Friday, March 1, 2013
Muskegon, Mich March 15, 1951
You could tolerate failure for fifty years, if anybody learned a lesson by it, and the was a promise that they were going to profit by the lesson; but just to have it go on year after year, and as your Gus Koehler (to my mind the only real bishop you ever had) getting farther and farther from the objective all the time—well that just naturally makes the heart grow faint, and the hope evaporate. One can’t help but think of the $20,000 to graduate as a 32nd degree Mason, and what a nice start that would have made, at that day, for the building of a storehouse.
Well, I see I will have to be careful to make my letters agree with my admonitions through the Advocate, or you will catch me up on it. But I do get so exasperated when I find some old sister wandering around like a lost soul in hell, her hope all gone, though she testified still that when she read the Preface to the Book of the Lord’s commandments (Secton 1) when she was 17 she had a testimony that it was the truth. But with their three thriving local church groups in Flint, the s.d.c.ers were determined to sell one and compel the people to go across town to one of the others, and when the congregation wouldn’t vote for it, they brought enough (what they called at the time of the trial of Christ, suborned witnesses) voters over from No.1 to outvote the local, and sold the building out from under them, and when the smoke had cleared away they had 16 left from a congregation of 300. It is the underhanded things they’ve done that has wrecked the Restoration here in Michigan—And now Traverse City is going the same way. That’s why I said I was trying to salvage what I could. It is hard to be charitable toward that sort of thing. But maybe I ought to be grateful that it gives me a chance to salvage some before they get to be driftwood on the seas of the Restoration. I come across so many heart-broken people that it makes me sick at heart, and a little venomous at times.
That outsider that has been keeping, more than keeping, the temporal law for the last twenty years, like the widow who gave her two mites, well we didn’t need to convert her; all we had to do was to keep her waiting at the gate till we had an opportunity to teach her the gospel, and the outstanding feathers of the Restoration, and to fortify her in a measure for the trials of trying to live among those that say Lord, Lord “but do not the things that I say.”
But, finally, we couldn’t keep her out any longer, so she was baptized Feb. 11. She wrote a poem March 1. Said it just came to her. She didn’t know what it meant, but she had to write it. I’ll enclose a copy of it. And I’ll send one she wrote in 1946, after she had searched for the truth for 14 years, without finding anything to satisfy her mind. I think she comes nearer being the love of Christ personified that any one I ever met.
Well it is getting late and I am so tired I can’t hit the right letters any more, so will wait till morning.
March 16. A little more about Sister Lau. Her mother was a socialite given to bridge parties and such; and when the parties were about to break, her father would give her a wink and go out one door, and she would got out the other, and they’d hitch up the horse to the buggy and would go away to the lake and the forest, and he would teach her nature’s lore. He must have been a poet and didn’t know it, and he filled her soul with the things of nature till it must have come out in poems. She wrote her first when she was four years old, just scribbled it on a piece of paper, and her father kept that for forty years.
One evening when they were out on the river bank, she noticed that just at sundown everything became quiet, birds and trees, and she asked her father, “What’s the matter everything is so still?” He answered, Don’t you know? And then he told her it was Nature’s hour of prayer, when all nature joined in silent prayer to God in thanksgiving for His love. He told her that even the rocks gave glory to God. He taught her of the Oneness that should be among all people, until All Things Common is just the natural way of life to her—all shake alike and all be equal.
I read her what I wrote to you about thinking I would have been happier just to have lived in my ideals and not engaged in the affairs of church and state, etc., and when I read the part about “but the solitary usually congratulates himself upon it at the end; and of those who persevere some become saints and some poets and some philosophers, “she laughed when I said poets.
We will be starting on our way south tomorrow; but it will be April 2 before we reach Independence, and maybe later.
The weather is pretty nice here. The snow was gone by the first of March, and the ground is nice and dry. As we have listened to the weather reports and forecasts daily this winter, we have discovered that this part of Michigan has much better weather than Illinois and Indiana to the south of us—that is for this winter anyway. She (Mrs. Lau) plans on coming to the conference. Maybe you will meet her.
Well I must close, and finish packing and getting ready for the trek tomorrow.
With love, Leon
Dear Hallie and the rest,
I got your letter and since I have a little time tonight, as it is only 9, I’ll write awhile. Don’t get excited over the rumors. Yes I am under silence, pending trial for hurting McClain’s feelings; but it is only one of those petty, personal, vindictive stunts men pull once in a while. He wrote an open letter and sent it to the whole Advocate list last winter telling so many big ones about the Editors, the Twelve, and the Conference, that I just naturally had to answer it. Of course he didn’t like it to have me put his statements side by side so that everyone could see how carelessly he handled the truth, and so he’s trying to vent his spite. The trial will probably be at Minneapolis soon, and I’ll put some more of his statements side by side to prove just what he is.
He has made some threats about suing, but I don’t think there is any danger of that, it would cost him more than he would get out of it. Anyway I told him I would gladly spend the rest of my days in jail if it would clean up the mess in the general office. I didn’t send my open letter to the Advocate list, however; but only to the Twelve, the Bishops, Editors, and three others, 22 in all. But it did the work and got him out of office, while his widespread effort fell flat. That’s why he’s sore. However, if he does anything at all he must do it soon, for by the end of the conference year there will be such a change for the better in the church’s financial affairs, hes loudest roar won’t be worth a whisper.
It is warming up here now, 85 today. We’ll be making garden as fast as we can now. Suckers are running, and we have plenty of fish and maple sirup.
While in Council Bluffs on the way home, I saw a write-up about the Mormons at Manti, showing a picture of Father Cutler’s tombstone, and it kind of brought back memories of old time stories. Also while there I went out to Winter Quarters and saw the Mormon burial ground with tombstones dated in the late 40’s, Brigham Young’s house built nearly a hundred years ago, and the monument erected on the hill in the cemetery, depicting a hardy pioneer, his arm, shovel in hand, supporting his sorrowing wife, as they looked upon the face of their child in the open grave. Somehow as I looked at it something griped me with such force that I seemed to be a part of that great multitude, and partake of their sorrows and hardships as they bent their backs to burdens that the Lord had not ordered, at the behest of an ambitious leader, and I wept as I thought how often history repeats itself. In the base of the monument were bronze plates inscribed with the names of hundreds of head, though I don’t suppose the whole six hundred are there. And also in bronze letters are nearly every scripture quotation in the Bible on the resurrections. And then there was the song:
“And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! All is well!
We’ll then be free from toil and sorrow too,
With the just we shall dwell.
I wonder how Genevieve stands as well as she does the controlling of a church by repulsion, expulsion, compulsion, propulsion, and impulsion.
When the church was rejected at Nauvoo, it was rejected as to Quorum and council, organization and perpetuation, not as members, or ministers, as individuals, nor necessarily as to individual members of quorums who were faithful. But it was the right as quorums to perpetuate their organization under divine direction that was taken from them.
Fred M’s impulsion message went over with a bang; it had the s.d.c. leverage to make it go over.
To the Church of Christ came a clear-cut Thus saith the Spirit of the living God to you my servants—no impulsion about it. There was no s.d.c. leverage however to put it over without protest. The conference referred it to the whole body of ministry; the ministry referred it back to the conference without prejudice and without action. The conference directed the calling of a solemn assembly in August to consider it. All anyone has to do, is to read the impulsion message and the Jordan clear—cut message side by side, and let their heart render the verdict.
The message coming to the Church of Christ, if it had claimed to be only human impulsion, with s.d.c. behind it, and no voice raised in protest, would have gone over with a bang, too. But the Church of Christ is hesitant, slow and fearful and it is better so, than it is not to want to know.
(He doesn’t seem to be silenced yet)
(He lays it all onto McClain but one man couldn’t silence him. It must have been voted on by the Twelve at least and I think his feelings are hurt more than he will own.)
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Bemidji, Minn., May 21, 1937.
We have lots of work and lots of rain, and the lakes and rivers are at flood tide. We got five cords of bolts ready to haul and then it began to rain, and kept it up for twelve hours, with follow up showers for twelve hours more or so that the roads are not much more than floating bogs.
