Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Ms 8, 1875

Testimony to E. H. Gaskill and Wife


July 1875

Portions of this manuscript are published in 7MR 3.

I have been shown that Battle Creek was very deficient in men and women who possess the right stamp of character to make the various enterprises connected with the cause of God a success. Men are wanted who are not stereotyped, who do not feel that there is no need of expanding and advancing with the open providence of God. Men may connect with God’s sacred work who will be teachable, who will feel that they can and must learn. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 1

God brings those whom He will accept in His service to the light, where their darkness and errors may be discovered and put away. He will bring them into a position where He can teach and prune and discipline them, that they may be fitted as men and women of trust. Although they have been deficient, yet God accepted them on condition that they would die daily to self and sanctify the Lord God in their hearts. He would have these persons regenerated, which is their only hope of working successfully in the cause of God and of reaching heaven at last. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 2

Those who were called from other states and other places were not fitted for the work, but God brought them under different circumstances and amid different surroundings to prove and test them and reveal what was in their hearts and to develop character. If these were self-conceited and self-deceived, God would let light shine upon them that they might see; and if they were teachable and would be pruned by God to bear much fruit, He could make them persons of trust and use them to His glory. But some, who are self-deceived, blinded to their own defects of character, will resist the pruning knife of God because it hurts and wounds self. These are not the ones to connect with the sacred, important work of God in these days of peril. Self is too prominent. Self will not consent to be sacrificed. The very same traits of character which disconnect them from the work of God here—unless seen, unless felt—will unfit them to connect with heaven. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 3

God wants men at Battle Creek who will be learners, and who will see the necessity of closely examining their own hearts, to see if they have a true understanding of themselves. Those who merely skim the surface of things are apt to be talkative, boastful, self-confident, although after they take a few steps they go beyond their depth. Men of the clearest minds and of the most solid worth, who have made great attainments, are men who generally will admit the weakness of their own understanding. Humility is the constant attendant of true virtue. Oh, how many professed followers of Christ pursue a course more because it is pleasing than because it is right! Their own feelings are consulted, rather than the glory of God. How hard for them to see in the light of reason and heaven, when duty leads one way and inclination another! 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 4

God wants to connect with His cause in Battle Creek men who will be students, not men who have graduated; men whom God can teach, because they feel the need of being taught; men and women whom God can fit for usefulness and duty for the growing work of this great cause. Diligent students are needed, who are constantly acquiring knowledge themselves, learning how to do and how to work to the very best profit to their own souls and for the prosperity of the sacred cause of God; feeling its demands, realizing it is not standing still, but ever progressing onward, and that they must grow with its growth, strengthen with its strength. The responsibilities in connection with the cause and work of God are increasing with the advancement of the cause. Therefore workers in this cause must not stand still, but progress and develop and expand and have breadth as the work widens and deepens. Men and women may be and can be burden-bearers in this cause if they will. They may be filling their crown with stars that will never dim. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 5

I was shown in my last testimony that Brother Gaskill in some respects may be fitted for superintendent at the Health Institute, in other respects he is not. He has neglected to educate and train his mind, because the task was not felt to be essential. He has a very defective memory, and time is wasted and very disagreeable things grow out of the lack of real thought and proper training of his mind. These qualities are very essential in a director of a Health Institute. It is important that the thoughts and mind be taxed with all that concerns the working of the Health Institute. To have memory play antics with a man in a responsible position will disqualify the man for that post of trust if there is no other lack. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 6

Brother Gaskill can educate and train the mind. A man who is deficient in memory, and this defect cannot be remedied, is not more than half a man at best. Brother Gaskill is in danger of saying one thing to please and gain favor, and then take an entirely different view of the case when the person is not present. This is a species of dissembling, and very displeasing to God. He should never dissemble in the slightest degree in order to gain friendship and favor. He should cultivate moral courage and speak his true feelings frankly, in humbleness of mind, even if they do not harmonize with the sentiments of others. Frankness in a time of peril is true nobility of soul. Brother Gaskill has gained some victories in this respect, and yet he has a great work before him. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 7

