Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 15, 1862

Ingraham, William S.

Lodi, Wisconsin

February 28, 1862

See variant Lt 15a, 1862. Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Ingraham,

Our meeting closed at Avon last Monday. We hope that good has been effected. We were very sorry that you were absent. You should have been present if it was among the possibles. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 1

I had a testimony to bear and freedom in bearing it. I told them what had been shown me in regard to them, that the leaven of envy, jealousy, and malice was fast leavening the lump. I tried to impress upon them what had been shown me in regard to Satan’s power and his devices, that he had come in like the wide breaking in of waters. Evil angels have had room given them to work, to tear in pieces and divide the church. They have been growing more and more befogged, darker and darker. And unless they now earnestly, zealously resist the devil that he may flee from them, souls will be taken in the net Satan has prepared for them, and unbelievers will become disgusted with their course and steel their hearts against the truth. Satan has led minds to attend to the business of others and watch others when they should attend to their own souls, and search their own hearts and be very jealous of themselves. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 2

I was shown many watching Brother Wood with jealousy. They thought he was wrong; they inferred and judged, and were suspicious and envious without a cause. Satan has taken the greatest advantage of a misunderstanding. I was shown that Brother Wood had been wronged; he had felt aggrieved, injured. He suffered much in his mind and could not sleep or rest much of the time. He was willing to do anything for the church, but when he realized the true feelings in regard to him he folded his arms and stepped back, and felt that he would let them alone. He was too stiff. He did not possess all that patience that would lead him to suffer long; and as all his moves were watched, advantage was taken of every move or act he or his wife might make. He felt like standing back until they had enough of it. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 3

Brother Pease’s countenance I remembered as one who has attended to every one’s business but his own, had interested himself and suggested suspicion and felt envious of Brother Wood. Some looked upon Brother Pease as the one whom they should prefer to lead them. I saw that the man was not capable or qualified to bear responsibilities in the church; that it was as much as he could do to attend to his own soul. I was directed to different ones in the church and could not see one as well qualified to fill the position as elder in the church as Brother Wood. It was the work of Satan to destroy the confidence of the church in him. He has been made an offender for a word; and while souls have been watching him, Satan has directed their minds. We are not perfect; all are liable to failures; and if Brother Wood had been wrong, their feelings were not justifiable. I saw that the church should draw nigh to God that He may draw nigh to them, and when the enemy should come in like a flood the Spirit of the Lord may lift up a standard against him. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 4

The Spirit of the Lord was in the meeting and heartfelt confessions were made. All was moving on aright until Brother Smith arose and introduced matters between him and Brother Wood which were settled, and this was after Brother Wood had made a confession satisfactory to all reasonable minds. Brother Smith brought up that Brother Wood had cautioned him in regard to your children, for which they had held Brother Wood to a confession. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 5

Previous to this I had not brought in your name, but matters took such a turn that I was obliged to speak and not let the innocent suffer. I told them I could not see where or how Brother Wood could be censured in the remarks made to Brother Smith, for he had made these remarks for the good of the church and his motives had been misjudged; that had I been acquainted with the church at Avon, and you were about to move among them, I should caution them to move carefully lest they might afterwards regret it. I should have told them your family were not well disciplined and would cause them trial. I spoke out a few things that I had been shown—that Brother Ingraham sometimes erred in judgment; he was a powerful laborer when God was with him in the pulpit, and successful in new fields, but failed in judgment when he engaged in church difficulties. He is sympathetic and receives impressions from individuals who are wrong, censuring those who do not deserve censure, and coming to wrong conclusions in regard to difficulties and trials. When these impressions are made upon Brother Ingraham’s mind they are not easily effaced. He settles strong, and moves upon these impressions, and he has not judged aright. He has not helped matters in Avon but, through his interference, brought things into a more perplexed condition than before. He does not judge trials correctly. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 6

