Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17

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Lt 157, 1902

Directors of Los Angeles Medical Missionary Benevolent Association

St. Helena, California

October 13, 1902

This letter is published in entirety in 4MR 280-290.

To the Directors of the Los Angeles County Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association

Dear brethren,—

During my stay in Southern California, I was enabled to visit places that in the past have been presented to me by the Lord as suitable for the establishment of sanitariums and a school. For years I have been given special light that we are not to establish large centers for our work in the cities. The turmoil and confusion that fills these cities, the conditions brought about by the labor unions and the strikes, would prove a great hindrance to our work. Men are seeking to bring those engaged in the different trades under certain unions. This is not God’s planning, but the planning of a power that we should in no case acknowledge. God’s Word is fulfilling; the wicked are binding themselves in bundles ready to be burned. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 1

We are now to use all our entrusted capabilities in giving the last warning message to the world. In this work we are to preserve our individuality. We are not to unite with secret societies or with trade unions. We are to stand free in God, looking constantly to Christ for instruction at every step. All our movements are to be made with a realization of the importance of the work to be accomplished for the Lord. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 2

I have been instructed that the work in Southern California should have advantages that it has not yet enjoyed. I have been shown that in Southern California there are properties for sale on which buildings are already erected that could be utilized for our work, and other properties in localities especially suited to sanitarium work, and that such properties will be offered to us at much less than their original cost. In these places, away from the din and confusion of the congested cities, we can establish sanitariums in which the sick can be cared for in the way in which God designs them to be cared for. In our efforts to help the sick, we are to take them away from the cities, where they are continually annoyed by the noise of trains and street cars, and where there is little besides houses to see, to places where they can be surrounded by the scenes of nature, where they can have the blessing of fresh air and sunshine. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 3

This subject was laid out before me in Australia. Light was given me that the cities would be filled with confusion, violence, and crime, and that these things would increase till the close of this earth’s history. There is much to be said on this point. Instruction is to be given line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. And our physicians and teachers should be quick to see the advantages of retired locations for our sanitariums and schools. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 4

Properties such as these to which I have referred are being offered to us, and some of them we should purchase when it is plain that they are what we need, and when provision can be made for their acquisition without a burdensome debt. Where there are orchards on these places, so much the better, but on other properties, where the buildings are just what we need, trees can be set out. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 5

The fact that in many cases the owners of these properties are anxious to dispose of them, and are therefore willing to sell at a low price, is greatly in our favor. We must study economy in the outlay of means. At this stage of our work, we are not to erect large buildings in any of the cities. And we are not to follow extravagant and unduly large plans in our work in any place. We are to remember the cities that have been neglected and that must now be worked. The people in these cities must have the light of truth. In our establishment of sanitariums, we are not to spend large sums of money in the erection of costly buildings; for there are many places to be worked. We are to be wise in securing advantages already provided that the Lord desires us to have. We are to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves in our efforts to secure country properties at a low figure, and from these outpost centers we are to work the cities. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 6

The work in Southern California is to advance more rapidly than it has advanced in the past. The means lying in banks or hidden in the earth are now called for to strengthen the work in Southern California. Every year many thousands of tourists visit Southern California, and by various methods we should try to reach them with the truth. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 7

Our medical missionary work in Los Angeles should be in a far more favorable position than it is. The Lord designs that much more shall be done in this city than has been done there. But I cannot speak freely about this at present for fear that men will take advantage of what I say and will endeavor, by my words, to vindicate wrong plans. Some of the brethren in Los Angeles have at times lacked spiritual discernment. They have not always been able to see what could be done by proper effort on their part. A large work has been done in some lines, but the methods followed have not been such as to bring glory to God in the saving of souls. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 8

I have been instructed that the greatest work that we can do in this life is to prepare ourselves and to help others to prepare for the future immortal life. We are to arrange our business in such a way that we and all who are connected with us shall be able to serve God with all our powers. We must allow nothing to intervene that would obscure our vision of heavenly things. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 9

The Restaurant Work

We must do more than we have done to reach the people of our cities. We are not to erect large buildings in these cities, but over and over again the light has been given that plants should be made in every city of America. We have no time to neglect the doing of this work, which for years has been outlined before us. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 10

