The Review and Herald

173/1902

1881 (Date unknown) Moving to Battle Creek

Upon opening my mail one morning, I found letters from two of our sisters making most urgent appeals for advise and assistance in regard to coming to Battle Creek. One sister stated that she wished to educate her children here, and also that she had decided to leave her present home. On account of the cruel course of her husband, she felt that she could no longer live with him. RH 1881, par. 1

Another sister wrote that her husband had left her for Kansas some months before, and she had heard nothing from him. She had concluded that he must have died, and that she was a widow. She had four little girls whom she was very anxious to bring to Battle Creek that they might enjoy the privileges offered by the church and the school here. She asked that suitable rooms be provided for her, and that some employment be found whereby she could support herself. She also desired help to begin housekeeping, and she hoped, if prospered, sometime to be able to repay these favors. She begged for assistance, and said she was almost wild with trouble and discouragement. RH 1881, par. 2

These letters are but a sample of a large number which we are constantly receiving. Should we encourage all who desire to come to Battle Creek, it would be necessary to build an asylum for poor widows, forsaken wives, and homeless orphans. If this is the best thing to be done, and our people in the different churches will furnish means to build such an asylum, and to sustain these unfortunate and bereaved ones, then Battle Creek can open her arms to welcome all who shall come. But would it not be a better plan for every State to examine into these unfortunate cases, and then help the worthy, and counsel those who are not doing what they might do where they are? If these dependent ones are not subject to the voice of the church, they prove themselves unworthy of help from their own brethren or from Battle Creek. RH 1881, par. 3

We are ignorant of the real character and situation of many who are appealing to us for help. We have often been imposed upon. There is a right way to have these matters receive due attention. Let the unfortunate make their appeals to the president of their own Conference, and if he desires the counsel of persons of experience at Battle Creek, let him present the particulars of the case by letter. Those who will rush to Battle Creek without seeking advice, and fall as a dead weight upon the church, deserve censure for their presumption. RH 1881, par. 4

For years the widow, the fatherless, the forsaken wife, the unfortunate, the sick and the poor have been moving to Battle Creek, until she is carrying a heavy burden that her sister churches know nothing of. A duty rests upon the churches in the different States to care for their own poor, helping them, as far as possible, to help themselves. Should they do this, there would not be so many coming to Battle Creek with their families who must be cared for or suffer. RH 1881, par. 5

In the country, where fruits and vegetables can be raised in abundance, the poor can be supported at far less expense than in the city where the people must pay cash for nearly everything they live upon. Again, in a place like Battle Creek the poor feel compelled to wear better clothing than in the country. Almost any of our country churches could easily support two or three worthy families who are unable to support themselves. Said Christ, “Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will, ye may do them good.” In receiving so many of the poor and unfortunate, Battle Creek has robbed other churches of blessings which they might have enjoyed. RH 1881, par. 6

Our ministers, laboring in different places, listen to the sad story of poverty and suffering told by individuals and families, and, without consideration, advise them to go to Battle Creek, where they can find work in our institutions. The persons thus advised may be the most worthy, or, as has sometimes proved to be the case, the most unworthy. Elements have thus floated into Battle Creek that have been a burden to the church. They require constant care and anxiety, and consume the finances raised by a church that are nearly all poor, and obliged to labor diligently for their daily bread. RH 1881, par. 7

Many of the poor who come here feel that they must do something for their own support. They plead for a position in our institutions. Some of these have been employed in the folding department at the publishing house, and have been paid Chicago prices for all the labor performed. In no other department are the employees paid Chicago prices. These persons are a burden to the Office as well as to the Sanitarium when sick. They are not the most profitable help. A sufficient number of efficient hands must be employed to supply their places when they are unable to work. Thus a greater number of hands than are really needed are employed. The reliable and efficient laborers cannot be dispensed with, and out of pity the unfortunate ones are retained, who can earn but little at most, even when paid liberally for all the work they do. RH 1881, par. 8

