Friday, March 1, 2013
Dear Gladys, I come across so many heart-broken people, with love, Leon
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