Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 116, 1886

Butler, G. I. [?]


December 1886

Fragment. Previously unpublished.

[Elder Butler (?)]

... In regard to Elder Waggoner I think that there should have been decided measures taken with him by those in California before they went to the General Conference. I think I sent them all that I have had for him. I think I withheld nothing, but you know how hard it is for boys to deal with a grey-headed man of Elder Waggoner’s position. This I think is the reason nothing more decided was done, and he was accepted, and my heart ached when I read his letter in response to mine, that he had freedom in speaking in Battle Creek, and that responsibilities were piled on him. It seemed to me that this was the thing to help on his deception. I fear he is not making thorough work. I fear God will never accept his halfway work. I fear, greatly fear, that should responsibilities be laid upon him again, he would think his case was not very much out of the way. I fear now the matter has come out, the bewitching delusion somewhat broken, that he sorrows more over the result than from a sense of sin. 4LtMs, Lt 116, 1886, par. 1

He and she, Mrs. Chittenden, have told me that this commenced in San Francisco and dated back three or four years. Then why does he place it at that period just before his wife left for the East? This is covering up. It was his own imprudence, the manifestation of his familiarity with Mrs. Chittenden, that made his wife suspicious and jealous and treat her (Mrs. C.) as she did. Many circumstances that have occurred have been laid bare before me. I cannot see, if Elder Waggoner is an honest man, how he can make the statement that Mrs. Chittenden is not to blame. He knows better, unless he is entirely destitute of discernment. She has worked under deception, under the cloak of godliness, but sin was in her heart, and I do excuse her; neither should Elder Waggoner. She was fully warned, and yet she kept on just the same, laying her snares and executing her designs. I know about this matter; these statements, as you say, do not go to the bottom. It is not a confession and repentance that needeth not to be repented of. 4LtMs, Lt 116, 1886, par. 2

All we desire of Elder Waggoner is to meet the mind of the Spirit of the Lord. All we ask of him is to not cover sin, but to repent of it. All we ask of him is to make such thorough work that light and peace and freedom can come to his own soul and to the cause of God. We will not be his judge. We will not condemn. But whom the Lord shall make free, he is free indeed. When the converting power of the grace of Christ shall come into the man’s soul, the brethren who have stood under the load of his guilt will be made free. God will not be trifled with. If he will make earnest work in repenting, God will forgive him. As yet, there has been nothing at all revealed, only that which has been discovered without any enlightenment on his part. I do not like the spirit which attends his confessions. There is an equivocating, a covering up, an evading, a seeking to get over and out of the disgrace with as few broken bones of dignity as possible. 4LtMs, Lt 116, 1886, par. 3

Now I will not say anything more upon this matter, but commit you and him to the God of mercy and forgiveness and pray the heart may be broken before the Lord, and that he may repent, that evasions and excuses may no more grieve the Spirit of God, but that he may work and do meet for repentance, that his sins may be blotted out. All stands registered in the books of heaven. 4LtMs, Lt 116, 1886, par. 4