Manuscript Releases, vol. 10 [Nos. 771-850]


MR No. 794—Counsels and Comments Pertaining to Women

A Discussion of Women's Suffrage—I called upon Mrs. Graves. She had a burden upon her mind and ever since she knew I was at home she desired to see me. She said she felt that she must talk out her feelings to me. She is desirous that women's suffrage should be looked into by me. She says women ought to vote, and she related many things of startling character which were legalized in France and St. Louis, and an effort was made to carry them out in Chicago this year, but [the effort] failed. Houses of ill fame are legalized. Women who travel alone through those cities, if they are the least suspicious of them, are taken up by the authorities and their cases are investigated. If they are diseased they are placed in the care of the doctors and cured. Then they are fit for the visits of men and are placed in the legalized home for men to satisfy their lusts upon. No examination is made of the men, and where this law is carried into effect the crime and immorality resemble the condition of the world which existed previous to the Flood. 10MR 69.1

Mrs. Graves viewed the matter as I do in regard to the increase of crime and demoralization of society. She says women must vote if this law is [to be] withstood. We had a long talk in regard to temperance. I told her that my mind was unprepared for any such matter as women voting. She had been thinking and dwelling upon these things and her mind was ripe upon them, while my work was of another character. We were doing upon the point of temperance what no other class of people in the world were. We were as much in favor of a pledge against tobacco as liquor. 10MR 69.2

“So am I,” said she. “I am against the use of tobacco in any form.” We were interrupted by company and I returned home. Strange things are developing. God help us to occupy the right position in all places and at all times.—Letter 40a, 1874, pp. 2, 3. (Written from Battle Creek, Mich., to James White, July 10, 1874.) 10MR 70.1

Women Who Can Manage a Church—It is not always men who are best adapted to the successful management of a church. If faithful women have more deep piety and true devotion than men, they could indeed by their prayers and their labors do more than men who are unconsecrated in heart and in life.—Letter 33, 1879, p. 2. (Undated, to Brother Johnson.) 10MR 70.2

Bible Texts on Women Speaking in Church—I had in the evening, it was stated, the largest congregation that had ever assembled at Arbuckle. The house was full. Many came from five to ten and twelve miles. The Lord gave me special power in speaking. The congregation listened as if spellbound. Not one left the house although I talked above one hour. Before I commenced talking, Elder Haskell had a bit of paper that was handed in, quoting certain texts prohibiting women speaking in public. He took up the matter in a brief manner and very clearly expressed the meaning of the apostle's words. I understand it was a Campbellite who wrote the objection and it had been well circulated before it reached the desk, but Elder Haskell made it all plain before the people.—Letter 17a, 1880, p. 2. (Written from Oakland, California, April 1, 1880, to James White.) 10MR 70.3

Knitting Superior to Crocheting—Well now, here is our work. But we go into some houses and we see our sisters sitting with their little crochet needles, crocheting, and spending their time in this way. Well, I am not idle either when I am on the cars going from one place to another. I have my knitting, but what am I knitting for? Why I am knitting stockings for this one and for that one and the other. I am not using the crochet needle, but am knitting for those who are in need around me. There are many of our ministers who go with their feet thinly clad and I can give these to them and they do not come amiss, and I advise you to do the same.—Manuscript 3, 1888, 8-9. 10MR 71.1

Women Can Be a Blessing to Their Husbands—Women are not to be satisfied to be toys to be played with as a toy, and caressed and flattered, to be light and trifling, to laugh and gossip and play on an instrument of music. 10MR 71.2

Woman should have a staunch, noble independence of character, reliable and true as steel. A woman who has good sense, who is connected with God, will not prove to be a temptation to her husband to live beyond his earnings, to supply her with money to obtain changeable suits of apparel, to please her whims, to gratify her desire for change and sightseeing. She must have a just appreciation and accurate conception of her position as a wife and mother, and her demands should be such as not to bring weariness and care and perplexity upon her husband because of her thoughtless extravagance in procuring dainties for the appetite and in fine dressing. This consumes the means far beyond the income. The wife can be a comfort, a blessing, standing by the side of her husband as his safe counselor, her influence keeping him to the right, to honesty and purity and godliness.—Letter 41a, 1888, p. 5. (Written at Burrough Valley, Calif., July 7, 1888, to Brothers and Sisters at Fresno.) 10MR 71.3

A Selfish Wife Can Ruin Her Husband—The marriage relation is a solemn, sacred one, yet it is too often entered upon without due consideration. The influence of the wife over the husband is powerful for either good or evil. Many a man can date his success or failure in life from his marriage day. 10MR 72.1

In the companionship of a true, unselfish woman, the husband finds peace and happiness, forgetting the cares of the world. But if the one whom he has chosen to stand by his side is self-centered, caring for no one or nothing but herself, requiring his time and attention to be constantly devoted to her, and yet ignorant of her own duties as a wife, and incapable of appreciating his efforts and sympathizing with them, the happiness of the home will be blighted. The wife will be miserable herself, and however well the husband may be qualified to be priest of the household, however energetic and unselfish, she too often lays the foundation for his ruin. 10MR 72.2

