Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 5, 1890

Baker, Brother

Crystal Springs, California

May 24, 1890

See variant Lt 5a, 1890. Portions of this letter are published in TSB 155-158; Ev 507. +Note

Brother Baker,

I must say some things to you for your course is worthy of censure. You know what has been the course of Elder Rice and others connected with the Health Institution, and how difficult it has been to remove the impression once made. You know the history of the past and the reproach and disgrace that still clings to the institution, and the people at St. Helena are not ignorant of the great curse which fell upon it in consequence of the moral conduct of some who have been connected with it. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 1

I cannot feel that it would be wisdom for you to act in the capacity of superintendent of the Health Institution, for you are not a wise man. You are here, away from your wife and family, when you should be with them; but if there are reasons to justify this separation, your course should be altogether different than it has been. If you had the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ in your heart, you would take heed to your own ways and abstain from every appearance of evil. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 2

Your work has been such as to open to many souls the door of temptation, and many will be lost in consequence. You may reform, you may see your mistakes, but you will never be able to remove the impression that has been made. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 3

Brother Baker, you are watched with critical eyes. Your attention to young ladies is not called for. You are out of place in giving so much attention to the Chittenden family. Mrs. Chittenden has done her work in ruining one good man. That matter was opened before me as an open book. I was told in the night season that you were not qualified to be entrusted with large, or even limited, responsibilities unless you repent and become a reformed man. God cannot be with you while you pursue this course. My guide told me to follow, and I was shown your boyish familiarity with girls and your particular sympathy toward Mrs. Chittenden and her daughters. The mother keeps [to] the bed much of the time when she should be engaged in some useful employment in the care of her family. Your familiarities with the mother and daughters were opened before me. Your attentions and your gifts speak louder than even your flattering words. You are displeasing God, and Heaven looks upon you with reproof. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 4

You have made the most of the mistakes and defects of Brethren Biter and Rogers. But did you speak truthfully and frankly of your own weakness and errors? Could God, who reads the heart motives, be pleased with your tearing others down to uplift yourself? Dr. Burke looks upon you as a man in whom he can confide, but the cases of Brethren Rogers and Biter stand far more favorably in the heavenly records than your own. I was carried back to your experience in the State of Maine. You have things to make right, and do not delay for the end is near; you would not want to meet the record in the judgment as it now stands. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 5

You have been planning to do the work devolving upon a superintendent, and Dr. Burke thinks you can be a great help to him; but his confidence in you is misplaced. God sees your weakness; Dr. Burke does not discern it; he cannot read your heart. If he leans on you, he will be leaning on a broken reed. You need a great work done for you. You, with others, were baptized under the labors of Elder Daniels. I was very sorry when I heard this, yet I hoped it was a good work and that the reformation had taken place. But the Lord has presented your case before me, and I have no confidence that it was the genuine work of the Spirit of the Lord which you felt in your heart. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” [Colossians 3:1.] Had you a new heart, your motives, actions, and course of conduct would be such that both believers and unbelievers might have an example of a Christlike character. I have seen your case as God sees it, and I now present it to you. Better, far better, would it have been had you disconnected from the Health Retreat some months ago. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 6

This freedom and gallantry toward young ladies is not the outgrowth of a tender, Christlike sympathy. There has been a decided neglect on your part to give due Christlike sympathy and Christian politeness toward those wholly deserving, whose cause you should have searched out, even at disadvantage and inconvenience to yourself. All these actions which should have remained undone, and this neglect of those for whom Christ died, are written in the books of heaven. If you look upon these matters as unworthy of mention, you will repeat them. Investigate your past life, and let moral taste be created by a purification of the soul temple. Put away your excuses, for you have none. Your ideas need a moral renovation, and then you will see things in a different light. God calls for men to do this work who are pure in heart and undefiled in thought, having an eye single to His glory. God sees the heart. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 7

