Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 21, 1868

Farnsworth, J. P.

Pilot Grove, Iowa

October 7, 1868

Portions of this letter are published in TSB 23-24.

Brother [J. P.] Farnsworth:

I feel it to be my duty to write to you at this time. Some things have been shown me in regard to yourself which I shall not be clear until I write. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1868, par. 1

I was shown that you did not understand yourself. You were in darkness. There are traits in your character which must be overcome. And yet I fear you will fail to see yourself as God sees you. You are not teachable, not willing to be led. You have, in your efforts to obtain the things of this world, neglected spirituality and acted out your own nature, your natural temperament, which is not refined and elevated. You have neglected the common courtesies of life and have not cultivated true Christian politeness. You have not possessed the graces which ever accompany the true religion of Jesus. All who possess the genuine article will show the same by their fruits. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1868, par. 2

I learned that you thought of marrying a sister named Anna Hale. This aroused me to hasten out the things which I had seen. Your organization is not of that refined order that you can make a woman of her fine, sensitive nature happy. It is not at all in God’s order that such temperaments as hers and yours should unite. You possess a large proportion of the animal. You have strong animal passions which have not been controlled as they should have been. The more noble, elevated powers of the mind have been servant to the lower or baser passions. You have failed to be sanctified through the truth which you profess, have failed to be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1868, par. 3

Anna Hale is not a person who can endure the roughs of life. She is a frail flower and would soon droop and die if exposed to storm and neglect. You have not in your previous marriage understood the wants of a woman. You have not appreciated her delicate organism. You failed, greatly failed, with your first wife. She possessed a powerful constitution which can scarcely be equaled for power of endurance, but she presumed too much. Your anxiety to acquire led you both to overtax yourselves and be swallowed up in the cares of this life, and to neglect present happiness and comfort, looking ahead to a time when you should have more of this world’s goods, and then you could afford to look after the comforts of life. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1868, par. 4

You have made a sad mistake. The life of your wife was sacrificed. She might have lived. She ought to have lived. But you knew so little of woman’s organism that you failed to have care, and neglected the preparation you should have made for her comfort. To a very great degree, you possess the temperament of your father. When you seek a wife, go not among the delicate and refined, where the intellectual predominates. Select you a wife among that class more in accordance with your organization. You cannot make a person of refined spiritual temperament happy. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1868, par. 5

I know you will feel bad about what I have written, for you do not know yourself. You are not of a happy temperament. You cannot bear contradiction or to have the least censure rest upon your course, however justly you may deserve it. You call this sensitiveness. I call it your coarse nature, uncultivated, unsubdued by the Spirit of God. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1868, par. 6

You possess a set, stubborn will, a mulish disposition, unless you are subdued by the Spirit of God. Self-esteem is prominent with you and the spirit of the world has choked out the precious seeds of truth that have been sown in your heart, so that they have not sprung up and borne fruit. You have been very jealous and suspicious, surmising evil; you have possessed a spirit of retaliation. A bitter spirit has dwelt in your heart and you have felt that you were wronged. There have been unreconciled feelings to your marriage with Jennette, but this is nothing you should blame them for. God did not lead Nettie to take the step she did. Her friends all felt that she was moving out of God’s order. Their feelings were correct. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1868, par. 7