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The Great Second Advent Movement: Its Rise and Progress

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    Manual Labor a Sin

    Soon after this Miss Harmon was instructed, in vision, to visit Paris, Maine, where were individuals who believed it a sin to follow manual labor. Elder Stephens, of Woodstock, Maine, was the leader in this error, and exerted a strong influence over others. He had previously been a Methodist preacher, and was considered a humble, faithful Christian. He had won the confidence of many by his zeal for the truth, and his apparently holy living, which caused some to believe him specially directed of God. The Lord gave Miss Harmon a reproof for him. She stated that he was going contrary to the word of God in abstaining from labor, in urging his errors upon others, and in denouncing all who did not receive them. He rejected all the evidences which the Lord gave to convince him of his error, and refused to acknowledge his wrongs. He followed impressions, and went weary journeys, walking great distances, where he would only receive abuse, and considered that in all this he was suffering for Christ’s sake. His reason and judgment were laid aside.GSAM 239.2

    Concerning the testimony of Miss Harmon and the outcome of the case, I will quote from a letter received from Mrs. M. C. Truesdail, who then resided in Paris, Maine. After giving some particulars in harmony with the above, she says:—GSAM 239.3

    “Confessions came from all except their leader, Jesse Stephens. Sister Harmon warned him that unless he humbled himself by confessing his errors, he would soon end his career. All understood this to be a prediction that he would in some way commit suicide.”GSAM 240.1

    The following is the sequel in his case:—GSAM 240.2

    “After his little flock left him, he became melancholy, and soon after lost his reason, refusing to eat anything cooked by the wicked. He had not heard of my return from Massachusetts when I carried him his dinner. He inquired, as he reached out his skeleton hand through a small opening in a window, ‘Did God send you with this, Sister Marion?’ Noticing my hesitating reply, he refused to taste it. His pitiful condition, confined in a small room at his brother’s (an unbeliever), reminded me of the warning which had been so kindly sent him from heaven, and which he so stubbornly rejected. He was taken to his family two days after this sad visit, where he soon ended his life by suicide, making a rope of his bedclothes.” 2From Mrs. M. C. Truesdail’s letter, Jan. 27, 1891.GSAM 240.3

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