Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 55, 1888

Maxson, Dr.

Burrough Valley, California

April 3, 1888

Previously unpublished.

Dr. Maxson:

A letter you had written to Brother Church providentially came into my hands. I was much surprised at the contents of that letter. First, that without consulting on this coast who have the burden and cause of God at heart and who are engaged at the present time as God’s workmen in the salvation of souls, you crossed the Rocky Mountains and opened the matter to others. You were called to the Pacific Coast to help them in the Rural Health Retreat. You left of your own accord because you claimed you could not conscientiously harmonize with the methods of Dr. Gibbs in the administering of drugs. You claimed you had been treated kindly, liberally, and well by the board and all connected with the institution, that you left them with the best of feelings, that you had not a complaint to make in regard to the way that you had been used. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 1

Now we would make a complaint of you that we are not satisfied at all with the way you have treated us on this coast—not in a Christian manner, certainly. You have laid your plans in a most secretive manner. You have not counseled with anyone on this coast. You have asked no advice. You have talked with Brother Church and have encouraged him to engage in an enterprise of erecting a sanitarium. You have put on the outside an appearance in your letter to him that this move was not to be a rival institution and was not to injure the Health Retreat at all. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 2

If you possessed such disinterested feelings, I will say you have a very poor way of showing it. You claim to believe that the Lord has given Sister White light and has been working through her as His agent to bear testimonies of reproof, of wrongs, to correct evils, and set in order things in the church. But notwithstanding, you did not intimate your purpose to Sister White, only that if you connected with any institution, it would be in remote or far distant Southern California. Then you stated you should not make a move in anything of this kind until you first laid the whole matter in all its bearings before our leading, responsible men and had their fullest sanction of the matter. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 3

Well, you laid all your plans with Brother Church. You then went across the plains with the stated purpose to him of consulting Elder Butler and obtaining his counsel. Then, if there were no objections, you would write or telegraph to Brother Church. Well, the telegram came, “All right, go ahead,” which was taken by those here that you had consulted with Elder Butler and others and they harmonized with your presentation of the case and hence the decided message. What else could be conjectured—“All right, go ahead”? 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 4

I immediately wrote to Elder Butler [asking] what this meant, and a telegram comes, “None of the committee favors, neither have they favored, the building of a sanitarium in Fresno.” We wait [for] letters of explanation from them. But why this manner of working and injuring us on the Pacific Coast? Why does Dr. Maxson leave California out of the question and go to parties across the Rocky Mountains for them to favor his schemes when the Lord has His appointed agents and guardians of His work right here on this Pacific Coast? These men of God’s appointed are not to have the particular oversight of the work in all its branches over the other side of the Rocky Mountains, but right here they have their appointed work. Then why have you not, Dr. Maxson, openly and frankly laid matters which must have a material influence upon this cause and work of God in California before the proper ones in California, the guardians of the cause here? 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 5

Every branch of the work on this coast concerns the cause right here. Why does Dr. Maxson show disrespect to God’s appointed agencies right within his reach? Is this the way men are to work in the Western vineyard who claim to be moving in these last days with unselfish interest? Will this manner of work be in harmony with their brethren? Will it have [a] favorable impression upon minds? Is this the manner of work that is to come forth from their hands, and is it of a character to create the best of harmony and to have unity in action that will be answering the prayer of Christ that His disciples may be one even as He is One with the Father? 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 6

The responsible workers engaged in preparing a people to stand in the great day of God which is just before us must have concerted action. Are not these movements a second edition of the same work that Dr. Burke has been doing when he sent in his resignation to the Health Retreat and set up a health institute right in the city of St. Helena for the only reason that he was not made first in the Health Retreat institution? 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 7

He has withdrawn, acted as traitor. He has carried on his work as a traitor would do, and the leaven has been at work. Here we see a worse course pursued by Dr. Maxson, without saying anything of his plans to the president of the State Conference at California, without making [known] his plans and purposes to me, whom God has connected with the work from its first rise and to whom God has been pleased to reveal light in regard to the great subject of health reform and that an institution should be established in California. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 8

The Lord has for years been revealing [to me] the characters of men, their dangers, their defects of character, the course different ones would pursue that would imperil the soul, and the course they must pursue in order to overcome as Christ overcame and escape the dangerous perils of these last days. The Lord has given light to His people for the last thirty-six years. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 9

Dr. Maxson becomes closely connected in unsanctified sympathy with Elder Rice and shows no respect to this gift the Lord has placed in the church. He enters into and lays plans with one man, Bro. Church, to establish a large institution in Fresno. Has he any knowledge of Bro. Church as a man adapted for any such work? No, but he seizes the first thing that promises to place him first. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 10

