Decorum and Discipline of Gospel Ministers


Decorum and Discipline of Gospel Ministers 2

Dealing with sin amongst Ministers 4

The Case of Elder Cornell 11

The Case of Elder JH Waggoner: Physical adultery connected with spiritual adultery and Babylon. 14

The Case of Dr Maxson, Dr. Gibbs,  Mrs. Heald and Elder Rice. 15

The Case of Elder Wessels Peter 17

The Case of Elder Williams 17

The Case of Miss Cora B. Waterman, a Literature Evangelist 17

The Case of Elder Oviatt 19

The Case of E.J. Waggoner 21

The Case of Elder Fifield. 23

The Case of Brother Sharp, A Gospel Minister. Advised to change Location a Continue as a self-supporting minister 23

The Case of Elder Decker 23

The Case of Brother Caldwell W.F.  and Fannie Bolton, Ellen White’s Assistants 25

The Case of Nathan Fuller – Breaking the 7th Commandment without having Sexual Intercourse  28

The Case of Bro. and Sister Wager 28

What Shall we do? Deriving a Principle. 30

Bonus Information. 31

The Wife of a Minister – Her Behavior 31



Decorum and Discipline of Gospel Ministers


God requires that those who occupy responsible positions should be consecrated to the work; for if they move wrong, the people feel at liberty to follow in their footsteps. If the people are wrong, and the leaders lift not their voice against the wrong, they sanction the same, and the sin is charged upon them as well as the offenders. Those who occupy responsible positions should be men of piety, who continually feel the burden of the work resting upon them. {2T 37.2}


If men placed at the head of a mission have not firmness of principle that will preserve them from every vestige of commonness, and unbecoming familiarity with young girls and women, after the light which has been so plainly given, LET THEM BE DISCHARGED WITHOUT A SECOND TRIAL. GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 6, 7


A second trial would be of no avail to those whose moral sense is so perverted that they cannot see their danger. If after they have long held the truth, its sanctifying power has not established the character in piety, virtue and purity, let them be disconnected with the missions without delay: for through these Satan will insinuate the same lax sentiments in the minds of those who ought to have an example of virtue and moral dignity. Anything that approaches lovesick sentimentalism, any intimation of commonness, should be decidedly rebuked. One who is guilty of encouraging this improper familiarity should not only be relieved of responsibilities which he was unworthy to bear, but should be placed under censure of the church, and that censure should remain upon him, until he give evidence in spirit and deportment, that he sees his sinfulness and heart corruption, and repents, like any other guilty sinner, and is converted. Then God for Christ’s sake will heal him of his transgression. “Even though the men and women at the head of our missions are in character as pure as fine gold, they need constant connection with God in order to keep themselves pure and to know how to manage the youth discreetly, so that all shall keep their thoughts untainted, uncorrupted. Let the lessons be of an elevated, ennobling character, that the mind may be filled with pure and noble thoughts. “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he (God) is pure.” As God is pure in his sphere, so man is to be pure in his. And he will be pure if Christ is formed within, the hope of glory; for he will imitate Christ’s life and reflect his character. “When a Conference selects young men and women, and aids them in obtaining an education for the canvassing field or any other branch of the work, there should be an understanding as to what they propose to do,—whether they design to engage in courtship and marriage, or to labor for the advancement of the cause of truth. ?It is no use to spend time and money in the education of workers who will fall in love before they complete this education, and who cannot resist the first temptation in the form of an invitation to marriage. ? ? In most cases the labor spent on such persons is wholly lost. When they enter the marriage relation, their usefulness in the work of God is at an end. ?They increase their family, they are dwarfed and crippled in every way, and cannot use the knowledge they have obtained. GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 7 – 10


Before persons are admitted to our mission training schools, let there be a written agreement that after receiving their education they will give themselves to the work for a specified time. This is the only way that our missions can be made what they should be. Let those who connect themselves with the missions be straightforward, and take hold of the work in a business-like manner. Those who are controlled by a sense of duty, who daily seek wisdom and help from God, will act intelligently, not from selfish motives, but from the love of Christ and the truth. Such will not hesitate to give themselves unreservedly, soul, body, and spirit, to the work. They will study, work, and pray for its advancement. I repeat, do not enter into a marriage engagement, unless there are good and sufficient reasons for this step, —unless the work of God can be better advanced thereby. For Christ’s sake deny inclination, lift the cross, and do the work for which you are educating yourselves. GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 10, 11


There are men and women throughout the country who would have been accepted as laborers together with God if Satan had not laid his snares to entangle their minds and hearts in courtship and marriage. Did the Lord urge them to obtain the advantages of our schools and missions, that they might sink everything in courtship and marriage, binding themselves by a human band for a lifetime? GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 12


“Let none who dedicate themselves to the work of God be discouraged at the outlook, but let them strive to be faithful in the work committed to them. Live wholly for God; put your life, your energies, your soul, into your work, not knowing which shall prosper, this, or that. Go forth to your canvassing work, or other lines of labor, knowing that there is a witness, an angel, by your side. If you are careless and inattentive, reckless of your words, reckless in spirit, your character is thus portrayed by the recording angel. As the polished plate of the artist produces your features, so will the books of records reflect your words, your works, your character. If you cease to do evil, if you learn to do well, through the grace given for you, the golden harvest of infinite blessedness is growing, and as a laborer together with God you are preparing to be a reaper. Yield not to indolence, give not up to discouragement, be not weary in well doing, for you will reap, if you faint not. GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 12 – GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 13


The first appearance of irregularity in conduct should be repressed, and the young should be taught to be frank, yet modest and dignified in all their associations. They should be taught to respect just rules of authority. If they refuse to do this, let them be dismissed, whatever position they occupy, or they will demoralize others. SpTB16 3.1


Young girls who have not been properly educated at home, and who are wanting in reserve, modesty, and decorum, come to the institution to receive treatment… They have practiced evasion and deception and will continue the same course at the institute if they can do so without being discovered. They are ready to flirt with young men; and some who are bearing responsibilities, who should have set them a better example, because of their long Christian experience, engage in the same folly. Some of the young ladies belonging to the health institute accept the attentions of strangers who are of as little worth as themselves—men who are corrupted. This familiarity will be carried on, if allowed, until the influence of the institution is injured. Even if the parties go from the place a secret correspondence is often kept up between them, while the parents of the girl are in ignorance of the matter. The guardians of the institution must maintain a high standard, and watch carefully the young entrusted to them by their parents, whether as patients, as helpers in the various departments, or as learners. When young men and women work together, a sympathy is created among them which frequently grows into sentimentalism. If the guardians are indifferent to these matters, lasting injury will be done to these souls, and the high moral tone of the institution will be compromised. If any, patients or helpers, continue their deception after having judicious instruction, they should not be retained in the institution, for their influence will affect those who are innocent and unsuspecting; young girls will lose their maiden modesty, and will be led to act deceptively because their affections have become entangled…. SpTB16 2.3


Those who have had the evidence of truth, but who for days, weeks, months, and years, have had about them a subtle influence that gives a distorted representation, a false coloring, to the truth of God, are not fit for teachers for our youth. Where falsehoods regarding the word and work of God are reported as truth is no place for students who are preparing for the future, immortal life. We are seeking heaven, wherein can enter none who have changed the truth of God into a lie. Truth has a spiritual influence. It enters the mind, direct and uncorrupted, from One who is truth. The reception of truth in the inward parts is charged with the greatest results. Truth is to be received into the heart, and developed and expressed in the character. PC 74.3 – PC 74.4


We have labored hard to keep in check everything in the school like favoritism, attachments, and courting. We have told the students that we would not allow the first thread of this to be interwoven with their school work. On this point we were as firm as a rock. I told them that they must dismiss all idea of forming attachments while at school. The young ladies must keep themselves to themselves, and the young gentlemen must do the same. The school was established at a great expense, both of time and labor, to enable students to obtain an all-round education, that they might gain knowledge of agriculture, a knowledge of the common branches of education, and above all, a knowledge of the word of God. Those whom the Lord has presented to me as not being properly trained in the home life, who have not thought it necessary to use the powers of their mind and their physical strength and ingenuity as members of the home firm, will always look upon order and discipline as needless restraint and severity. Again and again the Lord has presented this matter before me in clear lines. The teachers must be carefully picked. No haphazard work must be done in the appointment of teachers. Those who have devoted years to study, and yet have not gained the education essential to fit them to teach others, in the lines the Lord has marked out, should not be connected with our schools as educators. They need to be taught the first principles of true, all-around education. We are living in solemn times, and the reason why there are so many failures in our schools is because teachers neglect to keep the way of the Lord. Some teachers feel the burden and carry the load of responsibility. Others do surface work. They fail to see that the woeful influence of this deficiency is seen in the words and deportment of their students. This influence counter-works the influence that God-fearing teachers, who aim to meet the high standard of Christian education, seek. I would that the teachers in our schools could be of God’s selection and appointment. Souls will be lost because of the careless work of professedly Christian teachers, who need to be taught of God day by day, else they are unfit for the position of trust. Teachers are needed who will strive to weed out their inherited and cultivated tendencies to wrong, who will come into line, wearing themselves the yoke of obedience, and thus giving an example to the students. The sense of duty to their God, and to their fellow-beings, with whom they associate, will lead such teachers to become doers of the word, and to heed counsel as to how they should conduct themselves. PC 88 – PC 88.4


Dealing with sin amongst Ministers


“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” [Galatians 6:1.] Here is a special direction to deal tenderly with those overtaken in a fault. This word “overtaken” must have its full significance. It describes something different from deliberate sin; it applies to one who is led into sin unawares through want of watchfulness and prayer, not discerning the temptation of Satan, and so falling into his snare. There is a difference to be made in the case of one who deliberately enters into temptation, who marks out an evil course, covering his sins skillfully, that he may not be detected. More decisive measures are needed to check the premeditated sin; but the apostle directs the treatment to be given to those who are “overtaken” or surprised, or overcome by temptation. “Ye which are spiritual,” you who have a connection with God, “restore such a one in the spirit of meekness,” —do not crush all hope and courage out of the soul, but restore him in meekness, “considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Faithful reproofs will be needed, and kindly counsel and supplications to God to bring him to see his sin and danger.


  • The original word translated “restore,” means to set in joint, as a dislocated bone. Efforts should be made to bring him to himself, by convincing him of his sin and error, that he may not, like a limb hopelessly diseased, be severed from the body. He is to be loved, because Christ loved us in our weakness and errors. There should be no triumphing in a brother’s fall; but in meekness, in the fear of God, in love for his soul, we should seek to save him from ruin.


Jesus pities them [the erring]; he loves them, and bears with their infirmities even as he does with yours. You do wrong to exalt yourself above those who are not so strong as you are. You do wrong to shut yourself up in a self-righteous spirit, thanking God that you are not like other men, but that your faith and zeal exceed those of the poor, feeble ones striving to do right under discouragements and darkness.


Angels from a pure and holy Heaven come to this polluted world to sympathize with the weakest, the most helpless and needy, while Christ himself descended from his throne to help just such as these. You have no right to hold yourself aloof from these faltering ones, nor to assert your marked superiority over them. Come more in unison with Christ, pity the erring, lift up the hands that hang down, strengthen the feeble knees, and bid the fearful hearts be strong. Pity and help them, even as Christ has pitied you. . . . You may feel that your work in this direction is not rightly appreciated; but remember that our Saviour’s work was also lightly considered by those whom he benefited. He came to save those who were lost; but the very ones whom he sought to rescue, refused his help, and finally put him to death.


