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

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    The Council Meeting at Elmshaven

    A council meeting was held at Elmshaven at 6:00 A.M. Sunday, October 19, 1902. Elder A. G. Daniells, the leader of the church, and Elder E. R. Palmer, who led out in the publishing work at the General Conference, were present. W. T. Knox, president of the Pacific Union Conference; A. T. Jones, president of the California Conference; J. O. Corliss, pastor of the San Francisco church; and Ellen G. White and W. C. White made up the committee of seven. Clarence C. Crisler was called in to make a stenographic report of the discussion. The problem under study: the increasing burden of debt being incurred by the denomination, with particular attention being given to the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which was being rebuilt, and to the Nashville publishing house. As they were discussing the building of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Ellen White opened her remarks with these words as recorded in the stenographic report of the interview: “I hope you will not incur large debts.”—Manuscript 123, 1902.5BIO 191.1

    As her mind turned to the recent experience in Great Britain, which will be mentioned later, she stated: “I would not feel free to advise you, brethren, to go heavily into debt in order to establish sanitariums.”— Ibid.5BIO 191.2

    Elder Daniells responded that he did not refuse to help establish a medical work in England, but he did refuse to establish it on borrowed capital. They promised to help raise the money as quickly as they could, and when the money was in hand they would invest it in buildings and equipment. Of this Ellen White commented: “But that is not Dr. Kellogg's manner of working.” But Elder Daniells interjected, as he referred to plans for the rebuilding of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, “We counseled together, and we positively stated over and over that a debt should not be made on the new sanitarium.... We made provision that when that institution was up, not a dollar of additional debt should rest upon it.”— Ibid.5BIO 191.3

    Then Elder Daniells turned attention to the work in Nashville. He said, “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.”— Ibid.5BIO 191.4

    But the institution was badly in debt, and the people were beginning to find it out. It was suggested that the matter could be cared for if it were handled like other situations of a similar character, except that Ellen White's support of her son's work made it impossible for the brethren to step in and put things right.5BIO 192.1

    The question was asked, “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 readjust those matters ... and bring the business where it will not continually be going into debt?” To this Ellen White replied:5BIO 192.2

    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.5BIO 192.3

    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.... I must always stand on the right side of every question. I do not want anyone 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.— Ibid.5BIO 192.4

    The report of the discussions was typed out the same day, and with a feeling of satisfaction Elder Daniells left California that night on his return to the Battle Creek headquarters. In his pocket he carried a copy of the interview. On arriving in Battle Creek, he called a meeting of the General Conference Committee and gave a report of the interview in California. He had the assurance that the Lord's messenger was with them in their plans to close up the Nashville printing establishment in a very short time.5BIO 192.5

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