In some things Brother Gaskill will have to be constantly guarded, and discipline his mind, or he will make great failures. He is somewhat crafty, yet gives the appearance all the time of the utmost candor. He is too penurious in little deals. This shows a littleness of spirit. Brother Gaskill is not naturally devotional and spiritually minded. There is with all the Gaskill family too much of a surface work. They need to dig deep beneath the surface and have principles underlying the springs of action. They need to cultivate thoroughness. They cannot afford to make a mistake where eternal interests are involved. They all need to seek for a deep religious experience in the things of God. They want and must have a religion which changes the principles of the inner life. They need to cultivate humbleness of mind and have even the thoughts brought into subjection to the will of Christ. Cultivating humility and reverence of heart is the only successful way of controlling the life. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 8

Brother Gaskill may do well at the Health Institute if he connects with God and makes earnest efforts to maintain spirituality and true-heart holiness. He should guard his life, keeping faithful sentinel over the avenues of the soul, against the temptations of Satan. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 9

Brother Gaskill is not a caretaker, not a lover of real, stern labor. This he will shun if he can. He does not love taxation, and he has shunned responsibilities. He has let others bear burdens and take the brunt and has not trained his mind to thought. Brother Gaskill should not roll upon others the responsibility of keeping a lively religious interest in the Health Institute. This depends as much upon him as any one. If he lifts the burdens just when they should be lifted, much good will be seen as the result. Brother Gaskill has too great self-esteem. He must remember the strength and power of men lie not in the favorable external, but in the heavenly adornment of mind and spirit which will be exemplified externally. Self and pride must die, and Christ take the entire control of the citadel of heart and mind, if he is what God would have him to be. He must watch and pray and connect firmly with heaven, and then he can let his light shine. It costs too much for us to imperil the cause of God by our deficiencies. Connection with the world of light and of heaven will make him light and intelligent in reference to eternal interests. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 10

Brother Gaskill, you have a self-pride which must be put away. I was pointed back to last summer. You then were guilty of double-dealing. You made statements to us which were not the real feeling of your heart. We believed you sincere and accordingly, as your true friends, worked, as we thought, to help you, when you took it the other way. You let self control you; you let feelings govern; you settled back. You were proved lacking very much in real interest and principle. In regard to religious duties, you did not come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty. You acted over Meroz, and yet you were the very one whom God would have made useful in His cause and in His work, had you surrendered your soul to Him and faithfully helped forward the cause and work as God has repeatedly shown those should who come to Battle Creek. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 11

You followed the example of others before you. You were not a helper, but a burden. You and Sister Mary charged your own lack upon the church at Battle Creek. You were disposed to charge your lack of freedom upon Battle Creek. You did not feel liberty. This lack of liberty was in yourselves. Were there obstacles here to surmount, you would have been blessed in climbing the hill. God was not pleased with your course. Self lay at the foundation of it all. Was this the reliability of the picked men? This course pursued makes it worse for Battle Creek than before you came. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 12

Brother Abbey’s deficiencies are before you. If you fail you are without excuse. You should make every effort to correct where Brother Abbey made grave mistakes. Brother Gaskill has not that inflammable quality of character some have, which would lead to getting angry and into a strife of words, to become impatient and harsh and unkind. He will seek to preserve peace at any sacrifice, even of truth itself. Here he carries the matter too far. He acts out the character of Aaron in many respects. If he connects with heaven, he must cultivate faithfulness, devotion, earnest piety, and stern integrity, being truthful if it costs him his life. This will qualify him to bear responsibilities. God can help him to overcome his deficiencies if he will unite his ignorance to Christ’s wisdom, his weakness to His strength, his inefficiency to His enduring might. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 13

Brother Gaskill is in danger of overestimating himself and making it necessary for God to humble him if he is saved at last. He can make a success in the Christian warfare if he will cling to God so that God’s wisdom may be his. If God is his teacher, he will do well. If he disconnects from God, he will certainly fail. He has a character to form for himself. He has religious duties to do which another cannot do for him. No one but himself can gain victories for him in the battles of life. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 14