I was taken into some of your singing exercises, and was made to read the feelings that existed in the company, you being the prominent one. There were petty jealousies, envy, evil surmisings, and evil speaking. I saw that the influence of these parties had a tendency to demoralize. There were flirtations, coquetry, and undue familiarity; and a married man like yourself had better be on his knees in prayer to God, seeking wisdom how he may keep his soul unstained from the moral pollution of this degenerate age. The heart service is what God requires; the forms and lip service are as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. Your singing is for display—not to praise God with the spirit and understanding. The state of the heart reveals the quality of the religion of the professor of godliness. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 8

Brother Baker, the law of God must be written in the heart or, in truth, you will never obey it. Keep your soul with all diligence. Merely the commandments written on tables of stone could not guide the Hebrews. Neither can the truth of God profit or illume the soul while it is merely assented to by the understanding and is not graven on the soul by the Spirit of God. How few men know the guilt that lurks in the human heart ready to spring into action at the first favorable opportunity. The truth of God may be of no value to the one who claims to receive it unless it sanctifies the soul temple. Those who connect with the Health Retreat cannot retain selfish ideas and feelings and plan for the lifting up of self and the tearing down of others. God sees the heart, the deeds, and the purposes of the mind. It should be written on the conscience as with a pen of iron upon a rock, that the man who expects true success, in violating the eternal principles of right as written in the books of heaven, is not only foolish but wicked. Can men forget, “Thou God seest me”? [Genesis 16:13.] Will you, my brother, turn away from idols? Your moral sense is clouded. Pray to God to bring all things to your remembrance that you may see things in their true bearing. Wear not the religion of Christ as a cloak, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 9

The conversation of the man who claims to believe the truth for this time should be in heaven, not common, earthly, cheap, sensual. Holy maxims must be adopted or that man will walk contrary to Christ, deceiving the world, betraying the truth. Why, oh why, do professed Christians keep so low a level when they have so pure and perfect a gospel? Watch your religion with a jealous care, and let the word of God dwell in you richly. Let the question be asked, Am I a Christian? Do I love my neighbor as myself? Do I observe the golden rule to do unto others as I would that they do unto me? Can I be a Christian and taint and pollute my soul with sinful corrupting imaginings? It was sin that crucified the Redeemer of the world. Seemingly upright men do strange things, utterly contrary to the oracles of God. Their unrighteousness is a pretense before Him who looks into the heart. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 10

We are not to study and plan for our own interest, but in keeping our souls pure give an example to the youth and to all with whom we associate. We must leave a bright track heavenward and block the path that leads to debasing sins, for we are accountable for all the souls for whom Christ died. We stand related to them in the web of humanity. We must follow the example of Christ, sanctifying ourselves that they also must be sanctified. If one is dishonest or licentious, we must show our faithfulness to rebuke or dispel the evil that it may not become contagious. In order to raise the moral tone of all with whom we associate, we must keep our souls in the love of God. Our souls must be cultured, and we must give attention to the training of our principles and set the example we wish others to follow. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 11

Oh, the sin of selfishness is eating out the character, the pure principles of righteousness! The Christian may never fear to be resolutely honest. The world is under the control of a King whose cause must be respected. He who sees the end from the beginning can bring order out of confusion and will work for His own name’s glory. “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passeth away, and lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” [Psalm 37:35-37.] Have we not seen this verified in our experience? “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:4.] 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 12

Should the management of matters at the Institution be committed as fully as you wish into your hands, there would be some grave blunders made, for you have not that wisdom which is from above. You would use your influence to place men in positions of trust who could not adapt themselves to the situation. Some men have no faculty to deal with human minds, and if set over human minds to order and direct, there would be confusion and rebellion at once. We must have the oil of grace to keep the machinery working without friction. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” [James 3:17, 18.] 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 13

I leave these lines with you. Reference was made last night to your case, but I did not call your name; I thought to save your feelings, but I question if this was the best way. Perhaps if I had brought out your name, I might still have questioned if it was wisdom. I want to move discreetly for the glory of God and the good of souls. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 14

I send this after what was read, thinking it will be sufficient. Please read and return, as I have written in haste, and have no copy. 6LtMs, Lt 5, 1890, par. 15