We have peas, radishes, lettuce, and beets up and looking fine. Plenty of onions to eat, and the radishes just getting big enough. Sweetcorn is coming up.
But the wind is northwest following the rainy season so we are liable to have a frost. We are due for two more frosts anyhow, one this week, and one June 10, so we have to govern our planting accordingly.
Winfield and Eugene have jobs, one gets $3.50 per day, and the other $2.50. Winfield comes home nights, but Eugene boards with Ross’s folks.
Darlene has been working in town for a couple of weeks at housework.
Any had a bad spell with her appendix Tuesday night, so bad she was groaning (almost screaming) every breath. She was administered to, and the pain left, and she went to sleep right away, and has been all right ever since.
Stella goes out walking occasionally with a young giant, and it looks as if cupid was hitting the mark with his little arrows.
Arlo is at home, cutting bolts, and stripping the cow occasionally.
I got how from Minneapolis the 9th., and got Ethel’s telegram the next afternoon? Wish I could have been there with you all; but am glad I had the visit before hand. I got a letter from Wm. Anderson, one of the apostles, saying, “I have just returned from your father’s funeral service, and thought I would write you a few lines. I am sorry you were not able to be here, though often in our experiences we are unable to do the thing we would wish to do. The service was very nice. Fred A. paid a very fine tribute to your father. I did not have the privilege of knowing him in life, and do not remember of ever meeting him. He looked very nice in death, and did not have the appearance of being as old as he was.”
Ethel wrote, too, of how young he looked, and the particulars of the service.
We had a mess of sunfish for breakfast. Could have more is any one had time to row out in the lake and drop a line overboard.
With love, Leon
Friday, February 8, 2013
Bemidji, Minn., April 28, 1935
Dear Father and Mother,
I was hoping to come down there for a few days this spring, but just couldn’t make it yet. It seems like where one must work to provide for six or more it takes all their time now-a-days, and then there is none too much; but somehow we have been able to provide for our needs so far, although far from faring sumptuously every day. I wonder why it is that when one has good cornmeal mush, pancakes, and maple sirup for breakfast, he craves bacon and eggs, butter cream, oranges, and lemon pie instead.
But the rich feel that only the few should have bacon and eggs, cream, butter, and the delicious fruits of the earth, while the many go eat their turnips. Well let them have their good things, and we’ll eat our turnips. But I never could pray for God to bless a system that robs the common people in order to let the rich loll in the lap of luxury. Sixty years old, almost, and I see in the fruit-stands things that I have never tasted, and many others so seldom that they are but shadowy dreams, while carloads are dumped to maintain prices so high that we can’t buy them.
The new deal has paid the farmer for the acre of wheat he agreed not to raise, but has taxed the acre he did raise to pay it. It has paid the farmer six dollars for the hog he did not raise, but has taxed him six dollars for the one he did raise to pay it. And then they wonder why conditions don’t seem to improve, and why the farmers are not satisfied with the new deal. The whole alphabetical program from start to finish is the craziest deal ever invented by man. It couldn’t work. At a time when the people had nothing to buy with at low prices, they raised the prices of everything they had to buy, and lowered the price of everything they raised to sell. Just how they figured that a man who had to scratch to buy flour at 89 cents a hundred, would be better able to buy it at $4.15 a hundred on a smaller income is a profound mystery. Small wonder that hundreds have been buying feed all winter and sifting it to make their bread, when they can get it at $2.25 a hundred. The wise man of Egypt stored grain during the years of plenty to supply the lean years that followed; but the fools of finance of our day, plowed under the cotton, burned the wheat, slaughtered the hogs, and curtailed production, while millions stood by destitute, unfed, unhoused, and unclothed. The “new deal” will go down in history as the most dastardly crime against humanity since the dawn of nations, either barbarous or semi-civilized like we are.
The county agent here is warning farmers to liquidate, and get their cattle and chattels clear this summer, for by fall the wave of “Prosperity” will be over, and we’ll see worse times that ever; but it makes the most of them mad. They won’t heed it. However; if this is prosperity, the sooner it comes to an end the better.
So we stand by and watch the dying struggles of capitalism, and can only say be damned to it, and pray the good Lord to hasten its demise. It has been one long drawn-out curse since its inception.
And then we looking in the books of the church and see the loving goodness of GOD IN HIS WILLINGNESS TO point the way for the people of the church to avoid the pangs of the present crises and our soul dries up and our heart fails within, and our hopes turn to ashes. How different it would have been if the shepherds of the flock had been as interested in feeding the sheep as they were in feeding themselves, or in other words as interested in establishing the common people in a condition of comfort as outlined in the revelations, as they were in being bedecked in gold braid and flashing swords and ranting up and down the streets on prancing black chargers, firing cannon salutes, or in blossoming out in new automobiles every time someone donates fifty thousand dollars to the treasury for the poor and needy. Surely the prophet’s forecast has been fulfilled by latter-day Israel, when he said:
“And the word of the Lord came unto me saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, nether have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. . . . Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, than they may not be meat for them.” Ezekiel 34:1-10
Spoken no doubt directly to Israel in his day; but the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and his course one eternal round, and will treat the latter-day Israel as he did former day Israel. His justice remains the same, his mercy endureth forever, and he will reclaim his flock of starvlings, and deliver them from the shepherds who have been fattening themselves, and have failed to make the provision for the flock that would have preserved them in comfort, though all nations be vexed because of the conditions that they brought upon themselves. And when we think of what “might have been”, we sigh, and turn our faces to the wall. “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.” And surely the hope of Israel has been long deferred. Your dream of starvation pasture is fulfilled already, Pa.
When I read of that last fourth of July celebration in Nauvoo, I can’t blame the people for driving them out; and when I see the doings of the “Shepherds” of today, I wonder the flock itself doesn’t rise up and drive them out.
I read your long letter, father, and appreciated it, and would like to comment on it in detail; but I am getting old and slow, and it will probably take me all summer.
Like you, we have done a lot of reading, and we have found many strange things. And like you, we are often led to exclaim, Wouldn’t it have been better for the church if instructions had been carried out as given, instead of doing something else, how much better it might have been.
Joseph Smith was designated the first elder, and an apostle, and Oliver Cowdery the second elder, and an apostle, and instructed that there were others who were to be chosen “even unto twelve” as first published, and Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were instructed to search out these others. If David Whitmer was to be included in the number, it would require nine others to bring the number “unto twelve.” For some reason this was not done, and a small isolated conference in Ohio with no direction so far as the record goes, chose Joseph to be President, and sent their action to Independence to be ratified. Afterward the word “unto” was dropped from the revelation, and so Joseph, Oliver, and David were never in the quorum of twelve. Might the church not have been different, if this direction had been carried out?
If we accept section 104, the sad thing about it is that there is no division of the Restoration in our day, that has a presidency like the one provided for there. For section 104 creates from four to an indefinite number of quorums and councils equal in authority and power in their decisions with the First Presidency. There is no place to go to find that kind of church government in operations. It must be like “equality” and “all things common”-yet to come.
We accept the revelations the same as we do the Bible and Book of Mormon, the former, “so far as it is translated correctly”, and the latter: “If there be mistakes, they are the mistakes of men.” And it is quite evident that there are mistakes, and many changes, additions, and subtractions. Section 7 was published three times, once in the Book of Commandments, and twice in the church papers, and yet, when it was published in 1835, after a presidency was selected, it contained two paragraphs that it never contained before, paragraphs 16 and 17, relating to the president of the high priesthood, etc.
Sections 3,5,8,16,17,24,26,42, and 43, there are 1,608 changes, and many other changes in the other revelations.
In the Book of Commandments chapter 44, which is section 42 in Doctrine and Covenants, it reads, “Thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which though hast unto me.”
This seems to be in complete harmony with Acts: “Neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own, but all things common.”
And Joseph understood it in that light according to his letter to Bishop Patridge, Church History, vol.1, page 300: “Every man must be his own judge how much he should receive, and how much he should suffer to remain in the hands of the bishop. I speak of those who consecrate more than they need for the support of themselves and their families….
