Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 6a, 1877

White, J. E.

Battle Creek, Michigan

June 20, 1877

Previously unpublished.

Dear Son Edson:

We received your letter to your father this morning, also one from Brother Glenn. He stated you were getting up a counter on your own responsibility. This does not look right to your father or to me. This is a sample of your former injudicious moves. Unless the office or those in responsible positions in the office should decide it was necessary to have a counter and should set men to making it, you should bring yourself to do without it. But here is where you have ever failed. You have tried to make your surrounding instead of fitting yourself and accommodating yourself to the situation. Hundreds of dollars have been needlessly expended in this way to make things more handy which have been of great loss. 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 1

You have been brought into embarrassment and forfeited the confidence of your brethren in you as a manager or financier. After the experience you have had and the sad failure you have experienced, I had hoped you would see the necessity of laying aside your judgment, your independence, and rely upon the judgment of others, even if in your own mind you thought your judgment best. In view of the past failures, you should ever seek for a modest, humble position until you gain the confidence of your brethren that you have reformed. Here is the position you should take. Let others plan, let others propose the improvements and the outlay of means, and not you. Every dollar you can earn and save by the most stringent economy should be lessening your debts. I hope you will feel an independence in this matter becoming you under the circumstances. 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 2

I hope Emma and you will practice the most close denial of self until you are free from debts. 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 3

Our school is the best I have ever seen. How pleased [I am] with the class of students attending the school. And how my soul hungered for you to be here and obtaining that knowledge and discipline necessary that you might fill some position in the work of God. But Satan has worked his cards successfully to defeat this at present. In consideration of your past mistakes, do learn to be wise and not set your inventive, scheming faculties to work to use up means. You have not a dollar to spend to make things handy and convenient. All above the matter of your food to sustain life and the simple clothing necessary for you to make a respectable appearance belongs to those you are in debt to. Every cent above this is the means of other men which you are using, not your own. It will be necessary for you to be almost niggardly in expending means until you can stand up and say, I owe no man anything. 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 4

I see that your case is a constant burden to your father. He is afraid of your schemes, as well he may be. He is afraid of your plans. If you would leave this all to others and do simply your duty faithfully, you might gain the confidence of your brethren. 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 5

I have heard Sister James stated she would not invest a dollar more in that office if you had anything to do with finances. Who can wonder at this? And when you have given such evidences of your folly on 12th Street in that glass-roofed addition at such an expense with some other moves you have made, who can repose confidence in your plans and your judgment? 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 6

You should not, Edson, gather responsibility in that office upon yourself. Keep out of it. Do your work in such a manner that it will bear the closest criticism of the wisest heads. But above all, bear the inspection of God. Instead of seeking to invest means to make the surroundings convenient to do your work, be studying how you may best show yourself approved of God, giving the evidence to all that God is with you. Take up the work that you can do, and take no more upon you than you can do thoroughly and well. Learn to have few wants. Emma should learn to have few wants and both of you do your utmost to walk out from under the debts that your own folly, Edson, has brought upon you. 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 7

I hope, my dear son, you will not try to close your eyes and hide the defects of your character and your lack of consecration to God from yourself. Do not censure others, but beg of God to let you see yourself as you are and then to give you grace to make thorough reformation. Stick to your work, keep in your place, show a devotion to your part of the work, that you may do it with exactness; and what you do, do well, and you will be learning lessons of the highest value to yourself. Above everything connect with God. Let not self be magnified; let self be hid and Jesus, precious Jesus, be exalted. 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 8

Emma, help Edson. I beg of you to help him. Edson, do be helped, do be advised. Let not Satan work through you to ruin yourself, dishearten us, and wound the cause of God. You have ability which if wisely improved could be used to the glory of God. But, my dear son, Satan has had the handling of your mind much of your life. 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 9

You must come where you will seek advice and cheerfully take counsel, having more confidence in others’ judgment and plans than in your own. When there is an active transformation of the mind and character, and you are willing to be a scholar, then God can teach you in various ways, and He will mold and fashion you after the perfect Model. But Edson, at present, let others plan, let others expend, and you will be willing to be inconvenienced, submit that you cannot have everything to your mind. And may the Lord keep you from the devices of Satan is our daily prayer. 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 10

Mother.

Brother Glenn made no complaint, only stated the fact. 3LtMs, Lt 6a, 1877, par. 11