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Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5) - Contents
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    Pacific Press Matters

    The Pacific Press constituency meeting, held on April 28 and 29, demonstrated again the influence of messages borne by Ellen White. The press was then located in Oakland. It was doing a great deal of commercial work, which was a growing source of concern and perplexity. While in the earlier years it had been necessary to accept commercial work to keep the equipment and the men needed for the production of literature for the church profitably employed, as the work of the church grew, the commercial work became less vital. At times it proved to be detrimental.5BIO 164.3

    Elder A. T. Jones, president of the California Conference and member of the board, held a series of meetings with the workers of the Pacific Press. God blessed his earnest work. The feeling was growing that some changes in policies and general plans should be made at the publishing house. With this there developed a feeling that implicated the manager, C. H. Jones, as the scapegoat, that he was the man mostly responsible for the commercial work and for the problems that it brought. A tide of criticism enveloped the employees.5BIO 165.1

    As the time neared for the constituency meeting, at which a board would be chosen and officers selected to manage the Pacific Press, C. H. Jones wrote a lengthy letter to Ellen White. First he urged her to attend the constituency meeting. He invited her and those who would be with her to stay at his home as guests during this meeting, as they had done in the past. And then he turned to some of the problems that would be discussed at this constituency meeting.5BIO 165.2

    Should they attempt to dispose of the commercial work? He argued that it had been valuable in (a) educating and training workers; (b) filling in during dull times; and (c) providing substantial financial aid. But conditions were quite changed now and possibly they could part with this.5BIO 165.3

    There was the threat of the labor unions, a threat that would recede if they were to withdraw from commercial printing. The capital investment amounted to $300,000, and they were paying interest on a debt of $200,000. About half the investment and half the time of the employees was devoted to the commercial work.5BIO 165.4

    Then there was the question of whether, if the commercial work were discontinued and the overall program of the plant greatly reduced, it would be wise to sell the plant in Oakland and move to a retired area more conducive to the welfare of the employees, establishing a plant of moderate size dedicated entirely to denominational work.5BIO 165.5

    On the closing page of his nine-page letter to Ellen White, Jones bluntly stated that he did not expect to accept any responsibility in connection with the Pacific Press for the coming year. The situation, he felt, was such that he should retire to other work, perhaps assisting his son, a physician in Santa Barbara. For thirty-one years he had been connected with denominational publishing work—eight with the Review and Herald and twenty-three with the Pacific Press. He declared:5BIO 165.6

    My life has been put into this institution. I have had no separate interest, but my whole time and attention has been given to building up the Pacific Press.—C. H. Jones to EGW, April 16, 1902.5BIO 166.1

    He recognized that he had made mistakes, and he expressed his feeling of regret as he contemplated severing his connection with the institution, even though he thought that this was the best move. He invited any counsel that Ellen White might have for him.5BIO 166.2

    Clearly, Jones's intentions were serious and determined. Then God spoke. “The Lord,” Ellen White declared, “gave me a most unexpected testimony to all, especially to C. H. Jones.”—Letter 260, 1902.5BIO 166.3

    On Wednesday, April 23, she wrote: 5BIO 166.4

    Dear Brother and Sister C. H. Jones: I have words from the Lord for you.5BIO 166.5

    Recently I read a very important letter from Brother Jones. That night I was instructed of the Lord by object lessons and explanations that made a deep impression on me. I do not now purpose relating all that was presented to me; but there are some things that I must relate.5BIO 166.6

    We seemed to be assembled in council with a number interested in the working of the Pacific Press. Some things were said with regard to the past management of the institution. The statement was made that the results of this management were not altogether satisfactory. Papers were read. Many perplexing problems were introduced. There seemed to be so many questions to consider that little headway was made, and no light from God seemed to be shining in.5BIO 166.7

    One of the questions under consideration was, “Should Brother C. H. Jones resign, who will occupy the position that he has occupied in the institution since he was a young man?”5BIO 166.8

    One who has often been present in our councils now stepped forward, and looking with intense interest and sympathy upon Brother Jones, stepped to his side, and speaking to the brethren, said, “Should your brother leave the office now, he would wrong himself and do a wrong to others and to the work.”— Letter 65, 1902.5BIO 167.1

    She described how her instructor put His hand on Brother Jones's shoulder and addressed him:5BIO 167.2

    “Take up the work anew, and”—turning to the others present—“learn of Jesus His meekness, His lowliness. Empty the mind of unkind criticism, and fill it with the determination to cherish the faith that works by love and purifies the soul....5BIO 167.3

    In this institution a large number of hands are employed to do commercial work. God does not require the doing of this work. Light has been given you in regard to this matter. “How long halt ye between two opinions?” ... The time and talents of the workers should be devoted to the publication of the truth.— Letter 65, 19025BIO 167.4

    Two days later Ellen White penned a message addressed to “My brethren in Positions of Responsibility in the Pacific Press.” She came directly and bluntly to the point, opening the letter with:5BIO 167.5

    The case of Brother C. H. Jones has been presented to me. Should he resign his position to take up some other line of work? If the Lord should say, “This is My will,” it would be right for Brother Jones to do this.... When the Lord selects a man who in His sight is the proper man for this place, it will be right for Brother Jones to sever his connection with the Pacific Press. But at present the Lord does not accept his resignation.—Letter 67, 1902.5BIO 167.6

    Ellen White spoke at the Sanitarium church on Sabbath, April 26, and then on Sunday made the journey to Oakland and to the C. H. Jones home, where she was to stay as a guest. The constituency meeting opened on Monday morning with a good representation present. On Monday afternoon Ellen White was the principal speaker. As the letter to C. H. Jones was read to the constituency, followed by the reading of the twenty-one-page testimony to the men in positions of responsibility in the Pacific Press, hearts were touched. In reporting the meeting, the Pacific Union Recorder states:5BIO 167.7

    The Spirit of the Lord came into the meeting, and many hearts were melted to tears. Following her remarks, there was a spirited social meeting, in which many confessions were made, and the entire audience manifested their desire to reconsecrate themselves to the service of the Lord by a rising vote.— Pacific Union Recorder, May 22, 1902.5BIO 168.1

    What a contrast from the ordinary corporation constituency meeting! Among the actions that were taken were these:5BIO 168.2

    “That we instruct the incoming board of directors to make a continuous effort to reduce commercial work and develop the publication of religious, educational, and health literature. Also, that we recommend that the incoming board of directors dispose of the plant as a whole, or in part, as Providence may open the way.5BIO 168.3

    “We also recommend that, in case the plant is sold a smaller plant be established in some rural district convenient for our denominational work, for the training and education of missionaries.”— Pacific Union Recorder, May 22, 1902.5BIO 168.4

    A board of seven was chosen, and C. H. Jones was whole-heartedly and unanimously returned to his position as manager—a position he was to hold for another thirty-one years. W. C. White, a deeply interested observer reporting the meeting wrote of the perplexing situation and then said:5BIO 168.5

    But God, in His mercy, sent us a message just before the annual meeting, calling upon Brother Jones to stand bravely in his position, working for the necessary reforms and calling upon his associates to stand by him, sharing the burden. (19 WCW, p. 275)5BIO 168.6

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