Therefore, those persons consecrating property to the bishop in Zion, and then receiving an inheritance back, etc. Showing a complete consecration, both that which he needs for his family, and the surplus. Section 42 reads “consecrate of thy properties,” OF instead of ALL. Quite a difference in meaning. One favors the rich, the other puts all on equal footing. One agrees with Acts, and the letter to Partridge, the other is built to order to feed to the flock by shepherds who have discarded the law of equality. In the same verse the words “bishops of my church and his counselors, two of the elders,” have the words “or high priests” added to the original. The same revelation in the Book of Commandments, reads: “Every family shall have a place, that they may live by themselves—and every church shall be organized in as close bodies as they can be: and this for a wise purpose.” This indicates a grouping together of the families of each group, or branch or church, for convenience in laboring together, and for protection. It agrees with Acts: where all “that believed were together, and had all things common.” But that instruction was dropped entirely from Doctrine and Covenants. Why? Had the shepherds decided it was easier to fatten on the flock if they were separated, and scattered, and all things common forgotten?
The number of presidents seem to have varied at different times, sometimes it was three, sometimes one, (when Joseph said, “Where I am not, there is no presidency), on page 560 of the History, there were seven presidents assembled at a GRAND council (that word GRAND sounds terribly Masonic), besides the bishops and their councils, and the Twelve, and some of the seventy with sic of their presidents named. And on page 572 there are four Presiding Elders named.
After all, was salvation based upon whether they had one, seven, four, or none?
The Nephites after Christ’s visit were blessed, prospered, reached the highest state of perfection of any of Christ’s church after his advent, with neither Presidency nor Quorum of Twelve Apostles, but with twelve disciples in charge. Nowhere do we find them told that their salvation hinged upon their belief in Presidency or Apostles. We do find them told plainly upon what their salvation does hinge, however.
At Jerusalem they had a Quorum of TWELVE Apostles, but nowhere do we find them told that their salvation hinged upon a belief in a Presidency. W.H.Kelley and Gomer T. Griffiths each while he was a member of the Twelve wrote a book on Presidency, one maintaining that James was the President, and the other that Peter was. The Bible evidence of Presidency seems rather elusive. J.W. Peterson took the ground that they had the Twelve Apostles at Jerusalem, a stake high council of twelve disciples in America, and most likely the First Presidency with the ten lost tribes. That would get them far enough apart so they wouldn’t quarrel, anyway. That way the Presidency couldn’t lord it over the Twelve, the Twelve needed complain of being reduced to the roll of errand boys for the Presidency, and the stake council in America could exercise its right of decision without intervention of the Presidency or Twelve Apostles.
What is necessary for salvation? Christ himself is authority for it to the Nephites, and this is what he said:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine…. Whoso believeth in my, and is baptized, the same shall be saved;…and whoso believeth in me, believeth in the Father also…. Ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God. Verily, verily I say unto you, that this is my doctrine; and whoso buildeth upon this, buildeth upon my rock; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare MORE or LESS than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock, but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell standeth open to receive such.”—Nephi 5:32—42. (Third Nephi)
This statement of his doctrine essential to salvation, by Christ, is simple, straightforward, easy to understand, complete and final.
I look upon the Restoration Movement as on great pasture in which the sheep were to be fed, but the shepherds of the flock in order to fatten themselves have built division fences, and divided the sheep into flocks, and each shepherd in his particular division has planted obnoxious weeds, in addition to the wholesome food planted by Christ above, essential to salvation, and demanded that his followers shall endorse and feed upon the obnoxious growth in other to remain in his particular division; in other words to accept “MORE than” the “this” mentioned by Christ, or be cast out. That is why the sheep are divided, and scattered, and found in the valleys of the mountains, the forests of the north the sandy plains of the south and southwest, sick and hungry, fleeced and uncared for, and the fleecing goes merrily on.
Since when have you seen, or heard it advocated even, an effort to raise means by the law given in sections 106 and 42?
And how many times in the last twenty-five years, when money was to be raised, have they failed to go at it in the good old catholic way, a per capita assessment. The amount to be raised allotted to the districts according to their membership—The districts apportion their allotments to the branches according to their membership, the branches proportion its assessment among its members, which in the final analysis means to each producer according to the number of his dependants.
If I am supporting a wife and eight children who belong to the church, I have ten portions to pay, but my neighbor who supports a wife and one child belonging to the church has three portions to pay. And then the shepherds preen themselves, and spread their tail feathers, and strut up and down the stage, and say, Wasn’t that a noble plan? That lets the rich off easy, and socks it to the poor. The rich will still be our friends and bestow upon us toothsome benefits. While the poor may “eat flies, and like it” for all we care.
And to think of the “MORE” that has been added to this Restoration Movement! It is appalling!
Here are some of them:
Rebaptism, to renew their covenant, starts as early as 1842.
Rebaptism for the healing of the body, by the Reorganization.
Baptism for the dead at five dollars a head.
Proxy baptism for the living.
Endowments robes decorated with emblems of the square, compass, and level.
Secret others and penalties.
Supreme Directional Control.
Prosecuter court, and judge, all rolled into one.
And dozens of minor things, such as Who is president of the church, and who isn’t.
The thing that counts, is to be established on the “rock” as Christ said? That saves. These other things do not.
Joseph Smith begat a large spiritual progeny. They are not all in any on division of the restoration movement. There may be some in each of these divisions, and if they have kept their feet firmly planted on the rock, they will be saved. Their sonship, their membership, and their priesthood are good until they forfeit it by turning away from God.
The only basis for a union of divided latter day Israel, is upon the “rock” stated by Christ. To do that each division must remove the division fence erected by man, and forsake the obnoxious weeds of man’s planting; and each division has plenty of this to do, including the church of Christ (Temple Lot). But sometime it will be done, and all who desire will have the opportunity to worship God on the platform of Christ’s statement of doctrine, without have the club of man’s departure there from or addition thereto, hanging over his head to beat him into submission.
(To be continued)
How time does fly, and how crowded our days are with necessary duties! Trying to get a crop in, and at the same time make a living! Sometimes one lags behind, and then the other. One morning, while Alice was taking care of a neighbor woman and her new baby, Stella turned to me and said, “Papa, I’ve got the pancake batter all stirred up, and there isn’t any lard,” just as if she thought I might say a few words and produce the lard. I thought of the widow’s cruse of oil, but felt that I didn’t have the faith to tell her to dip into the lard can and get it. The emergency didn’t seem to warrant it. So I said, “Well sprinkle some cornmeal in the griddle, and put in your batter.” She did, and we had pancakes that way for a few mornings. Not too bad at that. When I think of the train loads of lard, sugar and flour I have bought, I think if there were some way to get along without buying those three articles, I could get rich yet.
We have had a superabundance of rain this month. Hardly know what to do with it. The river is so full we can’t cross with a car to get to the highway.
Our crops are doing fairly well, but need sunshine to hurry them up. Tomatoes are beginning to blossom. We have nearly seven hundred of them out, and a thousand cabbage plants. Early potatoes and sweet corn are looking good; peas just in bloom, strawberries beginning to ripen, but the only garden sass we have had so far are radishes, onions, and greens. Cutworms played havoc with our melon patch. Squash are looking fine, more than two hundred hills of them. Beans about ready to blossom. Field corn is slow, too cool and wet.
Maple sirup was a short crop this spring, for some reason; about a third of our usual run; so that is gone. We have a little contraband game in awhile, when some neighbor kills a fleetfoot and donates a chunk. We see them running around once in awhile. There are plenty of tracks, so we know they are right around us. We had a big turtle stew awhile back. Tastes good enough, if we could only forget what it was while eating. Our timber crop is a continual harvest. Sold about three hundred dollars worth during fall, winter, and spring. The old Model TT hauls a cord and a quarter of green birch, and that brings five dollars, and that is the way we keep off the relief.
