General Conference Bulletin, vol. 2




Balance$2,712 47$1,854 50
Memberships264 00155 00
Dues2,627 001,801 50
Donations2,045 12585 58
Total$7,648 59$4,396 58
1895. 1896.
Expenses$ 418 34$ 712 78
Labor and wages15 7586 43
General expense2,451 26941 43
Chicago office41 3313 12
Office fixtures156 7626 24
Office periodicals45 9961 50
Persecution fund261 70400 50
Washington office151 7812 00
    Total$3,542 91$2,254 00
Cash on hand Dec. 31, 1896, $1,854. 50.

The Committee on Plans and Resolutions submitted the following report, which was discussed item by item, and adopted:— GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.4

Whereas. The Religious Liberty Library was established by the international Religious Liberty Association for use in carrying on its work, and for use especially in emergency cases when something special is needed promptly; and,— GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.5

Whereas, The Library is now published at Battle Creek, while the Association’s headquarters is in New York; therefore,— GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.6

1. Resolved, That we recommend that the Library be transferred to New York, and published by the Pacific Press Publishing Co. GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.7

Whereas, The American Sentinel is not adapted to the needs of Canada; and,— GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.8

Whereas, A paper is greatly needed for that field; therefore,— GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.9

2. Resolved, That we recommend the establishment of a paper in the Dominion, and request the General Conference to provide an editor. GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.10

C. H. JONES, Committee.

In the discussion of the first resolution it was shown that it would be a matter of great convenience for the Religious Liberty Library to be removed to New York; that is publication there would necessitate the purchase of a new press by the Pacific Press Publishing Co., which, in turn, would be a matter of convenience to the American Sentinel. GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.11

In the discussion of the second resolution it was clearly pointed out by those representing the Canadian field, that there was no paper published in the United States that would meet the needs of the religious liberty work in the Dominion of Canada. The resolutions were adopted. GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.12

The remainder of the time was devoted to a discussion of the merits of the American Sentinel, the meeting resolving itself somewhat into the form of a mass-meeting. Many encomiums on the Sentinel were presented. Introducing this feature of the meeting, the President remarked as follows:— GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.13

We have thought it would be of interest this evening, inasmuch as mention has already been made of some of the plans of work now being carried on—that of circulating the American Sentinel among legislators and other prominent men of the country—to hear from different brethren present from various parts of the field, with reference to how this work is received, and what effect it is having upon legislators and others in the different States that are receiving the Sentinel. There are several brethren present that have interesting reports to make, and I would suggest that as our time is short, the remarks be condensed as much as possible, say five to ten minutes at the outside, and there will be opportunity for several of the brethren present to speak regarding their experience in this line of work. This will be of interest, inasmuch as we have already voted to establish a paper in Canada, to do the work that we are doing in this country; and being successful in such work in this country, we may expect similar results in Canada. Brother Curtis perhaps will have something to say upon this question. GCB January 1, 1897, page 2.14

W. D. Curtis.—Within the last two years the Sunday reformers of Illinois have met with decided defeat in the arrest of men for the violation of the Sunday laws. You will probably remember the Chicago experience with the barbers; frequently people have been arrested, and have gained victories in defending themselves before the Illinois courts. GCB January 1, 1897, page 3.1

When the conference committee took the matter into consideration last fall, inasmuch as the legislature was to meet this winter, it was thought best to send some one to the State capitol to see what could be done, and it fell to may lot to go to Springfield. After looking the matter over carefully, I found that the reformers were expecting to besiege the legislature. The Christian Endeavor Association and the Christian Citizenship Association had held a convention in the State House, with considerable enthusiasm, and they resolved that they would make an effort to help the weak Sunday laws of Illinois, so that they could handle in the courts those who were opposed to Sunday observance, those who would not refrain from laboring on Sunday. I concluded to write to our brethren in different parts of the State, asking that they correspond with the senator in their district, and with the representatives. The work began before I left the State, and since I came here I have received from our brethren who have corresponded with their representatives and senators something like a dozen or more letters. All but two are very favorable, Some are very much interested in the Sentinel. Some of the senators expressed themselves something like this in regard to it: “It is the best journal I read among an the papers that I am receiving.” And one or two especially, said that they carefully placed the paper on file for future use. GCB January 1, 1897, page 3.2

You see now I shall know how to work. Now, I will be able to approach these men in a way that will interest them. I have thought that, as a people, we should take up some systematic plan of educating and enlightening the people on these grand subjects. GCB January 1, 1897, page 3.3

Watson Ziegler.—I wish to give my experience in regard to the use of the American Sentinel. One year ago last July I met a district judge. I stopped at his place over night, and when in the evening I spoke to him of the imprisonment of the Seventh-day Adventists in the South, he said: “It served them right; they ought to obey the law, so they would have no trouble in this country; we have the best government of any one on earth.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 3.4

I said, “Very good,” and asked him if he believed that every good citizen ought to obey the law. He said he did. I asked him if he believed there was a God in heaven that made all men. He said he did. I asked him if he believed that God made all men to obey the law. He said he did. I asked him if he thought that God would hold all men amenable to his law. “Certainly,” he said. I said, “Then, if a number of these men make a law that conflicts with the law of God, how do you think these men will stand when they appear at the bar of God?” He said he had not thought of that. I had further talk with him, asking him to subscribe for the American Sentinel. He said that he had more papers than he could read. I told him if he would take it and read it, and did not like it, the next time I met him, I would pay for the paper. He took it. GCB January 1, 1897, page 3.5

He told me when he talked with me on that thing, that my bringing the right principles of the rights of all men before him, and his reading the American Sentinel, had proved to be the agency, the medium, through which he was led to know the Lord. GCB January 1, 1897, page 3.6

