Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 25, 1887

Underwood, Brother

Basel, Switzerland

March 24, 1887

Previously unpublished.

Dear Bro. Underwood:

I have received letters from Bro. and Sr. Maxson asking my advice in regard to their going to Ohio to stand at the head of that institution. I wrote them that I would not advise them to do that, for I had learned that Dr. Kellogg felt very much hurt at the way the matter was managed of getting Br. and Sr. Maxson away from the sanitarium. And if the statements are true, I cannot see how he could feel otherwise than that an unchristian course had been pursued toward him. If Br. and Sr. Maxson were acquainted to this undercurrent working to separate them from the sanitarium, and a false reason was presented as a blind that they were to work in the mission, I say it is a fraud, it cannot be called by any other name, and a sin in the sight of God. And any attempt to gloss it over will only deepen the guilt of those who connived it. Christians can afford to be fair, open as the daylight, to deal with one another as brethren. 5LtMs, Lt 25, 1887, par. 1

If they want to drive Dr. Kellogg into wrong positions and to view matters in an exaggerated light, then they have just taken the course to produce this result. This is an offense to God to pursue a course which looks like stealing away from Dr. K. his associate physicians, and helpers, or to put it into the minds of these who were connected with him to attract them to another place. 5LtMs, Lt 25, 1887, par. 2

Dr. Kellogg is carrying tremendous burdens and needs all the help he has had and five times as much of the medical profession. And if any one has in a secretive manner worked to bring about the result which has taken place, I am sure that God has not led them to do this, but the commandments of God are to be our standard in all manner of dealing with one another; and there is no circumstance or condition that does not guard man from doing the least injustice to his brother, and to his neighbor. 5LtMs, Lt 25, 1887, par. 3

The very first thing that should have been done, before intimating to Dr. Maxson that his services were desired, was to lay the matter before Dr. Kellogg and learn his mind and understand his situation. For in such cases, frequently, men may through desire to be first be inclined to accept positions that would not be for their good or for the glory of God for them to be in, and it may work badly. But then when it comes to the right thing to do, to steal the help away from another, connive at it in an underhanded manner, God is not in favor of any such work. Dr. Kellogg claims this has been done, and for a time it nearly unbalanced him. We have worked to the best of our ability in this case to help the mind of the doctor by urging him, if he felt that a wrong had been done him, to lay the case before God, and not permit it to bear heavily upon him. If any of our ministers have acted a part in this matter, I hope they will see their error. If they have not been open or frank, and have not observed the golden rule, I hope they will make every crooked thing straight. Dr. K. advanced money and helped Dr. Maxson and wife to obtain an education for the medical profession, and he has had hopes that they would come up to be able helpers and was depending on her especially as a lady physician. It was a surprise and a shock to him, when the burdens were pressing upon him, to have this state of things exist, or be brought around as the workings of the members of the committee of the General Conference, who had been enlisted in this work. I do not know but I would rather have given a thousand dollars from my own means than to have had it come about in the shape it has. Oh, when will our brethren learn to act the Christian in every particular? 5LtMs, Lt 25, 1887, par. 4

Now, under the existing state of things, I cannot feel that it would be wisdom for Bro. and Sr. Maxson to go to Ohio. There would be a state of things between the Ohio Conference and their institution and the Dr. and the Sanitarium that would cause much friction, and as we are in need of help in California, we advise them to unite with the institution there, if they do not stick to their first purpose for which they left the Sanitarium, to work in the mission field to advance health reform. Going out on this plea, and then going at once to the institution at Ohio, would give a bad look to the whole thing. It would be bad for Br. and Sr. Maxson’s reputation, and bad for Dr. Kellogg, as he can but argue that they left the sanitarium under a blind, purposing to connect with the Ohio institution. 5LtMs, Lt 25, 1887, par. 5

You must see that to start another institution would touch the Dr. in a tender spot. Then to interfere secretly with his help, to transfer them to the institution in Ohio, is working matters in a way that will result in the worst kind of feelings. I have no faith in any such kind of working. The whole matter should have been laid open before the Dr. and frankly, openly talked over. But now, with the shape matters are in, I would say, in no way urge Dr. Maxson and his wife to connect with your institution, for through some cause there has been a bungling job made of the whole business. 5LtMs, Lt 25, 1887, par. 6

Dr. Kellogg consents to their going to the health retreat. We have no lady physician; we need one, and must have one; and if they should go there, the unpleasantness which would exist if they went to Ohio would be removed. Now do not make offers to Dr. Maxson. Do not urge him to go to the institution in Ohio, for I am sure it would not be wise or right. It is our work to lay no cause of stumbling in our brother’s way, and it is our duty to do all that is possible to preserve unity and harmony between brethren. I cannot feel that <proper> care is exercised in this direction to preserve harmony and love between brethren. May the Lord help us. I cannot see or understand the need of investing a large amount of means in an institution in Ohio. That means might be expended in some better way to advance the cause of God in the saving of souls. But when an unfair course is pursued to build it up, as in the case of Dr. M. and his wife <leaving the sanitarium,> I <know> the prospering hand of God will not attend it. I have had long letters from Dr. Maxson. I have written to him and write again today. I will now leave this matter. I hope that you have had no part in it. Let our ministers attend to their ministry, seeking to save souls, and let them not be diverted from their work or entangle themselves with any enterprises aside from their work. Satan is so busy to bring in enterprises and side issues that shall take up the mind and attention of our ministering brethren that they will need to be constantly guarded [from] <taking on them burdens which divert their powers from their God-given work.> 5LtMs, Lt 25, 1887, par. 7

In writing to Dr. Kellogg I did not express myself as I do to you by any means. I tried to have him view every thing in a cheerful light, representing that it is for him to go straight forward, clinging to Jesus, looking to Jesus; that he is not responsible for any wrongdoing of his brethren, and that, as the sanitarium is overcrowded with patients, and no physicians come up by his side to help him share his responsibility, if another institution were set in operation, it would only give him relief in the place of being a perplexity. But it is the way things are done that will testify in its favor or against it. 5LtMs, Lt 25, 1887, par. 8

I repeat, I think it would be the very worst thing that could take place for you to establish Dr. Maxson and wife at the head of your institution. I leave these remarks with you. 5LtMs, Lt 25, 1887, par. 9

In much prayer that God will guide you. 5LtMs, Lt 25, 1887, par. 10