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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Ms 123, 1902

    Report of a Council Meeting

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    October 19, 1902

    Portions of this manuscript are published in MM 83; 5Bio 162, 191, 200-201. 4MR 146; 17MR 266-275. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    Report of a portion of a council-meeting held at Mrs. E. G. White’s home, “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California, 8 a.m., October 19, 1902.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 1

    Present: Mrs. E. G. White, Elders A. G. Daniells, W. C. White, W. T. Knox, E. R. Palmer, A. T. Jones, and J. O. Corliss.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 2

    In speaking of the rebuilding of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Sister White said:—17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 3

    Mrs. E. G. White: I hope you will not incur large debts. I have been instructed to tell our people that they are not to erect such immense buildings for sanitariums. The medical institution in Battle Creek would better have been divided into at least seven different plants, so that other places would have had proper facilities for the care of the sick. There are many places in Europe and in America where medical missionary work should be begun; but these openings have been neglected in order to build up a great institution in Battle Creek. An immense building is being erected in Battle Creek, while nothing is as yet established in London and other places in Europe; nothing in many cities in our own country. The centering of so much in Battle Creek leads many of our people to drift in there; but this congested condition often destroys their piety and unfits them for the Master’s service.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 4

    Years ago light was given in regard to the holding of so many ministerial institutes. Much time and money were needlessly expended in meeting together to learn how best to labor. Our younger ministers would have learned far more rapidly by doing actual work in the field. Thus the great expense of holding these institutes could have been saved, and in most instances with better results.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 5

    A similar mistake is now being made in calling in so many of our bright young people to take the medical course. Some have lost their lives by the change of climate and by the toil and privation that they have undergone in order to finish their course of study. The students necessarily have to study very hard; and the climate where the school is located is not conducive to health. I have written some instruction that the Lord has given to me in regard to this matter. I have been instructed that in view of the trying nature of medical missionary work, those who desire to take up this line should first be thoroughly examined by competent physicians, to ascertain whether or not they have the strength necessary to endure the course of study through which they must pass in the training school. If they are not able to carry a line of mental work covering a period of two, three, or five years, as the case may be, they should be told this and counseled to spend their summer vacations in working in the open air; or, if unable to stand the strain of constant school work, they should be counseled to spend much of their time in outdoor work and to study books by themselves. If they are careful to exercise sufficiently, the brain will be clear to grasp the subjects that they study alone, and their progress will be rapid. Let them endeavor to treat the sick, as they have opportunity, putting into practice the theory that they gain from the study of books. I have been instructed that in many instances more practical knowledge can be obtained in this way than by a long course of study in a medical school. I cannot advise so many of our young men and young women spending so many years in a training school. It is essential for some to do this, it is true.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 6

    I hope that something will be done in regard to the payment of our nurses. I have received letters from many parents, in which they speak of this matter. Young men and young women who once were the only support of their parents are, after taking a course in one of our nurses’s training schools, unable to help their parents as they had hoped to help them after being graduated. They receive wages, but the amount is so small that it is nearly all used in paying for board, room rent, and incidental expenses. Appeals are made to them to give to various medical missionary enterprises, and often the remainder of their pittance is used in this way; for they know that if they do not give in response to these appeals, they will be looked upon with disfavor by those in authority.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 7

    Since the Sanitarium burned down, many of the helpers, I understand, have been working without compensation, and all the funds that they would otherwise receive go into the building fund. Brethren, this is not right in the sight of God. Every one has an individuality of his own and should respect it. God wants every one to be a personal steward of that which he earns. He would be pleased to see these helpers have something that they could give to some other part of the work, rather than to use it all in helping to establish one mammoth institution. Treasure after treasure has been and is being locked up in the Battle Creek Sanitarium—means that should be used in advancing the Lord’s work in other places.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 8

    Dr. Kellogg has linked himself with the world. He acted unwisely when he invited that committee of Battle Creek citizens to examine the Sanitarium books. To open these books to the inspection of the world was as unfortunate as was Hezekiah’s mistake in showing the Babylonians the treasures in the house of God. What business had these men to know all about the workings of this institution? They never should have been given such an opportunity. I believe they promised to give something over thirty thousand dollars to the building fund after that investigation. Twice thirty thousand dollars would have been but a small sum, in comparison with the harm that has been done by allowing this examination to be made.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 9

