Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 3, 1869

Smith, Brother; Amadon, Brother

Greenville, Michigan

April 23, 1869

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 164-168; 2Bio 267-268.

Dear Brethren Smith and Amadon:

I will write to you a faint expression of my feelings at this time as I review the past. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 1

At the camp meeting at Wright, the Lord was with His people. There solemn pledges were made by the brethren of Battle Creek that they would stand by us, and not permit burdens to come upon us. My husband has been so ready to receive any manifestation of confidence and love from those in Battle Creek, and to blot out of his memory the things which transpired in the past (which were cruelly wrong upon the part of those from whom we ought to expect better things), that he was ready to believe all things and to hope all things. With his heart all cheered and softened by the bright view he had of the future, he consented to locate in Battle Creek, and thus comply with the earnest invitation of his brethren and sisters. He fully believed that the lessons of the past had not been learned in vain. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 2

I was reluctant to locate in Battle Creek. I had, as it were, fled to Greenville for quietude of mind and freedom from the harassing trials brought upon us unnecessarily by those who should have stood by us. I had never felt the least dissatisfaction with my home at Greenville. I needed a good copyist, and help that could do my sewing and save me from embarrassment in that line. The Lord blessed us in coming to this place. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 3

I pled with my husband not to comply with the wishes of our brethren in regard to locating in Battle Creek until we should have clear light from God that it was His will that we should move from this place. My husband urged that our trials in Battle Creek were over, and that we could in the hands of God be a blessing to the Office, Institute and church. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 4

When I went to look at the site for the house, I felt as though going to a funeral. I finally put these feelings away, for I saw that they made my husband very unhappy. I yielded my objections, and yet I felt fearful that the burdens we would have to bear in Battle Creek would be too heavy, that my husband could not let alone the business and cares of the Office, and that he would come down again through over-labor, as he had before done. I had suffered so much and seen how little knowledge even those of experience had of the mind and will of God concerning us, while we were passing through the heaviest trials we ever bore, that I did not feel like placing ourselves where there was the least possibility of the same breakdown, fearing the same heartless, cruel work would be acted over again. I am frank to say, I could not feel so cheerful and happy as did my husband to get again among our brethren at Battle Creek. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 5

We knew that the Lord had wrought [for] us in our visit to Battle Creek. We knew that our testimony reached the hearts of parents, and children. Souls were converted and brought to the foot of the cross. This evidence had the people at Battle Creek. In addition to the evidences they had, a vision was given in their midst to leave them without excuse. Then at the Wright camp meeting, the Lord gave us a testimony for the people and our mouths were open unto them. Our hearts were all aglow, and we both flattered ourselves that we were established in the hearts of the brethren and sisters at Battle Creek. We most earnestly desired this that we might work in harmony with them. In order to do this, their confidence must be established that God was with us. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 6

We went east and labored very hard. You may inquire, Why did you labor so hard? The love of Christ constrained us. This is the only proper answer we can give. Souls for whom Christ died seemed of such inexpressible worth that self was forgotten. Ease, pleasure and health even were made secondary. We looked at Battle Creek [as] our home, as a place of rest, especially my husband. I had seen the condition of things which led me to feelings of uncertainty and insecurity in regard to peace and happiness being enjoyed with our brethren in Battle Creek. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 7

I was shown Brother Smith and wife, dissatisfied and unsettled, looking upon Brother Aldrich and sympathizing with him, and fearing that Brother White did not pursue the right course toward him, that Brother White was jealous. Brother White did not meet the mind of Brother Smith in changing back the paper to its present size. I saw Uriah and Harriet were both dividing the matter, fearing that Brethren Aldrich and White were both wrong. The course of Brother Aldrich did not especially arouse their indignation, and they did not feel jealous for God’s cause. The low standard they had in view made the wrongs of Brother Aldrich of small account. Brother White, after all, might be wrong. They decided in their sympathy for Brother Aldrich to stand aloof from Brother White and watch him for fear Brother Aldrich would be wronged. In thus doing they did not reprove wrong and sin did not appear exceeding sinful, and they were partakers in the sin of Brother Aldrich. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 8

Brother Amadon likewise did not dare to take his position and rebuke wrong for fear in some things he should condemn himself. All seemed held. Satan was at the helm, and you were all being, in a measure, controlled by him. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 9

I could not, in view of the things I have mentioned, (and many other things I could mention, but have not time or strength to do so), feel very happy and cheerful in regard to Battle Creek. Yet we were both happy and free in the Lord when we came home to Battle Creek. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 10

We have labored and toiled and tugged. We have prayed and wept at home. We could not rest or sleep. There was an accursed thing in the camp which brought the frown of God. I wrote testimony after testimony at the expense of health, and I feared of life, hoping to arouse the consciences of the people at Battle Creek. We bore testimonies in meetings, and held private interviews out of meeting. But you did not dare to reprove wrong, or stand with us. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 11

I had no rest in spirit in the house of Brother Uriah. I have left the house saying to myself, “It is a godless house. I have seen no less than four evil angels controlling members of the family.” 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 12

At length we saw that help must come from abroad if ever the frown of God would be removed from the church. It was called, and three weeks’ labor spent. Brethren Smith and Amadon were dumb. Harriet meant to have nothing to do in the matter, but to stand “neutral.” Now I ask, What confidence had these persons in the view which had been given to Brother Aldrich? I will let them answer. If they had faith, I failed to perceive it. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 13

