Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 19, 1880

White, James

Oakland, California

April 6, 1880

Portions of this letter are published in 3Bio 133, 136.

Dear Husband:

Yesterday I received your two letters, one penned by Sister Fero, and one by Brother Henry. I would suggest that these letters, where you give expression so freely to your feelings in regard to others, be written by your own hand or by the pen of Henry. Do not take strangers into close confidence. You may greatly injure them, and it will, in the end, all come back upon yourself. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 1

I have tried to move in the fear of God. After we came here I could not feel it best for you to come, and the continual expression of your feelings in the letters decided the matter in my mind, that you at least are not in that state of mind that you could do justice either to yourself or the cause of God in its present state in California. This conclusion I have come to through much prayer and hours of meditation, going over and over again the items God has shown me in regard to your past, present, and future duty and work. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 2

Why your case has not been urged before the conference is chargeable to myself, not because I was your enemy but the best friend you have in the world. Should I have permitted your suggestions and your propositions in letters to come before the people, I knew it would result badly for yourself and for the future prosperity of the cause of God; and in doing this I should go directly contrary to the clearest light God has given me. Therefore I have been true to you, true to myself, true to the cause of God, and true to my commission in the fear of God. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 3

I would have been glad, only too glad, for your society here. My love is deep and firm for you, and it has cost me that which you may never know as I left Battle Creek to come here. I expected then you would soon follow, but I could not say one word in favor of it, for I greatly feared the result. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 4

We found such a state of depression among the people, such a state of inexpressible discouragement, we knew at once God alone could give help. I have gone forth in humility and with unshaken confidence in God to do all in my power to bring about a different state of things. I knew unless the Lord should work with my efforts I could not do any good. To His praise be it spoken, He has helped me, strengthened and blessed me, in a most marked manner. Everyone appears to receive my labors and accept my testimony. I have nothing to say of myself, to present myself, to notice, to talk of myself, of my sacrifices, of my abuses, or to censure them. I dwell closely upon practical godliness, talk of Jesus, His great mercy and love to us, of the evidences of the truth, of our present position. And the Lord is working with hearts, and there is a lighting up. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 5

My dear husband, not one word has been expressed disrespectful to you. But your labors of love are remembered, and therefore I do not want you to hurt yourself in California, which I know you would do, by the tone of your letters, the way you view matters, giving expression to your feelings. I would not imperil the cause here when they have been discouraged so much. Your coming here, with the view you take of things, would be very disastrous. No, my husband, I have duties to you, but never to exalt you before the people and express all confidence in your views, suggestions, and feelings. God would hold me accountable for the result. You are not prepared to come to California. Things here require much thought, deep study, careful management. Everything must move slowly, and time alone will effect permanent changes that will promise prosperity. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 6

Be assured I will follow the light to the very best of my knowledge, for I must meet my work and every jot of my influence when we gather about the great white throne. I am not working to please myself or to please you, or any living mortal, but to please my Redeemer. The result of incautious words, of hasty suggestions, may balance minds in a wrong direction and ruin souls. Never doubt my love for you. But I find my duty calls me from you sometimes, and I shall be obedient to the call. My influence will at times be more favorable alone than if you are with me. I shall be with you when I can, but in the future we both may have to endure the trial of separation more in our labors than in the past. You do not mean to do it, but many times you lessen the faith in my testimonies by unguarded expressions and views and feelings which you manifest. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 7

I feel like consecrating myself daily to God. This morning I attended the half-past five prayer meeting in the church. None of the ministers were present, but I had the precious assurance that Jesus will work for both you and me, that He will help us and teach us and lead us. I felt that I could trust all in His hands. I returned to my room with my heart filled with sweet peace and joyfulness. Jesus is very precious to me and I want to do His will and glorify His name. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 8

Christ was what we must strive to be. He was not only spotless and holy, but meek and lowly and unselfish. He was attractive, winning souls by His gentleness and love, patience, forbearance, and meekness. Let us learn of Him that we may combine the most rigid sense of justice, purity, and integrity with the lovable attractions of disposition and character. Kind words, unselfish courtesy and regard for others, a genuine sympathy for even the erring and sinful! A living, lovable Christian, who wears the beauty of holiness in his character and conduct exerts the most powerful argument for the gospel of Christ. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 9

Let us study Christ more and ourselves less. Follow Christ. His example we are to copy. Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, think of these things. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 10

Please excuse this long letter; henceforth, I will not write any long histories, but a few lines that will be no tax for you to read. That written on cars and boat has no doubt been difficult [to read], but you will not have reason to complain more on this score. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 11

Yours with affection. 3LtMs, Lt 19, 1880, par. 12