They used to tell us that socialism would destroy “initiative”, and “incentive.” But when I look at the poor folks on relief, and see how many of them have no ambition to ever want to work again, and not enough incentive left to dig a patch of spuds if they were given them already raised, or pull a patch of beans, or cut a field of corn for the whole crop, I can’t help but feel that capitalism has destroyed not only initiative and incentive, but manhood and womanhood also. We hear people on the relief say, “It has got so we just can’t get along without five pounds of butter a week anymore,” and I could name three families that haven’t had that much butter altogether, all winter and spring. I wonder what such people will do when relief peters out.
Stella is working just now for a neighbor for three dollars a week—may last all summer. She comes home nights, and gets to work at 8:30 in the morning.
Well, I guess that is all the gossip I can think of so will close, with love to all. Leon.
Bemidji, Minn., July 9, 1934
Dear Father and Mother,
We are having another of our rains today. It has rained so much since the first of June that we can hardly find the ground dry enough to cultivate, or even play. It was dry enough this morning so that we tried to plant turnips, and cultivate some, but by two o’clock it was raining again.
A week ago yesterday we had a hail storm in two installments. The first installment was mostly small hailstones, and it hailed till the ground was quite white, plugged holes through the melon and squash leaves, knocked some of the blossoms off the peas and beans, but did no very serious damage. An hour or so later I went down to the yard to take some oats to the horses which were in the pasture, and stopped to watch a funny looking cloud cavorting almost overhead, and wondering whether it would develop into a tornado or not, when I happened to look toward the lake and saw what appeared to be rocks falling into the lake so big that it made the water splash six to eight feet high, then I heard r-i-i-p, r-i-i-p, r-i-i-p, through poplar trees between me and the lake, and I set my bucket of oats down right there and hightailed it for the house? They were the biggest hail I ever saw, but so scattering that no damage was done here. The scattering big hail covered an area of several square miles, from reports, and a mile east some of the neighbors were watching the cloud, and it just seemed to empty itself all at once in a wall of big hail that came up within a few yards of their garden, and extended out into a swamp region where no one lives of two or three miles. If that avalanche of hail had struck any growing crops nothing would have been left.
Corn, grain, and tame hay crops are the best they have been in years in this country. Our sweet corn is tasseling, potatoes almost big enough to use, we had green peas the 4th, and string beans the 5th, took a bushel of peas to town Saturday, had half a bushel for Sunday dinner, and expect to take two bushel to town Wednesday. We have had early turnips, bagas, radishes, onions, and lettuce for quite a while, and all kinds of greens, including mustard, turnip top, spinach, chard, and beets.
A ground hog raided out cabbage patch and almost cleaned them out before I raided him with a shotgun.
So far we have had a most enjoyable summer. No cutworms, no mosquitoes, no potato bugs, though flies are beginning to make their advent the last couple of days. We are living in a tropical forest of birch, poplar, elm, basswood, and balsam, on some of the best soil in the world, where I can sit in the front door and look out across the melon patch and the lake (about twenty rods from the house); and down from the back door, about twice as far, down a winding trail, is a gurgling brook, with sandy shallows for wading, and deeper pools for bathing, with a footbridge across it, to which people come and sit and swing their feet in the water. It is an ideal place for an outing and vacation. Wish the girls could come up and spend their vacation here, and bring you along. It would be easier to make the trip than to endure that blistering heat, wouldn’t it? Bring your woolen underwear along.
Coming across the footbridge one evening at dusk I saw a husky fish of some sort dash out from under it and head up stream, thought it must be either a big pike or sucker. I set down my forkful of hay, got the spear which was nearby, and by a lucky throw I put three times through his head, when I discovered that I had captured a three and a half pound black bass. It made enough for breakfast for the family. Biggest bass I ever saw. Don’t know how it happened to be in the creek, unless it was to give us something delicious for breakfast.
We have more than two acres of potatoes on peat land, the land that is claimed to produce from four to eight hundred bushels to the acre. It is an experiment with us, but the prospects certainly look good for a bumper crop now, so we are hoping this will be one winter we won’t have to go without spuds enough to eat all we want. With a good meat, potatoes, and been crop, maybe we can get along.
Well if Leon goes haying now for a couple of weeks or more he won’t get any time to finish this so I might as well send this on. Some of the girls plan to go and cook for the haymakers so they’ll have sort of an outing as its real near the big lake. There is a house for them to camp in with a cook stove.
We have hardly seen anybody of the relation around here this spring so we don’t really know whether they are all right or no.
Phyllis and babies were up to our place Sunday and Monday. They were well. It was the first time they had been up here since we moved up here this spring. Her kids even to the baby surely enjoyed it though, when they went in bathing.
Well I’m getting so sleepy I can hardly keep my eyes open or hold the pen to write. I’m in the habit of taking an afternoon nap and that spoils me.
We were glad to hear from you so please write whenever you can,
With love to all-Alice
Monday, February 4, 2013
Bemidji, Minn., Feb. 13, 1937
Grandpa and Grandpa Whiting joined the church in an early day when it was good and true and lovely, and because it was so good and lovely in their younger says, they couldn’t believe that evil and designing men had gained control and corrupted it, honeycombed it with secretism and secret chamber work until it was no longer the church which they had joined. And so they put in the latter half of their lives grieving because their children couldn’t conscientiously cling to the old wreck.
So Pa and Ma joined the church when it was good and true and lovely, when the new wine was being put into new bottles, which the old bottles could not hold. And now they can’t see that the same corruption of secretism and evil has entered in, and that no one in the ministry can continue in it long without being contaminated.
You girls are clings to the church as it was when we joined it, not I hope and pray, as it is now.
I made my protest against the evils that were entering in, in a right and proper way. I took it up with our branch business meetings, and with unanimous vote of the branch we went to the district conference with our protest. And Lester with his Masonic brethren delayed the opening of the conference meeting for half an hour while they went upstairs and planned how best to prevent our having a chance to present it. There is no avenues open for protest against the iniquities that are increasing—a minister must be under the thumb of someone.
Look at your Walnut Park pastor (was it Dowker?) who used to speak a little too plain against these evils, and how they framed him and let him down and out. And no one dared to raise a voice in his defense. Let them get away with it. Unless Oakman has plenty of financial backing so that he can fight them in the courts of the land if necessary, that is what will happen to him.
I have worked right along by the side of three Masons for years, and I know them to be liars and crooks. They will lie like a Catholic (and why shouldn’t they? The father of all lies is the authentic source of both of them.) and are as crooked as a rail fence. And the higher in the social scale they get the crookeder they are. I worker under a Masonic Postmaster for years, and had to fight his crookedness and cussedness clean to Washington and back. I wouldn’t believe a Mason’s oath on a stack of Bibles a mile high, in the church or out. And you church machinery is in charge of Masons from start to finish, from the Presidency down to the outlying branches.
I well remember when I heard the first suggestion of supreme directional control. It was in Omaha in 1900, and Fred A. Smith was the one that brought it up. Said they must work toward the plan of having the presidents of districts appointed by the Presidency, and the branch presidents also thought the district presidents. And that is the way she is done to-day. It gave me a chill right then, and I wondered if such a castastrophy could possibly occur. It would be nice, if the president were a man like King Mosiah, who would do the right thing himself, and choose only men of like nature. But it is quite a different thing when he is a Mason, and appointing Masons and their sympathizers in districts and branches. I know that a resolution was adopted in 1923 intended to preserve the right of the individual to make nominations; but (unreadable for a bit SSGII) have written the name of those they wanted nominated and given the slips to people in the audience to make the nominations, so that it would appear that the resolution was being honored, when it was in fact being ignored in about the rottenest manner possible.
But what would you expect? A man who belongs to a secret society is a living lie before the whole community. He appear to be a certain person in his everyday life before his friends, and in secret he is another sort of person living another life. And your church quorums and councils and courts are honeycombed with that sort of people, and they are in control of the machinery of the church, and neither the people who know it, nor God, can have any confidence in them.
That was what was the matter in 1844 that caused rejection of the quorums (not of the people).
