Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 11, 1888

Daniels, Brother [E. P.]

Fresno, California

July 6, 1888

This letter is published in entirety in PH096 46-53.

Dear Brother [E. P.] Daniels:

I had no strength to talk with you while at Burrough Valley. The action of my heart was so feeble that I dared not communicate that which I enclose in this envelope. You will see I had written before you came. Your letter to me made me very sad and was evidence to me that you have not discernment. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 1

Zua mentioned in conversation that she had been staying with a sister who had recently confessed the truth. This again made me feel your want of discernment and judgment. Cannot you see that Zua’s heart is filled with vanity and self-importance and that she has no love for the truth? Cannot you see she has her thoughts centered almost entirely upon herself? Your own plans for and indulgence of your children are leading them directly away from the great example of Jesus Christ, away from the principles of truth, away from lifting the burdens of Christ. I see this, I feel this, and I am burdened over it because, as an ambassador of Christ, you are to be an example to the flock in teaching others how to educate their children. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 2

The education of your daughter that you look upon as so advantageous is not so in reality. The very education that she needs now, and has needed in the past, is that which is to be gained in useful home labor, in helping her mother in household duties. This would be of lasting advantage to the child. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 3

I wanted to be pleased with the little present she made me, but I could not. The money spent for the material was spent simply for the making of an ornament. Pretty? Yes, it was pretty, but I had no use for it in my practical life, and I fear that many of the busy activities in which your daughter is engaged are simply to make ornaments. It is your duty and the duty of her mother to direct her energies in another direction. It is the duty of parents to educate, restrain, and discipline their children. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 4

Zua thinks she has learned a great deal at Snell’s Seminary, but have you tested the kind of advancement that she has made? You are required to see whether your child’s mind is filled with chaff or with pure grain. She is full of vanity and pride and studies how to indulge her wishes to dress like the young ladies of the world. She has not the right stamp of character, and in the day of judgment you will be called to account because you have fostered pride and selfishness in your children. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 5

None of your children are incorrigible children. With diligent training they might develop characters which God would approve; but you cannot relax your efforts, for they need to be firmly restrained. With your present ideas and your present method of training, combined with your spend-thrift habits, you will eventually have to leave the ministerial field as did Brother Morton, because he could not support his family in the style in which they lived. You are not financially able to support your daughter in Snell’s Seminary. Do you expect to subject her to irreligious influences, to pride, vanity, and display, and yet have her come out with good, firm principles and sound morals? It is not possible. She does not see herself as she is or realize how silly she looks to sensible people with her affected way. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 6

The great burden of her life is how to act the lady, and do you think it is all smart and nice? And will you place her where her vanity will have abundant room to grow and where everything will work against your teaching? 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 7

While in Fresno, Zua made the remark that she wanted to go down the street and purchase a silk duster and a new dress. She also said, “If I had a daughter, I would send her to Snell’s Seminary, for it is a superior place to learn good manners.” What does such talk indicate? Does it not show that labor should be put forth to save the soul of your own child? Do you think that in thus educating her you have placed her where she will love God and the truth? She has only attained a superficial education. Real knowledge, which is of more value that everything else besides, she has yet to gain; she has yet to learn her poor self and to obtain a knowledge of her God. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 8

As her father and mother, you need to take heed to yourselves that you may set a right example before her. You should be constantly guarded that you do not encourage in her a love of dress. You should learn to know when to spare and when to spend. We cannot be Christ’s followers unless we deny self and lift the cross. You should pay up squarely as you go. Gather up the dropped stitches, bind off your raveling edges, and know just what you can call your own. You should reckon up all the littles spent in self-gratification. You should notice what is used simply to gratify taste and to cultivate a perverted, epicurean appetite. The money expended for useless delicacies might be used to add to your substantial home comforts and conveniences. You are not to be penurious; you are to be honest with yourself and your brethren. Penuriousness is an abuse of God’s bounties. Lavishness is also an abuse. The little outgoes that you think of as not worth mentioning amount to considerable in the end. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 9

