Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 82, 1886

Decker, Brother

Basel, Switzerland

February 10, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in TSB 204-206.

Dear Brother Decker:

No impurity or anything that defileth shall enter into the kingdom of God. Elder Decker, I have much distress of soul for you. I fear, yes greatly fear, you will never enter into the kingdom of God. I have much pain at heart as I consider your case, standing in the light of the delegated servant of Jesus Christ, yet so clouded with defilement that holy angels cannot come near you. It is no new thing that your thoughts are corrupted by impure desires and imaginings. You have not dismissed unlawful desires and lustful thoughts. When you met me in Healdsburg and told me that you had gained the victory, you told me a falsehood, for you knew this was not the truth. 4LtMs, Lt 82, 1886, par. 1

Your past life had been presented before me as one who had no internal strength to resist evil if it puts on an inviting aspect. You have obtained the confidence of women in you as a man of piety and righteousness, then you have taken advantage of this confidence to take liberties with them—kissing them and going just as far with them in seductive, lustful practices as they would allow you to go, not only with Sister Stillman, but with others. And I am pained to the heart when I consider that you have tainted and polluted more than one or two or three or four with your insinuations and your fawning and caressing which have led souls to dissipation and vice. And you a watchman, you a shepherd! 4LtMs, Lt 82, 1886, par. 2

Many have permitted these things in you that they would have repelled in another. You have made evil and lustful practices appear harmless, and some have been led away with their own lust and enticed because they had not moral courage to rebuke you, a minister, for your iniquitous practices. There have been not a few who have sacrificed conscience, peace of mind, and the favor of God, because a man whom the people have set as a watchman on the walls of Zion has been their tempter—a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And these who have been uncorrupted fall into the snare Satan, through the bad shepherd, has set for them under different pretenses and excuses. You have hid your evil heart of deadly opposition to purity and holiness. The fly enticed into the spider’s web, the fish which is lured on by the bait on the hook, has been ensnared and taken. 4LtMs, Lt 82, 1886, par. 3

You have by your course of action debased sacred things to the level of the common. Many have come near being ruined who have, as it were, been plucked as a brand from the burning; but the performance of yours to break down the barriers which preserve the sanctity of the family relation between husband and wife, the arranged plans to make the wife communicate to you the secrets of her married life, induce those who are yielding in disposition, who have become captivated with you, to open their heart to you as to a Catholic confessor; and you encourage in them the thought that they have made a mistake in the married life. 4LtMs, Lt 82, 1886, par. 4

In every family there are at time misunderstandings. There are thoughts and feelings expressed that Satan takes advantage of, but if both husband and wife will resist the devil and humble their hearts before God, then the difficulties soon will be healed without leaving ugly scars. But you have done a work to encourage alienation in the place of healing the difficulties; and peace of mind, harmony, and the usefulness not only of women, but of men, have been destroyed, and the seeds of licentious practices that you have sown have produced a bitter, bitter harvest. The wanderings from God in this way are common, but the fact is so few return. 4LtMs, Lt 82, 1886, par. 5

The coy, complying disposition of women or girls to the advances and familiarity of men, married men, leads them to be easily entrapped. The man who should watch for souls in order to save them watches for opportunities and occasions to ruin them. There are so many who have little fixedness of principle, who come into contact with the men who preach the truth; and some of these educate and refine iniquity before them, clothing it in angel robes; and as their own hearts are not garrisoned with fixed, unswerving principles, the work of ruin is speedily accomplished. The sacred is brought down and so interwoven with lust and impure, unholy practices that the victim is confused and the soul temple becomes a sink of iniquity. At first the unsuspecting only listen; they receive the liberties of preference shown them; then the education goes on until “as an ox going to the slaughter or as a fool to the correction of the stocks” (Proverbs 7:22), they follow in the steps of the tempter and go fully as far as he would lead them. 4LtMs, Lt 82, 1886, par. 6

Thus the work has been and is still going on. Evenings are spent with married women and girls by married men who tell a pitiful story of unrequited love. The companion he has vowed to love and to cherish till death is represented as not appreciating his worth, his aspirations, and he leads the victim to imagine, oh, how happy they might have been if they had only been united. This is not a solitary case, but they are numerous. The men who should stand in Christ in their God-given manhood educate themselves to consider themselves as greatly abused. They have filled their houses with children for the wife to care for and manage; and yet they will, as they see her impatient, careworn, because of this great tax brought upon her, center their thoughts upon themselves. They do not have her companionship and petting and her attentions as they desire, and in the place of putting their broad shoulders under the load themselves, they shake this off and imagine they have a hard time. Now if these men had been considerate of the wife of their choice, they would not have placed these taxing burdens on the wife, and she would have fewer children and more time and strength to give to the education and training of the children. 4LtMs, Lt 82, 1886, par. 7