Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 7, 1860

Smith, Harriet

Battle Creek, Michigan

June 1860

Portions of this letter are published in PH016. See Lt 7a, 1860.

Dear Sister Harriet [Smith]:

I think it is my duty to write you a few lines this morning. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 1

After we came home from the West you well know a burden rested upon us. We have felt no union with the church generally and have spent our Sabbaths at home. But I will go back. When we came from the East last fall I told James that I had no liberty to bear my testimony in the church at Battle Creek, but he urged me to do so. I continued to bear my testimony, but to the discouragement of my own soul; and when I prayed in that meeting house I had so little freedom I told James it should be the last time. I knew not the occasion of all this. I felt the same when relating or reading a vision in Uriah’s [Smith] and your presence. I was reluctant to do so. I had no freedom and would feel a strange dissatisfaction after doing so. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 2

While at Knoxville [Iowa] some things were explained to me which I had been ignorant of before. I was shown some things in Battle Creek, was shown the state of C. Smith’s [Cyrenius Smith] family, and was pointed right back to the visions which they had not heeded. Then I saw Fletcher [John Fletcher Byington] and Uriah and you and other individuals. It seemed to be a chain of connection, with dissatisfied looks, and all watching James and me with jealousy and suspicion. Uriah and James were shown me a distance apart, not united. Darkness was in the Office. The angels of God were grieved and had but little to do with the work there. There was a secret dissatisfaction; all carried on in darkness. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 3

Then I saw concerning J. H. Waggoner, and the communications between him and Uriah. If he had said to Uriah, “If Brother White is wrong in his feelings in regard to you, I am more so. I have burdened his mind with my feelings in regard to these things. Do not judge harshly of Brother White in this matter, for I am equally to blame;” then matters would have been left in the right shape. But that matter was not left right. It was left half finished, with all the censure upon James, like many other things. God frowns upon such injustice. At a meeting held at Brother Kellogg’s [John Preston Kellogg], things shown me at Knoxville came vividly to my mind. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 4

Harriet, I saw that a strange work has been going on here for months in the past. There has been a strengthening the hands of each other in unbelief of the visions because the wrongs of some have been reproved. I feel crushed in spirit and abused, and I have no more testimony to bear in Battle Creek until there is an entire change. This looks darker than the work in Rochester [New York] and is certainly worse, for they have their example and their present condition before them as a warning. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 5

Harriet, I was carried back and shown that there has never been a full reception of the visions given in Paris [Maine]. It is still looked upon that Brother White dealt too plainly, and you are not free in this matter. From what has been shown me, he dealt no more plainly than the case deserved. And the disaffection and warfare against the testimony and visions there borne must be seen, felt, and acknowledged, or they will be subject to wrong influence and the temptations of the devil. They will appear to be united with us, but when plain dealing or reproofs are given, all the past is called up and the same warfare commences, and they are more liable to sympathize with those who are wrong than with the right. All these things will have to be realized and thorough work made. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 6

The influence and feelings which existed in Paris have affected your judgment and still sway your mind. You have received and cherished feelings that Brother White was too hard and too severe, and if one is reproved or censured, and complains of Brother White, you are all ready to sympathize with them. In this you come short of being a coworker with the angels of God. God lays a burden on His servant that things are not right. He must bear a plain testimony. It is not pleasant for him to do this. He would gladly be excused, but must do his duty regardless of consequences. Who, then, deserves the sympathy? The one who feels the burden and in the fear of God discharges his duty? or the erring one who caused this burden by grieving the Spirit of God? 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 7

Just as long as God has a church, just as long as He has a people, He will have those who will cry aloud and spare not, who will be His instruments to reprove selfishness and sin, and will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, whether men will hear or forbear. I know individuals will rise up against the plain testimony. It does not suit their natural feelings. It does not suit you and some others who would rather desire smooth words spoken unto them and have peace cried in their ears. But this is not the work God has assigned us. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 8

Individuals have been watching James with jealousy and suspicion, and the feelings and prejudice were communicated to each other while he was left in darkness as to the real state of their feelings. You have taken an active part in this. They were doubting the messages which the Lord has given. I saw that a great trial was before the church at Battle Creek, that James must be careful whom he trusted or confided in, for he is watched by his brethren at Battle Creek and watched by those in the Office—especially you, Uriah, and Fletcher. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 9