You have, Brother Gaskill, a more perfect character to form. You are not square to escape an issue. You will prevaricate. You have not been frank. In the case of Lillie Abbey, you were not frank. You did give lenity to her so that she thought you sustained her. She was surprised when she found your true position. You are not a square-faced man. You do not preserve strict truth at all times, because you want to be in favor with all. You have two faces. You will express your mind to one, he thinking you are in union with him; then you will express your mind to others just opposite. God cannot endure this cowardly spirit for the sake of friendship. You have a work to do for yourself which you do not see. You have a reformation to make. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 15

You mentioned that the care of your father’s farm was left to you boys, and you bore responsibilities. If the light which God has given me in reference to this matter is correct, your lack of taking proper care and of proper judicious labor sacrificed much property which might have been saved. You were not alone in this. Others helped you in it; but you do not love labor. You are too ease-loving, too self-sufficient, and spread yourself too much like a green bay tree. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 16

Sister Mary Gaskill might unite with her husband if qualified for the position, but she is not. Her mother neglected to train and properly discipline Mary and educate her in the mysteries of domestic life. Her mother bore the burdens she should have shared with her daughters. She allowed them to follow too much their own inclination, and let them come up without thorough system and order, having hours for labor and close application to that labor, and hours for recreation. How hard now for Mary to feel her lack and how difficult to correct it! The too indulgent mother failed to perceive that the future usefulness of her children must be determined by her training and molding and disciplining them in childhood and youth. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 17

Just as the twig is bent, the tree inclines. When children are young is the time to make the most abiding impressions and to educate their impressible minds. Childhood and youth is the time to discipline and train to habits of order. This will call forth the patient, persevering efforts of the mother. That which is learned in youth will not soon be forgotten. Sister Gaskill was not disciplined, but left to enjoy leisure or do when and what she pleased to do and let it alone at pleasure. She does not now love domestic duties because she was not educated to love them, and to be instructed that this was a part of her education that, should the parent neglect, would be neglecting a duty for which God holds her responsible. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 18

Sister Gaskill is making the same failure with the education of her children as did her mother. She does not take time, patiently, calmly, in love, and with the future good of her children in view, to discipline them to obedience and self-denial. This work will take time and patience. She is neglecting the greatest and most responsible labor ever committed to mortals, to deal with minds and mold the character. Had this been attended to years ago, commenced even from the cradle and with great caution and with watchfulness and prayer continued daily, giving them line upon line and precept upon precept, educating, disciplining, and training, she would have only done the very work God would have her to do and which He requires every mother to do. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 19

Sister Gaskill has overcome in a measure some defects, but there is yet a decided lack. The care of her children is irksome. Had she been convinced of the real evils of her training in her youth and with earnest effort in the strength of God sought to correct and overcome her great deficiency, she would have improved greatly. She may do a good work even now, if she will in humility cling to God and work to the point, taking up her life duties which lie directly in her pathway. She has overlooked home responsibilities and duties which no other could do for her. She has not loved this kind of labor, which required close, patient labor, disciplining and controlling and educating herself for perfection in her lifework. When this responsibility is thoroughly and well borne, then God will trust her with more extended work in connection with her family duties. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 20

Sister Gaskill would not be a competent matron at the Health Institute for several reasons: 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 21

First, she has not shown an aptness and fitness properly to educate and train up her own children. In order to do her duty to her own family, she needs to have perfect self-control. If there is a deficiency marked in the training of her own children, her deficiency would be more decidedly apparent in a more public institution, where there is a greater variety of minds that will require great calmness, wise forethought, and self-training to meet and manage. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 22

Second. Sister Gaskill has not a retentive memory. She forgets. She has not trained the organs of memory. She could not take the time and feel the need of thoroughness in thinking or in doing. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 23

Third. Sister Gaskill is naturally impulsive, excitable. This element should not be brought in where there are girls or patients to be affected. It would be deleterious to all around. Little circumstances excite the imagination and stir up the feelings, and Sister Mary frequently acts upon impulse and would, unless she were transformed, cause friction and start trouble and difficulties that she could not heal if she would. Everything like bluster and stir must be kept under control at the Health Institute, or great injury will be done to the patients. Do not feel indignant at the suggestion. I know what I am writing about. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 24

