December 24, 1916
Received by James Padgett
I am here, Jesus.
I desire to say that I was with you tonight at the church and listened to the preacher's (Dr. Mitchell) sermon and was somewhat surprised that he should have declared that all the wars and persecutions and outrages that, in the manner described, have been perpetrated on mankind since my coming can be ascribed to my coming and my teachings.
I, of course, can only resent the imputation and declare that the preacher has misconceived the cause of these wars and persecutions, and to charge that they are due to my truths, or the truths that I taught, is not only an injustice to me, but a great injury to the truths and objects of my mission to mankind. Never did I attempt by force or constraint to compel a human soul to believe in my truths or to became a follower of me, in or out of the church.
My mission on earth was to show men the Way to the Father's Love and to declare to them the Great Gift of this Love, and also to break down and destroy the erroneous beliefs and ignorance that then existed among men as what was necessary in order to seek for and obtain this Love of the Father and their own salvation. And so far as the truths, moral or spiritual, which I taught antagonized the false beliefs and practices of men, there was - and necessarily would be - a conflict in the thoughts and lives of those who followed me and those who persisted in their existing beliefs. To this extent, I brought a sword into the world, but it was not the sword that called for bloodshed and murder and persecutions; it was the sword that pierced men's souls, where this great conflict should and must be fought to the end.
No nation can be more spiritual in its government, or in its treatment of other nations, than are the individuals composing it, spiritual. The nation cannot be greater than or different from the individuals who control it, be such control centered in one or more individuals, or in a secular or religious head. The ruler, if he be not a real follower of me, although he may claim to be, cannot in his acts or deeds attribute to me the results of the carrying into action his thoughts and desires and ambition.
The present war, of which the preacher spoke with such horror and lamentation, is not due to my coming into the world as an iconoclast or destroyer of sin and error, but to the fact that men refused to be controlled or persuaded by my doctrines of peace and acted because of the sin and evil desires and immoral ambition that they possessed and permitted to control them. The sword, which he claims I brought into the world, did not cause these sinful and inhuman desires and ambitions to manifest themselves in the form of war and all the evils that follow it. No, this war is not a part of my warfare or the plan of the Father to bring salvation to mankind.
The cause is this and only this: The exercise by men in control of the nations of their desires for increased power and territory and subjugation of nations, together with their sinful cravings for what they call glory and unsatisfied ambition. Had they understood my warfare, each of there men would have found his enemy in himself and nowhere else, and the great war would be a war of the soul and not the war of nations.
Each nation claims that its war is right, and that God is on its side, and prays to that God to assist it in overcoming its enemies. But I want to say here, and it may astonish those who believe that if they conceive that they are in the right and pray to God for success that their prayers will be answered, that God hears only the prayers of the righteous, or of the sinner who prays for mercy and salvation. Never in all the history of mankind has God responded to the prayers of men or nations to assist in the destruction of other men or nations, and this, notwithstanding the accounts in the Old Testament of the many times that he was supposed to have helped the Jews to destroy their enemies.
If men, for a moment, will think that God is a God of Love and that all people are His children, the equal recipients of His Love and Care, they will realize that His Love would not permit Him to sacrifice the happiness or well-being of one class of His children to satisfy the desires of revenge or hatred or outraged justice as they conceive it, of another class of His children. In all the beliefs of this kind, men have misconceived God and His Nature - with men like other creatures, His powers are governed by God's immutable Laws, and those laws are no respecters of persons. Man was given a free will, which he could exercise righteously or sinfully and God does not forcibly control such exercise, but the same exercised rightly or wrongly is subject to Law, which imposes penalties or rewards according as the Law is violated or obeyed.
This war, which so many mortals believe and declare is a punishment inflicted on men because of their sins and disobedience - that is, that it was specially caused by God because of such condition of men - and some expounders of the Bible teach that it was prophesied centuries ago - this war, I say, is solely the result of the sinful conditions and workings of men's souls and thoughts and the natural effect of the causes that men themselves created and the exact workings of the Laws that such causes brought into operation. And in a similar condition, where the same causes exist, Laws will invariably operate - wars will occur and recur until the possibility of the causes cease to exist.
God never ceases to love and care for mankind and always He desires that men shall be happy and at-one with Himself, and that they shall exercise their wills in accordance with His Will and His Laws; but just as certainly does He never - by compulsion or force - endeavor to compel men to exercise their wills in a manner that is not voluntary with them. Should He do this, men would cease to be the greatest of His Creation and incapable of giving Him that voluntary love and obedience which only is acceptable to Him.
But from what I have said, it must not be inferred that the Father is indifferent to men's sufferings and the calamities that wars bring upon mankind, for He is not; and, if, in His Wisdom, He saw that it would be for the lasting good of the men who are engaged in the present war, that He should intervene by the mere force of His Powers and end the war, He would do so. But in that Wisdom, He sees that there is a good which men should have, greater and more eternal than their mere physical and material good, and that greater good cannot be obtained by them through His suddenly bringing this war to an end without regard to their souls, and thoughts and desires. The Law of Compensation must work as well for nations as for individuals even though, apparently, the innocent suffer as well as the guilty.
On earth, as men are now constituted, that is, in their condition of sin and disobedience to the Laws of their being - exact justice cannot be expected and is not received, because this justice is the subject of men's dispensation and not that of God. A man is influenced by his desires which, in turn, control his will and results in his acts and deeds, which must of necessity, bring their results. These results can be avoided only by absence of deeds, and these by a different exercise of the will and this by the change of desire. So when a man so desires and wills, God will not set aside the Law of Compensation and cause results to follow that are not the consequences of such desire and will.
But God is always willing that these evil results shall have no existence, and through the influence of His Love and Holy Spirit is calling men to learn the way to wholly prevent the possibility of these results coming to them, either as individuals or as nations. He has provided the Way and is teaching men the knowledge thereof, through and by which the causes that produce these harmful results may be utterly destroyed and prevented from ever arising to bring to them the deplorable results, such as are manifested in the present war.
God will not interfere by His mere fiat to cause the one side or the other of those who are engaged in this war of bloodshed and carnage to become victorious. The Law of Compensation must work and as the leaders of the respective nations have sown, so must the nations reap and in this, the innocent must suffer in this reaping, because as conditions are, the Law could not work its fulfillment unless all within the scope of its workings should feel its operation. But the Father and the hosts of His angels and the spirits of men are working to bring this terrible catastrophe to an end.
You have written long, and it is late, so I will postpone the further consideration of the subject to another time. Believe that I am with you and love you and will sustain you in your desires to do my work.
Your brother and friend,