Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 5, 1884



February 1884

This letter is published in entirety in CG 213 with 8MR 388-392.

My dear sister:

You should not follow your own inclinations. You should be very careful to set a right example in all things. Do not be inactive. Arouse your dormant energies. Make yourself a necessity to your husband by being attentive and helpful. Be a blessing to him in everything. Take up the duties essential to be done. Study how to perform with alacrity the plain, uninteresting, homely, but most needful duties which relate to domestic life. Your inactivity has been indulged and cultivated when it should be guarded against strictly and with a determined effort. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 1

My sister, your mind will bear taxing. If you take up the burdens that you should, you can be a blessing to the Health Retreat. But the indulgence of your sluggish temperament is a detriment to you, physically, mentally, and spiritually. You need the quickening, converting power of God. You need to stand firmly and truly for God and the right. You need to be vitalized by the grace of Christ. Will you wake up and put to the task your almost paralyzed energies, seeking to do all the good in your power? You must exercise the living machinery, or else you will not be able to throw off the waste matter, and you will fall short of gaining health. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 2

Try to make a success of your domestic life. It means more to fill the position of wife and mother than you have thought. Should you, as you desired, engage in sewing, it would not give you the employment necessary for your health; it would not remedy the deficiencies you now possess. You need the culture and experience of domestic life. You need the variety, the stir, the earnest effort, the cultivation of the will power, that this life brings. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 3

Right where you are now, if you took hold of the management of your child, you could make it a success, but this requires more time, more thought, more steadiness of purpose, a more unyielding demand for obedience than you have thought of putting forth. Your child has none too much spirit, but he needs the hand of wisdom to guide him aright. He has been allowed to cry for what he wanted until he has formed the habit of doing this. He has been allowed to cry for his father. Again and again, in his hearing, others have been told how he cries for his father, until he makes it a point of doing this. Had I your child, in three weeks he would be transformed. I would let him understand that my word was law, and kindly, but firmly, I would carry out my purposes. I would not submit my will to the child’s will. You have a work to do here, and you have lost much by not taking hold of it before. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 4

Time is precious. Time is golden. It should not be devoted to little, unimportant things, which serve only to gratify the taste. You can be more useful, my sister, when you cease to allow unimportant things to take your golden moments, when useful and necessary things engage your attention and your time. There are many things to be done in this world of ours, and I hope you will not neglect the thoughtful, caretaking part of your work. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 5

You might have saved the institution with which you are connected hundreds of dollars had you put your soul into the work. Had you spoken a word here and done some planning there, you could have been a real blessing. Had you awakened your dormant energies by exercise in the open air and done what it was in your power to do with cheerfulness and alacrity, you could have accomplished much more than you have, and been a real blessing. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 6

I hope that you will devote your mind and your wisdom to the work. See that everything is run on an economical plan. This must be done or debts will accumulate. Women of sharp, quick intellect are needed to discern where there is waste in little things, and to rectify it. You have stood at the head of the Health Retreat as Matron, and it was your duty to do this. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 7

Much could be saved that is now wasted for the want of a head to see and plan and tell what should be done, [one] who will take right hold, and by precept and example do this work. Girls will not be conscientious, diligent, and economical unless a right example is given them by the one standing at the head. If the girls are not willing to be taught, if they will not do as you wish them, let them be discharged. I know that much can be saved at our boarding house and much at the Sanitarium, if thoughtfulness and painstaking effort are brought into the work. Not one crumb of bread should be wasted unless it has been spoiled by being handled. Take the bits of bread that are left and use them for puddings. Lessen your meat bills by buying as little meat as possible. More than is necessary is expended for meat. Light must shine forth on this subject. The potatoes that are left can be used for stuffing, put into a pan, and baked with the meat. Then the meat will not be served in the most concentrated form. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 8

There are hundreds and hundreds of ways in which a little is lost, and these make a large loss in the end. If the little wastes are all thoroughly looked after, there will be some margin in the institution to work on. But many of the girls of California know not what economy means. They are not educated to save the little things. Girls go out to work, and they cook well if they can have the privilege of going to a large supply and using freely and extravagantly the things provided. In the place of saving, of gathering up the fragments that remain that nothing be lost, much is lost that must be purchased again. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 9

We need to have thoroughly competent cooks connected with our schools, that the youth may be taught how to make much out of little. I have been pained as I have seen good, sweet biscuits and ears of corn left from the noon meal thrown into the waste barrel. The corn could have been cut from the cobs and, with a little milk, prepared into a palatable dish. I need not enumerate all the jots and tittles that might be saved. By exerting a proper influence in these lines, you may educate girls for domestic service. This will be a great blessing to them. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 10

All our talents should be used; they should not be allowed to rust through inaction. All our influence should be used to the very best account. After Christ fed the multitude, He said, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” [John 6:12.] This lesson may apply to spiritual things <as well as temporal.> Those who do not appreciate and make the best use of their spiritual blessings, gathering up every precious ray of light, will soon become indifferent and inappreciative! Blessings are not given to those who do not value them. All our physical energies as one of God’s talents, should be used to the glory of God. Our influence is to be recognized and employed as belonging to God. God calls upon all to do their best. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 11

I would be glad to spend much time at the [Rural] Health Retreat, but with your present expense to furnish the tables, every additional one increases the outlay of means, and I prudently stay away. I hope that if you set so liberal a table, you will charge accordingly, that there may be a surplus of means. If nothing is gained to help forward the improvements that must be made, what is the use of going to all this trouble and perplexity? If the boarders are lessened by a plain, wholesome diet, let them be lessened. Watch all waste. Do not allow it. I know that there is great loss here. I must tell you, Bro. and Sr. ----, that you are too much afraid of the boarders; you try too hard to meet their every desire. I should not do this. I would set a good liberal table, not getting the most expensive food, but making the fare palatable by skill and care. I feel anxious that the Health Retreat shall be all that prudence, sharp foresight, and economy can make it. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 12

<This was written and sent before the one dated February 5, 1884. The first page was not to be found.> 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1884, par. 13