At this time, the truth on the guilty should not be told openly, strange 
as this may seem, yet this is a policy. We must use precaution in 
bringing sinners to justice, lest in exposing these heinous sins we draw 
the indignation of a Gentile world upon us (and, to their imagination, 
justly too). It is necessary to hold an influence in the world, and thus 
spare ourselves an extermination; and also accomplish our end in 
spreading the Gospel, or holiness, in the earth. If we were brought to 
desolation, the disobedient would find no help. There are some who are 
obedient, yet men cannot steady the ark—my arm cannot do it—God must 
steady it. To the iniquitous show yourselves merciful.

 I am advised by some of the heads of the Church to tell the Relief 
Society to be virtuous, but to save the Church from desolation and the 
sword; beware, be still, be prudent, repent, reform, but do it in a way 
not to destroy all around you. I do not want to cloak iniquity—all 
things contrary to the will of God, should be cast from us, but don't do 
more hurt than good, with your tongues—be pure in heart. Jesus designs 
to save the people out of their sins. Said Jesus, "Ye shall do the work, 
which ye see me do." These are the grand key-words for the society to 
act upon. If I were not in your midst to aid and counsel you, the devil 
would overcome you. I want the innocent to go free—rather spare ten 
iniquitous among you, than condemn one innocent one. "Fret not thyself 
because of evildoers." God will see to it. (May 26, 1842.) 

—DHC 5:19-21.

(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and 
arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 
1976], 239.)

///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
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