Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)




Lt 1, 1878

White, J. S.; Children

Battle Creek, Michigan

August 24, 1878

Portions of this letter are published in 9MR 317-318.

[At this time Elder James White, Willie C. White, Mrs. J. E. White, and Mrs. W. C. White were in Colorado.]

Dear Husband and children three:

I arrived here, as I expected, at about half-past eleven o’clock. As I was on the steps of the car, I grasped the hand of Brother Kellogg. We were glad to meet him. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 1

Soon after we left Chicago, we met Elder Farnsworth on the train, en route for the New England camp meetings. We had a pleasant chat with him. Mr. Barney of Battle Creek made himself known to me, and we had some conversation; and when we were near to Battle Creek, William Byington, Martha's brother, introduced himself to me, and we had a social chat. I should not have known him again. He is a great burly fellow now. His wife is in Europe, and his wife's mother is improving in health. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 2

We find ourselves almost used up today. It seems an impossibility to do anything. I suppose I should make the effort if the case demanded it, but I should really dislike to try. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 3

Brother Bell and Sister Nellie Sawyer called on me early this morning. Then Dr. Lampson and Sister Lampson, matron, visited me and invited me to take a bath at the sanitarium, which I did. We are doing nothing today but rest. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 4

Elder Smith and Professor Brownsberger came in and made a long call. Elder Canright also called. It is decided that he go to Ohio and Elders Farnsworth and Smith and myself go to New England. Brother Waggoner is sick at home in Burlington. Elliot [Ellet?] is also sick there, and Elder St. Jonn, so the condition in Ohio is deplorable. There are two parties, one in favor of Brother Mears, the other on the side of Elder St. John. Elder Canright believes that they will go to pieces unless help comes to them. I do not see how I can attend the eastern and western meetings and travel so far. If I go to the Iowa and Kansas meetings, I cannot attend the meeting in Vermont. I shall try to do that which appears to be my duty. At present I do not feel worth anything, but I trust in God. I had no appetite for my luncheon, although everything was good. I think after this I shall take one good meal each day at least, for I abominate the dinner basket. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 5

I found Aunt Mary cheerful and pleasant. May and the children waited up for me; or rather, they did not undress, but lay down with their clothes on, so were prepared to meet me when I arrived. They were glad to see me and I to see them. Their little hands have combed my head for hours and really made me feel quite refreshed. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 6

Mother Kelsey came in this afternoon, and we had some conversation about our children. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 7

We shall leave here as early as next Monday, for I do not want to go alone. The other workers ought to be there as early as possible to be ready for the first of the meeting. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 8

We hope you will be cheerful and happy while you are in the mountains. This precious opportunity of being all together as you now are may never come to you again. Make the most of it. Do not regard this time of recreation as a drudgery or a task. Lay aside your work; let the writings go. Go over into the park and see all that you can. Get all the pleasure you can out of this little season. I sometimes fear we do not appreciate these precious opportunities and privileges until they pass, and it is too late. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 9

Father, our writing can be done in the winter. Lay it aside now. Throw off every burden, and be a carefree boy again. Will and Mary, if they stay in the mountains a few weeks longer, should neither study nor write. They should be made happy for this season, that they may be able to look back to this time as a season of unalloyed pleasure. Willie will soon be plunged into caretaking and burden-bearing again. Let him now be as free as the birds of the air. Mary has never had a childhood any more than Willie has had a boyhood. The few days you now have together, improve. Roam about, camp out, fish, hunt, go to places that you have not seen, rest as you go, and enjoy everything. Then come back to your work fresh and vigorous. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 10

Emma, dear child—may God bless our daughter Emma; and may this little season, when you can be with sister and brother and father, be full of pleasure, and devoid of one dark chapter. I should have loved to remain with you; but I am content, because I believe that I am where the Lord would have me. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 11

Now I entreat you to make the most of the few weeks left you. Let nothing keep you confined to the house. Forget that there is anything to be written. There is enough already written for our people to digest. Then when new matter does come out, it will come from minds that are fresh because they have been strengthened and invigorated by rest and change. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 12

Father needs to be a boy again. Roam all around. Climb the mountain steeps. Ride horseback. Find something new each day to see and enjoy. This will be for Father's health. Do not spend any anxious thought on me. You will see how well I will appear after the camp meetings are over. God lives, and because He lives, I hope to live also. I am debilitated just now, but this does not discourage me one bit. I shall lean heavily upon the divine arm, and I shall not faint nor fall. And I assure you that you will be gainers if you will all determine to be free as boys and girls again. Strive to make each other happy. Then angels will look on and smile, and they will write for you a record that you will not be ashamed to read. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 13

Now, Father, you are with your dear children. You may never have this privilege again. I repeat once more, Make the most of it. Do not think that so much writing is necessary. This will keep. Lay all such work aside. I know you will all please God much better by seeking to build up your strength, and laying in a good stock of vitality that you can draw upon in time of need. I should feel sad to see this precious opportunity spoiled by your doing unnecessary things in the line of writing. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 14

Now, after writing so much, I will say, Good-by. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1878, par. 15