Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 11, 1884

Smith, Uriah

Healdsburg, California

February 19, 1884

Formerly Undated Ms 140. Portions of this letter are published in 3SM 96-98.

Dear Brother Smith:

I have today mailed you a letter, but information has been received from Battle Creek that the work upon Testimonies is not accepted. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 1

I wish to state some matters, which you can do what you please with. These statements you have heard me make before—that I was shown years ago that we should not delay publishing the important light given me because I could not prepare the matter perfectly. My husband was at times very sick, unable to give me the help that I should have had and that he could have given me had he been in health. On this account, I delayed putting before the people that which has been given me in vision. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 2

But I was shown that I should present before the people in the best manner possible the light received; then as I received greater light, and as I used the talent God had given me, I should have increased ability to use in writing and in speaking. I was to improve everything, as far as possible bringing it to perfection, that it might be accepted by intelligent minds. As far as possible, every defect should be removed from all our publications. As the truth should unfold and become widespread, every care should be exercised to perfect the works published. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 3

I saw in regard to Brother [J. N.] Andrews’ History of the Sabbath, that he delayed the work too long. Other erroneous works were taking the field and blocking the way so that minds would be prejudiced by the opposing elements. I saw that thus much would be lost. After the first edition was exhausted, then he could make improvements; but he was seeking too hard to arrive at perfection. This delay was not as God would have it. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 4

Now, Brother Smith, I have been making a careful, critical examination of the work that has been done on the Testimonies, and I see a few things that I think should be corrected in the matter brought before you and others at the General Conference. But as I examine the matter more carefully, I see less and less that is objectionable. Where the language used is not the best, I want it made correct and grammatical, as I believe it should be in every case where it can be without destroying the sense. This work is delayed, which does not please me. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 5

Some things have been brought before me in a dream or vision, I know not which, that lead me to write as I do now, that there was a spirit and influence that controlled the decisions and judgment of the board meetings that was not wholly pure and in harmony with the Spirit of Christ. There were decisions made that would not work out the best results. Unless there was more of Christ and less of the lawyer, less of criticism, grave blunders would be made. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 6

We cannot do our work and make our decisions after the common manner of doing business. All who are connected with the Board should be men of deep religious experience. United with business talent must be the spirit of Jesus Christ, and the tender, pitying, compassionate love of Jesus. All hardness of heart, all firm, set rules and measurements cannot be practiced in these meetings. There is more of self connected with these meetings than there is of the love and compassion and tenderness of Christ. This, God will not, cannot, approve. Unless your ideas are more broad, unless there is a greater foresight, you will work to the disadvantage of the cause in the place of working for its advantage. You will incur loss in the place of gain. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 7

There needs to be an element in these meetings that you have not had. Your decisions were not always as the mind of Christ. Better, far better, err on the side of mercy than on the side of hardness of heart. You need Jesus, more of Jesus in your councils, and less of your own peculiar traits of character. Unless there is a change, you will make some grievous blunders. Feelings too often come in to balance decisions, and there must be a change in this respect. Caution is good, but this may be carried to extremes, and greatly retard the work you would advance. Mercy and the love of God should preside at these meetings in a far greater degree than now. All is not as God would have it. There is too much of self and too little of Jesus. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 8

This matter was presented to me in this way: We were in council in Battle Creek, and we were discussing the matter of the Testimonies and their revision. Prior to this, several cases had come up for decision. There had been sharp criticism, and very abrupt decisions had been made which I could not agree with and told them so. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 9

A stately person I had not noticed at all rose in the room and said, as near as I can remember, the words I have written. He first said as he arose, “Will you please examine critically your motives and your feelings? Will you measure them in the light of God’s Word, and see if the base metal of selfishness is not mingled with your decisions and your desire to advance the interest of the cause of God? Feelings have been brought into this room and have balanced your decisions more than sound judgment has. Your judgment is faulty. You must have a closer connection with Christ. Then your councils will be ennobled and bear more clearly the stamp of heaven. Look well to your own spirit.” 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 10

My mind has been exercised upon the question of the Testimonies that have been revised. We have looked them over more critically. I cannot see the matter as my brethren see it. I think the changes made will improve the book. If our enemies handle it, let them do so. In some little points changes can be made, but I do not coincide with the criticism and sentiments expressed in regard to the work done on the book. I think that your position in some things in reference to the matter may be overwrought. I think that anything that shall go forth will be criticized, twisted, turned, and boggled, but we are to go forward with a clear conscience, doing what we can and leaving the result with God. We must not be long in delaying the work. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 11

Now, my brethren, what do you propose to do? I do not want this work dragging along any longer. I want something done, and done now. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1884, par. 12