Those leading men could read the Book of Mormon and Bible and Doctrine and Covenants on marriage, and then they could turn right around and interpret it that they were justified in joining the church of the devil, and in marrying ten virgins in order to pass by the angels in glory. To be sure they suspended the practice of polygamy by a manifesto, so if their ten virgin revelation was right, the church is wrong now, and their ministers are under the obligation of going out and presenting a doctrine and covenants that has revelations forbidding plural marriage, a revelation permitting it, and a manifesto suspending it. Would you go out and support that rubbish? Not unless you were seven kinds of fool.
And the Reorganization is in the same boat so far and the church of the devil is concerned. And after reading the Bible as to how the lords of the Gentile exercise control, “but it shall not be so among you” And “he that is greatest let him be your servant,” and the Book of Mormon that all things should be done by the voice of the people, and the Doctrine and Covenants, “Let all things be done by common consent in the church.” They interpreted that to mean that supreme directional control was permitted to one man over all the affairs of the church, with the right to eliminate and to discipline, and with the quorums and courts arbitrarily reorganized contrary to law, and men put in who upheld that doctrine, would you trust their decisions on any other points of doctrine, or law, or case in court? I wouldn’t. Their minds are so corrupted by Masonic lies that they can not discern the right. Exactly in the same condition that the quorums were in 1844 when they were rejected as quorums; but they went right on, and are still going; reorganized according to man’s ideas, but still going.
Of course you are woman, and you don’t know all that is going on; but at your last General Conference, solicitors were working among the delegates enticing them to join the Masonic society, and offering cut rates as and enducement.
Hardly twenty-four hours had elapsed after our conference close, before one of your elders was talking with two of ours and feeling them out on the matter of appointing committees to meet together to find common ground for the union of the factions. And he says, Now that would be a fine thing. There isn’t much between us, and with just a little ironing out we can get together. Take this matter of the Masonic lodge, you people object to that, but really it is a good thing. A mighty good thing. And if your folks would just change your stand on that, then rest would be quite easy. Needless to say he didn’t get an agreement.
Now just how would you like to go out and present a doctrine and covenants with a revelations saying that all things should be done by common consent, and another one lauding and supporting a document that destroys all common consent, and a conference resolution on record in 1932 that suspends the latter so far as the bishopric is concerned because Curry wouldn’t accept the job until it was suspended? You would be in the same predicament the Brighamite elders are. What good is suspension, if the contradictory revelations are STILL IN THE BOOKS?
What you have now is not the pure and true and lovely church organization of Father’s day. But a huge Masonic spider in control of the machinery of the church—I should say an octopus, with its tentacles reaching out to and through every district to the farthest branches. And so if a poor little elder dares to say a word against the evils, the president can reach out with a club of silence and tap him on the head, “subject to the adjudication provided for in the law”(See s.d.c. document). And when said little elder wants to take advantage of the adjudication provided for he finds the elders’ courts, the bishops’ court, and the high council loaded with Masons and s.d.c. proponents, the latter council all appointees by the president, who himself presides at the trial, so he is in fact assailant, jury, council, and judge all rolled into one. That is s.d.c.
The Book of Mormon is now, as it was in 1830, the best means of getting a hearing from the world, and defending the glory of the Restored gospel, but I certainly would die before I would go to the world and tell them what is says about Masonry being the church of the devil, and then tell them that all our church dignitaries are high Masons, belonging to both churches.
No, Hallie, if you will only be yourself a minute you won’t want me to come back into the church you’re in. It wouldn’t salve your feelings as you think it would at all. The only think I could do would be to say, Quit your hellish business, or get out of the church or I will. And there I would be. I couldn’t work with that bunch of Masons. The Lord has said himself that they could have no part in the building up of Zion. What you want to hang on to their skits for, I don’t know.
You girls insist that I don’t write on religion, and yet you keep dinging at me. There is nothing else to write about except the snow, so I have had to break your rule again.
With love, Leon
Thursday, January 24, 2013
(The author of this letter, Winfield Gould, is my paternal great-great grandfather, who is saddened and disappointed that one of his many children, Leon (previously an elder in the RLDS church) has decided to leave for the Church of Christ (TL) - "All our lives since we obeyed the gospel Ma and I have hoped and prayed that we with all our children might be an unbroken family with the redeemed and loved ones that have passed on to the other side, and we shall continue to pray for that cherished blessing."
Leon is the only child who leaves the RLDS church in this family (following an experience and conversation which his son Eugene had with the Lord), which is referred to as a sad fact in the book "Trek of Faith" by Peggy Tucker. However, history bears out that this loving father Winfield was actually mistaken, as he predicted the failure of the church Leon belonged to, and predicted the RLDS to remain faithful and true (this church is now in fragments, and the main body is no longer the RLDS church of the past - it is now called the Community of Christ and unlike the previous organization. It is interesting to look back now, with gratitude to my great-grandfather and his family, who had to go against the rest of their kin in following the leadings of the Holy Spirit - I am very grateful to have been simply "born into" the Church of Christ. Winfield makes some references to the Doctrine and Covenants, which were actually altered from the original revelations. - C. (Gould) Berwick
Independence, Mo., March 1934
Dear Leon and Family:
During the past winter I have spent a good deal of time reading the scripture, and other written works in regard to this Latter Day Work. And when I think of the course you and your family have taken in regard to the church I feel like writing and telling you how I look at some of these things.
In your sermon, Earmarks of Apostasy, on Page 6, you say in regard to the restoration of the gospel in these last days that God, through his messenger divine again bestowed upon men the right to officiate as ministers in his church, to carry the gospel to the world, to organize the church, to make the same promise of knowledge through obedience and of gospel gifts to men, and that those promises were fulfilled to obedient thousands.
Well, I have believe all this ever since I obeyed the gospel, and as I read it in your sermon the blessed Spirit that I have often felt bore witness to the truth of it. Now I think you will agree with me that the man referred to as the one who was given power to organize the church was Joseph Smith, and that the divine one who gave him the right and power to organize the church was the angel who cam and ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Now let us turn to the record and see how he organized it.
In Book of Covenants, Sec. 19:1, in a revelation given the day the church was organized, the Lord speaking to Joseph Smith said, "There shall be a record kept among you and in it though shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and elder of the church through the will of God the Father and the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof and to build it up unto the most holy faith; which church was organized and established in 1830 on the 6th day of April."
About five months after this in a revelation given September, 1830, speaking to Oliver Cowdry the Lord says: "Behold, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith Jr., for he receiveth them even as Moses." A little further along in the same verse the Lord says to Oliver, "You shall not command him who is at thy head and that the head of the church." Now see how plain all that is, and yet you have joined a church that rejects it and says that the twelve apostles are the head of the church and are the ones to receive commandments and revelations to guide the church.
In Section 104:12 the Lord says the Twelve are a traveling, presiding high council to officiate in the name of the Lord under the direction of the Presidency of the church, agreeably to the institution of heaven to build up the church and regulate all the affairs of the same in all the nations, first unto the gentiles and secondly unto the Jews..
Now this plainly shows that the Twelve are to labor under the direction of the Presidency, or the head of the church, for the Presidency is the head of the church, if they are living and teaching according to the written law, as given by the supreme law giver.
There is a passage in the Bible that says the feet must not say to the head that we have no need of thee, but that is just what the Temple Lot Church are teaching when they say they have no need of a Presidency. And so we read all along through the Book of Covenants how God directed Joseph Smith how to organize the church.
Then on page 7 and 8 of your sermon you tell of the great wickedness that crept in to the church in 1844 and how many began to withdraw from the church and form into factions and elevate men to be their leaders, never designed of God and contrary to his word.
Then on pages 8 and 9 you tell us how God began to reconstruct his work, how he came by his Spirit to a people who had not elevated any man to be their leader, but to a little band who were loyal to God, and said unto them, "As I said unto Moses my servant, see that you do all things according to the pattern. Behold the pattern is before you."
And now, Leon, I want to ask you how was the pattern before them? Why they had it right in the Book of Covenants just as God had given it to Joseph Smith.
Again I would ask you, why this people had not chosen some man to be their leader? It was because God had given them the assurance by the power of his Holy Spirit that he would raise up one from the seed of Joseph Smith to lead the church.
