Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4

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Lt 75, 1886

Brethren

Basel, Switzerland

February 23, 1886

Previously unpublished.

Brethren:

I cannot be at rest in my mind. I receive some letters that make me feel very sad. There is much said about Elder [E. P.] Daniels, as though there are two different parties, one Elder Daniels’ friends and still another party who are distinct from him. I beg of you not to breathe one word of this character. I understand this perfectly. There have been some mistakes in Elder Daniels which might have been easily corrected had a proper course been pursued; but I have not the least hesitancy in saying that you have not pursued toward him the course you would wish to have pursued toward you. There are those who cannot see in Elder Daniels the cause for the course that has been pursued toward him, and that leads those who have not been wise and judicious in their feelings and course of action to feel that their course was not sustained to draw themselves apart from Elder Daniels: and they will thus show their distrust and criticism and speak it and act it, and this will make two parties if nothing else will. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 1

I tell you that if wisdom had been exercised, there might have been an entirely different state of things. And if there are two parties, some others will be to blame as well as Elder Daniels. I do not doubt but that there was and ever has been a class of men and women in Healdsburg who ought to be elsewhere. They can be no help to the church, and these very ones will press to the front. You will always have the tares with the wheat, the bad and good fish in the net together; but it needs the wisdom of Christ to know how to manage the matter. There are those who will have to be tolerated and who will be as thorns to the church all the way this side of heaven. They are unsanctified, self-sufficient. The church was always in difficulty with these unruly elements before the school was established at Healdsburg. This element Satan uses just as soon as any good work is begun. But the trouble these make should not be charged upon Elder Daniels. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 2

I hope God will give Brother Daniels wisdom, for he is not evenly balanced: he moves impulsively. If there is a division of the church, I shall attribute it not to Elder Daniels alone, but to those who have had the management of these matters, who greatly lack discernment and a tact to deal without prejudice or without personal feelings. Self is interwoven altogether too much in the work and in the management of the church. I am perfectly sick of this management. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 3

Have you not been so zealous to make it appear that Elder Daniels’ course was wrong, that all the fanatical movements have been in your judgment the fruit of his labors? Now I do not believe this. I believe that a good work was begun in Healdsburg, and the stopping of Elder Daniels from preaching was occasioned by the position Elder Waggoner took on his case. Then after the first steps had been taken, there must be an effort made to maintain that the course pursued toward him was right, and I do not, cannot believe it. I believe the very beginning was wrong, and that Elder Waggoner or any other elder had no delegated right from God to stop the meetings in Healdsburg, and that evils have grown out of this and will grow out of it still more until you shall, on both sides, stop your criticizing and be at peace and draw in even cords. This will bring harmony to the church. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 4

If our good brethren had come in to work and wisely molded things without putting their hands on Elder Daniels, a work would have been done that would have extended to other churches. My brethren, if you act and talk all the time as though there were not union, you will shape matters so there will not be union. You can establish yourselves in the confidence of the Healdsburg church if you will move wisely, discreetly, but not by trying to magnify Elder Daniels’ wrongs and seeking to fasten blame upon him. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 5

Were there not matters made public before unbelievers that opened before them the defects of the church? Oh, how carefully should this matter have been handled, and how carefully should it now be handled! The very ones the most desirous to do good, the very ones who are the most zealous, will miss the mark and, unless they are wise in Christ, will show greater weakness and mistakes than Elder Daniels has done. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 6

Say nothing about Elder Daniels’ popularity, say nothing about the danger of disaffection in the church. Just see if you who are children of God, workers with Him, will not take hold on the arm of infinite power and silently work for a change for the better, for the upbuilding of the church. You can never make those persons whose hearts have been softened and subdued into confession by the Spirit of God think that they were deluded, that it was the spirit of fanaticism that wrought this. I am pained as I see in men who ought to be strong men in God that their own hereditary and acquired traits of character bear sway in important matters, that prejudice and personal feelings act a prominent part in decisions and movements, that there is a self-sufficiency, a feeling of superiority that bears sway. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 7

Oh, for more of God’s Spirit and less of man’s decisions and moldings. We want much more of God and far less of the human in the solemn work before us. Let there be earnest self-examination. Try your own motives that prompt to action. Is the eye single to the glory of God? Prove your own selves, test yourselves frequently. God is measuring our characters and our attainments. The infallible standard must be met. We must try ourselves by this standard. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 8

If there is a want of sincere piety and of firm, determined purpose to lead a self-denying, pure, holy life, then there are deficiencies that exclude one from the work of the ministry. I believe that Elder Daniels is unwise in some things, and yet when I look at the history of our ministering brethren, I see that they have at times manifested much deficiency and amazing defects, and they should be very cautious how they are ready to find fault and sit in judgment upon another man’s work, of his ability. Both the understanding and the heart need to maintain the closest connection with the pure, sacred springs from which they receive their light and inspiration. In the great questions of humanity, morals, and religion, there is needed in these last days a depth of piety, a discernment, an enlightenment which comes from God Himself in order to decide righteously. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 9

Habits, opinions, or authority are not enough to qualify one to judge another’s character. Men or ministers of Christ must live hourly in contact and earnest communion with God, and the principles of truth and righteousness and mercy must abide in their hearts. We must drink deeper of the Fountainhead and love the Lord our God with all the heart, with all the soul and all the mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. The tastes, the appetites, the habits, the passions must all be under the control of the Spirit of God. Then faith, meekness, temperance, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, love, joy, and peace will be the fruits that will appear. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 10

They who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. They have the heavenly endowments with whatsoever things are honest and lovely and of good report. Brethren, drink deeper from the living Fountain. Receive illumination from above. With the name of Christ on your banners, exalt the cross of Calvary. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 11

I have felt that I must write this to you and I must repeat, I see not by your own letters the hand of God in all your works at Healdsburg. I do not know what you can do now without making matters worse, but you should know how you are moving at the very beginning of such a crisis. I would not cry “Fanaticism” to such a work as I believe was done in Healdsburg. I would rather remain in silence. That fanaticism was there I believe, but O what a nice job it is to deal with such matters! You need much of God and little of self. 4LtMs, Lt 75, 1886, par. 12