Editorial – What God Has Joined, part 2

Although, in extreme cases, separation is at times necessary, we note that this course was something that even the prophet of God left to the judgment of those who were in these trying situations—she did not advocate the separation of that which God had joined together and she gave serious warnings to anyone who would do this even when there was question as to whether the persons involved had a biblical right to marry in the first place.

Example 1: “Your letter has been received and read. I have had acquaintance with several such cases and have found those who felt conscientious to do something in similar cases to the one you mention. After having stirred things up generally, and torn to pieces, they had not wisdom to put things together to make matters better. I found that those who were so zealous to tear things down did nothing to build them up in right order. They had the faculty to confuse, distress, and create a most deplorable condition of things, but not the faculty to make them better.

“You have asked my counsel in regard to this case; I would say that unless those who are burdened in reference to the matter have carefully studied a better arrangement, and can find places for these where they can be comfortable, they better not carry out their ideas of a separation. I hope to learn that this matter is not pressed and that sympathy will not be withdrawn from the two whose interests have been united. I write this because I have seen so many cases of the kind, and persons would have great burden till everything was unsettled and uprooted and then their interest and burden went no further. We should individually know that we have a zeal that is according to knowledge. We should not move hastily in such matters, but look on every side of the question; we should move very cautiously and with pitying tenderness, because we do no know all the circumstances which led to this course of action.

“I advise that these unfortunate ones be left to God and their own consciences, and that the church shall not treat them as sinners until they have evidence that they are such in the sight of the Holy God. He reads hearts as an open book. He will not judge as man judgeth.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 164, 165

Example 2: “I have just read your letter concerning Will E. I regard the matter in the same light that you do, and think it a cruel, wicked thing that the father of Will E. Should take the course that he is taking; but I have not dared to answer his letters. If anything can come from me through you to him, I would say that his case cannot be improved by leaving the present wife. It would not better the case to go to the other woman in the question….

“I have not written to Will E., but know that if the father would repent before God and do his first works, and cease to consider himself as one that can help his son, he would ask himself the question, ‘Is my name written there, on the page white and fair?’ He might well begin to humble himself before God, and leave Will Wales with God.

“Let the father and brother make diligent work for themselves. They both need the converting power of God. May the Lord help these poor souls to remove spot and stain from their own characters, and repent of their wrongs, and leave Will E. with the Lord.

“I am so sorry for the man, for his course is in such a shape that it will not answer to be meddled with, for there are difficulties upon difficulties. I would say that the Lord understands the situation, and if Will E. will seek Him with all his heart, He will be found of him. If he will do his best, God will pardon and receive him.

“’Oh, how precious it is to know that we have One who does know and understand, and will help the ones who are most helpless. But the rebuke of God is upon the father and the brother who would drive to destruction and perdition one who stands in the sight of God under no worse condemnation than themselves, and yet they will so use their gifts of speech as to dishearten, discourage, and drive Will E. to despair.

“‘Will E. may hope in God and do the best he can to serve God in all humility of mind, casting his helpless soul upon the great Sin Bearer. I have not written a word to either father or son. I would gladly do something to help poor Will E. to make things right, but this cannot be done as matters are now situated, without someone’s being wronged.

“I understand perfectly the situation between Will E. and his first wife….and I knew how the case would terminate; for Will E. cannot endure to be a slave, his identity lost in a wife who made herself his judge in conscience, in his duty, and in his work generally.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 225-227