I saw that the leaven of dissatisfaction that worked in Paris and Rochester has been at work here. The messages which God gave in Paris were doubted. The plain reproofs my husband there bore were not received, but he was looked upon as being hard and severe. But I saw that had he borne a more mild testimony he would have merited the displeasure of God. The feeling of those in Paris was not in union with the Spirit and work of God, and they realized not the sacrifices and self-denial that must be made by them, as well as others, to fill their place in the work of God. When they were reproved, instead of humbly confessing and putting away their wrongs, they dwelt upon Brother White’s harshness and severity, sympathized with each other, linked together in their unbelief and dissatisfaction. And they never yet have seen and realized their wrong course or our sufferings at that time, which need not have been as severe if they had taken a right course. They were willing to think they had been too severely dealt with. Satan helped them in the matter until great darkness covered them and they were blinded to their true state. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 10

Brother J. N. Andrews sympathized with those in Paris; their feelings and position affected him—it does still—and his judgment and sympathy were perverted. He too often stood on the side of those who were cautioned or reproved, which caused trouble instead of healing the difficulty. This all arose from not having his sympathy and influence with those who he should have had confidence in, and letting those stand alone who were not in full sympathy with the work of God. Things at Paris were left at loose ends, ready for Satan to tangle into a perplexing knot to suit himself. They never have realized their wrongs and taken them out of the way, the bars were left down for Satan to step in and possess the field. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 11

When everything moves on smoothly, then past dissatisfactions and difficulties in Paris lie dormant, but when a reproof or rebuke is given the same dissatisfaction arises. “Brother White was wrong back there; he was too severe, and he is too severe now.” Then jealous, hard feelings arise. As he is in union with the visions given, as the visions and his testimony agree, the visions are doubted, and Satan is working secretly to affect and overthrow the work of God. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 12

I again saw the evil of not making straight and thorough work in the past. I was brought down to Rochester and saw the same suspicion and jealousy existing there—and you were greatly in fault there—and that God would have us leave Rochester just when we did, and that there had been a lack of frank acknowledgement from Brother J. N. Andrews, Uriah, yourself, and others, that it was the special work of God our leaving Rochester at the time we did, notwithstanding the most positive evidence has been given of this, to seal that whole work of God: the prosperity God has given the Office and the cause since the removal to Battle Creek. Yet there has not been straight work in acknowledging this as God’s special work. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 13

All that work of God must be acknowledged, and a stand taken in these things, or Satan will improve every opportunity to throw in doubts and suggestions and jealousy, and the leaven will continue to work. This leaven must be rooted out. When God’s hand is reached down and He moves His people to the right or left, it is of some consequence that they acknowledge His hand and firmly take their position that God has done this. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 14

The state of Rochester should be a warning to all who are tempted to doubt the teachings of God or who are ready to find fault with the straight testimony or reproofs given by Brother White. The angels of God do not hover in mercy over Rochester. A curse has rested there, and all the deeds and cruel work of those in Rochester and vicinity are recorded. God is not to be trifled with, yet Satan has kept the mind in perfect darkness in regard to these things. The suffering and agony His servants bore in Rochester when doing His work are faithfully chronicled. And notwithstanding the example of Rochester and their condition, the same work has been going on in Battle Creek in a secret, underhanded manner. The same spirit that existed in Paris and Rochester revives and will continue to do so until the past is all straightened out by acknowledging God’s work. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 15

There is a thorough opposition with individuals in this place against plain testimony, and none are so thoroughly opposed as yourself. Your feelings have been wicked. There are those who possess a very mild, easy manner, who would not lift their voices against wrong brought under their observation. But the testimony will not cease. As long as God has anything to do with this church this plain testimony will cut to the right and the left, and the church will have to be hewed and squared, the planing knife of God will pass over them. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 16

Harriet, I was shown the past, the position John [Andrews] occupied after he went to Waukon, the spirit of rebellion that arose. It is not dead yet, but many are standing in just that uncertain position, with but little spirit of present truth, where the seeds of rebellion would take root very easily. I saw that Brother John had suffered in his mind extremely. Satan magnifies many things before him, and he has represented Paris and Rochester affairs to others in entirely a wrong light. He has been driven almost to insanity. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 17