Bro. Church has recently lost his wife. He feels almost uprooted, is unsettled, confused, [and] perplexed. How important that someone who understands him shall help him at this time! It seemed congenial to his inclination to establish a large sanitarium in Fresno. His motive was good, but what light has he from God that his entrusted capital shall be used in this way; what evidence that these elements that could not unite with the Health Retreat in St. Helena could unite and work harmoniously? We know that these are not safe. They would flatter and misconstrue and prevaricate and work under a false pretense, all the time claiming to be very conscientious. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 11

By their fruits ye shall know them, and with all lamblike pretensions, with wonderful apparent conscientiousness, they see the opportunity they have long desired to be at the head, and they take advantage of the mind and purposes of Bro. Church, strengthen his ideas, help him along in his plans, engage with ardor in the enterprise, exalt his ideas, and unite with him in all he suggests. They have not, neither do they care to learn whether this would be the mind of the Spirit of God and evidence this by their saying nothing to those who have a right to know. They do not inquire whether it would place Bro. Church in circumstances where temptations would come powerfully upon him. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 12

He is about seventy years old and these men who have had no acquaintance with Bro. Church do not consider whether this would prove his ruin or be a detriment to the cause. Brother Maxson has accepted Bro. Church’s ideas, strengthened them, and united to help them forward without any knowledge of whether you were working in harmony with the Spirit of God or against it. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 13

The Lord has opened the past life of Bro. Church before me. I have sent warnings and counsel to him. I know his dangers. I know if he will use his capabilities in a right direction the Lord will bless him. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 14

If you are, Dr. Maxson, moving in God’s order, then the Lord is not leading and teaching me. For His Spirit is urging me to do all in my power to influence Bro. Church in an opposite direction, to give up his purpose to erect a sanitarium in Fresno. And I shall make most earnest efforts to be in harmony with the Spirit of God who doth not look as man upon outward appearance, but at the heart. He knoweth the end from the beginning whether this or that shall prosper, whether the plans of man will in the end redound to His glory or result in the loss of souls, and whether the plans of shortsighted mortals will be the upbuilding of His cause or for the detriment of His kingdom upon the earth. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 15

If you have decided to move and work independent of God’s laborers whom He has placed in His vineyard and consider yourself a competent, independent body here in California, you could not have taken a more thorough course to represent the same than you have done in your movements of late. Have you decided that the Lord has no head here in California, that there are no pastors, no teachers, none whom God calls His watchmen, shepherds of His flock, that you feel all wisdom is invested in yourself? 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 16

Satan is bound to get in strife and dissension among us as a people by drawing apart, acting independently. You need more of Jesus and less of self. One object must be kept in view constantly, that is harmony of cooperation is our strength. Our work is worldwide. Respect and attention must be shown to all God’s ordained agencies if we expect the Lord to work with our efforts. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 17

Your work is now outside the Lord’s agencies. Your work is an independent matter without one word to the responsible men God has ordained [for] this coast. Those who refuse to hearken to instruction will work on the enemy’s side, and a bitter tide will be started from him which will result in every sort of trouble; souls will be wounded, alienations will exist, and if this is the policy that men claiming to be commandment-keepers feel at liberty to work upon them, the enemy’s cause will be served rather than the cause of God. Say not, in the words of a man who imagined himself to be better than the Lord saw him to be, “What is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?” 2 Kings 8:13. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 18

Feel not indigent at this illustration and the suggestion of a possibility that you may be left to pursue a course which will not only imperil your own soul but the souls of others. You are strong, ardent, confident, you think, in God, but it is in your own strength, trusting to your own heart. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 19

I speak that which I know. It is another spirit that is leading you. Dream not that your mountain stands so strong that you can never be moved. I do not doubt but that you think that you are moving in the counsel of God, but you are deceived. You have united with influences that lead you to give a little honor or respect to the instrumentalities the Lord has placed in the church for the perfecting of the saints until we all come into the unity of the faith. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 20

You have put confidence in men who mislead you, and your own unsanctified ambition harmonizes with every suggestion whereby there seems to be a possibility of exalting yourself. There is a busy, tempting devil. Once place the feet in a wrong path, and it pleases the devil, and he will be too well pleased to lead you on avenues leading off from the right path open on every side. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 21