    Upon the first institutions that were started, God has placed obligations that have never been fulfilled. Time and again I have written to our older institutions, telling them how they should help sister institutions established later in various places; but my words of counsel have received but little attention. Especially is this true with reference to the attitude of the Battle Creek Sanitarium toward the medical work in Australia. Brother Semmens was sent to Australia empty-handed, to inaugurate medical missionary work. But no appliances were supplied to him by the Battle Creek Sanitarium. He would have felt rich, if he had had some of the old appliances that had been discarded and were stored away in the Battle Creek Sanitarium. We did the best we could, renting a house and furnishing a few rooms to help start the work there.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 10

    As regards the Sanitarium work in Great Britain, I would not feel free to advise you, brethren, to go heavily into debt in order to establish sanitariums.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 11

    A. G. Daniells: We did not refuse to help establish the medical work in England, but we did refuse to establish it on borrowed capital and then go to the people afterward, and say, “We have contracted a debt in opening medical missionary work in England, and now we come to you to ask for means with which to liquidate this indebtedness.” We promised to help raise the money just as quickly as we could, and in the meantime let a proper committee search for a location; and after a few months, when the committee has found a favorable opening and when we have the money in hand, we will be ready to invest.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 12

    Mrs. E. G. White: But that is not Dr. Kellogg’s manner of working.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 13

    A. G. Daniells: No; he does not want to do it that way. After the fire, Dr. Kellogg called some members of the General Conference Committee to Battle Creek to counsel with the Sanitarium Board. We counseled together, and we positively stated over and over that a debt should not be made on the new Sanitarium. Brother Prescott, Brother Cottrell, Brother Evans, and I were there, and we laid it all out. We made provision that when that institution was up, not a dollar of additional debt should rest upon it. They were then in debt $250,000—a quarter of a million; and that was on the land and property that remained after the main buildings were burned.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 14

    The General Conference Committee took the position that the Sanitarium debt ought not to be increased. They had all the debt they could carry. We spent two days with them in counsel. After our discussions and arrangements, Brother Prescott said, “We want it thoroughly understood that we are agreed that this building shall not cost more than $250,000; and that this money is to be raised from the $150,000 insurance money, and from the donations of the Battle Creek citizens.” He laid it all out the last thing before the council closed. “When this thing is done,” he said, “we are not to have a dollar added to our debt.” This was agreed to by all.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 15

    It now looks as if a large amount of indebtedness would be added to the Sanitarium. The General Conference is not responsible in any way, shape, or manner for a dollar of that. We did not put our hands to any such movement.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 16

    Mrs. E. G. White: I hope you will maintain this position in regard to the matter. Dr. Kellogg must not think that because he does this, you must succumb. But God has permitted things to come to such a pass that you can clearly see your duty to refuse to bear the burden of this additional obligation.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 17

    A. G. Daniells: We feel that we cannot stultify ourselves. We cannot live in constant violation of our sense of right and justice. None of us can retain the confidence of the people, if we constantly and openly violate the plain instruction that has been given us. Our people have in their possession all that has been published in regard to the debts on our schools and our other institutions. They read what is published in the Review and in the bound volumes of the Testimonies, and they have it settled in their minds that we are determined to pay off our debts and to raise money to go on with advanced work. And now for us openly to violate this means to wreck the confidence of our people in our integrity. I cannot do it. It is of no use to talk to the contrary. I told the doctor that I could pack my satchel and go to the heart of Africa and labor in peace; but that I would not put my hand to the creating of new debts. I will have nothing to do with it. And I stand there. I know that if we will be firm, and go to the people, and stand before them firmly, their confidence will be restored, and we can get all the means we need to carry on our advance work.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 18

    Mrs. E. G. White: It was largely the influence of Dr. Kellogg with Elder Olsen, which led him, with some others, to adopt the measures that brought our finances into such a terrible condition. You know that at one time there was plenty of money in the hands of the General Conference, and then they began to build the Boulder Sanitarium.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 19

