Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 5, 1863

Scott, Brother and Sister

Battle Creek, Michigan

July 6, 1863

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 296-297; 15MR 125.

Dear Brother and Sister Scott:

I was shown some things in reference to you. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1863, par. 1

I was shown that you have not been right. You have not felt right for some time. I saw that Brother Thomas Lane had not taken that prudent course in some respects that he should. It left a door open for Satan to enter and disturb Sister Scott. She is nervous and her health is not good, and although she has a kind husband, yet he is not one with her in faith, and therefore she has trials that others cannot fully understand who have sympathizing companions. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1863, par. 2

Sister Scott has been imposed upon. Mrs. Hinman has had a wonderful influence over Sister Scott. She is not a reliable woman. She is not an exemplary woman, one that is true, and her fruits testify that the tree is corrupt; and yet this woman has obtained a great influence over Sister Scott, and she has credited reports and laid things upon Sister Dewett that she was not guilty of. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1863, par. 3

Sister Scott’s error was in not listening to the voice of those of influence in the church. She suffered those who have not the love for the truth to have greater influence over her than God’s chosen servants. Organization is to bring into agreement and union individuals who will pledge themselves to have a care for each other, to advise with and counsel each other. Elders, local and traveling, are appointed by the church and by the Lord to oversee the church, to reprove, exhort, and rebuke the unruly and to comfort the feebleminded. There is no higher tribunal upon earth than the church of God. And if the members of the church will not submit to the decision of the church, and will not be counseled and advised by them, they cannot be helped. If one and then another think they know best, and choose their own judgment instead of the judgment of the church, what kind of a church should we have? What would be the use of a church if each one is permitted to choose his own course of action? Everything would be in the greatest confusion; there would be no harmony, no union. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1863, par. 4

I was referred to Hebrews 13:17. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13. “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.” Matthew 18:15-18. “Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1863, par. 5

God has bestowed power on the church and the ministers of the church, and it is not a light matter to resist the authority and despise the judgment of God’s ministers. Sister Scott, you have greatly erred. It was your duty to lay your case in the hands of the church. Let them bear the responsibility. If they err, you are clear. They are accountable and not you. If you had seen things with your own eyes and had witnessed the guilt of Sister Dewett, then could you pursue the course you have with some excuse. As it is, you took your case in your own hands, deeply interested yourself in an uncertain, questionable matter, and charged upon one professing to be a sister in the church, the crime of stealing. This charge you could not sustain. Mrs. Hinman could not sustain it. She had greater influence upon you than God’s chosen servants. You have moved very blindly. You have talked upon this matter and dwelt upon it until it has destroyed your spirituality, injured your health and happiness, and injured a poor, erring, ignorant woman who has been trying to save her soul by repentance for her past sinful course. This Sister Dewett was not standing in the light. All was not right. Yet I saw that things had been charged upon her of which she was not guilty. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1863, par. 6

You have injured your own soul more than any of the church. You have felt tried with the course the church pursued toward you. You have no complaint to make, for you took yourself out of the hands of the church. Every move made by every member of the church has not been at all times with due consideration and compassion, yet you have caused grief in the church and were not prepared to look upon any move they might make in the true light. Your feelings have been easily agitated, and always will be until you have come where you should. Cut loose from Mrs. Hinman, for you cannot benefit her nor she you. Seek the society of those who can help you and strengthen you. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1863, par. 7

You should have submitted to the judgment of the church. If they decided wrong, God could take hold of this matter in His own time and vindicate the right. He does not lay upon you the responsibility of keeping the church in order. Sister Scott, you have been loved and respected by the church. But you intermeddled with a matter which has greatly hurt your spirituality and lessened you in the estimation of the church. Yet, they love you still, and by now humbling yourself and living wholly for God, you can redeem the past and again live in the heart of God’s people. God help you to take an elevated position, exalt the truth, adorn your profession, and let your influence not be against your brethren but in union with them. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1863, par. 8