Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 22, 1879

White, Edson

Camp ground, Dunlap, Iowa

July 1, 1879

Portions of this letter are published in VSS 391-392; 8MR 77.

Dear Son Edson:

We received your letter and think you are mistaken in your ideas. We assure you, my son, my heart is not estranged from you. It is true, I have spoken my convictions by letter. If my fears were not warrantable I am glad, but to have the least change in my feelings or to have less confidence in you is not so. My confidence in you had increased. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 1

It is true I have not written you of late, but I made up my mind that if my letters were not worth answering, they were not worth receiving. Your time cannot be more precious than mine, and therefore I have not written. But you should know the letters written to Brother Tay show how I regard your case. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 2

Father, I am sure, has confidence in you. We often hear him speak of you and Emma with pleasure, in high terms. He shows your pictures, and he calls you two his canaries. He prays for you at the family altar very tenderly and earnestly; and if you think your mother has forgotten you or is estranged in her feelings from you, you are greatly mistaken. You are both very near and dear to me. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 3

I have been passing through trials of a very trying, perplexing character, not from one source or from two, but from different sources and from different causes. I have been in a fearfully worn condition. Such prostration I never realized before unless cut down with violent sickness. I was worn when I reached Kansas; then in my prostrated condition I took a severe cold, but went to the Missouri meeting. I had then to be cared for. I received water treatment, found a little relief, and spoke twice only during the meeting, and then in great feebleness. After the meeting closed I returned to Battle Creek and was able to sit up but a few hours each day, but spoke with great feebleness twice. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 4

The physician at sanitarium and your father pled with me not to go to the meeting at Madison, but I felt that sick as I was I would venture if I were taken on a bed. Satan will work every device to hinder our efforts to discharge our duty. If I did my part, I believe the Lord would be true to His promise and strengthen me. Mary and Willie accompanied us. I endured the journey better than I expected. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 5

Sabbath I was very feeble. After speaking to the people I was so wearied I came near fainting. The people said they had never seen me look so wretched before. I lost fifteen pounds of flesh in three weeks. Sunday I entreated the Lord to give me strength to bear my testimony to the people, and I believed. I went upon the stand in great weakness, talked one hour and a half, and left the stand much stronger than I went upon it, and kept all the strength that was given me on that occasion. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 6

I went to the Minnesota meeting and labored from Friday morning till Wednesday morning, speaking twice each day. Unfortunately I took another cold which was very severe upon my throat and lungs. I had not recovered from my first cold. But I labored in Dunlap, speaking twice each day under difficulties of throat and lungs. Sunday had great freedom, but my throat and lungs were much troubled. I felt somewhat discouraged Sunday night, but still grasped the unfailing promise of God. I thought Sunday night my work was done for that meeting. But an important meeting was held Monday forenoon. I spoke once upon health reform, (showing why we did not now wear the reform dress). 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 7

As I was about to sit down Elder Butler desired me to speak in reference to education and our college. I spoke one hour upon that. As I sat down he said, “I was hoping you would say a few words and call them forward.” I arose again and spoke one hour more upon Noah’s time and ours. My voice grew clearer and more free. We called the people forward and had a most wonderful meeting, the best of the series. I then engaged in earnest prayer for the backsliders and sinners. God gave me great power in prayer. I fastened my faith upon the promises of God and would not let go. Peace, consolation, and strength came to me, and I was very happy in the Lord. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 8

Today, Tuesday, I have been very tired, but I am encouraged and more convinced beyond a doubt that God will sustain me in attending the camp meetings and bearing my testimony that no other one can bear and which the people need so much. I must not walk by feeling, but by faith. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 9

I have just received an appeal from the most influential men of Dunlap—bankers, ministers, and merchants—to repeat my discourse given Sunday under the tent, on temperance, in the Congregational church. We are now unsettled what to do. We are urged to go to Dakota and have a camp meeting before going to Colorado. But we see so much to do we know not which way to turn. If Brother Haskell will remain in California, we will attend the camp meetings in New England and also in the West Nebraska. This is a hard struggle for us to give up our cherished plans of writing this summer, but I know the people need our testimony. I also know Elder Haskell should remain a while in California. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 10

Father is in the best condition to labor I have known him to be for years. His spirit is free and his testimony is valuable. I therefore feel that we can do good to the people of God now. They need my testimony and his. This will change all our arrangements. I wish Sister Hall could be with us, but I know her mind in regard to traveling in camp meetings. Her help would be a great blessing to us. We hoped to have her join us in Colorado and work with us. The change in our arrangements may throw her into confusion. We know not now what to do and what move we shall make next, where we will spend the winter. It will probably be in Colorado. We see no light in going to California in their present condition. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 11

Will you write to us at Battle Creek? We will be glad to hear from you and Emma. Much love to all friends. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1879, par. 12