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

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    Chapter 31—The General Conference of 1905

    The General Conference session of 1905 was due to open on May 11 in Washington, D.C., and Ellen White questioned whether she should attend. In her correspondence she intimated that she probably would not make the trip. The work on her books called for her attention, and she felt that she should stay by this. Yet, as the time for the session approached, she began to plan to go if it seemed her duty to do so.5BIO 398.1

    Night after night in visions she seemed to be either speaking to large congregations or attending important committee meetings. She wrote of how she had had “presentations regarding the deceptions that Satan is bringing in at this time” (Letter 99, 1905). She called for the reprinting of articles published in church journals in former years, written by the pioneers and testifying to the certainty of the message, and she predicted: “There will be constant warfare with seducing spirits that will bring in theories to counteract the truth of God.”— Ibid.5BIO 398.2

    Was she referring to the recent disclosure in correspondence that Elder A. F. Ballenger, a worker in England, was teaching views on the sanctuary truth that would nullify the well-founded understanding of Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary? Was it the intensification that was to come of the Kellogg views, which she once declared “virtually destroyed, the Lord God Himself” (Letter 300, 1903)? Could it be the growing apostasy of A. T. Jones?5BIO 398.3

    When A. G. Daniells, president of the General Conference, learned that there was some question in Ellen White's mind as to whether she would attend the conference, he wrote to her:5BIO 398.4

    I did not know there was any question at all about your coming.... The members of the General Conference Committee located in Washington, and the leading brethren living here, desire that you shall attend this meeting, and we send you a hearty invitation to come.—AGD to EGW, April 19, 1905.5BIO 399.1

    As Daniells continued his appeal, he disclosed in what high esteem church leaders held the Spirit of Prophecy:5BIO 399.2

    Here is our large conference coming on. This will be an important meeting. We are longing and looking for a special blessing from the Lord. There has never been a time in our history when we have needed clear views of our work, our responsibilities, et cetera, more than just now. We have confidence in the voice of the Spirit of Prophecy that has been with this cause from the first day, and I know that all the delegates will greatly appreciate having you present at the coming conference.5BIO 399.3

    As I fully expect you will come, I will not write more regarding this matter. We shall make the best arrangements we know how for your entertainment.— Ibid.5BIO 399.4

    By this time it seemed that she must attend the session, and she wrote:5BIO 399.5

    If I have to bear the burden of the perplexities here at home, and I must write constantly to the brethren assembled, I feel that I would prefer to be on the field of battle rather than where it takes two weeks to write and receive a reply. I only desire to do the will of my heavenly Father. If it is according to His will, I am willing to go. But it is a problem what to do with the matters here at home.—Letter 111, 1905.5BIO 399.6

    The matters “here at home” to which she referred included the fact that Mrs. Nelson, for several years her housekeeper, had just left to complete the nurses's course; Lucinda Abbey Hall, whom she considered closer than a sister, was called East because of the illness of her family; Sara McEnterfer, her faithful traveling companion and nurse, was undergoing treatment in San Francisco for a serious eye affliction and could not make the trip East. Ellen White felt lost without Sara as a traveling companion, for Sara understood her needs and wants so well.5BIO 399.7

    Then Dores Robinson, one of her secretaries, came up with a proposed solution. He was engaged to be married to Ella White, W. C. White's oldest daughter, and he suggested that their wedding plans be advanced and they marry before the party should leave for the East. Then he and Ella would take care of W. C. White's children, Henry, Herbert, and Grace, leaving May, W. C.’s wife, free to travel East with Ellen White.5BIO 400.1

    The proposal was accepted by all concerned, and arrangements were made for the wedding on Monday afternoon, May 1. It was planned for outdoors, but rain threatened, so the ceremony took place in the Sanitarium chapel. Ellen White offered the prayer and made appropriate remarks.5BIO 400.2

    With the most difficult hurdles out of the way, she was ready to make the trip East. “If the Lord will,” she wrote on Sunday before the wedding, “I shall join the party leaving Wednesday morning [May 3] for the General Conference.”—Letter 133, 1905.5BIO 400.3

    The Southern route was chosen for the trip, and there would be twenty to twenty-five people traveling together, their party almost filling the tourist car that would carry them to Washington.5BIO 400.4

    At the Los Angeles railroad station Elder J. A. Burden came into the car, met Ellen White, and hastily told her of a beautiful property he had found near San Bernardino and Redlands that might be suitable for sanitarium work—Loma Linda. He suggested that as the train went by she look out the window on the right side and see the building. But her berth was on the left, and there is no record that she noticed Loma Linda as the train passed the property.5BIO 400.5

    The trip was pleasant and rather uneventful. On Sabbath and Sunday the Adventists joined in song services, and Elder Corliss spoke to the group on Sunday morning. All in the car, including a few non-Adventists, listened attentively.5BIO 400.6

    Accompanying Ellen White was her son W. C. White, his wife, May, and Maggie Hare. The party arrived at the Washington station on Tuesday morning, May 9, at ten o'clock. After staying overnight at the little temporary sanitarium being opened in Washington in a rented building, the party moved to the newly completed boys’ dormitory, where four rooms were given over to them. Two rooms were for Ellen White (a bedroom and a working room); there was one room for W. C. White and his wife, and another for Maggie Hare.5BIO 400.7

    Ellen White was pleased to witness the development of the work at the school. When she left Washington in mid-August, 1904, construction was just getting under way. Now this building was completed, and work was progressing on others.5BIO 401.1

    She reported that she had “stood the trip remarkably well, and was stronger when I left the cars at Washington than when I got on board at San Francisco.” And she declared:5BIO 401.2

    I can but feel that the Lord is in my coming to Washington at this time. I have a message to bear. God helping me, I will stand firm for the right, presenting truth unmixed with the falsities that have been stealthily creeping in. Those who are on the Lord's side will refuse to be drawn astray by false science, which makes a jingle of the true word of prophecy. May the Lord give me much of His grace, that in every work and act I may reveal the light of truth.—Letter 135, 1905.5BIO 401.3

    Elder Daniells planned that this General Conference session would be deeply spiritual. He saw the importance of upgrading the ministry; plans were laid for a ministerial institute to run through the session, with an hour each day devoted to the presentation of appropriate topics. It was also a time when he looked forward to the rounding out of the work of the newly formed General Conference departments. Departmental meetings would be held throughout the session. But it was the spiritual interest of the cause that weighed most heavily on his heart. This is reflected in the opening meeting, at 10:30 A.M. on Thursday, May 11.5BIO 401.4

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