Testimonies to the Church Regarding our Youth Going to Battle Creek Obtain An Education


The Sanitarium

[Address by Sister White to the General Conference in Oakland, Cal., published in the General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.]

Our brethren say: “Sister White has confused us. She said that we must not let this Sanitarium go into the hands of worldlings. And she said also that we must try to place the Sanitarium upon a right foundation.” Yes, this I did say. Now I repeat it. For years light has been coming to me that we should not center so much in one place. I have stated distinctly that an effort should not be made to make Battle Creek the sign and symbol of so much. The Lord is not very well pleased with Battle Creek. Not all that has been done in Battle Creek is well pleasing to him. And when the Sanitarium there was burned, our people should have studied the messages of reproof and warnings sent them in former years, and taken heed.... SpTB06 27.1

It has been stated that, when the Sanitarium was first established in Battle Creek, my husband and I endorsed it. Certainly we did. I can speak for my husband as well as for myself. We prayed about the matter a great deal. So it was with the printing office, which was first established in a little wooden building. As the work grew, we had to add to it, and later, when ambitious men came in to take part in the management, more additions were made than should have been made, because these men thought that the buildings would give character to the work. That was a mistake. It is not buildings that give character to the work of God, but the faithfulness and integrity of the workers. SpTB06 27.2

The Sanitarium grew, and in 1887 Dr. Kellogg talked with me in regard to the necessity of having a hospital. I said, “Some months ago I was shown that we must have a hospital.” Our brethren did not know what had been presented to me about this, and the opposition came hard and strong. They sat right down upon Dr. Kellogg. I took my position close by his side, and told them that the light God had given me was that we should have a hospital in Battle Creek. The hospital was erected, and it was soon full of patients. SpTB06 28.1

Understand, brethren, that at that time we had not numerous sanitariums, as in later years we came to have. The Battle Creek Sanitarium was almost our only place for the care of the sick. SpTB06 28.2

After a time the question came, “Shall we build a small, neat chapel in which the patients and helpers can assemble to worship God?” As soon as I possibly could, I sent off a letter, saying, Yes. Wherever there is a sanitarium, there should be a church, to which the patients can go to hear the word of life, and God will soften their hearts, leading many to accept Christ as the healer of the soul. I was in perfect union with this move. SpTB06 28.3

But of late some things have been brought in that I could not indorse, and one of these is the attaching of many enterprises and lines of medical work to the medical association in Battle Creek. The Lord showed me that this should not be done. Many here know what I said to them,—that we must not center so much in Battle Creek; that if we did not take heed, God's judgments would visit Battle Creek. When I saw such an earnestness on the part of the leaders to connect all branches of the medical work with the association at Battle Creek, I told the brethren that the instruction given me was that they should not make the scratch of a pen to bind themselves to the restrictions of the rules and regulations that were arranged for them to come under. God wants his institutions to stand in fellowship with one another, just as brethren in the church should stand in fellowship. But they are never to be bound by written contracts to any one man or group of men. They are to stand in their own individuality, accountable to God. The Lord of heaven is to be the leader and guide and counselor of his people. His institutions are to be managed under his theocracy. His people are to act as a chosen people, a people who are to do a sacred and an unselfish work. SpTB06 28.4

When one institution gathers a large amount of responsibility and a large number of guests, the religious part of the work is in danger of being neglected. The managers of the Battle Creek Sanitarium have done nobly in the past in regard to trying to maintain a right religious influence in the Sanitarium. For a long time there were men connected with the institution whose work it was to hold Bible readings with the patients, as the way opened. Dr. Kellogg fully accorded with this. After the meeting at Minneapolis, Dr. Kellogg was a converted man, and we all knew it. We could see the converting power of God working in his heart and life. But as the institution has grown in popularity, there has been danger that the reason for which it was established would be lost sight of. Repeatedly I have given the instruction that was given to me,—that this institution should not be conducted after the manner in which worldly medical institutions are conducted; that pleasure-loving, card-playing, and theatrical performances should find no place in it. True piety was to be revealed in the lives of physicians and helpers. Everything connected with the institution was to speak in favor of the truth, and the truth in regard to the Sabbath would come to the patients. SpTB06 29.1

It was the piety of the workers, not the largeness of the buildings that was to bring conviction to hearts. Many souls have been converted; many wonderful cures have been wrought. The Lord has stood by the side of Dr. Kellogg as he performed difficult operations. When the doctor was overwrought by taxing labor, God understood the situation, and he put his hand on Dr. Kellogg's hand as he operated, and through his power the operations were successful. SpTB06 30.1