And now read in the Third Vol. of Church History, page 254 to page 264 how plainly this man who God said he would raise up to the lead the church was shown by vision and by the Spirit of revelation just what God wanted him to do. See how he was directed to go to that very people who had received the promise by the Holy Spirit that God would raise up from the seed of Joseph Smith a Prophet, to lead the church. See how God told him that the Saints reorganizing there were the only organized portion of the church that he accepted, that he had given them his Spirit, and that he would continue to do so while they remained humble and faithful. Then read on page 265 that when young Joseph and his mother in 1860 came to this people and met with them in a conference how the whole of them wept with joy because it was in fulfillment of what God had promised them.
Now notice one thing: Joseph did not come there to lead a faction nor a branch, but came as the successor of his father to lead the church, having been directed by the Lord to do so. Notice what he said to them. "I come not here of myself, but by the influence of the Spirit. For sometime past I have received manifestations pointing to the position I am about the assume. I wish to say that I have not come here to be dictated by any man or set of men. I have come in obedience to a power not my own, and shall be dictated to by the power that sent men." Third Volume Church History page 247.
Now in speaking of this event in your sermon on page 9, you say: "With this little handful of Saints in Wisconsin the work of reconstruction went on apace as God opened the way, until the hearts of the saints were thrilled with the hope that Zion was about to put on her beautiful garments, and men and women by the thousand again bore witness to the truthfulness of the Saviour's promise. They were given a knowledge of the truth and their faith confirmed by the signs following."
And now, Leon, I want to say that you Father and Mother and Grandparents, also Alice's Father and Mother were among those thousands that head and obeyed that glad message of the gospel and were confirmed in the truth of it by many signs and blessings they received.
Now turn to Church History, Vol. 3, page 294 and read young Joseph's first call or message to the scattered Saints and all the inhabitants of the earth. It reads as follows:
"In the name of the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob I now call upon all the scattered Saints on all the broad earth to arise and shake off the sleep that has bound them these many years, take on the armour of the Just, calling on the name of the Lord for help, and unite once more for the emancipation of the honest in heart from the power of false doctrines and the shackles of sin. In the name of bleeding Zion I call upon all those who have been wandering in by and forbidden paths and have been led astray by wicked and designing men to turn from their scenes of wickedness and sins of convenience, to turn from their servitude to Satan, in all his seductive devices from vice in every phase and from the labor of sin, the wages whereof are even death, unto their true and delightsome allegiance to the principles of the gospel of peace, to the paths of wisdom, to the homage of that God that brought the children of Israel out of bondage, to turn and remember the Book of Mormon, to lay hold anew upon the rod of iron which surely leads to the tree of life: and to remember that those who live to the Lord keep his commandments and that the promises are to the faithful and the reward unto those that endure unto the end. And in the name of the Lord of Hosts I call upon all the inhabitants of the earth to repent, believe, and be baptized, for the time cometh when the judgments of God are to be poured out upon all nations, and the besom of God's wrath shall smoke through the land; when men shall know that there is a God in Israel and he is mighty to punish or save; and that the prayers of those under the altar have been heard and a swift retribution is to come, when the despoiler will be despoiled, and when those who denied justice shall be judged, and the measure meted unto others shall be meted unto them, when the prisoner shall go free, and the oppressed be redeemed and all Israel shall cry, Glory to God in the highest be given, for he that is long suffering and slow to anger has arisen, and shall bring again Zion. Amen and amen."
Oh I do not see how anyone can read that message and not feel the thrill of the good Spirit bearing witness to the truth of the call of the man through whom it was given.
And now while thousands of scattered Saints and many new converts gave heed to the call and received the witness of God's Spirit to the truth of it, what did the Temple Lot Faction do? Did they receive and rejoice? No, they rejected it as a Faction and clung to the man that they had chosen as their leader.
In the Book of Covenants we have this statement from the Lord in Section 100:2. "But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour, unto the counsel which I, the Lord, their God, shall give unto them. Behold, they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour, and by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet; and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it for ever and ever. But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them, for they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviour of men; and inasmuch as they are not the saviours of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men."
Now with this statement of the Lord before us, let us cast our minds over the past sixty or seventy years and see what these two organizations claiming to be the church have done.
The followers of young Joseph, as he was often called, were organized with a First Presidency to preside over the church, just as the law in the Book of Covenants directs, and they sent their missionaries into nearly all parts of the world preaching the gospel as restored in these last days, and according to history, and according to your sermon, as stated on Page 9, men and women by the thousand received it and bore witness to the Saviour's promise. They were given a knowledge of the truth and their faith confirmed by the signs following.
You see this church could be compared to a city set upon a hill. They let their light shine and in the hands of God became the saviors of thousands who obeyed the gospel and remained faithful until the end.
But how about the Temple Lot Church, who rejected young Joseph as a prophet to preside over the church. They dwindled down to one small branch and remained so until 1925. Were they like a city set on a hill whose light could not be hid? Did they prove to be the saviors of men? Or were they like salt that had lost its savor?
In Sec. 42:12, the Lord says, "Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law, to govern my church; and he that doeth accordingly to these things, shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned, if he continues."
That is a plain statement in regard to those who accept the law to govern the church and do govern it according to law. The promise is that they will be saved. And it says just as plainly that those who do not do it shall be damned if they continue.
The Reorganization accepted the law in regard to the organization of the church and the Temple Lot church rejected it. Is not the fact that the tens of thousands who received the gospel as taught by Young Joseph Smith and testified that God bore witness to them of the truth of it a proof that he had it organized right?
Joseph the martyr and also young Joseph both claim to have been sent of God to lead the church and to have held the office of President over the high priesthood, but the Temple Lot church rejects them and says there is no such office in the church. Can't you see that they had to come out and discard the Book of Covenants or else give up they were wrong?
I was in their meeting here when they were discussing the question as to whether they should reject the Book of Covenants or not. James Yates spoke against giving it up and he said, "We can't give up all those revelations," but the majority voted to discard the Book. I have often thought of the statement he made in that meeting when reading what he claims he received by the Spirit here in Independence. The spirit asks him if he will obey if my word shall conflict with your thoughts and belief. Then the spirit tells him that the Lord has rejected the Reorganized Church and that the church on the Temple Lot is the chosen one to carry on the Lord's work. And so Yates decides to obey the voice of this spirit even if it does conflict with his thoughts and former belief.
Now we have the two churches before us. Also the law that God gave to govern his church in our day, and in that law, Section 104, we are told that the church is to be presided over by a President of the High Priesthood and two counselors, but the Temple Lot church says there is no such officers in the church but that the Twelve apostles are to preside over the church. You can read all through the revelations given through the martyr, also through young Joseph how God called men to the office of high priests and tells what their duties are in the church, but the Temple Lot church claims that there is no such officer in the church.
There are many passages of scripture in all three books that show how necessary it is to keep the whole law. In the Book of Mormon, first Book of Nephi, Chapt.11. I cannot quote it all here, but read how a messenger appeared to Lehi and showed him a beautiful tree loaded with white fruit and he also saw a rod of iron that extended along a narrow path and led to the tree, and he saw multitudes of people pressing along that path, clinging to that rod of iron, and as many as clung to the rod of iron reached the tree and partook of the fruit but those that let go of the rod wandered away and were lost.
And in Chapt. 3, Verse 49 it tells how an angel showed Nephi that the rod of iron which Lehi saw was the word of God which led to the tree of life. This shows plainly that those that believe and do as the law of God tells them to will reach the tree of life, while those that reject it will be lost. And the Bible tells us we are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
If what the Temple Lot church tells us was true in regard to the Presidency and high priests not being in the church, then the martyr and young Joseph were both guilty of giving false revelations to the church and were not true prophets.
