Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 40, 1887

Underwood, Brother; Farnsworth, Brother

Basel, Switzerland

April 13, 1887

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brethren Underwood and Farnsworth:

I received a letter from Eld. Butler containing the intelligence that you were both going to California to attend the important meetings there. I was somewhat surprised at this, that you should both think of going to these meetings. The contents of this letter in other matters also surprised us, but I had a dream the night before the letter came which is a sure dream. Cautions were given of dangers ahead, and I am somewhat burdened. I am anxious, I must say, and not altogether assured in reference to your understanding the work or the people in Cal. or Oregon from reports. From the very first of the work in Oregon, they had been inclined to draw away from the conference in Cal. We have labored with them untiringly to bring these people in the upper California conference in harmony with the workers of the publishing house on the Pacific Coast, and I have had the most decided testimonies in reproof of their drawing off in feelings and sympathies from the conference of Cal. While I know that strenuous efforts have been made by the brethren to harmonize in Southern Cal. or on the Pacific Coast, there have been impressions made and work performed to build up separate interests. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1887, par. 1

Bro. Van Horn’s course was not that of wisdom. And Bro. Boyd’s course has not in all particulars been wise in regard to these things. The education and labor to have those in Oregon and the Upper Columbia Conference with their means and influence to sustain the work in Oakland and Healdsburg has been the opposite of this. Great favors have been asked and granted to have students come to Healdsburg College at the very lowest rates, and they are constantly expecting to draw favors, but have done nothing to reciprocate these favors. It was not wise for them to start a school in Oregon because the students could never receive the mold there that they should have and would become narrow and bound and would ever in afterlife realize its lack in efficiency and promptitude of action and in breadth and depth of thought. But I cannot enter into all the particulars. A. T. Jones and Elder Loughborough know well the labor we have put forth to build up the work aright in Oregon. I hope nothing will be done to cast an influence and to sow the seeds of distrust in regard to the interests in California, but every effort be made to bind the work and workers together. I know that both of these brethren, Farnsworth and Underwood, move strong, and they make great mistakes, for they are only mortal men; and unless they are moving wholly in the fear of God, and are not impressed with reports that may be made recently from Cal., they may make mistakes. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1887, par. 2

I know that Bro. Farnsworth, also Bro. Burrill, followed the direction or counsel of another man’s mind without the wisdom and prudence that the Counselor would have exercised had He been on the ground Himself, and a work was done of strangling the progress and advancement of the work in New York, which eternity alone will unfold. I must tell you N. Y. will never recover from the measures taken there. Bro. Wilbur Whitney nor Bro. Burrill ever conversed with me about these matters. I have done my duty, and I did not wish to have any conversation on the subject. But some men who might have been saved and been encouraged to help advance and build up the work and not lost confidence in the workers will never be aroused to their duty till the trump of God shall sound, and then they will see where they left a straightforward, onward path and faith in the work and workers, which could never be revived, but was buried. All the warnings, all the reproofs and testimonies will never undo the work that Bro. Farnsworth helped to do in N. Y. I will not state fully the matter to you, for it will do no good now; but I want you to remember the report of the spies and never approach any where near to their work. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1887, par. 3

Then the strong position that Eld. Underwood took to kill the Sabbath School Worker was because of reports he had heard. There was no reason but that the paper should live. There was no reason that it should be strangled to death. I tell you, my brethren, I am afraid of you both unless you shall live so close to Jesus that you will be living channels of light. Men make strange work if for one moment they do not take counsel of God and rely upon the leadings of His Spirit. Now I know from higher authority all the movements made to strangle the S. S. Worker were not prompted by minds that were free from prejudice. That paper was needed, but strange work will be made if the mind is open to impressions from other minds that God is not leading and guiding. I write this because I feel it my duty. I think you need it. I hope that you will both, if you work in California, work so God can work through you and not carry out plans and projects of any man, but lay your souls on the altar of God and keep close to the bleeding side of Jesus. Humbling self at every step, talk of Jesus, talk practical godliness, build up and not tear down. God knows we are in need of building up the work and not have men who will put on the brakes and not keep the car from rolling up the steep ascent. I shall be glad to have you visit the important meetings in Cal. and Oregon if you are in that position where God can work in you and through you and by you. But unless you are where God can communicate to you His will and move upon you by His Spirit, you are unfitted to be the help that Cal. needs. But I believe you can be a real blessing to Cal. and will be if you do not become entangled and trammeled with other men’s ideas and prejudices. Brethren, seek God. Humble your hearts at every step. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1887, par. 4

Bro. Farnsworth, never, as long as you live, repeat your work in N. Y. Bro. Underwood, never, as long as you live, repeat your work in Battle Creek in killing the S. S. Worker. These movements cost too much to be repeated. I never saw time of greater peril to the work and cause of God than at the present time, because men do not walk carefully and understandingly before God and in the light of His countenance. I have been writing to our brethren in California and seeking to draw them in close harmony with their brethren in all parts of the work. Let this be your effort, and God will bless you. I write in love for your souls and the souls of His people for whom you labor. Put self out of sight, I beg you. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1887, par. 5