Fourth. Sister Gaskill has in her the element to love to be first and second to none. She does not love domestic labor herself, but loves to see order and to tell others what to do. Too much dictating is bad. Too much directing in an ordering manner is injurious to the soul of the one who does the ordering and the one who has been ordered. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 25

All love to feel that they have an individuality of their own, ways and manners just as precious to them as the ways and manners of Sister Gaskill are to her. To learn to accord to all their rights is a splendid lesson for us all to learn. We must not want our precise style followed, when those of others may be far better than our own. In that case our judgment must be yielded, even to helpers. If helpers have been educated to labor in household duties, their knowledge is just as valuable to them as the knowledge of other things may be to those who are not compelled by circumstances to do household labor. One who directs others, who stands naturally by right in this position, should be too noble in spirit to dictate, to order. She should not show a superiority to those who are in every way equal to herself in intelligence and aptness. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 26

Sister Gaskill, there is a disposition with you to dictate and order too much. This plays the mischief with helpers who will not submit to be ordered, especially if they are fully satisfied they understand the proper way of doing the work much better than the one who is disposed to direct. All these things would be difficulties Sister Mary would meet in the position as matron of the Health Institute. I should never have brought these particulars home to Sister Mary, only as I have been shown that her mind would be directed to that position at the Health Institute. To undertake to manage and direct a labor which others are better fitted for and have been trained to do would be simply looking upon by them as out of place. It has been in the domestic life of Sister Mary that those who have been her helpers have a better knowledge of how to do many things than herself, and yet she has felt that her dignity is infringed upon if matters are not deferred to her, as head and director, and that which is done must first bear her sanction. All this unfits Mary to stand at the head to direct and counsel at the Health Institute. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 27

Fifth. The most weighty objection of all is, God has placed a work in Sister Mary’s hands to be thoroughly done for Him. He has said, “Take these children and train them for Me. They are the younger members of the Lord’s family; they are My little ones. Their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven. Bring out the fine traits in their characters and repress the evil. Teach them to be useful, to be pure, to be gentle, and have beautiful characters, for I want them to shine in My courts by and by.” 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 28

Sister Mary cannot properly shift this responsibility upon another because it is a difficult, perplexing task. Avenues leading off from the narrow path of rectitude open on every side. Whose eye should discern the danger as readily as a mother’s? Much prayer and watchfulness are here needed. No duty is equal with this, or can bear any comparison with it. The domestic circle should be made attractive. Who can do this as well as a mother? Mary has felt too much that her children were a galling yoke to her neck. This is the result of deficient training. Home influence should be soothing, elevating, and refining. Oh, how many children have parents, yet are in complete orphanage as far as right training is concerned! Unless God interposes they must perish. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 29

Sister Mary, here is missionary work for you which you will be held accountable for. This work comes first. If this can be rightly done and still further labor be performed with an eye single to the glory of God, strength according to the day will be given for the performance of unselfish labor. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 30

Had Sister Mary been a well-developed, thoroughly educated woman in practical life, she might have been a general to command; but with the very essential qualities of order and system, patience and self-control lacking, she cannot fill the place as it should be filled. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 31

Sister Mary will not from choice bear the responsibilities she could bear, united with the help of her daughter, educating her to do a certain amount apportioned as her labor each day, having times for labor and times for recreation. The time unemployed in useful labor will be spent in a wrong way. Satan can give thoughts and prompt idle hands and minds to activity which is ruinous to mind and morals. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 32

The cause of God suffers terribly today in every department because of the neglect of mothers properly to train and educate their children to do the common, plain, practical duties of life. This very busy, useful employment is teaching them how to labor with aptness and is also shutting off from them the temptations of Satan which are so strong upon the minds of the young. Mothers who are now bringing up children have no excuse for their neglect of duty. God has laid out the mother’s work and duty to her children in repeated testimonies so plain, so clear, there is no need of making a mistake if they desire to know the way and to take up their neglected duties. But the light God has given has not been followed. The day of judgment will reveal that abundant light has been given if there were in the heart of His people a disposition to follow the light. But the heart, the natural heart, does not incline to obedience and to faithful duty because a course of duty calls forth effort, perseverance, and constant watchfulness and prayer. It is thought to be too laborious to be followed out. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 33

