Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 2, 1863

Testimony Regarding the Monterey Church

Otsego, Michigan

June 6, 1863

This manuscript is published in entirety in 17MR 153-161.

Last evening while engaged in family prayer at Brother Hilliard’s, the blessing of the Lord rested upon us, and I was taken off in vision. I was shown some things relating to the church at Monterey. It is Satan’s object to divide and scatter them, and make them a proverb of reproach. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 1

I was shown that Brother Lay is walking blindly; his feet are stumbling. He must make straight paths for his feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. I was shown that Brother Lay had manifested too much interest in the case of Sister E. Jones. Many eyes are upon them. Brother George has not understood himself. He has not moved according to his usual good judgment and prudence. He has trusted too much to his own judgment and already he has unwittingly injured the cause of truth which he has loved. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 2

I was pointed back to the testimony given for Brother George some years since. I was then shown that Satan and those who despised our faith were watching, ready to exult over his downfall. I saw, Brother George, should you follow in the course upon which you have started, the triumph of unbelievers would be complete and your influence would be ruined. Already have you hurt the cause of truth. Already many are looking upon you with suspicion. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 3

I was pointed back and shown the interest which you have manifested for Sister Jones. It was, I saw, greater interest than you should have taken in her case, or in any other one situated as she was. In the divorce your influence was too great. These things have injured you. Yet, if you had not taken the unwise course you have of late, unbelievers would not have looked with so much suspicion upon your past interest which you have manifested. You have had thoughts of making Sister Jones your wife. If you should do this, you give the death blow to all the influence you have tried to exert in Monterey. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 4

You have moved blindly, very blindly. If you should follow your own mind and purpose in this matter, instead of being happy in your marriage relation, you would be miserable. God’s blessing would not attend you. You would forfeit the confidence of your brethren. A few view matters as you do, but they are as blind as yourself and all of them are not reliable. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 5

I saw that Victory Jones has dreadfully fallen, but I have seen that if even now he humbly repents he may return to God. Yet I doubt whether he ever will come into a position where God can acknowledge him as His. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 6

Years ago I was shown that God had pitied Victory. His love of drink is constitutional; that is why the habit is so strong and so hard to overcome. This accursed habit of using tobacco has led him to the old irresistible hankering for strong drink. I saw that his wife had suffered much on his account, yet she has not always done as she should and helped him as she should. She has been fretful, complaining, faultfinding, finding fault with the brethren, telling her trials to him who had all that he could do, with her help and the help of his brethren, to overcome an appetite almost as strong as death. She has failed, greatly failed at times. If she could ever have been that help to him she should have been, and reformed him, she would have saved her husband, and hers would have been a glorious reward. But she often had a set will of her own, a purpose to carry out of her own. She was not yielding, and pressed him often with her will and desire to do thus and so, when she might have yielded as well as not. She is not clear in the sight of heaven. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 7

Brother Lay, you were not as careful as you should have been to abstain from all appearance of evil before Sister Jones left her husband. You were in her company often, alone in conversation with her. However pure your motives, you have been judged and now, especially since the death of your wife, unbelievers put their own construction on the matter; and if you should make her your wife you bring a reproach upon yourself and the cause that your whole future life cannot wipe away. You would give the enemies of our faith cause to blaspheme. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 8

Sister Jones is not clear in this matter. She has not been right or felt right. God’s Spirit has not guided you or her in this matter. You have prayed over it, Brother George, but your desire and wish to follow in a certain course has led you to take for light and evidence that which is not light and evidence, and the enemy has wrought here greatly to your disadvantage but to his own great advantage. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 9

It is not safe, I saw, for you or any other one in a case like this, to mark out his own course, to take his cause in his own hand, run his own risk, and trust to his own judgment, however good that judgment might have previously been. A desire to take a certain course may lead the person to take for evidence that he is right that which is no evidence. His will is not in subjection to the will of God, and the enemy often has much to do with controlling the will and desire of the person. A responsibility rests upon you, Brother George. You have been converted to the truth, have felt its saving power. You belong to the church of the living God, belong to your brethren. You are united to them by high and holy ties. You are not your own. It is a matter of vital importance to the church what course you take, and the church should have a right to speak in this matter when their prosperity and influence are so nearly concerned. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 10

