Friday, March 1, 2013
Muskegon, Mich March 15, 1951
You could tolerate failure for fifty years, if anybody learned a lesson by it, and the was a promise that they were going to profit by the lesson; but just to have it go on year after year, and as your Gus Koehler (to my mind the only real bishop you ever had) getting farther and farther from the objective all the time—well that just naturally makes the heart grow faint, and the hope evaporate. One can’t help but think of the $20,000 to graduate as a 32nd degree Mason, and what a nice start that would have made, at that day, for the building of a storehouse.
Well, I see I will have to be careful to make my letters agree with my admonitions through the Advocate, or you will catch me up on it. But I do get so exasperated when I find some old sister wandering around like a lost soul in hell, her hope all gone, though she testified still that when she read the Preface to the Book of the Lord’s commandments (Secton 1) when she was 17 she had a testimony that it was the truth. But with their three thriving local church groups in Flint, the s.d.c.ers were determined to sell one and compel the people to go across town to one of the others, and when the congregation wouldn’t vote for it, they brought enough (what they called at the time of the trial of Christ, suborned witnesses) voters over from No.1 to outvote the local, and sold the building out from under them, and when the smoke had cleared away they had 16 left from a congregation of 300. It is the underhanded things they’ve done that has wrecked the Restoration here in Michigan—And now Traverse City is going the same way. That’s why I said I was trying to salvage what I could. It is hard to be charitable toward that sort of thing. But maybe I ought to be grateful that it gives me a chance to salvage some before they get to be driftwood on the seas of the Restoration. I come across so many heart-broken people that it makes me sick at heart, and a little venomous at times.
That outsider that has been keeping, more than keeping, the temporal law for the last twenty years, like the widow who gave her two mites, well we didn’t need to convert her; all we had to do was to keep her waiting at the gate till we had an opportunity to teach her the gospel, and the outstanding feathers of the Restoration, and to fortify her in a measure for the trials of trying to live among those that say Lord, Lord “but do not the things that I say.”
But, finally, we couldn’t keep her out any longer, so she was baptized Feb. 11. She wrote a poem March 1. Said it just came to her. She didn’t know what it meant, but she had to write it. I’ll enclose a copy of it. And I’ll send one she wrote in 1946, after she had searched for the truth for 14 years, without finding anything to satisfy her mind. I think she comes nearer being the love of Christ personified that any one I ever met.
Well it is getting late and I am so tired I can’t hit the right letters any more, so will wait till morning.
March 16. A little more about Sister Lau. Her mother was a socialite given to bridge parties and such; and when the parties were about to break, her father would give her a wink and go out one door, and she would got out the other, and they’d hitch up the horse to the buggy and would go away to the lake and the forest, and he would teach her nature’s lore. He must have been a poet and didn’t know it, and he filled her soul with the things of nature till it must have come out in poems. She wrote her first when she was four years old, just scribbled it on a piece of paper, and her father kept that for forty years.
One evening when they were out on the river bank, she noticed that just at sundown everything became quiet, birds and trees, and she asked her father, “What’s the matter everything is so still?” He answered, Don’t you know? And then he told her it was Nature’s hour of prayer, when all nature joined in silent prayer to God in thanksgiving for His love. He told her that even the rocks gave glory to God. He taught her of the Oneness that should be among all people, until All Things Common is just the natural way of life to her—all shake alike and all be equal.
I read her what I wrote to you about thinking I would have been happier just to have lived in my ideals and not engaged in the affairs of church and state, etc., and when I read the part about “but the solitary usually congratulates himself upon it at the end; and of those who persevere some become saints and some poets and some philosophers, “she laughed when I said poets.
We will be starting on our way south tomorrow; but it will be April 2 before we reach Independence, and maybe later.
The weather is pretty nice here. The snow was gone by the first of March, and the ground is nice and dry. As we have listened to the weather reports and forecasts daily this winter, we have discovered that this part of Michigan has much better weather than Illinois and Indiana to the south of us—that is for this winter anyway. She (Mrs. Lau) plans on coming to the conference. Maybe you will meet her.
