Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 19, 1896

Caldwell, W. F.


June 7, 1896 [typed]

Portions of this letter are published in TSB 207-208; 3MR 306. +Note


I have labored with you and tried to make you understand the position that you should occupy, considering that you are a married man who has children in America. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 1

You have not taken to yourself the counsel given you in the fear of God and love for your soul. I am disgusted with your folly. I am fully convinced that I cannot place responsibilities in your hands, neither can I trust you to help me in my writings, or to be a manager of my business. Could I secure the services of my nephew, Byron Belden, I am sure I would have good help, and far less trouble of mind. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 2

I have had very little help from Fannie for many months, <not because she cannot work, but> her association with you has caused her to have an experience which has unfitted her to do anything in my work. I want you to understand that I am not pleased with your course of action. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 3

The night before the picnic I heard much scrabbling around in the tent, and inquired of Ella White what it all meant? I told her it pained my heart to hear such loud laughing; it did not become Christians to indulge in such levity. The answer came, Maude Camp had baked up things to take to the picnic, and hid them away so that Caldwell could not find them, for Maude says that if he can get hold of anything like pies of cake he will eat them. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 4

He searched all through her trunk, all through her bed, and every where he could think of looking, but did not find them. This is what we were laughing about. <I spoke with Maude [and] she gave the same report as did Ella.> This, thought I, is the example which is being placed before our children and youth, by one who is a husband and father, and who is entrusted with most solemn responsibilities. Such an influence, such actions, would counteract all that I might try to do. All these things are an offense to God. Such exhibitions show a coarse, uncultivated taste. It exceeds the limits of Christian sobriety, and of propriety. It shocks my soul. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 5

Such things as loud laughter at the table, jesting, loud responses, to some silly remark made by the workman, jars upon my feelings like a note of discord. It is rude, it is reckless; it is more like the excitement of the irrational animals than that of reasoning beings. Such things show a brutishness and earthliness which is inconsistent with the profession of a Christian. It seems like death knell to spirituality, and all such merriment is weighted with pain to my heart. This boisterous laughing at every thing said sounds to me like drunken revelings, and is a disgrace to the man or woman who indulges in it. This cheap, common talk, and terrible boisterous laughter causes grief and pity in my soul. I have <oft> expressed what pain it gives me, for I think how such things must appear to the heavenly Messengers. My tent is so near the dining tent that I can hear all this. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 6

“It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this is also vanity.” Ecclesiastes 7:5, 6. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 7

“I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it?” Ecclesiastes 2:2. These things are painful to me. I am really ashamed of you for such exhibitions as this, searching through a young girl’s trunk and bed to find that which you wanted to gratify your taste with. You do not seem to have a sense of propriety and wisdom. Can you not see that your influence as a Christian leader is dead because of these things? 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 8

I cannot consent to have you as my agent, because you are not right in the sight of God. You can rebuke a child because she is not diligently employed, when it is none of your business to dictate in any such matters, <for you love to show your authority.> I had told her that I did not have her come up here to work in the kitchen. I was paying Maude three dollars per week; her brother I gave one dollar per week, besides furnishing him with two suits of clothes and giving him his board, and it was his place to help his sister. Ella was not well and I wanted her to come up here where she could be out of doors in the woods and enjoy the rest. The mere matter of cooking was costing me four dollars per week, clean money, besides their board amounting to two and a half dollars, making five per week. Then one dollar for the washing makes it cost me ten dollars per week simply to get my house work done. Yet you feel it your privilege to tell the child that she had to go and help Maude in the place of playing around. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 9

I see that the constant tendency of your character is to be arbitrary and overbearing. I do not want you to connect with me in any line. Misapprehension produces unkindness, and unkindness provokes unkindness in return. You are petulant and create unkind feelings in others. Harsh, hasty speech, <censuring and accusing,> is common with you, and I cannot have such an element in my family. All harsh judgment is wrong, because our Master condemns it. Gentleness of words and actions is right, because Christ taught this in all His lessons. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 10