The Lord has a message for our cities, and this message we are to proclaim in our camp-meetings and through our publications. In addition to this, hygienic restaurants are to be established in the cities, and by them the message of temperance is to be proclaimed. Arrangements should be made to hold meetings in connection with our restaurants. Whenever possible, let a room be provided where the patrons can be invited to lectures on the science of health and Christian temperance, where they can receive instruction on the preparation of wholesome food and on other important subjects. In these meetings there should be prayer and singing and talks on appropriate Bible subjects. As the people are taught how to preserve physical health, many opportunities will be found to sow the seeds of the gospel of the kingdom. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 11

The subjects should be presented in such a way as to impress the people favorably. There should be in the meetings nothing of a theatrical nature. The singing should not be done by a few only. All present should be encouraged to join in the song service. There are those who have a special gift of song, and there are times when a special message is borne by one singing alone or by several uniting in song. But the singing is seldom to be done by a few. The ability to sing is a talent of influence, which God desires all to cultivate and use to His name’s glory. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 12

Those who come to our restaurants should be supplied with reading matter. Leaflets treating on the lessons of Christ should be given them. The burden of supplying this reading matter should be shared by all our people. All who come should be given something to read. It may be that many will leave the tract unread, but one among those in whose hands you place it may be searching for light. He will read and study what you give him and then, perhaps, will pass it on to others. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 13

The workers in our restaurants should live in such close connection with God that He can send to them the conviction to talk personally about spiritual things to such and such a one who comes to the restaurant. When self is crucified, and Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, we shall reveal, in thought, word, and deed, the reality of our belief in the truth. The Lord will be with us, and through us the Holy Spirit will work to reach those who are out of Christ. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 14

This is the work that God has instructed me should be done by those in our restaurants. I did not suppose that they would have any other policy than to proclaim the message for this time. I can see no other reason for the existence of our restaurants than the proclamation of this message. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 15

Care of the Helpers

Our restaurant managers are to work for the salvation of the employees. They are not to overwork, placing themselves where they have neither strength nor inclination to help the workers spiritually. They are to devote their best powers to instructing their employees in spiritual lines, explaining the Scriptures to them, and praying with them and for them. They are to guard the religious interests of the helpers as carefully as parents are to guard the religious interests of their children. Patiently and tenderly they are to watch over them, doing all in their power to help them to perfect Christian characters. Their words are to be like apples of gold in pictures of silver; their actions are to be free from every trace of selfishness and harshness. They are to stand as minute men, watching for souls as they that must give account. They are to strive to keep their helpers standing on vantage ground, where their courage will constantly grow stronger and their faith in God constantly increase. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 16

Unless a change takes place soon in the way that some of our restaurants are conducted, I shall feel under obligation to warn our people against sending their children to them as workers. Many of those who patronize our restaurants do not bring with them the angels of God; they do not desire the companionship of these holy beings. They bring with them a worldly influence, and to withstand this influence, the workers need to be closely connected with God. The managers of our restaurants must do more to save the young people in their employ. They must put forth greater efforts to keep them alive spiritually, so that their young minds will not be swayed by the worldly spirit with which they are constantly brought in contact. As I viewed the girls and the young women in the Los Angeles restaurant, my heart ached. They need a shepherd. Every one of them needs to be sheltered by home influences. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 17

There is danger that the youth, entering our restaurants as believers, and desiring to help in the cause of God, will become weary and disheartened, losing their zeal and courage and growing cold and indifferent. We cannot crowd these youth into small, dark rooms, and deprive them of the privileges of home life, and then expect them to have a wholesome religious experience. The care that should be given to these employees is one of the reasons that it would be better to have in a large city several small restaurants instead of one large one. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 18

I have been shown that the workers are to be brought together where they can be as a family, where they feel that they are in a home. They are God’s helping hand, and they are to be treated as carefully and tenderly as Christ declared that the little child whom He set in the midst of His disciples was to be treated. “Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me,” He said, “it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. ... Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 18:6, 10.] 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 19

Instead of trying to maintain one large restaurant in each city, it will be better to establish several smaller ones in different parts. These smaller ones will recommend the principles of health reform just as well as the larger establishment and will be much more easily managed. Besides, we are not commissioned to feed the world, but to educate, educate. In smaller restaurants, there is not so much work to do, and the helpers have more time to devote to the study of the Word, more time to learn how to do their work well, and more time to answer the inquires of the patrons who are desirous of learning about the principles of health reform. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 20