The angel that came to Joseph Smith told him that his name should yet be known among all nations for good and for evil, and so it has been wherever throughout the world this gospel has been preached. Those that accepted it called him good, and those that rejected it called him a false prophet and a deceiver. The Utah people accused him of being in polygamy, thus branding him as evil, and now the Temple Lot church joins in with the wicked people of the world and the Utah church and accuses him of giving false revelations and organizing the church right, but the Lord tells us in Section 1, Book of Covenants, in verses 4 and 5, I will only quote in part but you will find it all in the two verses. The Lord says that he called upon his servant Joseph and spake unto him from heaven and gave him commandments and also gave commandments to others that they should proclaim these things to the world, and in verse 5 he says that he gave Joseph Smith power to translate the Book of Mormon and also those to whom these commandments were given might have the power to lay the foundation of this church and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth with which I the Lord am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually.
And in Book of Covenants, Sec. 19:1, the Lord speaking to Joseph Smith says, "Behold there shall be a record kept among you, and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ, being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof and to build it up unto the most holy faith which church was organized and established in the year of your Lord, 1830, and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April." And in the Book of Mormon, Second Book of Nephi Chapter 11, Verse 18, the Lord speaking of this same seer says, "Behold, that seer will the Lord bless and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded."
Now, Leon, the above scripture that I have quoted was accepted by the church in the martyr's day and also by the Reorganized Church as the word of the Lord. Can you feel safe in rejecting it and putting your trust in some men that tell you that Joseph Smith and those other men that God called in their day to organize the church and build it up all went wrong, and did not organize it right, and that he gave false revelation to the church.
In Jeremiah 17:5, the Lord has said, "Cursed is the man that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."
Christ also said, "He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him. The words that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day for I have not spoken of myself but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak and I know that his commands are life everlasting." St. John 12:48,49,50.
The words that Christ has spoken and what he taught are found written in the scriptures and that is what we are to be judged by when we stand before God to be judged and not by what some man has told us.
The Temple Lot church claims that the Twelve Apostles are the ones to stand at the head of the church, but the history of the church shows that the twelve apostles were not called nor ordained until nearly five years after the church was organized. See Church History Vol. 1, page 540-541 and 542. If the claim of the Temple Lot is true, then the church was without a head for nearly five years. Now read on pages 542 and 543 and several of the following pages and learn what the duties of the twelve apostles are. Read in those pages the charges given the twelve by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. See how they were told that their calling was to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all nations; not one word about their being called to preside over the church as its head. I don't see how you can read the charge and warning given them and not feel the witness of the good Spirit bearing witness to the truth of the charge and warnings given them. And if they had been faithful to the charge and warnings given this church would have a different history than the one it has.
And now, Leon, when I read in your sermon referred to in this letter, the one you believe you were inspired to preach, on page 7 you say that the time came at Nauvoo when men began to withdraw from the church because they could no longer sanction that which was carried on in secret, and others began to elevate men to places not desired of God and contrary to his word, and it puzzles me to see how you could go and join one of those factions who rejected the man who God called to succeed his father as a prophet and leader of the church. And when he made that God-given call to all the scattered saints and factions of the church it was their duty to have heeded the call and united with the church, but many of them rejected the prophet and his message and continued to follow leaders they had chosen instead of the one God had chosen, and not one of those factions has ever proved a light to the world.
And now I want to say that although I believe the Reorganized church has made mistakes and has suffered for it and is still suffering for it, yet I believe God has a people among them and that the authority is among them to carry on God's work, and that the faithful ones among them will assist in carrying on this great latter day work. And I would much rather have seen you and your family among the faithful ones that to see you unite with a faction that rejects much of the word of God and will surely prove a failure.
All our lives since we obeyed the gospel Ma and I have hoped and prayed that we with all our children might be an unbroken family with the redeemed and loved ones that have passed on to the other side, and we shall continue to pray for that cherished blessing. I am now past 82 years of age and we both feel the infirmities of old age pressing upon us and know we cannot remain here longer. May God help us all to be ready when the call comes.
As every your Father,
W. W. Gould.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Bemidji, Minn., Oct 22, 1930
Your letter received and duly digested; can’t say it makes us exactly happy, and there is so much else in the world to be unhappy over too. Bro. Day thinks we ought to all be joyous and should for joy contineually—poor man and only one of his step-children pays any attention to the latter-day work, his boys drinking and carousing, and into things too naughty to mention in a letter. One of them said there was nothing to look forward too now, but just to die; and yet George thinks there is nothing in the world to grieve over, because the Lord showed him twenty years ago that the gospel was true, and so this church is the only true church—no matter what it does, or where it goes to. Well, that is exactly what the Saints said who were in the church in the Prophet’s day, and followed Brigham Young to Utah.
The Lord had shown them that the church was true, and so no matter what it did it must always be true, and no matter where it led they must always go with it, and go they did, into the depths of apostacy, shouting glory, hallelujah! I know this church is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that Brigham Young was his legal successor. They had nothing to grieve over, except when some of their children backslid, and went into the Reorganization, which they looked upon as being nothing but a set of apostates, who legally action had been shorn of church membership and all priesthood authority, by action of the only true church.
Strange isn’t it how a people could be so blinded, and yet they blinded themselves. At some time they had all of them deliberately shut their eyes to wrong, or voted to sustain that which was not right, knowingly, that thereby they might retain their prestige, and be good fellows with those in charge; or had failed to raise their voices against wrong, for fear they would loose their official position or their family allowance. It was only the few who had backbone enough to denounce the evils, and defy the evil-doers that the Lord could use to reconstruct his work.
Well the same thing is happening in our day, and the same causes will produce the same condition of blindness, and eventually lead to the same depths of apostacy. There is no other recourse, except repentance and humility, and that of course is unthinkable.
You say you are looking for a change in the church soon. Mother dear, what change do you look for in the church? What change can you possibly look for? No one dares to say anything about the necessity of a change, in Conference; and hardly dare to whisper it in private especially if it would jeopardize their place or position or their job. And under the rule of dumb and throttled silence, what change can there be but a change from bad to worse.
Do you think that the Lord is going to reach down and shake Fred M. out of his breeches? Why, if he did, what would a cowed and groveling people do with their liberty? They haven’t the least idea what should be done in an emergency of that kind, any more than had the Saints at Nauvoo. And never will have till freedom of thought and speech, and of the press is restored to them, and they begin to do some thinking on their own account.
You are looking for a change in the church soon; for the Lord to do something? Just how many, mother, do you suppose whould note the change and accept it, and would recognize his hand when he did do something?
The Lord did something twenty hundred years ago, in fulfillment of prophecy. A virgin conceived and bore a son, heralded by angelic hosts, and by the wise men. He grew up in the midst of his people, counfounded the doctors of law and of divinity with his wisdom, wrought a world of miracles by his almighty power, put tempters, critics and faultfinders to silence with a single answer, established his church, spake as never a man spake, but as one having authority; suffered on the cross, rose from the dead, inspired his ministry to carry on his work--- and those who were looking for a change soon, and for the Lord to do something, never saw the change, never knew the Lord was doing anything; don’t know it yet, are still looking for their Messiah, and his second coming is at the door. They’ve lost two thousand years of growth and development in the kingdom of God, WAITING FOR THE LORD TO DO SOMETHING. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. He dared to tell them of their wickedness in plain and unvarnished, but forceful language, and they said he had a devil.
And so many were looking for a change soon, at Nauvoo, and for the Lord to do something. And how many saw the change, and recognized his hand when he did do something? Just the few who had refused to worship at the shrine of priestcraft, who had the courage to denounce evil and stand for the truth at whatever cost; to whom truth meant more than prestige and priestly emolument. And it was said that they had a devil. “The God that I worship,” said one, “told me they were led by a spirit of deception.” But the Lord could use them, and did, to reestablish his work. At his bidding they denounced and cast off all who claimed to be leaders but were living in idolatry. They denounced them and their works in plain and unvarnished language, but forceful; and because of this they were possessed of a devil. And we have lost a good part of a hundred years waiting for leaders of the church to get through fiddling with Masonry, so the Lord could do something.
