An Appeal to the Youth
Iowa City, Iowa, March 3, 1860
My Dear Henry and Edson,
It is almost dark. I can write but a few lines this evening. I wish this to be put in the Office tomorrow. I was glad to learn that you had been to visit Mrs. F., and that you enjoyed the visit. AY 57.1
Dear children, I am very anxious that you should form good characters, that you should overcome obstacles, and obtain victories yourselves. Study your own temperaments. Learn your own faults, and what makes you feel unpleasantly and unhappily afterward, and then shun the cause. Especially do I as a mother charge you to be kind and forbearing, yielding to, and loving, one another. This will save you many unhappy hours, many unpleasant reflections. You can be happy if you choose. You must learn the important lesson of not always having your own way, but of sacrificing your will and way to gratify and make others happy. AY 57.2
I know a man that is now living, who in youth had his own way, was not willing to yield his notions, and he grew up to want his own way, and carry out his own will in everything. We have been acquainted with him for quite a number of years, and he is, we think, a very unhappy man. He is irritated at once if every one does not do just as he wishes to have them. When people first see him they think that he is a good man, but when they become acquainted with him they change their minds, become tired of him, and wish he was elsewhere. He is a trial to everybody, is easily out of temper, and makes himself unhappy, and every one around him. AY 57.3
Now, children, if you would not wish to be like this unhappy man, you must learn to govern yourselves while young. Don't give way to fretful, unkind feelings; but remember that the Lord reads even the thoughts of the heart, and nothing is concealed from his all-seeing eye. Right acts, right thoughts, will be remembered in heaven, and every victory you gain when tempted to do wrong, every temptation manfully resisted, will be recorded in heaven. Don't forget, dear children, that evil deeds are faithfully recorded, and will bring their punishment unless repented of, and confessed, and washed away by the atoning blood of Jesus. It is easier to go in an evil way than to do right; for Satan and his angels are constantly tempting to do wrong. AY 58.1
But there is one who has promised to hear the needy when they cry. Go to God when tempted to speak or act wrong. Ask him in faith for strength and he will give it. He will say to his angels, There is a poor little boy trying to resist the power of Satan, and has come to me for help. I will aid him. Go stand by that child who is endeavoring to do right, and when the evil angels attempt to lead his steps astray, gently guide him in the right path, and drive back the powers of the evil one. Every one of your efforts to do right is regarded of God. Dear children, live for God—live for heaven, so that when the wrath of God shall come upon the earth, Jesus may say to the destroying angel, Spare those two praying boys, Henry and Edson White. When in temptation they prayed to me to be delivered. I have washed away their sins. Come not near to destroy them—they are my jewels, saved by my blood. I will crown them for my kingdom. I will fit them to dwell in my heavenly mansions forever. They have overcome the tempter—they have gained the victory. They shall never more be tempted, but be free and happy eternally. AY 58.2
Dear children, will not such a precious commendation from Jesus be worth a great deal more than for you to have your own will here, and to give up to sin and temptation, and to have no thoughts of God or heaven, and make those unhappy around you, and at last be separated from Jesus, destroyed with the wicked, and miserably perish from the earth? Is not heaven worth making an effort for? Oh children, reflect seriously, soberly; and remember if you are saved at last you must form a character for heaven. I will leave this matter with you for you to ponder upon. AY 59.1
In all you do, be faithful and thorough, even if it takes you longer. Learn to be steady and persevering. Have a purpose in all you do, and carry out that purpose. AY 60.1
Your affectionate Mother.
My Dear Willie,
I have just finished a letter to your brothers, and will write a few lines to you. I should so love to take you, my sweet Willie, in my arms this moment; but this cannot be. I hope we shall be returned home safely, that we can see you all again in our own happy home. Willie, you must be a good boy; you must overcome an impatient spirit. To be impatient, is not to be willing to wait, to want everything you desire in a moment. You must say to yourself, I'll wait. “He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.” Willie, if you would be happy, you must rule well your own spirit. Be obedient to Jenny, love your brothers, and be good all day, and the Lord will love you,—every one will love you. AY 60.2
Willie, dear boy, you have been our sunshine, and I have prayed that you might always be the same pure, sweet Willie. Try to do right. Be kind, be patient and loving. The Lord loves little children, and when they try to do right, he is pleased with them. When you go to your grand-father's, you must not act rough and boisterous, but gentle and mild. When the boys go to the Office, you must try and not be lonesome. Make yourself contented and happy. Don't fret, but learn to be patient, my dear boy. We love you very much, and will now say good by for the present. AY 61.1
Your affectionate Mother.