Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Lt 182, 1902


Los Angeles, California

September 20, 1902

Portions of this letter are published in 1MR 250-254. +Note

Dear brethren,—

The Lord has at no time guided in the large plans that have been laid for buildings in Los Angeles. He has given light as to how we should move, and yet movements have been made that are contrary to the light and instruction given. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 1

The complete plan in regard to the purchase of the Hill Street property was not laid before me till my last visit to Los Angeles. I was then taken to see this property, and as I walked up the hill in front of it, I heard distinctly a voice that I well know. Had this voice said, “This is the right place for God’s people to purchase,” I should have been greatly astonished. But it said, “Encourage no settlement here of any description. God forbids. My people must get away from such surroundings. This place is as Sodom for wickedness. The place where My institutions are established must be altogether different. Leave the cities, and like Enoch come from your retirement to warn the people of the cities.” 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 2

The words were spoken: “The divine hand is not guiding in the steps that have been taken in regard to this property. The spiritual vision of men has been darkened. Plans have been made that the Lord has not inspired.” 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 3

I was afterward instructed that the whole matter was inspired by human wisdom. Men have followed their own wisdom, which is foolishness with God, and which, if they continue to follow it, will lead to results that they do not now see. The spiritual eyesight has been blinded. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 4

“The light of the body is the eye. If therefore thine eye be single, the whole body shall be full of light.” [Matthew 6:22.] The Lord calls upon those in charge of His work in Southern California to have their eyes anointed with the heavenly eyesalve. This is their only safety. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 5

I am astonished that our brethren should have thought of purchasing the property on Hill Street. It is next door to a large hotel. Had I know this, I would in no case have given my consent to the plans laid before me by Dr. Moran for its use as a restaurant and city treatment rooms. I knew nothing of the surroundings. After I had seen its situation, I knew that I could not for a moment give my consent to the establishment there of an institution of any kind. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 6

To establish an institution for the advancement of God’s work in such a place would be contrary to the light that God has given regarding this work. Think of the annoyance to which the workers would be subjected in such a location. How long would they, with an immense hotel right beside them, be allowed to keep the Sabbath in peace? For us to establish a sanitarium there would be like Lot going into Sodom. It would be worse, because as far as the outward surroundings of Sodom were concerned, it was like the garden of Eden. But on the Hill Street property there is no spare land, and no opportunity to see the beauties of nature. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 7

The erection of the bakery in Los Angeles was premature. The work was not ready for it. If the eyes of the brethren had been anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, they would not have done that which they have done. The erection of so large a bakery building, and the carrying forward of the work planned, meant the investment of means and skill that were not at their command. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 8

God’s people are not to go forward blindly in the investment of means that they have not and know not where to obtain. We must show wisdom in the movements that we make. Christ has laid before us the plan upon which His work is to be conducted. Those who desire to build must first sit down and count the cost, to see whether they are able to carry the building to completion. Before they begin to carry out their plans, they must advise with wise counsellors. If one worker, failing to reason from cause to effect, is in danger of making unwise moves, his fellow workers are to speak works of wisdom to him, showing him where he is in error. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 9

God sees the end from the beginning. He would have no buildings erected for our work except by the united judgment of the workers, and the brethren sharing the responsibilities. These are to study the situation and agree upon every point, and they are to become satisfied that their plans are in harmony with the will of the Lord. Let the councils of our people be conducted with a view to earnest, aggressive work. But let not a stone be laid in the building up of new plans until there is a complete understanding among the workers. In such matters, individual responsibility is not in the order of God. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 10

Some of the movements that have been made in the work in Southern California have not been inspired by God, and these movements have left a shadow on the work. But the mistakes that have been made may work out for good if they are accepted as showing the need of all being interested in the work of God and the manner of its advancement. The work in all its branches is to be carried forward in a way that will recommend its existence. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 11

The Lord calls upon the workers in Southern California to come into line, and to make no movements that will hinder Him in working in accordance with His own purposes. We must wait for the Lord, and learn from Him how to advance the work in Southern California. We are not to make hurried movements, but wait in patience until the Lord prepares the way before us. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 12

I am told that Dr. Kellogg advised the brethren to go ahead and build in the city of Los Angeles. But did he not know that the Lord has given instruction in regard to the need of getting out of the cities? As far as possible, our institutions should be located away from the cities. We must have workers for these institutions, and if they are located in the city, that means that families of our people must settle near them. But it is not God’s will that His people shall settle in the cities, where there is constant turmoil and confusion. Their children should be spared this; for the whole system is demoralized by the hurry and rush and noise. The Lord desires His people to move into the country, where they can settle on the land, and raise their own fruit and vegetables, and where their children can be brought in direct contact with the works of God in nature. Take your families away from the cities, is my message. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 13

The truth must be spoken, whether men will hear, or whether men will forbear. The cities are filled with temptation. We should plan our work in such a way as to keep our young people as far as possible from this contamination. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 14

The cities are to be worked from outposts. Said the messenger of God, “Shall not the cities be warned? Yes; not by God’s people living in them, but by their visiting them, to warn them of what is coming upon the earth.” 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 15

Our restaurants will have to be in the cities. In regard to these restaurants, I am instructed to say that too much of an effort is being made to have one large restaurant in a city. It would be more in the order of the Lord to have several smaller ones. He desires a work to be done for those who are served. The sowing of the seeds of truth, not the obtaining of a large number of patrons, is to be the first consideration. Numbers are no true evidence of success. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 16

The words were spoken: “Do not flatter yourselves that because a large number come each day to the restaurant, you are making great advancement in the work. What are you doing to save souls? You gather in a large company, and then feed them at too low a price. You employ your helpers at too low a price. What encouragement have they that they are doing God’s service?” 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 17

Our Instructor turned to the men in charge of the Los Angeles restaurant, and said, “Do you realize that your work is weighed in the balances, and found wanting? It is no evidence, because you feed a large number every day, that you are accomplishing the greatest good. Would it not be well to have a fewer number, and then work for their salvation by well-defined methods. Boast not of numbers. Where are the souls that have been led to feel an interest in present truth?” 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 18

What of your helpers? Are they becoming indifferent in regard to the truth? If they are, and if no effort is being made to give spiritual help to them and to those who come each day for meals, the business might better be carried on by unbelievers; for this would not exert so strong an influence against the truth. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 19

My brethren, carry on your work in a way that will fortify souls against temptation, rather than lead them into temptation. 17LtMs, Lt 182, 1902, par. 20