    A. G. Daniells: It was all borrowed money, on which interest was paid. We are still struggling to repay the money that was borrowed at that time. Some of us have been doing our best this summer to distribute this burden carried by the General Conference Association, among the Union Conferences, and encouraging our people to make a supreme effort to free themselves from these heavy encumbrances. The General Conference Association is now in a far better position financially than it has been for years past. The people have responded nobly. We have assured them that we are making a bold effort to get out of the bondage of debt, and that we are going to stop this piling up of debts on our institutions.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 20


    The Work in Nashville

    Consideration was next given to the work in Nashville. Among other things was mentioned an interview published in a Nashville paper in regard to the proposed work of the Dixie Health Food Company and the effect this interview would naturally have upon the liberalities of our people.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 21

    Mrs. E. G. White: When I saw that sensational article in regard to what the Food Company in Nashville intended to do, I thought, I will say nothing on one side or on the other. This matter is beyond me. No matter what I should say, complaint would be made. God desires me to stand perfectly free from this whole matter, and I will.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 22

    I desire you to know that I regard the publication of this article in regard to the food work as a great mistake. It is not right.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 23

    A. G. Daniells: It is doing great harm.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 24

    Mrs. E. G. White: I have written all about this matter. I have not sent the manuscript yet, because since returning home, I have been sick. I wrote the manuscript while I was away from home.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 25

    A. G. Daniells: You see it has been repeatedly published that the brethren in Nashville were not going into debt, and everybody has understood that a new order of things had set in, and that they were going to have an institution put up without debt; and so they have sent their money in. But now it is becoming known that the institution is badly in debt. For a long time the people did not know that there was a dollar of indebtedness on it. Besides, it has been managed so that thousands of dollars have been sunk—just in operating the business. This is bringing great discouragement and distrust and lack of confidence upon the people.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 26

    I do not believe that there was any need of having such an experience as this in Nashville. I know very well that at the beginning they had instruction from you that they were not to go into debt; that they were not to go any faster than they were able to pay their way; and that when they would come to a place where they could not pay their way, they should stop until they received means with which to continue their work. I do not believe any of the responsibility can be thrown back either upon you or upon the Lord. They have printed what you said in regard to keeping free from debt; and the people have believed that this was going to be done. Now when it turns out that so much has been lost in expensive management, and that they have gone into debt nearly twenty-five thousand dollars besides, this is having a very bad effect on the minds of our people. I feel that we must take hold of this thing and stop it, and put it right, and place the institution in a position where it will not continue to lose in its operation. I do not believe there is any need of so heavy a loss every month.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 27

    Mrs. E. G. White: If they had done just as they promised to do, they would not have gone so far. The establishment would have been much smaller in size. It would have been a great deal better than it is at present.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 28

    A. G. Daniells: I think that it can be arranged so that they can meet expenses.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 29

    Mrs. E. G. White: If it cannot be, it had better be closed.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 30


    A short discussion of the publishing work in the South followed. Reference was made to the selling qualities of large and small books.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 31

    Mrs. E. G. White: I do not believe it is right to devote so much attention to the sale of the smaller books to the neglect of the larger ones. It is wrong to leave lying on the shelves the large works that the Lord has revealed should be put into the hands of the people and to push so vigorously, in the place of these, the sale of small books.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 32


    Mrs. E. G. White: I have come to a point where I must not worry over any of these things. I have in the past worried so that I could not sleep after twelve and one o’clock in the morning. I have had to get up at these hours to relieve my mind by writing in regard to these matters. But I must not permit my mind to be taken up with these things so much that it will be affected. My memory is still good, and I desire to finish some things that I have in preparation. I am writing on the life of Solomon. And I wish to write more on the case that I have so many times brought before Dr. Kellogg as illustrative of his own dangers—the case of Nebuchadnezzar. Over and over again I have warned the Doctor not to follow the course of this king, who said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built ... by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” [Daniel 4:30.] Dr. Kellogg is now pursuing a similar course in Battle Creek. I am told that he made the remark that he was glad that the old Sanitarium buildings burned down. Brethren, those buildings burned down as a reproof to him, but instead of taking it thus, he has given place to self-exaltation.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 33

