Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 11, 1861


Orleans, Michigan

December 1861

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 291-292.

Dear Friends:

While in Roosevelt, N.Y., August 3, 1861, some things were shown me in regard to the state of the cause in different places. Many families were shown me, and the position and acts of different ones and their influence upon the cause of present truth. Again I was shown in Battle Creek in October, the state of the cause, and the churches contemplating organization, and that a great work must be accomplished for the church before they should be fitted for the work of organization. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 1

Then a general view of the cause was presented before me, and I was shown that a more deep and thorough work than had been thought of must be done for God’s people; that plain, cutting testimonies must be borne, and there must be a work of reform among God’s people. There must be a coming up. Among the places and things shown me were Caledonia and Wright, and individual cases were presented before me. I was also shown some things in regard to this section. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 2

The Brethren Kellogg and their wives and some others were shown me, that they do not look upon matters in the right light. They love the truth, but fail to let the truth purify and elevate them. They are too careless of their personal appearance and of their houses. You do not look upon order and cleanliness as essential qualifications for Christ’s followers, especially professing to believe this purifying, cleansing, fitting up message. The design of the truth is to elevate the receiver, to purify him from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 3

I was shown that we are looked upon as a degraded people. We are a sect everywhere spoken against, and unless we do take an elevated position, we are miserable representatives of the truth and we stand in the way of those who would believe the truth. Our lives, our acts, must be so circumspect and faultless as to commend [the truth] to unbelievers, especially to those who have any disposition to receive it. The truth is to elevate, to cleanse, to purify, to sanctify, to fit us for translation, prepare us for the company of holy angels, sinless beings in the kingdom of God. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 4

Some who have lacked order, cleanliness and elevated feelings, look upon those who have refined taste and neatness and order as being proud. They feel uncomfortable because others do not come down to their level. This is all wrong. The truth does not bring us all down on a level, but brings us all up on a level. You are too careless, too neglectful of your person and apparel. God calls for a reform on your part. You are a hindrance to others embracing the truth. You must begin to work and reform. God cannot approve and bless you until you can be a better example and better represent the truth. Take a more elevated position. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 5

Unbelievers are disgusted with anything in Sabbath-keepers which looks like slackness and uncleanness. Every act, every deed must be studied. All our course must be so that it cannot be censured justly. We must take every appearance [of] evil away from those who are watching us. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 6

In the efforts made to get the truth before unbelievers, your low position has hindered the efforts from proving successful. You have not let the truth elevate you. You have not let its influence sanctify you. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 7

Now God requires of His people to carry out the truth they profess. There are many of them poor and cannot obtain conveniences, yet He enjoins upon them strict cleanliness and order. God is no less particular now than when He gave directions to the children of Israel to observe cleanliness lest the Lord pass by and see their uncleanness and would not go up with their armies to battle against their enemies. These stumbling-blocks must be moved out of the way. God requires cleanliness of person, and neatness of dress, and order and cleanliness in your houses, or God will not bless you and you will be a hindrance to the cause of God. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 8

I had expected to have an appointment to visit if we had given up our journey to St. Charles, but now we design to go, and therefore I have written. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 9

Now I want to express my mind in regard to the meeting there. When we came to Bro. King's, we found three unbelieving relatives, and we saw that they were all feeble. Sister King [was] nearly down, her unbelieving sister weak and nervous, the mother nearly sick, and the young daughter utterly unable to do more work around the house. When you all drove up I honestly felt sorry. I respected and loved you. You have ever been kind to us, but I felt that it was not the place for you that you should have stayed where they were [not] all believers, and I was so fearful that something might happen to disgust these unbelievers, and place them where the truth could never affect them. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 10

This fear led my husband to especially caution you, and then after his caution you felt tried because you thought you were expected to leave, and go to Bro. Olmstead's. All from Greenville were expected here. You knew that they would be crowded, and it would have after all passed off tolerably well had it not been for the exhibition at bedtime [when] arrangements [were] made for men and women to camp down together in the same room, and then when opposed by Bro. King [for you] to reason and urge the matter. This was the height of impropriety. The first intimation from Bro. King should have been enough. Was not he the one to say how these things should be arranged in his own house? Again, in all my travels east or west, I never saw or knew of men and women lodging together in the same room if there were two rooms in the house. I would oppose such a move strongly. I would censure it. I would not give the least countenance to it. It is low, slack and immodest. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 11

If persons are infirm and cannot endure the inconvenience of attending such large meetings—especially where there are but one or two families to lodge so large a company—if couples cannot be separated, they should stay at home. They should not discommode themselves and others to prove an injury to themselves in the end. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 12

Arrangements were made for the men and women before the conference. Must these arrangements be broken and men and women lodge together in the same room to gratify one or two who are pleased with such a slack arrangement? 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 13

Anyone of refined feelings would agree with Bro. King in a moment. An apology is due from you to Bro. and Sister King for the spirit manifested by Bro. Joseph's wife. I felt so mortified and ashamed [for] the unbelievers here. Sister King's sister was disgusted, just as we feared it might be. What kind of an influence would have gone out had you been permitted to all lodge in the same room, men and women? Why, it would be like this—that we were a low, vulgar, immoral people. God requires an entire change, an entire reform. Is this abstaining from all the appearance of evil? Says Paul, “We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] We must study our every act lest we are a stumbling block to others and their blood be found on our garments. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 14

Sister Joseph Kellogg has a work to do to subdue her own spirit. She knows not what spirit she is of, and unless she governs her own spirit and possesses true humility she will be left in darkness; for God is bringing up His people. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 15

Do you wonder that I felt fearful of the result when you came here, when I have been shown as I have? May God help me to bear the straight testimony He would have me [bear] upon this most delicate subject. Everyone who lacks must [be] right upon these things. The cause of truth demands it. God requires it. The great and dreadful God will not enter the houses of those who are not cleanly to bless them, after the light shines to them upon these things. Your conversation must be more elevated, more holy, and you must show to all that the truth has had a tendency to elevate, to reform, to purify. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 16

May God help you to take hold of this work with zeal is my prayer. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 17

Ellen G. White

As I have not time to copy, I will leave it with Bro. Davis to copy and send me his copy. It is my request that this be read to Bro. Joseph Kellogg and wife, Bro. Milton and wife, old Bro. Kellogg and wife, and Bro. Sumner and wife. Also read it to Bro. and Sister How, for they were present that evening and they should know the things I have written, that no prejudice may rest upon their minds in regard the course pursued by my husband and Bro. and Sister King. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1861, par. 18