If you fail ninety-nine times in a hundred, but succeed in saving the one soul from ruin, you have done a noble deed for the Master’s cause. But to be a co-worker with Jesus, you should have all patience with those for whom you labor, not scorning the simplicity of the work, but looking to the blessed result. When those for whom you labor do not exactly meet your mind, you often say in your heart “Let them go; they are not worth saving.” What if Christ had treated poor outcasts in a similar manner? He died to save miserable sinners, and if you work in the same spirit and in the same manner indicated by the example of Him whom you follow, leaving the results with God, you can never in this life measure the amount of good you have accomplished. —Vol. 4, p. 131.


  • Mild measures, soft answers, and pleasant words are much better fitted to reform and save, than severity and harshness. A little too much unkindness may place persons beyond your reach, while a conciliatory spirit would be the means of binding them to you, and you might then establish them in the right way. You should be actuated by a forgiving spirit also, and give due credit to every good purpose and action of those around you.


Do not reproach the Christian religion by jealousy and intolerance toward others. This will but poorly recommend your belief to them. No one has ever been reclaimed from a wrong position by censure and reproach; but many have thus been driven from the truth, and have steeled their hearts against conviction. A tender spirit, a gentle and winning deportment, may save the erring, and hide a multitude of sins. God requires us to have that charity that “suffereth long, and is kind.” [1 Corinthians 13:4.]


The religion of Christ does not require us to lose our identity of character, but merely to adapt ourselves, in some measure, to the feelings and ways of others. Many people may be brought together in a unity of religious faith whose opinions, habits, and tastes in temporal matters are not in harmony; but if they have the love of Christ glowing in their hearts, and are looking forward to the same heaven as their eternal home, they may have the sweetest and most intelligent communion together, and a unity the most wonderful. There are scarcely two whose experience is alike in every particular. The trials of one may not be the trials of another, and our hearts should ever be open to kindly sympathy, and all aglow with the love that Jesus had for all his brethren.


  • Christ sometimes reproved with severity, and in some cases it may be necessary for us to do so; but we should consider that while Christ knew the exact condition of the ones he rebuked, and just the amount of reproof they could bear, and what was necessary to correct their course of wrong, he also knew just how to pity the erring, comfort the unfortunate, and encourage the weak. He knew just how to keep souls from despondency and to inspire them with hope, because he was acquainted with the exact motives and peculiar trials of every mind. He could not make a mistake.


But we may misjudge motives; we may be deceived by appearances; we may think we are doing right to reprove wrong, and go too far, censure too severely, and wound where we wished to heal; or we may exercise sympathy unwisely, and counteract, in our ignorance, reproof that is merited and timely. Our judgment may be wrong; but Jesus was too wise to err. He reproved with pity, and loved with a divine love those whom he rebuked.—Vol. 4 p. 65


Peter denied the Man of sorrows in his acquaintance with grief in the hour of his humiliation. But he afterward repented and was reconverted. He had true contrition of soul, and gave himself afresh to his Saviour. With blinding tears he makes his way to the solitudes of the garden of Gethsemane, and there prostrates himself where he saw his Saviour’s prostrate form, when the bloody sweat was forced from his pores by his great agony. Peter remembers with remorse that he was asleep when Jesus prayed during those fearful hours. His proud heart breaks, and penitential tears moisten the sods so recently stained with the bloody sweat-drops of God’s dear Son. He left that garden a converted man. He was ready then to pity the tempted. He was humbled, and could sympathize with the weak and erring. He could caution and warn the presumptuous, and was fully fitted to strengthen his brethren. —Vol. 3, p. 416.


  • Do not be exclusive. Do not seek out a few with whom you delight to associate, and leave others to take care of themselves. Suppose you do see weakness in one and folly in another; do not stand aloof from them, and associate with those only who, you think, are about perfect. The very souls you despise need your love and sympathy. Do not leave a weak soul to struggle alone, to wrestle with the passions of his own heart without your help and prayers, but consider yourself, lest you also be tempted. If you do this, God will not leave you to your own weakness. You may have sins greater in his sight than the sins of those you condemn. Do not stand off, and say, “I am holier than thou.” Christ has thrown his divine arm around the human race. He has brought his divine power to man that he might encourage the poor, sin-sick, discouraged soul to reach up for a higher life. O, we need more of Christ’s spirit, and much less of self! We need the converting power of God upon our hearts daily. We need the mellowing spirit of Christ to subdue and soften our souls. The only way for those to do who feel that they are whole, is to fall upon the Rock and be broken. Christ can change you into his likeness, if you will submit yourself to him.


The world is indeed full of hurry, and of pride, selfishness, avarice, and violence; and it may seem to us that it is a waste of time and breath to be ever in season and out of season, and on all occasions to hold ourselves in readiness to speak words that are gentle, pure, elevating, chaste, and holy, in the face of the whirlwind of confusion, bustle, and strife. And yet, words fitly spoken, coming from sanctified hearts and lips, and sustained by a godly, consistent Christian deportment, will be as apples of gold in pictures of silver.


You are not to wait for great occasions, or to expect extraordinary abilities, before you work in earnest for God. You need not have a thought of what the world will think of you. If your intercourse with them, and your godly conversation, are a living testimony to them of the purity and sincerity of your faith, and they are convinced that you desire to benefit them, your words will not be wholly lost upon them, but will be productive of good.


A servant of Christ, in any department of the Christian service, will, by precept and example, have a saving influence upon others. The good seed sown may lie some time in a cold, worldly, selfish heart, without evidencing that it has taken root; but frequently the Spirit of God operates upon that heart, and waters it with the dew of heaven, and the long-hidden seed springs up and finally bears fruit to the glory of God. We know not in our life-work which shall prosper, this or that. These are not questions for us poor mortals to settle. We are to do our work, leaving the result with God.—Vol. 3, p. 247.


  • I saw that many have taken advantage of what God has shown in regard to the sins and wrongs of others. They have taken the extreme meaning of what has been shown in vision, and then have pressed it until it has had a tendency to weaken the faith of many in what God has shown, and also to discourage and dishearten the church. With tender compassion should brother deal with brother. Delicately should he deal with feelings. It is the nicest and most important work that ever yet was done to touch the wrongs of another. With the deepest humility should a brother do this, considering his own weakness, lest he also should be tempted. I have seen the great sacrifice which Jesus made to redeem man. He did not consider His own life too dear to sacrifice. Said Jesus: “Love one another, as I have loved you.” Do you feel, when a brother errs, that you could give your life to save him? If you feel thus, you can approach him and affect his heart; you are just the one to visit that brother. But it is a lamentable fact that many who profess to be brethren, are not willing to sacrifice any of their opinions or their judgment to save a brother. There is but little love for one another. A selfish spirit is manifested. {1T 166.1, 2}


Frequently the truth and facts are to be plainly spoken to the erring, to make them see and feel their error that they may reform. But this should ever be done with pitying tenderness, not with harshness or severity, but considering one’s own weakness, lest he also be tempted. When the one at fault sees and acknowledges his error, then, instead of grieving him, and seeking to make him feel more deeply, comfort should be given. In the sermon of Christ upon the mount He said: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Our Saviour reproved for rash judgment. “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye; . . . and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?” It is frequently the case that while one is quick to discern the errors of his brethren, he may be in greater faults himself, but be blind to them.  {3T 93.1}


God will not place his benediction upon those who are negligent, selfish, and ease-loving, who will not lift burdens in his cause. The “Well done” will be pronounced upon those only who have done well. Every man is to be rewarded “according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12. We want an active ministry, —men of prayer, who will wrestle with God as did Jacob, saying, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Genesis 32:26. If we obtain the victor’s crown, we must stretch every nerve, and exercise every power. We can never be saved in inactivity. To be an idler in the Lord’s vineyard is to relinquish all title to the reward of the righteous.—Testimonies for the Church 4:523. GW92 39.1


God does not desire wooden men to guard the interests of his institutions and the church, but he wants living, working men,—men who have ability and quick perception, men who have eyes, and open them that they may see, and hearts that are susceptible to the influences of his Spirit. He holds men to a strict accountability in guarding the interests of his cause…. GW92 81.2


Ministers should be faithful watchmen, seeing the evil and warning the people. Their dangers must be set before them continually, and pressed home upon them. The exhortation given to Timothy was, “Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2. … GW92 82.1


When existing evils are not met and checked, because men have too little courage to reprove wrong, or because they have too little interest or are too indolent to tax their own powers in putting forth earnest efforts to purify the family or the church of God, they are accountable for the evil which may result in consequence of neglect to do their duty. We are just as accountable for evils that we might have checked in others, by reproof, by warning, by exercise of parental or pastoral authority, as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves. GW92 83.2


God’s honor must be sacredly preserved, even if it separates us from the nearest relative. One defect in a man otherwise talented may destroy his usefulness in this life, and cause him to hear in the day of God the unwelcome words, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:23. GW92 83.3


Private members and even preachers have sympathized with disaffected ones who have been reproved for their wrongs, and division of feeling has been the result. The one who has ventured out and discharged his disagreeable duty by faithfully meeting error and wrong, is grieved and wounded that he receives not the fullest sympathy of his preaching brethren. He becomes discouraged in discharging these painful duties, lays down the cross, and withholds the pointed testimony. His soul is shut up in darkness, and the church suffers for the lack of the very testimony which God designed should live among his people. Satan’s object is gained when the faithful testimony is suppressed. Those who so readily sympathize with the wrong, consider it a virtue; but they realize not that they are exerting a scattering influence, and that they themselves help to carry out Satan’s plans. GW92 84.1


False sympathizers have worked in direct opposition to the mind of Christ and ministering angels. GW92 85.1


Ministers of Christ should arise and engage in the work of God with all their energies. God’s servants are not excused if they shun pointed testimony. They should reprove and rebuke wrong, and not suffer sin upon a brother.—Testimonies for the Church 1:212. GW92 85.2


The close work of the Spirit of God is needed now as never before. Stupidity must be shaken off. We must arouse from the lethargy that will prove our destruction unless we resist it. Satan has a powerful, controlling influence upon minds. Preachers and people are in danger of being found upon the side of the powers of darkness. There is no such thing now as a neutral position. We are all decidedly for the right, or decidedly with the wrong. Christ said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12:30. GW92 85.3


Those who seek to cloak sin, and make it appear less aggravated to the mind of the offender, are doing the work of the false prophets, and may expect the retributive wrath of God to follow such a course. The Lord will never accommodate his ways to the wishes of corrupt men. GW92 87.1


God has no sympathy with the evil-doer. He gives no one liberty to gloss over the sins of his people, nor to cry, “Peace! peace!” when he has declared that there shall be no peace for the wicked. Those who stir up rebellion against the servants whom God sends to deliver his messages, are rebelling against the word of the Lord.—Testimonies for the Church 4:185. GW92 87.2


Those who have been thrust out to bear a plain, pointed testimony, in the fear of God to reprove wrong, to labor with all their energies to build up God’s people, and to establish them upon important points of present truth, have too often received censure instead of sympathy and help, while those who, like yourself, From a Personal Testimony have taken a non-committal position, are thought to be devoted, and to have a mild spirit. God does not thus regard them. GW92 89.4


In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as his shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.—Testimonies for the Church 1:321. GW92 90.1


The great moral powers of the soul are faith, hope, and love. If these are inactive, a minister may be ever so earnest and zealous, but his labor will not be accepted by God, and cannot be productive of good to the church. A minister of Christ who bears the solemn message from God to the people, should ever deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. The spirit of Christ in the heart will incline every power of the soul to nourish and protect the sheep of his pasture, like a faithful, true shepherd. Love is the golden chain which binds believing hearts to one another in willing bonds of friendship, tenderness, and faithful constancy; and which binds the soul to God. There is a decided lack of love, compassion, and pitying tenderness among brethren. The ministers of Christ are too cold and heartless. Their hearts are not all aglow with tender compassion and earnest love. The purest and most elevated devotion to God is that which is manifested in the most earnest desires and efforts to win souls to Christ. The reason ministers who preach present truth are not more successful is, they are deficient, greatly deficient, in faith, hope, and love. There are toils and conflicts, self-denials and secret heart-trials, for us all to meet and bear. There will be sorrow and tears for our sins; there will be constant struggles and watchings, mingled with remorse and shame because of our deficiencies. GW92 91.2


