Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 5, 1880

White, James

Oakland, California

March 18, 1880

Portions of this letter are published in 7BC 903; 3Bio 138-139; 4MR 259-260; 11MR 24-27.

Dear Husband:

I received your letter dated March 12 this noon. I am always glad to hear from you, but am always sorry to hear such expressions as, “The time will come when my brethren in California will realize my sacrifices and labors there, and how hard they have made it for me. Elder Waggoner may yet see how easy it was under the circumstances for him to get the sympathies of the people against me; and Edson may see that while I have been trying to help him in every way, he has been willing to unsettle the confidence of the brethren in me for the sake of building up himself.” 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 1

“The time will come when these things will be seen in their true light. Then it will be soon enough for me to trust myself in the hands of a people who have been so powerfully tempted by the devil to think that I have had selfish motives, in the very face of my labors and toils such as no other man would manifest.” 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 2

I know it is natural to wish to be appreciated, and those in California have not all of them shown appreciation, for I have been shown that this was the case. If they appreciated my Saviour and realized the infinite sacrifice He made to save them from ruin, I would rejoice; but if my Saviour is slighted and not honored, how can we poor mortals expect to have that which we claim as our share of respect? My great sorrow is not for our poor selves, but for Jesus. I am so sorry for my Saviour. But I think you are entirely deceived in thinking that there is great prejudice against you. I have not been able to see or hear one lisp of it yet. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 3

In regard to Elder Waggoner, you do him injustice to feel as you do. He is doing no such thing as working for the sympathies of the people. He has exerted no influence against you. He was obliged to act in some things in accordance with your letters to give you the favors you asked before the directors. This is all. Not a letter of yours has been read to anyone except to those addressed. I hope the Lord will help you to put these suspicions out of your heart, and that you will cherish that charity which thinketh no evil, hopeth all things, believeth all things. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 4

Edson has done nothing of the kind you mention. He has some sense of his mistakes and he is going away pleasantly; but you misjudge him also. These feelings I know must make you very unhappy. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 5

Our business is to do the will of our heavenly Father, without reference to ourselves, to exalt Jesus, to grieve because we see so little appreciation of Christ, and to sorrow for the unbelief of our brethren because they place themselves in darkness. But as regards ourselves, we should not make one hair’s difference. Let us not be so ready to vindicate our own course. Talk of Jesus, exalt Him, and let self sink into nothingness. Little have we suffered for the truth’s sake. We know but little of self-denial and suffering. Christian character is formed and perfected by self-denial and suffering. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 6

Paul attained to the full moral stature of a man in Christ Jesus. By what a process was his soul developed! His life was a continual scene of hardship, conflict, and toil. “In perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” 2 Corinthians 11:26, 27. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 7

I have been shown that in the future we shall see how closely all our trials were connected with our salvation, and how these light afflictions worked out for us “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things that are seen are temporal; but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 8

We shall have enough to praise God for in the future life. We shall thank God for every reproof which taught us our own weakness, and our Saviour’s power, patience, and love. Jesus’ manner of working should be our manner. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 9

I feel so grateful that the Lord is of tender pity, full of mercy. He deals not with us according to our sins, but is long suffering. He sees our weakness. He knows our defects, our lack of faith and courage, and yet He bears with us still. The same divine sympathy, the same patient love, He shows to us who are so unworthy of His favors. I am not what I ought to be, or what Jesus would have me. I see that I must have more of the spirit of the Master. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 10

I must not let one thought or one feelings arise in my heart against my brethren, for they may be in the sight of God more righteous than I. My feelings must not be stirred. We have battles to fight with ourselves, but we should continually encourage our brethren. We should lay no stumbling blocks in their way and should cherish only the very kindest feelings toward them. Satan is willing and anxious to tear them down. Let us not unite our forces with his. They have their conflicts and trials. God forbid that we should add one trial to those they have to bear. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 11

I have said nothing about your coming to California because I could not encourage your coming without some clearer light in regard to the matter. I would be pleased if you were here, and that it were the will of God. But as to anything here in the feelings of your brethren hindering you, I do not think they exist. I have thought I should return to the East in May or June. I cannot tell. I long to know my duty and do it. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 12

Now, dear husband, I would not harbor feelings that this one is injuring me and that one is hurting me. Have confidence in your brethren, and do not censure them in thought, by pen, or by word. Let the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God into the heart. We have no time or power to spend in justifying ourselves. We must hide self in Jesus. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 13

Oh, I long for constant repose in God and not to have my mind in agitation in regard to minor matters. I constantly feel that my work upon the earth may not last long, and while it does last I want my thoughts and mind engaged in doing all I can to save perishing souls around me. I can not and will not allow my mind to think unkindly of and misjudge my fellow-laborers. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 14

