Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 20, 1882

Marshmeyer, Brother and Sister

Healdsburg, California

July, 1882

Portions of this letter are published in 2SM 302-303.

Dear Brother and Sister Marshmeyer:

I felt very sad over your leaving as you did, without saying one word to me of your intentions. I do not think the meeting was profitable to you because you had not the right spirit. I was sorry that I could not have taken your family to my house, but this, I knew, was an impossibility. We had boarders and no less than sixteen had to be fed at our table; besides, we had to cook for a large number upon the ground. Some two or three could attend only a portion of the meetings. I was, as you well know, feeble. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 1

Had you taken in the situation of your wife’s poor health and the crowd at camp meeting, I think you would have been wise to have left your children at home and not brought them so great a distance. We could have cared for you both at our tent, but we could not bring in the children, for at the best there was great confusion with so many together. We did the best we could for you under the circumstances. I hoped you would improve this opportunity of gaining some advance in the divine life, but I fear the result was otherwise. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 2

I am very sorry indeed for you, because with your peculiar, sensitive temperament you will be very unhappy, and unless you repent and humble your heart before God, you will lose strength every day. Satan is active to tempt all who will be tempted. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 3

If you open the door just a little, he will force himself in to poison your mind and rob you of peace and happiness. You will be tempted in regard to your brethren; tempted in regard to everything. You are very impulsive, and when anything arises to try you, the enemy presents matters in an exaggerated light and everything is perverted by your imagination. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 4

You have good impulses, liberal feelings, but often feel regret that you have done as much, when you reflect upon it. This is bad for you and for all concerned. I would help you in every way or any way if I could. My son said during the meeting Monday, “We must talk with Brother Cody and see if his feelings cannot be softened toward Brother Marshmeyer and he be again united with the church.” But Monday you left and nothing was done. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 5

After you had left, several came to me with the report that Nettie had said things in regard to us as a family which were not true. They said you had the real Java coffee and tea, and you stated you did not use them at home. Nettie said Sister White used coffee and let her have it and urged her to drink it when she did not want it. Now I have not knowingly drunk a cup of genuine coffee for twenty years; only, as I stated, during my sickness—for a medicine—I drank a cup of coffee, very strong, with a raw egg broken into it. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 6

Now Nettie knew she was telling an untruth, for we made bran coffee. [We] stated it, talked over it, called for it. Sister McNimme said Nettie asked her what she had in a couple of cans. She said, “Bran, which I have browned for coffee.” “Why,” said she, “it looks just like the real coffee.” She then told her how it was made. In regard to my urging her to drink [it], this was not truth, but a plain falsehood. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 7

I told my girls I did not wish them to get accustomed to drinking hot drinks with their food as it was debilitating to the stomach. Sarah, the one who did my work, had given them warm drinks until I told her it was contrary to my custom, and I forbade her giving the children—any of them—hot drinks. When she called for hot bran coffee, Sister McNimme said she was told not to give any of the girls hot drinks. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 8

Now, how many things similar to this she has reported in regard to me, I cannot tell. These things do a great deal of harm. It will lessen, if not destroy, the confidence that God would have His people have in me, and therefore they would not listen to the voice of entreaty, of warning and reproof from God through His humble instrument. Even a child, perverting facts, may repeat and tell things that will make those entirely innocent appear hypocritical and even wicked. You should never encourage this propensity of telling of others’ faults behind their back. There is a sad propensity in human nature to listen to the retailers of petty scandal. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 9

I talked with Nettie in regard to this very plainly and decidedly. I told her [that] I could not and would not tolerate such things; that she would not only retard me in my work and injure my influence, but would disgrace herself and fasten upon herself the reputation of a liar. She broke forth into weeping; said she wanted to go home. I told her I had no liberty to send her home unless you requested it. She said you, her father, told her if we mentioned the matter to her or scolded her, to come straight home. Shall I set this down as a falsehood, or shall I look upon you as a man of so poor judgment, a man of so little consideration as a Christian father, to make such a statement to his child? 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 10

She said she had taken back what she said to you on this matter. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 11

Well, did you talk with her as a Christian father should? Did you pray with her? Did you give her the impression that prevarication and falsehood were very slight evils? Or, did you seek to impress her mind with the enormity of the sin which God regards with such abhorrence that He immediately struck dead Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, for this sin? If you did tell Nettie to come straight home, and this is your management of your children, I have but little hope of them or of you. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 12

