Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 40, 1893

McCullagh, Brother and Sister

Hastings, New Zealand

September 7, 1893

This letter is published in entirety in 12MR 339-344.

Dear Brother and Sister McCullagh:

It is with sadness that I learn of your affliction. I sympathize with you in your daughter’s illness, and we all pray for you. But, my brother and sister, there is a work that must be done for yourselves, as well as for your child, and I have hope that this work will be done. But let me tell you that unless you are willing to learn, you will not, cannot, obtain that Christian experience which it is so essential for every one of us to have. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 1

I have been much pained as I have thought of your family; my heart aches every time I think of you. Sister McCullagh, you have not that Christian experience which is obtained by walking daily in the footsteps of Jesus. All your life you have followed your own will and way, and you have not strength of character that comes only by perseveringly acting from principle. You have right impulses, and can speak those words that are right, but often you lose your hold of Christ, because you are not led and guided by the Spirit of God. Your Christian experience is fitful, for your own impulses have been brought into your religious life, and the atmosphere that surrounds your soul is more earthly than heavenly. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 2

You have a controlling influence over your husband, and if your heart were a treasure house filled with the Word of God, if your mind were a channel through which God could work, you could be a great blessing to him. But this is not so, neither has it been. You have not obtained those qualifications which it is essential that the wife of a chosen servant of God should have; and therefore you are unable to give spiritual help and wise counsel to your husband. By your words you have planted suspicion in his mind. You have suggested thoughts to him in reference to his brethren in the faith which he never would have [had], had you not suggested them to him. Thus seeds have been planted which were ready to spring into life at any favorable opportunity. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 3

My sister, the transforming grace of Christ must be brought into your heart and mind. When the influence of this grace is seen in your life, you will no longer be a hindrance and a cause of temptation to your husband by bringing to his notice things which others have said and done, and which you think reflect upon his work in the ministry. Your pettish complaints of your brethren and sisters, the suggestions you make concerning them, are not of that character which encourages the Holy Spirit <to preside with you.> They do not stimulate the mind to right actions, but have a depressing influence upon it, and tend to pull it downward. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 4

At times brother Mccullagh thinks that he will no longer entertain the wrong views he has received, but your words are as poison to his mind. The enemy continues to present your views of different matters, and Brother McCullagh decides, It is as my wife says. In turn, he thinks and talks evil of others; and by so doing eats fruit which has been plucked from the tree of knowledge forbidden by God. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 5

The wife of one of our ministers kept her husband, who was a very sensitive-minded man, tortured by suggestions similar to those you have uttered. Upon the words and actions of others she cast untruthful suspicions, and presented her views in such a strong light that her husband thought that she possessed superior insight into character. The Lord gave me a message for this brother and sister, but neither of them received it. He thought that he was right in his belief that his wife possessed superior discernment, and he believed that her suggestions were perfectly true. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 6

Any effort made to enlighten him, or to remove the wrong impressions he had received, were looked upon as a design to deceive him. And the unruly tongue of his wife was constantly at work. Any endeavor to save him from a breakdown was interpreted by her as a desire to put someone else in his place. His brethren worked with all their power to save him, but their plans were construed as deep-laid schemes set on foot to hurt his influence. Thus the work of God was counteracted by home influence. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 7

I saw that God would take this matter into His hands, for nothing but the judgment of God could save the man or remove the blindness brought upon others by the wrong impressions given. All unexpectedly, Sister _____ was paralyzed. Her tongue was forever silenced; she was unable to speak more than a word or two. Today she is a helpless invalid, obliged to be lifted from place to place. She lives, but is as one dead, save that she is a burden and a care to those around her. Her mind, once active in creating distrust, is as the mind of a child. Thus a talent, which if rightly employed would have done good to the church and to the world, was laid in ruins. Both husband and wife are almost useless in the work of the Lord. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 8

I write you these things to show you what one person may do when under the enemy’s training. We needed Bro. _____’s experience in the cause and work of God, and if he had allowed the Holy Spirit to influence him, he would have been a powerful instrument in God’s hand. But Satan triumphed, and his wife remains as a monument of God’s displeasure. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 9

The spiritual and mental powers of Brother _____ should have been strong and vigorous. But they were not, for a cancer was eating away his spiritual life. When advice was given him by his brethren, advice which ought to have helped him, his suspicions were at once aroused; the leaven of distrust began to work. Suspecting that a design was on foot to damage his influence and to supplant him, he rejected counsel which should have been gratefully received. Those trying to help him were looked upon with distrust that has not a vestige of truth for foundation. The plans made to preserve him for the work and cause of God were criticized and looked upon as contrivances to keep him down. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 10

Neither he nor his wife accepted the principles of health reform, chiefly because of her insinuations and misinterpretations. Fully armed to resist light, he took open issue with Dr. Kellogg on the health question, turning to ridicule the reform diet. And both he and his wife used food which could not but bring disease to them. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 11

It was decided that at a certain camp meeting, cheese should not be sold to those on the ground; but on coming to the ground, Dr. Kellogg found to his surprise that a large quantity of cheese had been purchased for sale at the grocery. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 12

He and some others objected to this, but those in charge of the grocery said that the cheese had been bought with the consent of Brother _____, and that they could not afford to lose the money invested in it. Upon this, Dr. Kellogg asked the price of the cheese, and bought the whole of it from them. He had traced the matter from cause to effect, and knew that some foods generally thought to be wholesome, were very injurious. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 13

But imagine the surprise of those who had studied the question of healthful living, to find their brethren working counter to right principles. Thus it was till the time of the General Conference at Minneapolis. We stood on the field of battle for nearly three years, but at that time decided changes took place among our people, and through the grace of God, we gained decided victories. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 14

While in California, we went over the same ground with Elder E. P. Daniels. He was a powerful speaker, and to all appearances had a wonderful control over his congregations. His wife possessed unusual ability and influence, and both were in the employ of the conference, for her influence was fully equal to his. But their course of action was not in harmony with the principles of truth. At times Elder Daniels took his position strongly on the subject of health reform. But he was of a very nervous temperament, and when once he lost his hold of the right principles, he broke down every barrier and by his practice went contrary to that which he had strongly advocated in his teaching. His wife might have helped him much on this point, but she did not. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 15

Reproofs and warnings were sent to both of them, and he always received them. His wife received them too, apparently, but still she continued to set her table as she chose, irrespective of principle. Their children grew up around them and they saw that their parents’ practice of truth was not in accordance with their profession. The mother furnished the table with food which gratified the appetite but which did not properly sustain life. The father was very liberal, too much so in some things, but he did not seem to realize that he must be governed by principle. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 16

This indulgence and mismanagement led to sad results. For a time the father tried to maintain correct discipline, but the mother counteracted his work by acting contrary to his expressed requirements. Her children were indulged with the excuse that their father was too strict, too particular, and they were charged that he must know nothing about it. Thus the children were educated to deceive, in order that discipline might be prevented. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 17

Today this family has no connection with the truth. Because of mismanagement, father, mother, and children are lost to the cause of God. With them, the reaping meant the sowing. 8LtMs, Lt 40, 1893, par. 18