Children get too much money to spend which they never earn and of which they never know the value. While at Sister Bowen’s, I stepped into the bedroom to lie down, and I picked up a sash of highly colored satin. I said to Fannie Ingles, “Does this Babylonish rag belong to you?” “No, it does not,” she replied. I was made sad to soon see it about the waist of your daughter. Such articles of finery and extravagance may be in keeping with Snell’s Seminary, but they are not in keeping with our faith as God’s peculiar people and not in accordance with your own teachings to others, even while in Fresno. When you are tempted to spend money for knickknacks, you should remember the self-denial and self-sacrifice that Christ endured to save fallen man. Our children should be taught to exercise self-denial and self-control. The reason so many ministers feel that they have a hard time in financial matters is that they do not bind about their tastes, their appetites, and inclinations. The reason so many men become bankrupt and dishonestly appropriate means is because they seek to gratify the extravagant tastes of their wives and children. How careful should fathers and mothers be to teach economy by precept and example to their children. It is not out of your power to do this, unless your habit of loosely spending money is ingrained into your very character. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 10

I beseech you to place your children under the guardianship of those who will not neglect to train and educate them, for they are God’s property. The Lord has shown me again and again that parents must fashion the character of their children in their very earliest youth. Do you wish your children to regard outward appearance as of greater value than the culture of the soul? 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 11

Children are what their training has made them. Boys who lavishly spend money from their father’s pocket, who learn to smoke, to drink wine, to play cards, who do not apply themselves to any useful occupation, have no foundation to build upon and cannot become self-reliant and independent. Money which comes to the young with but little effort on their part will not be valued. Some have to obtain money by hard work and privation, but how much safer are those youth who know just where their spending money comes from, who know what their clothing and food costs, and what it takes to purchase a home! 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 12

There are many ways in which children can earn money themselves and can act their part in bringing thank offerings to Jesus, who gave His own life for them. Children should be educated to make the very best use of their time, to be helpful to father and mother, to be self-reliant. They should not be allowed to consider themselves above doing any kind of labor that is necessary. They should be taught that the money which they earn is not theirs to spend as their inexperienced minds may choose, but to use judiciously and to give to missionary purposes. They should not be satisfied to take money from their father or mother and put it into the treasury as an offering when it is not theirs. They should say to themselves, “Shall I give of that which costs me nothing?” [2 Samuel 24:24.] 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 13

Let children be taught to keep an account. This will enable them to be accurate. The spendthrift boy will be the spendthrift man. The vain, selfish, self-caring girl will be the same kind of woman. We are to remember there are other youth for whom we are accountable. If we train our children to correct habits, through them we shall be able to influence others. Every cent expended in candy, in little luxuries to please self and to administer to vanity, is money we shall have to render an account for before God. The Lord does not design that His children shall be self-caring, that they shall spend means for sashes, ribbons, bustles, and other worldly adornments. There are youth who are poor but possessed of ability, who, if they only had one-half the chance that others had, they would become men and women of moral worth, who would do and dare for Jesus’ sake. There are plenty of homeless, friendless children and helpless individuals who need the means expended for selfish gratification. Let the money spent for unnecessary articles of dress be employed in doing good to others. Youth who thus deny themselves for others’ sake will be accounted faithful stewards of the grace of God. We must not abuse our means by centering it on ourselves. Our children must not be a means of absorbing money from God’s treasury to make an appearance or to indulge appetite or inclination. We may have genuine pleasure in a right use of all our powers. We must be like Jesus, pure, simple, holy, and undefiled. It is not the grandest use of money to have a selfish want for every dollar. The skill, health, and talents in physical, mental, and moral powers that God has given us should make us feel that we are the Lord’s almoners to gather in means through the wise improvement of His entrusted gifts to communicate blessings to others, not to make up tasteful nothings which cost time and money and which are of no real benefit to anyone. Let the taste be cultivated and strength of body be given to make those things that are useful, not merely ornamental. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 14

Parents and children may be as springs of water whose waters fail not. With eyes and senses we are to see where the desert places are, where are the fields that need to be watered, what deserts there are that need culture to become gardens of the Lord. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 15

May the Lord let you see and feel that you have a work before you that needs binding off carefully and thoroughly. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 16

I commit this to you as light given me from heaven. 5LtMs, Lt 11, 1888, par. 17