Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 61, 1874

Littlejohn, Brother

Battle Creek, Michigan

November 11, 1874

Portions of this letter are published in 2Bio 430, 464-465; 4MR 37; 5MR 400.

Dear Brother Littlejohn:

I have delayed sending you this letter because we purposed to visit you last week, but were prevented by unexpected business which could not be neglected. We hoped to go this week, but again are hindered. A very influential man has seen notice of the Health Institute in a Chicago paper, and he came here yesterday. He is a health reformer and has eaten but one meal a day for ten years. He is a healthy looking man and wishes to become acquainted with my husband and myself. He will spend Sabbath and first day here. He has felt no union with Dr. Trall or Fowler because he saw that they were leaning toward infidelity. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 1

Cares and burdens have come one following another here in Battle Creek, until my husband is overborne. He has three men’s work to do all the time, and yesterday a most earnest petition came from the Pacific Coast, from Brother Canright, for us to come at once and spend at least a few months, if no longer, and bear our testimony there, get the work firmly established, and the printing press in operation. We cannot leave here just now because of the amount of labor on our hands. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 2

Brother Littlejohn, I would say, Be careful; make no rash or hasty moves which will imperil your soul. I know too well where the track upon which you have started leads. I feel alarmed for you and in regard to George Lay. I have scarcely any hope in his case, if the testimonies God has given me speak the truth. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 3

In regard to Dr. Lay, the testimonies have spoken plainly in his case. He must answer to God for his course. He must meet all the results of his influence in the final day. I leave him with God. I do not think we can do him or George any good. They must stand or fall for themselves. If there must come a crisis, let it come. God knows all about it. The work and cause are His. He will steer the ship Himself. We long and pray that we may be strengthened for duty and braced for any move from any source. If this work was ours we might well fear and faint, but it is not. God will take a worm, if necessary, and thresh mountains. He can use the weakest instruments to accomplish great results. My faith and confidence in God and this truth were never stronger than at the present time. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 4

In regard to leadership, we do not think, Brother Littlejohn, that you have the right understanding of this matter. The sentiments you have advanced in your letters to me are in some particulars directly contrary to the light God has given me during the last thirty years. I am about to print another testimony, and there are many things I consider of the greatest importance in the matter to be published. Some of these very things in regard to order in the church and the wants of its members are brought out very clearly, but it is impossible, in so short a time, to write out or to speak, upon all these matters, that which would meet the difficulties in your mind. We would not, in order to cure one evil, make a much greater difficulty to manage. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 5

The greatest troubles that have ever come upon God’s people in all ages have been occasioned by disregarding the warnings of reproof which God has spoken through His chosen men. To make a special move to call the attention of the people to leadership at the present time, and to treat it as a dangerous matter that must be acted upon at once, I think would not be wise policy. I see no one who has been in any special danger through believing or accepting Brother Butler’s view of the matter. I may not and you may not understand his position correctly. We have sent for Brother Butler. He will be here soon. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 6

My husband could not see that Brother Butler’s position was wholly correct, and he has written out his views which I believe to be sound. He published them in the Signs even contrary to my feelings, for I did not think it policy to appear so publicly with an opposite view from that of Brother Butler. And I told my husband the great danger of our people was not in being too submissive. They were, as I have been shown over and over again, too independent, and moved according to their own judgment without seeking counsel. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 7

I can but fear that the enemy has had considerable to do with your feelings, Brother Littlejohn, and with leading your mind in the direction it has taken. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 8

In regard to leadership, we want no special reaction to take place upon that subject. We see dangers that you may not see. We think in a very short time there will be a correct position taken on this question, in every conference in the different states. But there is a work that needs immediate attention, a work that cannot be deferred. We must work in the right direction at the right time. I have noticed that when my husband has been carrying a heavy load for the cause and work of God, until it seemed that if he had an ounce more he would sink under the burden, the enemy has affected minds to bring in at this very time the most disheartening and discouraging matters, which have broken him down completely, for he could bear no more than he was carrying. This is his present state. I will not agitate his mind with the letter you have sent at this time, but if he can get loose from Battle Creek long enough to have a few days’ rest and freedom from pressing burdens, then I can lay these matters before him. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 9

He has been cheerful and has had the most perplexing and trying things to straighten which no one else could touch. He has had meetings and councils, and he has had help from God to take hold of these matters wisely, cautiously, patiently, and kindly, and to effect a change. Very much has been done and very much remains to be done. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 10

It is the crowding in of so many things, one upon another, that taxes the mind and brings on sleeplessness and indigestion, and then the way looks blue and discouraging. He has done nobly for the cause ever since he came from California. Our views of matters and things have been alike. We have had no unpleasant seasons. Our prayers are united, our labors are united, and God has used His servants, I know, since we have been in Battle Creek. God helps him to preach, and has borne him over many hard and discouraging places in his labors in behalf of the cause of God. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 11

We had a most excellent meeting last Sabbath. Brother Frisbie, his wife and daughter, were baptized. It was a precious scene at the water’s side. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 12

But I must close. We both have the highest regard for you, Brother Littlejohn. We love you in the Lord, and we believe He will bring you through all right. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 13

In great haste. 2LtMs, Lt 61, 1874, par. 14