Let us give more time to the study of the Bible. We do not understand the Word as we should. The book of Revelation opens with an injunction to us to understand the instruction that it contains. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy,” God declares, “and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand.” [Revelation 1:3.] When we as a people understand what this book means to us, there will be seen among us a great revival. We do not understand fully the lessons that it teaches, notwithstanding the injunction given us to search and study it. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 21

Our object in restaurant work should be the conversion of souls. If we fulfil the purpose of God in this work, the righteousness of Christ must go before us and the glory of the Lord must be our rearward. But if there is no ingathering of souls, if the helpers themselves are not spiritually benefited, if they are not glorifying God in word and deed, why should we open and maintain such establishments? If we cannot conduct our restaurants to God’s glory, if we cannot exert through them a strong religious influence, it would be better for us to close them up and use talents of our youth in other lines of work. But I believe that our restaurants can be so conducted that they will be the means of saving souls. Let us seek the lord earnestly for humility of heart, that He may teach us how to walk in the light of His counsel, how to understand His Word, how to accept it, and how to put it into practice. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 22

Closing Our Restaurants on the Sabbath

Before leaving Los Angeles, I had an opportunity to talk with Mrs. Moran in regard to some of these matters. She asked me about the advisability of keeping the restaurant open on the Sabbath for a limited number. I told her that there was danger of breaking the law of God by serving a few on the Sabbath as well as by serving many. To serve either a few or many on this day will give the impression that we are lax in principle, and thus a wrong influence will be exerted on both patrons and helpers. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 23

Since the last General Conference, this matter has been clearly presented to me. Our restaurants should not be opened on the Sabbath. Unless they are closed, and the Lord’s day is honored, the blessing of God cannot be expected to rest upon this branch of His work. Those who are engaged in our restaurants must have opportunity to rest on the Sabbath, else they will backslide. The Lord does not require them to furnish meals for the public on the Sabbath. If those who come to our restaurants choose to take away with them on Friday health foods sufficient to last over the Sabbath, let them do this. But our restaurants workers should not be asked to work on the Sabbath. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 24

The closed doors on the Sabbath stamp the restaurant as a memorial for God—a memorial that declares that the seventh day is the Sabbath, and that on it no unnecessary work is to be done. When thinking men find that our restaurants are closed on the Sabbath, they will begin to make inquiries in regard to the principles that lead us to close our doors on Saturday. In answering their questions, we shall have opportunity to make them acquainted with the truth for this time. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 25

There is danger that our restaurants will be conducted in such a way that our helpers will work very hard day after day and week after week, and yet not be able to point to any good accomplished. This matter needs careful consideration. We have no right to bind our young people up in a work that yields no fruit to the glory of God. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 26

There is danger that the restaurant work, though regarded as a wonderfully successful way of doing good, will be so conducted that it will promote merely the physical good of men and women. Those chosen to manage this work must be careful, consecrated men, lest investigation prove that the cause of God is not advanced by the efforts put forth. A work may apparently bear the features of supreme excellence, but it is not good in God’s sight unless it is performed with an earnest desire to do His will and fulfil His purpose. If God is not recognized as the Author and End of our actions, they are weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting. 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 27

Religious life must characterize our business transactions if we keep the breath of life in our souls. We have been instructed that pure, strong faith in a “Thus saith the Lord” must bear a signal part in all our business enterprises, else all who are connected with these enterprises, whatever they may be, will stand on losing ground. When God can accept us as laborers together with Him in seeing to save the souls ready to perish, He can co-operate with us in carrying forward the enterprises with which we are connected. And His co-operation places us where our efforts work out His plans. It unites us with Christ, and from Him we derive the nourishment that enables us to bear “much fruit.” [John 15:5.] 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 28

“In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.” [Galatians 5:6.] Let us walk humbly with God, seeking Him diligently and serving Him earnestly, lest we be found unprofitable servants. Our Lord loves to have us trust Him implicitly, recognizing the sacredness of His work and His power to carry it forward. We need not be in darkness and doubt. Christ is constantly inviting us, “Look unto me. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [Isaiah 45:22; John 8:12.] No man can look to Christ without being strengthened and uplifted. By beholding Him, he is changed into the same image and cherishes the same spirit. All sullenness and gloom are gone. His experience is as clear as the sunlight. The consciousness that Jesus loves him fills him with joy and gladness, and he reflects the divine image. His constant question is, “What shall I render unto thee for thine infinite love and mercy to me? I am thy servant; for thou hast loosed my bonds.” 17LtMs, Lt 157, 1902, par. 29