Manuscript Releases, vol. 6 [Nos. 347-418]


MR No. 349—Attitudes Toward Sunday Laws

There have arisen in our Conference [The General Conference of 1889] questions that need to have careful attention, whether the Sabbath-keepers in the Southern States where they are liable to feel the oppressive power of their State laws if they labor on Sunday shall rest on Sunday to avoid the persecution which must come if they do any labor. Some of our brethren seem anxious that a resolution shall be passed by the General Conference advising our Sabbath-keeping brethren liable to imprisonment and fines, to refrain from labor on that day. Such resolutions should not be placed before this Conference requiring their action. 6MR 87.1

There are questions about which it is far better to have as little notoriety given as possible, in either case,—for, or against.... 6MR 87.2

Some minds are so constituted that they can not treat these questions wisely. When the Sunday question is legislated to become a law, there will not be so great a danger of taking steps that are not of a character to receive the sanction of Heaven, ... —for the reason that the Lord gives light and knowledge just when it is most needed.... 6MR 87.3

There are many things that require the wisest and most careful counsel, and should be done without making any noise about it.... 6MR 87.4

I am led to inquire with pain of soul what do our brethren mean by presenting questions of this order before an open conference. If the disciples of Christ needed to assemble together in one place after the ascension of Christ and pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit, there would be greater need of their doing so now when solemn and far-reaching principles are involved. Ten days were devoted to earnest seeking of God and ten days would need to extend to twenty before men should venture to put their pens to write out a decision for the people on this point. Much earnest prayer and nothing less than the descent of the Holy Ghost would settle these questions.... 6MR 87.5

If the decision is made that our people shall not labor on Sunday and that our brethren in the Southern States shall appear to harmonize with the Sunday law, because of oppression, how long before all over the world [our people] shall be in like circumstances as they are in the South. The decision is to be a universal one. If it comes to the light of day as it will in degrees and there will be concessions and servile bowing to an idol god by those who claim to be Sabbathkeepers, there will be a yielding of principles until all is lost to them. 6MR 88.1

If we counsel them not to respect the idol sabbath exalted to take the place of the Sabbath of the Lord our God, then instruct them in this matter in a quiet way and encourage no defying of the law powers in words or actions unless called to do this for the honor of God to vindicate His downtrodden law. Let there be no unnecessary act of arousing the combative spirit or passions of opponents.... 6MR 88.2

There should be no just occasion to our enemies to charge us with being lawless and defying the laws through any imprudence of our own. We should not feel it enjoined upon us to irritate our neighbors who idolize Sunday by making determined efforts to bring labor on that day before them purposely to exhibit an independence. Our sisters need not select Sunday as the day to exhibit their washing. There should be no noisy demonstration. Let us consider how fearful and terribly sad is the delusion that has taken the world captive and by every means in our power seek to enlighten those who are our bitterest enemies. If there is the acceptance of the principles of the inworking of the Holy Ghost which he [the Christian] must have to fit him for heaven, he will do nothing rashly or presumptuously to create wrath and blasphemy against God.—Manuscript 6, 1889, 1, 2, 5, 22. (Untitled, November 4, 1889.) 6MR 88.3

Released December 7, 1973.