I must now leave this place to return to Granville. I had thought I would leave Ella here that she might become stronger by running out in the woods and enjoying the fresh air; but I see that I dare not leave her, I must take her with me. <I would not have her under the influence of you and Fannie under any circumstances.> 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 11

I feel deeply over another matter, and that is your visiting Fannie in her tent. I have already decided that you two cannot work together. You are a married man, father of two children. If your wife has obtained a divorce from you, that does not leave you free to marry again, as I read my Bible. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 12

When I conversed with you I counselled you to act as a Christian and be doubly guarded, and abstain from the very appearance of evil. But I, a gray-head woman, will no longer be on the ground, and in leaving so many workers here, I warn you that there will be need of constant watchfulness and prayer, that you may be kept from falling into temptation. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 13

Before leaving I must lay down some rules. There is no call for Caldwell to visit Fannie’s tent. Fannie has not been in working order for some time. Her association with you is largely the cause of this. I know this to be so, and therefore I say, Keep away from her tent. When I am away you will feel that you have a fine opportunity to get in to her society whenever you can; and I cannot go without warning you and charging you to keep yourself to yourself. I want no reproach brought upon me, nor upon this community, by imprudent, careless habits or practices. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 14

I do not want you to have anything to do with the horses. You have not proved yourself a kind man in dealing with youth, or in the treatment of the animals. You love to show your authority when you have an opportunity. It is in you to be arbitrary. It seems to relieve your feelings to cut the horses with the whip. I have seen you do this quite often when you did not suppose I was watching you. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 15

I told Willie that I could not have you superintend anything on my place, for you were in that state of mind that you would not be crossed even by a dumb animal, without being cruel to it and causing it to suffer if you had a chance. Your own body should take the stripes just as deservedly as the bodies of the dumb animals. The same witness that stood before Baalim has stood before you, as indignant at your course of action as he was at the perverse spirit of Baalim in his exhibited cruelty to the dumb animal. The Lord looks upon every act of cruelty performed by those to whom He has given reasoning faculties. He sees how they act out the impulse of their own evil heart, in beating and abusing dumb animals, and He will requite for these things. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 16

We are all making our future destiny. Decisions are being made for eternity. Every action of this kind repeated, is charged against you in the books of heaven, and against every human being who shall pursue such a course of action. There is a certain dignity possessed by dumb animals, and the Lord uses them as His agents to do good. He causes them to show sympathy and tenderness to their companions in suffering. There are vicious animals, as there are vicious human beings; but there are animals in the brute creation that naturally have affection for those who have charge of them, which is far superior to the affection of many human beings. They form attachments which are not broken without great suffering on their part. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 17

At the stable, and in other places, I have seen you act the part of a tyrant toward the horses when you did not think that you were observed. I held my peace when I ought to have spoken to you. When you were hitching up the team, I have seen you strike Jessie on the head, and trash your own horse. But I did not want you to be tempted to tell a falsehood, and charge the blame upon the dumb animal, so I kept still. At times you have treated your own horse very cruelly. If the strokes you gave him had fallen upon your body, it would have been far more appropriate. It is your treatment of him that has made it impossible for you to go near his head. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 18

You have whipped your horse most shamefully because he did not do as you wished, and you have also whipped Jessie, as kind and gentle an animal as any one could wish. People have asked me, Why do you allow him to have anything to do with your horses. He has whipped Jessie for nothing whatever, merely because he took a notion to. You may say, This is not true; but it is <true.> Your wrong habits of eating have so educated your moral powers that you have not the spirit of a Christian. Your temper is perverse, and your treatment of dumb animals is wrong. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 19

I have been taken back in your life, and have seen the spirit which is revealed in you, working out evil. You delight to hurt and bruise. If the tenderness of Christ was in your heart, you would not treat animals as you do. Would Jesus do as you have done. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 20