M. C. Wilcox.—I come from one of the storm centers of the Sunday law field at the present time—California. Some years ago California had a Sunday law. Through the agitation which took place, in which our people were largely engaged, the Sunday law was swept from the statute-books. Since that time it has been considered as one of the disgraces that it has no Sunday law. Education on this question is very much needed in California. People want to be made to understand that California is not disgraced, but that it is glorified by having no Sunday law, and that there is freedom for all irrespective of nationality or religious creed. GCB January 1, 1897, page 3.7

For several years after the Sunday law was repealed, no agitation was put forth; but several years later agitation was begun for a new Sunday law, which met serious discouragement wherever it went. Finally the agitators said they would go to work in towns, cities, and municipalities; they would get it in spots just like the measles, and finally it would run together until they had it all over the State. Well, they worked that way a little while, until there were something like ten municipalities and towns which had ordinances against Sunday labor. I think at the present time there are three or four; the rest have been regarded as dead letters or absolutely unconstitutional. GCB January 1, 1897, page 3.8

Their whole plan and idea was to carry on their work for the securing of a Sunday law under the guise of working for temperance. Two years ago a special effort was put forth a Oakland and Alameda; but the Sentinel was circulated; in fact, we are circulating it all the time. The Religious Liberty Library was also circulated. We also got out a special paper for the issue, and it was headed, “The Present Crisis.” We said nothing whatever in the way of criticising anybody engaged in that move. We admitted that they were honest, but it was contrary to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, for they were putting themselves in the place of the Lord; they were working against their own liberties by thus doing. GCB January 1, 1897, page 4.1

Well, they admitted the force of that, and then they called a mass-meeting, and asked us to come. They wanted to get some temperance law, something in which we could join too. Of course they meant a Sunday law all the time. Some earnest prohibitionists, who believe in prohibition every day in the week, although they are Sunday men, got up before the mass-meeting, and said: “The simple fact in the case is, gentlemen, you do not know anything about the temperance question. Why, these Seventh-day Adventists are old campaigners; they know that there is no genuine temperance law that does not contemplate having temperance seven days in the week. You are merely tyros; as long as you are talking temperance in this way, it will not amount to anything.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 4.2

The matter dropped until the present year and they asked that this be submitted to the people at the coming election, to take place March 8: “Shall the saloons be closed on Sunday?”, Well, there were some earnest prohibitionists in Oakland. They said, Let us make it an out and out temperance question; and so they got up another petition with almost as many signers, asking that this question should be submitted to the people at the coming election: “Shall the saloons be closed all the time?” Well, the council had voted through the first one, and they could not logically refuse to submit the second one. So they have submitted both. But when they came to draw up the ordinance for the election, they voted down the question, “Shall the saloons be closed on Sunday?” And the question before the people is, “Shall the saloons be closed all the time?” Of course the reformers were full of indignation. After all, the temperance question was not a temperance question at all; their indignation shows, of course, that it was not the temperance question that they were after. It was the Sunday closing. Our people are doing what they can to educate the people there. GCB January 1, 1897, page 4.3

The fact is, that the Sunday law association is throwing its whole force into California. We want a religious liberty man to go to California, and educate the people on the principles of religious liberty throughout the State. We believe that God has blessed our efforts. We want more efforts put forth. We believe that California is a pivotal State, and we want to see men saved by enlightenment on the principles of religious liberty. GCB January 1, 1897, page 4.4

J. R. Palmer,—The people in Montana have been daubing the wall with untempered mortar, and we know something about what the dragon’s voice is. Accidentally there was a Jew at Helena arrested for selling something on the streets without a license, and he was put into the chain gang, and when Sabbath came he refused to work. They put him. in a dungeon and put water on him to make him work. We visited the mayor and the chief of police, concerning the matter; they told us that they had a law that people must not work on Sunday, but that they should work on the other days of the week; and it would not matter who it was that they had there, they should do the same with him. “We would do the same with you if you were there; we would do the same with Satolli if we had him there.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 4.5

Now there are two Sunday bills before the legislature, and they are going to try to get them through. Before the legislature met, the ministers had, in a body, gone to these men and demanded legislation. An article came out in the Helena Independent during the latter part of December, before the legislature had met, giving advice to the ministers of Montana, urging that the legislators be pressed for legislation. The Sentinel has been sent to the legislators, and they are appreciating it very much, and have extended a vote of thanks to the American Sentinel for its presence among them; and the paper is having an influence throughout the State. GCB January 1, 1897, page 4.6

The Secretary presented a letter from a United States senator from one of the Southern States. We make the following extracts:— GCB January 1, 1897, page 5.1

If the cause of truth does not prevail in this great and grand battle the Sentinel is waging for human liberty against the minions of power and oppression, drunken on the fanaticism of persecution, it will not be for the lack of the most discreet ability I have ever witnessed in the conduct of any of the organs of any of the great controversies since 1860, of all of which I have been a close observer, and an humble participator therein, through which the country has passed since that memorable date. If mistakes have been made, there have been fewer of them than is common to human frailty and imperfections, fewer by far than I ever knew in anything like similar circumstances. GCB January 1, 1897, page 5.2

All the while the Sentinel has seemed to have had overlooking its conduct and guiding its course, a superior wisdom to that which belongs to mortals in the ordinary affairs of the world. Its freedom from the passing and errors of others under like circumstances ought to constitute to all prejudiced minds convicting proof of its correctness in the views and principles it so ably contends for. GCB January 1, 1897, page 5.3

This meeting was one of the most enthusiastic of any so far held during the session. Quite a number of persons in the audience became members of the Association, at the close of the exercises. GCB January 1, 1897, page 5.4

There certainly is a large field of usefulness, and a bright future, before the International Religious Liberty Association. GCB January 1, 1897, page 5.5