I have been shown men of grand and generous impulses who were transformed through the influence of women of a narrow, selfish nature. Such women have no love for noble, spiritual things. They strive only to please themselves and make everyone else please them too. They have an imbecile love of self-gratification and to their mind the grand motive of duty has no force. Love is a tender plant, and must be cultivated in order to flourish. A man's love may be sacredly bestowed, but if it is not sacredly appreciated and reciprocated it will die a natural death. When the wife feels that it is her prerogative to assume control over her husband, to force him to humor all her fancies, her likes and dislikes, her choice or rejection of things, he becomes no more than a plaything in her hands. All that is holy in the marriage relation is gradually obliterated, and the union becomes a yoke of bondage grievous to be borne. It is galling to the neck of the husband and finally becomes so to the wife. But if the husband possesses pure, manly traits of character, if he is industrious, ambitious, and honest, one who loves and fears God, he will not consent to be a slave to his wife's caprices. If the wife is selfish, lacking in womanly traits, neither amiable nor self-denying, may the Lord help them: for life will be a woeful disappointment.—Letter 10, 1889, pp. 1, 2. (Written from Chicago, Illinois, April 2, 1889.) 10MR 72.3

Workers Without Large Families Wanted—Now I want you to consider my request and send workers here. We can get along in Australia better than they can in New Zealand. But there is great need of workers in New Zealand. I cry to you in America, Come over and help us. I pray the Lord to give you wisdom and judgment whom to select. Do get some man and his wife who will not feel it is their first work to fill their house with children, and give to these the care and charge they should give to the churches. Do not send over here a numerous family, for this will engross half the time of the man and his wife to take care of them. Do send us true missionaries who believe the end of all things is at hand, and at this time they have a higher work than to fill their houses and hands with the little children, who in no case must be neglected. Workers, Brother Olsen, unselfish workers, who have an eye single to the glory of God; men and women who for Christ's sake, for the building up of Christ's kingdom, will keep self and animal passions under control, and give themselves unreservedly to the work! There is so much needed to be done in this crisis.—Letter 50, 1892, p. 6. (Written from Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, March 12, 1892, to Elder O. A. Olsen.) 10MR 73.1

The Brain of Women—Some of you think you cannot do without tobacco. But you can. How do women get along without the use of it? The brain of women is composed after the same order as that of man.—Manuscript 9, 1893, 14. (“True to Principle,” written at Kaeo, New Zealand, March 5, 1893.) 10MR 74.1

As Thorough an Intellectual Training as Possible—In order to act your part in the service of God, you must go forth with the advantages of as thorough an intellectual training as possible. You need a vigorous, symmetrical development of the mental capabilities, a graceful, Christian, many-sided development of culture, to be a true worker for God. You need your taste and your imagination chastened and refined and all your aspirations made pure by habitual self-control. You need to move from high, elevated motives. Gather all the efficiency you can, making the most of your opportunities for the education and training of the character to fill any position which the Lord may assign you. You need so much a balance-wheel in judicious counsel. Do not despise advice. Bear in mind that the school is not a place to form attachments for courting or entering into marriage relations.—Letter 23, 1893, p. 2. (Written from Hastings, New Zealand, September 13, 1893, to Miss Carrie Gribble.) 10MR 74.2

The Experience of a Wife and Mother Who Accepted the Sabbath—Several from Melbourne have also decided to obey [the truth]. When one sister took her stand upon the truth her husband said, “You may give up the Seventh-day Sabbath or leave my home.” They were Wesleyans. She left home, and then her daughter, a girl of sixteen years, took her stand on the Sabbath, and the father told her to leave. The mother heard this and went home for her daughter. The husband and father said, “Well, have you decided to give up that Sabbath and come back and live with me?” She replied, “No, I came for my daughter whom you have turned out of doors.” “But what are you going to do?” he questioned. “I am going to support myself and daughter. She may help me as she can.” He begged on his knees for his wife to give up these terrible doctrines. She had been a very timid woman, but the truth made her strong, and she said, “No, I shall never give up the Sabbath. I shall keep it as long as I live. I must obey God.” “Well,” he said, “if you will come back, you and my daughter may keep the Sabbath, but promise you will not go to the meetings.” She would make no such promise. “I will be a faithful wife to you in everything,” she said, “but should I listen to your proposals, and disobey God, I should not be a faithful child to Him, and therefore should not be a faithful wife to you or a faithful mother to my children.” “Well,” he said, “I am in great distress of mind. Will you go to our minister and talk with him?” At first she refused, saying that she knew her duty and need not go to the minister to learn it. But as he continued to entreat her, she finally consented. It was then ten o'clock at night. They roused up the minister, and the man laid the whole matter before him—how he had turned his wife out of doors because she had kept the Sabbath. “Now,” said he, “did I do right in this and in saying to my daughter that if she kept the Sabbath she could not stay in my house? I want you to tell me, did I do right in thus treating my wife?” The minister answered, “You did perfectly right under the circumstances.” The man responded with much vehemence, “No, I did not do right. I abused my wife, and was unkind and abusive to my child. I see now how shameful was my course in treating a woman, the mother of my children, in so heartless a manner.” He then asked the forgiveness of his wife and said she should come back to his house. No restrictions should be placed upon her. She should be at liberty to do as she thought right. He felt greatly troubled over the course he had taken. So the wife was reinstated in her own home, more respected and loved than before this fiery opposition broke upon her. Our brethren think that the husband will be converted to the truth.—Manuscript 5, 1894, 3, 4. (Regarding work in Brighton and Williamstown, Australia, February, 1894.) 10MR 74.3

Satan's Use of Women—“And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat” (1 Kings 21:23-24). To the guilty king the prophet delivered a message of fearful import. 10MR 76.1

Thus Satan used an unconsecrated woman to sway the heart of the king, and through the king to cause all Israel to sin. It is a terrible thing to be an instrument in the hands of Satan. Satan chooses women, for he can use them more successfully than he can men.—Manuscript 29, 1911, 13. (“Fragments of Old Testament History,” November 17, 1911.) 10MR 76.2

White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

July 16, 1980.