The greatest number of souls who fail of perfecting Christian character, and therefore fail of heaven, has been ruined through the neglect of parents properly to educate and discipline their children. The greatest number of church trials is the result of the inefficient and grossly neglected work of parents in training and properly educating their children to self-control and correct principles. Many children are not taught how to yield their wills. They only know how to storm it through at any cost. This spirit will ruin any church. And it is a deplorable fact that too many profess to be Christians who have not been converted. Said Christ, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 18:3.] He then gives lessons in regard to His church. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 34

The prosperity of many bodies in church relation has been sacrificed by the insubordinate, untamable spirit of one man who had never met with that change which Christ told Nicodemus he must realize. “Ye must be born again” [John 3:7]—made all over new, transformed, putting off the old man with his deeds. The neglect of parents is in not teaching their children from the cradle to submit their wills and their ways. Children are left to grow up self-willed, stubborn, irritable, self-sufficient, and really independently ugly. Bring these spirits together in church capacity, and how can there be peace and unity and the love and patience necessary to the prosperity of the church? Nine tenths of all the church difficulties are attributable to the neglect of parents in disciplining and molding the minds of their children in their childhood. What an account will parents be called to render to God for their sinful neglect? The Elis are numerous in this age of the world. But the sin of which they are guilty is no less aggravating to God than in the days of Eli when the curse of God came not only upon the children of Eli for their wrong doings, but upon the father who was guilty in not restraining his sons from their sinful course. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 35

Indulgence and petting and gratification of children have ruined them not only for this world, but for the better world. Children should be educated to become staunch men of nerve, of self-control, of patience, of self-denial. These qualities of character are highly essential for those who fill important positions in the church and in society as men who can be depended upon, who have mental and moral power. May God roll this burden upon mothers and fathers who are neglecting their work in their families at home. We need working men and working women, burden-bearers who have the cause of God at heart. Each must give an account of himself to God. He is doing this by his daily actions. His everyday words and works are passing into eternity with the burden of record. Everyone will receive according to the things he has done, whether good or evil. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 36

Very many things are neglected for want of taxing the mind. Memory is no less necessary on the part of man than is rectitude on the part of God. The life and actions of men are deciding their eternal destiny. All will be acquitted or condemned by their words and their works. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 37

Brother and Sister Gaskill, I have been shown that there must be a willingness with us all to respect the opinions and the rights of others and not to feel a burden to force them into a groove with ourselves. Others have a degree of independence which they prize, as well as we. And in order to obey the law of God in loving our neighbor as ourselves, there must be a great work done. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 38

Brother and Sister Gaskill, you have much to learn. Do not, for your souls’ sake, feel you have not much to learn. In regard to yourselves, you would never have been brought into a condition to know yourselves had you not come to Battle Creek. Your heavenly Father brought you under discipline to teach you the defects existing in yourselves. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 39

Probation now lingers for you and for me. Then let us thank God and move on to correct every wrong. We may be as critical as we please with ourselves, but leave this work for God as far as your brethren and sisters are concerned. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 40

A mother’s work is a most solemn and important one. She may not lay it down for any other work, but she may engage in other work if she takes along her home duties, teaching and training her children also. A mother’s duties are not half felt or understood. Were the responsible position of mothers felt, how careful would mothers be in the training of their children! Her duty to her children is above the minister’s. The mother’s work is second only to the work of God. Mothers may do a very great work for this world and the next in properly training their children that they may grow up strong, pure men and women. In order for a mother to be fitted for this great work, she must look well to her own mind and deportment. She needs to be fully developed herself, evenly balanced, calm, not easily excited to give way to feeling. The more perfect the development of the mother, the more even and well balanced her mind, the more calm and unexcited her deportment, the better is she fitted for her motherly duties and the more surely will her labors bring forth the same mold of mind as her own. If the mother is illy developed, if she is hurried and excitable, peevish, dictatorial, and exacting, her children will reflect the same character. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 41

