SHAKER TESTIMONIES of the Life, Character, Revelations and Doctrines of Mother Ann Lee, and the Elders with Her.
Published by the Shakers in 1816; Reprinted 1888.  
        Hell Torment and Heaven

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On-line at PTW: November 30, 1997
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“Testimonies of Mother Ann Lee and the Elders”

Authentic Excerpt from: Chapter XXXIV, pages 238-240

Hell Torment and Heaven



1. At Watervliet, the first winter after the opening of the gospel, Mother came into the meeting-room where many young Believers were assembled, and being in the visions of God, and under impressions of mind concerning the power of God against sin, she addressed them as follows, “If you commit sin with beasts, your spirits will be transformed into the shape of beasts, in the spirit world; I now behold souls under sufferings whose form is shaped like dogs, horses and swine; they appear in the shape of such beasts as they committed sin with; and this is laid upon them as a punishment of that sin.”

2.“Men and women in this world can please themselves, by gratifying their lusts, and if they do not overcome their passions by the gospel, they carry them into the world of spirits with them.  Death does not destroy these passions, nor make them less powerful; but souls in hell feel their lustful passions rise intensely stronger than in this world; and yet they can find no way to gratify them; therefore, their lust is their torment; and it torments them in proportion to its rage.”

3. “And more than all this, they have to feel the wrath of God against that wicked nature, and this is still a greater torment to them, than the torment of their lusts.  The more people give way to the gratification of their lusts in this world, the stronger their passions will grow and the more their sufferings will increase in the spirit world.”

4. “I now see, in open vision, souls suffering for their sins, committed through lust, enough to take away your natural lives; they are bound in the prisons of hell.”

5.“Again,” Mother Ann said, “Souls who go out of this world and have not heard the gospel, do not know God, nor where to find Him.  I have seen them wandering about weeping and crying, trying to find God.  But, the gospel will be offered to them, and all souls, both quick and dead, will be eventually judged by the testimony of the gospel which you now hear.”

6. In the time of a great gathering at Ashfield, so numerous was the assembly that the meeting-house was not large enough to contain the multitude; therefore they assembled in that and the dwelling-house, and between the two houses, which were near to each other.  Elder James took his station between the two houses, and addressed the audience.  He spake with great solemnity of the glory and happiness of those, who, through faithfulness, should find an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.  “Such souls”, said Elder James, “will enjoy inexpressible flows of the givings and blessings of God; and, though they will joy and rejoice in this, yet, what they enjoy in the present tense will not be their greatest comfort, but they will still be looking forward with joyful anticipations, for a greater increase, for more of the glory and givings of God, continually, and forever; and this will constitute their greatest happiness.  On the other hand, the torments and misery of the lost, though they may be under never so much now, yet, what they feel in the present tense, will not be their greatest torment; but that which will constitute their greatest misery, will be looking forward, with awful forebodings, to get another opening of the judgments of God.”

7. At another time in addressing a public assembly of Believers at Ashfield, Elder James said, “You ought to fear God in all you do; when you are about your work, you ought to fear God; and even in the gifts of God, and under the operations of the power of God, you ought to keep the fear of God, lest, by feeling releasement in those gifts, you run into lightness.” Daniel Moseley .

8. Again Father James Whittaker said, “Heaven is a place of joy and tranquillity to those who find it; but I am jealous, and with a godly jealousy too, that there are many here now who never will find it.  I fear that some, who now profess faith, will walk the streets, howling like curst Cains.” Daniel Moseley.

9. In the first season, after the opening of the gospel at Watervliet, Mother Ann came into the room where there was a number of married men, and their wives, and said, “I see, in vision, a large black cloud rising as black as a thunder cloud, and it is occasioned by the men sleeping with their wives.”  She then asked them if they had not rather sleep with their wives than with anybody else.  They acknowledged they had rather sleep with them, even if they did not touch them.  Mother admonished them not to do it any more. Israel Talcot, Senr.

10. Again Mother Ann spoke to a number of married people as follows, “You must forsake the marriage of the flesh, and travel out of it, in order to be married to the Lamb; which is, to be married to Christ, or, joined to the Lord in one spirit.” Mother Lucy Wright.

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