Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 57, 1886

Rice, Brother; Gibbs, Brother

Basel, Switzerland

December 17, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in CD 211-212; 7MR 370; 9MR 113-114.

Dear Brethren Rice and Gibbs:

I have been so anxious to have things move wisely and in God’s order at the sanitarium that I wrote you a long letter and still feel anxious that nothing shall come in to that institution that will leave a wrong impression upon the minds of those who patronize it. 4LtMs, Lt 57, 1886, par. 1

While we recognize this institution as an instrumentality of God, we feel a most earnest interest that all connected with it who claim to believe the truth will correctly represent our faith by having work corresponding with its holy character. There will be some who will not leave the best and most correct impression upon the minds. They will be inclined to narrow ideas and plans and have not the least idea of what constitutes health reform. They will take the testimonies that have been given for special individuals under peculiar circumstances and make these testimonies general and to apply in all cases, and in this way they bring discredit upon my work and the influence of the testimonies upon health reform. 4LtMs, Lt 57, 1886, par. 2

Now if these individuals who take the extreme meaning of these special testimonies for individuals begin their work of application, they will do me harm. They will give wrong impressions in regard to my work and will certainly create great confusion in the Health Retreat. Brethren, be on your guard. Give no place to any influence which will misrepresent our position and faith as a people. 4LtMs, Lt 57, 1886, par. 3

I highly esteem Brother Lockwood, but he takes extreme views of health reform; and I do not want that he should make his ideas prominent and give his mold to what constitutes health reform, for he will close the door to those who would patronize the Retreat. 4LtMs, Lt 57, 1886, par. 4

Brother and Sister Rogers carried the matter of indulgence in eating to extreme, and the institute became demoralized. Now the enemy would push you into the opposite extreme if he could to have a poverty-stricken diet. Be careful to keep level heads and sensible ideas. Seek wisdom from heaven, and move understandingly. If you take extremely radical positions, you will be obliged to back down; and then however conscientious you may have been, you have lost confidence in your own sound judgment, and our brethren and unbelievers will lose confidence in you. Be sure to go no faster than you have positive light from God. Take no man’s ideas, but move intelligently in the fear of the Lord. If you err, let it not be in getting as far from the people as possible, for then you cut the thread of your influence and can do them no good. Better err on the side of the people than altogether away from them, for there is hope in that case that you can carry the people with you, but there is no need of error on either side. You need not go into the water or into the fire, but take the middle path avoiding all extremes. Do not let it appear that you are one-sided, ill-balanced managers. Do not have a meager, poor diet. Do not let any one influence you to have the diet poverty stricken. Have your food prepared in a healthful, tasteful manner; have your food prepared with a nicety that will correctly represent health reform. The great backsliding upon health reform is because unwise minds have handled it and carried it to such extremes that it has disgusted in place of converting people to it. I have been where these radical ideas have been carried out—vegetables prepared with only water and everything else in like manner. This kind of cookery is health deform, and there are some minds so constituted that they will accept anything that bears the features of rigorous diet or reform of any kind. My brethren, I would have you temperate in all things, but be careful that you do not strain the point or run our institution into such a narrow channel that it comes out to a point. You must not fall into every man’s notions, but be level-headed, calm, trusting in God. 4LtMs, Lt 57, 1886, par. 5

Again, do not let the idea prevail that the Health Retreat is a place where the sick are healed by the prayer of faith. There are instances when this will be done, and we need to have faith in God constantly. Let no one think that those who have abused themselves and taken no intelligent care of themselves can come to the Health Retreat and be healed by the prayer of faith, for this is presumption. I see so little wisdom, so little good common sense exercised by some of our brethren that my heart is sick, sore, and distressed. They do not have sensible ideas and do not honor God. They have need of a divine touch. If the idea should once prevail that the sick can come to the institute to be cured by the prayer of faith, you will have such a state of things there that you cannot now discern even if I should point it out to you in the best English language I could command. We need more of God, brethren, greater humility. 4LtMs, Lt 57, 1886, par. 6

I will caution you upon another point—taking feeble ones to work for their board and treatment. Do not do this. Do not gather any such help, for they are the most expensive help in the end. Just when you need them most they drop out, throwing extra labor upon some other; and when you have such help, it fills the place of healthy helpers. Do not think that it is wisdom to get the ones who will work for next to nothing, for their work will be next to nothing. Do not get those who have fits and keep them about the institution, for the report goes out from there and will keep away some who otherwise could come. You must have foresight in this. After your help has had fair opportunity to have a knowledge of the truth, if they show no disposition to receive it, let them not remain longer, for Satan will use them to work against you. You want to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, but do not have anyone about you that will not be a credit to the institution. Be careful how you take these objectionable ones. God help you is my prayer to work in all wisdom. 4LtMs, Lt 57, 1886, par. 7

Dr. Gibbs and Brother Rice, you must not restrict your diet; you must have food that will nourish you. Do not depend on graham mush or on such kind of food. Do not give up meat altogether. Use it sparingly, and use your own judgment, not some one else’s mind. I hope you will have discretion in all things. 4LtMs, Lt 57, 1886, par. 8

Now, my brethren, in regard to Sister Clase: I entreat you not to let her bear too many burdens in that institution. If you have not helpers that can do the work, Dr. Gibbs, as a physician, I call upon you to prescribe for her to leave for a time, where there will be no danger of her overdoing. Elder Rice, having so many things to care for, would not get around to look after all these things. Sister Clase should have help that will not fail up on her when most needed. When [those] come to you for the permission to take treatment because they are sick and then offer to work their way, tell them No, for they will be care-makers instead of care-takers, the most troublesome ones you have in the institute. They will feel entitled to more attention than those who pay for their board and treatment. They will be the greatest tax, and through them will come the greatest temptations because of their imperfections. Get help that you can depend upon and that will stand to their post of duty. The peevish, the faultfinders, the complainers who claim to believe the truth will be the greatest curse to that institution unless they are thoroughly converted. I know whereof I speak, and I want that you should not, Brethren Gibbs and Rice, be spoiled in disposition and have your patience worn out and become discouraged because of this inconsistent, unchristian class who know not themselves. 4LtMs, Lt 57, 1886, par. 9

You need not think this letter is unnecessary, for I know whereof I write. I know that you need this letter. I know complaints will be made of Elder Loughborough not furnishing money to get needy things for the institution; but I think if a call is made on him, and the situation of the needs laid before him, that he will attend to it. But Brother Rice is superintendent. Let him magnify his office. 4LtMs, Lt 57, 1886, par. 10