Frequently there is necessity for plainly rebuking sin and reproving wrong. But ministers who are working for the salvation of their fellow-men, should not be pitiless toward the errors of one another, nor make prominent the defects in their organizations. They should not expose or reprove their weaknesses. They should inquire if such a course, pursued by another toward themselves, would bring about the desired effect; would it increase their love for, and confidence in, the one who thus made prominent their mistakes? Especially should the mistakes of ministers who are engaged in the work of God be kept within as small a circle as possible; for there are many weak ones who will take advantage if they are aware that those who minister in word and doctrine have weaknesses like other men. And it is a most cruel thing for the faults of a minister to be exposed to unbelievers, if that minister is counted worthy to labor in the future for the salvation of souls. No good can come of this exposure, but only harm. The Lord frowns upon this course, for it is undermining the confidence of the people in those whom he accepts to carry forward his work. The character of every laborer should be jealously guarded by brother ministers. God says, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” 1 Chronicles 16:22. Love and confidence should be cherished. A lack of this love and confidence in one minister for another does not increase the happiness of the one thus deficient, but as he makes his brother unhappy, he is unhappy himself. There is greater power in love than was ever found in censure. Love will melt its way through barriers, while censure will close up every avenue of the soul…. GW92 94.2


In the prayer that Christ taught his disciples was the request, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. We cannot repeat this prayer from the heart, and dare to be unforgiving; for we ask the Lord to forgive our trespasses against him in the same manner as we forgive those who trespass against us. But few realize the true import of this prayer. If those who are unforgiving did comprehend the depth of its meaning, they would not dare to repeat it, and ask God to deal with them as they deal with their fellow-mortals. And yet this spirit of hardness and lack of forgiveness exists, even among brethren, to a fearful extent. Brother is exacting with brother.—Testimonies for the Church 3:92.


The minister is not to rule imperiously over the flock intrusted to his care, but to be their ensample, and to show them the way to heaven. Following the example of Christ, he should intercede with God for the people of his care till he sees that his prayers are answered. Jesus exercised human and divine sympathy toward man. He is our example in all things. God is our father and governor, and the Christian minister is the representative of his Son on earth. The principles that rule in heaven should rule upon earth; the same love that animates the angels, the same purity and holiness that reign in heaven, should, as far as possible, be reproduced upon earth. God holds the minister responsible for the power he exercises, but does not justify his servants in perverting that power into despotism over the flock of their care. GW92 78.2


The churches need education more than censure. Instead of blaming them too severely for their want of spirituality and neglect of duty, the minister should, by precept and example, teach them to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. GW92 79.3


Independent men of earnest endeavor are needed, not men as impressible as putty. Those who want their work made ready to their hand, who desire a fixed amount to do and a fixed salary, and who wish to prove an exact fit without the trouble of adaptation or training, are not the men whom God calls to work in his cause. A man who cannot adapt his abilities to almost any place if necessity requires, is not the man for this time. Men whom God will connect with his work are not limp and fiberless, without muscle or moral force of character. It is only by continued and persevering labor that men can be disciplined to bear a part in the work of God. These men should not become discouraged if circumstances and surroundings are the most unfavorable. They should not give up their purpose as a complete failure until they are convinced beyond a doubt that they cannot do much for the honor of God and the good of souls. GW92 96.1


There are men who flatter themselves that they might do something great and good if they were only circumstanced differently, while they make no use of the faculties they already have by working in the positions where providence has placed them. Man can make his circumstances, but circumstances should never make the man. Man should seize circumstances as his instruments with which to work. He should master circumstances, but should never allow circumstances to master him. Individual independence and individual power are the qualities now needed. Individual character need not be sacrificed, but it should be modulated, refined, elevated…. GW92 96.2


The cause of God demands men who can see quickly and act instantaneously at the right time and with power. If you wait to measure every difficulty and balance every perplexity you meet, you will do but little. You will have obstacles and difficulties to encounter at every turn, and you must with firm purpose decide to conquer them, or they will conquer you. GW92 97.1


Long delays tire the angels. It is even more excusable to make a wrong decision sometimes than to be continually in a wavering position; to be hesitating, sometimes inclined in one direction, then in another. More perplexity and wretchedness result from thus hesitating and doubting than from sometimes moving too hastily. I have been shown that the most signal victories and the most fearful defeats have been on the turn of minutes. God requires promptness of action. Delays, doubtings, hesitation, and indecision frequently give the enemy every advantage…. GW92 97.2 – GW92 97.3


God wants men connected with his work in Battle Creek whose judgment is at hand, whose minds, when it is necessary, will act like the lightning. The greatest promptness is positively necessary in the hour of peril and danger. Every plan may be well laid to accomplish certain results, and yet a delay of a very short time may leave things to assume an entirely different shape, and the great objects which might have been gained are lost through lack of quick foresight and prompt dispatch. Much may be done in training the mind to overcome indolence. There are times when caution and great deliberation are necessary; rashness would be folly. But even here, much has been lost by too great hesitancy. Caution, up to a certain point, is required; but hesitancy and policy on particular occasions have been more disastrous than would have been a failure through rashness.—Testimonies for the Church 3:496. GW92 97.5


The Case of Elder Cornell


You love to be petted and to be waited upon and sympathized with. You love to have the sisters doing offices for you which you should do for yourself. While feeble sisters are pitying you and sympathizing with you, they are frequently suffering with pain and weariness which you have never experienced. These things displease God and make you weak and inefficient. You are deluding yourself with the idea that you are indeed a great sufferer when you are not. Your brethren have labored right on under greater mental and physical suffering than yourself, and no one but God knows how hard times they pressed against their infirmities to do good in the great work they loved so well. You said last night that doctors could not tell what ailed you. True, they could not tell what ailed you. No earthly physician could prescribe intelligently for your disease, because you have no real disease. He who made man out of the dust of the ground understands your case. Your imagination is diseased. Your thoughts are morally diseased. You are sound as far as physical strength is concerned. {Lt53-1876}


You are not a real Bible student. This deficiency is bad for you, and unless you correct it, it will destroy your usefulness. You idle away much precious time upon unimportant things while things of great importance are neglected. If you would grow in the knowledge of Bible truth, that you may become a thorough workman that needeth not to be ashamed, you must from the Scriptures furnish yourself for all good works that you may become an able preacher of righteousness. {Lt53-1876}


You have made girls and women the theme of thought, rather than the Word of God. Your mind has been restless and dissatisfied if it could not be occupied with girls and women. You could not relish the study of the Word of God while your thoughts have been upon subjects which war against the soul. There is no excuse for your life of folly.


From what has been shown me you are a transgressor of the seventh commandment. How then can your mind be in harmony with the precious Word of God, truths which cut you at every turn? If you had been betrayed into this folly unwittingly it would be more excusable, but you have not. You have been warned. You have been reproved and counseled. You have apparently received the reproof, but not in heart sufficient to die to the carnal mind. You have not set to work to eradicate the evil. You have soon lost the smart of the chastening rod of the Lord, and rush on in as great foolishness as ever, like a fool to the correction of stocks. Your love for self-indulgence has become a warring lust.


You love the society of girls and women. During a series of meetings you have allowed your mind to plan and contrive how you can get into the society of young girls or women and not betray your true feelings. You will run into temptation when you have not moral power to resist temptation. Your mind is constantly impure because the fountain is never cleansed. You have found no delight in diligent, careful searching of the Scriptures.


I desire now to state facts. I have been shown that your life and your labors in the cause of God for some years have been a greater injury to the precious cause of present truth than a benefit. Had you had no part in this work, and been separated entirely from it, you would have saved much heart sorrow to those who love the cause of God, and you would have saved them much hard labor which has been forced upon them to counteract your wrong influence.


No longer should you mar the work of God with your corrupt, your carnal heart, and thus miserably represent the cause of present truth.


You do not believe that you have really deserved the censure of your brethren. You have (I was shown) felt that Elder Loughborough was exacting and hard upon you. You talk this out when you think it will do. You talked it to Elder Butler on your way across the Pacific plains and he felt his sympathy aroused for you. Oh, how little did he discern, how little did he know of your course, your set, willful course in San Francisco with Mrs. Harris, your deceptive course there and the great labor brought upon us to place you in the confidence of the people!


You insinuate yourself into the sympathies of soft and sympathetic women and they become easy victims to your desire for personal conquest, and you have inwardly triumphed at your ability to win personal power over weak and impressible women. You have excused your loose, lax conduct under the plea of great love for the females. The power of great passion has been your apology for vice. Your life has been a shame—nothing in it of which you might glory. You have had great depression if you were not strained up to some excitement and had not some girl or woman to attract you and to listen to your troubles in regard to your wife. Shame, shame should cover you for your course.


While holding tent meetings, instead of connecting yourself with God that His Spirit may imbue you, it has been your nature to get some girls and women to associate with. This has been your effort on the sly. You have even slipped away secretly to get in the company of girls or women, and then put on appearance of sickness and encouraged them to wait on you. Your sickness has been affected and imaginary in a considerable degree, and you have fallen so readily into these indulgences or luxury of sickness that it has become habit. You draw upon the sympathies of others when, if you would go out of the company of women and go to work like a sensible man, you would have health.


Souls have been turned from the truth by your course. Your gathering the sympathies of women to yourself has awakened jealousies and hatred in the minds of their husbands, which has led them to despise your name. Your sickness at the young Brother Cummery’s, calling for attention from his wife in her feebleness, was simply ridiculous.


If you hear of reports in regard to your conduct you need not be surprised. You have hurt the church at Napa so that they may never outgrow it. Your loose example to young girls, in your conversation with them, your levity of conduct, your lazy habits, have all had their influence upon that church. Cummery is aping your course in some things. He is very attentive to one or more girls, growing out of the feelings he had in reference to your being in his house and so closely associated with his wife. You have had no sense of the fitness of things or of real propriety. Your visiting a sister—a grass widow, I believe—sister to Sister Pond, your intimacy with her I saw; and your course, your conversation with several of the sisters, I was made to hear, and your seeking to engage them to yourself.


My soul is stirred within me. I shall not now give all particulars of this past. But I will not varnish over your case. You are in a fearful state and you need to be entirely transformed. I must say, I never expect that this will take place. I never expect you to do differently from what you have done. I have no hope in your case.


Your youth was not pure. Your life was lax and loose and immoral. The cornerstone which holds the entire building together was rotten and decaying; therefore, anything built upon this foundation is not durable.


You have indulged and compromised with your animal propensities until they have become a warring lust and your faculties have been perverted. In order for you to be of any special use you have to do a great deal of hard thinking and hard studying, and earnest praying and diligent watching thereunto. Your supreme love of M. E. Cornell has led to indulgence which has made your life a fearful mistake, for you have done little else but serve yourself while you have professed to be laboring for God.


I have no confidence in you as a Christian. God forbid I should acknowledge you as a servant of Jesus Christ when you serve yourself, your carnal mind, rather than the law of God. I should not be sorry to learn that you had given up the truth any day because you are more of a stumblingblock to sinners than a faithful watchman.


I have been shown you in different attitudes with women which I will not now relate. I wait for you to empty your soul and make, if it is possible, thorough confession.


