Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6

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Lt 35, 1889

Strong, Brother and Sister

Battle Creek, Michigan

December 6, 1889

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Strong:

I received Sister Strong’s letter last evening. I do not know as it was given me as soon as it came, for I have been quite afflicted with determination of blood to the brain and unable to do any brain labor. Sara [McEnterfer] read the letter to me last night. I was much pained because it is so difficult to recall the words spoken to all those who seek for counsel, but after some thought, I called to mind the words or subject Brother Owen presented to me. It was in reference to hiring a hall, and he presented it in this light—that there were interested parties not of our faith who would come to the meetings if they were held in a hall and if it were understood that there would be meetings every Sabbath. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1889, par. 1

The question was asked if I did not think this would be better than to have the meetings in a private house. I said it was certainly better to have a special place, a hall or meetinghouse, if it was possible to obtain one, for in such a city as Kalamazoo it would have a better influence upon the minds of those notified of the meetings. I asked, “Where are you holding your meetings now?” He said, “At Brother Strong’s house.” He then remarked that some objected to having the meeting in the hall selected when they learned that he, Brother Owen, had something to do with hiring the hall, but the reason he said they offered was that it was so noisy with carriages rattling along in the street. I said it was bad to have a place where it was a thoroughfare for it did have quite an effect upon the meeting, detracting from the interest. Yet I had always given advice to obtain a select place in a hall for worship and not meet in a private house, for the influence would be far better upon those outside of our faith and would always make [a] better impression upon the minds of children and all who shall assemble for religious worship. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1889, par. 2

I said it would be altogether the wisest plan to have a special place rather than to assemble for meetings in either Brother Owen’s or Brother Strong’s home, but I did not understand fully the state of things, as I had not been on the ground and I did not wish to have my mind burdened with the matter. Those who had labored in Kalamazoo are the proper ones to advise and counsel in reference to the existing difficulties. If I said anything detrimental to either of you, I cannot recall it. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1889, par. 3

I spoke particularly of the state of temptation Brother Strong and yourself had been in and [said] that we should use wisdom in every action, that no occasion should be given to Brother and Sister Strong to darken their pathway or to encourage criticism, for the salvation of the soul is precious. I can think of nothing more said in reference to either of you or having meetings at your house. I am puzzled to know how this matter was put before you or my brethren. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1889, par. 4

I shall have to take a position refusing to see anyone and converse with them alone. I will have to have a third person present who shall listen to every word I say and can testify to the same. I have had quite a number come to me for my judgment in regard to certain things, and if I expressed an opinion bearing on the case in advice or counsel, they would, if circumstances were such that they desired to carry out certain plans or ideas, say, “Sister White says so,” and “Sister White has expressed opinions different from this.” They make the most of my words and place their questions and statements in such a manner that any word spoken, if not decidedly opposed to that which they presented before me, they say I think just as they do. I protest against this thing and fear I shall be obliged to refuse to have anyone present their difficulties to me, because they use that which I may say unwisely and often pervert my words. I do not say that Brother Owen has done this, but certainly I do say I am not pleased with the impression left on your minds, for I do not consider it to be correct. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1889, par. 5

When will our people be wise? When will they learn to have control of their words, of their spirit, of their actions? I shall send a copy of this letter to Brother Owen and require an explanation of his words. I am not two-faced. I do not profess to have an interest for you both, that you shall become strong in the Lord, and then tell another story to some other one. I long to see Brother and Sister Strong treading firmly in the only path that leads heavenward. I long to see your hearts going out to Jesus in loving trust, standing up for Him and with Him, joining your hands with His. I have sincere interest for you both; yea, I can say before God, my heart yearns over you both, to see you standing wholly in the light. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1889, par. 6

May the Lord lead and guide you both is my prayer. What we want in our churches today is less of self and more of Jesus. We want men who will be forgetful of self and exalt Jesus. Men who will not follow impulse and their own will and their own ways, but follow the Lord fully. Thorough-going fidelity to God will make vigorous churches, churches that are alive and not full of bustle, but holy endeavor, not full of parade, but full of patience, full of prayer and persevering effort. We want the men and women who will follow Christ with the whole heart. My ways, my ideas, are not to become a controlling power; entire consecration to God for our individual selves will give us assurance and peace. I leave these few lines with you. I am your friend and will stand by you as your friend as long as you make it possible for me to do so. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1889, par. 7