As I have been shown the dangers of those who profess better things, and the sins that exist among them,—a class who are not suspected of being in any danger from these polluting sins,—I have been led to inquire: Who, O Lord, shall stand when Thou appearest? Only those who have clean hands and pure hearts shall abide the day of His coming.
I feel impelled by the Spirit of the Lord to urge my sisters who profess godliness to cherish modesty of deportment and a becoming reserve, with shamefacedness and sobriety. The liberties taken in this age of corruption should be no criterion for Christ’s followers. These fashionable exhibitions of familiarity should not exist among Christians fitting for immortality. If lasciviousness, pollution, adultery, crime, and murder are the order of the day among those who know not the truth, and who refuse to be controlled by the principles of God’s word, how important that the class professing to be followers of Christ, closely allied to God and angels, should show them a better and nobler way. How important that by their chastity and virtue they stand in marked contrast to that class who are controlled by brute passions.
I have inquired: When will the youthful sisters act with propriety? I know there will be no decided change for the better until parents feel the importance of greater carefulness in educating their children correctly. Teach them to act with reserve and modesty. Educate them for usefulness, to be helps, to minister to others rather than to be waited upon and be ministered unto.
Satan controls the minds of the youth in general. Your daughters are not taught self-denial and self-control. They are petted, and their pride is fostered. They are allowed to have their own way until they become headstrong and self-willed, and you are put to your wit’s end to know what course to pursue to save them from ruin. Satan is leading them on to be a proverb in the mouth of unbelievers because of their boldness, their lack of reserve and womanly modesty. The young boys are likewise left to have their own way. They have scarcely entered their teens before they are by the side of little girls of their own age, accompanying them home and making love to them. And the parents are so completely in bondage through their own indulgence and mistaken love for their children that they dare not pursue a decided course to make a change and restrain their too-fast children in this fast age.
With many young ladies the boys are the theme of conversation; with the young men, it is the girls. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” They talk of those subjects upon which their minds mostly run. The recording angel is writing the words of these professed Christian boys and girls. How will they be confused and ashamed when they meet them again in the day of God! Many children are pious hypocrites. The youth who have not made a profession of religion stumble over these hypocritical ones and are hardened against any effort that may be made by those interested in their salvation.
There ought to be picked men at the heart of the work, men who in every emergency can be relied upon to keep the fort, men who are unselfish, abounding in generosity and all good works, whose lives are hid in God, and who consider the better life of more value than food and clothing. “Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” God calls for faithful sentinels right at the heart of the work, who will love souls for whom Christ died, and who will bear the burden for perishing souls, looking forward to that recompense of reward which will be theirs when they enter into the joy of their Lord and behold souls saved through their instrumentality to live as long as God shall live, and be happy, eternally happy, in His glorious kingdom. Oh, that we could arouse fathers and mothers to a sense of their duty! Oh, that they would feel deeply the weight of responsibility resting upon them! Then they might forestall the enemy and gain precious victories for Jesus. Parents are not clear in this matter. They should closely investigate their lives, analyze their thoughts and motives, and see if they have been circumspect in their course of action. They should watch closely to see if their example in conversation and deportment has been such as they would wish their children to imitate. Purity and virtue should shine out in their words and acts before their children.
I have been shown families where the husband and father has not preserved that reserve, that dignified, godlike manhood, which is befitting a follower of Christ. He has failed to perform the kind, tender, courteous acts due to his wife, whom he has promised before God and angels to love, respect, and honor while they both shall live. The girl employed to do the work has been free and somewhat forward to dress his hair and to be affectionately attentive, and he is pleased, foolishly pleased. In his love and attention to his wife he is not as demonstrative as he once was. Be sure that Satan is at work here. Respect your hired help, treat them kindly, considerately, but go no further. Let your deportment be such that there will be no advances to familiarity from them. If you have words of kindness and acts of courtesy to give, it is always safe to give them to your wife. It will be a great blessing to her, and will bring happiness to her heart, to be reflected upon you again.