None are more exposed than those who feel fully capable of guiding themselves and think there is no peril and become impatient at words of caution and counsel that may be addressed to them. They will not be forewarned. Every plan looks like perfection to their inexperienced, unsanctified [judgment] to the watchman on the walls of Zion on this coast. You have passed them by. What for? Was it not because you feared they would not harmonize with your ideas and plans, and your haste to do this great work is not after the wisdom of God. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 22

If one and still another follow your example, where would be the unity that must exist in the body that they be of the same mind, of the same judgment, and speak the same things? Now if every one feels at liberty to do as you have done, how is this Christlike harmony to be preserved? Where can the unity exist that God has enjoined? If Dr. Maxson is so conscientious to do nothing that will injure the Health Retreat, why is he so careful to observe such secrecy and consult with no responsible men on this coast, unless he is sure they will sanction his movements? Why did he not consult with me before crossing the plains to engage in the enterprise of carrying out his plans? Why does he express his fears, and he is sure this is of God, fearing Bro. Church’s mind may be changed? 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 23

He says, “I suppose you must have gotten my telegram and my letter following, and that you are finishing the work as rapidly as possible. I hope so, at least, and I have faith to believe we shall never need to take a back step.” He expects the work to be rushed through without time for thorough contemplation. There are all kinds of faith. There is a presumptuous faith that rushes on without good foundation. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 24

“The Devil will work hard to frustrate our plan if it is a good one, and he will work in a way we little suspect.” Sister White may come in, “I suppose he thinks,” and the Devil use her [to] hinder this work. “I believe it is a right move and if we can maintain right relations to God and have His guiding Spirit to sanctify our judgment and be in a condition that we can ask the blessing of God on every plan we make and every step we take, then and only then will we have confidence toward God and work in harmony with His Spirit.” 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 25

Does Brother Maxson consider that unless he is working in harmony with the body, the church of God on earth—God’s delegated power upon the earth—that he cannot be working in harmony with God? The Lord never leads one member of His church to move independent of the body when these plans must necessarily affect that body either for good or for evil. This great haste without so much as taking counsel of any of the leading workers on the Pacific Coast looks suspicious. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 26

His fears expressed that the Devil will do all he can to hinder it in a way we little suspect. Does not Bro. Maxson know that by appointment Sister White would be at Fresno and attend the camp meeting to be held only fifteen miles from Fresno [and] would not be united as he has been so fully with Elder Rice? Suppose I might say something to change their plans in this matter and would he not set the mind of Bro. Church to think that Sister White would be the evil agent to thwart their plans? 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 27

The wonderful desire to have the Lord’s help is well put in, but he might look and consider that the Lord has ways and means through whom He works. He has set in the church the very means to reflect light to His people. If Satan can blind the eyes of the watchmen through the cunning, artful plans of men who have need to be closely connected with the body, but who feel fully sufficient in themselves to do wonderful things, he will do it. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 28

The Lord has in His church some men of experience. Christ and angels are identified with His appointed sentinels upon the earth. The church above is united with the church upon the earth, and every enterprise entered into that is of a character to have an influence upon the people should be made a matter of counsel with the workers God employs in His vineyard that one man’s mind and one man’s judgment should not place his mold upon the work, but that if there is defect in one man’s plans and judgment, that other minds shall discern this and shall avoid entering into plans and schemes that will not only be hazardous to the cause of God, but imperil the souls of those who shall be seduced into it and take these responsibilities independent of the body. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 29

I would say of Dr. Maxson, when you do according to your word in the expression of your faith, you will feel much smaller than you do now, and will feel to respect the body and feel that amid a multitude of counselors there is safety. Warnings are not heeded because your spiritual eyesight is blinded and you think they are [not] applicable to you. “If we take a step that will take advantage of the work to the detriment of the Health Retreat or to our cause at large, it will be a step that we will regret some time, I think.” So do I. What blindness! What want of wisdom? He just as well knows that his plans are calculated to injure the Health Retreat. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 30

But like Dr. Maxson’s character, he is superficial. He does not think deep or reason deep. Advice he does not want, else he would seek it. If he wants to move understandingly, why not canvass this matter? Why does he rush on in such haste? Why does he conceal everything from the workers for God on this coast whose business it is to watch for souls as they that must give an account? Why not consult the very ones who have the cause of God in all its branches at heart on this coast? Why rush the matter through without time to premeditate and counsel in reference to this work? “Let me assure you that as long as it is run in harmony with the Bible and the Spirit of God, we will be with you, one mind and one heart, and our great wish will be to carry out your wishes.” 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 31