Although poor in this world, yet if they were rich in faith, and had a genuine religious experience, and would help to bear the burdens in spiritual matters, they would be welcomed. But many of this class drifting in among us seem to feel no burden of the cause and work of God. If they do not receive especial attention, they become dissatisfied, and decide that the church have not done their duty. Some will not listen to caution or reproof. The unruly tongue is far more active than the hands. They indulge in fault-finding, and some go from Battle Creek to lay the reproach at the door of their neighbors, who unwisely take it up, and Battle Creek is made a subject of unholy complaints and jealousies. We would ask these complainers whether they went to Battle Creek to help lift the burdens or to lay their own weight as an additional load upon an already overburdened church. RH 1881, par. 9

The reliable members of the Battle Creek church have donated liberally to all our institutions, and reflections upon this church are unjust. RH 1881, par. 10

Some who move to Battle Creek are actuated by covetousness. They come here for gain, and they watch greedily for every opportunity to benefit themselves at the expense of others. These are not the men who have sacrificed for the cause of God, and have invested means in our institutions. They are men who count gain as godliness, and they must be watched, lest they take advantage of the widow and the fatherless, the poor student, and the afflicted who come to the Sanitarium. These men are responsible to God for the influence they exert, and those who sustain them are also responsible for their dishonest, selfish course. RH 1881, par. 11

We plead in behalf of the Battle Creek church. Brethren of other churches, do not allow your inefficient, irresponsible members to drift here. Give Battle Creek the help of godly men who possess integrity of character; men who will not be swayed from duty, who will battle for the right, and maintain the honor of the cause of God. Many ask complainingly, “Why are they so worldly at Battle Creek? Why is it that they are at work almost unceasingly?” Every additional family that the sister churches allow to come to Battle Creek to receive care and financial help increases the necessity for this constant labor. If these complainers were more diligent in business and more fervent in spirit, they might be a help to us at Battle Creek. As long as there is a continual demand, not only for funds, but for anxious labor to keep this shifting, changing element from demoralizing the church, the treasury will be drained, and the faithful members overworked. RH 1881, par. 12

Battle Creek might have paid for the Tabernacle ere this, if every church had borne her own burdens of responsibility, instead of letting them fall here. You who express so much anxiety lest the church at Battle Creek become worldly, please help us by keeping your poor and unfortunate and unconsecrated ones at home. If you send them here, send with them men of Christian experience, and men who have means to help us bear these burdens. Do not, I beseech you, stifle the very life out of the heart of the body by forcing your burdens upon Battle Creek. RH 1881, par. 13

The promises of God are broad and positive to those who love their neighbor as themselves. Those who neglect the poor among them, neglect Christ in the person of his saints. How much easier for each church to care for its own poor, bearing the few burdens Providence has laid upon it, than to crowd them upon the already overburdened church at Battle Creek. Cannot our brethren and sisters see that with increased numbers there is an increase of care? There are men and women of all kinds of organization, with every peculiarity of character, to require attention and discipline; and unless there are a sufficient number of God-fearing, responsible men standing at the head of the work, some must be overworked and fall at their post. RH 1881, par. 14

God is not pleased with this disposition to move without a plain indication of duty from him. Some men who are useful in their little churches, get the moving mania, and become restless and discontented. They think some other location would be better for their families. Without seeking counsel from God, they move to Battle Creek, and then, instead of feeling, as every one ought to feel, that it is their duty in the fear of God to help the church, to be present at the prayer-meeting, ready to speak and pray, bearing the responsibilities which some one must bear in the church, they take exactly the opposite course. They see that the members of the church are not all right, and the principal business of some is to seek something to find fault about, and go and tell to others. RH 1881, par. 15

There is pride and vanity and lack of sobriety in the church at Battle Creek. But the very ones who make complaint of this, choose for associates this unconsecrated class. They seem to be of the same mind and judgment. We need men and women who shall see and appreciate the good, the pure, and the steadfast, and then stand by their side to support and encourage them. RH 1881, par. 16