Now think, Elder Cornell, would you want Elder White to witness some of your foolishness, your words, your deportment? Well, then, think the holy Lord, the dear Redeemer, the pure angels, have looked upon you and seen your sin. Your wrongs were not hid from heaven, although covered from the sight of men. The Searcher of hearts is acquainted with all your acts which you suppose are hid from mortal sight. I could speak more definitely of circumstances but was bid to keep silent, for unless you emptied your soul of these things and felt yourself compunctions of conscience, your case was hopeless and soon it would be said in heaven, Let him alone, for he is joined to his idols. If you fail to make clean and thorough work, I shall be free to speak publicly and no longer cover up your wrongs and sins as we have tried to do.


You have acknowledged time and again your weakness and your sins and then gone and done the same thing, or nearly as bad, over again.


Now I have but a word to say in regard to your wife. In her very best condition she was all selfishness and was not a help and blessing to the cause of God. And after trampling underfoot the blood of the covenant and connecting herself for years with demons, she has not improved her light or connected herself any more closely with heaven so that her influence will be more saving than it was before she embraced spiritualism. If her place was then at home for her own and the good of the cause of God, it certainly is so now. If you go to preach, with her as your companion, may God pity His people! You know the light that has been given. Heed it, and in no case introduce Angeline to the notice of the people of God. If she was Satan’s agent before she went into spiritualism, she has certainly been more so since she openly connected herself with spiritualism after she had had light and truth. If she comes out of this horrible deception, it will not be in a corner. She will have a work of retraction that she has not realized if she rids herself of the influence of demons.


Satan would be highly exultant to have you—unconsecrated, unsanctified—go to preach to the people, and connected with Angeline, form a link with the enemy stronger than you have ever yet had. With your brethren strong in faith and moral power all around you, you have not had sufficient moral force or connection with heaven to keep yourself from hurting the cause of God. With your present plans and present surroundings, you will make a failure sooner or later. I beg of you to desist. Tarry in Jerusalem till God will give evidence in some way that you are accepted of Him.


Be careful how you treat this message. I send it to you in hopes that it may have a deeper weight with you than those I have repeatedly given you before.


But my hope is not strong and bright, but very trembling. May God pity you is my prayer. 3LtMs, Lt 52, 1876.


The Case of Elder JH Waggoner: Physical adultery connected with spiritual adultery and Babylon


We must as a people arouse and cleanse the camp of Israel. Licentiousness, unlawful intimacy, and unholy practices are coming in among us in a large degree, and ministers who are handling sacred things are guilty of sin in this respect. They are coveting their neighbors’ wives, and the seventh commandment is broken. We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird, and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil? Will you have others follow your example? Will you wish them to pass over the ground you have traveled and feel that they have done no great wrong? Without repentance and genuine conversion you are a ruined man. 4LtMs, Lt 51, 1886, par. 7


My brother, you have had the respect of the church, old and young. But your course is condemned of God, and you have not had His Spirit, and you are not a free man. You have pursued a course that has caused your good to be evil spoken of. The very things that transpired at the Piedmont Sabbath school reunion I would not have occurred for thousands of dollars. You, a gray-haired man, lying at full length with your head in the lap of Georgie Chittenden. Had I done my duty, I would have rebuked you there. Many saw this and made remarks about it. After such exhibitions as this, of what value would be your admonitions to them to be guarded against everything of this free and easy familiarity? You have yourself neutralized your efforts to elevate the young by your example. The course of intimacy with Sister Chittenden and her family has been a subject of remark. And how could you expect to have influence with the young as a father when such manifest want of judgment and such weakness have been exhibited by you. If you will only be a man in your old age, instead of a sentimental lover; if you would only be guarded, God would not remove His wisdom from you as He has done. Your reputation would have been dearer to you than your very life. Better, far better, go down to the grave with honor untarnished than to live with a reproach upon your name.


Now look, my brother, at the years you have been living in unlawful sympathy and love with another man’s wife. And you have a daughter who would be glad to give you attention and sympathy and make a home for you, but you have been so completely infatuated that everything in this life that was sensible and proper has been distasteful and insipid to you. I do not feel that the charm is broken, that you are a free man. You have not broken the snare. The Lord is not supreme with you. Now, my brother, it would be folly for you to think that you have wisdom to discern spiritual things while you have been growing weaker and weaker for years in moral power and separating from the God of wisdom. The letters written to your wife are harsh and unfeeling. The withdrawing of your support in a large degree is not wisdom or right on your part. And had she not a cause when she was at Oakland to be jealous of you? Did not she see in you the interest, sympathy, and love you gave to Sister Chittenden? Now, for Christ’s sake, save your harsh condemnation of others, for this shows that you are not Christlike, that you have another spirit. I write thus plainly because I feel deeply that you need to make a more determined effort than you have done, before you stand free in the sight of God. All your sharpness and overbearing comes from you with an ill grace. Do humble yourself under the hand of God. Do make sure of the favor of God, and put sin away from you.


There are but few who know to what extent this intimacy has gone, and God forbid it shall be known and your influence lost to God’s cause and your soul lost. I beg of you to not take it upon you to pronounce judgment against anyone but yourself. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 16 – 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 18


The Case of Dr Maxson, Dr. Gibbs,  Mrs. Heald and Elder Rice


Entire Letter

20MR 373-377


Elder Rice was finally stopped free from being Sabbath School Superintendent


Elder Rice could not be kept as superintendent for he was considering himself [as] constituting the whole board, planning and managing, buying and selling; and the board knew not the first syllable of the matter.


He was incurring great expenses and without one word of advice or counsel from the board of directors. His sharp dealing with outsiders has cut off outside patronage, and he seems to lack the power of discrimination. He asks all the price that is set in the terms, which is looked upon as very high for board and treatment, and then if one asks for a hot water bag to be supplied with hot water, he or she is charged extra. [On] every little favor is put an extra price until they go away mad, vowing they will never enter the institution again and telling their friends never to enter. These cases are being revealed more and more, and in a very agony of distress we have been unable to correct the evil.


I think now it was understood [that] if Eld. Rice did not remain, Dr. Maxson and his wife would also leave. They have formed a bond of union from the first. I wrote a letter to Eld. Rice but he made no response; but [as] soon as possible comes one from Dr. Maxson making all [the] excuses for Eld. Rice. It was evident that a firm bond of union has been formed with these parties. I will go to St. Helena in a few days and will then obtain something definite from Dr. Maxson.


Eld. Rice has been very imprudent with Mrs. or Sister Heald, and I have handled this familiarity with decision in the fear of God under a great burden. Elder Rice was warned, but he persistently kept on his course. He stated that it was his privilege for the superintendent to ride with the matron, and he told me, quite aggrieved, that the church members had much talk of his always taking Sister Heald to the meeting. When the matter came up in the camp meeting at Oakland in the presence of about twenty, he justified himself that he had, he said, been spoken to in regard to Sister Heald’s riding with him and her husband not being with them, but he knew that this was no moral wrong, and therefore he went on just the same.


I just arose and told him plainly he was not a Bible Christian; that the Word of the Lord was positive—abstain from the very appearance of evil and give no action for reproach to fall upon the cause of God. But, knowing that much talk was being made over his close association with another man’s wife, he had not sought in his own course of action to cut off the reproach, but justified his course. Had he seen another man taking the same liberties with his wife when she was living, he would have felt indignant. Had he seen any of the men connected with the institution, young or old, thus intimate with a married woman or young girls, he would have seen the evil and with no soothing words would have made short work of this matter. 


He stated he should have done so, but that he considered he was a minister, above suspicion and above temptation, he had thought, and therefore it was safe for him to do that which would be sin in another. He acknowledged that this was wrong reasoning, but every time the matter was talked upon he brought forward the same excuses.


I first took Sister Heald, for I had in a dream been shown some things. Then I talked with her. Nothing, not one thing, was specified as wrong until I urged the matter and asked pointed questions and then drew out by direct questioning that Elder Rice had lain upon the bed with Bro. and Sister Heald, [and] that this was done several times. They had kissed each other and she had sat on his lap. This matter was all through the institution and has gone far and near. Bro. and Sister Maxson stated to me this was all talk. No such things had been done as were talked of, but in a few hours I had the statement from Sister Heald’s lips.


After this, just about the last interview we had with Dr. Maxson and wife, Sister Maxson stated that Sister Manoah, Bro. Rice’s mother, told her all the circumstances of that one occasion of their lying on the bed together and made it a very innocent, accidental affair. I said to Sister Maxson, “I do not accept this statement, for I have had the matter from Sister Heald’s lips.”


Everything shows that these parties, Bro. and Sister Heald, and Bro. and Sister Maxson, and Elder Rice have been closely connected in bonds of sympathy, and when the board felt, for the prosperity of the institution, that Eld. Rice must not officiate any longer, then all agreed to leave together and did leave together.


There has been some thought that they will unite together to start an institution on this coast, and this he has plainly stated in a letter to me that a wealthy man was urging them to do this and would help them. It is not improbable that Eld. Rice may marry Dr. Maxson’s niece.. 5LtMs, Lt 53, 1888, par. 18-5LtMs, Lt 53, 1888, par. 27


The Case of Elder Wessels Peter


What can be worse than the crime of educating young girls in the habits of desecrating and polluting their bodies by exposing them to the view and the touch of man, and that man an ordained minister? Cannot you see that you have enfeebled and confused your moral conceptions of right and wrong, so that you would be in constant temptation to practice the same sin? These things in the sight of God are as grievous a crime as adultery. You will make your sin tenfold greater by giving the impression that you are not treated with proper respect. This matter has been laid open before me, and I laid it open before you, and asked you to consider this matter of greater consequence than you have hitherto done.. 12LtMs, Lt 15, 1897, par. 7


I hope you will not feel as did Cain against Abel. Because your brethren know these things, they cannot but feel that you are not a safe man to be entrusted with the flock of God and they take the responsibility of giving you credentials as a safe teacher. You have led souls astray. One soul is precious in the sight of God, and you have created temptations for them which they have not power to resist. . 12LtMs, Lt 15, 1897, par. 2


The Case of Elder Williams


I cannot appear to justify your course of action in your married life. Leaving your wife and family is an offense to God, and I must present this matter as it is, before the president of your conference, Elder Williams. I had hoped that when you saw your delusion you would feel that repentance for your course of action that needeth not to be repented of. But my experience at Armadale, and the burden brought upon me there, made me a great sufferer; and matters in regard to your past life have been more fully opened before me…. You have thought that you would receive the credentials of a minister of the gospel, but had these been given you, reproach would have been brought upon the cause of God. You have represented yourself as being a wronged man, but it is your wife who has been most wronged. She should never have been treated as you have treated her. You pursued such a course toward your little ones that your wife could not but be estranged from you. Her heart was wounded, bruised, and she was almost distracted by your overbearing, masterly government in discipline of your children.—Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 213.  . PaM 87.2


The Case of Miss Cora B. Waterman, a Literature Evangelist


I have received two letters from you, and have a desire to relieve your mind if I can. Your position was a very remarkable one, and God gave me a decided message for you. I did not consider from the facts presented that your case was without hope; but your perception of what constituted right and wrong was so low in the scale that it was entirely unsafe for you to be traveling and be canvassing and giving Bible readings, and be exposed to temptations. [You are] one who could not distinguish in the Word of God what sin is, in giving your body to be polluted by a man, whatever may be his profession, and claim to be relieved [forgiven]. This matter was shown to me to be a heinous sin in the sight of God, and yet your senses were so benumbed and demoralized that you would continue to canvass for our religious books and give Bible readings, and you committing fornication.