Some mothers dislike the discipline it gives them patiently to teach their children how to do little duties and cultivate in them a love for these duties, which love shall grow up with them. Some think children of seven and eight years old are too young to have their tasks assigned them in sewing, in washing dishes, in mending neatly their own garments, in making beds, and sweeping and dusting. But to let the children grow up unused to these important habits of useful labor, with the thought that they will take to it by and by, is a sad mistake. These duties neglected in childhood will be found in youth and womanhood an irksome task, and the child that with proper training might mature into a pleasant, useful woman will, by occupation, be turned into a drudge. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 42

Any child is happier to be employed. Her well-earned play will be all the sweeter after her task is ended. What can the mother be thinking of to neglect the training of her children? For the mother to do the disagreeable work while the daughter takes a bit of work of no real need makes the daughter selfish, or confirms her in her selfishness. If children are allowed to come up to think that work must be shirked, they will despise industry as a specie of slavery; but the mistaken mother, who in her tenderness has suffered this, will be despised for her neglect when the daughter feels her real need of knowledge in practical life. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 43

Brother Gaskill, I do not want you should make a failure as did Brother Abbey. You would, if you thought it would do, assume responsibilities you have not experience or the best judgment to carry through. It is not yours to plan, but to execute. You would be disposed to question the judgment of those who have borne responsibility in this work and cause, and in the place of it put your own. I saw and knew your deficiencies, and knew that in some respects you were not the man for the place, but with full warning and counsel you may escape the evils you would cause if left to yourself. You are not a thorough man; you are too superficial. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 44

If in making a bargain you can get a man to take less than he offered the article for, you feel that you are a wise financier; but more business tact than this is necessary. You need to tax your mind and your memory and frequently place yourself in unpleasant positions. You need to be a caretaker, to get deep at the bottom of things and not skim over the surface. And above all, give up being a policy man. Be frank, true, and sincere. And you must not rely upon your own judgment, but you must counsel and move cautiously in the fear of God. You do not naturally love devotion or religious duties. If you cling to God, He will cling to you. If you trust in yourself, God will forsake you. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 45

You will be inclined to engage in trade, and save a few pence and think yourself an economist, while you will fail to see and properly supply the stores necessary for the institute, not taking care upon you as one in your position should. You need to look after the little matters, to have your memory taxed with the cares of the premises. You overlook the essential duties and reach over these to be planning to make some show, some large improvement, to do some big trading. This will be your danger unless you are guarded. You must show your generalship in superintending, having an oversight and care of all. This is not an easy position, but a caretaking, burden-bearing position. If you skim over the surface and do not go deep and thorough, you will gather responsibilities upon you that will please your fancy, but neglect the very duty you ought to do, which must be done by a faithful superintendent. Guard yourself that you do not feel that you have the generalship of the whole thing. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 46

There is great indolence manifested by some of the physicians and those who are in important positions. There is not an interest manifested there that should be. There must be prayerful vigilance manifested. Brother Harmon Lindsay is a far better financier than yourself. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 47

Dear Sister Mary, I have the fullest reason to say you do not know yourself. Were it not that we had promised to be true to the cause of God, I should not now write to you as plainly and faithfully as I do. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 48

Your case has been fully set before me, and now will come your test and proving whether you accept the light given you. I have been shown you lacked discipline in your family. You do not govern your children. You do not give them, and have not given them, the attention they should have from a mother. You can prepare a good meal for the table, but there are great lacks in regard to system and order in your family. It was a duty devolving on you to educate your eldest daughter to a practical knowledge of life. You have but little control over your little one. Do you ask why? Because you have not from the first made this your main and principle business in life, and made this your study and disciplined yourself to your task. You have felt that this was too much a yoke of bondage, and have shifted the responsibility upon others when you could. You have not self-control. You have not been trained and disciplined yourself. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 49

