Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 77, 1886

Butler, G. I.

Basel, Switzerland

April 5, 1886

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Butler:

I have been much burdened over matters in Healdsburg. I have had many solemn dreams and have been in their midst and heard things spoken and seen the spirit manifested, and then the result has been shown me. I have written letters addressed to Brn. Jones, Loughborough, and Waggoner. I have sent other letters, one to Bro. Ings, and I want you to see these letters. If you have a meeting in Healdsburg, I hope you will have wisdom. There is a tangle there that need not to have been. Had there been less of the iron bedstead principle—cut a man off if he is too long, stretch him if he is too short. If my brethren knew how offensive this spirit is in the sight of God, they would want to clothe themselves with sackcloth. I think the only safe course to pursue is not to justify the course of our brethren in their condemnation of the work that started in Healdsburg, [but] to take off their hand of oppression from Brother [E. P.] Daniels. They have not only hurt him, but themselves more than they have hurt him. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 1

When I see his judges who have far graver faults than he has, so ready to condemn him, I know these men will have to repent before God, [including] this pressing, crowding spirit He always condemned. [It is important that] the church now will not try to dwell upon matters of difference, [and that] there will be [the right] efforts made by the men who have been so willing to stop the work where there was the least evidence of the manifestation of the Spirit of God. When you read the letters sent to my brethren, you then may understand better how to act in the meetings you will hold in Healdsburg. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 2

Some will talk one way; some another way; and while some will hunt up everything that may have an objectionable feature, they will pass over very many things that bear the stamp of the Divine. I pray the Lord to give you wisdom and sanctified judgment, for you will meet with a tangle in Healdsburg that will try the soul. But I venture to suggest that you [will] dwell upon general principles and will make special efforts to have humility come in and make them see the sin of disunion and difference. May the Lord help in this matter, that the church may heal [her] wounds by mutual confessions and repentance, seeking for the forgiveness of God. They have had continual preaching, but not enough personal effort. Now if they can have personal effort, I believe something can be done. I have my fears that the Spirit of the Lord that evidenced itself has been slighted and rejected; that Satan has a firmer hold of the minds of many than ever before. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 3

It has been the most difficult thing to arouse the church to personal effort. Outside of the church they seem to need instruction on this point. I have been shown that the church must be made to feel the necessity of individual responsibility. Where there is great light there is great responsibility, and if this light is not responded to by corresponding advancement in spirituality, then there is a hardening of the heart against the impression of the Spirit of God in the presentation of light and knowledge. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 4

I felt so glad that the church was at last aroused to action, that I longed to be with them to help them; but unless there is a work of union, I shall not dare to reside in Healdsburg. I will go into some place where there is no church. I will not be where I will have to hear and see dissension and strife which [are] death to me. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 5

April 12

Dear Brother Butler: Your letter received. I think that the letter to the board went down in the Oregon as we have heard from other letters sent at that time that went down in the great deep and were afterward brought up and reached their destination. My brother, I feel sorry that burdens accumulate so heavily upon you. I am sure it is better for you to step from under and not be crushed, prepared to carry burdens very important in the future. I wanted to write to you, but there were some things [that] came in hindering me. Letters had to go to Norway and other places, therefore I sent the testimony sent to Daniel Bourdeau, hoping these principles might in some way influence you to be more careful of your strength and not do so much. I believe with all my heart that the Lord will be with you in California and bless you. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 6

I think as you do in regard to Elder Waggoner, as you will see by my letters—the letters written on buff paper [that] I did not send him, because after I had written them, I went to Oakland myself in the place of sending them and talked all these things to him. The letter written while at Great Grimsby did not go because I thought I might discourage him when he had so many responsibilities upon him; but I sent him the letter from Basel and have been sorry I did not send it before. His answer I will also send you. His course is beyond my severest stretch of comprehension—his standing in as prominent a position as he does. I do not think he should come to Europe without there being so marked a change in him that there can be no doubt that God accepts him. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 7

He has always written as though he were in so important a place that God could not do without him. Of course, this was not his language, but it was his spirit. I have been reading some things in the history of Napoleon Bonaparte. The statements show he was a very passionate as well as a licentious man. When he was remonstrated with in regard to his course, he flew into a rage saying [that] that which would be crime in others was not a crime in him. He was no common man and that he, as a remarkable man, had a right to indulge himself as he pleased. What think you of such arguments as this? I tell you these men who occupy responsible positions should be the most circumspect of any men on the earth. I have not a particle of faith in pretense and hypocrisy. May the Lord have mercy upon us. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 8

I think you had better be very plain with Elder Waggoner; and if you do not feel it best and fitting for him to come to Europe, do not sanction his coming by any means. I send you his last letter in response to these letters which I last sent him. Ask Bro. Jones to let you see the letter I sent to Mrs. Chittenden. It is no use to be discouraged over these things, but I must say I am wonderfully perplexed over them and ashamed that these who profess to be children of light should be found to be children of darkness. I am glad you sent the letter to Bro. Fargo, for I shall write him directly. Did I send you a copy of a letter I sent to Bro. Henry—a personal letter? If not I will send it to you. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 9

In regard to policy, equality or not, I am in no doubt what my position [is] on this point. I am not favorably impressed with the gymnasium building, for then all prospect of trade learning is at an end; but it may after all be the best. I do not know. In regard to Bro. Fargo, I would advise him to change climate—go to California, spend some time at St. Helen. He must have [a] change. He has asked me if I thought this would be right for him to make this move. I certainly do think it would be well. I feel sorry for him, for I love the man as a Christian, but there must be a man with a different make-up. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 10

Do you think Van Horn would push things? I can answer my own question. No! unless he has reformed in every way. But has he learned the lessons he might and ought to have learned ten years ago? Canright will not do. He would push but you know how. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 11

In regard to C. Prescott, his past habits of eating have not been good. Disease is the result, and where are the men to fill the place in the college at Battle Creek and take charge of important interest connected with the school? 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 12

Bro. Sisley is suffering from want of nutritious food, while Bro. Preston is suffering through indulgence of appetite, putting anything and everything into his stomach. Bro. Sisley is suffering for want of real nourishing, well-cooked food, and he may never recover. Bro. and Sister Starr will be on the invalid list ere long. Sister Sisley is a poor cook, a thorough economist, but its principles brought to bear on the life are killing. When will our people be wise? These things are verity and truth. Bro. Sawyer might be alive today if it were not for the strained economy and starvation plan. This is not God’s way nor will. What can we do for these extremists? It seems that we have to pull one out of the fire, another out of the water. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 13

I will not seek to give the impression that our good and merciful heavenly Father is not willing that his employed servants shall have comfortable clothing, healthful food, and comfortable lodgings at this stage of the advanced growth of the cause. Well I have had to lay down my paper more than three times for something else to be considered. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 14

Bro. Ertzenberger is at home sick; just visited him. We will pray for him this evening. He is so much needed in Lausanne. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 15

It is thought advisable for us to go to Italy this week and remain two weeks, then attend meeting in the halls, and as we return spend some time in Lausanne and Vienna. We leave next Thursday. 4LtMs, Lt 77, 1886, par. 16