Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)




Lt 1, 1892

Brethren Who Stand in Responsible Positions

North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

January 12, 1892

This letter is published in entirety in 20MR 391-394.

Dear Brethren who stand in responsible positions:

I learn from several, whose letters reached me by the last steamer, that the subject is being agitated of building an institution in or near Oakland, in one of the suburbs. I have had much light and experience in regard to these movements, and I wish to state that when the Lord gives our brethren special light in regard to this enterprise, it will be time enough for them to move, and they can build a new institution with safety. You need not take this extra burden upon you, for God is not in it. We have no men to whom we can look to manage such an institution. Dr. Maxson has not the qualifications that will fit him to stand as manager at the head of such a large institution as should be established in a suburb of Oakland, for it is an important center. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 1

The experience of the past should teach us something. Dr. Maxson is sincere in what he says about establishing an institution in the vicinity of Oakland. He verily believes that it could be easily done, and that the patronage would be so much increased that the institution would almost run itself, but he views matters in an exaggerated light. He thinks that our chances for success in a health institution would be far better if the Health Retreat was in any other place than in Crystal Springs, but this is not the truth. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 2

Dr. Maxson believes that it is the location, and the difficulty of access, that makes success to the Retreat almost an impossibility, as he says; but this is a mistake. Should you be influenced by his glowing descriptions of what an institution would be were it in the right location, where is the means to build it? Where are the men of the right stamp of mind to take charge of it, who will not fail nor be discouraged when things go hard, as I know they will? It is not the location, it is not the “shammy buildings” as Dr. Maxson terms them, that is the bugbear that retards the progress of the institution; but it is the men who have been connected with it who have made it what it is. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 3

From our experience in the past, we could not think it would be wise to connect Dr. Maxson with the Health Institution as manager, for he would not prove a judicious manager. He has not the talent and the wisdom to conduct such an institution. After the development of Dr. Burke’s real principles, Dr. Maxson might at least have endeavored to redeem the injury he has done to the institution in the past, by misrepresenting it to others, and have made up for some of the mistakes he made while at Crystal Springs by taking the present burden of responsibility in this emergency. He need not have made the positive statements that he has made in regard to its location and its poor chance of success. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 4

But when I conversed with him at Oakland the night before leaving Oakland, light came to me from the Lord that Dr. Maxson would have to have divine enlightenment before he would know himself. He takes too shallow views of these matters. If he had had the wisdom he thinks he possesses, he would have made a better showing at St. Helena, and when he becomes distrustful of himself, and is no longer wise in his own conceit, then the Lord will put His mold upon his heart and character. When he is emptied of self and seeks the Lord with his whole heart for a deeper knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, he will abase himself and exalt Jesus. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 5

While Brother and Sister Maxson were connected with the Health Retreat, if they had been possessed of the right spirit, they would have done a good work for the Master. They believed falsehood instead of truth. They did not stand with me and my work, but made my work very hard by sympathizing with the ones to whom the Lord sent me with messages of reproof and rebuke that they might be saved to the cause of God. Dr. Maxson and his wife did not accept the word of the Lord given me on that occasion, they believed the statements made to them by Brother _____, and therefore all that I did say or could say to them was of no avail. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 6

I fully believe that Dr. Maxson means to be a Christian. He is ready to do anything and everything that lies in his power to make our institution a success, provided that he can manage it as he pleases and carry out his own plans and devices. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 7

Since leaving Oakland, we have not had the slightest inclination to urge him to do anything in connection with any health institution as long as he views matters as he now does, for I know that it would not be pleasing to the Lord. Brethren, we have a health institution in St. Helena. Much money has been invested there, and if those who ought to draw in even cords would stop blocking the wheels, we should see a good work accomplished at the institution already established. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 8

We are sorry that any of you have in any way favored the projects of Dr. Maxson. He is viewing things in a very highly colored light, and his expectations will fail to be realized. I shall feel no further burden concerning his taking responsibilities at St. Helena. With the feelings and ideas which he now has, it would be a calamity if he did go to the institution, for he would not take hold of the work in faith. I know that his impressions in regard to St. Helena are not right impressions. He is full of ardor and zeal to do a wonderful work in his own way, to manage and run things as he thinks would be best, and I hope he will not go to the Health Retreat. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 9

All this discouraging talk in regard to the institution would be reiterated at the Retreat and would do harm to the cause. His course reminds me of the course of the unfaithful spies who brought exaggerated, discouraging reports concerning the entrance into the promised land, that set the people almost frantic with disappointment. Let Dr. Maxson seek his field elsewhere. He has not spiritual eyesight to discern spiritual things, but tells matters as they appear to him, and if others will receive his ideas, he will mislead his hearers by his confident assertions. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 10

But time will reveal that imagination has had a large share in coloring his statements. It is not safe for our people to view all things through the eyes of Brother and Sister Maxson. They need to have a deeper view into things, or they will make great mistakes that will not be easily remedied. I have had an experience in regard to the Sanitarium at St. Helena, and the Lord has opened to me the inwardness of things at the institution. Some things more grievous than others have been presented to me, and I have had a chance to know in regard to the characters of those who are acting a part in bringing a foul blot upon the fame of the Retreat. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 11

But in this crisis where was the discernment of Brother and Sister Maxson? I heard bitter complaints from the patients at the Institution. If they were furnished for a few times with fomentation cloths, or with sheets or blankets, or with a hot water bag, they were charged for it. Every little item was charged up to their account, and even now it is hard for the institution to be free from this practice. Some of the patients were exasperated and full of bitterness; they left the institution to sow seeds of dissatisfaction. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 12

Elder Rice did not know how to manage. Dr. Maxson did not know how to meet and deal with human minds. He did not do what was needed to be done to win confidence. An institution for the sick should have all the appliances needed for the treatment of invalids ready for use; but if it is found to be too great a tax upon the finances of the institution to furnish all these things continually, you should say to the patients, we will allow you the use of these things for the present, but you had better get them for yourselves. We will not charge you for the present accommodation, but it is not our practice to provide these things permanently. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 13

Feeling existed in regard to the method that was used at the Retreat under Dr. Maxson’s directions. Dr. Maxson, with the utmost confidence and assurance, extolled the Regular practice, and depreciated the practice of Homeopathy, and made the most extravagant statements in regard to the Regular practice. Some might take these statements as verity and truth, but I knew that they were not correct, for the practice of both systems and their results had been laid open before me, and I knew that the statements that he made were not correct. But this is due to the narrow cut of the mind of the man. The system in which he has been educated, he regards as the best of all methods. The Lord regards all this talk just as He regarded the talk of the Pharisees—as the invention and tradition of men. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 14

All those who receive their education from the Regular school, and are molded by the spirit of the educators, generally act out the impressions they have received from their instructors and denounce every other system as satanic. Is this the way of the Lord? If the priests and Pharisees kept the way of the Lord, then Dr. Maxson’s ideas are correct. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 15

The use of drugs in our institutions, to the extent to which they are used, is a libel upon the name of hygienic institutions for the treatment of the sick. The physicians need to be converted, on this point, as decidedly as the sinner needs the converting power of God on life and character in order to become a pure-hearted Christian. Let the students who go to obtain a medical education at the medical institutes of our land, learn all that they possibly can of the principles of life, but let them discard error and not become bigots. I would not speak thus plainly unless I felt that it was necessary. 7LtMs, Lt 1, 1892, par. 16