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Letter From David Udall to William Doust

30 Nov 1848

Putney 30 Nov 1848

Dear Brother,

I received your kind and friendly letter and I read it with pleasure, feeling that it came from a sincere friend and from one that I sincerely respect and from one that I have conversed with and worked with and walked with and slept with.  I hope you will excuse me for not writing before, and excuse all that you have seen amiss in me and I hope that this will find you and yours blessed with every blessing that is needful both for your own souls and bodies as it leaves me at present.

I should very much like to see you but let us with moderate blessings be content, for a contented mind and a good conscience will make a man happy in any condition.

I am happy to hear that wife is better and that you have got an interesting little son, and I hope that he may rise up and call the blessed, and be a comfort to his mother and an honor to his father.  If any unkind friend in his youth or old age should entice him to drink of strong drink, may he spurn the temptation and never engage in that which makes thousands to sink.

I shall not advise you to have him baptized, because that is the tradition of man and that tradition is become venerated by man and scripture will not support it.  Therefore as we are guided by scripture we ought to forsake that tradition and cast it into oblivion.  But I shall advise you to take your son to a church that is founded on the rock of truth and to a minister that is called to the work of the ministry.  Let the minister lay hands on the child and bless him, and all the church pray for him that he may be a dutiful child and that he may be obedient to the laws of the Gospel when he grows up.  That is the true order of thechurch of Christ: to take children in your arms and bless them, not to baptize them and call them regenerated.

Dear brother, you said in your last that father was afraid I should be led away, deluded by faulty doctrine.  But I hope he will not be uncomfortable about me, for I should be sorry to diminish my father’s happiness.  I think I am old enough to judge for myself.  It is freedom and reason that makes us men – take that away and what are we then?

I have a spirit that was carried on a tide of popular opinion and so have you, and therefore I think you would be a Latter-day Saint.  The Latter-day Saints are a people that I much admire.  They are more united, more firm, more zealous and have more of the Spirit of God than any people that I have seen, and the signs and blessings which God has promised do follow them.  I believe they will overcome the blind zeal of a Wesleyan, the bigotry and selfishness of a Calvinist, and the oppressive and deceitful Church of England.  All other churches before the Latter-day Saints were founded by uninspired men, and therefore a church that has inspired men of God must prevail.

Daniel speaks of a kingdom that shall be raised up in the last days and shall break in pieces all other kingdoms, and Daniel speaks of a stone that shall be cut out of a mountain without hands, which has been fulfilled.  You said in one of your letters that we live in gospel light, but we live in gospel darkness without apostles and prophets and inspired men of God to lead and guide the church into all truth.  The church has been left to itself and they have transgressed the laws and changed the ordinances of Christ, and broken the everlasting covenant and the spirit of God has left them.  They no more have the signs that our Savior promised the believing church.  They no more have the gift of speaking in tongues and the interpreting of tongues, and the gift of prophesying which St. Paul told the believers to strive for.  The gift of healing by the anointing of oil has left them, and all other promises and blessings have left them because they have broken the everlasting covenant.

Perhaps you would like to know what I mean by the Priesthood.  I will explain it in some later time.  If Wesley had got the Priesthood he would have conferred it on others.  God is immutable, therefore if God had called Wesley he would have built a church the same as Christ did, with apostles and prophets.  He would speak in tongues and prophesy.  He would have laid hands on the sick and they would recover.  If God had called Wesley to build a church he would have given him a Urim and Thummim to receive revelations by.  Read Nehemiah 7:6, Ezra 2:6, or 1 Samuel 28:6.  All these things the Latter-day Saints have got.  If Wesley was called of God he would not have called his church after his own name, he would have called his church the Church of Jesus Christ, and the proper name of a man who obeys scripture is a saint, and these being the latter days of the world therefore the proper name of a true church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  To name a church after the name of a man is a dishonor to God and he will never own it.

I have plenty more to say, as much as I could write in a week, but I am sick of writing.  I have plenty more to say about Wesley, but one more thing I have to say – I believe he acted according to the light he had, therefore he is not under condemnation, but know more light has come and if we do not obey the light which is imparted to us we shall suffer for it.  There are more than 600 different churches in existence, and a man may go through them all and then not be in the kingdom of God on the earth.  In the days of John the Baptist he came forth and laid his axe at the root of every religion then in existence and told them to repent, for the kingdom of heaven was at hand.  And so did Joseph Smith come forth out of the wilderness of America in 1829, the year I was born, and preached repentance to every religious system then in existence.  John the Baptist and Joseph Smith did not know that every religious system was wrong by experience, but they knew by the Spirit of God by revelation that they were all wrong.

And I know by reason of scripture and by the spirit of God that every doctrine that I have investigated is wrong, and I know by reason of scripture by the spirit of God that the Latter-day Saints are right.  And if I had the Priesthood conferred on me and the spirit of God called me to preach, I would go forth bold as brass and preach repentance to them all, heedless of all doctors of divinity – I mean by repentance to turn from all traditions, doctrines of devils and all former notions.  My dear brother, I ask you with a prayerful spirit to compare your doctrines with scripture.  I ask you to preach the doctrines of devils no longer, to say that you can be saved without obeying the commands of Christ with His baptism.  Faith will not save you alone, not without obedience – faith and obedience will raise you up when Satan is bound for a thousand years.  You and I shall be there if we are faithful and the devil will be let loose and we shall have a battle with him, and we shall overcome him and cast him into hell, and then this earth will be heaven.  I can prove that this here earth will be here, and prove that God was 6000 years creating earth instead of 6 days by scripture.

Dear brother, if you can see that I am wrong you should try with all your might to set me right.  If you turn me from the error of my ways it will cover a multitude of your sins.

Please read this to my father for I wish my garment to be clear of the blood of all men – you told my sister that some tom fool of a fellow should have to write to you, but I can assure you that these are the sentiments of my own mind.  There are ideas I have gathered, here a little and there a little – I will acknowledge that they are not all my natural ideas, some of them are.  The language I speak, the bad handwriting I write, have all been taught me.

Dear brother, independent of all that I have said, I feel that I require strong resolutions, much faith to stand against the powers of darkness, against the temptations of the world, the pride of life, the lust of flesh, the temptation of money.  But God has promised that according to my day and faith, so shall my strength be, and that causes me to enquire if it was not for that I should be miserable.

My dear brother, I must conclude with a prayer to God my Heavenly Father to lead and guide you and me into all truth, and deliver from error , from all evil and temptation and the power of darkness.

David Udall

marginal note on page 1:

Please write to me soon for I like to hear from you.








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