You are spoiling your eldest daughter because you do not patiently, kindly, lovingly teach her to do and have her know she must do. You have feared to task her, but you are neglecting a most solemn, responsible work. She is coming up disinclined to labor, loving indolence, loving her own way, and Satan is filling her mind with vanity and folly. She now has a feeling of pride in doing nothing. Would you educate your daughter to be a drone in society? This you are doing. It seems next to an impossibility for you to see where you have failed or how you can amend. Just as long as your daughter is clothed and fed by her parents, she should be taught that with these gifts obligations are mutual. Every day of her life she should have her day’s work, not excepting when she attends school. Then, above all other days, should the physical labor be combined with the mental. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 50

God gave you and other parents light upon this subject. What heed have you paid to it? May God forgive your sin of neglect. Were I your daughter, coming up as Jessie is, I should feel that it would be hard for me to forgive the neglect of my mother in training me to bear my part of life’s burdens and cares, and be disciplined to habits of order, caretaking, and thoroughness. Your girl does not love work. Who is censurable for this? Her mother. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 51

Mothers, mothers! Our world is in crying need of mothers! 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 52

I inquired of the angel of God why the youth of the present age were generally so destitute of moral force and true virtue. The answer came, For want of mothers to educate and bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. At what age shall children learn the duties of practical life? At six years? The answer was given, The education of the child must commence from its birth. Neglect this instruction six years, and six years are lost. The best impression may be made upon a child during the first seven years of its life. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 53

I was pointed to the various shifts and excuses parents make for not disciplining their children to system in labor, and having them learn to do their part in bearing the burdens of life when young. A thousand needless things take the time and the attention, and their children are sadly neglected for work that is in every way inferior to that which devolves on the mother for the proper training of her children. Oh, that mothers would open their eyes to see, and their hearts to understand! The seed for good or evil the mother first plants in the soul. The home and the nursery are the first school for children, and the mother is the teacher. Here it is the mother’s first duty to teach her children the dignity of work. This will not degrade them, but fit them for any position in life. Our girls need to become thoroughly educated to understand that labor gives dignity and nobility to woman and makes her a queen. Mothers, I saw, were responsible for the inefficient, dawdling women in society, whose daily lives are marked with emptiness. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 54

Sister Gaskill, I saw that your lifework was very deficient. You neglect a little here and a little there and all will at last prove a failure. You have had your lifework—character to develop. How have you done your work? What characters are you developing and have you developed in your children? They may look to you but trifles, but the imperfection of character is made up of trifles and the perfection of character is made up of trifles. No one can see the hidden labor, the carefulness with which a faithful mother must and will toil to educate and discipline herself and strengthen some weak point in her character, to bring out some faculty more strongly and perfectly, and cultivate some power that she may do her great duty in the proper training and education of her children in this life for the eternal life. No woman has a right to become a mother who has not self-control, and who does not feel the great and solemn responsibility devolving upon her to educate and discipline her children that they shall bring forth the fine traits in their character and repress the evil. A harmonious character is like choice gold. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 55

The mother should not depend upon hired help unless it is positively necessary, and this might in many cases be avoided if she would do her duty in teaching her children to be helpers with her. She should take her daughters with her into the kitchen, and then put into their hands work which they can and should do. No excuse or lack of inclination on the part of the daughter justifies the mother in excusing her and taking the burden on herself. It will not hurt the daughter to get weary, if she is not overtaxed, any more or as soon as it will hurt the mother. A work has been neglected by mothers which will result in thousands upon thousands of lives being worthless in this life and useless in the higher life. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 56

How many children are allowed to go to school and study and yet come from these schools educated simpletons! They love to read novels and story books, talk of the young men, tattle bits of news heard in the family. When they marry they ruin their husbands, and bring up children to inherit the imperfections of their characters and the deficiencies of their training. Oh, what solemn work are mothers doing, leading their children by their example, by their education, either in the bright path to heaven or in the broad road to hell. Mothers are forming characters, making history for this world and for the next, in the training of their children. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 57

Sister Gaskill, what claims does your daughter feel that there are resting upon her? The time, if it had been employed in useful labor, would now be of value. You have not employed the hands and mind of your daughter. Your daughter and Brother Harmon’s eldest daughter will, unless transformed by the renewing graces of God, prove a curse to the parents who have neglected their early training. Both your own, Sister Gaskill, and your brother Harmon’s children have been indulged. You are both blind to your neglect and to their true condition. Neither are genuinely truthful. Both are undisciplined and unprincipled, without honoring their parents by obedience. Both of these children have been unrestrained, and their influence has been blamed upon other children. Yet their parents have been blinded to their faults and have excused their neglects and their wrongs. These girls, as well as all others, should have been patiently instructed from their infancy, trained to habits of diligence and useful labor. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 58

