Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 95, 1892

Olsen, O. A. [?]



Previously unpublished.

Now in regard to Brother Curtis. Willie and I have talked over the matter, and we cannot see the wisdom in sending him this far distance. Had our conference evidence of his ability as a missionary? What evidence had they that the man was fitted for a laborer in a new and strange country? 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 1

I have not had conversation with any one in regard to Brother Curtis until today; I spoke a few words with Brother Tenney. And Sister Daniells has been writing out some things on the Calligraph, private testimony for him, and she said a few words in confirmation of the testimony given him. He has quite an imposing appearance, but he has not the true inwardness of the work. Will you please see that he is called from this field. He has, according to the light given me, done injury to the cause in provoking and accepting debates and bringing the truth to trail in the dust, because he could not do justice to the advocacy of truth, and our enemies triumphed. They were sharp, wily, self-confident opponents. Elder Curtis went into the conflict and brought shame and sorrow on our brethren. It is this influence which has injured the opinions of Australians of the American missionaries. He takes from the treasury fifteen dollars per week, but he gathers no sheaves. It will not pay. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 2

The church in Adelaide are so much in the dark under such spiritual instruction that they cannot see the difficulties; they are glad to have one who can preach. Some who are spiritual see these things as they are, and see [that] the church is weak and without spirituality. Did our people send Elder Curtis here to get rid of him? May the Lord forgive them if they did. He married one of our mission girls, an excellent woman. She loves her husband. He had three ____ children [by his first wife]; one is deficient in mental ability. These children are coarse and rude. But the man could not, or did not, reason that this was sufficient burden for the delicate, finely organized new wife; but as fast as possible two children, and then [several] others, I learn. But the vitality of the frail wife was not enough, and she did not carry them her full time. And if he has no more wisdom in managing the church than in his own family, the Lord pity the poor church. The man now has five children to support; and what a care, what a burden, for the wife to be left with this care. She never complains. They say she is meek and patient. But I have strong indignation against such men. I do not think he should remain in this country. He molds the church to do nothing. Help must come. We will not burden you longer on this subject. But be cautious whom you send. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 3

I tell you, we have made no mistake in taking Elder Starr and his wife. If he and Elder Rousseau could stand here in Australia and work together in an educating school, talent might be developed to make workers; but there is so little influence drawing in the right direction that we cannot be surprised that men are not qualified to enter the field without much more instruction and training than they have had. May the Lord give wisdom. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 4

I was told that here I would have no such burdens as I had in America; no one would resist my words. When these first embraced the truth, they were ardent, they were tenderhearted in the ardor of their first love; they were full of hope and courage and joy; but trials came, and discouragements and disappointments; and although my testimonies are received, they do not know how to act upon them unless they have constant continuous labor for a time. You know how hard it was for the old hands to get hold in America, and how many opposed. There is no opposition; but there is not understanding what they are to do, and how to seek the Lord in earnest and know that they have a personal Saviour. Elder Tenney has not an experience that qualifies him to be a pastor. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 5

This is a large church, and unless help comes, I know not how they will become a live healthful church. Should opposing ministers attack the Sabbathkeepers, there is not a man whom we would dare have stand in defense of the truth. Elder Daniells would do the best; but he lacks in some things. Elder Corliss would be heartily welcomed here, I think, by all. I have not exchanged a word with Willie. But I am sometimes sorry that when he was so earnest to come, he was not allowed to come. There is not a man here that has the knowledge that is necessary upon the general workings of the cause, and that with intelligence can communicate what he does know. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 6

Elder Tenney is a kindhearted, well-disposed man, anxious to do something, but is not able to do the very things which will need to be done. The people are anxious to know just what to do; but they stand like a disorganized army without a captain or general. Elder Tenney feels terribly over the state of things here, and would do all he could to change matters; but he simply does not have the qualifications to do this. He is not apt to teach, to set things in order, and create an interest and keep things running in a lively, interested manner. O, there must be the best kind of talent brought in here, those who will be earnest, energetic, decided, firm, yet kind. Forces could then be set in operation in the church to put forth well-planned, systematic labor in the great city of Melbourne. Then there are beautiful suburban towns that could be worked; but scarcely anything is being done. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 7

One Sister Martyn has an opposing husband; she has seven children to care for; yet this woman does more missionary work than any other woman in Australia. What is wanted is the spirit of intense interest this woman is imbued with. She does a great deal of work, for her heart is in it. She visits the sick, cares for, in her own family, several orphans, and she is in every sense a laborer together with God. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 8

The two last times I spoke to the people in my great feebleness, the solemn power of God so impressed me with the situation of the church I could not restrain my tears. I thought that Elder Tenney and Willie thought I gave them quite a severe picture of their case. I did not expect to speak as I did. I commenced a subject, but it was all taken away, and an entirely new matter put in my mouth. I presented before them the opportunities of what they might do in letting their light shine forth to the people. I asked them, What do your passing resolutions amount to? Verily nothing; you do not act or carry out one-tenth of them. What do your missionary meetings accomplish? Verily nothing; you have a form, but your meetings are dying a natural death for want of wise generalship to set things in motion and keep them working, reaching one line of work after another, and making every one feel that he has something to do. I am not able to visit; I wish I were. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 9

Elder Tenney visited me yesterday. I promised to speak Sabbath. He spoke of the two last meetings in which I spoke, and said there was no question with any whence came the testimony to the church; he said many felt deeply. But they inquire, What shall we do that we might work the works of God? I was glad to hear Brother Tenney say what he did, for I feared he thought I was setting things home too closely. He says many were affected deeply, but they need some one to particularly instruct them how to find Jesus their personal Saviour. He cannot do this. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 10

O, that the Lord would heal me that I might work! Well, the Lord knows all about it. Why am I here? Why am I in pain and suffering, and spending so many sleepless nights? I cannot answer why. If you can read this I shall be glad; but my arm is so painful from the shoulder blade I can not do good writing. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 11

Love to your wife and children. 7LtMs, Lt 95, 1892, par. 12