The visit at Waukon was timely and God wrought there. John was convinced that God was in the work and he has made great efforts since that time to resist the temptations of Satan and to be in union with the work of God. He needs help. He has suffered. He has been fiercely buffeted, and has been making every effort he could to have his mind in the right channel and to be united with us, and not a shadow of unbelief should be thrown in his path. He should receive help in this matter. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 18

If those who have influence with Brother John will exert that influence as they should, take their position decidedly and stand upon it in relation to the work of God, it will be a strength to Brother John and he will take a decided stand and yet be entirely free. Brother John must yet see all the past and realize what influence he has exerted; that his influence told on the side of the enemy’s ranks, and his family does not stand clear. Dissatisfaction is in their minds in regard to things as they have occurred, and they will not stand in the light until they wipe out the past by confessing their wrong course in opposing the testimonies given them of God, and are united with the body in acknowledging the work of God. Their own selfish feelings and views stand directly in the way. Either their feelings must be yielded, if it tears them all to pieces, or the visions must be given up. There will be either full union or a division. The crisis has come. The warfare that has been waged against James and the testimonies given of God must be given up if everyone in that Office is removed, and those who fall into an agony, as you have, at the least censure or reproof do not realize that they are perfectly controlled by the enemy. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 19

O, Harriet, your past course was unfolded to me. Your opposition of feeling to James, your being thrown into such agony and professing so much fear of him as though he were a tyrant. You have been deceived, and have acted under a perfect deception. You have been very close with us in regard to your feelings, but have sympathized with others, and expressed great dissatisfaction in regard to James. Your feelings have been in complete rebellion to him, and if you had felt aggrieved and freely opened your mind to him you would have been convinced that your feelings arose from prejudice, misunderstanding, and misconstruction of his words. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 20

God’s frown is upon these things, that a company so closely connected in His work as Uriah, Harriet, and James, should be so exclusive and secretive as you have been. Those who labor together in that Office—their souls must be one and they should have perfect confidence in each other, and there should be perfect frankness and openness to each other. And I saw it must be so, and things must go on in an entirely different manner and principle, or God will have everything in that Office turned upside down. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 21

For months, Harriet, you have felt wrong, acted wrong, and spoken wrong, and been under the control of Satan. You may call your feelings grief, but you have not realized them as they were. It has been anger, and you have been too selfish. The present truth has rested very lightly upon you, and selfishness has woven itself closely with all you do. It is the natural besetment of your family, and it is a sin which God has rebuked them for but which they would not confess. You have never realized it. Your influence, instead of helping Uriah, has hindered. Your appearance, your words and actions, have just that influence that the Lord gave me a warning that they would have unless you stood in His counsel, and were consecrated to Him with your judgment sanctified by His Spirit. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 22

Harriet, had you heeded the vision given you and Uriah two years ago, you would have saved much, but you neglected all that light, have been free to make confidants of those whom you should not, but have been very close and secretive to us. This is the height of injustice. How much faith do you have in the visions? They do not bear a feather’s weight on your mind. Many times has God shown that the burden in the Office and responsibility rest upon James. Gladly would he escape from it, but the Lord has bound it upon him, and if God has placed him there with what light have you regarded him? As an intruder, a meddler into that which in no way concerned him, taking upon himself things which did not belong to him. How much union have you had with the Spirit of God or His work or His teachings? 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 23

I have been shown that the Lord would have a shrewd manager in the Office, one who will reprove, one who is keenly sensitive to wrong, and who feels that the cause of God is a part of him. Uriah and you have not felt this as you should. When a word of reproof was given, instead of looking and seeing that there was a cause for it and admitting there was a wrong, you have kept silent and considered you were suffering wrongfully and Brother White was censorious, severe, and exacting. O, Harriet, whether you realize it or not, these feelings come from a selfish, unconsecrated heart, and Satan has had the bent of your mind. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 24

Brother White is not perfect. He may speak quite strongly in the ardor of his feelings, and if you go to him in confidence and open your mind to him, he would not be backward to relieve your mind all he consistently could. If Uriah and you were as free to confess when you erred as James White has been, there would not be the trouble which now exists. I saw that Satan had taken advantage of his open, frank manner to tell his whole heart, and you have thought him like yourself—one to lay up things, say nothing about them, and if a word is spoken by him, that there must be more where that came from, when you have the whole. He does not hide things in his heart. If an unconsecrated one is reproved by Brother White you sympathize with him, confide in him. You messed with Carrie [Caroline Carpenter], linked yourself with her, and strongly sympathized with her. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 25