I have been shown also that the wife has let her sympathies and interest and affection go out to other men, who may be members of the family. She makes these her confidants, shows a preference for their society, and relates to them her troubles and perhaps her private family matters.
This is all wrong. Satan is at the bottom of it; and unless you are alarmed and stop just where you are, he will lead you to ruin. You cannot observe too great caution and encourage too much reserve in this matter. If you have tender, loving words and kindly attentions to bestow, let them be given to him whom you have promised before God and angels to love, respect, and honor while you both shall live. Oh, how many lives are made bitter by the breaking down of the walls which enclose the privacies of every family and which are calculated to preserve its purity and sanctity! A third person is taken into the confidence of the wife, and her private family matters are laid open before the special friend. This is the device of Satan to estrange the hearts of the husband and wife. Oh, that this would cease! what a world of trouble would be saved! Lock within your own hearts the knowledge of each other’s faults. Tell your troubles alone to God. He can give you right counsel and sure consolation, which will be pure, having no bitterness in it.
I am acquainted with a number of women who have thought their marriage a misfortune. They have read novels until their imaginations have become diseased, and they live in a world of their own creating. They think themselves women of sensitive minds, of superior, refined organizations, and imagine that their husbands are not so refined, that they do not possess these superior qualities, and therefore cannot appreciate their own supposed virtue and refined organizations. Consequently these women think themselves great sufferers, martyrs. They have talked of this and thought upon it until they are nearly maniacs upon this subject. They imagine their worth superior to that of other mortals, and it is not agreeable to their fine sensibilities to associate with common humanity. These women are making themselves fools; and their husbands are in danger of thinking that they do possess a superior order of mind.
From what the Lord has shown me, the women of this class have had their imaginations perverted by novel reading, daydreaming, and castle-building, living in an imaginary world. They do not bring their own ideas down to the common, useful duties of life. They do not take up the life burdens which lie in their path, and seek to make a happy, cheerful home for their husbands. They rest their whole weight upon them, not bearing their own burden. They expect others to anticipate their wants and do for them, while they are at liberty to find fault and to question as they please. These women have a lovesick sentimentalism, constantly thinking they are not appreciated, that their husbands do not give them all the attention they deserve. They imagine themselves martyrs.
The truth of the matter is, if they would show themselves useful their value might be appreciated; but when they pursue a course to constantly draw upon others for sympathy and attention, while they feel under no obligation to give the same in return, passing along reserved, cold, and unapproachable, bearing no burden for others and having no feeling for their woes, there can be in their lives but little that is valuable. These women have educated themselves to think and act as though it was a great condescension in them to marry the men they did, and that therefore their fine organizations would never be fully appreciated. They have viewed things all wrong. They are unworthy of their husbands. They are a constant tax upon their care and patience, when they might be helps, lifting the burdens of life with them, instead of dreaming over unreal life found in novels and love romances. May the Lord pity the men who are bound to such useless machines, fit only to be waited upon, to breathe, eat, and dress.
These women who suppose they possess such sensitive, refined organizations make very useless wives and mothers. It is frequently the case that they withdraw their affections from their husbands, who are useful, practical men, and show much attention to other men, and with their lovesick sentimentalism draw upon the sympathies of others, tell them their trials, their troubles, their aspirations to do some elevated work, and reveal the fact that their married life is a disappointment, a hindrance to their doing the work they had hoped to do.
Oh, what wretchedness exists in families that might be happy! These women are a curse to themselves and a curse to their husbands. In supposing themselves to be angels, they make themselves fools, and are nothing but heavy burdens. The common duties of life which the Lord has left for them to do, they leave right in their path, and are restless and complaining, always looking for an easy, more exalted, and more agreeable work. Supposing themselves to be angels, they are found human after all. They are fretful, peevish, dissatisfied, jealous of their husbands because the larger portion of their time is not spent waiting upon them. They complain of being neglected when their husbands are doing the very work they ought to do. Satan finds easy access to this class. They have no real love for anyone but themselves. Yet Satan tells them that if such a one were their husband, they would be happy indeed. They are easy victims to the device of Satan, being readily led to dishonor their own husbands and to transgress the law of God.