The law of God proclaimed upon Mount Sinai, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and yet you who transgressed that law in so marked a manner were teaching others the Bible. God did not accept your labors. You ask if the Lord gave me that letter to give to you. I say He did. The holy God of Israel will not serve with your sins. That message was given of God. If you have had, since that message was given, a new sense of what constitutes sin, if you have become truly converted, a child of God in place of being a transgressor of His law, there is no one who will be more pleased than myself. I could not present your sin before you in too strong language.


I had presented before me several, living in different States, who were engaged in the canvassing work who were unfit to have any connection with the work of God. They would dishonor God, and bring the truth into reproach. They would make light of sin. They were dishonoring their own bodies. But not one among the number was having so little sense of what sin was, as you. Anyone pursuing the course you did, and belied apparently to the criminality and degradation of such a course, was just terrible. You had not a sense of the aggravated character of sin.


I presented you with the matter as presented to me, and tell you that God abhors all such things. If your moral sensibilities are quickened, it is through the converting power of God. If you are transformed in character, the Lord knows all about that. And if you have through repentance been uplifted to reach a high and holy standard, I cannot myself say the Lord will not regard your case in the same light He regarded Nineveh


“Let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from His fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not” [Jonah 3:8-10]. Read this over carefully, and if the Lord [should] trust you with His work, I have not a word of objection. This is all I can say to you.


Now, please take your case to the Lord, and if you are in communion with Him, He will hear your prayers, and will guide you in judgment. My heart pities you. The first time the sin was committed, it was done without so much time for meditation; the second sins were committed after time to meditate, after time to consider the matter in the light of the Word of God, in the face of the seventh commandment. That you should voluntarily submit your body to the man who led you astray, and you engaged in seeking to enlighten other minds in regard to the commandments, is a most decided exhibition of depravity, and reveals a character as presented to me untrustworthy, and you were incapable of discerning why you should not go right on with the work as you had done.


But I leave the matter where it is. I could say to you to go to trustworthy persons in the conference (not men, but women), and talk with them; but I am inclined to think that should you do this you would be giving publicity to those things which would cause all to be removed from you; and they would not encourage you or accept you to engage in any branch of the work, when they should understand the matter as it is. I must now leave this matter between you and your God, and please do not trouble me anymore with it. I have no disposition to expose you, but leave you to develop character. I pity you and hope that you will move in discretion, and become altogether that which God would have you.–Letter 95, 1893.




The Case of Elder Oviatt


Elder T, my brother and fellow laborer: For two nights I have not been able to sleep many hours. About 2:00 a.m. I have been awakened greatly burdened, and after devoting some time to prayer, have attempted to write.


Your case with many others has been before me. Several years ago I was shown that your danger was very great on account of your attentions to other women besides your wife. You have indulged your own inclinations in this direction, and you stand guilty before God. The root of the whole matter is unchaste thoughts [that] are entertained which lead to improper attentions and advances, then to improper actions. All this is bad enough in men who have only a common work to do, but it is a hundredfold worse in those who have accepted sacred positions of trust.


I have in your presence dwelt particularly upon the importance of abstaining from the very appearance of evil. I have presented in your hearing the special temptations of the enemy, thinking to arouse your consciousness, that you would barricade your soul against the temptations of the enemy. I have written especially upon the dangers of young men and also of married men showing special attention to young ladies and to other men’s wives. When crossing the ocean on my way to Europe, I was mightily stirred and wrote out special warnings. This was in your behalf as well as for others. It was to stop your downward course, that you should in the strength of Israel’s God arise and be a man, not a plaything for the devil.


I was shown that in consequence of temptations you could not lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting. Your thoughts and actions crippled your endeavors; your earthliness and sensual thoughts dwarfed your spiritual growth. You are far from being the man God would have you to be, and you fail to qualify yourself for the work you might do, because your thoughts are not pure, but tainted and corrupt. Some things were shown me that are open to the eye that never slumbers nor sleeps.


This is written in the books of heaven, and in a little time your case will be decided, whether your name shall be blotted out from the Book of Life or not. It certainly will be unless you are a converted man, and humble your soul before God, and confess your sins, and turn unto the Lord with your whole heart, and purge from you every impure thought and corrupt action. Says the True Witness, “I know thy works.”  Do not attempt to teach the people until you are a changed man, until you have in humble penitence sought the Lord with true contrition of soul, and have a new heart.


I was shown that Satan would make his temptations strong to corrupt the ministers who are teaching the binding claims of the law of God. If he can tarnish the virtue, confuse the sense of purity and holiness, if he can insinuate himself into their thoughts, suggest and plan for them to sin in thought and deed against God, then their defense is gone. They have separated themselves from God; they have not the power and Spirit of God with them, and the sacred message of truth they bear to the people is not blessed of God; the seed is not watered, and the increase is not realized.


What you need, my brother, is a pure and holy heart. Cease at once from attempting to teach the truth until you know that in the strength of God you can overcome lust. If your mind had been, in the years you have professed to be a child of God, educated and taxed to dwell upon Jesus, to pray when traveling on the cars, when walking in the streets, and wherever you were, and had you been binding about your thoughts and teaching them to dwell upon pure and holy things, I should not have to address you as I do today. The Lord must be in all your thoughts, but this work is strangely neglected.


There are some of our ministers who are engaged in active service who have some sense of the importance of the work, but there is a large number who are handling sacred truth about as they would engage in any common business. They have not been refined, ennobled, sanctified by the truth. They have not advanced step by step, growing in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. They have not real, genuine faith in taking God at His word. They have not gone on from strength to a greater strength.


They have not increased in ability, but kept up the same low tone of efficiency. They have not become able men in the Scriptures, mighty men in God, and yet every privilege has been within their reach. The cause of God has not been glorified by their tame, Spiritless, Christless work. These have done great injury to the truth, and why? Because the heart is not cleansed. They have not a new, clean heart, but a heart that is open to the temptations of Satan. Such can never lead the people to the true, pure fountain of living waters. They may make others acquainted with the reasons of our faith, but it will be impossible for them to do the work which a true shepherd of the flock will do, to “feed the flock of God.”


We must awaken to our God-given responsibilities. Your adversary the devil is intensely active, represented as a roaring lion, and we must be wide-awake and not ignorant of his devices. We shall surely be overcome by Satan’s devices unless our hearts, our minds, our wills, are in complete subjection to the will of Christ. We shall surely fail our salvation unless the natural elements in our character, the discordant elements, are brought daily and hourly into unity with Christ’s character. Unruly, debasing tendencies and passions cannot reign in the heart controlled by the Spirit of Christ. There are many who have never submitted their will and way fully, without any reserve, to Jesus Christ.


There need to be far more lessons in the ministry of the word of true conversion than of the arguments of the doctrines; for it is far easier and more natural for the heart that is not under the control of the Spirit of Christ to choose doctrinal subjects rather than the practical. There are many Christless discourses given [that are] no more acceptable to God than was the offering of Cain. They are not in harmony with God.


The Lord calls upon you, my brother, to step down from the work, leave the walls of Zion, or be a converted man. When your own heart is sanctified through the truth, there will be in it no moral defilement. It will now require a most desperate resistance to unholy suggestions upon your part, because your soul is tainted with spiritual malaria. You have breathed a satanic atmosphere. You have not been a man in the sight of God. When your mind should have been growing, your ideas elevated, and your plans and labors broadened, you have been growing less and less efficient as a worker, because God is not blessing your efforts.


The perversion of our gifts, or their degradation to unworthy ends, is a crime in the sight of God; and yet this is constantly prevailing. The man who has capabilities for usefulness, and employs all that is winning and attractive to destroy others, to lead them astray, to bring them to a brackish, poison fountain to quench their thirst, rather than bringing them to Christ, is doing the devil’s work. There are many who profess to believe the truth who are corrupt in morals and who tarnish the purity in thoughts and impulses of others, who ruin souls under the pretense of saving souls, who utter words to the unwary, Satan speaking through them, as he spoke through the serpent when he tempted Eve.


It is a terrible thing to use God’s entrusted gifts, lent to bless the world, and perverted in their use, leaving a blight, a woe, a curse, instead of a blessing. But I have written largely upon this, as you have seen, in different forms.


And again I say, “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6, 7). Go to work and confess your sins before God; seek God, for you know but very little of this kind of work. Put your thoughts to work upon pure, holy subjects; tax your powers; send your supplications to heaven in earnest contrition of soul; let your conversation, your thoughts, your deportment, be in harmony with the holy faith you claim to be defending.


And when all like yourself shall repent and find the pardoning love of God, we shall see that God will work in a wonderful manner with His people. Sinners will be converted; backsliders will be reclaimed.


I leave these lines with you. I had hoped that the great light shining from the Word of God would have been accepted, brought into your religious life, and [that] you [would] become a true, sincere Christian, doing the will of God from the heart. But I have been urged by the Spirit of the Lord to write you. The work must go forward. Everything impure must become pure and holy, or be purged from our hands; for all that is earthly, sensual, devilish, is a stumbling block to others and a curse to the cause of God.


The sooner the ranks are purged from this class, the more surely shall we see the salvation of God and the power of the truth in our midst. It is because we are loaded down with those who have not been partakers of the divine nature, who have failed to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust, that we have so much weakness and feebleness in our midst. We must arouse. We must cleanse the camp of Israel of its moral defilement.–Letter 5, 1886


I do not want, unless necessary, that the case of T shall be made public. I have a response from him which acknowledges the testimony, but I do not want, for the sake of his wife and children, to make [it] public. I pity the man sincerely, and if I could do anything to recover either of these men from the snare of the devil, I would do so. T takes a far better position than Canright. Although both of these men have made many falsehoods against me and our people, I am not embittered against them and do not wish to injure [them], for I bear in mind that there is a judgment when every man’s work will be brought in review before God, and every man will receive of the great Judge according to his works.– Letter 59, 1889.


The Case of E.J. Waggoner


I have much to say to you. You have been represented to me as being in great peril. Satan is on your track, and at times he has whispered to you pleasing fables, and has shown you charming pictures of one whom he represents as a more suitable companion for you than the wife of your youth, the mother of your children.


Satan is working stealthily, untiringly, to effect your downfall through his specious temptations. He is determined to become your teacher, and you need now to place yourself where you can get strength to resist him. He hopes to lead you into the maze of spiritualism. He hopes to wean your affections from your wife, and to fix them upon another woman. He desires that you shall allow your mind to dwell upon this woman until through unholy affection she becomes your god


The enemy of souls has gained much when he can lead the imagination of one of Jehovah’s chosen watchmen to dwell upon the possibilities of association in the world to come, with some woman whom he loves, and of there raising up a family. We need no such pleasing pictures. All such views originate in the mind of the tempter.


We have the plain assurance of Christ that in the world to come, the redeemed “neither marry, nor are given in marriage, neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection” (Luke 20:35, 36).


It is presented to me that spiritual fables are taking many captive. Their minds are sensual, and, unless a change comes, this will prove their ruin. To all who are indulging in these unholy fancies I would say, Stop, for Christ’s sake, stop right where you are. You are on forbidden ground. Repent, I entreat of you, and be converted.


To married men I am instructed to say, “It is to your wives, the mothers of your children, that your respect and affection are due. Your attentions are to be given to them, and your thoughts are to dwell upon plans for their happiness. . . .”


My brother U, remember that the woman who receives the least manifestation of affection from a man who is the husband of another woman, shows herself to be in need of repentance and conversion. And the man who allows his wife to occupy the second place in his affections is dishonoring himself and his God. This thing is one of the signs of the last days. But surely you do not desire to fulfill this sign. This is the part that the wicked are to act. Christ will take charge of the affections of those who love and honor God, causing them to center upon proper objects.


My brother, your wife has her faults, but so have you. She is your wife still. She is the mother of your children, and you are to respect, cherish, and love her. Guard yourself carefully, that impurity may not abide in mind or heart.


