Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)
Lt 19a, 1891
Miller, H. C.
Battle Creek, Michigan
April 2, 1891
Portions of this letter are published in AH 225-226; CG 262; CD 494; 5MR 401-403.
I have some things to say to you in the name of the Lord. The matter has been opened before me and this morning urges itself upon my mind in a most impressive manner. I have been shown some things which are objectionable in your character. I wrote out something for you some time ago, but did not send it, for it seemed to me the time had not come. I will now look this matter up and send it to you soon. 7LtMs, Lt 19a, 1891, par. 1
You are about to make your home in a new country, where you are not known. I would say now, Begin right. Your life would be much happier if you did not feel that absolute authority is vested in you because you are a husband and father. Your practice shows that you misinterpret your position—houseband. You are nervous and dictatorial and often manifest great lack of judgment, so that however you may regard your course at such times, it cannot be made to appear consistent to your wife and children. When once you have taken a position, you are seldom willing to withdraw from it. You are determined to carry out your plans, when many times you are not pursuing the right course and should see it. What you need is more, far more, of love, of forbearance, and less of a determination to have your way both in word and in deed. In the course you are now pursuing, instead of being a houseband, you will be as a vise to compress and distress others. 7LtMs, Lt 19a, 1891, par. 2
You should seek to harmonize with your wife, showing respect for her judgment. She cannot lose her individuality in you or any other mortal, and be a Christian. She belongs to Christ; she is His property and must be true to what she believes to be right and just and Christlike. Never differ from her, even in the slightest particular, before your children if you want their respect and confidence. Never let impulse bear sway over reason. Give the Lord a chance to impress the mind of your wife. Do not feel that all the dictates of conscience must come through you. We have but little time here below, and you need to cultivate traits of character opposite from those you have developed in order to bring to your home peace, harmony, and rest in Jesus. Severity and justice, unmingled with love, will not lead your children to do right. Notice how quickly the combative spirit is aroused in them. Now there is a better way to manage them than by mere compulsion. Justice has a twin sister, which is love. Let love and justice clasp hands in all your management, and you will surely have the help of God to co-operate with your efforts. The Lord, your gracious Redeemer, wants to bless you, and give you His mind and His grace and His salvation, that you may have a character which God can approve. 7LtMs, Lt 19a, 1891, par. 3
It is unfortunate for your wife and children that you are an invalid, because your mind is affected by the condition of your stomach and you are often very exacting. You make a mountain of a molehill; viewed from your stand-point, little things are magnified in importance, just as the enemy wishes to have them. In trying to force others to carry out your ideas in every particular, you often do greater harm than if you were to yield these points. This is true even when your ideas are right in themselves, but in many things they are not correct, they are overstrained as the result of the peculiarities of your organization; therefore you drive the wrong thing, in a strong, unreasonable manner. 7LtMs, Lt 19a, 1891, par. 4
These words were spoken to you by the Lord: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” [Colossians 3:12, 13.] Now just as Christ treats us, mercifully, tenderly, forgiving our transgressions and mistakes, “so also do ye.” “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” [Verse 14.] My brother, could you have heard these words as they were spoken to you in the most impressive manner, they could not but have converted your soul. “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful.” [Verse 15.] Your health will improve when your heart is under the subduing influence of the Spirit of God and you let the peace of God rule, not be a transient guest, in your soul. 7LtMs, Lt 19a, 1891, par. 5
Now I wish to tell you something of what the Lord has shown me, in my own case and a score of others, in reference to diet. Some years ago Elder Loughborough’s family were living very much as yours have been, discarding salt and rigidly following a certain course they had marked out. All were dyspeptic. Elder Loughborough did not have strength to perform his ministerial labors, and the children ate double the amount of food they should have had, because the wants of the stomach were not met. I was shown that the ideas they had received in regard to diet were not to be carried out as they had been. All ate largely, and yet were unsatisfied. Nature, I saw, had a heavy tax put upon her, and yet was not nourished. I have not time now to state all the particulars, but I was shown that death would be the result unless a change was brought about at once. But Elder Loughborough’s wife was possessed of a conscientiousness that was painful, an affliction to herself and all connected with her. Sick and suffering as she was, her conscience—which certainly could not have been a sanctified conscience—held her to the extreme course she had adopted. 7LtMs, Lt 19a, 1891, par. 6
I was shown that the Lord would have them study from cause to effect and see that it was best to break up a routine in which the system was not nourished. It was a mistake to discard salt altogether as they had done; it would be better for them to use it moderately; that instead of eating so largely of gems and potatoes, and gravies, and strong sauce, they would be benefited by using a little meat two or three times a week. Well, Elder Loughborough changed his diet and began to gain in strength. His wife made no change, and she died about a year after I had labored with them so earnestly. 7LtMs, Lt 19a, 1891, par. 7
Now, Brother Miller, I have been shown by the Lord that you are making a mistake in your own diet. A change is necessary for you healthwise. How can you recommend that which you call health reform, when it does so little for you? Just study this matter in a different light from that in which you viewed it heretofore. There is a wide difference in constitutions and temperaments, and the demands of the system differ greatly in different persons. What would be food for one might be poison for another, so precise rules cannot be laid down to fit every case. I cannot eat beans, for they are poison to me; but for me to say that for this reason no one must eat them would be simply ridiculous. I cannot eat a spoonful of milk gravy, or milk toast, without suffering in consequence; but other members of my family can eat these things and realize no such effect; therefore I take that which suits my stomach best, and they do the same. We have no words, no contention, all moves along harmoniously in my large family, for I do not attempt to dictate what they shall or shall not eat. 7LtMs, Lt 19a, 1891, par. 8
Many years ago, while at Dr. Jackson’s I undertook to leave it [salt] off entirely, because he advocated this in his lectures. But he came to me and said, “I request you not to come into the dining hall to eat. A moderate use of salt is necessary to you; without it you will become a dyspeptic. I will send your meals to your room.” After a while, however, I again tried the saltless food, but was again reduced in strength and fainted from weakness. Although every effort was made to counteract the effect of the six-weeks’ trial, I was all summer in so feeble a condition that my life was despaired of. I was healed in answer to prayer, else I should not have been alive today. 7LtMs, Lt 19a, 1891, par. 9
I write this for your good. I am pained to see you suffering so much and wish that you might have better health. It never pays to take extreme views of health reform. From the light that God has given me, I am convinced that a change of diet will benefit your health. Try it, my brother. 7LtMs, Lt 19a, 1891, par. 10