And again I saw, Brother Lay, that the church have not taken the right view of scripture. A woman may be legally divorced from her husband by the laws of the land and yet not divorced in the sight of God and according to the higher law. There is only one sin, which is adultery, which can place the husband or wife in a position where they can be free from the marriage vow in the sight of God. Although the laws of the land may grant a divorce, yet they are husband and wife still in the Bible light, according to the laws of God. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 11

I saw that Sister Jones as yet has no right to marry another man; but if she or any other woman should obtain a divorce legally on the ground that her husband was guilty of adultery, then she is free to be married to whom she chooses. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 12

I saw that Sister Jones was not free to marry again. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 13

Then the matter was presented in another light. If there were no difficulties and George could marry her according to the laws of the land and not violate God’s law, yet he ought not to do so if by so doing he injures the cause of present truth. That cause should be dearer to him than life itself; and if by marrying he should bring one stain upon the cause of God, his wife is dearly purchased, and he cannot be happy, for God’s blessing will not attend him. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 14

I saw that Brother George has highly regarded the truth; he has sacrificed for the truth. Now he can make a sacrifice which comes closer than his possessions. He must die to self. Self must be sacrificed. Self is touched. His own will must be yielded and be brought into subjection to the will of God. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 15

I saw that the church at Monterey should learn wisdom. Some have made matters a great deal worse by going to extremes. Brother Rumery has been too fast and acted unwisely. He has taken advantage of Brother George’s failing to build himself up. There is cause for deep humility on his part, and to consider himself, lest he stumble and be overthrown. Some who have had but little or no influence for good have been free to talk of this matter and to exaggerate. That which they did not know they have surmised and guessed at. Such mouths should be stopped; they are a curse to the church. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 16

Brother George Lay, I was pointed back and shown some things in the past. I was shown that you had moved injudiciously while your wife lived, in frequently visiting Sister Jones. There was a wrong in this matter, and these things caused your wife much secret sorrow and sadness. She had the utmost confidence in your integrity, yet she did not feel at ease. The appearance was evil. You have been infatuated with Sister Jones. She has insinuated herself into your favor. She was not right; her heart was not right; her thoughts were not right. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 17

There is a sacred circle around every family relation that never should be overstepped. No other one has the least right within that sacred circle. You moved unwisely in interesting yourself so much in the case of Sister Jones. You were stepping over that sacred circle which should debar you from the family of Sister Jones and preserve you exclusively to your own family. Your sympathy and interest have been enlisted, and that to your own hurt. Sister Jones had no right to enlist your sympathy as she has. She is more at fault than yourself in going to you with her family troubles. You have placed too much confidence in her. You have too exalted [an] opinion of her. She does not bear all the Christian graces you think she does. For months her mind has been directed in the wrong channel. Satan has poisoned her mind, her thoughts, and she has had a powerful influence upon you, Brother George, and you have not known what you were doing. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 18

It is time for you to arouse if you have any regard for your future prosperity and your eternal interest. The conversations you have had together for months past have been displeasing to God and have injured you both. Satan, I saw, had managed this matter to suit himself. And he has been triumphing in his success. I saw that you were greatly entangled, but that you should at once make decided efforts to clear yourself at once from Sister Jones. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 19

Brother Charles Russel has not viewed matters right. He has taken for granted things which he should not without positive evidence, and established things in his own mind without sufficient foundation. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 20

For some length of time Sister Jones’ affections were weaned from her husband and transferred to another. Brother George has thought that she would make a good mother to his children. He is mistaken. She is not a woman with a hopeful turn of mind. She walks in a shadow, lacks patience, is fretful and peevish, often to her own child, and she could not begin to fill the place that one should in that family. That stricken flock needs one with amiable traits of character, hopeful, cheerful, forgiving, with a great fount of affection; one who will form their characters not for the world but for heaven. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 21