Brother U, your case was presented to me some time ago, but I have delayed writing, thinking that I might see you and talk with you. You are being imprisoned with a dangerous sentimentalism, and this has nearly spoiled you and the one also who has permitted you to make her your favorite. You need not ask God to bless you in pursuing this course. In this matter your mind has been worked by the enemy who stands ready to control those who give place to spiritualistic affection.


You have a wife, and you are bound to her by the law of God. “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. . . . It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:27-32).


May the Lord help you is my prayer. Now is the time to fight the good fight of faith. Now is the time to wrestle against the prompting of the natural heart. Now is your time to be as true as steel to your marriage vows, refusing, in thought, word, or deed, to spoil your record as a man who fears God and obeys His commandments. You have been imbibing spiritualistic ideas. But if you will now turn wholly to God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will be imparted to you, and truth will triumph in your life.–Letter 231, 1903.




The Case of Elder Fifield


We have some hard labor to do here. There was a spirit of lightness [on the ground]. The young men were mating [pairing] up [with] the young girls, and when reproved, were, some of them, defiant, hardhearted, reckless. We had to get this cleared away before we could get the spirit of freedom into our meeting. But Sabbath everything seemed to break away. Elder Y, who has been preaching, has been running after the girls, married women, and widows, and this seemed to be his inclination out of the desk from State to State. Sunday morning I called him out by name and told him and all present we had no use for any such men, for they would only make the work of the burden-bearing laborers double what it is now.


If they would only take themselves out of the way and act out just what was in their heart, without doing this evil work under a pretense of godliness, the cause would be relieved. He has made no confession yet. Do not know as he will do so. But light came into our meetings, and the young who had been following his example came out decidedly and confessed their wrong course of action. When will those who profess Christ be wise?–Letter 53, 1884.


The Case of Brother Sharp, A Gospel Minister. Advised to change Location a Continue as a self-supporting minister


Dear Brother V: I have this morning received and read your letter, and if I do not answer at once I fear it will pass from my mind.


In regard to your changing your location, I would mention to you England. There is a large field and but few workers, plenty of work to be done in which all may act a part–all of your family, if they desire to give themselves to the Lord and act a part in His cause. You will find room enough to work, and if you go forth to labor in meekness and humility, redeeming the past errors of your life, God will accept you. There is need of laborers in England, and the advantage of that country over other parts of Europe is that our American brethren do not have to work through an interpreter.


Should you come to England you will certainly find work enough to do, and God is merciful; He pities our weakness; He forgives our transgressions; and, if we will only live humble and penitent, if we will cease from evil and do well, the Lord will approve. May the Lord teach you and work for you.


I wish that there were many more men who would give themselves to the missionary work in England. That kingdom has but few workers. We want missionaries whom God can work with and bless. We want men who will feel the burden of souls, men who will work as Christ worked, zealously, disinterestedly, to save sinners and enlighten those in darkness. I write this short letter to you, thinking it is as well as more that might be written. Your sister in Christ.–Letter 41, 1886.


The Case of Elder Decker


Elder Z, I have much distress of soul for you. I fear, yes, greatly fear, you will never enter into the kingdom of God. I have much pain at heart as I consider your case, standing in the light of the delegated servant of Jesus Christ, yet so clouded with defilement that holy angels cannot come near you. It is no new thing that your thoughts are corrupted by impure desires and imaginings. You have not dismissed unlawful desires and lustful thoughts. When you met me in Healdsburg and told me that you had gained the victory, you told me a falsehood, for you knew this was not the truth.


Your past life had been presented before me as one who had no internal strength to resist evil if it put on an inviting aspect. You have obtained the confidence of women in you as a man of piety and righteousness, then you have taken advantage of this confidence to take liberties with them–kissing them, and going just as far with them in seductive, lustful practices as they would allow you to go, not only with Sister X but with others. And I am pained to the heart when I consider that you have tainted and polluted more than one or two or three or four with your insinuations and your fawning and caressing which have led souls to dissipation and vice. And you a watchman, you a shepherd! . . .


You have made evil and lustful practices appear harmless, and some have been led away with their own lust and enticed because they had not moral courage to rebuke you, a minister, for your iniquitous practices. There have been not a few who have sacrificed conscience, peace of mind, and the favor of God, because a man whom the people have set as a watchman on the walls of Zion has been their tempter–a wolf in sheep’s clothing.


And these who had been uncorrupted fall into the snare [which] Satan, through the bad shepherd, has set for them under different pretenses and excuses. You have hid your evil heart of deadly opposition to purity and holiness. The fly enticed into the spider’s web, the fish which is lured on by the bait on the hook, has been ensnared and taken.


You have by your course of action debased sacred things to the level of the common. Many have come near being ruined who have, as it were, been plucked as a brand from the burning; but the performance of yours to break down the barriers which preserve the sanctity of the family relation between husband and wife, the arranged plans to make the wife communicate to you the secrets of her married life, induce those who are yielding in disposition, who have become captivated with you, to open their heart to you as to a Catholic confessor; and you encourage in them the thought that they have made a mistake in the married life.


There are thoughts and feelings expressed that Satan takes advantage of, but if both husband and wife will resist the devil and humble their hearts before God, then the difficulties soon will be healed without leaving ugly scars. But you have done a work to encourage alienation in the place of healing the difficulties; and peace of mind, harmony, and the usefulness not only of women but of men has been destroyed, and the seeds of licentious practices that you have sown have produced a bitter, bitter harvest. The wanderings from God in this way are common, but the fact is, so few return.


The coy, complying disposition of women or girls to the advances and familiarity of men, married men, leads them to be easily entrapped. The man who should watch for souls in order to save them, watches for opportunities and occasions to ruin them. There are so many who have little fixedness of principle, who come into contact with the men who preach the truth; and some of these educate and refine iniquity before them, clothing it in angel robes, and as their own hearts are not garrisoned with fixed, unswerving principles, the work of ruin is speedily accomplished.


The sacred is brought down and so interwoven with lust and impure, unholy practices that the victim is confused, and the soul temple becomes a sink of iniquity. At first the unsuspecting only listen; they receive the liberties of preference shown them; then the education goes on until “as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks” (Proverbs 7:22), they follow in the steps of the tempter and go fully as far as he would lead them.– Letter 82, 1886.


The Case of Brother Caldwell W.F.  and Fannie Bolton, Ellen White’s Assistants


This morning as I came from the school ground I saw your horse fastened to a tree before the tent occupied by Fannie Y. After a while I went to the tent. A lady from Newcastle and Jessie Israel were visiting Fannie. You were sitting down, writing on the typewriter. Why did you not take the typewriter at once into the dining tent? What impression can such a course make upon the mind of the young girl visiting at the school? It made an impression that was anything but favorable.


Your freedom with young women is improper, but it is so natural and common to you that you think nothing of it. The Word of God has told you that you are to abstain from the very appearance of evil; but do you? You are a married man, with a wife and two boys, whom you have left in America, and this fact should be sufficient, without any further prompting, to lead you to cultivate sobriety and carefulness in your association with others. . . . I write these things to you because you are deceiving Fannie, and she is apparently totally blind and infatuated. . . .


Placing yourself in the society of Fannie as much as you did while at Melbourne had not only the appearance of evil, but was evil. You enjoyed it, but you should have had discernment to understand that by your course of action you were encouraging others in the same path.


I am now going to Tasmania, and you and Fannie will remain at Avondale. After my absence, you will feel inclined to associate together more freely, because I am not present to hold the fort. I fear you will dishonor the truth by your familiarity. I decidedly protest against this. Keep yourself out of Fannie’s tent, or else a scandal will be created.– Letter 17, 1895


To W. F. C., c. September 1895.


I have had very little help from Fannie for many months, not because she cannot work, but her association with you has caused her to have an experience which has unfitted her to do anything in my work.


I feel deeply over another matter, and that is your visiting Fannie in her tent. I have already decided that you two cannot work together. You are a married man, father of two children. If your wife has obtained a divorce from you, that does not leave you free to marry again, as I read my Bible.


Before leaving I must lay down some rules. There is no call for W. F. C. to visit Fannie’s tent. Fannie has not been in working order for some time. Her association with you is largely the cause of this. I know this to be so, and therefore I say, Keep away from her tent. When I am away you will feel that you have a fine opportunity to get into her society whenever you can; and I cannot go without warning you and charging you to keep yourself to yourself. I want no reproach brought upon me nor upon this community by imprudent, careless habits or practices.–Letter 19, 1896


To Fannie Y, November 23, 1895.


I have been considering your case in connection with W. F. C., and I have no other counsel to give than I have given. I consider that you have no moral right to marry W. F. C.; he has no moral right to marry you. He left his wife after giving her great provocation. He left her whom he had vowed before God to love and cherish while both should live. Before ever she obtained her divorce, when she was his lawful wife, he left her for three years, and then left her in heart, and expressed his love to you. The matter has been negotiated largely between you and a married man, while he was legally bound to the wife he married, who has had two children by him.


I see not a particle of leniency in the Scriptures given either of you to contract marriage, although his wife is divorced. From the provocation he has given her, it was largely his own course of action that has brought this result, and I cannot see in any more favorable light his having a legal right to link his interest with yours or you to link your interest with his. One thing is settled. I could not connect with either of you if this step is taken, for I see this matter in a light that the Scriptures would condemn your connection. Therefore, I wish you both to understand that from the light God has given me regarding the past and the present, I could not think of employing either of you if you take this step.


I am astonished that you should for a moment give thought to such a thing, and place your affections on a married man who had left his wife and children under such circumstances. I advise you to lay your thoughts and plans regarding this matter just as they are before our responsible brethren, that you may receive their counsel, and let them show you from the law of God the error into which you have fallen. You have both broken the law even in thinking that you might unite in marriage. You should have repelled the thought at its first suggestion.–Letter 14, 1895.


To James Edson White, December 9, 1895. . . .


But oh, the heartache, for other things were developing and being made manifest which had been a fearful strain on me. It was the intimacy between W. F. C. and [Fannie]. I had presented before them all the dangers, but they denied it. But at the meeting at Melbourne Fannie acknowledged she loved W. F. C. and he loved her. I tried to present the matter before them in its true bearing. W. F. C. had a wife living. Recently she obtained a divorce. He had left her and been gone three years. But Fannie told me she had been praying that if it was right she should marry W. F. C. that his wife might obtain a divorce. What blindness will come to those who begin to depart from a straightforward course! These two had thought they could unite in marriage and they could both unite in carrying on my work. The management of all my business would be supposed to be in his hands. Not much, I told them. Such a step would cut them off from me forever, both of them, because W. F. C. had no moral right to [marry].–Letter 123a, 1895.  {TSB 209.2}


To Elder I. N. Williams, President of the Pennsylvania Conference [W.F.C.’s home conference], April 12, 1896.


We have had great trouble of mind in regard to Brother W.F.C., who expects to return to America by this month’s boat. He has shown a fondness for the society of young girls, and has been full of gaiety, conducting himself like a boy. About a year ago, at the suggestion of my son, W. C. White, I employed him to run the typewriter for Fannie Y, as she read the manuscript to him. But soon I became burdened. Warnings were given to me again and again. I talked with him by himself in regard to his freedom and enjoyment in the society of young women and his frivolous conduct, but he said he had always been sociable with young ladies and thought it no harm.


We wanted to help him, for he had no money and but very poor clothing. He has good ability, and might have developed into a competent helper for W. C. [White] or a worker for me. But I dared not have him remain a member of my family.