As the meeting progressed Brother Wood’s spirit waxed warmer and warmer. He manifested a wrong spirit and great distress came upon the meeting. We cried earnestly to God, with some freedom. Brother Smith requested his name to be left out and for them to go on with organization. We were dreadfully distressed. We knew not what to do, and after laboring till near sundown to effect a reconciliation between Brethren Smith and Wood we were obliged to leave Brother Wood’s [Smith’s?, see Lt 15a, 1862] name. This was a sad feature in the meeting. I had a straight and yet encouraging testimony for Brother Grimes, that his mind has been directed in the wrong channel. Satan had caught off his mind from present truth upon uncertain questions; here was his danger. He must guard his mind and dwell upon the present truth, which was to fit up and prepare God’s people for translation. He humbly acknowledged the testimony with a broken spirit and many tears. He confessed with an excellent spirit and united with the church. But Brother Smith, poor Brother Smith, has been reluctantly left behind. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 7

I have tried to write you a little in regard to the meeting. I said just as little in regard to you as I could. I have written I think, nearly, if not quite, every word. I was obliged to say something. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 8

I had a little conversation in the sleigh with you. Questions which you asked I have been thinking upon, and the scenes of the meeting at Avon brought vividly to my mind particular things which may enlighten your mind, if I should write out all the matter as presented before me and which lays with weight upon my mind. I was shown that you did not understand matters at Avon and lacked judgment. Your feelings and your opinions, instead of the Spirit of the Lord, led you in the trials at Avon. There was no need of your acting in this small difficulty which arose. Publicity should not have been given to the matter. Even in the commencement you misjudged; and then your influence excited and fanned to a flame the spark kindled. You excited jealousy and suspicion in the minds of many who would otherwise have stood clear. You led the church into difficulty but could not so readily lead them out. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 9

I wish to present some things before you that you may not thoroughly understand. Testimony Number Six is before me. Please read particularly the last paragraph on the eighth page and the first on the ninth page. In the first paragraph referred to, I will quote: “You have not been in harmony with the straight testimony. You have shunned to lay your hand decidedly upon wrong, and have been tried with those who have felt compelled to do so. Disaffected ones have had your sympathy which has had a tendency to make you a weak man.” 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 10

This lack which was shown me does not refer to your laboring in the desk, your public labors. You are quite pointed in the pulpit. Your lack is in your labors out of the desk, to reprove individual wrong. Prejudice affects you and influences your labors out of the desk. You do not understand circumstances and character, and receive reports of some and censure those you should not—those whom you should be in union with, who could help you, often where you lack, [and] upon whose judgment you could rely—and you build up those who need to be torn down and who deserve severe censure. You are not aware that you lack judgment, and are very set and willful in your own opinions. You think that you know best, that your preaching brethren are not right and that they lack judgment, when the wrong and lack of judgment are in yourself. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 11

In the last vision I was shown that you feel chafed because perfect confidence is not placed in your judgment by your ministering brethren. You have destroyed that confidence yourself. You have not felt right toward Brother and Sister Sanborn and Brother Loughborough. You have felt wrong toward your preaching brethren. The very ones you should have confidence in—Brethren Sanborn and Loughborough—you have pulled apart from, [and] you have been jealous of them and have injured their influence and felt free to differ with them before brethren and sisters. These brethren have the faculty to manage better than yourself. You have no true sense of the injury of your course, and the good you might have done if you had been right and stood in the counsel of God. Your influence has scattered and torn down. You should pull with all your might with your fellow laborers. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 12

I wrote you some time ago the vision given me in regard to your wife and children. There has not been a restraining influence in your family, and you are both so constituted that if you are advised in regard to your children, or they are corrected or censured, feelings arise in both your hearts against those who have done this, and you receive strong prejudice against them. In whatever church you should settle your family you would have trials and the church would be deeply tried. Your wife is easily irritated, has a hasty temper, and is extremely sensitive upon the point of her children being censured or corrected. They are indulged and not restrained, and Sister Ingraham becomes jealous and speaks impatiently towards those who have suffered through your unruly children and under a sense of duty speak to her upon the point. She cuts loose in her feelings, becomes irritated. The churches expect better things of your family. Their influence, with your lack of judgment, would tear down any young church. I advise you to stay where you are and not move your family into a new place. Your influence will do more to have your family in one place and you labor elsewhere. A young church should never have the example of your family to tear them down. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 13