Sister Jones has ever loved you too well, and you have been unwise and shown a preference for her, which has brought you in a position where for a time your influence is gone. It is now only by humility and devotion to God that you can regain the confidence you have lost. It will take time to heal the wound that you have brought upon the cause of God. You have hurt yourself greatly. It will take time to do away the effect of the wrong course you have pursued. I saw that it was perfectly natural for Victory to feel very bitter toward you. You have said and done much of late in regard to him which he feels is cruel. You have something to do to take back things which you have said and done in order to get Victory away from the place. You should make things as straight with him as you can, that your skirts may be clean from his blood. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 22

You have, Brother George, offended your brethren. This is a sin in the sight of heaven. They were jealous of the cause of God. You spurned their fears. Your judgment was perverted, and they now have to suffer on your account. I have seen, Brother George, that you have been imprudent and Victory has noticed things which have cast a sad gloom upon his spirits. You have manifested a preference for the society of Sister Jones which has been noticed and caused unbelievers to make remarks. These things have hurt your influence. It is not safe for two families to be so closely united as your two families have been. By so doing the shield which should guard the privacy and sacredness of every family is broken down and Satan leads on to take a course to injure and ruin the cause of God and one another. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 23

Brother George, I have tried to shield you before the church and before those who love to talk. I hope I have not carried the matter too far in trying to shield you. I fear I have. I fear that the course I have taken will cause some to doubt the truthfulness of the visions and think me partial. I was shown that many were jealous of you, and this is one apology for my doing as I have done. But now, as I speak directly to you, I dare not spare you. Your imprudence has been highly censurable in the sight of God. May the Lord tear off the veil which has blinded you and let you see all things clearly. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 24

You have been infatuated. You have exalted Sister Jones in your mind far higher than she deserves. She has not, in her troubles, made God her strength and burden bearer. She has fled to human aid, which could not avail her. She is not devotional or a godly woman. She lacks humility, religion, and a spirit of perseverance, and is not a person who can exert a correct religious influence upon your children and take care or manage with calmness when placed in disadvantageous circumstances. She is easily fretted, easily irritated, looks upon the gloomy side and lays much of this to her troubles. But she could, if she had let her troubles drive her to God, have borne her troubles with more of a Christian spirit, and would have had a saving influence on her husband. She has reproached him too much when he had but little or no confidence in himself, was staggering, ready to fall through very weakness. She has been fretful, accused him of many things. I have heard many conversations in vision which had an awfully discouraging tendency upon him. Brother George, as I write I feel astonished that you have been so deceived and blinded. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 25

Victory has noticed your preference for his wife’s society for years, and it has had a tendency to discourage him and drive him to his old habits. God’s eye is upon all this matter. He is acquainted with it all, every word and act is known to Him, and in order for you to recover yourself from the snare Satan has set for you, you must make straight and thorough work. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 26

Brother George, God has designed you should be a pillar in the church, a strength to the weak. Satan has said from the first he would overthrow you. He has led you in your unconverted life to be exacting and to overreach, and as you have seen the sin of this and have been reforming, you have established a character. All have had unmistakable proofs of the work of reform. The truth has wrought for you, and Satan knows that if you follow on and are a thorough overcomer the sins he led you to commit fall on his own head. He is not willing to lose you. He is constantly at work to devise some means to overthrow you, that your transgressions may finally rest upon your own head. God will help you if you take the right course. But you have deeply grieved some of the best of God’s children, and angels have been watching you with the deepest solicitude, seeking to turn your mind in a different channel from that in which it was running. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 27

I saw that it was your duty to take every occasion out of the way of others. Free yourself now and forever from Sister Jones. Let not your affection linger there for a moment. It is not justifiable in the sight of God. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 28

I was shown that Victory Jones has truly loved his wife. She was dearer to him than any other one upon earth. When the divorce was in progress his feelings were intense. He besought his wife to defer the matter. He promised amendment; promised to not trouble her, but go away and reform. She should have eagerly grasped at even that feeble hope that it was possible he might amend, and even if she had to suffer some time longer, given him another chance. There was an error in pressing matters still forward. Although those who were engaged in the matter thought they were taking the best course, yet they did not exercise the pitying love toward Victory that Jesus has shown them, and they should have considered that with what measure ye mete to others, it shall be measured to you again. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1863, par. 29