He became attached to Fannie Y and the matter was carried on under a deception before he learned that his wife had obtained a divorce. When he heard this he seemed greatly relieved, for his heart was fully weaned from her. But the Lord gave me light in regard to the matter. I consider that he is far more to blame than his wife in view of the fact that he claims to believe sacred truth, and she makes no such profession. He has not been a kind, tender husband; he has not been patient and forbearing, but very critical and overbearing if his wife displeased him in any way. I cannot see how his wife, in contact with his temperament and disposition, could feel drawn toward the truth. She has opposed him and has made it hard for him, but not a whit harder than he has made it for her by his course of action. He has not taken opposition patiently, or as a Christian should. He did wrong when he left his home and his wife and children. A few months ago I learned that he had done nothing for their support.


As matters were unfolded to me, it was a most serious matter for him to allow his affections to center upon another woman when he had a wife living, whom he had promised to love and cherish as long as they both should live. Why he should leave his home so long has been a mystery to us all, until recently I have had divine enlightenment.


He can appear very attractive, and win the confidence and favor of the girls, but when crossed he has such a temper and disposition that, unless he is changed, no woman, believer or unbeliever, could live peaceably with him. He would pursue a course that would make any woman miserable. He is an intemperate eater, and this is why he has so little patience.


I felt that the time had come when I should no longer employ him to transact my business, for warnings kept coming to me from the Lord concerning his course of action.


I will write further in regard to this if necessary. Please write to me, stating facts concerning the family there, as far as you know. Help W.F.C., if you can, to set things right and remove this reproach from the cause of God. Even if his wife is already married, it may be there is something he can do for his children.–Letter 104, 1896.


To Brother and Sister G. C. Tenney, July 1, 1897.


The work between Fannie Y and Brother W.F.C. was begun at the Melbourne camp meeting [January, 1894]. There she became enamored of a married man, with two children. She utterly denied that there was any affection between her and Brother C. She stood before me in my tent and declared that there was nothing to the reports. For one year after this she was good for nothing to me, only a dead, heavy load.


We had the affair between Fannie and W. F. C. all through the Armadale camp meeting. I talked with them both separately, and told them that the Lord had a controversy with them both. They denied that there was anything like particular attachment between them. I knew better; but the Lord helped me to work through the meeting. Just before the meeting closed, Fannie came to me and said, “Oh, Sister White, I have come to you as to a mother. I do love Brother C with all my heart, and my heart is just broken. Three times has this cup of bliss been presented to me, and then been snatched away.” Then the girl said, “I prayed that if it was right for us to get married, his wife might get a divorce from him, and it was not many weeks before she did get a divorce. Now don’t you think the Lord heard my prayer?” I dared not talk with her, for I had to speak that day before a large congregation. If Sister Prescott is in Battle Creek, she will be able to tell you the particulars.


Well, from that time I cut loose from Fannie, never, as I thought, to connect with her again. But a little while after this, Fannie was in Sydney and wrote me another confession. I thought that I could not take her back, but the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and said, “Give her another trial.”  So I decided that I would see Fannie and tell her that I would take her back. This I did, and she remained with me several weeks, but was not able to do any work; then she decided that she wanted to go home to her mother, and I told her that she might feel free to do so.–Letter 114, 1897.  {TSB 217.1}


The Case of Nathan Fuller – Breaking the 7th Commandment without having Sexual Intercourse


As I bore my testimony in the morning meeting, the power and Spirit of God rested upon me, but I did not mention individual cases. Later in the day I felt clear in reference to my duty and bore my testimony, naming this one case as being peculiar and most marked. This man, while professedly keeping the fourth commandment was breaking the seventh. By his course of action, he has been doing directly opposite to the direction of the apostle to abstain from every appearance of evil. He was a licentious person. His influence was exerted to gather around him a company of women who accompanied him as a wife would accompany her husband. In this they disgraced their womanhood and wifehood and presented a cause of stumbling to those who would believe the truth were it not for such unchristianlike deportment, such undue familiarity with married and unmarried women.


We are a people looked upon as peculiar. Our position and faith distinguish us from every other sect and denomination. If we as a people are in life and character no better than the world, they will point to us and say, “These are Seventh-day Adventists. We have here a sample of the people who keep the seventh day for Sunday.” The stigma which such a class rightly deserve is attached to all of those who are conscientiously keeping the seventh day, which is clearly pointed out in the fourth commandment. Oh, how much better it would be for us as a people if such a class would not make any pretensions to the truth!


This man, I was shown, was pursuing a course of deception and he is a reproach to the cause of God. He is an offense to God. The ledger of heaven testifies of him thus, “A deceiver, an adulterer, creeping into houses and leading captive women who ought to have wisdom, foresight, and judgment to despise the course of all such men.” How many souls he will destroy by his satanic sophistry, the judgment will tell.


I felt called upon to rebuke this man in the name of the Lord and to call upon the women who were accompanying him from place to place as a faithful wife follows her husband to separate from him and withdraw their misplaced confidence, for unhappiness and ruin were in the path they had entered upon in being led by this man. Such men ought to be rebuked and discountenanced at once, that they may not deceive precious souls and lay stumbling blocks in the way of those who would believe the truth if it were not for the example of such professors of the truth. 3LtMs, Ms 9, 1880.


The Case of Bro. and Sister Wager


Sexual Promiscuity with a lady young enough to be your daughter is a sin more than breaking the seventh commandment. Here is a case where it happened and the Father of the daughter involved, a church leader tried to hide it. Words in brackets my emphasis. Read the full story in {Ms2-1860}. The Father of the girl involved in the adultery and was an elder but concealed the matter was charged unfit of being an elder


Can it be that you are bringing children into the world to be destroyed by the seven last plagues? I was shown that sin does not appear to you as sinful as it is. The course your daughter has pursued has been a grief to you. She has scattered her ways  (committed fornication repeatedly) to strangers. She has greatly sinned. Harrison Smith (who slept with her) has doubly sinned and has fallen. His case was shown me darker than midnight. A heavier sin rests upon him than that of breaking the seventh commandment. He has violated more than one precept of the decalogue. A fearful retribution awaits him. He has sought to cover up and hide his sin, but God’s eye has noticed it all. All is written in the book, even the most secret works. Even the thoughts of his heart are written. He and Sarah have agreed to cover up and to pass on smoothly as though no great wrong had been committed after all. His heart is corrupt, his hands are unclean. He is a guilty man. They have brought a stain and a heavy reproach upon the cause of God. Better would it have been for them both to have had a millstone hung about their necks and they cast into the depths of the sea.


God’s anger has been kindled against you (his father) because you have daubed yourself with untempered mortar. You have whitewashed over this matter and lightly regarded this heinous sin, because you did not show your disgust and horror on account of it. You are unfit to take any leading, responsible position in the church until you entirely reform and view sin and sinners from altogether a different standpoint than you ever yet have done.


God’s anger is kindled against you because you call darkness light and light darkness. You seek to make it appear that evil is good. You would permit those sinners to come into the church. One sinner in the camp of Israel anciently did much harm. All Israel suffered the wrath of God on account of Achan, who coveted and hid a golden wedge and a Babylonish garment.


The armies of Israel were driven before their enemies and there was a great slaughter. This one man’s sins cost the lives of many of the children of Israel, and when he was searched out he was destroyed without mercy.


If Mr. Smith and Sarah seem to repent, the church should not be cursed by their being in it. Let them remain outside, and if they can repent, live a life of continual repentance. But he should have no part in the church privileges. He has added sin to sin. He has put on a bold front, a brazen face, to drive matters through. He has deceived. He has told falsehoods and made it appear as though, after all, his course has been righteous. But in time unless he becomes too hardened, his conscience will be so weighed down under a sense of his heaven-daring crimes, that death will be desired rather than life. Up to a certain point he did well. He had a faithful care of Sister Smith. (so it seems he was taking care of this young promiscuous girl). If he had only waited and continued true to her and borne his burden cheerfully, as long as God saw fit to spare her life, his would have been a reward. But Satan took advantage of him. Your daughter (Mr. Wager) was not discreet and modest and reserved. Her thoughts and mind were directed in the wrong channel. She had been overcome very easily before (in fornication) and therefore was prepared to act the part Satan would have her again. Mr. Smith tempted and she did not resist, and then comes the dreadful work, the acts which heaven has faithfully recorded. He knows of what he is guilty. He knows to what I refer.


Your children, Brother and Sister Wager, have not been prospered. God’s blessing has not attended them. You have not done all your duty to them. How will you answer for them before God? What plan can you make? What excuse urge? 1LtMs, Ms 12, 1862.




What Shall we do? Deriving a Principle


I have no real ground of hope for those who have stood as shepherds to the flock, and have for years been borne with by the merciful God, following them with reproof, with warnings, with entreaties, but who have hid their evil ways, and continued in them, thus defying the laws of the God of heaven by practicing fornication. We may leave them to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, after all has been done to reform them; but in no case entrust to them the guardianship of souls. False shepherds! Oh, can it be that the men who have been engaged in this work for a long time will corrupt their ways before the Lord after great experience and special light?—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 428. . PaM 60.2


I saw that the seventh commandment has been violated by some who are now held in fellowship by the church. This has brought God’s frown upon them. This sin is awful in these last days, but the church members have brought God’s frown and curse upon them by regarding the sin so lightly. I saw it was an enormous sin and there have not been as vigilant efforts made as there should have been to satisfy the displeasure of God and remove His frown by taking a strict, thorough course with the offender.


It has had an awful, corrupting influence upon the young. They see how lightly the sin of breaking the seventh commandment is regarded, and the one who commits this horrid sin thinks that all he has to do is to confess that he was wrong and is sorry, and he is then to have all the privileges of the house of God and be held in the embrace or fellowship of the church.


They have thought it was not so great a sin, but have lightly esteemed the breaking of the seventh commandment. This has been sufficient to remove the ark of God from the camp, if there were no other sins to cause the ark to be taken away and weaken Israel.


  • Those who break the seventh commandment should be suspended from the church, and not have its fellowship nor the privileges of the house of God. Said the angel, “This is not a sin of ignorance. It is a knowing sin and will receive the awful visitation of God, whether he who commits it be old or young.”


Never was this sin regarded by God as being so exceedingly sinful as at the present time. Why? Because God is purifying unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. It is at the very time when God is purifying this peculiar people unto Himself that unsanctified individuals step in among us.


Notwithstanding the straight truths they have heard—the terrors of the Word of God set before them, and all the blazing truth for these last days calculated to arouse Israel— they sin with a high hand, give way to all the loose passions of the carnal heart, gratify their animal propensities, disgrace the cause of God, and then confess they have sinned and are sorry!


  • And the church receives them and says “Amen” to their prayers and exhortations, which are a stink in the nostrils of God, and cause His wrath to come upon the camp. He will not dwell in their assemblies. Those who move on thus heedlessly, plastering over these sins, will be left to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings.


  • Those who anciently committed these sins were taken without the camp and stoned to death. Temporal and eternal death was their doom; and because the penalty of stoning to death is abolished, this sin is indulged in beyond measure and is thought to be a small offense.— Manuscript 3, 1854.


