Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 22, 1880

White, James

Oakland, California

April 16, 1880

Portions of this letter are published in UL 120; 3Bio 140.

Dear Husband:

I received your letter dated April eight, yesterday. I am glad you are riding and traveling. This will be a change and do you good. I am not sure that I shall not have to go to Oregon, but if I can feel excused from going depends. I shall be glad to be relieved, but if the Lord places the burden on me I must go, however unpleasant I may regard the matter. I do not want to move one step farther than the Lord shall direct by His Holy Spirit. I fear sometimes it is cowardly dread of the water that makes me not decide at once to go to Oregon. But I mean not to study my will but the will of God. Time here is very short and I want to do just that work which will do the most good to others and glorify God. Oh, I tremble for myself, lest after I have preached to others, “I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:27. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 1

[During the] hours of the night, while others are sleeping, I am praying that the responsible work committed to my trust may be so unselfishly and faithfully done that God will approve. The anxiety is not with me what others may think or what others may do, but [what] shall I do to glorify God? Will my work bear the inspection of God? Is every high look removed from me? Is my heart in harmony with Jesus, the humble Man of Calvary? I am weeping and praying and working trying my motives and feelings in the light of eternity, and if I am saved at last, it will be through the matchless love of my Redeemer. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 2

Oh, how great has been that love that would endure such self-denial, such self-sacrifice for me! All we can do will be little enough, and we may well say we are unprofitable servants. Just as surely as we exalt ourselves and take the highest seat, God will humble us in some way very trying to human nature. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 3

My husband, we must cultivate the spirit of Christ. There are many who profess the truth who need its sanctifying influence upon their hearts. Upright dealing and an exalted profession may characterize the life, but a want of true kindness, nobility of soul, conciliatory deportment, will neutralize all the good they are capable of doing. A sour, censorious religion finds no example in the religion of Christ. We must [love] our brethren and our friends for Christ’s sake because He has given us so great evidences of His love. Kind words, pleasant looks, and unselfish courtesy we must cultivate, for it will invest our character with a charm which will secure us respect and increase our usefulness tenfold more than were we otherwise in words and deportment. Oh, we have no moments to lose, no time now to waste in pleasing and indulging our natural perverse tempers. The Ledger of heaven will show every unkind word, every hateful feeling, every disregard of other’s rights. If we secure heaven, it will be because we are sanctified to God; soul, body, and spirit and have been fitted in this life for the holy society of the pure angels in the future life. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 4

Let no words be spoken [except] in accents of kindness. Jesus stands ready to give us of His Spirit and abundance of grace. We need it above every other mortal upon the face of the earth. If God has placed you and me in a position of holy trust and you feel that He has not in any sense released us from that position, He will, if we ask Him, give us corresponding grace that in all humility, as you occupy this highest position mortals can fill, you will be an example to others in word, in spirit, in forbearance, in meekness, in all lowliness of mind, walking and working under the special direction of the great Head of the church. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 5

An account we will have to render to God by and by and we do not want to be ashamed of it because it bears the stamp of inconsistencies of impulse, of selfishness. We want to have an eye single to God’s glory, and our soul temple cleansed of selfishness, and Jesus reigning in our mortal bodies and we assimilated to His divine image. Let us grow in grace. Cling with faith to Jesus Christ and we shall be upheld by His power. He will enshrine us in the hearts of His dear people and He will give us a power of influence. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 6

With much love, I remain 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 7

Your Ellen.

In regard to Brother Corliss’ coming West, all has been said that we can say here in California. We want helpers, but as much [as] we want them, we do not care to have them come unless they feel some duty themselves. If they have no duty, we hope no one will come. We need men who can hear the voice of the Shepherd and obey and who are not dependent upon others to know their duty for them. I have written you once or twice. [Some] things you ask again in some of your letters perhaps you did not get all my letters. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 8

We got on fair at Omaha. Thirty dollars off on each ticket. The one who told you we could take one hundred-fifty pounds—this information cost us about fifteen or twenty dollars. One hundred pounds is all that can come across the prairies for each passenger. California will pay first class fare for any who wish to come to this coast as laborers. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 9

Be of good courage, my dear husband. Let us trust fully in God and have faith that He will lead us and guide us. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 10


I would sell on the corner if possible. I would not want to expend means on that house unless you see your way clearly. If you do, go ahead. 3LtMs, Lt 22, 1880, par. 11