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

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    The Meeting in the College Library

    Two days before the General Conference session opened, church leaders held some unofficial precouncil meetings. Such a group gathered on Sunday evening, March 31. As they moved into their discussions, they decided to adjourn until a meeting could be held that would be a little more widely attended, and at which Sister White could be present. The hour was set for two-thirty the following afternoon, in the college library. Monday morning Elders Irwin, Haskell, Olsen, and Daniells went over to the Kellogg home to call on Sister White and to chat with her and invite her to the meeting planned for the afternoon. She consented to be present and to lay some matters before the brethren that had been opened up to her mind.5BIO 75.2

    Quite a wide, representative group met in the college library that Monday afternoon. It included the General Conference Committee, the Foreign Mission Board, conference presidents, and institutional leaders. The room was packed. Elder Daniells took along a secretary, Clarence C. Crisler; and Dr. Kellogg took his private secretary to report the meeting. The records of the meeting include the reports as transcribed by both men, with some understandable slight variations in wording.5BIO 75.3

    Although Elder Irwin was president of the General Conference, Elder Daniells, who had recently come from Australia, was in the chair. In Australia he, with W. C. White, had developed the union conference, binding the local conferences in Australia together in an effective organization.5BIO 75.4

    After making an introductory statement and telling of the meeting with Sister White in the morning, Daniells expressed his pleasure that she was present, and invited her to speak. She replied: “I did not expect to lead out in this meeting. I thought I would let you lead out, and then if I had anything to say, I would say it.”—Manuscript 43a, 1901. To this Daniells replied, “Well, it seemed to me (and I think to all of us who counseled with you this morning) that we had said about as much as we wished to until we heard from you.”5BIO 76.1

    Ellen White came directly to the point:5BIO 76.2

    I would prefer not to speak today, though not because I have nothing to say. I have something to say. The state of things that has existed in the Conference is not clearly understood by some who occupy positions in the Conference or by others who bear responsibilities in other lines of the work.

    The work has been increasing; it has been growing. The light that I have had from the Lord has been expressed over and over again, not to as many as there are here today, but to different individuals. The plans upon which God wishes us to work have been laid down.5BIO 76.3

    Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work and say what plans shall be followed. The burden of the work in this broad field should not rest upon two or three men. We are not reaching the high standard which, with the great and important truth we are handling, God expects us to reach.—Manuscript 43, 1901.5BIO 76.4

    Speaking of the General Conference, she said:5BIO 76.5

    Over and over again men have said, “The voice of the Conference is the voice of God; therefore everything must be referred to the Conference. The Conference must permit or restrict in the various lines of work.” As the matter has been presented to me, there is a narrow compass [as she said this, she drew a circle with her finger on the book she had in her hand], and within this narrow compass, all the entrances to which are locked, are those who would like to exercise kingly power. But the work carried on all over the field demands an entirely different course of action.— Ibid.

    Then she introduced the thought of reorganization by declaring: 5BIO 77.1

    There is need of the laying of a foundation different from the foundation which has been laid in the past. We have heard much about everything moving in the regular lines. When we see that the “regular lines” are purified and refined, that they bear the mold of the God of heaven, then it will be time to endorse these lines. But when we see that message after message given by God has been received and accepted, yet no change has been made, we know that new power must be brought into the regular lines. The management of the regular lines must be entirely changed, newly organized.

    There must be a committee, not composed of half a dozen men, but of representatives from all lines of our work, from our publishing houses, from our educational institutions, and from our sanitariums, which have life in them, which are constantly working, constantly broadening.— Ibid.5BIO 77.2

    She asked why more had not been done to open up new fields even in America, and continued by saying:5BIO 77.3

    To have this conference pass on and close up as the [other] conferences have done, with the same manipulating, with the very same tone and the same order—God forbid! God forbid, brethren.... Why, from the light that God has given me, everything about this conference should be the most sacred. Why? Why, because it is to put ideas and plans and work upon its proper basis, and this thing has been acted and re-acted for the last fifteen years or more, and God calls for a change.—Manuscript 43a, 1901.5BIO 77.4

    From one point to another she moved. She branded as “contemptible in the sight of God, contemptible” (Ibid.) the selfish, grasping financial policies of some, particularly in the publishing houses, who demanded high wages. She called for men to “stand as true to principle as the needle to the pole” (Manuscript 43, 1901). She referred to “sharp dealings” in the publishing houses, which actually resulted in losses instead of gains, and she exhorted:5BIO 77.5

    God means what He says. He calls for a change. The same things are being repeated, the same ideas followed, the same committees appointed. In a small section a king reigns, and all others are secondary, when there are other men who are better able to do the work, because they have not been working on narrow plans.— Ibid.5BIO 78.1

    She urged that until they were ready to take the Bible and make that their food and drink, she did not want them to repeat “‘Sister White said this’” and “‘Sister White said that’” and “‘Sister White said the other thing.’” She admonished that they ask, “‘What saith the Lord God of Israel?’” and then urged that they “do just what the Lord God of Israel does and what He says” (Manuscript 43a, 1901). Then her mind turned to the health reform and to the efforts of Dr. Kellogg to lead people to change their lives. She thought of the slowness of some to respond. Mentioning Dr. Kellogg, she said, “I do not suppose he is here, I do not know that he is, but at any rate---”5BIO 78.2

    At this point Elder Daniells broke in to say, “Yes, he is here,” to which Ellen White replied, “Well, I cannot see. I have to have congregational glasses that I can discern the faces; but I cannot see.”— Ibid.5BIO 78.3

    Then she pointed out that God did not want the medical work separated from the gospel work, that the medical missionary work should be considered the pioneer work, “the breaking-up plow.” She said that “God wants every soul to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Kellogg.” She referred to his work in Chicago as she had seen it a few days before. Then she went on to point out that Kellogg should work to reach the higher classes and the wealthy classes. Her closing words were in exaltation of the Word of God.5BIO 78.4

    It was a solemn meeting. Ellen White had not failed to deal with the matters that were heavy on her heart—matters that concerned the welfare of the General Conference session about to open and the welfare of the work of the church at large. It pointed in the direction the General Conference should take in its work. The session, scheduled for a full three weeks, opened the next morning.5BIO 78.5

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