A person might get into that unpleasant situation before accepting the truth, or before making any profession of religion, and, upon sincere repentance, be forgiven that sin as well as other sins. Again, a woman may have been left by her husband, who preferred some other woman, or the husband may have been deserted by his wife, who preferred some other man. In such instances the position has been taken that, according to Matthew 19:9, the one thus deserted is free to marry again. In case of one having two living wives, a Testimony was given in the fifties that they should take a humble position in the church under a consciousness of their sin.. COOD 164.4


Bonus Information


The Wife of a Minister – Her Behavior


June 5, 1863, I was shown that Satan is ever at work to dishearten and lead astray ministers whom God has chosen to preach the truth. The most effectual way in which he can work is through home influences, THROUGH UNCONSECRATED COMPANIONS. IF HE CAN CONTROL THE MIND OF THE WIFE, HE CAN THROUGH HER THE MORE READILY GAIN ACCESS TO THE HUSBAND, WHO IS LABORING IN WORD AND DOCTRINE TO SAVE SOULS. Many have disregarded the sacred obligation resting upon them to improve the light and privileges given, and walk as children of the light. If the vail could be parted, and all could see just how their cases are regarded in heaven, there would be an awakening, and each would with fear inquire, “What shall I do to be saved?”  {GW92 209.2}


THE MINISTER’S WIFE WHO IS NOT DEVOTED TO GOD IS NO HELP TO HER HUSBAND. While he dwells upon the necessity of bearing the cross, and urges the importance of self-denial, THE DAILY EXAMPLE OF HIS WIFE OFTEN CONTRADICTS HIS PREACHING AND DESTROYS ITS FORCE. In this way she becomes a great hindrance, and often leads her husband away from his duty and from God. She does not realize what a sin she is committing. Instead of seeking to be useful, seeking with true love for souls to help such as need help, she shrinks from the task, and prefers a useless life. She is not constrained by the power of Christ’s love, and by unselfish, holy principles. She does not choose to do the will of God, to be a co-worker with her husband, with angels, and with God. WHEN THE WIFE OF THE MINISTER ACCOMPANIES HER HUSBAND IN HIS MISSION TO SAVE SOULS, IT IS A GREAT SIN FOR HER TO HINDER HIM IN HIS WORK BY MANIFESTING UNHAPPY DISCONTENT. Yet, instead of entering heartily into his labors, seeking every opportunity to unite her interest and labor with his, she often studies how she can make it more easy or pleasant for herself. IF THINGS AROUND THEM ARE NOT AS AGREEABLE AS SHE COULD WISH (AS THEY WILL NOT ALWAYS BE), SHE SHOULD NOT INDULGE HOMESICK FEELINGS, OR BY LACK OF CHEERFULNESS AND BY SPOKEN COMPLAINTS HARASS THE HUSBAND AND MAKE HIS TASK HARDER, AND PERHAPS, BY HER DISCONTENT, DRAW HIM FROM THE PLACE WHERE HE COULD DO GOOD. She should not divert the interest of her husband from laboring for the salvation of souls, to sympathize with her ailments, and gratify her whimsical, discontented feelings. If she would forget herself, and labor to help others, talk and pray with poor souls, and act as if their salvation was of higher importance than any other consideration, she would have no time to be homesick. She would feel from day to day a sweet satisfaction as a reward for her unselfish labor; I CANNOT CALL IT SACRIFICE, FOR SOME OF OUR MINISTERS’ WIVES DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS TO SACRIFICE OR SUFFER FOR THE TRUTH’S SAKE.  {GW92 210.1}


In former years the wives of ministers endured want and persecution. When their husbands suffered imprisonment, and sometimes death, those noble, self-sacrificing women suffered with them, and their reward will be equal to that bestowed on the husband. Mrs. Boardman and the Mrs. Judsons suffered for the truth, —suffered with their companions. They sacrificed home and friends in every sense of the word, to aid their companions in the work of enlightening those who sat in darkness; to reveal to them the hidden mysteries of the word of God. Their lives were in constant peril. To save souls was their great object, and for this they could suffer cheerfully.  {GW92 211.1}


I was shown the life of Christ. When his self-denial and sacrifice is compared with the trials and sufferings of the wives of some of our ministers, it causes anything which they may call sacrifice to sink into insignificance. IF THE MINISTER’S WIFE SPEAKS WORDS OF DISCONTENT AND DISCOURAGEMENT, THE INFLUENCE UPON THE HUSBAND IS DISHEARTENING, AND TENDS TO CRIPPLE HIM IN HIS LABOR, ESPECIALLY IF HIS SUCCESS DEPENDS UPON SURROUNDING INFLUENCES. Must the minister of God in such cases be crippled or torn from his field of labor to gratify the feelings of his wife, which arise from an unwillingness to yield inclination to duty? The wife should conform her wishes and pleasures to duty, and give up her selfish feelings for the sake of Christ and the truth. Satan has had much to do with controlling the labors of the ministers, through the influence of selfish, ease-loving companions.  {GW92 211.2}


If a minister’s wife accompanies her husband in his travels, she should not go for her own special enjoyment, to visit and to be waited upon, but to labor with him. She should have a united interest with him to do good. She should be willing to accompany her husband, if home cares do not hinder, and she should aid him in his efforts to save souls. With meekness and humility, yet with a noble self-reliance, she should have a leading influence upon minds around her, and should act her part, and bear her cross and burden in meeting, and around the family altar, and in conversation at the fireside. THE PEOPLE EXPECT THIS, AND THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT IT. IF THESE EXPECTATIONS ARE NOT REALIZED, THE HUSBAND’S INFLUENCE IS MORE THAN HALF DESTROYED. The wife of a minister can do much, if she will. If she possesses the spirit of self-sacrifice, and has a love for souls, she can with him do almost an equal amount of good.  {GW92 212.1}


A sister laborer in the cause of truth can understand and reach some cases, especially among the sisters, THAT THE MINISTER CANNOT. A responsibility rests upon the minister’s wife which she should not and cannot lightly throw off. God will require the talent lent her, with usury. She should work earnestly, faithfully, and unitedly with her husband to save souls. SHE SHOULD NEVER URGE HER WISHES AND DESIRES, OR EXPRESS A LACK OF INTEREST IN HER HUSBAND’S LABOR, OR DWELL UPON HOMESICK, DISCONTENTED FEELINGS. ALL THESE NATURAL FEELINGS MUST BE OVERCOME. SHE SHOULD HAVE A PURPOSE IN LIFE WHICH SHOULD BE UNFALTERINGLY CARRIED OUT. WHAT IF THIS CONFLICTS WITH THE FEELINGS, AND PLEASURES, AND NATURAL TASTES? THESE SHOULD BE CHEERFULLY AND READILY SACRIFICED, IN ORDER TO DO GOOD AND SAVE SOULS.  {GW92 212.2}


THE WIVES OF MINISTERS SHOULD LIVE DEVOTED, PRAYERFUL LIVES. But some would enjoy a religion in which there are no crosses, and which calls for no self-denial and exertion on their part. Instead of standing nobly for themselves, leaning upon God for strength, and bearing their individual responsibility, they have much of the time been dependent upon others, deriving their spiritual life from them. If they would only lean confidingly, in childlike trust, upon God, and have their affections centered in Jesus, deriving their life from Christ, the living vine, what an amount of good they might do, what a help they might be to others, what a support to their husbands, and what a reward would be theirs in the end! “Well done, good and faithful servants,” would fall like sweetest music upon their ears. The words, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,” would repay them a thousand times for all suffering and trials endured to save precious souls.  {GW92 212.3}




I was cited to the case of Abraham. God said to him, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” [Genesis 22:2, 11, 12.] Abraham obeyed God. He did not consult his feelings, but with a noble faith and confidence in God he prepared for his journey. WITH A HEART RENT WITH ANGUISH HE BEHELD THE PROUD, LOVING MOTHER GAZING WITH FOND AFFECTION UPON THE SON OF PROMISE. BUT HE LED THAT LOVED SON AWAY. Abraham suffered; yet he did not let his will rise in rebellion against the will of God. Duty, stern duty, controlled him. He dared not consult his feelings, or yield to them for one moment. His only son walked by the side of the stern, loving, suffering father, talking engagingly, uttering over and over the fond name of father, and then inquiring, “Where is the sacrifice?” O, what a test for the faithful father! Angels looked with pleased wonder upon the scene. The faithful servant of God even bound his beloved son and laid him upon the wood. The knife was raised, when an angel cried out, “Abraham, Abraham, lay not thine hand upon the lad.” [Genesis 22:2, 11, 12.]  {GW92 214.1}


I SAW THAT IT IS NO LIGHT THING TO BE A CHRISTIAN. IT IS A SMALL MATTER TO PROFESS THE CHRISTIAN NAME; BUT IT IS A GREAT AND SACRED THING TO LEAD A CHRISTIAN LIFE. There is but a little time now to secure the immortal crown, to have a record of good acts and fulfilled duties written in heaven. Every tree is judged by its fruit. Every one will be judged according to his deeds, not his profession or his faith. The question will never be asked, How much did he profess? but, What fruit did he bear? If the tree is corrupt, the fruit is evil. If the tree is good, it cannot produce evil fruit.—Vol. 1, p. 449.  {GW92 214.2}




These sisters are closely connected with the work of God, if he has called their husbands to preach the present truth. These servants, if truly called of God, will feel the importance of the truth. They are standing between the living and the dead, and must watch for souls as they that must give an account. SOLEMN IS THEIR CALLING, AND THEIR COMPANIONS CAN BE A GREAT BLESSING OR A GREAT CURSE TO THEM. THEY CAN CHEER THEM WHEN DESPONDING, COMFORT THEM WHEN CAST DOWN, AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO LOOK UP AND TRUST FULLY IN GOD WHEN THEIR FAITH FAILS. OR THEY CAN TAKE AN OPPOSITE COURSE, LOOK UPON THE DARK SIDE, THINK THEY HAVE A HARD TIME, EXERCISE NO FAITH IN GOD, TALK THEIR TRIALS AND UNBELIEF TO THEIR COMPANIONS, INDULGE A COMPLAINING, MURMURING SPIRIT, AND BE A DEAD WEIGHT, AND EVEN A CURSE TO THEM.  {GW92 215.2}


I SAW THAT THE WIVES OF THE MINISTERS SHOULD HELP THEIR HUSBANDS IN THEIR LABORS, AND BE EXACT AND CAREFUL WHAT INFLUENCE THEY EXERT; FOR THEY ARE WATCHED, AND MORE IS EXPECTED OF THEM THAN OF OTHERS. THEIR DRESS SHOULD BE AN EXAMPLE. THEIR LIVES AND CONVERSATION SHOULD BE AN EXAMPLE, SAVORING OF LIFE RATHER THAN OF DEATH. I saw that they should take a humble, meek, yet exalted stand, not having their conversation upon things that do not tend to direct the mind heavenward. The great inquiry should be, “How can I save my own soul, and be the means of saving others?” I saw that no half-hearted work in this matter is accepted of God. He wants the whole heart and interest, or he will have none. Their influence tells, decidedly, unmistakably, in favor of the truth or against it. They gather with Jesus or scatter abroad. AN UNSANCTIFIED WIFE IS THE GREATEST CURSE THAT A MINISTER CAN HAVE. THOSE SERVANTS OF GOD THAT HAVE BEEN AND ARE STILL SO UNHAPPILY SITUATED AS TO HAVE THIS WITHERING INFLUENCE AT HOME, SHOULD DOUBLE THEIR PRAYERS AND THEIR WATCHFULNESS, TAKE A FIRM, DECIDED STAND, AND LET NOT THIS DARKNESS PRESS THEM DOWN. THEY SHOULD CLEAVE CLOSER TO GOD, BE FIRM AND DECIDED, RULE WELL THEIR OWN HOUSE, AND LIVE SO THAT THEY CAN HAVE THE APPROBATION OF GOD AND THE WATCH-CARE OF THE ANGELS. But if they yield to the wishes of their unconsecrated companions, the frown of God is brought upon the dwelling. THE ARK OF GOD CANNOT ABIDE IN THE HOUSE, BECAUSE THEY COUNTENANCE AND UPHOLD THEM IN THEIR WRONGS. — Vol. 1, p. 138.  {GW92 216.1}


For PDF file click on the Title below

Decorum and Discipline of Gospel Ministers

Very solemn

Gods’ Blessings

Sami Wilberforce



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