Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)




Lt 1, 1881

Haskell, S. N.

Battle Creek, Michigan

April 22, 1881

Portions of this letter are published in PM 328-329, 352; 3Bio 155-157; 12MR 56.

Dear Brother Haskell:

I did not attend the Spring Arbor meeting. My husband did. I remained at Newton and had a very interesting time with a few. The Lord gave me special liberty. I was led out in prayer and I had great freedom in prayer while at Brother Hilliard’s. Sister H. had been in a despairing state for some years. The Lord gave me words to speak to her that brought comfort to her mind. She was so thankful for our visit. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 1

I wrote Elder [G. I.] Butler from Newton in reference to a question he asked in regard to Elder [J. N.] Andrews. He seemed to feel a special burden that some one should go to Europe to assist Elder Andrews and take care of him during his illness. There is Brother and Sister Ings close by, and Elder [J. N.] Loughborough. It looks [in] every way consistent that Elder L. should see Elder Andrews and be with him. If a nurse is wanted, Brother and Sister Ings are just the ones to attend him. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 2

I cannot see any need of taking Buel Whitney from the field of his labors to leave no one in his place to go to Europe. There are but few true laborers in the field at the present time. As matters now stand in Battle Creek, I think it wise for me to go to Colorado. My husband is in full unison with this. I think he is making great changes for the better. He did propose to hold camp meetings in different places in Michigan, and he and I attend them, for the people seem to be starving for good spiritual meat. But thinking and praying over the matter has settled me that it would not be best. Should my husband now labor ever so faithfully, all he would do would be criticized, and suspicions that had no foundation would be created, [even] if he did his best. And I should be held in the very same light by those who are on the doubting side of the Testimonies. I think that the future year’s labor would be lost, with great discouragement to myself. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 3

I cannot see which way to turn. This one comes to me with perplexities and discouragements, and another writes, and it is one thing after another that is constantly arising. There is no genuine faith in my testimonies in the sanitarium. I see no prospect of doing them any good. Elder McCoy wrote my husband a letter making wild, exaggerated statements just before he left. He then stated that a production purporting to be a testimony had been circulated to friend or foe, and he expected that it would appear in the Moon next. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 4

But I will not attempt to report all that was written. As things now stand my hands are completely tied. I feel helpless and hopeless as far as my efforts are concerned. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 5

Dear Brother Haskell, I fear greatly that there has not been a full understanding of the true state of the tract and missionary work. I tell you from what God has shown me, it had become worked up so minutely that it became intricate. I want you should see it as it is, and as it has been overdone and [has] swallowed up other important interests. You should see it as it was presented to me: that time, labor, and money have been spent in the mechanical working that reduces it to a system and form almost destitute of true godliness. I speak the things I know, that while time has been devoted to this work, it has been at the neglect of other work just as important. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 6

But most of all, the churches are backsliding over these things. Souls are in peril. Many are famishing for wholesome gospel truth. The hours that are devoted in the gatherings of our people to educate them how to do missionary work should be more earnestly devoted to teach men how to become Christians and to feed the flock with pure provender, thoroughly winnowed. Our people are having a famine for the Word of the Lord. They are dying for [the] meat of nourishment. Your study, your planning to such an extent [as] to make the tract and missionary working successful, has deprived the people of the very help they should have from you. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 7

If the people do all the work laid out for them to do, which seems essential to keep the work in activity, there is not sufficient attention and labor devoted to the spiritual, devotional exercises of the church; and when our people meet together at [the] quarterly meeting, most of the time is occupied on Sunday in business meetings. The outsiders come in and lose all interest and go out again. The very day [that it is] the most important to present truth to unbelievers has been lost to them in consequence of so much being said in regard to the tract and missionary work. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 8

Now I have written this before to you, but did not send it, for matters have so shaped themselves that even my brethren will say that Brother White has been talking to her until she sees as she does. I know this is the impression. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 9

Now we shall leave for Colorado in a few weeks. I feel powerless to try to help anywhere. My husband’s course, you well know, I have had no sympathy with. But at the same time, if I speak the very things shown, it might appear that I was favoring his ideas. I feel sad, hedged in completely, and I will go away. It is best for James to be alone. He has injured his influence, and if he goes now, others will take some responsibilities in regard to Battle Creek to set things in order. Battle Creek has been wretchedly neglected. Such a church needs continued labor, and an influence exerted here constantly to build up. But as things now stand, we can do nothing. We will, take our things away. If James remains here, he will take more or less responsibilities, and he will become entangled in matters and things that he cannot help. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 10

I feel free now to go to Colorado. I have thought of going to New England and bearing my testimony, but I do not feel that things are all right at South Lancaster. A serious evil is growing in New England. Many hang more heavily upon you than upon their Saviour, and many stand as detective officers to watch and to report discouraging things to you. They had by far better be praying. Brother Robinson is becoming spoiled as a laborer. He is becoming narrowed down. No one could go into New England and labor with any encouragement in the present state of things. I look upon it, that every one is shut out that does not do things after a certain fashion or plan. And I tell you frankly, you are somewhat to blame for this molding of things. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 11

Well, you may say, as others have said, “Sister White has been prejudiced.” Not a bit of it. I felt it all when in New England last year and the year before last, but have said these things to you only. No one has had any conversation with me on these things, but I feel over them deeply, and speak now because I must speak. I have confidence in you, my brother, just as firmly as I have had, but I fear that you may be making mistakes somewhat after the order my husband has made, and I want you to shun the dangers and perils of any such life. You will, unless guarded, carry things you take hold of to extremes. I entreat of you not to concentrate your mind on one or two things, and neglect other matters. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 12

Professor [G. H.] Bell has been cautioned again and again in regard to making the Sabbath School work like a machine, but he has not heeded the testimony. He is getting matters so fine, he will have a big reaction by and by. I know whereof I speak. You, working, burden-bearing men, must become [as] level [and] evenly balanced as possible. You need to cling more firmly to simplicity. The fewer rules, the fewer plans introduced into your tract and missionary workings, the more spirit will be in your work, for it will cost less to run it and will take less time. I tell you, these things I have written need your candid consideration. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 13

I beg of you, do not neglect, as you have done, to recommend and urge the people everywhere to take the Review as well as the Signs of the Times. I think the Review Publishing House has not been treated by you as it should have been. You had your mind fastened on one thing, the extension of the Signs, and you have let this absorb everything else. This is seen and felt by our people at large. You should come out in the Signs frequently and urge your brethren to take the Review, our church paper. But do not let there be a divorcing of your interests from the Review. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 14

I consent to go to Colorado, hoping you will have more freedom to write and to unite your interests more fully with the Review. I also go thinking that it will remove other difficulties. There will be no danger of my husband’s giving expression to his mind, although they may be truths, which will make confusion. I have now expressed hurriedly but freely. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 15

With respect. 3LtMs, Lt 1, 1881, par. 16