Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4

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Lt 73, 1886

Butler, G. I.

Basel, Switzerland

January 16, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in TSB 184-185; 10MR 388.

Dear Brother Butler:

Your letter came to hand last Tuesday. I have been a little perplexed to know what to write you, and in order to know this, I have a request for you to mail to me as soon as you can, all the letters I have sent to you in reference to Brother Cudney and New Zoark and any other place that implies censure to you. I have spoken quite freely upon some things. I thought I had to do this. Am inclined to say I will hold my peace henceforth, but as I am not my own and as I am mightily wrought upon at times to write, I dare not say this. I have but one object in view, not only the present but future good of the cause and work of God. Should I resist these impressions to write, when I am so burdened? I cannot now promise. I must ponder these things in my heart. I must pray about them and obey the moving of the Spirit of God or withdraw myself from having any connection with the work. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 1

The Lord knows I am not pleased with this kind of work. I love and respect my brethren and would not in the slightest manner demerit them, cause them pain; but I have tried to move with a single eye to the glory of God. I feel a sadness now upon me and confusion that I cannot see clearly my duty. I wrote some things to Elder Waggoner. He wrote me that it was just as I had stated the matter. I was so burdened with a dream I had that I arose at three o’clock and wrote to Elder W. that he had not kept his promise, that while he was engaged in teaching the commandments of God, he was breaking them, that he was giving attentions to Sister Chittenden which should be bestowed only upon his wife. I wrote very pointedly to him. He admitted my statements, said he had prayed over the matter and felt that his course was wrong, but did not say he would cease this thing forever. He says, “Your strong condemnation of me is only just, that I know and feel the difficulty with me was this. It was so hard for me to realize the sinfulness of my course. My reason, my judgment, the testimony, and the Scriptures all combined to teach me that it was wrong. Yet it had such a hold of me that I failed to realize it as I should. I could not bring myself to feel the extent of my wrong, and gradually it proved a snare to me. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 2

“But I had been making it a subject of special prayer sometime before I received your last letter, that God would enable me to see it in its proper light and to feel over it as I should, and I have reason to believe that my prayer was answered. If I know anything of the blessing of grace, I know that I was blessed in the effort I greatly needed, this blessing to enable me to do the work aright, which was put upon me here. It was expressed of all that I was helped of heaven to write the report on the matter of the arrest of our people for working on the Sunday and other important writings which it fell to me to do. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 3

“But I am painfully conscious of my weakness and that my only safety is in constant watchfulness such as I did not exercise before. I see now that it is a question of life and death with me, and shall strive to act accordingly.” 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 4

I have not more to write on this case. But just where my duty comes in, I am at some perplexity in the matter. I want to do only my duty. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 5

That which you quote of being another’s shadow was not for you; and why you should think it was, I cannot determine. I must have the letters then. I will take this matter up and interview myself critically. I have been writing to the brethren Bourdeaus in reference to their plan of labor. I thought it my duty, but stopped where I was. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 6

Augustus has been doing nothing of any account for a long time. Home matters engross his whole mind, but I will not add to my sin of accusing if I have been guilty in this direction. I am done. Perhaps, I have not understood my work and should have carried the weight of the burden and spoken to no one. I tell you, frankly, I am perplexed. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 7

There was laid out before me a state of things in New York, just as I wrote to you. Who put it before me? There was laid out just such a state of things in Nebraska, as I stated. Who gave it to me? 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 8

That Brother Whitney has made a mistake, I do not question. That Brother Cudney has made grave blunders, I am sure he has, but I leave this matter for the judgment to decide. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 9

In regard to the missionaries and ministers’ filling their houses with children in this time has been laid open before me as a serious wrong, as I wrote to you, and this has no reference to you; but I felt distressed over the condition of things and thought you would have wisdom to manage the matter so that it would begin to be heeded. Shall I begin to confess my error in this matter here? What shall I do? I am resolved, my brother, that I will not trouble your soul with any such communications, for you think I mean you, if they come to you. I will now make any acknowledgments that I dare to make. I am free to confess I am sorry beyond measure that I have, in anything I have said, brought discouragements upon you. Will you forgive me? I have the tenderest feelings toward you and the fullest confidence in you as a chosen servant of God. I cannot afford to have the books of heaven reveal a difference or disunion or variance between us. My prayers have gone up to God for you most earnestly, and I know not of any lack of confidence in you, although I have thought and written plainly where I thought you might be in danger. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 10

I am thinking I ought not to say anything as I did to Bro. Boyd. Well, well, I will say nothing to any one, if I can do so and please God. Perhaps I have felt too much responsibility over matters connected with the cause and work of God. I am distressed, in perplexity. I am glad you wrote plainly. I have written too many letters. I will now stop and, God helping me, will seek for peace and rest. I have felt the coming of the Lord was near, so near, and I have seen so much to be done and the need of workers that would mold the work as it should be. I felt so pained in New England to see that Brother Robinson was a shadow of Brother Haskell. Now I love and respect Brother H. as a servant of Jesus Christ, but I will say no more. I will have but little to say to my brethren ministers, unless I am obliged to do thus. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 11

Please send the letters I mentioned, and oblige your sister in Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 12

I have no time to copy this; please read and return to me this letter. 4LtMs, Lt 73, 1886, par. 13