Manuscript Releases, vol. 6 [Nos. 347-418]


MR No. 372—The Work in Fresno

I feel deeply anxious on your account. If the Lord would have you engaged in the business of speculation in land property, then every trade you make will be done with an eye single to the glory of God. Then the truth will lose none of its power upon the soul, to sanctify the life and character. There will exist among the brethren a Christlike unity, an increased love and confidence one in another. There will be a continuous daily growth in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 6MR 149.1

A feverish haste to become rich will find no manifestation in the words or in the works of Christ's followers. When the soul is sanctified by the truth, all elements of selfishness are banished. Ingratitude with its evil tendencies and results will not live in the heart that loves the truth. Policy and truth will never pull together or be at agreement. Policy implies cunning, false pretenses, artful management, an eagerness for selfish, personal aggrandizement without regard to strict integrity in the ways and means used.... 6MR 149.2

Many who have moved into Fresno have eagerly drunk of the spirit of speculation in order to obtain money fast. Worldly business tries the character, and puts it to the test. It brings out the real valuable virtues of the man and develops an upright youthful training, or else it brings out natural, objectionable hereditary tendencies, and exposes him to sharp thrusts of the enemy.... 6MR 149.3

“Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.” This is done in nearly all transactions of real estate buying and selling, and many who are engaged in this business need to cut loose from it before they can be considered as healthful branches of the church.... 6MR 149.4

How pleased Satan would be if in the very time when men should be selling their possessions to sustain the cause of God, he can so deceive them that all their available means shall be invested in land speculation and other worldly enterprises, thus taking away from the cause of God means which should flow into the treasury to advance His work in the earth.—Letter 41, 1888, pp. 1, 3, 4. (To “My Dear Brethren and Sisters at Fresno,” July 7, 1888.) 6MR 150.1

In company with Brother and Sister [E. P.] Daniels we went to Fresno, met Willie at Goshen, and he accompanied us on a freight train to Fresno. I spoke twice, Sabbath and Sunday afternoon, and I had great freedom. The hall, owned by Bro. Church, was crowded to its utmost capacity. Sunday afternoon the first men of the place were there, and also Sabbath many outsiders were there. Brother Church told me all were highly pleased. We had a meeting in the forenoon. I read to them something written in regard to the building of a church. Then I talked considerably, and asked them what they would do. Elder [E.P.] Daniels spoke after me. Before the meeting closed, thirty one thousand dollars was pledged, for the building of a church, a school, and a mission. I could not go away and see the people worshiping in a little hall owned by Bro. Church. It has done good service as yet, but it will not contain the people that come to the meetings now.... 6MR 150.2

Brother Will Smith is a man that was converted last year. He was in the truth years ago, but for some reason gave it up, and the devil took possession of him, and he became a desperado. His wife kept the Sabbath. He is a tall, well developed, powerfully built man. He went into all sorts of lawlessness, stealing, and tried to kill, but his victim did not come in just when he was prepared to kill him. Last year at Fresno under the labors of Elder [E.P.] Daniels he was powerfully wrought upon, and he repented with another backslider who had gone with him in all his wickedness. Then commenced the work of confession and restitution. One man they went to see and met him in the road and down they went in the very dust and dirt on their knees, weeping and confessing, and the infidel wept like a child. “Now,” said they, “We want you to forgive us, and we do not ask you not to arrest us for stealing your sheep, but we ask pardon; we will pay every cent of the cost of the sheep.” 6MR 150.3

The man who had been wronged said, “What has wrought upon you to make this confession?” Said they, “We have been attending the campmeeting, and the spirit and power of God and the religion of Jesus Christ have taken hold upon us.” “Well,” said the man, “If the work done there is of this order I must go there,” and he did go, and he did tremble under the sharp arrows of God. The influence of these confessions made to many others who have been wronged, is as far reaching as eternity. This man in his wickedness had nothing, but since his conversion the Lord has blessed him greatly with means, and he is using it in making restitution and in advancing the cause of truth. He is free, generous to a fault, he is humble as a child, sitting at the feet of Jesus, ready and willing to do anything. He takes 150 Signs and distributes. He has done more missionary work alone the past year than the whole Fresno Church together.—Letter 47, 1888, pp. 2-4. (To “Dear Brethren,” circa March, 1888.) 6MR 151.1

I have a deep interest in the Fresno church. I gave them counsel last winter, when I was solicited by letter to use my influence to have Elder E. P. Daniels return to labor for the church in Fresno. They said that the Lord was blessing them abundantly. The sick were healed, and the converting power of God was in their midst. They thought that if Elder Daniels could only come back, what a great work might be done! 6MR 152.1

That night the angel of the Lord stood by my side, and talked with me. He said that the church at Fresno would have to learn many things; that many were there who ought not to be there; that all must draw nearer to God, find their strength in Him, and not in man. They must use their own powers, that God has given them, and let their light shine forth in good works. He said that they had placed man where God should be; but when they should make God alone their trust, then He would educate them, and lead them in safe paths. Then they would be lightbearers to the world, and would not walk in darkness. But now they were trusting in man to do the work for them which the Lord God of Israel alone could do. 6MR 152.2

The Lord was working, signifying that He was their power and efficiency; and if they would work in harmony with Him, talking to one another in faith and humility, dwelling on the lessons of Christ; if they would set things in order in the church and let God speak to human hearts, then the Spirit of God would come into their midst, and a repentance would be seen that would not need to be repented of. But if they did not make the Lord their trust, the blessing they had received would be only their condemnation.... 6MR 152.3

The church in Fresno is composed of fragments of other churches. They are not ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God; and if they are what God would have them be, they will be light-bearers to the world. This church is too large. Many ought to be out carrying the light of truth to those who are in darkness. If they neglect this, the woe of God will be upon them. Let them not tarry there, but go out as workers together with God.—Manuscript 1a, 1890, pp. 1, 3. (“A Consecrated Ministry,” February 13, 1890.) 6MR 153.1

Look at the history of our brethren at Fresno. Men left churches that needed their help, to go to Fresno, some for their health, others in search of riches, attracted by glowing representations. The temptation to speculate came fierce and strong. Young men and men of grey hair, and even ministers of the gospel, were drawn into the sweeping current, their hopes raised high by their interest in mining shares and city lots. This was Satan's plan to bind up the means that was needed for the advancement of the cause of God.—Manuscript 26a, 1890, p. 2. (“A Warning Against Financial Speculation,” January 7, 1890.) 6MR 153.2

I was not able to go to the campmeeting held in Fresno. The heat there was intense, and Brother Haskell wired me from there he could not advise me to come.... 6MR 153.3

Elder Haskell and his wife have worked diligently in Fresno, and the Spirit of the Lord was wrought mightily for the people gathered there. The deep movings of the Spirit of God were felt by hundreds who were present, and the work of repentance and conversion is going through the church.—Letter 310, 1908, p. 1. (To Edson White, September 30, 1908.) 6MR 153.4

Released May 23, 1974.