Prescott Letter to W.C. White

Takoma Park, D.C., April 6, 1915

Elder W. C. White
Sanitarium, Napa County

Dear Brother White:

I appreciated your letter of March 12 and I thank you for your message of sympathy concerning my father's death.

I have noted what you have said about your mother s condition, although you neglected to enclose the statement which you mentioned. When I see these early believers, like your mother, my father, and Elder Olsen passing away so rapidly, and then think of how little has really been accomplished in seriously warning the whole world of the impending second advent, I am led to wonder whether any of us now connected with this movement will, after all, live to see the consummation. It is a serious question.

It seems to me that a large responsibility rests upon those of us who know that there are serious errors in our authorized books and yet make no special effort to correct them. The people and our average ministers trust us to furnish them with reliable statements, and they use our books as sufficient authority in their sermons, but we let them go on year after year asserting things which we know to be untrue. I cannot feel that this is right. It seems to me that we are betraying our trust and deceiving the ministers and people. It appears to me that there is much more anxiety to prevent a possible shock to some trustful people than to correct error.

Your letter indicates a desire on your part to help me, but I fear that it is a little late. The experience of the last six or eight years, and especially the things concerning which I talked with you, have had their effect on me in several ways. I have had some hard shocks to get over, and after giving the best of my life to this movement, I have little peace and satisfaction in connection with it, and I am driven to the conclusion that the only thing for me to do is to do quietly what I can do conscientiously and leave the others to go on without me. Of course this [is] far from a happy ending to my life-work, but this seams to be the best adjustment that I am able to make. The way your mother's writings have been handled and the false impressions concerning them, which is still fostered among the people, have brought great perplexity and trial to me. It seems to me that what amounts to deception, though probably not intentional, has been practiced in making some of her books, and that no serious effort has been made to disabuse the minds of the people of what was known to be their wrong view concerning her writings.

But it is no use to go into these matters. I have talked with you for years about them but it brings no change. I think, however, that we are drifting toward a crisis which will come sooner or later and perhaps sooner. A very strong feeling of reaction has already set in.

It has been very quiet here for a few weeks, as many of the brethren are in the field. The weather has been quite cold and we had about five inches of snow last Sabbath, but it is more like spring today.

My mother is quite feeble, although she bears up full better than I really expected. She misses Father very much. They lived together more than 67 years.

The work of the office seems to be prospering, and we are all very busy trying to meet the demands upon us.

I should be glad to hear from you at any time. If you can properly do so, I would be glad to have you express to your mother my sympathies for her in her affliction.

Yours faithfully, W. W. Prescott

Category: Pioneer Letters
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