April 7, 1916
Received by James Padgett
I am here, Saul.
I very much desire to write a short message tonight as I promised you a short time ago. I will not detain you very long and will try to make my message as succinct as possible.
I know that many men look upon me, as depicted in the Old Testament, as having been a great sinner and violator of God's Laws. Well, that is largely true, for I did not let God's Will control me as I should have done and, consequently, I became in discord with His Will, and did many things that were contrary to His Laws. Of course, my knowledge of these Laws was limited to the teachings of Moses and the prophets, as they were given to me by tradition and word of mouth.
The books which are part of the Old Testament were not written in my time, and many of these Laws came to me by tradition. The Old Testament contains many sayings which were written long after the times that they purport to have occurred, and many things therein declared never had any existence, except in the minds of men who, at much later periods, conceived that it might be wise to write these things. Many alleged incidents connected with my life never had an existence and were merely the fictions written by subsequent writers.
We had very few writings in the shape of manuscript in my time, and men depended upon tradition and memory.
Well, the history of my life and doings was not written at the time it purports to have been written. I was a real person and a king, and some records of me and my people were actually written, but they were very few and, as time went, by the imagination and ingenuity added to them in the way of tradition, and then those books relating to me, as they are now contained in the Bible, were compiled from some of these writings and from tradition.
The story of my experience with the "Witch of Endor," as she is called, was not written at the time; but it is a fact that I had visited her and had an experience somewhat similar to that related in the Bible. I had with me at the time of my visit some of my followers, and they saw and heard what took place, and after my death, they repeated and described what had taken place to my countrymen, and also to the followers of David; and some parts of this occurrence became inscribed on the materials which we used to preserve some of the occurrences of those times. But there was not kept any accurate history of the scene. The people of those days had retentive memories, and for long years afterwards this incident of my life was handed down from generation to generation, and some parts thereof were written by some scribes and other parts by other scribes.
I merely write you this to show that you need not give credit to the supposed truths of many sayings of the Old Testament, for many of these accounts had no existence.
I know that what I have written is not of much importance, but while you are receiving these truths, you had as well learn something of what was true in my life.
I will not write more tonight, so thanking you, I will say good night.
Your brother in Christ,