Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 22, 1875

White, W. C.

Eagle Lake, on the cars

June 30, 1875

Portions of this letter are published in 4MR 205-207.

Dear Son Willie:

Our camp meeting in Minnesota has closed. We left without entering a house. This meeting has been better than the three preceding it, and they were all good. The first two days of the meeting were rainy and uncomfortable, but all possessed their souls in patience. Not one word of complaint or murmuring was heard. All we met had a word of good cheer. This is as it should be. We can make that which is disagreeable ten times more so by talking of the discomforts and feeling that we are having a hard time. I think it pays to heed the injunction of the Apostle, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts ... and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:15. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 1

We borrowed a tent; a stove was placed in it, which made us comfortable. We labored hard in this meeting, spoke once at length each day—Monday, twice. Rode one mile to witness eighteen baptized. It was a pleasant sight. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 2

We are on our way to Sparta camp meeting. We are of good courage in the Lord. All seem to be cheerful and happy, testifying it was the most profitable meeting they ever attended. This is as it should be—every meeting held enjoyed better than the last. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 3

We sent you forty pages of manuscript; have about forty more nearly ready. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 4

Brother Hanson urges us to find a little rest in his home at Litchfield, Minnesota, and camp out and go on the lakes. We could hold grove meetings and bear our testimony to the people. We were kindly entertained at their table last year. They gave us every attention. What think you of our plans? 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 5

At Waseca Mr. and Mrs. Pharington and daughter, formerly from Maine, came to the depot to meet us. The daughter attended the school your father taught. He used to carry her through the drifts to and from school. We had a very pleasant interview. When we think of the labor to be done—which someone must do—and of the calls that come in for help from every quarter, pleading for us to visit them, we think recreation must pass over for a time. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 6

Brother Hanson has suffered great loss from a hailstorm last year. His crops were destroyed and he was obliged to borrow money to live on until another harvest. His prospects are now good. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 7

My spirit is stirred within me as I see and sense the short time in which we have to work. Never have there seemed so great results depending upon us as a people. Never was there a time when youth of every age and country were needed to do earnestly the work to be done, as now. Society has claims upon the youth of today. The men who have stood in the forefront of the battle, bearing the burden and heat of the day, will pass off the stage of active life. Where are the young men to fill their places when these wise instructors and counselors can carry their burdens no more? Upon the young these duties must fall. How important that the youth be educating themselves, for upon them these duties will devolve. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 8

Prepare, my son, to discharge your duties with uncorrupted fidelity. I wish I could impress upon young men what they might be and what they might do if they will sense the claims that God has upon them. He has given them capabilities, not to stagnate in indolence, but to strengthen and elevate by noble action. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 9

Willie, my greatest anxiety is not that you should become a great man after the world's standard, but a good men, every day making some progress in meeting God's standard of right. Many young men think that if they can smoke and chew tobacco, they have made decided advance toward manhood, and when they can drink a glass of beer or of wine, they have advanced still nearer the perfection of a worldly man. I am rejoiced that you are not seeking by such steps to climb to worldly manhood. This class of popular youth will suffer the consequence of their course of action. Youth may attain to success in forming a character which Heaven shall approve, if they shun all these social evils. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 10

Character must be made. It is the work of a lifetime. It is a work requiring meditation and thought. Judgment must be well exercised, industry and perseverance established. Consider thoughtfully, prayerfully, what character you would be glad to possess before the world. Shall it be that of a fast young man poisoning his blood and enervating his system with tobacco, beclouding the brain with wine and indulgence of perverted appetite? Or will you stand before God and the world with moral courage to resist temptation upon the point of appetite, standing forth in your Godlike manhood free from the slavery of every pernicious habit of self-indulgence? You can be whichever you choose. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 11

The excellence of your character you must obtain as the result of your own exertion. You will have to learn to bridle appetite. You may be encouraged by others in your work, but they can never do your work of overcoming temptation. You cannot be honest and truthful, industrious and virtuous for them, neither can they become thus for you. In one sense you must stand alone, fighting your own battles. Yet not alone, for you have Jesus and the angels of God to help you. But few reach what they might in excellence of character because they do not make their aim high. Prosperity and happiness will never grow of their own accord. They are the acquisition of labor, the fruit of long cultivation. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 12

I am glad you never have soiled your lips and tainted your breath with tobacco, that you have not indulged in tasting wine. While many youth will not listen to counsel, you have been willing to be taught. God help you to lead others in the right way. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1875, par. 13