What kind of a standard has Dr. Maxson lifted, which he names the Bible standard? When Dr. Maxson and wife are to be the judges whether it is run according to the Bible and the Spirit of God, I should beg to have more accurate, spiritualized judges. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 32

“As one of the Board, I pledge you hearty cooperation in all your plans up to the point of sacrificing principle, and that I would endeavor never to do. I know your plans I could heartily endorse, and in working for you I should be in the work of our blessed Lord.” Here again we see the weakness of the man’s character. He is so ardent to have these plans carried out that he submits himself to endorse and cooperate with the mind and judgment of one erring man who needs to be counseled, who needs kindly to be bound about in many of his ideas, whom I have been shown needs to heed the counsel and light God has sent to him in order that his feet shall not stumble in following the bent of his own mind. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 33

Satan baits his hook skillfully that the first intimation that it is a hook is found in the pricking of its hook. Here Dr. Maxson passes by God’s appointed agencies, does not counsel and advise with the church, but consents to take one man’s plans and ideas that have not been submitted to the body and carefully scrutinized by men of experience. He ignores altogether the watchmen who are to see the sword coming and warn the people. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 34

Dr. Maxson says, “I know that there is a position that we can take and that you have already expressed in our talk that day I was with you that I think will exonerate us from any suspicion of intending to injure them.” If Dr. Maxson is so true in his purposes, so loyal to the Health Retreat, why does he not act this? Why does he work in an underhanded manner? Why not be frank? Why not be open as the day and lay these plans before the body for their endorsement? For the very reason he does not wish his plans to be criticized, he would have them rushed through without delay. These plans are kept from the very ones he knows will question them. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 35

Here is where our institutions all have suffered and will suffer because we have self-sufficient men who have so high an estimate of themselves that they will not feel the need of counsel and who will make their individual mind supreme. Professedly, they say, “Lord, Lord,” but when the Lord speaks to them through His appointed agencies, they are deaf to His words and do not His words. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 36

When we see open, frank work like a Christian working in harmony with God’s appointed agencies, then we will have more confidence in these words of Dr. Maxson; but we say to him now in the words of Christ to the Pharisees, “Ye will not come to the light lest your deeds shall be reproved.” [John 3:20.] 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 37

“My mind is at rest if you carry out the policy you laid before me and make a strong team to carry out your plans.” Now the Lord has shown me for the last thirty-five years that one man’s mind and one man’s judgment never should be a controlling power because that mind and judgment were liable to grave mistakes and serious errors, but if Bro. Church is linked up with Dr. Maxson and wife, they “will make a strong team to carry out his plans.” 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 38

If the spirit of self-sufficiency, of egotism, is not here revealed, tell me by what name shall we call it? These words reveal the character of the man. “We shall go into it with all our mind, might, and strength and shall be willing to sacrifice comfort, and as long as it is in a good cause, we will almost sacrifice life before it shall go to the world as a failure.” 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 39

Mark, Dr. Maxson and his wife were called to this coast to help the Rural Health Retreat, but as has been stated he was not willing to sacrifice his ideas and feelings. He did not take hold with the spirit of self-sacrifice to build up the institution which the Lord has revealed should be established in order to do a special work. Great light has been given but these two received $25.00 per week for their labor, all that the institution could reasonably pay them. Knowing the light God had given in regard to this instrumentality, they sent in their resignation and refused to connect with it longer. What a pity that the Spirit of sacrifice was not felt in doing the good work with “mind, might, and strength” to make the institution already established all God would have it. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 40

Dr. Maxson expects to sacrifice nothing. He expects to [be] benefitted financially, and he expects to be just that which I was shown years ago. He aspired to be the head physician and manager, which he is not qualified to be, and I fear never will be. This talk of sacrificing is superficial, cheap talk revealing the character of the man. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 41

Dr. Maxson—“All the institutions I have visited have their leading lady physicians, and I can assure you that none are as well equipped as my wife is for the work, except it be Dr. [Kate] Lindsay, for she certainly is a remarkable woman, and Dr. Kellogg could not well get along without her.” 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 42

This statement may be critically examined. I think that Dr. Maxson had little or no experience as a practitioner until she came to California. She had but little experimental knowledge of disease and how to treat the sick as a physician until she came to the Rural Health Retreat, except that [which she] found in books. I never should have made this statement if this wonderful position had not been taken in reference to the qualifications of his wife. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 43

We have confidence that Sister Maxson, if she is humble and connects with God, will have ability to do a good work. But we take this statement for all that it is worth like many other things from the lips of a man who is undesignedly placing a false coloring upon many things. I do not doubt his honesty in this because he thinks this was. “But my wife is quite well known and favorably well so too in the East, which will help us to secure a certain kind of eastern practice which we would not otherwise.” 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 44