    W. C. White: We have no desire to worry you, Mother, with the details of the work in the South; but it looks to the brethren as if the time had fully come for a rearrangement of the business responsibilities there.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 34

    Mrs. E. G. White: I think this work ought to be done. Edson has never made a success yet in financial matters, and he had this fact spread before him constantly. He has been repeatedly told that his only success was in the ministry and in preparing books for the people. He has never made a success in finance.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 35

    W. C. White: When the brethren go there, they will be met by this proposition, namely, that Brother Edson White and Brother W. O. Palmer have been instructed to stand together. They will be told that wicked efforts have been made to separate these two men and to overthrow the work that they have organized there, and that the word of the Lord has forbidden any one to antagonize them in their work.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 36

    Mrs. E. G. White: Over and over again the word of the Lord has come to them, telling them that neither of them has the physical strength nor the financial ability to carry the food business and the publishing work at one and the same time. If they should attempt this, either one branch or the other would have to suffer.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 37

    W. C. White: The question with us is, Shall we wait another period of time for things to evolve down there, or has the time come for the General Conference and the Southern Union Conference men to get together and in prayerful, thoughtful counsel to readjust those matters and put the best man that they can find in charge of the printing house; and put things on an actual-paying basis; and place upon the Union Conference the burden that belongs to the Union Conference; and place upon individuals the burden that belongs to individuals; and bring the business where it will not continually be going into debt? Has the time come for this action?17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 38

    Mrs. E. G. White: It has; and I say, Go ahead. God’s cause must not be left to reproach, no matter who is made sore by arranging matters on a right basis. Edson should give himself to the ministry and to writing, and leave alone the things that he has been forbidden by the Lord to do. Finance is not his forte at all.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 39

    I want the brethren to feel free to take hold of this matter. I do not want them to make any reference to me. I want them to act just as they would act if my son were not there.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 40

    When I was in Battle Creek, before the Nashville office was fully established, this young man Palmer was presented to me in the night season as one whom I was to treat as a son. I was instructed to be a mother to him; that he was in great danger of losing his soul, and that I should do all I could to help him to recover himself from the enemy’s snare. It was revealed to me that when he associated with his friends, his money went like the wind. He could not have money without spending it freely. I was further instructed that if he would take hold of the Southern work, and labor in the fear of God, he would be greatly blessed, and his soul would be saved.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 41

    Recently I cautioned our brethren against making a change in the management of the Nashville office too suddenly. They were to wait until some other man could be found whom the Lord would provide for that work. I do not think it is best for Brother Palmer to be connected with the Nashville Publishing House any longer. Let him go into the food business, if he so chooses. I do not think it is best for him to have the least connection with the office of publication.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 42

    I must always stand on the right side of every question. I do not want any one to feel that I am sustaining Edson in a wrong. He has felt that it is terrible for me to write to him in the straight way that I have written. I have presented things to him just as they are presented to me.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 43

    W. C. White: There is another issue that will come up with reference to Edson’s work. You remember that a little while ago he bore the burden of the Hildebran school, and all the colored schools in Mississippi; and he has felt that he must go to the people for money, and that he must have a treasury independent from the treasury of the Union Conference, so that he could spend money where the Union Conference might not think it advisable to spend it.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 44

    Mrs. E. G. White: I hope that he will never have such a treasury. I do not want the brethren ever to feel it their duty to let him have a fund independent from the Union Conference fund; for I will not encourage any such arrangement.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 45

    A. G. Daniells: This statement will do our brethren in the Southern Union Conference a world of good—to know that this is your position.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 46

    Mrs. E. G. White: This is my position exactly.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 47

    A. G. Daniells: I know they want to foster the work that Edson began among the colored people; but they do not care to have him contract debts for this work and then send in the bills for them to settle, in some way, from their treasury. They feel that they have a right to say something about the debts that are contracted, if they have to pay them; and if they know that this is your position, too, it will do them a world of good.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 48

    W. C. White: If Edson could know that this is your position, it would do him, too, a world of good; for just so long as he holds to the position that he must control an Association, and that this Association must have a treasury, and that he must go to the people to raise money to replenish this treasury—fighting all the world as to the method of doing it; and that he has the right to expend this money as the Southern Missionary Society thinks best—just so long as this is his position, he keeps himself in a conflict on the right hand and on the left, and he carries the burden of the work for the colored people, as if he were their only defender and champion.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 49

