Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 9, 1869

Amadon, Brother and Sister

Greenville, Michigan, Montcalm County

July 7, 1869

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Amadon:

I have received and read your letter. I am not able to write much but I am confident you are a self-deceived woman. You will develop a good Christian character providing nothing arises to cross your track or stir up the spirit of impatience within you. You are erring yourself but cannot bear with those who err, if they come in collision with you. You have an arbitrary, untamed and sometimes, I fear, untamable spirit. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 1

You cannot be a candidate of everlasting life until you are thoroughly tested and proved and all this dross and tin, storm and tare is separated from you or entirely subdued by the meek spirit of Christ. You do not see the point. Instead of enduring the test of character, you feel that this test of character is the only appointed way for you to be brought through, to discover the peculiar traits in your character that are not in harmony with the Spirit of God; you are continually contriving how you can be placed to avoid all temptations. You are continually finding fault with your circumstances when you are taking measures to frame the circumstances frequently yourself. You have a spirit of unrest. You rush ahead of providence. You have at the same time a Jehu zeal for the Lord which generally results in only harm. You are not content to take the burdens of your family upon you and feel that this is your burden, the burden of your choosing, and should devote yourself unto it, without murmuring. You love approbation. You want to be doing something which shall bring this to you. You wish others to think that you are engaged in a great work of self-denial and self-sacrifice, but you would be taking a course much more approved of God should you attend to your domestic duties and be less interested in the business of others. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 2

Your child lacks patient care and careful, thorough, persevering, uniform discipline. This is your first work and your highest duty. This should not be neglected to take up any other work. While your deficiencies are so apparent in the common, simple duties of life which devolve especially on you and which another cannot step in and perform, you should faithfully perform these duties unshrinkingly. You have a restless spirit, cannot bear confinement. You want a change. You desire to be doing some great work that will be seen and praised. It is this reaching out to do that which you are not required to do, which hurts you. God does not sustain you in taking these self-imposed burdens. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 3

I will mention one. You desired Brother Mattherson to bring his little girl to be a companion for your Hattie. You did not count the cost. The additional burden this brought upon you, you soon chaffed under and shifted it upon others. The girl was felt to be a burden at Alleden, yet it was you who proposed to take this responsibility. You soon tire of confining care. You need to strictly discipline yourself, then when you have obtained perfect self-control, when self is subdued, when your nature is transformed, then, and not until then, should you feel competent to control, guide, or dictate [to] others. Your course of action is very much after the Jesuitical order. You have a great amount of jealousy, watching, surmising, listening to hear, prying into the doings of others, questioning, quizzing, getting at secrets of matters by a process which generally brings it out. You would make a good inquisitor. This quizzing course was pursued toward Ella until she was led to lie. This course you pursue toward children to have them account to you of all their doings in your absence, investigating letters that have been written by Ella and those received by Ella. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 4

Martha, I pursue a course in my family that is open. I have no fear of my children writing letters of complaints against me. I never see their letters unless they bring them to me of their own accord and desire me to read them. I will not have one in my family that I am suspicious of and have to take special pains to watch to find out if they are not working against me. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 5

Martha, every bit of this despicable jealousy and disgusting prying, secret watching, will have to be put away from you. Your greatest enemy is found in yourself. This is your great burden of life, to transform your nature and to be conformed to the will of God, partaking the nature of the divine, sympathizing Son of God. You need not count me as an enemy, because I tell you the truth. Martha, your little girl is a proverb for her unlovable, disagreeable ways. You are to blame for this. You have made her what she is, and you would destroy the best disposition by your discipline. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 6

Martha, how are you to overcome, if you are constantly blaming the temptation instead of your own evil heart? You may pray till the Lord appears and your prayers will not reach higher than your head, unless you bear fruit, put the bridle upon yourself. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 7

Brother Amadon has borne that from you that but few men would stand up under. You have a work to do and but little time to do it in. His influence has been destroyed by your influence upon him. Your stirring him up and he reflecting your influence upon others whom he associates with, your peculiar temperament has been the curse of his life and a curse to the youth and the cause of God, generally. You might be a blessing were you sanctified to God and brought into subjection to Him. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 8

You mention the case of Elder Loughborough. We have recently read several letters from him, also one written by Brother Cornell to you, and others. I know that yourself, Cornelia and Harriett acted a prominent part in bringing about a terrible condition of things. The devil helped you and those who were so zealous with you. Had it not been for you three, Elder Loughborough would not have taken the course he did. I know that you are all more or less accountable for Mary dying unready. This may all have been seen and felt. But if it has been and the mind of the Lord is met, Oh, why such darkness? Why such death? The judgment is before us. The recording angel has it all written in the book. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 9

Martha, you take too much upon you. George has possessed very deficient judgment and discernment in regard to his duty. His efforts, his labors have not been acceptable. The people have not confidence in his judgment, neither in yours. But George has taken upon him to make long, prosy speeches until the people have become wearied and the Spirit of God all speechified out of the meeting. George has been puffed up [by] the enemy. At the same time he flattered himself he was as humble a man as there was in the church. He has not known himself. I know he was in blindness at the time of our earnest labor for the church. He could not see, he could not realize the state of things or his own state, or what he had done on his part to bring about the death and darkness in the church. Your long speeches, your long prayers, have not lifted the church but sunk them. You have not had discernment and good judgment to time your labor to know when to speak and when to keep silent. Many times it would have been your strength to sit still. Your efforts only glorified George W. Amadon. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 10

Your wife’s influence to stir up on this and that matter has only injured your judgment, which was never well balanced. You have needed a balance wheel. I want you both to realize [that] you have done much to bring this church into the position they are in. There have been impulsive movements, wrong moves, until the people have lost confidence in your judgment and understanding in regard to the true condition of the church and how to help them. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 11

I believe that Brethren Amadon and Smith did not clear the King’s highway last winter and spring. They could not see that there was anything so very special to be done. They sat and looked on in a sort of a maze, as much as to say, What will come next? 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 12

I believe that God was highly displeased with you both. You stood directly in the way of the work of God and your course disheartened us more than every thing else we had to meet. We were heart-sick. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 13

I believe it would be well-pleasing to God for you to, neither of you, feel that you had special burdens to bear for the church and special duties to do to individuals. But go to work, both of you, to search your own hearts as you never have done before. Set your own hearts and house in order. Manifest your wisdom in controlling and managing the case of your own child, who will not be saved without a thorough transformation. When you have made a success in this one case, you then may be prepared to bear burdens for the church and instruct other children. While your efforts lack harmony and efficiency in the case of your own child, the same mismanagement will be seen in the church with no better result. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 14

May the Lord open your eyes to see the work to be done against your own house, and may you take hold of it at once, is my earnest prayer. Humble your hearts before God, and bear much fruit. You may pray, you may exhort, but if the fruit is not forthcoming, these will amount [to] nothing. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 15

The terrible struggles, Martha, you frequently complain of, these terrible conflicts arise from the carnal heart being unsubdued by grace. It is the clamoring of self to live and not be slain. It is spiritual pride forever striving for the mastery. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 16

I commit this to you in the fear of God. Will you heed and profit by this? Don’t come to me and burden me with explanations, but take it before the Lord and rend your hearts before Him. Come so humble you can see yourselves and don’t make excuses for your course. Go to work for the judgment. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 17

I should not have written this, but Martha’s letters have drawn it out. 2LtMs, Lt 9, 1869, par. 18