What a pity that all this knowledge and capacity and [these] advantages were not used when employed by the board at the Health Retreat. But then they were not the first; they were not made managers because we did not dare to make them thus with the light God had given me in regard to them before they came to the Health Retreat. What a power Dr. Maxson will make now when he is put in first, and how things will move in the new institution in order to make it a success, that it shall not go to the world as a failure! 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 45

I wonder how much the Lord had to do in imparting His Holy Spirit to Dr. Maxson in writing this letter. “I have my eye on some of the very best of bathroom help also. I have no doubt but that we can start even with as good help as they have there which will be of no small consideration. I am surprised that I can secure so good help without manifesting unfriendly interest toward the work here. It is most gratifying to me that my relation with our bath help in the past has been such that now I can get plenty of the best help and all I want, without trouble. That has always been the plague of the sanitarium to know how to train and keep good help, and it is an important problem [with which] we shall have to deal. Keeping up a good nursing school will help very much to solve the problem.” 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 46

Here again is developed the secretive work of Dr. Maxson. He comes in as on friendly terms and works with an undercurrent to secure or steal the best help that has been [trained] carefully and with painstaking effort to fill in as nurses and bath hands. Like a lamb he enters the fold and then steals away that help by offering them higher wages, and they be employed by a new institution in a beautiful country, set out in language that is of equal force to many things said in this letter. And this is the conscientious man that is going to move just as God wants him to, that is not going to take one step that will hurt the Rural Health Retreat. The fact is, he acts like a man who [is] spiritually blinded and is trying to lead the blind. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 47

“It will help to put our work on a good medical basis before the world and gives us a large amount of help that will cost us nothing.” The man here talks of stealing help which the sanitarium has sought out and trained—ignorant, inexperienced hands—and when made efficient, depended on to do the essential work, someone comes in, holds out flattering inducements, and takes them away to a new institution. Dr. Maxson sees this bad thing and must take measures to prevent others doing just as he is doing, so that institution comes out full-fledged without any trouble or cost to themselves. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 48

“The way I feel [is] like this, that the trio, yourself, my wife, and myself, would in fact be the medical superintendent, and no steps should be taken on our part without your knowledge and counsel. We could spend much time in maturing plans for you to look over and approve if you thought best, and we three be one in execution of plans that we adopt, while I should bear the medical superintendency. In name, in heart, and hand I should want our three beings to act as one even in this department, while I should expect to take very little responsibility in other departments to do this work in this department and do it well and to the glory of God. [It] would be a great work and a heavy burden. My great aim would be to do what little I could and do it well.” 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 49

Wonderful, wonderful!—a large institution to be managed by a company who know literally nothing and have had no experience in bearing responsibilities. Brother Church has not been educated in a school that qualifies him for any such work. In this statement is again revealed the character of Dr. Maxson—fully able, he thinks, to grasp the higher rounds of the ladder while he has never climbed step by step by painful effort to reach that eminence. I am plain to state that this arrangement will crush out the life and confidence in men who claim to be Sabbathkeepers. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 50

As we see this gauzy covering thrown over a course of action that is condemned by the Scriptures, in the fear of God, we tear it off. There are such glaring inconsistencies with Bible rule while [there are] thrown in many strong statements to vindicate and cover up and justify the departing from the laws of God, that I want these things to be discerned and stand out in full relief. Such a course of action may be in accordance with Dr. Maxson’s standard, but not in accordance with God’s great moral standard of righteousness. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 51

Selfish interests will lead to the wronging of your neighbor to serve your own ends. There are all kinds of deceptions practiced by those who are not full of wisdom from above. They have a kind of wisdom which is from beneath. Something will occur to make the disguise or the acting of falsehood apparent. Deception will be detected although they may think their way is covered up. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 52

How much better to do the works of a Christian, to be open and frank. The self-praise, the exaltation is making others think them what they are not and to have an high estimate of their capabidities which they will be disappointed in. These embellishments will not bear in being compared with facts. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 53

There are many reasons that the truth should always be spoken one with another. Falsehood in any form is sin. Ye shall not deal falsely, neither lie one to another. God is a God of truth. The Bible is a book of truth. Jesus is a faithful and true witness. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth, and every precept of the Most High is true and righteous all together. How then must these perverted, exaggerated statements appear in the books of heaven? Even life itself is not to be purchased at the price of falsehood. 5LtMs, Lt 55, 1888, par. 54