I would say to women of this description: You can make or destroy your own happiness. You can make your position happy or unbearable. The course which you pursue will create happiness or misery for yourself. Have these persons never thought that their husbands must tire of them in their uselessness, their peevishness, their faultfinding, their passionate fits of weeping while imagining their case so pitiful? Their irritable, peevish disposition is indeed weaning from them the affections of their husbands and driving them to seek for sympathy, and peace, and comfort elsewhere than at home. A poisonous atmosphere is in their dwelling, and home is to them anything but a place of rest, peace, or happiness. The husband is subject to Satan’s temptation, and his affections are placed on forbidden objects, and he is lured on to crime and finally lost.
Great is the work and mission of women, especially those who are wives and mothers. They can be a blessing to all around them. They can have a powerful influence for good if they will let their light so shine that others may be led to glorify our heavenly Father. Women may have a transforming influence if they will only consent to yield their way and their will to God, and let Him control their mind, affections, and being. They can have an influence which will tend to refine and elevate those with whom they associate. But this class are generally unconscious of the power they possess. They exert an unconscious influence which seems to work out naturally from a sanctified life, a renewed heart. It is the fruit that grows naturally upon the good tree of divine planting. Self is forgotten, merged in the life of Christ. To be rich in good works is as natural as their breath. They live to do others good and yet are ready to say: We are unprofitable servants.
God has assigned woman her mission; and if she, in her humble way, yet to the best of her ability, makes a heaven of her home, faithfully and lovingly performing her duties to her husband and children, continually seeking to let a holy light shine from her useful, pure, and virtuous life to brighten all around her, she is doing the work left her of the Master, and will hear from His divine lips the words: Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. These women who are doing with ready willingness what their hands find to do, with cheerfulness of spirit aiding their husbands to bear their burdens, and training their children for God, are missionaries in the highest sense. They are engaged in an important branch of the great work to be done on earth to prepare mortals for a higher life, and they will receive their reward. Children are to be trained for heaven and fitted to shine in the courts of the Lord’s kingdom. When parents, especially mothers, have a true sense of the important, responsible work which God has left for them to do, they will not be so much engaged in the business which concerns their neighbors, with which they have nothing to do. They will not go from house to house to engage in fashionable gossip, dwelling upon the faults, wrongs, and inconsistencies of their neighbors. They will feel so great a burden of care for their own children that they can find no time to take up a reproach against their neighbor. Gossipers and news carriers are a terrible curse to neighborhoods and churches. Two thirds of all the church trials arise from this source.
God requires all to do with faithfulness the duties of today. This is much neglected by the larger share of professed Christians. Especially is present duty lost sight of by the class I have mentioned, who imagine that they are of a finer order of beings than their fellow mortals around them. The fact that their minds turn in this channel is proof that they are of an inferior order, narrow, conceited, and selfish. They feel high above the lowly and humble poor, such as Jesus says He has called. They are forever trying to secure position, to gain applause, to obtain credit for doing some great work that others cannot do. But it disturbs the fine grain of their refined organism to associate with the humble, the unfortunate. They mistake the reason altogether. The reason why they shun any of these duties not so agreeable is found in their supreme selfishness. Dear self is the center of all their actions and motives.