I will write out the testimonies of reproof for anyone and then my feelings shall not be exercised against them. I will look within. I will seek to make my ways in the strength of Jesus perfect before God. And when tempted to feel unkindly or to be suspicious and to find fault, I will put this out of my heart quickly, for the soul temple is surely being desecrated and defiled by Satan. The love that Jesus possessed, it is the duty of us both to welcome and cherish, and to have that charity that thinketh no evil; then our influence will be fragrant as sweet perfume. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 15

The softening, subduing, refining, sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God must abide in us. If it is not there Christ is not enshrined in our hearts; for if He is abiding in us even our thoughts will be brought into captivity for if He is abiding in us even our things will be brought into captivity of Christ. The loins of the mind will be girded up. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 16

I have been shown that unless we make most diligent work in purifying our own souls from all unkindness and bitterness, these traits will reveal themselves at times before we are aware of it, to do great harm to the cause we love. I have been shown that when we strictly heed the instructions God has given us in regard to cherishing pitying love, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness for others, and are forgetful of ourselves, we shall have a power of influence with our people such as no others can have. I was shown that it rests wholly with us whether we leave an influence behind us that is subduing, transforming and elevating—or to the contrary—whether we shall wound, injure, be dictatorial, overbearing, censuring, exalting and magnifying ourselves, and it be a relief to many who love and fear God when our voice shall be silent in the grave, our influence no longer felt. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 17

I feel deeply, feel that we have erred in not manifesting greater love, forbearance, and pity for others. “The diseased have ye not strengthened” (Ezekiel 34:4), is the reproof given to unfaithful shepherds. Our feelings must not be a ruling power. We must walk in all humility of mind. The Lord loves His servants who are unselfishly engaged in the saving of souls. He will as readily guide them in judgment and teach them His will as He will teach us. We must believe that Jesus stands at the helm. He will be Captain, and we may trust His own work in His all-powerful hands. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 18

I know that God has conscientious, God-fearing men in the harvest field who will not spare themselves, who will, if required, sacrifice all for Jesus. Let us respect our brethren, give them credit for honesty of purpose and unselfish motives, as we wish they should do for us. We should treat all, rich and poor, high or lowly, exactly as we wish them to treat us. God is no respecter of persons. The pure, those who are good and do good, are very near to Jesus. The disciple whom Jesus loved most was John, because he was the closest imitator of His character and was imbued with the spirit of love. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 19

It was the joy of Christ’s soul to do good to men. Many times He sighed in spirit and was very sorrowful. Many times His tears flowed, expressing His anguish of soul when He beheld the unbelief, the ingratitude, and felt the hatred of those He came to bless and save. Jesus in heaven looks with grief upon the insensibility of souls upon whom the richest of His favors have been poured without effect. He has made man, given him the wondrous faculties of the mind, the noble affections of the heart, and these gifts they use against the Giver. They despise obedience to Christ. Their ears are not inclined to hear His voice, their tongues speak not His praise. Oh, my soul is agonized at times that the hearts of even His professed followers who are daily receiving His mercies, should be empty of His praise. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 20

Let us, dear husband, make melody to God in our hearts. Let us not be found accusers of our brethren, for this is the work Satan is engaged in. Let us talk of Jesus and His matchless love. I feel every day like deeply repenting before God for my hardness of heart, and because my life has not been more in accordance with the life of Christ. I weep over my own hardness of heart, my life which has not been a correct example to others. Let us bring ourselves into harmony with heaven and we will then be in harmony with our brethren and at peace among ourselves. Let us now, both of us, redeem the time. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 21

Forgive me for any words of impatience that have escaped my lips, every seeming act of wrong in your sight. I mean to make straight paths for my feet and to have control over my own spirit, to keep my own heart in the love of God, and make sure work for eternity. Perils surround us; perplexities we must meet, and we cannot meet them aright unless we are fully consecrated to God and have self under the full control of His Spirit. May the Lord teach and lead and guide you is my prayer, and may nothing shake our hold on Him. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 22

I think if there had been that earnest prayer for poor Simmons he might have been delivered from the power of the tyrant Satan. We must have greater faith and less confidence in ourselves. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 23

We had to pay twelve dollars extra on our trunk, leaving one behind to be sent as freight, all from being misinformed in regard to the number of pounds we were allowed. Only one hundred pounds for each passenger can come from Omaha. It may be if checked through from Battle Creek, it might make a difference. It will pay to be sure. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 24

In love, 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1880, par. 25

Your Ellen.