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

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    Visions that Changed the Course of Action

    But the publishing house was not closed. On Monday, within twenty-four hours of the interview that was held at Elmshaven, Ellen White wrote a letter addressed to “Dear Brethren.”5BIO 192.6

    Last night I seemed to be in the operating room of a large hospital, to which people were being brought, and instruments were being prepared to cut off their limbs in a big hurry.5BIO 193.1

    One came in who seemed to have authority, and said to the physicians, “Is it necessary to bring these people into this room?” Looking pityingly at the sufferers, he said, “Never amputate a limb until everything possible has been done to restore it.” Examining the limbs which the physicians had been preparing to cut off, he said, “They may be saved, the first work is to use every available means to restore these limbs.5BIO 193.2

    “What a fearful mistake it would be to amputate a limb that could be saved by patient care. Your conclusions have been too hastily drawn. Put these patients in the best rooms in the hospital, and give them the very best of care and treatment. Use every means in your power to save them from going through life in a crippled condition, their usefulness damaged for life.”5BIO 193.3

    The sufferers were removed to a pleasant room, and faithful helpers cared for them under the speaker's direction; and not a limb had to be sacrificed.—Letter 162, 1902.5BIO 193.4

    And another scene passed before her. She seemed to be in a council meeting. Elder E. R. Palmer, leader of our publishing work, was speaking, urging that “all our book making should be done by one publishing house, at one place, and thus save expense.” She describes how “One of authority” was present and pointed out the perils of a consolidated work, and then she declared, “Let the Southern field have its own home-published books.”— Ibid.5BIO 193.5

    In her closing statement Ellen White recognized that—5BIO 193.6

    in the work at Nashville there has been a departure from avowed principles and plans of work. Great evils have resulted. The Lord would have saved from all this if the workers had prayed more and walked humbly with God. It will never answer for these mistakes to be repeated. They must stand as warnings against deviations from the plain path marked out for us by God.

    And how shall we treat those who have erred? Let those who have had experience, and who have passed over the ground, show sympathy for those who have done this unadvised thing.— Ibid.5BIO 193.7

    When Elder Daniells received the letter, he was stunned. Commenting on the experience when the letter came to Battle Creek, he declared:5BIO 194.1

    The message to continue the work of the Southern Publishing Association was truly disconcerting. It brought great disappointment to many. Its contradiction to the counsel given to us in our interview threw some into perplexity.—AGD, The Abiding Gift of Prophecy, p. 328.5BIO 194.2

    He recalled the experience of Nathan and David:5BIO 194.3

    “Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee. And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not build me an house.” (See 1 Chronicles 17:1-4.)— Ibid.

    He recalled that David accepted the message that had come by revelation, in place of the counsel given in the interview the preceding day. And as he reported the experience, he said: “Our committee took the same action.”— Ibid.5BIO 194.4

    But the experience was an agonizing one for Ellen White. She recalled the vision given to her in Fresno, which should have alerted her:5BIO 194.5

    I was in the night season in a meeting where the room was darkened, as if a blanket of darkness had been drawn over the assembly. Someone was speaking. The voice was the voice of Elder Daniells, but the words were those of Brother E. R. Palmer.—Letter 194, 1902.5BIO 194.6

    It was Elder Palmer, a dedicated man who, looking at the matter from a business standpoint, felt certain that one publishing house in North America was sufficient. A few weeks later, in a message addressed to the General Conference Committee, Ellen White reviewed the experience: “A short time after the council that was held at my home October 19 in regard to the Southern work, a great burden came upon me. I was bowed down with distress. I had wakened with an inexpressible load resting on me.”—Letter 173, 1902.5BIO 194.7

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