My husband pled his cause in these meetings, because no one else would do it. They dared not open their mouths in vindication of his course till they were driven to do it. My husband labored in that office earnestly, unselfishly to set things in order according to the mind of the Spirit of God, which was a most striking contrast to the cause pursued by Brother Aldrich, yet he was looked upon with suspicion, jealousy and doubt. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 14

I will say no more in regard to the painful state of things caused by the failure of those who ought to have stood by us according to their solemn pledges. Let Satan get the start and pledges, vows, and protestations will melt away like frost before the sun. You have had all the evidences you will ever have to establish your confidence that God is with us. Testimonies for the church at Battle Creek have been given and especially for Brother Aldrich. Facts you have had before your eyes so plain you could not mistake unless terribly blinded by Satan, yet you have stood saying, “I don’t know; I don’t know.” 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 15

We labored through that series of meetings tugging at the work with all our might until I was pressed as a cart beneath sheaves, my life almost sacrificed. I nearly died at my post. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 16

Brother Amadon came in the morning after they had prayed for me, and said in a very decided manner, “I know what is the matter with you. You have overlabored, and it is sin. You hold too many meetings. [In the] East, you went too fast from place to place. It is wrong. The Lord has cautioned you in this matter. Brother White takes too many burdens on himself in the office.” 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 17

I was too weak to say much, yet I did say a few words. Who had brought the labor upon us the last few weeks when we came home utterly exhausted to seek for a little rest? It was this condition of things. It was so painful to find that those who ought to sustain us stood aloof or indifferent. It was this that brought the displeasure of God and was like an arrow in our hearts. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 18

The conversation of George set my mind at work. I could see that it was no use to expect any one to appreciate our work, our motives, or our sufferings caused by their wrongs. I felt that if we should burden ourselves to death over the wrongs of the church, they would not appreciate it, but say, we killed ourselves; we had sinned in doing so, and there the matter would end. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 19

When the carpet came I felt pained. I tried to feel that it was all right, and to feel thankful as though it was a freewill offering from the church. I tried to accept it graciously, but it has been as the weight of a millstone upon me. In the first place, I want no carpet better than my brethren have upon their floors and in conscience cannot accept better. If the brethren have a trespass offering to make, let it be made to God; or if they have a freewill offering or a thank offering, let it be made to Him. We do not need it. We once did, but not now. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 20

All we have wanted was for the church and our brethren in important positions to be so consecrated that they can, when God leads us to stand against wrong, and when the painful necessity is laid upon us to reprove wrong and sin, let their voice be heard in union with the Spirit of God who speaks through us in saying, “Amen.” If they would have stood by us and shown that they were acquainted with the Spirit of God, it was all we wanted. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 21

But are we safe to be among a people who occupy the position you have occupied in the face of the direct light God has given? Can we feel free to rest among you when after all the evidence you have had you hesitate to take your position and to know where the Lord’s side is? Can we expect God will give you any greater proofs than you have already received that He was using us in His work? 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 22

We do not expect you will have any more light nor as much as you have had. We cannot trust you. We can but expect if any doubtful circumstance should arise, that if one you had confidence in or loved, as you have Brother Aldrich, should be reproved for wrong, you would be found on the wrong side every time, or occupying your “neutral position.” Nothing has cut me like this to find Brother Uriah and Sister Harriet where we found them. I said in my mind, There is nothing to hope for there, no backbone to stand by the right. Uriah dumb, Harriet with her strong spirit on the wrong side, unconsecrated, controlled by evil angels in a great measure. Could we expect anything else but the same we have received? I do not. I cannot afford to be where there will be the likelihood of a repetition of the past. Our labor is worth something in the cause of God yet. We can reach hearts. We can yet bring sinners to the truth. This shall be our [work] if God will give us health once more. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 23

By receiving, [we] should do you an injury, do the church an injury, and injure our own souls. It is not presents we want. This will not cure the past. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 24

I remember when a letter came to us saying that Sister Morse would not give up our carpet. James felt a childish confidence in you all at Battle Creek and in his moving back, and he said, as I urged him to get a new carpet, “How do you know but we shall find a new carpet put down in the house when we return?” Said I, “James, we shall not. Our brethren at Battle Creek are, many of them, embarrassed and I should feel pained to see one upon the floor.” I knew it was not the money in the thing that he cared for, but the act of the church in their thoughtfulness, and a token of their love and care; for on that very journey he had given away three hundred dollars. He paid fifty for Brother Andrews’ clothes, and was happy to do it. It was not covetousness, but a childish feeling as though he should prize such a favor of love. He did not think of this at first himself. A sister whom we all respect, suggested to him that she thought we would find it thus. But now as things have come around, the carpet given as it has been at this time, we decline receiving it. If you have not paid for it, please take it back with the excuse that we fear our health will not admit of our locating at B.C. and it would be difficult to transport. Money or presents we crave not; but when you have all the evidence that God has been pleased to give you that He has wrought for us, we want you to live so near to God that you can cooperate with us heartily, and express in words that all may understand that you do not sympathize with the wrong, that you will be with the right. I want to see principle underlying the springs of action. Spasmodic movements, zealous interest that comes by fits and starts, I do not appreciate. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 25

We shall not withdraw our interest from Battle Creek, but cannot trust our life and happiness in your hands. God does not require it of us. He has called us and commissioned us to do an important work. This work must be done where it will be appreciated and our time not thrown away. It must tell. May God help us to work in humility, trusting in Him to give the increase. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 26

In love. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1869, par. 27