith of the body or you will mar the work of God and injure the truth. No new views should be advocated by preachers or people upon their own responsibility. All new ideas should be thoroughly investigated and decided upon. If there is any weight in them they should be adopted by the body; if not, rejected. Unless there is order in these things there would soon be great confusion in our ranks. It is not in the order of God for one to feel at liberty to express his views independent of the body, another express his, and so on. If such a course should be taken we should not all speak the same things and with one mind glorify God. All of us have a part to act, but it is in union with the body. You could be of use in the church if you would get rid of the tendency there is in you to be a little fanatical, to let your mind run too much to the fanciful. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 5

Your wife hurts your influence and hurts your testimony. She is vain and girlish instead of putting on the woman and putting away childish talking and laughing. She fails to take upon her the responsibilities belonging to a wife. These things destroy your usefulness in a great measure. You too often partake of her spirit and you are in danger of losing the force of the truth out of your heart. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 6

Your wife has so long given her mind to frivolous things that if she has serious thoughts they pass away like the morning dew, leaving scarcely a trace upon her mind or conduct. She does not choose for her society those of experience and elevated, substantial minds, but it is natural for her to associate with young and frivolous minds. It is time for her to think seriously, soberly, of her soul’s salvation. Unless she possesses a determination of purpose and a perseverance exceeding anything she has yet manifested, she will pass heedlessly along the path of vanity and folly until it is too late for her to reform, too late to obtain salvation, too late to hear the sweet voice of mercy, and her eternal destiny will be forever fixed. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 7

God calls upon her now to renounce the world with its desires, vanities and follies and seek substantial joys. She will have to make a greater and more determined effort than she ever yet has made. Angels of God are watching the development of character and weighing moral worth. What shall they record concerning your wife at present? Her record is of but little worth anywhere—unfit to bear alone the responsibilities of her little family, relying upon others for that help that she is capable of rendering herself. As regards doing others good and exerting a saving influence, she tells nothing there. The weight in the scale on every side is very light except in the direction of vanity and folly. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 8

“Turn ye, turn ye ...; for why will ye die?” Ezekiel 33:11. We are in this world to be of some use to others around us, to exert a saving influence, to be God’s workmen to save ourselves and shed a holy, saving influence around us. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 9

God help you both to be united to serve and glorify God, to take an exalted, elevated position, and both be fitting for immortality. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 10

In love. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1863, par. 11