General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1





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THE tenth meeting of the State Agents’ Convention was held at eight o’clock A.M., Feb. 7. GCB February 11, 1895, page 106.4

Two very important and instructive papers were presented by C. M. Everest and G. A. Wheeler respectively, on the question of “Institutes and Schools for Canvassers.” Five years ago the first school was held in the interests of the canvassing work, and this year there are at least sixteen Conferences that have arranged for schools. While some of those held have not been a positive success, the general testimony is in their favor. The Spirit of God has spoken in several instances concerning the careful education of workers; and the varied experiences of the canvasser emphasizes the statement in favor of schools for our agents. GCB February 11, 1895, page 106.5

We were favored with the presence of Elder O. A. Olsen who spoke at some length on this phase of the work. The agents very much enjoyed the good words of counsel which were, in brief, as follows:— GCB February 11, 1895, page 106.6

The question of canvassers’ schools evidently has two sides. They may be worked up and conducted in a manner that will be fruitful of much good. The present situation demands the highest culture that it is possible to attain. The canvassing work is calling for all that there is in us. Those who are falling behind in this respect will as surely fall out of our work as will the minister or educational worker who neglects the opportunity of present improvement. The canvasser must have a larger fund of knowledge from which to draw than the little printed canvass; but in seeking for this knowledge we should not make plans that will prove detrimental to our large educational institutions. When any of our canvassers can attend the higher schools, we should encourage them in it, rather than urge that the canvassers’ school may be a substitute. There is danger that each will favor his own line of work so much that it will become badly mixed with the human. We must guard that point. GCB February 11, 1895, page 106.7

We as agents are most interested in the work of our own States, but we must keep our equilibrium. We must not let our schools exceed their proper limits. We can work better if we all enjoy freedom in the matter, but that freedom must be exercised judiciously. Workers should be selected with much care, and a greater variety of workers should be employed. The agents who are successful with our large subscription books should continue that work, but others of less experience should be trained to handle our booklets and papers. This plan has been a great success in New Zealand under the direction of Brother Crothers. By beginning with the smaller books, many will be educated to handle the larger ones. GCB February 11, 1895, page 106.8

These remarks by Brother Olsen were heartily enjoyed by all. Adjourned to call of Chair. GCB February 11, 1895, page 107.1


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The twelfth meeting of the State Agents’ Convention was called to order at eight o’clock A. M., Feb. 8. The reading of the minutes was followed by a continued discussion of the subject of Canvassers’ Schools. The question was asked, Should agents of experience who are having success, be called in to take part in an institute? Several spoke on this question, and all agreed that we need the experienced agents, and none of them have had so much experience that they cannot learn. However, there are exceptions to this idea. In the various States the schools are held from two to twelve weeks at that season of the year most unfavorable for work, which is usually the winter season. It was thought best not to hold them in connection with camp-meetings generally, although there are times when it seems advisable. In some conferences short schools of two or three weeks are held in several places to meet local demands, and save heavy traveling expenses. The Chair expressed his increasing interest in these schools. It is true that a very few of them have not been a success, but when the methods followed in such schools are learned, one would wonder if they were successful. Well managed institutes are much needed. The majority of our agents have come from farms and shops, and are mostly uneducated. They go out into a trying field to meet sharp, keen intellects, and they must not only have faith in God, but must use every possible means for thorough preparation. GCB February 11, 1895, page 107.2

While the times are depressed, it may not seem advisable to hold as long schools as before. They were good, but circumstances sometimes compel us to change our methods. The plan has worked well to call in the new workers first, and after the school is well along, invite the old ones to come in and give the work a good impetus. We have often made a mistake in selecting our agents at the wrong time. We should carefully select those who should attend the institute rather than invite all, and then reject a part. The State agent should select men that have the right material, then work to get them. There is success in that plan, for it has been tried. In all this work, the State agent should keep in close touch with the president of the Conference. Adjourned at 8:00 A. M., Feb. 10. GCB February 11, 1895, page 107.3


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The thirteenth meeting of the State Agents’ Convention was opened at eight o’clock A. M., Feb. 10. The reading of the minutes was followed by a paper on the “Canvasser’s Legitimate Work,” presented by Brother Sherrig. Our canvassing work is far from being a new method of spreading present truth. The Waldenses went two and two through all the countries of Europe, scattering the precious seeds. In the days of Luther there were monks who were not able themselves to preach the word, but who traveled the provinces, selling the writings of the Reformer and his friends. Germany was ere long overrun with these enterprising workers. These workers were supported by the commission on the books they sold. GCB February 11, 1895, page 107.4

Since the object of the Christian canvasser has ever been to carry the light of a present truth, much care should be taken in the selection of men, and the only proper rule by which we should be governed is the one that God has given. The position was strongly taken that a canvasser’s work is to solicit subscriptions. He should ever be ready to speak of the love of Jesus and point sinners to the Lamb of God, but he should not spend his time in preaching, holding Bible readings, or discussing controversies and doctrinal questions. It is the canvasser’s duty to visit every family in his territory, and not go over it in a careless and unconcerned manner. Providence and grace, and means and ends, are closely connected, and when God’s workmen have done the best they can, he will do for them that which they cannot do for themselves. GCB February 11, 1895, page 107.5

A brief discussion of the paper followed, in which several took a very decided position in favor of the canvasser not permitting himself to be drawn into the discussion of disputed questions. E. R. PALMER, Sec. GCB February 11, 1895, page 107.6