Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10

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Lt 108, 1895

Olsen, O. A.

Cooranbong, N. S. W., Australia

January 18, 1895

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Olsen:

I have not much strength left to write this past week. I have not been well since the camp meeting. I labored in the meeting very hard, carrying a heavy load, both for ministers and people. I knew the Lord could not come into our midst unless there was a change of heart and mind among our ministering brethren, and I knew much was depending on the turn this camp meeting would take. If the Lord were among us we should have an excellent meeting. 10LtMs, Lt 108, 1895, par. 1

I dared not go into the ministers’ meeting. I knew well if I did I should have a decided testimony to bear. I kept away. But the burden was placed upon me unmistakably, and I could not avoid it. I went into the reception tent, and after a solemn season of prayer I told the ministers I had a message to bear to them, and the Lord strengthened me to speak of the unpleasant things which existed among the ministers, calling them by name. 10LtMs, Lt 108, 1895, par. 2

I then said to Elder Daniells, The Lord will surely remove you from your position of trust if you consider that you yourself compose the conference, and that your mind and your judgment must rule the conference. You have come to place confidence in your individual opinion, and persistently carry that opinion, while you leave committees and people behind. You must walk humbly with God. You must respect and heed the counsel the Lord gives you. If you will still be a learner, and consider that your opinions are not faultless, the Lord can do something with you. 10LtMs, Lt 108, 1895, par. 3

You must have confidence in your ministering brethren. The Lord has given them their commission and an experience in the work. He is not giving you all the instruction in regard to plans of work and teaching them nothing. He has not given to one man all the wisdom that is to control the ministerial labors. You are not to place yourself where the ministers must consult you on every point as to how they shall work. Counsel together with your ministering brethren, and never feel it your place to order men here and there, or to cut down their wages without consulting them and learning their situation. 10LtMs, Lt 108, 1895, par. 4

Would you hire a workman to do your business—build you a house or till the soil—and pay him his wages for so doing, then suddenly cut off a shilling from his wages as if you had a perfect right to do so? The hired workman would say, “You hired me to labor for so much a week. A few men or one man changed my wages without asking me if I thought I could for a time labor for a less amount.” The Lord’s cause is as much higher than any earthly, temporal transactions as the heavens are higher than the earth. Soul, body, and spirit are generally taxed to the uttermost limit, and the taxation is oft beyond human strength. 10LtMs, Lt 108, 1895, par. 5

Battle Creek, the very heart of the work, is at fault. In camp meetings and in any special effort, hours of labor are not measured, and who can weigh the burdens borne night and day, the long vigils that are kept during the sleeping hours, the committee meetings and council meetings, cutting into the hours when the weary body needs rest and sleep, when every nerve is strained to the utmost tension, shrieking with pain—who knows and can estimate the taxation in a variety of ways? Can farmers be proper judges? Can carpenters, or men who only labor, working with their hands? If anyone is prepared to answer this question he can do so; but only One knows the burdens of the soul and the strain of mind. 10LtMs, Lt 108, 1895, par. 6

There is not a reasonable, compassionate system carried out in these things. Some men consider their labor in the office at Battle Creek worth thirty dollars per week to the office and have received the same. They are not separated from their families; they are not called to travel hither and thither and yon, meeting with most disagreeable experiences. The ministers’ labor and all the circumstances are to be considered. Clothing has to be furnished—and it must be of a kind suited to the occasion. They incur expense. And then the minister must, in his labor, always have his hand upon his pocketbook to set an example to his brethren by his own liberality, if he would see his brethren liberal. The calls come oft. Money must be raised to help relieve the poor, and the minister must lead out, even when he is compelled to borrow from his brethren. 10LtMs, Lt 108, 1895, par. 7

Let our brethren manifest their wisdom in securing equity in all the Lord’s work, as in the more common, temporal, earthly, enterprises. We ask nothing more than that the principles which have been plainly revealed in the Word of God be followed. Every branch of work connected with the cause of God should be conducted with integrity between man and his fellow man, for there is danger that through false ideas the work of God shall be one long act of injustice and complicated robbery. While some receive much, others receive little. There will be found in men a hidden cupidity, and it becomes a controlling power. 10LtMs, Lt 108, 1895, par. 8

Ministers of the gospel are to be minutemen, always ready to help those who want religious guidance. Your own preferences must be crucified, and a continual watchfulness must be kept up. “Watch for souls as they that must give an account.” [Hebrews 13:17.] The Lord would have His work carried on by better methods, unless we decide to dismiss the Word of God from our counsel and consider that the cause and work of God is an exception to the general rule of justice and equity. I have so many complaints poured in upon me of ministers who feel that they have been wronged, and I cannot say ... [Unfinished.] 10LtMs, Lt 108, 1895, par. 9