Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)
Lt 4, 1875
Belden, F. E.
On the cars within 200 miles of Ogden
January 31, 1875
Portions of this letter are published in 4MR 190-192.
I have been and still am very anxious in regard to you. I have a strong sympathy for the young generally, but especially for my sister’s children, worse than motherless I know. With the influence of Charlotte, it has been difficult for you to have those feelings of respect for parental government and home influences. Your home has been anything but attractive. All these things I take in. All these God notices. But, Frank, there is a right and a wrong way in the course of everyday life. To take the right way is the way to heaven, while to take the wrong course is the way to darkness and the broad road to death. 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1875, par. 1
I was shown, January 3, 1875, the course you had been pursuing. You were bending your footsteps in the broad road that leads to death. You were being led captive by Satan at his will, and he was exulting in his power that he had over you. You had two ways before you—one way, which was the way to life, you knew was the way you should go; the other way was the wrong path, which you knew was wrong. You have, against light and knowledge, chosen the wrong way. You know that your course is not pleasing to God. You know that you are going contrary to the Word of God. You are not obedient or respectful and you are following a course of folly. You are headstrong and very selfish, choosing your own pleasure. 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1875, par. 2
You have not heeded the letter of counsel I wrote you. Your associations are wrong. Preston Kellogg and Willie Jones are not good boys; they are pursuing the wrong course. They have chosen the wrong path and are walking contrary to God’s will. You are pleased and gratified with their company and you are walking contrary to God. Will this pay? Will you choose the society of these boys whom you know do not love right, whom you know do wrong? Does sin and disobedience and lack of courtesy and true regard for parental authority appear attractive to you? Do you admire this in these bold young men? 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1875, par. 3
Your father has had trouble enough, and how praiseworthy it would have been in you, how noble, how pleasing in the sight of God, if you had stood nobly by your father who has been so discouraged he has not known what course to pursue. I was shown that your ways are very grievous to the Lord, and since you have chosen the company of some young men your ways have been corrupted. You have grown rough, impudent, disobedient. I saw that it was doing you a great wrong for your father to support you when you were old enough to support yourself, while you do not feel under obligation as a minor to be obedient and help your father all in your power. 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1875, par. 4
Your father is hurting you. When you show by your words and actions [that you] despise the voice of counsel and authority and have no interest to lift your share of the burdens, then your father’s obligations cease toward you. 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1875, par. 5
I was shown that a knowledge of the sciences, which you might gain in this manner, would be of but little worth to you. The knowledge you should be gaining in practical life you do not gain, but feel free to throw off responsibility and choose to do your pleasure. God looks with displeasure upon your course. Your father is grieved. Your Aunt Ellen is distressed. Will the satisfaction you gain in your reckless course offset the disadvantages? I saw that God has a care and love for your father. He has made some mistakes in judgment in his life, but he has had a kind heart of love for his children. 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1875, par. 6
The duty of parents to their children, making them responsible, is equally to bear upon the children. Their duty to their parents is sacred and binding as long as they both shall live. When you feel that you are your own and can go and come as you please, irrespective of your father’s wishes, you should not rely upon your father’s purse for clothing or for food. When your responsibility ceases as a faithful, obedient son, then your father’s obligation ceases. He should not do you so great an injury which will tell on your whole future life as to support you in school. 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1875, par. 7