Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 4, 1866

White, J. E.

Olcott, New York

September 22, 1866

Portions of this letter are published in 11MR 28.

Dear Son Edson:

We received your letter but it was very short. You gave us no particulars concerning how you left matters at home. I wish to learn what you did with the horses and what arrangements you made in regard to the corn. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1866, par. 1

I am sorry you were disappointed about going to Monterey. Be patient and things will come out all right. My soul is tried to the quick about these strange moves of your father. God only knows how he will come out and how long I must be on the rack. We are now among kind and sympathizing friends. Your father certainly appears better; but I know not what to expect next. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1866, par. 2

You shall have all the means necessary for your tuition. But Edson, I hope you will not spend one penny needlessly. I was sorry to read on your list of expenditures fish and dandelion coffee. Neither of these is necessary for students to have, and should not be indulged in by any of you who have so limited means. If you have any drink, pure, cold water is sufficient to satisfy thirst. I hope you will remember your failings, Edson, and not let money, which is so important an item, slip through your hands without due and deliberate consideration. Live as plainly as we have taught and do not on any account become loose in regard to the principles of health reform. I need not tell you, Edson, that I have a thousand fears in regard to you. You are entering a new and untried field and are surrounded with numerous temptations. But Edson, if you are fortified with religious principles you will be shielded in a great degree from Satan’s temptations. A firm hold of God will fortify you against the society of those whose influence is dangerous, and who pollute all they come in contact with. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1866, par. 3

My son, I love you with earnest, fervent love such as can dwell only in the heart of a mother. I have been passing through deep waters. Several times I have been nearly overwhelmed but, Edson, should you take a wrong course and imitate the course of the dissolute around you, or should you form wrong habits, turn your heart from God and bar your breast against the influence of the Spirit of God, my cup of misery would overflow. My life already is bitter, but should you prove untrue it would be wormwood and gall to me. If I learn you are seeking to follow Christ and obey His teachings I shall have rest and trust concerning you. Satan is sending his darts thick and fast, and if he can destroy my usefulness entirely by using agents to lead you into dangerous paths, it would quench the little hope I have and make of none effect all my previous labors for you, my dear boy. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1866, par. 4

You must not lay to heart the course of your father. He is not himself. Satan holds him in his iron grasp and is determined to drive us all to desperation. You have not been treated as a father should treat a son. Remember what was shown me in Rochester, that Satan has smitten the father that he might destroy the children. Thwart the purposes of Satan. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1866, par. 5

Let me know that you are seeking to walk in wisdom’s ways and I will be comforted in my great living sorrow. Be of good courage; a brighter day will dawn. It cannot be as hard for you as for me. But if you are faithful, true to honor and follow the light you have had I will stand by you. I will sympathize with and pray for you and love you with a mother’s tenderest affection. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1866, par. 6

You are now my main dependence. You stand manfully by my side, breast the storm with me,—your poor, stricken and afflicted mother. Be true to noble, elevated principles. Do not be persuaded to do one mean act to be registered in the books in heaven. May God impress your heart and may you have no rest until you lay all your burdens and cares upon the Burden-bearer. Seek first the favor of God. Seek the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness and all things shall be added. If I see you fortified with religious principles, I mean to give you every advantage in my power. But first I must know that you will not abuse the privileges granted and that your acquirements will not be used or turned to scatter from Christ. “He that gathereth not with me scattereth.” Luke 11:23. Use the influence you have for good to others. Let your principles appear plain as you have been taught and you will be respected and honored, notwithstanding some may appear to scorn and despise your conscientious scruples. Be in a position where at all times you can say “No” to any pleasant companionable tempter. Never let Satan decoy you into his trap. Don’t spend your evenings in the society of others. Be in your room at an early hour and may God bless you. May angels guard. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1866, par. 7

I close, for it is getting too dark to write. Much love to you, my dear boy. Love to Anna and Lucretia. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1866, par. 8

From your Mother. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1866, par. 9

P.S. I have put up thirty cans of fruit—four of plums; two of pears, whole; two of pears, cut up; twenty-one cans of peaches. Besides this I have a good stock of elderberries. Willie has been a great help to me. He is good and true, the best boy I ever knew. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1866, par. 10