And to-day, there are hundreds looking, as you are, for a change soon, and for the Lord to do something---admitting the necessity of it, for why look for a change if there is no need? But how many will see this change, and how many recognize the hand of the Lord when and where he is working? Only the few! Only the few who have the courage to follow Christ, even though it means the loss of place and position and priestly appointments. Only those who have the backbone to denounce the encroachments of evil, who stand upon their feet and cry aloud as watchmen upon the walls of Zion, in plain and unvarnished by forceful language. And those who hear say they are possessed of a devil, as you said of Long.
That has been my experience too. Let me tell you some of it. The Sunday after I knew for a certainty that Fred M. had joined the Masons, I declared against the evil in no uncertain terms, as well as against those who, while before hand they were mightily opposed to masonry, now began to hedge, and say, Well, if Fred M. has joined it must be all right. And I said it was too bad that we were not all named Smith, then we could do as we pleased and it would be all right. That was in Sunday-school. Well, some went home from the Sunday-school, and meeting others warned them to stay away from the church, that Leon had gone wild and was ranting.
And when I took the stand to preach, I was filled with that unquenchable fire that loosened my tongue, and enabled me to speak as only in my dreams I had ever been able to speak before. At the close, my wife—the first and only time—came up to the stand, grasped my hand and congratulated me upon the effort. The rest went home and said I was possessed of a devil.
I was filled with much of the same spirit when I preached earmarks of Apostacy; but there was a spirit of resistance operating in the audience that destroyed my liberty in part, and yet with enough power so that one man sat up with eyes wide open, whom I had never before seen in a service, except with eyes closed as if asleep. How many who have read “Earmarks of Apostacy,” and have testified that the Spirit of God came to them as they read it? If their testimony is true, isn’t it a little strange, that the Herald Editor being supposedly guided by the Spirit of truth should turn it down; while the editor of the Torch being supposedly benighted by the spirit of Apostacy should ask to publish it?
And so, with one that I preached sometime before “Earmarks” and one last spring, that I told you was given me during the stormy night when I stayed in the basement of the Postoffice, I was blessed with more than usual liberty and power in presenting them; but because they were a voice of warning, and a portrayal of our perilous condition, they were not received by those who heard.
So I have experienced the feelings the Savior must have felt, when trying to warn and reach those whom he loved, to save them from great sorrow and loss, and they rejected his message and accused him of being the tool of Beelzebub, the prince of devils.
And so the change you are still looking for, mother, will be seen and known only by those who have the courage to stand for the right; the will become old bottles, filled with traditions of various kinds, with no capacity to receive and contain the over new wine of the gospel.
I’ll be glad to read Bro. Greene’s sermon. Send it along. If it is as good as one he preached at Conference, in 1907, it is surely good. But if it was indicted by the Spirit, the Herald won’t want it; but the Torch would. The sermon at Lamoni, in 1907 was a short one, but to the point. Perhaps you never read it. The Herald never published it. I will quote it here entire:
Speech by U.W.Greene, April 13, 1907
“I believe I am opposed to the substitute, and in favor of the original motion. And I am in hearty accord with the last speaker when he said that this motion has not been discussed from the proper standpoint. I believe it. Having had just a few years experience on the inside as well as the outside of some of these organizations, I think that if we turn a little light upon the question under consideration this afternoon, it may be of benefit to us.
“The last speaker laid considerable stress upon the statement that one can not be a member of OUR CHURCH AND BELONG TO SOME OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS. He repeated that over and over. I believe it to be true. I DON’T BELIEVE THAT THERE IS ANY MAN OR WOMAN IN THIS HOUSE, IN THIS TOWN, IN THIS STATE, IN THIS COUNTRY, THAT CAN TAKE THE OATHS THAT THEY ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE AS THEY KNEEL AT THE
ALTAR, AS A MEMBER OF THESE SECRET ORGANIZATIONS, AND BE A PROPER MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH. Now, I purpose to tell you why.
“Fifteen years ago I began the investigation of secret societies. I continued to study from the inside for a series of years. And the very first night that I entered the lodge-room and knelt at the altar, I was asked to take oath, bloodcurdling in its character. Let me quote part of it to you; for I dare not quote it all, because I am bound by that obligation. But I was asked that night to subscribe to certain conditions, under no less penalty to have my throat cut across. What do you think of that? And do you think that you can take oaths of that kind, AS MINISTERS OF GOD? Young men came to me at the close of the meeting last night and stated that because of speeches made they felt that they would be at liberty to join some of these organizations.
“I was, as a fellow minister for Christ, this afternoon TO PLACE MYSELF ON RECORD to urge you not to do it; and if you are a member of one of them to urge you to take your demit and withdraw. My observations and individual experience for fifteen years has taught me that those who follow the lodge-room soon lose the Spirit of God. And when for a period of years I knelt at the altar as an officer in the lodge, the Spirit of my calling left me, and I wondered what was the matter. And it led me to make a rigid self-examination, and I reached the conclusion that if I would be a servant of Christ, I must renounce that which I had taken.
“Now, again, I was asked to subscribe to obligations that made me swear under no less penalty than to have my breast torn open, my heart plucked out, and that my bowels be burned to ashes. What was it that I covenanted to do? That if a man came to me and whispered in my ear, with his foot to my foot and his knee to my knee, and his breast to my breath, and told me that had ravished my neighbor’s wife, I must say nothing about it. If the had stolen, I must not turn them over to the law of the land. If they had committed crimes that would send them to the penitentiary, I must observe their secrets as my own, under no less penalty than to have my body cut in two and buried down at low tide in the rough sands of the sea, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in every twenty-four hours. And I tell you that THERE IS NOT A MAN WHO CLAIMS TO BE A MAN OF GOD THAT CAN SUBSCRIBE TO OATHS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THAT CHARACTER, AND BE A PROPER MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST. And I want to impress upon these young men this afternoon, as I urge you to stand by that resolution for I think it ought to be adopted,-- I want to urge you to hold yourself aloof from institutions of that character, from the obligations that are contrary to the covenant of the gospel, that are in secret and in the dark. I want to say to you that when you enter these organizations you do so hoodwinked. You can not see what is going on, and you know but a little until you are compelled to take those dreadful obligations there. And let me say, Ladies and Gentlemen, that the various organizations of this country that are based one upon the other go back to the original mother organization that claims to date its origin back to the building of King Solomon’s temple. Now that is not true. I know that from study; but that is the claim, and their oaths and obligations are similar. You let them alone. And I think it is time to place ourselves up on record; therefore I am in favor of the original resolution. I think it is stronger. I believe it is time to act, and to stand for what I believe to be God and his truth, and the right. That is why I favor the original as opposed to the substitute.”
The original resolution was so worded as to make it prohibitory to belong to secret societies.
The substitute, which was eventually passed, provided that we discourage membership in secret societies. It was brought in by friends of the lodge, to prevent the more drastic resolution from passing.
If the original had passed and been put in operation the Reorganized Church would be a clean body and fit to build the temple, instead of the mess it is in now. But the lodge followers didn’t even keep faith with the substitute, which they themselves sponsored; but in secret violated their own act, and betrayed the confidence of the Saints.
If Bro. Greene is still standing true to his sermon of 1907, I would be glad to read his sermons now; but if he has gone back on that, I wouldn’t give a picayune for one now.
If his statement of conditions in the lodge is true (and there is plenty of evidence to establish the truth of it), then it is self-evident that his conclusions are true, when he said:
“I DON’T BELIEVE THAT THERE IS ANY MANY OR WOMAN IN THIS HOUSE, IN THIS TOWN, IN THIS STATE, IN THIS COUNTRY, THAT CAN TAKE THE OATHS THAT THEY ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE AS THEY KNEEL AT THE ALTAR, AS A MEMBER OF THESE SECRET ORGANIZATIONS, AND BE A PROPER MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH.” and
“I TELL YOU THAT THERE IS NOT A MAN WHO CLAIMS TO BE A MAN OF GOD THAT CAN SUBSCRIBE TO OATHS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THAT CHARACTER, AND BE A PROPER MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST.”
Now listen to this from the Book of Mormon:
“This is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly, to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily,… for whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if
(missing part Samii S. Gould) n is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and