Selected Messages Book 3


Section 6—Education—The Church School, and Universities of the World


In 1902 the community surrounding the St. Helena Sanitarium, a community in which Ellen White resided from 1901 until her death, was served by the one-room Crystal Springs public school. It was taught by a dedicated Seventh-day Adventist teacher, Mr. Anthony. 3SM 206.1

At the turn of the century, Seventh-day Adventists in some parts of the United States, largely as the result of Ellen White's counsel, were just moving into the establishment of church schools for the children of grade-school age. At 6:00 a.m. on Monday, July 14, 1902, Ellen White addressed the members of the Sanitarium church, urging the establishment of a church school, and as an incentive offered to provide the use of a nearby portion of her land at Elmshaven for the project. Excerpts from the timely address she gave open this section. 3SM 206.2

The Sanitarium church accepted Ellen White's proposal, but when the school opened in the fall no provision was made for small children, because it was reasoned that those under eight or ten years of age should be taught at home in harmony with Ellen White's instruction given earlier. 3SM 206.3

Not all parents were prepared to meet the ideal she set forth in her earlier writings, and this left not a few children to drift without discipline or proper training during their childhood years. The one deterrent to the church's making provision for the younger children was the oft-quoted E. G. White statement written in 1872 that “Parents should be the only teachers of their children until they have reached eight or ten years of age.”—Testimonies for the Church 3:137. 3SM 206.4

There seemed to be a marked division of thinking on the part of church officers and members on this important question. 3SM 207.1

As time went on the church school board arranged for an interview with Ellen White at her home early Thursday morning, January 14, 1904, to discuss this question of school-age attendance and the responsibility of the church for the education of young children. W. C. White saw it as rather a landmark meeting that would set a pattern for other church schools across the land. 3SM 207.2

Ellen White was informed in advance of the issue to be discussed and so was prepared to speak to the question in its several aspects. Minutes of the meeting were made and a copy of them was introduced into the general Document File in the Elmshaven vault. However, through some oversight no copy was placed in the regular E. G. White letter and manuscript file. Being minutes of a school board meeting, they were lost sight of for many years. During a thorough search in 1975 for all materials relating to the early training of children, the minutes of this enlightening interview came to light on April 24, 1975, and were published in full in the Review and Herald (now the Adventist Review) of April 24, 1975. 3SM 207.3

Brief excerpts from the 1902 appeal for a church school and that portion of the board minutes of January 14, 1904, which relate directly to the appropriate school age for the children of Adventist parents, are presented in chapters 23 and 24. 3SM 207.4

Chapter 25 brings together a few miscellaneous choice statements under the title of “General Guiding Principles.” 3SM 207.5

In 1887 Ellen White suggested in Testimonies for the Church 5:583, 584, that “strong young men, rooted and grounded in the faith” could “if so counseled by our leading brethren, enter the higher colleges in our land, where they would have a wider field for study and observation,” and who like the Waldenses “might do a good work, even while gaining their education.” These sentiments were repeated several times during the next decade, emphasizing the opportunities this would give for effective witness in non-Seventh-day Adventist Schools, at the same time sounding timely cautions. Chapter 26 closes with a selection of these counsels. 3SM 207.6

White Trustees.