I was, as you well know, reluctant to take the horse as a gift from you for taking charge of Nettie. I am sorry I did this, and I shall dispose of him as soon as I can get the price you told me you estimated him at—one hundred and twenty-five dollars. I have been offered only one hundred for her. I like the horse. It would serve my purpose. But I have been to so much expense of late that it frightens me. If I could spare the money I would do so and retain the horse; but I do not feel, under the circumstances to retain her as a gift. Would you please tell me how much to charge for the horse? If you wish to invest this in the school for the purpose of educating your children when you may send them to the school, I will do this. A gift is a snare more often than a blessing. I do not doubt you willingly gave the horse at the time you did, and I appreciated your kindness, but I think it will prove a subject of temptation to you, if it has not already. We will have this all straight in a little while. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 13

I know your dangers and temptations better than you know them yourself. The grace of Christ is needed to abide upon you constantly if you become an heir of heaven. You are not what you ought to be, or what you must be, if you [would] join the heavenly angels in the courts above. You have a hard temperament. You are quick, impulsive, faultfinding, impatient, and often unreasonable and passionate. You have not in your character firm integrity and principle. You are inclined to close dealing and will have to guard yourself constantly from dealing dishonestly. Little matters find you often wanting. You have too high an estimate of yourself. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 14

You have not been as careful of the words of your lips as you should have been. The result has been to exaggerate, to misstate, to tell things that will not bear the test of investigation. For this reason it will be a constant battle with your own self to overcome these objectionable traits of character which have grown with your growth and strengthened with your strength. All through your life this has cost you trouble and unhappiness which you have attributed to some other cause, finding fault with others. This is why you do not make better progress in the Christian life. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 15

I understood all this when I first looked upon you at the first camp meeting at Lemoore. I knew your wife and children would have a difficult time to live the Christian life and succeed in forming symmetrical characters and be fitted for the society of heavenly angels. For this reason I consented to take Nettie. The horse that you gave me was no inducement, for I could have taken of means and purchased a horse; but I invested the same amount as the value of the horse in the cause where it was needed. I pitied Nettie and thought [that] if she was taken away from her family and placed under entirely different training, the child might unlearn many things she had learned to her injury and might then, when she did return, have an influence for good on the younger members of the family. I would not have taken her at all if you had been within visiting distance, for your management and training of your family is all wrong. It is the habit of hurrying, driving, scolding, and fretting, and then praising and petting. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 16

Your instruction during the camp meeting was altogether in opposition to the education I had been giving Nettie. I shall, while she is with me, carry out strictly the Health Reform. In my absence, my girls doing my work are not as particular. I shall teach Nettie to do exactly according to the rules of the house: only two meals each day and nothing between meals, to be regular at her meals, to be prompt, to be neat, and to be thorough. If she does not do well on the two meals, I shall, at five o’clock, set her a lunch which she may eat at the table, but not be picking fruit or eating a little now and a little then just as she happens to take a notion. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 17

Now, if you do not want Nettie to be educated strictly and thoroughly; if you would rather indulge her at the expense of health and morals; if you have no care that she should follow the light God has let shine upon Health Reform, please let me know, and I will return her to you as soon as possible. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 18

If you do not design to cooperate with me in my efforts in doing the work that the Lord would have me do in accordance with the light the Lord has given me, then all my efforts would be of no account. I love Nettie. I would treat her kindly and tenderly, but not with unfaithfulness because it would please her. I wish to do my work in such a manner that God can approve. I would not do work that will be detrimental to the soul, to please anyone. All the gold and silver in the world would not hire me to do a dishonest work for my Redeemer. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 19

It is no trifling matter to deal with souls. I might indulge and please those under my charge by passing over their faults lightly and give them the impression that sin is not very offensive; but how would this work stand the investigative judgment? Would the Lord pronounce my work well done? Or would He call me an unfaithful servant? Look well at your work, my brother, and my sister, and consider how this work will bear the test of the searching eye of God. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 20

Your children are God’s property to be educated, trained, restrained, polished, and refined for the heavenly courts. Are you doing your work as God would have you do it? Are you doing it in a haphazard manner that will testify against you in the courts above? What work are you doing? 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 21

Make no complaints of anyone. Compare your character with the Pattern, Christ Jesus. If you are seeking to conform your life in harmony with Christ, then you are in the right track. If not, you are in a strange path, not the road that leads to heaven. I warn you to look carefully to your ways. You have no time to lose, no time to pet self, no time to complain or to murmur. The work is between God and your own soul. Now, just now, is the time to do your work. O do not fail; do not be negligent. You must save your own soul by your own righteousness. Christ has died to redeem you and to make you like Himself. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 22

Unless you are refined, softened, [and] your spirit more humble, you will not overcome. You will not be clothed with the white-robed ones. God is in earnest with us, and we must be true and earnest with ourselves. Let nothing, nothing stand in your way. Self must die. Bruise self; war against self in and through Jesus. You may be victor. But do not, I beg of you, give such an example to your children as you have done. Be correct in all your ways. Let truthfulness, honesty, and faithfulness characterize all your work. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 23

Please write at once. 3LtMs, Lt 20, 1882, par. 24