Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1

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Lt 26, 1868

White, J. E.; White, W. C.

Rochester, New York

December 16, 1868

Portions of this letter are published in 2Bio 253; 3MR 48-49.

Dear Children, Edson and Willie:

We are now visiting at Elder Andrews’. We rode last night in the cars and slept but little. When we arrived at Rochester we were met by T. L. [Lampson] who welcomed us at his house. We had a heavy snow storm last night. It is very pleasant today. A.H. is accompanying us to Battle Creek as copyist. We are anxious to meet you again and enjoy the society of our children. We have not seen our new home but will be prepared to enjoy it with you when we shall return. We left Boston and Sister T. [Temple] yesterday about noon. We hope now her long state of inactivity will end and she be again an interested worker in the cause of God, as she has been. 1LtMs, Lt 26, 1868, par. 1

We have not been entirely free from anxiety on your account. We find relief in prayer. We daily commend your case to God, pleading that the Lord will give you strength to resist every temptation. We present you to God, asking Him to accept the gift and use you both in His cause as instruments of righteousness. Remember you are not your own. You are bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God. Pursue a course that the Lord can approve. Associate the Lord with all you do and in all you say, that Jesus may not be ashamed to call you His sons. Imitate the life of the true Pattern. You may, if you choose, be qualified to be colaborers with Jesus Christ and the heavenly angels. Seek to be faithful in everything. Be sincere and upright in your life. 1LtMs, Lt 26, 1868, par. 2

Edson, as you labor in the office exert an influence for good. Be careful to observe the rules of the office. Do not encourage visitors, for this will divert your mind from your work. The Office is no place for visitors who have no special business there. You must not take liberties because you are a son of Elder White. It would be much worse for you to depart from the rules governing the workers in the Office than for any other hand. Because you are our son and should give to others an example of obedience. 1LtMs, Lt 26, 1868, par. 3

Law and order are altogether too little regarded by youth. You are now forming your characters, my dear children. Do not spend precious moments in mere pleasure seeking. I wish you to feel that now is the time to discipline your minds. Store up knowledge. Do not grow away too fast from the simplicity and trustfulness of childhood. I am not in a hurry for you to become worldly wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 1LtMs, Lt 26, 1868, par. 4

I will tell you what I saw in the street coming to this place. A boy was abusing a dog. He was a small boy, but I thought, That child is educating himself in cruelty. I thought how my heart would ache if one of you should do as he was doing. I passed along another street and a well dressed man, who appeared like a gentleman, was driving a fine horse. The wind blew a piece of paper under the horse’s feet and he started and jumped to one side. That was all, but the man who appeared to be a gentleman whipped the horse cruelly. He was not satisfied with this. He became more and more excited until he was worked up into a rage. He jumped from the carriage and seized the bit and jerked the horse’s head back and then kicked the horse several times with his heavy boot. I thought probably that man began his acts of cruelty as did the little boy—upon small animals. He acted the tyrant over God’s helpless creatures until the temper and spirit were educated to cruelty. That man could not be a patient, kind, affectionate father. He was cultivating traits of character which would cause others sorrow and make himself miserable. 1LtMs, Lt 26, 1868, par. 5

A man cannot be a Christian and allow his temper to fire up at any little accident of annoyance that he may meet, and show that Satan is in him in the place of Jesus Christ. The passionate belaboring of animals or the disposition to show he is master is often exhibited towards God’s creatures in the streets. This is venting their own anger or impatience upon helpless objects which show they are superior to their masters. They bear all without retaliation. Children, be kind to dumb animals. Never cause them pain unnecessarily. Educate yourselves to habits of kindness. Then it will become habitual. I will send you a clipping from a paper and you can decide for yourselves if some dumb beasts are not superior to some men who have allowed themselves to become brutish by their cruel course of action to dumb animals. 1LtMs, Lt 26, 1868, par. 6