While at Tasmania, I dreamed I was travelling with a company, of which you were one. Several teams had passed on before yours. You felt annoyed at this. Your horses seemed to be weary, but you lashed them and scolded them, fuming and fretting, because you were behind. You kept touching them with your whip to make them travel faster, notwithstanding the poor beasts seemed to be doing their very best. A tall, dignified man stepped up and took your horses by the bridle, led them a few steps to one side, spoke gently to them, and calmed down their excited spirits. He then turned to you, asking your name, which he wrote in a book. He said to you, Do your remember Baalim? An angel spoke in behalf of his dumb animal, which he was ill-treating. This angel stood ready with flaming sword to destroy Baalim, because he was going contrary to the will of the Lord, and following out his own will and way, after the Lord had said, Thou shalt not curse Israel. After this tall, dignified man had written your name in a book he said to you, “A merciful man is merciful to his beast.” 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 21

Your spirit is after the attributes of Satan. The dumb animals are God’s property. They cannot speak to utter a protest, but that God who watches over the little sparrows, so that not one falls to the ground without His knowledge, is watching you. He is present on every occasion when you manifest an evil, cruel spirit by beating the beasts which are doing you service. God will call you to an account for such actions. The development of such a character is an offense to Him, and the mischief done to yourself is great. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 22

God created the dumb animals to be a benefit and a blessing to man; and any one who will vent his passionate, wicked feelings on the Lord’s creatures is manifesting a spirit which is akin to the cruel spirit of Satan. Unless you are transformed in character, and view things in a different light, you will never see the kingdom of heaven. You are not a Christian. Does God deal with you, an intelligent, reasoning being, because of your perversities of character, as you deal with the animals that are not blessed with intelligence? These animals are guided and controlled by those who are required to represent a kind, tender, pitiful God. God will punish the abuse of shown to man or beast. You show a perverse, hard, unfeeling spirit in the treatment of those helpless ones who need tender, thoughtful care. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 23

How does the Master of these dumb animals look upon man, made superior in every way by the gift of reason and speech, who will treat His creatures disrespectfully? Even though these animals may be His slaves, given to serve Him, they are not given Him to abuse, and it lowers a man in the sight of God when he treats animals in a cruel way. The record against such is, Unfaithful stewards. They can never enter the kingdom of heaven, for their temper is in accordance with that of Satan. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 24

When any young woman sees a man pursuing a wrong course in the treatment of living creatures, she may well consider that the same spirit will be acted out in his treatment toward his wife and children if they do not meet his ideas and plans. By a repetition of acts of cruelty toward the dumb animals, a man educated himself to be harsh and cruel; he brutalizes himself, and instead of inspiring love and confidence in the members of his family, they are led to fear him. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 25

In all the walks of life, there is a power in the Christian whose heart is filled with tender sympathy; but if that sympathy is used in sustaining evil, it is not after the similitude of Christ, and becomes a snare. Good is not to be treated as evil, or evil as good. Those whom God has made His agents, to give reproof and correct wrongs, are often hindered in their work by those who consider that God is using them as peacemakers. These stand directly in the way to counteract the work of God in condemning wrong and sustaining righteousness, and are pleasing the enemy and helping him. He who fears the Lord, and walks in the ways of righteousness, will not strengthen the hands of evil-doers, by sympathizing with them and upholding them, thus weakening and discouraging the efforts of those upon whom the Lord has laid unenviable and disagreeable work. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 26

Sin is not to be clothed with the garments of righteousness; but those who do this may suppose that they are doing a praise-worthy act. God has naught to do with their words, Peace, peace, to the wrong doer. When the Lord sets his watchmen to warn the wicked of his course, if any human being steps in as a middle man to lift that burden which the Lord wants the wrong doer to feel, he has the guilt of that wrong doer upon his own soul. The man or woman who would lessen the effect of the words spoken by God’s messenger is helping the arch-fiend in His work. Let Satan, who is thus working the human agent, be confounded. Let not the idea of love and sympathy help the devil in retaining his power over the human agent. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 27

May the Lord have mercy, and open the eyes of the unwise sympathizer, who carries on a warfare at his own charges. He engages in a work which God has never sent him to do. 11LtMs, Lt 19, 1896, par. 28