Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 5, 1869

White, J. E.

Battle Creek, Michigan

May 25, 1869

Portions of this letter are published in 14MR 312-314.

Dear Son Edson:

My writing will not be very good for one eye is bandaged because of acute inflammation. But as Brother McDearmon is going, I can send by him. I will say a few words. 2LtMs, Lt 5, 1869, par. 1

We feel very anxious for you. We are desirous that you should form a good, Christian character and be approved of God. We hope that new scenes will not interest and engross your mind so that you will neglect the great salvation dearly purchased for you by the Son of God. We hope you will show true principle now [that you are] away from us. We have in diet been strict to follow the light the Lord has given us. You are acquainted with that light and we trust you will have the fear of the Lord continually before you and will respect the light He has given and be no less strict than we have been. 2LtMs, Lt 5, 1869, par. 2

I have feared for you as I have marked how little control you have had over your appetite and your desires. I have mourned in secret over it, and have prayed the Lord to enlighten your mind and quicken your conscience that it might be sensitive and tender, susceptible to the influences of the Spirit of God. 2LtMs, Lt 5, 1869, par. 3

We have advised you not to eat butter or meat. We have not had it on our table. I should hope you would feel that we had advised you for your good and not to deprive you of these things because of any notions of our own. 2LtMs, Lt 5, 1869, par. 4

You have lessons of self-control to learn [that] you have not yet experienced. You should have rules to regulate yourself, your diet, your labor, your hours. All this you need to do now to discipline yourself. Have fixed principles. Represent the health reform. All know that we do not put butter on our table. If they see you, our son, eat the things we have condemned, you weaken our influence and lower yourself in their estimation. They see at once that appetite is stronger with you than principle, that notwithstanding all our labor to bring the people of God up to denial of appetite, we have no influence with our own children, when they can get meat or butter, they will eat it, or Edson will. Willie has principle. He has self-control as you should have. 2LtMs, Lt 5, 1869, par. 5

Why, your influence has not been saving. You have been the one influenced. You have not had a noble, self-reliant principle to carry out that which you knew was for your good. You know that you are in a critical condition of health. Humors appear upon the surface of the skin. Let these go to the lungs and you are gone. You have not nutritive powers to resist lung disease, and we could have no faith to call upon God in your behalf because you had trampled upon light and knowledge. You would have to die. Nothing but constant care, caution, and strict adherence to the laws of health, places you in a right relation to health and life. I have feared, greatly feared, your lack of faithfulness in little things would so harden your conscience that you would cease to be impressed with the spirit of truth and righteousness, that truth which must sanctify and refine would not be respected, but be turned from and you would be lost to its sacred influence. 2LtMs, Lt 5, 1869, par. 6

To say I feel easy in regard to you, I cannot. God has taught your mother and she has taught you your dangers, your lack of self-control, your love of self, your pride, your lack of faithfulness in the littles. Do you reform in these things where you lack? I greatly fear you do not. You have not progressed in spiritual things. You have not grown. You have been a forgetful hearer, because the love of self was far greater than your principle and your love for Christ. You have not denied your affections and lusts. You have a great work to do and God will help you to do it if you set about it in earnest. Oh, that the burden of your useless, misspent life may alarm you and you feel the account you must render to your Maker, who has surrounded you with light and truth and every advantage to make a useful, good man. Yet you are a novice in Christian experience. You have not gained in your prayers and testimony one inch as I can perceive for years. What account will you render for the talents lent you which you have not improved? Where is the usury you will render to God which you have received in trading your talents, putting them out to the exchangers? 2LtMs, Lt 5, 1869, par. 7

It is time you set to work to redeem the past and to now turn about squarely. You now are forming new associations in a new church. God will prove you now to see what character you will develop in the new relations in which you stand. Stand for the right. Maintain it manfully. You will be watched to see if you carry out our teachings to others. Will you dishonor us or honor us by regarding the instructions we have borne from the mouth of the Lord to His people and to you? Oh, my son, get up from the low, selfish, indolent, slothful position you have been occupying, where the curse of Meroz could come upon you, and work from a higher standpoint than self-gratification and merely to please others and be passable in the eyes of poor, erring mortals. Oh, my son, my dear son, my love for you is strong and my love for you will not die but increase as dangers thicken. 2LtMs, Lt 5, 1869, par. 8

Don’t let yourself down to talk cheap talk, and be unguarded. Watch, watch, watch, and pray lest ye enter into temptation. Oh, be where you can subdue your desires and will, and be controlled by the will of God, submissive to His Spirit. Do not act as though the services of Christ were irksome, but leave your will submerged in the will of God. Eat and drink to His glory. Oh, Edson, I want to hear you yet speaking the truth to others but it must be in you before you can teach and practice it. It is so dark I cannot see to write. Goodbye. May the Lord bless you, my son. 2LtMs, Lt 5, 1869, par. 9

Your mother who loves you. 2LtMs, Lt 5, 1869, par. 10