This is the same feeling which you have brought down from Paris to Rochester, and from Rochester to Waukon, from Waukon here. You have things to straighten up in the past, and when in Paris, you strengthened each other’s hands in sympathizing and linking together. There was selfishness there that never died. There were wrong feelings there, a rising up against Brother White’s harsh manner, his severity. This has been dwelt upon. There was not a deep searching of heart to see the wrongs which existed in your two families. The same feeling exists with them now. They despised reproof. They despised the visions, blinded their eyes as to their own situation. God’s hand has been laid heavily upon them, but they acknowledge it not. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 26

And now, Harriet, those at Waukon, the Andrews and Stevens families, have stood right in the way of John. They might help him if they would. Yet Satan has carried them in the fog and mist so far, and they have so long neglected to confess their past wrongs I fear they never will take a position to help John. His mind has been in such a state that a continual dropping of words calculated to excite his mind and unsettle it has kept him in a confused state. But I saw it was impossible for the special blessing of God to attend his labors unless he took a decided stand in regard to the teachings of God. His influence at the time of the removal of the Office was all on the wrong side. He strengthened the hands of those whom the frown of God was upon. He unsettled the mind of Henry Nichols in regard to the visions, and Henry has never recovered. He worked on the side of the enemy’s ranks while he was laboring under an entire deception. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 27

Harriet, the link which the Lord showed years ago has never yet been broken. That influence that affected you in Paris, that you brought to Rochester, has affected you in Battle Creek; and then, through your close connection with Uriah and the work of God, it has affected him and he has had feelings and impressions that he would never have had. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 28

The origin is away back in Paris. There has been a perfect chain of connection from Paris to Battle Creek, and the influence of John’s opinions which he received in Paris, and your opinions and positions and views there received, have been instilled into Uriah until he has had a dignity that God has despised. And I have been shown that it was impossible of there being any better state of things to be hoped for in the future until clean work is made of the past. For if matters are now partially settled these wrong views and feelings will be just as liable to occur again. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 29

The cause of God is in a critical state and unless there is now thorough work made there will be an open door for Satan to come in again and take the lead of matters to suit himself. Never can there be any degree of union in this work until wrong links, ties, and sympathies are broken and there is a thorough tearing up of the past and making clean work. But as matters stand now, there is no safety, no bars to keep Satan out. Is the work of God to go on thus? Bitter have been your feelings, and I dare not smooth over matters. The time has come that we must know who is on the Lord’s side. The cause of God calls for immediate action and those who cannot endure the smallest test of their fidelity now, what will they do when the dragon host is at war with those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus? 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 30

The feelings of Jennetta [Frances Jennette Stevens] have been crooked, also Angeline’s [Angeline Andrews (née Stevens)]. They have chosen to believe that their course and ways were just right, rather than to believe the visions. But the time will soon come they will be compelled to see matters as they are, when these matters will be past remedy. I repeat, there has been a perfect chain of dissatisfaction all the way from Paris to Battle Creek. I saw that you could help in the cause of God if you were right, but in your present state you have been only a curse. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 31

There have been two spirits in the Office at Rochester and two spirits in the Office at Battle Creek, and the Lord has shown me that the spirit of reproof should never die out of the Office. It will live there just as long as the Office exists. If Uriah and James are connected in that Office, their interests are one and the barrier that has been placed between them must be broken down, the reserve on the part of Uriah and yourself [must be] broken down, the exclusive course Uriah has pursued must be broken down, and they be in perfect union or not labor in connection at all. I saw that you have cruelly wronged James. The Lord help you to see it. Your feelings have been desperate and without a cause. God has given James a position to occupy. You have been at war with it. Two years ago was the reproof given for Uriah and you. Read it all over and see if it has been heeded. I saw that the Lord’s hand had sustained James, but your feelings have been to tear him down. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 32

Harriet, may the Lord give you a full sense of the part you have been acting. Your feelings of selfishness would lead you to tear Uriah from the Office that you might enjoy his company more exclusively yourself. 1LtMs, Lt 7, 1860, par. 33