Well I must close, and finish packing and getting ready for the trek tomorrow.
With love, Leon
Dear Hallie and the rest,
I got your letter and since I have a little time tonight, as it is only 9, I’ll write awhile. Don’t get excited over the rumors. Yes I am under silence, pending trial for hurting McClain’s feelings; but it is only one of those petty, personal, vindictive stunts men pull once in a while. He wrote an open letter and sent it to the whole Advocate list last winter telling so many big ones about the Editors, the Twelve, and the Conference, that I just naturally had to answer it. Of course he didn’t like it to have me put his statements side by side so that everyone could see how carelessly he handled the truth, and so he’s trying to vent his spite. The trial will probably be at Minneapolis soon, and I’ll put some more of his statements side by side to prove just what he is.
He has made some threats about suing, but I don’t think there is any danger of that, it would cost him more than he would get out of it. Anyway I told him I would gladly spend the rest of my days in jail if it would clean up the mess in the general office. I didn’t send my open letter to the Advocate list, however; but only to the Twelve, the Bishops, Editors, and three others, 22 in all. But it did the work and got him out of office, while his widespread effort fell flat. That’s why he’s sore. However, if he does anything at all he must do it soon, for by the end of the conference year there will be such a change for the better in the church’s financial affairs, hes loudest roar won’t be worth a whisper.
It is warming up here now, 85 today. We’ll be making garden as fast as we can now. Suckers are running, and we have plenty of fish and maple sirup.
While in Council Bluffs on the way home, I saw a write-up about the Mormons at Manti, showing a picture of Father Cutler’s tombstone, and it kind of brought back memories of old time stories. Also while there I went out to Winter Quarters and saw the Mormon burial ground with tombstones dated in the late 40’s, Brigham Young’s house built nearly a hundred years ago, and the monument erected on the hill in the cemetery, depicting a hardy pioneer, his arm, shovel in hand, supporting his sorrowing wife, as they looked upon the face of their child in the open grave. Somehow as I looked at it something griped me with such force that I seemed to be a part of that great multitude, and partake of their sorrows and hardships as they bent their backs to burdens that the Lord had not ordered, at the behest of an ambitious leader, and I wept as I thought how often history repeats itself. In the base of the monument were bronze plates inscribed with the names of hundreds of head, though I don’t suppose the whole six hundred are there. And also in bronze letters are nearly every scripture quotation in the Bible on the resurrections. And then there was the song:
“And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! All is well!
We’ll then be free from toil and sorrow too,
With the just we shall dwell.
I wonder how Genevieve stands as well as she does the controlling of a church by repulsion, expulsion, compulsion, propulsion, and impulsion.
When the church was rejected at Nauvoo, it was rejected as to Quorum and council, organization and perpetuation, not as members, or ministers, as individuals, nor necessarily as to individual members of quorums who were faithful. But it was the right as quorums to perpetuate their organization under divine direction that was taken from them.
Fred M’s impulsion message went over with a bang; it had the s.d.c. leverage to make it go over.
To the Church of Christ came a clear-cut Thus saith the Spirit of the living God to you my servants—no impulsion about it. There was no s.d.c. leverage however to put it over without protest. The conference referred it to the whole body of ministry; the ministry referred it back to the conference without prejudice and without action. The conference directed the calling of a solemn assembly in August to consider it. All anyone has to do, is to read the impulsion message and the Jordan clear—cut message side by side, and let their heart render the verdict.
The message coming to the Church of Christ, if it had claimed to be only human impulsion, with s.d.c. behind it, and no voice raised in protest, would have gone over with a bang, too. But the Church of Christ is hesitant, slow and fearful and it is better so, than it is not to want to know.
(He doesn’t seem to be silenced yet)
(He lays it all onto McClain but one man couldn’t silence him. It must have been voted on by the Twelve at least and I think his feelings are hurt more than he will own.)