July 31st, 1918.
Received by James Padgett
I am here, Pastor Russell.
Let me say a word, as I have been with you today as you read the book of which I was the writer. I see that you are aware of the erroneous interpretations of the testament that it contains, of the false constructions that are drawn from the quotations of the Bible, and also that you feel that a great injury is being done to those who read and believe in my teachings. Well, I realize the falsity of my teachings and the wrong and injury that are being wrought among those who have been followers of me; and how great will be their surprise when death comes to them, for what I said was impossible they will find to be true - that they are more alive than they ever were while living in the flesh.
This I have realized, to my great surprise and suffering. When I was about to leave the flesh, and for long years before, I believed that when I died I would go into the literal grave and would thereafter be in a state of oblivion, knowing nothing until the day of the first resurrection, when I and all those who believed that we were of the little flock would be called into the presence of Jesus and there become his coworkers and co-judges of men during the millennium, when the rest of the world would be tried and finally judged to either a life of happiness, as men restored to the condition of Adam before the fall, or to total annihilation.
But as I passed from the body, I found that I had a spiritual body in which was contained all the faculties of mind and appetites of the flesh that were a part of me when on earth; and also, the memories of all that I had thought, and taught, when trying to lead my followers into the truth, as I supposed. I was more alive than ever before, and conscience soon began to do its work of reproval and bring to me remorse and regret for the great harm that I had done to many of my fellow men by reason of my teaching a faith that is wholly untrue, and destructive to the soul's salvation. The soul! Ah, this is the thing that I blasphemed against, for I taught that there was no such thing or entity as the soul after the separation of the body and life; that it then ceased to have an existence, and would never again come into existence until the first resurrection, which would be the first awakening of the little flock to a consciousness of its existence.
To me the will was the great thing, and while that never ceased to exist, yet it lay in a dormant state and was as dead, knowing nothing. How vitally misleading was this teaching - and how my followers will find themselves deceived, and will suffer from the want of knowledge of the fact that the soul is the man and is susceptible to progressing in the knowledge of the truths of God while on earth, as well as after it becomes an inhabitant of the spirit world. I have had a tragic awakening, with all the consequences of a tragedy in which I was one of the important actors, and the principal cause of the results of the tragedy.
I know what death means, and what life means, for I died merely to live, and to live a life in which at this time is much suffering and regret, accompanied by the knowledge that I have before me a work greater than I can perform in many long years in the future. I must now try to undo what I for so many years did, to the injury of those who believed in me; and when I realize that there is hardly a way, until these followers of mine become spirits like myself, in which I can do this work, my suffering becomes almost unbearable. Only through the medium of the mortal can I reach these people, and because of my teachings they will not believe what I may attempt to communicate through a mortal medium (which medium I wrote against and reviled, and alleged that they were only creatures used by the devil and his minions to deceive mankind).
If I had only known the truth, and thereby abstained from preaching untruth in this particular, how different my lot would now be. But I believed what I taught, and taught what I believed. It was all a lie, and though I believed it, yet that fact does not lessen my regrets, for I see with the clearness of the spirit that my thoughts and teachings are believed by many of my followers because I taught them; and consequently they will suffer from their beliefs; and the fact that I believed these erroneous things and taught in good faith will not, in one iota, save them from the darkness and sufferings which will certainly become theirs.
Unfortunate is the man who believes spiritual untruths; but accursed is the man who teaches them, and thus deceives those who are earnestly seeking for the truth. I would like to write more tonight in reference to this matter and my condition, and the heavy burden which I am now bearing, but your wife says I must not write more now as you are not in condition to be further drawn on. So, thanking you, and having the hope that at some time in the near future I may again communicate with you, I will say good night.