Brother Ingraham, you will not, cannot, reform until you see where you have erred and the influence you have exerted. You should plant your feet upon the right ground and stand there, and not let Satan gain the victory by your following your own feelings in regard to individuals. Search first your own heart. It is time you were right, just right. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 14

It was very difficult for us to feel reconciled to be placed in such a trying position in Avon. I knew from what had been shown me that if you had not interfered, but stood in the counsel of God, that difficulty might have been saved. You lifted a burden from the shoulders of one who deserved to bear the burden and placed it upon another who did not deserve it, and if the soul of the erring is saved it will be but a hair’s breadth escape. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 15

Satan works on the right hand and on the left, unperceived. The most deplorable thing, and that which has caused us from the first the most heart-rending trials, is that Satan uses ministers as his agents and accomplishes a work through them which he would fail to accomplish in any other way. He deceives ministers, those who minister in word and doctrine. He insinuates himself, takes advantage of different organizations, leads one to differ from another, to be very sanguine of their own opinion and judgment, to think their course is right, their judgment the best. And Satan exults when a party feeling is raised. Then he introduces his jealousy, evil-surmising, and fault-finding, excites sympathy for those who are wrong, and confusion and distraction are in the body. For years past I have been shown that the unwise course of the ministers has been the foundation of most all the difficulties in the church. This grieves God and angels. It should not be. It need not be. It is the work of Satan, and souls are lost in consequence. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 16

Brother Ingraham, you do not feel as you ought to feel in regard to your preaching brethren, and you have showed out these feelings. You will show out these feelings in some way; by a hint or insinuation you show that you disagree with them. You find fault with things that they have done, with their management, suggest improvements that you could make, and you have thrown doubts and exerted an influence among some of the brethren and sisters which you could not so easily do away. You must search carefully. Evil surmising and jealousy have lived in your heart, which have manifested themselves in side hints, and God cannot prosper you until you see things as they are. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 17

You should take your position to yield anything rather than that the flock should perceive the least difference of opinion between you and your ministering brethren. It is very easy and natural for you to dissent from your preaching brethren and speak in a way to hurt their influence. You have carried out your feelings in the matter and persisted in some cases to differ and bring them in fault, and at the same time have upheld the guilty. This displeases God. Sometimes you have moved blindly in this matter by receiving the testimonies of interested individuals, listening to their complaints, and acting upon their testimony when they were greatly at fault. And sometimes you have persisted in your own opinions and decisions, which have been formed by your own feelings and jealousies. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 18

As different things which I have seen from time to time come vividly before me I hope that I shall by the help of the Spirit of God present them to you as they were presented to me. In regard to your labors in and about Monroe, I was shown that at one time after the series of meetings held in Monroe all that section of country was aroused. A discreet and wise laborer there then could have built up a large church; but Satan did not mean to have it so. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 19

God’s Spirit attended your first labors in Monroe. You took a little glory to yourself and thought your abilities were greater than it was wise for you to think they were. You placed all confidence in your own judgment. You thought you understood perfectly how to manage, but you failed. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 20

Your first labors in Monroe were approved of God. Then if you had continued small in your own eyes and glorified God alone, a living church would have been existing in Monroe. Had you stood humble, willing to advise and counsel with your brethren, especially those who labor in word and doctrine, you would have been saved from your now present perplexities, and would have been the means of doing much good. You lacked ability to manage. Your preaching brethren, many of them, are better qualified in this respect than yourself. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 21

You thought you knew just how things should be managed at Crane’s Grove. This led you to censure my husband, whom you should have helped, who has borne burdens to which you are a stranger. You helped to cast a burden upon him to save the feelings of unconsecrated, unconverted, professed Sabbathkeepers, most of whom knew not the first principles of religion or the truth. God frowned upon you. Your influence told there, and in the train of circumstances which have occurred you have placed matters at Crane’s Grove in a position which cost us hard and wearing labor and great discouragements when we were last there, and we have not been able to exert that influence which God designed we should have exerted there. They have not seen everything clearly and been entirely free from the impressions they received from you, and in your efforts to build up Brother Ferrin they do not see these things and have not yet straightened themselves. They mean to be right. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 22

