Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 20 (1905)


Lt 229, 1905

Board of Managers of the Huntsville School

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

July 30, 1905

This letter is published in entirety in PCO 109-112. +Note

To the Board of Managers of the Huntsville School

Dear Brethren,—

I have a deep interest in the Huntsville school. For three or four years I have been receiving instruction regarding it. From this school the truth must go forth to many places. The teachers must seek constantly for wisdom from on high, that they may be kept from making serious mistakes. The enemy will bring in everything possible to counterwork the very plans that God would have us carry out. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 1

I am awakened at half-past eleven o’clock. I am bearing a heavy burden in regard to recent transactions at Huntsville. The scenes that took place in connection with the removal of Brother Rogers have again been presented to me. Some things done at that time were most strange and unchristlike. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 2

Brother Rogers was a man who had been chosen to carry the responsibilities of the school. He was a man who had influence and who had accomplished good in the service of God. It was not his choice to go to Huntsville. He was taken from his work in Mississippi contrary to his choice, to stand at the head of the Huntsville school. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 3

The one who had been acting as principal of the school had been retained for some time longer than he should have been, for there were sufficient reasons for his removal. His inefficiency and the necessity for a change were laid before me, but I did not consider it my duty to enter into details and give publicity to the deficiencies of the one who had been serving as principal of the school. When it was decided by the brethren that it would be best for him to be removed, he felt greatly injured. My heart ached for the man, and I did not expose the worst features of his case. I greatly pitied him, that he should stand in such an objectionable light. I wrote to him and calmly pointed out his inefficiency and unfitness to accomplish the work that must be done in Huntsville, and that should have been done long ago. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 4

Under Elder Rogers’ administration there has been a marked reform in Huntsville in some respects. In the circumstances that recently occurred, men took action against a brother that they ought not to have taken. Unless those concerned in this matter undergo a transformation of character so complete that the Lord will accept their repentance, they should sever their connection with the Huntsville school. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 5

This has been presented to me in the past, and tonight I am awakened again by the same presentation. The transactions that took place connected with Elder Rogers’ removal showed a lack of friendly wisdom, a lack of Bible religion. There was a departure from the Word of God. Unless faithful measures are pursued, unless there is genuine repentance, unless confessions are made regarding the wrong spirit manifested, these men cannot be trusted with the responsibilities of the school. The laws of God have been violated. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 6

At one time the disciples came to Jesus with the question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” In answer Jesus called a little child unto Him, and setting him in the midst of them, said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. ... And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” [Matthew 18:1-7.] 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 7

A little child was the illustration chosen by Jesus to correct the false ideas held by the disciples in regard to greatness. Not outward exaltation, not high position, but spiritual excellence, spiritual purity, excellence of speech, meekness, and the carrying out of mercy, justice, and the love of God—this is what the Lord requires of every soul. Men must be truly converted. Their natural defects of disposition must be changed for the virtues of Christ’s character, else they will never enter the kingdom of heaven. They must be humble, charitable, kind, merciful; then they will be called, Blessed of the Lord. They must cherish a humble, submissive spirit, receiving, as would a little child, the lessons given by their Teacher and obeying every word proceeding from His mouth. Because of their love for Him, they are to love all who believe in Him. They are to exert a Christlike influence. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 8

True happiness does not consist in the possession of wealth or position, but in the possession of a pure, clean heart, cleansed by obedience to the truth. A disposition to treat men firmly and generously is essential. To every one is given the opportunity to carry out the principles of heaven. The forgiving of injuries, not the avenging of them, is an exhibition of that wisdom which is true goodness. Christlike love for the men through whom the Lord has wrought is a manifestation of real transformation of character. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 9

The Lord calls for true-hearted men who work with an eye single to His glory. “If thine eye be single,” the word declares, “thine whole body shall be full of light.” [Matthew 6:22.] The eye needs to be able to view things carefully, truly. A diseased eye will make a mountain out of a molehill. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 10

Elder Rogers has made a mistake, but the Lord looks pitifully upon him. He has been accused of that of which he is not guilty. He has been grossly misjudged and treated as if he were a wolf. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 11

In helping himself to some of the school milk, Elder Rogers did not consider himself a thief. He is a liberal man. There is little of selfishness in his nature. He was standing in a position of authority, and he supposed that he could favor himself and afterward return more than he had appropriated. In this he acted unwisely, but his well-known devotion to the interests of the school should have secured for him different treatment from that which he received. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 12

Angels beheld the scene that took place when these men found Elder Rogers helping himself to milk and treated a brother as they would a prowling wolf. Were they without sin? Did they stand guiltless before God? No, no! The test of true religion is doing the will of God. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 13

The Scriptures say, “If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” [Galatians 6:1.] 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 14

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” When a man has a suspicion of another, he should go to the one suspected of wrong and tell him his fault, as the scripture says, “between thee and him alone.” “If he will hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” [Matthew 18:15.] Never is a member of the church to be treated as a rebel until every possible means has been used to bring about an understanding. We are strictly to follow the directions that Christ has taken special pains to give to the church. Not one item is to be disregarded. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 15

Christ compares those who hear and obey His Word to a man who builds his house upon a rock. Through their obedience to God, they abide in safety amidst the storm and tempest of temptation. The man who disregards the words which Christ has spoken is building on the sand. When the storm comes, the structure that he has reared will fall, and great will be the fall of it . 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 16

The effect that will naturally follow the course that has been pursued in the matter of Elder Rogers’ removal has been presented to me. Had the men who are bringing charges against Elder Rogers reasoned wisely, from cause to effect, they would have discerned that the process of getting testimony from students, by questioning them, thus giving them an opportunity to discuss the character of their teacher, was a wrong way in which to work. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 17

They should have realized that even though all their suppositions were true, it was not wise to discuss the errors of a church member and the head of a school with students, to be carried by them to the world. The object of Christ in His teachings is to preserve the sacred, holy character of His church. These brethren have done a greater injury to the cause and work of God than they can comprehend. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 18

There were errors in the church in the days of Christ, but He taught that when a member followed an injudicious course, the knowledge of this was not to be made public property, but was to be confined to the members of the church. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 19

The truth is in our hands, placed there by the Word of God, which is our guidebook, and which is to be closely and sacredly followed. The perfection of a Christian experience is an individual work. If errors are committed by lay members or by ministers or teachers, there is a way to correct them. We must follow the instruction given by our Saviour. We are bound to take the word of a minister of the gospel, unless we have clear evidence that what he says is not true. The Lord condemns any unfair work, such as encouraging others to tell the suspicions that the enemy many have put into their minds and acting upon such accusations. We are to guard jealously the reputation of ministers and church members. To go out of the way to surmise that a brother has sinned, because we have evidence that another man has done evil things, and to give the impression that the brother is guilty of the same things, is hunting up falsehoods to repeat as truth. 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 20

The word of Christ is: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, and considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” [Matthew 7:1-5.] 20LtMs, Lt 229, 1905, par. 21