Letter to Saints Scattered Abroad, 8 December 1839
First Presidency and High Council, Letter, , IL, to “Saints scattered abroad,” 8 Dec. 1839; Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, p. 29.
To the Saints scattered abroad, in the region westward from Ohio.
Beloved Brethren, feeling that it is our duty, as the servants of God, to instruct the saints from time to time, in those things which to us appear to be wise and proper: therefore we freely give you, a few words of advice at this time.
We have heard it rumoured abroad, that some at least, and probably many, are making their calculations to remove back to next season.
Now brethren, this being the case, we advise you to abandon such an idea; yea we warn you, in the name of the Lord, not to remove back there, unless you are counseled so to do by the , and the of . We do not wish by this to take your agency from you; but we feel to be plain, and pointed in our advice for we wish to do our duty, that your sins may not be found in our skirts. All persons are entitled to their agency for God has so ordained it.— He has constituted mankind moral agents, and given them power to cho[o]se good or evil; to seek after that which is good, by pursuing the pathway of holiness in this life, which brings peace of mind, and joy in the Holy Ghost here, and a fullness of joy and happiness at his right hand hereafter; or to pursue an evil course, going on in sin and rebellion against God, thereby bringing condemnation to their souls in this world, and an eternal loss in the world to come. Since the God of heaven has left these things optional with every individual, we do not wish to deprive them of it. We only wish to act the part of faithful watchmen, agreeably to the word of the Lord to Ezekiel the prophet, Ezekiel 33 chap. 2 3 4 5 and 6 verses, and leave it for others to do as seemeth them good.— Now for persons to do things, merely because they are advised to do them, and yet murmur all the time they are doing them, is of no use at all; they might as well not do them.
There are those who profess to be saints who are too apt to murmur, and find fault, when any advice is given, which comes in opposition to their feelings, even when they, themselves, ask for counsel; much more so when council is given unasked for, which does not agree with their notion of things; but brethren, we hope for better things from the most of you; we trust that you desire counsel, from time to time, and that you will cheerfully conform to it, whenever you receive it from a proper source.
It is very probable, that it may be considered wisdom for some of us, and perhaps others, to move back to , to attend to important business there: but notwithstanding that, after what we have written, should any be so unwise as to move back there, without being first counselled so to do, their conduct will be highly disapprobated.
Done by order and vote of the first Presidency and high council for the , at Dec. 8th 1830 .