I was pointed to the Majesty of heaven. When He whom angels worshiped, He who was rich in honor, splendor, and glory, came to the earth, and found Himself in fashion as a man, He did not plead His refined nature as an excuse to hold Himself aloof from the unfortunate. In His work He was found among the afflicted, the poor, distressed, and needy ones. Christ was the embodiment of refinement and purity; His was an exalted life and character; yet in His labor He was found not among men of high-sounding titles, not among the most honorable of this world, but with the despised and needy. I came, says the divine Teacher, “to save that which was lost.” Yes; the Majesty of heaven was ever found working to help those who most needed help. May the example of Christ put to shame the excuses of that class who are so attracted to their poor selves that they consider it beneath their refined taste and their high calling to help the most helpless. Such have taken a position higher than their Lord, and in the end will be astonished to find themselves lower than the lowest of that class whom their refined, sensitive natures were shocked to mingle with and work for. True, it may not always be agreeable to unite with the Master and become co-workers with Him in helping the very class who stand most in need of help; but this is the work which Christ humbled Himself to do. Is the servant greater than his Lord? He has given the example, and enjoins upon us to copy it. It may be disagreeable, yet duty demands that just such a work be performed.
Faithful and picked men are needed at the head of the work. Those who have not had an experience in bearing burdens, and who do not wish to have that experience, should not, on any account, live there. Men are wanted who will watch for souls as they that must give an account. Fathers and mothers in Israel are wanted at this important post. Let the selfish and self-caring, the stingy, covetous souls, find a location where their miserable traits of character will not be so conspicuous. The more isolated such ones are, the better for the cause of God. I appeal to the people of God, wherever they may be found: Awake to your duty. Take it to heart that we are really living amid the perils of the last days.
I hope that the case of N. Fuller will awaken you, fathers and mothers, to see the necessity of thorough work in your houses, among yourselves and your children, that not one of you may be so deluded by Satan as to regard sin as this poor, much-to-be-pitied man has done. Those who have participated with him in crime would never have been left to be deceived and ruined had they possessed a high sense of virtue and purity, and cherished a constant and lively horror of sin and iniquity. While living under and proclaiming the most solemn message ever borne to mortals, presenting the law of God as a test of character and as the seal of the living God, they are transgressing its holy precepts. The consciences of those who do this have become seared and terribly hardened. They have resisted the influences of the Spirit of God until they can use sacred truth as a cloak to hide the deformity of their corrupted souls. This man has been terribly deluded by Satan. He has been serving vicious passions while professing to be consecrated to the work of God, ministering in sacred things. He has considered himself in health while there was no soundness in him.
I have felt deeply as I have seen the powerful influence of animal passions in controlling men and women of no ordinary intelligence and ability. They would be capable of engaging in a good work, of exerting a powerful influence, were they not enslaved by base passions. My confidence in humanity has been terribly shaken. I have been shown that persons of apparently good deportment, not taking unwarrantable liberties with the other sex, were guilty of practicing secret vice nearly every day of their lives. They have not refrained from this terrible sin even while most solemn meetings have been in session. They have listened to the most solemn, impressive discourses upon the judgment, which seemed to bring them before the tribunal of God, causing them to fear and quake; yet hardly an hour would elapse before they would be engaged in their favorite, bewitching sin, polluting their own bodies. They were such slaves to this awful crime that they seemed devoid of power to control their passions. We have labored for some earnestly, we have entreated, we have wept and prayed over them; yet we have known that right amid all our earnest effort and distress the force of sinful habit has obtained the mastery, and these sins have been committed.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2 pp. 459-468
- May we stand when You appear, with clean hands and pure hearts.
- May we teach our sons and daughters self-denial and self-control.
- Give us men at the heart of the work who are faithful sentinels and can be relied upon.
- Arouse fathers and mothers to shine out purity and virtue before the children.
- May husbands and fathers preserve godly reserve and dignified manhood.
- May wives and mothers have a powerful influence for good to all around them.
- Make us be like Christ in His ministry to the afflicted, poor, distressed, and needy.
- Let us not be selfish, self caring, stingy, and covetous.
- Keep Your people from using sacred truth as a cloak to hide corruption.
- Help us not to transgress the law’s holy precepts while proclaiming the most solemn message.
- Bless our Church leaders preparing for Annual Council 2019.
- Bless delegates and leaders preparing for General Conference 2020.