Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 24, 1883

White, W. C.; White, Mary

Worcester, Massachusetts

August 23, 1883

Portions of this letter are published in ChL 43-44; 2MR 250-251; 10MR 339.

Dear Children, Willie and Mary:

Sister Sarah and I left Battle Creek Tuesday at half past two o’clock. We arrived here at half past eight o’clock Wednesday night. This part of the journey was more trying and wearisome to us than the long journey from California. It was dusty and the cars were much crowded and it was very warm. But I felt of good courage. I had no fret in me. I felt thankful for peace of mind and communion with my Saviour on the entire journey. Under His guardianship I knew I was safe and had no reason for complaint. Therefore I did not feel half as weary as I otherwise would have done. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 1

I spoke six times in Battle Creek. It will do good, I know it will, for the Lord helped me. I had a long talk with Brother [G. H.] Bell. I told him many things. I tried to place before him where everyone of our leading men had made a mistake and hindered the work they were so desirous to advance. Each one thought that he was the very one who must bear all the responsibilities. They spread over too much ground and failed to educate others to think, to act, to be caretakers, [and] to lift burdens, because they gave them no chance. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 2

I told him it was not God’s plan to have it thus. He had done this way and gathered upon himself a mass of burdens [that] he had no strength to carry, and he could not do justice to anything. God had given to every man his work, according to each man’s ability. When one man entertained the idea that he must gather all the responsibilities because he thought he could do it a little more perfectly than another, he sinned against himself, and he sinned against his brethren. He was educating the people to look to him, to expect everything must come through him, and they were not educated to look to God and to expect God to do great things for them. They depended upon others and trusted in others rather than in the living God, therefore many have not the experience they ought to have which would make them efficient workers. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 3

This, I have been shown many times, was the true solution of the sad problem as to why there are not more apt, skillful workers in this time of great need, when the burdens are crushing out the vital energies of our best generals. How can we make this matter understood—that God is the living fountain ready to supply every demand? Men must learn to go to Him, to trust in Him, to carry all their troubles to Him, to take hold of Him by living faith and work in the power of His might. Our leading brethren—every one of them—have made a mistake on this point. It seems to be so interwoven with their manner of labor, like the warp and woof, that it is next to impossible to change a course which has become like second nature, but which must be changed, for God says so. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 4

Men must not be taught to look to men or hang upon men, but must be educated to look to God, to trust in God, to expect great things of God, and to use their God-given abilities to the utmost of their capacity. When they do thus, they will enlarge, they will grow, they will feel their inefficiency to do so great a work, and [they] will seek help from the only Source where it can be obtained. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 5

Our camp meetings must be so arranged and conducted that the most lasting good may be the result; that the people will know how to live and work for the glory of God after they leave the meetings. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 6

I dwelt on these principles. I told Brother [G. H.] Bell he must do his work, which was to teach. He must not stand to pick up every little flaw and mark every misdemeanor, but he could do much by talking kindly to the school, laying down the principles of action. He must maintain his position as a dignified teacher—not that dignity that will not heed the counsels of others, but that kindness, that courtesy that will win his way into the hearts of his students. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 7

He might put on a dignity and claim a dignity which would fail of securing respect, but which would disgust. The true dignity would be to go about his work as teacher and leave the little items of business for others to attend to, and by a well-ordered deportment show a moral power that holds him above the changeable emotions of anger, impatience, [and] criticism. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 8

Brother Bell is receiving all I say to him, and he says he will act upon it, with the help of God. I was not let alone at all in Battle Creek. I talked six times and all the rest of the time with Dr. [J. H.] Kellogg, Henry Kellogg, Professor Bell, Elder Littlejohn. Only once, and not long, [with] S. Lane and several others. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 9

Now I am in a tent on the Worcester campground, considerably worn but well situated for comfort. I do not see how you can reach the Nebraska meeting unless Elder H and yourself shall leave a day or two before it closes, and I do not know as this can be or ought to be done. When you do come, take your sleeping berths every night. I will pay for them myself rather than you be deprived of your rest. You have work to do and should be getting all the rest possible that you may labor to the best advantage. Nebraska wants [a] two-week meeting but, Willie, it cannot be, as I can see, without robbing others. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 10

Now, Willie, you had better come to the meeting. All seem to feel that way. Elders Butler and Van Horn have just come on the ground. It is now about nine o’clock, Thursday morning. Slept but little last night, but I do look to the Lord for help. I have been talking with Elder Butler. He thinks the General Conference should be in Battle Creek, and I had about come to the same conclusion. The camp meeting should not be loaded down with business, either of the institutions or conference matters. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 11

Professor Bell will take hold again at South Lancaster with a different spirit. Brother Roberson says his letters are of an entirely different character—more humble and kind and conciliating. I believe he wants to do right. Camp meeting will be in Battle Creek, then the laborers in the different institutions will be benefitted with some of the meetings. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 12

Willie, the managers at the sanitarium are put to their wit’s ends to know what to do for fruit. I sell them all of my canned fruit in Battle Creek. How would it do to ship with books or some things you send this way my dried plums at Healdsburg and Oakland? Would it pay? Please consider the matter and act accordingly (I do not want the dried peaches at Healdsburg sold). Fruit is almost a failure [in the] East. It is impossible to get it at any price, for it is not in the country. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 13

Now my children, I am glad I came east of the Rocky Mountains. I have been helped and blessed of the Lord. I shall go forward trusting in God at every step. I believe He is more than willing to help us. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 14

I do hope your camp meeting will prove a success. Oh, the great work before us! Let us individually pray that God will work. We trust too much in our own doings. We must do all we can in humble faith, and then calmly, expectantly trust in One who has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] Jesus is our refuge, our present helper. Faith in Him daily, hourly, is needed. I have had sweet communion with God on all this journey. I do not trust in what I can do, but in what God can do for us and what He will do. His promises are unfailing and we will not doubt for one moment. May the Lord bless you all is my prayer. 4LtMs, Lt 24, 1883, par. 15