Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 49, 1880

White, James

Oakland, California

March 25, 1880

Portions of this letter are published in 3Bio 136-137.

Dear Husband:

There is a matter which I wish to present before you. The situation of Brother Chapman has not been understood. Elder [J. N.] Loughborough pressed and urged the brethren to give. He took Brother Chapman before the whole meeting. Brother Israel says, he called him by name and, I think, stated the sum he should give. He could not be induced to pledge for the office, but he pledged for the British mission, four hundred dollars. For a few years past he has not made much on his crops, not much more than to pay expenses. He helped Brother Judson to one thousand dollars, years ago, with his promise to meet it in one year, but he is not able to pay even the interest. Brother Chapman has had to mortgage his home for three thousand dollars. Brother Chapman does not feel that the pressure that was brought to bear upon him was right. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 1

Brother Moore has mortgaged his place and all say he can never lift the mortgage. The pressure brought to bear by Elder Loughborough brought this to pass with some of our brethren, and for two years fruit and crops have had a very poor sale. In Petaluma they need a meetinghouse so very much. They cannot get outsiders out to hear in the place where they now meet, and as there is none of our faith to sustain the cause in Petaluma but Brethren Moore and Chapman, it comes rather hard upon them. Brother Chapman proposes to transfer his four hundred pledged toward getting a meeting house. They lost that little house, where they have held meetings, through defective title, and are not sure of it a week, and then they will have no place to meet. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 2

Shall Brother Chapman’s pledge be turned toward [the] meeting house in Petaluma? Please answer in your next [letter]. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 3

I cannot see here in California, but all are trying their utmost to do what they can to sustain the cause. But when the crops are not good or not marketable, then they have no surplus and are frequently brought into debt. Petaluma is an important place, and they think the temperance work will remove the prejudice from the minds of the people, which has hitherto existed there. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 4

March 25. It is stormy this morning. Edson and Emma [White] left here last Sunday, emigrant fare. I do not think California will consent to pay for the ministers’ families being moved here. You have not hitherto favored this yourself. Elder Loughborough’s and Elder Bourdeau’s families had to stand [the expense] themselves, and Matteson’s family to Europe. California has two or three men here just entering the ministry, doing what they can. They live very economically and receive nothing, or next to nothing, for their labors. California has been called on for means, until I would not, under any circumstances, make a draw upon them further than they propose themselves to do. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 5

You will see [in] the letter sent and which has reached you one week before this comes to you, that the people in California agree to pay the fare and support laborers here. They did this of their own account. They made this offer without any call and did it freely. Be a little cautious and [do] not let your present feelings and your present sympathies for Elder [J. O.] Corliss lead you astray. I saw danger of this when at Battle Creek. You may hurt him. You may on his account take positions that you will not be able to maintain. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 6

You move in these things very much as you feel at the time, and therefore are in danger of making too much of one man, doing too much for one man, and then there has to come a change and this change is felt by that man tremendously. These dangers, I have been shown, imperiled souls. And for this reason one man’s mind and one man’s judgment must not control the matters of God’s cause. There should be many counselors whose unbiased feelings and clear heads must have the moulding of the work. This has been shown in every vision for years, and yet there is continual danger of the cause of God bearing the mould of your mind to its detriment. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 7

Much has been done for Elder Corliss. I was glad to see him favored, but are you prepared to do as much for every minister just as worthy? Because he has been a help to you is no reason that he should be so much favored above others. Again I repeat, one man’s mind and one man’s judgment must not mould the cause of God, for his peculiar, personal feelings may come in to be expressed in various ways and may injure greatly the cause of God, leaving marks upon it which will awaken thoughts and feelings that should not have reason for existence. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 8

Our special preferences should not control our actions in decisions. Here, I have been shown, was your danger. If you take to a man you will be in danger of ruining him by exalting him and doing too much for him. If you dislike him, you will do the very opposite of this, and you imperil souls and mar the work of God. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 9

The angel of God in my last vision presented this to me very distinctly. He pointed to you and said, “Praise not, exalt not any man. Censure and humiliate no man. Be cautious in your words, trust not too much to your own judgment, for it is liable to be biased by your feelings. Mar not the work of God by your likes and dislikes.” I was shown that you must give respect to the judgment of your brethren while you shall advise and counsel with them. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 10

I have had no letters from Battle Creek in reference to the conference except that which you have written. You have written something about the expenses of the families of the ministers coming. The means of the conference are not very abundant, but all seem willing to do all they can, but they will not be crowded and should not be. I feel that if the ministers [in the] East have no special duty to cross the plains, let them remain where they can work the best. If God sends them, let them come, trusting in Him that all will be right; and if these laborers do their duty, the brethren here will do their duty. This is how the matter rests. I think all would fare about as well to come cheap fare from Omaha as any other way if they, are provided with good blankets to make them comfortable. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 11

We got thirty dollars off at Omaha on our ticket. Be careful and not have the trunks weigh over one hundred pounds. We had to pay twelve dollars extra and leave one trunk behind. Whoever gave you that information that we could take one hundred and fifty pounds, made us pay dearly for it. 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 12

Yours with respect, 3LtMs, Lt 49, 1880, par. 13

Your Ellen.