I wish this to be understood. Over and over again I have encouraged Dr. Kellogg, telling him that the Lord God of Israel was at his right hand, to help him, and to give him success as he performed the difficult operations that meant life or death to the one operated upon. I told the doctor that before he took up his instruments to operate upon patients, he must pray for them. The patients saw that Dr. Kellogg was under the jurisdiction of God, that he understood his part to carry on the work successfully, and they had more confidence in him than in worldly physicians. SpTB06 30.2

God has given Dr. Kellogg the success that he has had. I have tried constantly to keep this before him, telling him that it was God who was working with him, and that the truth of God was to be magnified by his position. God will bless every other physician who will yield himself wholly to God, and will be with his hand when he works. SpTB06 30.3

This was the light given. God worked that the medical missionary work might stand on higher vantage ground; that it might be known that the Seventh-day Adventists have a God working with them, a God who has a constant oversight of his work. SpTB06 31.1

God does not indorse the efforts put forth by different ones to make the work of Dr. Kellogg as hard as possible, in order to build themselves up. God gave the light on health reform, and those who rejected it, rejected God. One and another who knew better, said that it all came from Dr. Kellogg, and they made war upon him. This had a bad influence on the doctor. He put on the coat of irritation and retaliation. God did not want him to stand in a position of warfare, and he does not want you to stand there. SpTB06 31.2

Those who have turned away from the Battle Creek Sanitarium to get worldly physicians to care for them did not realize what they were doing. God established the Battle Creek Sanitarium. God worked through Dr. Kellogg; but men did not realize this. When they were sick, they sent for worldly physicians to come, because of something the doctor had said that did not please them. This God did not approve. We have the authority of the Bible for our instruction in temperance. SpTB06 31.3

But God has nothing to do with making every other institution amenable in some way to the work and workers in Battle Creek. His servants should not be called upon to submit to rules and regulations for their fellow-men. God's hand must hold every worker, and must guide and control every worker. Men are not to make rules for their fellow-men. The Bible has given the rules and regulations that we are to follow. We are to study the Bible, and learn from it the duty of man to his fellow-man. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” SpTB06 31.4

You were surprised to hear me say that we were not to let the Battle Creek Sanitarium go into the hands of the world; that we are to make another effort to place our institutions on solid ground. If you will trust in the Lord, this institution can be placed on vantage ground. When the Sanitarium is placed on its proper foundation; when our people can see it as it was when it was first established; when they can understand that the institution belongs to the work of the Lord, and can see that no one man is to have the control of everything in it; then God will help them all to take hold with courage to build it up. Today you do not know just where it is. But God wants us to know every timber of the foundation, where it is, and what it is; then he wants us all to put shoulder to shoulder, and labor understandingly. The Lord wants us to do our duty. He wants us to understand that Dr. Kellogg shall not be pushed out of his place, but that he shall stand acknowledged and supported in his God-given work. This he will be if his feet are planted on the truth of the living God. If they are not planted on this truth, specious temptations will come in through scientific problems and scientific theories regarding God and his word. Spurious scientific theories are coming in as a thief in the night, stealing away the landmarks, and undermining the pillars of our faith. God has shown me that the medical students are not to be educated in such theories, because God will not indorse these theories. The most specious temptations of the enemy are coming in, and they are coming in on the highest, most elevated plane. These spiritualize the doctrines of present truth until there is no distinction between the substance and the shadow. SpTB06 32.1

You know that Satan will come in to deceive if possible the very elect. He claims to be Christ, and he is coming in, pretending to be the great medical missionary. He will cause fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men, to prove that he is God. We must stand barricaded by the truths of the Bible. The canopy of truth is the only canopy under which we can stand safely. SpTB06 33.1

Our leading brethren, the men in official positions, are to examine the standing of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, to see whether the God of heaven can take control of it. When, by faithful guardians, it is placed in a position where he can control it, let me tell you that God will see that it is sustained. SpTB06 33.2

God wants his people to place their feet on the eternal rock. The money that we have is the Lord's money; and the buildings that we erect with his money for his work, are to stand as his property. He calls upon those who have received the truth not to quarrel with their brethren, but to stand shoulder to shoulder to build it up, not to destroy. SpTB06 33.3

God would not have let the fire go through our institutions in Battle Creek without a reason. Are you going to pass by the providence of God without finding out what it means? God wants us to study into this matter, and to build upon a foundation in which all can have the utmost confidence. He wants the interests started to be conducted in such a way that his people can invest their means in them with the assurance that they are a part of his work. Let us labor intelligently and understandingly. There is altogether too little humiliation of soul. SpTB06 33.4

The crisis is coming in Battle Creek. The trades unions and confederacies of the world are a snare. Keep out of them and away from them, brethren. Have nothing to do with them. Because of these unions and confederacies, it will soon be very difficult for our institutions to carry on their work in the cities. Build no sanitariums in the cities. Educate our people to get out of the cities into the country where they can obtain a small piece of land, and make a home for themselves and their children. SpTB06 34.1