    Mrs. E. G. White: So he was at one time, when no one stood ready to take hold of this work with him. But now that there are other people in the South who are helping to do this work, the burden does not rest upon him alone.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 50

    It is highly proper that the work of the Southern Missionary Society should be under the direction of the Southern Union Conference.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 51

    Regarding the Steamer “Morning Star,” I have written Edson that I saw no objection to this boat’s being used in missionary work, if his fellow workers felt clear to advise its use. I told him that if the brethren, in counsel with him, felt that there were a class of people living along the rivers who could be reached only by means of a boat, and that if to reach these they were willing to undertake to put the “Morning Star” into service once more, I had no objections to offer.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 52

    Question: Would you think it best for Edson to insist on the future existence of the Southern Missionary Society as an independent organization, in order that this kind of work could be carried on without hindrance?17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 53

    Mrs. E. G. White: I cannot give countenance to Edson’s operating independently, because I know that he is not a close financier.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 54

    Question: Is it God’s will for him to carry the burden of an independent society and an independent work within the Southern Union Conference; and to do things and to carry burdens that the Union Conference does not feel free to do and to carry; and also to appeal for means in ways that the Union Conference cannot approve?17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 55

    Mrs. E. G. White: No.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 56

    When I saw that interview in regard to the Dixie Health Food Company, as printed in a Nashville paper, I said to myself, My duty is done for the present. Not another plea can I publish, asking our people to help to establish the work in the Southern field, until something is done to right this matter. In this sensational article it was claimed that half a million dollars was to be expended in connection with the establishment of the health food business in Nashville. It was a terrible representation, and I determined not to have anything more to say.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 57

    E. R. Palmer: That paper has been circulated all around where the conditions in the Nashville Publishing House and the Southern Missionary Society are known.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 58

    Mrs. E. G. White: With that presentation in circulation, channels through which means should have flowed into the Southern field have been closed.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 59

    A. G. Daniells: Before I knew what the brethren were doing, I realized that the publication of this article was closing up the channels through which money would have flowed into the Southern Union Conference treasury.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 60

    Mrs. E. G. White: Things must be put on a different basis. There was a time when the Southern field was being robbed and neglected. At that time it was necessary for appeals to be made for means independently of the organized body. But this time is in the past. Many are now interested in the progress of the cause there. The brethren acknowledge the mistakes that they have made in the past and are ready to work that field. Let them plan to open new fields in the South and carry forward the work on a right basis. Let them not falter in doing the right thing.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 61

    A. G. Daniells: There is a disposition to carry forward aggressive work in the Southern field in right lines. They have good men down there to act as counselors and leaders.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 62

    Mrs. E. G. White: I do not desire that any personalities should be brought into this question. I desire to see the business of the Nashville Publishing Association carried on just as it should be carried on—in God’s order.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 63

    A. G. Daniells: That is a sensible position, Sister White, and the problem can be worked out on that ground.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 64

    Mrs. E. G. White: My personality is not my own, and I have no right to use it for selfish purposes. I can stand before the throne of God and be perfectly clear on this point; for I have never used my personality selfishly. My husband used to tell me that I was more in danger of going to the other extreme.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 65


    Sister White further stated that she wished it distinctly understood that when she had spoken encouragingly of the food manufacture by the brethren in Nashville, she knew nothing about the large plans of the Dixie Food Company. She said that she had advised our people in every section of [the] country to experiment with the food products of their respective localities and had encouraged them to make healthful foods from these natural products. When Edson and Brother Palmer asked her advice about their manufacturing two or three products that they had experimented on, she told them that she saw no objection to their doing this; but afterward she cautioned them not to enter into the food business while holding positions of responsibility in the publishing house. She told them plainly that they could not carry both lines of work at the same time and do justice to both. She advised them to let the Southern Union Conference control the manufacture and sale of health foods for the Southern field and suggested that the profits could be used to advance missionary work in that field.17LtMs, Ms 123, 1902, par. 66

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