It is easier to make a wrong impression than to efface it after it is once made. Satan stands ready to impress upon minds with force wrong ideas that one minister has unwisely given, that all the messengers in the field could not efface, and which could never be wiped out except by the power of God’s Spirit. After that meeting at Crane’s Grove, God did not prosper you and you followed your own selfish, blind judgment, and all the counsel and caution of your brethren and sisters, including your preaching brethren, had no more influence upon you to arrest your blind course than the blowing of the wind. You stretched out your hand to shield those whom God required His servants to reprove. You sought to build up an ungodly man living in adultery every day, and your course tore things to pieces faster than twelve could have built [it] up. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 23

I was shown that taking all your labors together, since that time and at that time, the injury overbalances the good. You have not seen your errors as God looks upon them. You think that you have been unfortunate in a few instances, that upon the whole, you have been about right, and that many are prejudiced against you. Unless you can be convinced of your lack of judgment and see your mismoves and the influence of such moves, and see that your sympathy has been perverted, you will not reform and your labors will be of but little use. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 24

When you last labored with the tent, you planned and chose its location and there was not accomplished by the tent that which might have been accomplished if you had been right and yielded your judgment to others. I have been shown that ministers must be right. I was shown that when you or any other laborer enter a new field thorough work must be made. If a company is brought out into the truth they should not be left until the work is finished. You fail to bring the people up and plant them where they should be. You dread to bring them up to the point of acting, to enforce upon them systematic benevolence, and urge upon them the necessity of pursuing their investigation, of taking the Review and studying the truths it publishes. They should be brought up on every point. Clear testimony should be borne upon laying aside their idols, and they should be instructed in regard to the gifts. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 25

If the ministers who have been the instruments of bringing souls into the truth go away and leave them before their work is thoroughly done, and another comes in and draws the line a little closer than their favorite minister did, and reins them up upon points which the former preacher has neglected, Satan takes advantage and some will almost surely make shipwreck of faith, become offended, and walk no more with us. It is very important that a thorough blow be struck while the Spirit of the Lord is convicting of sin and transgression of the law. Thorough work done before leaving a company who has embraced the truth will be a strong fortification for them to remain separate from the spirit of the world and will fortify them against the coming in of Satan. Another cannot do this work half as well as the one who first presented the truth to them. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 26

Brother Ingraham, you had rather another would finish up the work you begin. You do not like the disagreeable responsibility and burden of laboring with individuals in private in regard to these important duties. You should carry a system with you and show all the necessity of systematic benevolence and of their acting a part, and have matters arranged and established before leaving a company. God will not reward and approbate any one who only half does his work and leaves the disagreeable work for some other one to do. God will have thoroughgoing, decided, straightforward men. Satan must be shut out every time. He must not have place for a moment. Ministers must be thoroughgoing and shun not to lay their hand on individual wrongs. You must stand out of the way of your own light and stand in the light and counsel of God. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 27

Brother Ingraham, you must not engage in church trials. You cannot with discretion and wisdom decide matters in church trials. You fail to rule well your own house. How then can you rule the church? You are blind as to the condition of your family. You see not the evil in the hearts and course of your children and the strong power Satan has over their minds. You count those your enemies who from a sense of duty, for the good of your children and for your own interest, reprove and caution them and you in regard to your duty to them. You let such a reproof cut you from them and let their words fester in your heart and often retaliate in some way. You must subdue, restrain, and correct your children, and you must get rid of every particle of that spirit that cannot bear a careful reference to the course of your children. You must call things by their right names—call good good and evil evil, and not call good evil and evil good. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 28

(Signed) Ellen G. White.

My husband says since I have read this to him that at present he wishes to be excused from holding any meetings in Illinois where you have labored for the past three years. He says that you can make things all right when you see things in their true light. Until you do he does not want to meet the influence which you have exerted. He expects to go from Little Prairie to Battle Creek. He says, Let Brother Ingraham finish his own work. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 29

(Signed) Ellen G. White

Please copy and send me the original at Battle Creek. I reserve a copy of all I send out. 1LtMs, Lt 15, 1862, par. 30