Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 33, 1880

White, James

Portland, Oregon

June 6, 1880

Previously unpublished.

[Dear Husband:]

We left Brother [I. D.] Van Horn’s on Sabbath and secured rooms in St. Charles Hotel. In the evening there was quite a political excitement. The brass band was out and there was a company of soldiers. The citizens so crowded the streets we could scarcely make our way to the Hall. There was a torch light procession. There were fireworks and quite a display to attract notice. We were told by the secretary that the president of the Young Men’s Christian Temperance Union was a great political man and would not be present. They occupied considerable time in talking, singing, and reading the pledges. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1880, par. 1

I spoke about thirty minutes. There was an excellent audience of the very best of society. I had great freedom, but of course could not go over much ground in so short a time, but an excellent impression was made. Herou, the secretary, said he agreed with me fully in commencing the work of temperance at our own homes and educating the youth that they shall not become drunkards. Some of the highly-dressed ladies spoke to me earnestly, thanking me for the words spoken to them. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1880, par. 2

I address the people in the Methodist Church twice today—forenoon and evening. I have felt in this field such a burden for the souls in towns and villages who have not heard the truth. Some are partially keeping the Sabbath, but because there was much labor required to bring them out and up in harmony, they have, after one or two trials, been left. This is an important post and should be held by our people. But I am amazed at the indolence and indifference shown. I feel pressed as a cart beneath sheaves. When praying this morning, the pitiful condition of the cause of God pressed home upon me with such force, I poured out my prayers in this hotel with strong supplication and many tears. Only four of us were present—Elder [S. N.] Haskell, and [I. D.] Van Horn and Mary [White], and myself. I talked with Van Horn most earnestly in regard to the condition of things. I told him frankly I had little expectation that he would do the work in the future which he could and should have done in the past. There was such an indolence seen in all his works, such a manifest neglect of duty, I feared he would never sense what he ought to do and do it. The work is all of two years behind here. Elder Van Horn is not the man he was at all when he entered this field, and whether he will do anything is a question. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1880, par. 3

My prayer is continually ascending to God that He would qualify men to labor in the harvest field. My soul is continually burdened. I cannot see light amid the darkness. I think Satan is making rapid advancement while the sentinels of God are asleep at their post. I try to drop this burden but it comes back with redoubled force. If it were a settled matter in my mind that the Lord would be pleased if I did not attend the campmeeting [in the] East, I would remain here sometime longer. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1880, par. 4

Monday, June 7, 1880

Dear Husband:

We take cars this morning at seven for Salem. I thought if I wrote a few words now, you might receive it a little sooner. Yesterday forenoon we met a goodly company in the Methodist Church. We had a very excellent choir, and the persons of that church seemed more like old-fashioned Methodists. I spoke from these words: “Behold what manner of love hath the Father bestowed on us that we should be called the Sons of God?” [1 John 3:1.] I had great freedom in speaking. There was scarcely a dry eye in the house. As soon as I ceased speaking, they did not all rush for the door, but as many as twelve or fifteen noble looking women, with smiling faces and some, weeping, shook hands with me and thanked me for the discourse, and bid me Godspeed. The singers also introduced themselves and several of the men, and they seemed so hearty and whole-souled in the matter, I did long [that] they should hear the truth, but of course nothing could be said in the Methodist Church. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1880, par. 5

In the evening I spoke on temperance. It was a dark, rainy night, and we feared there would be hardly enough out to warrant my speaking, but about eight o’clock the house was well filled [with] fine-looking people and all listened with rapt attention while I dwelt on [the] subject of temperance more especially, a mother’s duty. I was indeed free. Many again spoke to me and parted with me as an old friend. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1880, par. 6

A lady of very fine appearance grasped my hand and said, “Oh, how glad I am to see [you]. I feared I should never have this privilege. When do you leave?” I told her, “Today, Monday.” She seemed much disappointed. She said she had read my books, but “O, what precious instruction is contained in the testimonies. There was so many things I found [that] just hit my case.” She is keeping the Sabbath. She heard Elder [I. D.] Van Horn when he preached in Portland, and then the books had enlightened her. My writings had taught her that she should never [?]. She wanted me to go right home with her but I could not for we started so early in [the] morning. Elder Van Horn said she was [the] wife of one of the most prominent lawyers in the city. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1880, par. 7

We have made many new acquaintances in this labor in Portland. I wish a tent could be here with some man to connect with Elder [I. D.] Van Horn, [who] would urge the matter of truth home to the consciences, but the Lord knows His honest ones and He will open the way for the truth to find them in some manner. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1880, par. 8

I expect to find letters from you when I reach Salem, which will be about noon. We pray for you daily that God will lead and keep you and guide you by His Holy Spirit. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1880, par. 9

Yours. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1880, par. 10