Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)
Lt 22, 1878
White, J. S.
April 5, 1878
Portions of this letter are published in 3Bio 82-83.
I dreamed last night that a celebrated physician came into the room while we were engaged in prayer for you. Said he, Praying is well, but living out your prayers is still more essential. Your faith must be sustained by your works, else it is a dead faith. Be careful that your faith is not a dead faith. You are not brave in God. If there is any inconvenience instead of accommodating yourself to circumstances, you will keep the matter, be it ever so small in your mind until it suits you; therefore you do not work out your faith. You have no real faith yet. You yearn but for victory. When your faith is made perfect by works, you will cease studying yourself and rest your case in the hands of God, bearing something, enduring something, not exactly in accordance with your feelings. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1878, par. 1
All the powers on earth could not help you unless you work in harmony, exercising your reason and your judgment, and setting aside your feelings and your inclination. You are in a critical condition. You are establishing a state of things in your system that is not easily subdued. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1878, par. 2
Avoid all stimulants even if prescribed by physicians. All stimulus, even the eggs you have used so freely, are needless. They are injurious. They create nervousness. Eggs are exciting to the nerves and strengthen the animal organs. You are full of blood and of flesh. You are now a self-made invalid; and if you had less anxiety for yourself, were less controlled by feelings and should exercise your judgment and reason which you have, but will not use, you will soon control your conditions of health; but you are constantly planning to be an invalid, favoring yourself as an invalid. Medicines cannot help you. You can do more by restricting your diet and arousing your power of self-control than every earthly power can do for you. God sees your lack of faith, and He cannot according to His own name's glory raise you to health unless you work with His efforts—do those things you can do for yourself. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1878, par. 3
You do not eat in wisdom. You greatly tax the digestive powers by too great an amount of food and in too great variety. Your reason and judgment are controlled by appetite. Control your eating yourself. God requires this of you. The appetite under the control of reason, your circulation will be less disturbed. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1878, par. 4
You have been debilitating your stomach for months by throwing up your food. The gastric fluid you lost with your food. This fluid was required to digest your food and carry it into the bowels and giving it an easy passage from the bowels in fecal passages. Your habit of manifesting anxiety in regard to your stool is bad for you. The least concern you can have in regard to these discharges the better. Break up these habits and act away from the point of invalidism, for your acts are in continual contradiction of your faith. The entire church is pleading with God with tears and much sorrow for your recovery. You might have been now in active service had you acted out your faith, but you dare not drop into the hands of God. You are so fearful that you will not have anything done for you, your convenience and present comfort. You are continually working against yourself. Your own depraved habits are keeping not only you but your wife from the work to which God has called you. She has too tender sympathy for you and is inclined to favor and pet your notions too much. And this burden should come on you to do those things you know will be right and for your good. You have felt so fearful you would be reduced in strength that you have eaten more than was necessary, placed in your stomach a greater amount of food than the system could take care of well. The result has been in distressing heats and fevers. Take nothing which will increase the appetite for food; unless you restrict appetite, you will never recover health. Your food should be taken dry and take a longer time to masticate it. Eat slowly and much less in quantity. Two or three articles at one meal is all that should be placed in the stomach. These varied articles cause fermentation before digestion. God never designed the stomach as a slop pail. You have made some improvements which are important. You can make more if you will. It is the will power that you need to bring to your aid to use which you do not. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1878, par. 5
You are dying of notions and yet you do not make sufficient efforts to produce a radical change. God would have you live, and if you go down, it will be yourself alone that will be at fault. If you mar your influence, it will be yourself alone to blame. You would enjoy being healed, taken out of your present condition, and without any disagreeable efforts on your part receive health and strength. This will never be. If you will work to the point to control your thoughts and feelings, bring yourself perseveringly into normal condition, you will succeed; but you give up to your feelings, flatter yourself that you cannot do otherwise. If you have no power of self-control, then give yourself up to be controlled by those who have judgment. But you have mind, you have reason; and instead of planning everything to ease and convenience yourself, be planning to overcome the sickly need of these things, and be a well man. Study to help others. You are not a child to be told what you must do, and what you must not do. You know well enough yourself what is right and what is wrong; but you love self too well to be inconvenienced, to make any effort to overcome habits that hold you an invalid. God will not do for you what He has left you to do for yourself. Had you no power of will to act, then God would supply that power; but unbelief marks your course in the place of faith. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1878, par. 6
Faith costs you too much trouble. You will not risk anything on the promises of God. This was the case of your brother Nathaniel, of your sister Anna. They kept their minds centered on themselves. They had no faith. They died, and so will you unless you break up this condition of things which you have gone on from point to point, to establish a condition that was not at all necessary. Your life would be more secure in self-forgetfulness. God has a work for you and your wife to do. Satan says, You shall not accomplish this work. If I have power to control the mind, I can control everything and bind both as with fetters of iron. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1878, par. 7
Have nothing to do with stimulus. You do not need it. It will increase vital action for the time being. While the force of the stimulus lasts, there is a sense of increased strength and apparent vigor, but you will be let down just as far below par as the stimulus raised you above par. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1878, par. 8
You can arise. You can throw off this invalidism. Will you be a man and work with the prayers of God’s people? 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1878, par. 9
If you go a journey, camping out, eating dry lunches as others eat, making no special provision for your case, dispensing with set dishes and pet preparations, forget yourself, see and talk about the beauties in God’s world, get tired from physical exercise, forget yourself, rest on a good hard couch, you would be far better off than you now are. You eat one-third more than a well man should eat, who is engaged in physical labor. You are doing nothing and one-half the amount placed in your stomach is sufficient. Raisins are not good for you. They are too sweet and irritate the stomach and produce heat. Eat slowly. Flesh meats are not needed. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1878, par. 10