God holds these parents, as well as all parents who follow in the same path of neglect, accountable. These mothers should understand that the most important education for their children, that which is far superior to book knowledge, is useful employment. If the children can have but one, let it be the education to industrious habits. But if both study and labor can be combined, much will be gained. I feel to the very depths the great mistake these parents are making in regard to properly training their children. Satan is gaining full control of these minds that are inactive. Satan leads them into wrong habits that weary more than all the labors they may do. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 59

There is another point I have been shown, that now Sister Mary can do no greater work than to seek to redeem the time she has lost. Let her humbly, prayerfully take up her neglected lifework. I am fearful that she makes an entire mistake to be in the position she is now in. She is not where she can give that attention to the education of her children which she should give. There is Jessie, who should be initiated at once into her round of life’s duties, without neglecting the matter another day. The Health Institute is no place for these children. Lillie Abbey’s being in the Health Institute was all wrong. She was a curse there. Jessie would do no good, but only harm, and it would have a bad influence upon the child. I have said from the very first, since her case was fully opened before me, that in many respects Sister Gaskill is not a woman for the place. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 60

Brother Gaskill is not, in many respects, the man qualified for the position. He talks too much. I saw that Brother Abbey would become acquainted with the examination of patients, and in his coarse, rough ways he made these poor sinful, pitiful subjects matters of jest and sport. He was vulgar. Lillie would gain information that should be kept from the knowledge of all and would communicate the same to others. Brother Gaskill is not as careful as he should be. He carries matters too much to his wife, and there is danger of Jessie’s curiosity being aroused and her reporting things she should not know and should not understand. The patients’ coming to the house on the corner for examination, and children’s being connected with the house, is not as it should be. Again, the way matters are now arranged, instead of Jessie’s being brought into labor, she is relieved of all responsibility. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 61

I look at the matter thus: either let Sister Gaskill take the entire charge of matters at Health Institute No. 2, and do with her daughter’s assistance what there is to be done, or let them give place to someone without children who can do all to be done much easier than the work can now be done with these children. The indolence of the eldest and the destructive habits of the youngest, who is not under control, are serious drawbacks. Remove these, and one person could take the entire charge easier than it is now done. The mother who cannot properly control two children should be very careful how she assumes responsibilities of a large class of patients. She is simply entirely unfitted for any such position. No woman is qualified for such a place who has not the qualities to educate to obedience two children of her own. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 62

This may seem hard, but I can work only as God has pressed me to it. I must work in faithfulness to all concerned. Sister Gaskill is blinded in regard to herself. She allows her temper to control her, and at such times she permits feelings akin to insanity. She cannot reason. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 63

Unless children are educated to usefulness, to love duty, and to have a principle to do duty before pleasure, they will be exposed to great temptations. Parents who neglect to do their duty in training their children in youth to useful labor have not true love for them. The happiest people are the most industrious, and great dangers may be escaped in youth as well as in afterlife by educating our children to useful labor. The father and mother must be united in this work of disciplining and training. Causes and results of present training should be candidly considered. The children need not be overtaxed in anxiety to teach them. The overtaxation and drain upon the system is far greater, and productive of worse results, in listless indolence. The muscles were made for use, not inaction. The muscles strengthen by use. Aptness and ability to do things come by repeated efforts. Children will have a hard enough time at best, if parents do their utmost to help them with their influence and support them with their greater experience. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 64

You feel annoyed if the case of your children is touched. You bring up other children that you think are just as bad. Your children are of age to know and do very much better than they do, but you do not feel and realize their true condition. These two girls have had a leading influence. Others are far from right, but these are greatly lacking in proper restraint. They talk much, not always truthfully, but as they happen to think or feel. 2LtMs, Ms 8, 1875, par. 65