Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 3, 1875

Smith, Brother and Sister [Uriah]

San Francisco, California

November 12, 1875

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Smith:

While on the sleeping cars, the first night after we left Denver, Colorado, I had a striking dream which I wrote the next morning while on the cars. I thought I had written the same to you, but think I may not have done so. I will copy that which I have written on the cars. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 1

I dreamed that a man in authority appointed a number of us to work in a large field where there were evergreens interspersed with small, stunted trees which appeared destitute of verdure. They had the appearance of trees that the fire had passed over, and scorched them, and dried up the sap and crisped the leaves until they showed no signs of life. There seemed to be not a living branch on them. We were directed to work carefully and plow up these dead trees, but in no case root up the evergreens or even loosen the roots. My husband and myself led out in the work. There seemed to be many at work in different parts of this large field. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 2

You, Brother Uriah, stood watching us with intense interest, fearing we should plow up some of the living trees. You cautioned us not to plow so deep and thorough, for in our efforts to break up every part of the ground you feared that the roots of the living trees would be disturbed. You seemed anxious and excited. Said you, You know, Brother White, our director said we must all observe the greatest care and in no case root out or loosen even the roots of a living tree. My husband responded, Our director also said we must all work in earnest, perseveringly and put the plow in deep and plow out the leafless, dead, cumbrous trees. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 3

While you are watching us, what are you doing? You must not be merely a looker-on, but come and help us. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 4

With you and others to help us who are now only watching us, we can the more carefully and courageously put the plow in deep and take out the dead and useless trees without endangering the living growth of evergreens. “I remember,” said my husband, “if the dead trees were very closely set and united to the living, that in rooting them out we should endanger the roots of the living trees; therefore we should let them remain. In remaining, the living tree will never impart life to the dead, but the dead will drop of itself in time. Although the roots of the dead tree may be closely entwined with the living, when it falls of itself the living tree will stand firmly while the dead tree drops. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 5

Uriah, you then came into the field and began to work with us. Immediately we seemed to be in meeting. A large number were attending. James seemed to be in the center of the congregation. Brother Smith was upon the platform. You arose and commenced singing. The tune was, “And are you not afraid some storm your bark will overwhelm,” etc., but different words appropriate for the occasion. You seemed to feel deeply the sentiment of the hymn. You seemed to be very much in earnest and animated, and finally you seemed to be lost to yourself, for the power and Spirit of God was upon you. A light shone all around you. You began to draw near to where my husband was sitting, saying at every step, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” [Psalm 103:2.] 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 6

When you reached my husband you put your arms around him and clasped him around the neck. Your head was upon his shoulder. Your face was all aglow with heavenly light, and you were saying, “United we stand; divided, I fall. My soul shall be one with your soul, for this God designed. Our efforts shall be one, our interests one. I have left you to bear the brunt of the burden. I have lost much in so doing.” You both wept and praised God together. I was happy indeed, and all present seemed to partake of the spirit of the meeting. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 7

One brother I cannot call to mind, repeated several times, “Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation; I will rejoice and be glad. Brethren, this is like the day of Pentecost.” 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 8

I awoke and felt very happy, and found myself in the berth of the sleeping car, going to California. I should have written this before, but we have had to labor every Sabbath and first day, besides two or three evenings in the week, visiting and praying with families, and writing every spare moment personal testimonies. I have been seriously afflicted withal, have had a very distressing cough for six weeks. I am now better of my cough. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 9

Last evening we had a tent full of interested listeners. I spoke from this text, “As it was in the days of Noah,” etc. [Luke 17:26.] An interest is increasing in the city. Sunday afternoon a gentleman bound for South America was in the tent and heard me speak. He came in[to] the tent Monday to converse with Elder Loughborough. He said he went to his boarding place and told his friends that that lady believed what she said, for she was terribly in earnest. He bought books on present truth, and left on a vessel yesterday for South America. The truth is being scattered through all parts of the world. Ex-governor Holden attended nearly all the meetings. I do not expect he will accept the truth. He became very much disgusted with Brother Cornell, and will never hear him speak again. At first he was very much interested, but Elder Cornell’s harsh, uncourteous manner displeased him. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 10

The mail carrier has just handed me your good letter. My husband said when he read what you said in regard to making your letter short, that he wished it was twice as long. I hope and pray that God will work for you, and I know He will, as soon as you will work for yourselves. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 11

It is special effort that is required at Battle Creek. Individual responsibility has been wanting. Workers have been wanting in Battle Creek, nursing fathers and mothers in Israel. Never was there a church more destitute of these than Battle Creek. All busy, very busy, about important matters, and souls perishing for want of labor, the lambs of the flock neglected and suffering for want of care. May God pity the men and women of Battle Creek who have selfishly cared for their own interests and neglected the flock. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 12

Never did I feel more like devoting soul and body and spirit to this work than at the present time. I am praying daily and watching unto prayer that God may fit me as an instrument to labor successfully for the salvation of souls. It is no time to sleep now, no time to study ease or convenience. Every one whom God has made the repositories of His law should be terribly in earnest. Pride should die, crucified that Christ will live in us, and we understand the mystery of godliness. O how fearful I am that there will be a falling back, lethargy, slumber again in Battle Creek. I have my convictions it is the last call for Battle Creek, that another testimony will never come to them. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 13

My love to you both. May God help you to stand like pillars for the right and for freedom of the spirit. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 14

God has been reaching out His merciful arms in a special manner to the church of Battle Creek. For some five or six years He has invited them to accept of His blessings but they have refused. To some, I believe the last invitation, the last warning, the last reproof, has been given. If at this point they neglect to come to the help of the Lord against the mighty host of darkness, the curse which rested upon Meroz will rest upon them. Meroz’s sin was of neglect, doing nothing when the help of everyone was needed. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 15

If we labor again at Battle Creek it will be as counselors. My husband will never consent to labor as he has done unless his advice and counsel in the future will be regarded more than it has been in the past. Unless there are those who will come up to his help and stand by him, he will have nothing to do in directing matters in connection with the work. The time has come for an entire change, a thorough reformation in a sleepy [?] backslidden church. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 16

I am glad, Brother Smith, that you are getting free. May God help you. May nothing seal your lips or hedge up your way. Stand firm for truth and righteousness and against the current we have had to press against for so many years. There will have to be a deeper work than we have yet witnessed to be lasting in Battle Creek. How true was Brother Bates’ dream that there was too much shallow ploughing in Battle Creek. With many, the fallow ground of the heart has not been broken up. The work now commenced in Battle Creek should deepen and widen until it becomes general. I think the work has only made a beginning. The work should extend to every member of the church. Oh, that there would be a general breaking of the heart before God. We should hear confessions made which would bring liberty into the meeting. Room would be made for Jesus to come in and abide with them. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 17

Brother and Sister Smith, I thank you kindly for your present, but as I am not in want [I] do not feel at liberty to accept it. It is kind [of] you. You have done your duty and I must do mine. 2LtMs, Lt 3, 1875, par. 18