Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)
Lt 338, 1908
Haskell, S. N.
St. Helena, California
November 26, 1908
This letter is published in entirety in 2SM 41-42.
Elder S. N. Haskell
Two weeks ago today, while I was writing, my son W. C. White came into my room and stated that there were two persons below who wished to speak with me. I went downstairs into our sitting-room and there met a man and his wife who claim to follow the Word of God and to believe the testimonies. They have had an unusual experience during the past two or three years. They seemed to be honest-hearted people. 23LtMs, Lt 338, 1908, par. 1
I listened while they related some of their experiences, and then I told them something of the work we had to do, in meeting and opposing fanaticism, soon after the passing of the time when we expected to see our Lord. During those trying days, some of our most precious believers were led into fanaticism. I said further that before the end, we would see strange manifestations by those who professed to be led by the Holy Spirit. There are those who will treat, as something of great importance, these peculiar manifestations which are not of God, but which are calculated to divert the minds of many away from the teachings of the Word. 23LtMs, Lt 338, 1908, par. 2
In this stage of our history, we must be very careful to guard against everything that savors of fanaticism and disorder. We must guard against all peculiar exercises that would be likely to stir up the minds of unbelievers and lead them to think that as a people we are led by impulse and delight in noise and confusion accompanied by eccentricities of action. In the last days the enemy of present truth will bring in manifestations that are not in harmony with the workings of the Spirit, but are calculated to lead astray those who stand ready to take up with something new and strange. 23LtMs, Lt 338, 1908, par. 3
I told this brother and his wife that the experience through which I passed in my youth, shortly after the passing of the time in 1844, had led me to be very, very cautious about accepting anything similar to that which we then met and rebuked in the name of the Lord. 23LtMs, Lt 338, 1908, par. 4
No greater harm could be done to the work of God at this time than for us to allow a spirit of fanaticism to come into our churches, accompanied by strange workings which are incorrectly supposed to be operations of the Spirit of God. 23LtMs, Lt 338, 1908, par. 5
As this brother and his wife outlined their experiences, which they claim have come to them as the result of receiving the Holy Ghost with apostolic power, it seemed to be a facsimile of that which we were called to meet and correct in our early experience. 23LtMs, Lt 338, 1908, par. 6
Toward the close of our interview, Brother Mackin proposed that we unite in prayer, with the thought that possibly while in prayer his wife would be exercised as they had described to me, and that then I might be able to discern whether this was of the Lord or not. To this I could not consent, because I have been instructed that when one offers to exhibit these peculiar manifestations, this is a decided evidence that it is not the work of God. 23LtMs, Lt 338, 1908, par. 7
We must not permit these experiences to lead us to feel discouraged. Such experiences will come to us from time to time. Let us give no place to strange exercisings, which really take the mind away from the deep movings of the Holy Spirit. God’s work is ever characterized by calmness and dignity. We cannot afford to sanction anything that would bring in confusion and weaken our zeal in regard to the great work that God has given us to do in the world to prepare for the second coming of Christ. 23LtMs, Lt 338, 1908, par. 8