Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 22 (1907)


Ms 158, 1907

Unity in Council Meetings

Loma Linda Sanitarium, California

December 1907

Previously unpublished.

I have been having a talk with Elder Cottrell, Elder Haskell, and Elder Burden. I have tried to describe to them the council meetings we used to have, for they did not seem to understand about the five men. When important decisions were to be made, special pains were taken to have our plans first with five, then with eleven, then with twenty, before bringing before the whole meeting plans we wished to carry. I told them, W. C. White, how your father managed. No abrupt propositions were made before the five men, who were of quick understanding, were made acquainted with everything that your father designed to bring before the people. We had special seasons of prayer with the five, then carefully explained how we wished to have certain things without a dissenting voice. After most earnest prayer, propositions were made regarding the matter in question. 22LtMs, Ms 158, 1907, par. 1

Your father made everything straight and plain, and the five were made acquainted with what they hoped to do in regard to carrying the message and how it should be presented, and then they prayed earnestly for the Lord to impress their own hearts individually. After prayer a hymn was sung, and there was shaking hands, and all seemed to be blessed. Then these men were taken into counsel, and next a larger number—twenty—and all the plans were carefully explained and how the matters were to be. Then by vote twenty more were selected, all the explanations were given, [and it was stated], “Now if you all feel perfectly free to vote for these things to be done, rise to your feet.” Then there was another praying season, and the Spirit of the Lord was present. We felt that pledge of union in action was essential. Then this number were to compose the committee to manage the large gatherings, after specifications were made, and the twenty were to combine with the number who had already been chosen. These picked men were to be in the special meetings to appoint camp-meetings and to work to the very best of their ability harmoniously. All united in perfect harmony, pledging themselves to exert their individual capabilities to work to the point that everything should be carried in our camp-meetings and in all essential meetings with unity and love and with the glory of God in view. 22LtMs, Ms 158, 1907, par. 2

Each had liberty of expression. No one man was to work out a problem of his own invention in the raising of means, supporting of schools, or in the work of sustaining the ministry. There was diversity of gifts, but unity in the expression of these gifts made, when worked out, a complete whole. The work was a great and solemn work, and all must blend in the use of their capabilities with the ones who were chosen. Equal interest was pledged by prayer and the promise to fulfil the work that would come to every conference and not allow selfishness to rule the heart. 22LtMs, Ms 158, 1907, par. 3

Elder Haskell has been in these meetings and can testify to the unity that prevailed. We had to meet all kinds of strange fanaticism; and had it not been for the pledged union, there would have been confusion, diversity in the place of unity. We had many glorious victories. We have all different gifts in spiritual working, oft in conflict with men who would force in their heresies, and each was charged to stand in the heat of opposition and conflict and holding the victory to sustain the truth as the Bible presents it. And what glorious victories were gained! All experiences were not alike. We had many, many manifestations of the Holy Spirit differing in expression, but the work was unto holiness. Every soul then aimed at reaching the perfection of the character of the great Leader Jesus Christ. Not a man would launch out against another man. 22LtMs, Ms 158, 1907, par. 4

(Romans 12), the entire chapter, is very instructive. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” [Verses 1-3.] Read verses 4-21. 22LtMs, Ms 158, 1907, par. 5

This chapter is a history for all churches. This instruction given unto the church is of high value. The work of God is to be carried upon a higher plane of action. All that have a position in the church to act as shepherds are to represent the great Shepherd. All the masterly working power that has come into the minds and hearts of ministers is a strange feature in the Christian experience. It is a dangerous element, and I am to charge our churches not to consider that this kind of work of dominating is of God. This ruling power is not of God, for it is another gospel. This work of charging upon the Lord’s people what they shall do and shall not do is not the righteousness of Christ. We cannot allow any more such ruling in the church. It is a spoil to the church of God. 22LtMs, Ms 158, 1907, par. 6