Letters From Ellen G. White To Sanitarium Workers in Southern California—c

Not for Pleasure Seekers

To Our Sanitarium Workers in Southern California:

I have a decided message for our people in Southern California. The Lord does not require them to provide facilities for the entertainment of tourists. The establishment of an institution for this purpose would be setting a wrong example before the Lord's people. The result would not justify the effort put forth. SpTB03c 3.1

Why do we establish sanitariums?—That the sick who come to them for treatment may receive relief from physical suffering, and may also receive spiritual help. Because of their condition of health, they are susceptible to the sanctifying influence of the medical missionaries who labor for their restoration. Let us work wisely, for their best interests. SpTB03c 3.2

We are not building sanitariums for hotels. Receive into our sanitariums only those who desire to conform to right principles, those who will accept the foods that we can conscientiously place before them. Should we allow patients to have intoxicating liquor in their rooms, or should we serve them with meat, we could not give them the help they should receive in coming to our sanitariums. We must let it be known that from principle we exclude such articles from our sanitariums and our hygienic restaurants. Do we not desire to see our fellow-beings freed from disease and infirmity, and in the enjoyment of health and strength? Then let us be as true to principle as the needle to the pole. SpTB03c 3.3

Those who work it is to labor for the salvation of souls must keep themselves free from worldly policy plans. They must not, for the sake of obtaining the influence of some one who is wealthy, become entangled in plans dishonoring to their profession of faith. They must not sell their souls for financial advantage. They must do nothing that will retard the work of God, and lower the standard of righteousness. We are God's servants, and we are to be workers together with Him, doing His work in His way, that all for whom we labor may see that our desire is to reach a higher standard of holiness. Those with whom we come in contact are to see that we not only talk of self-denial and sacrifice, but that we reveal it in our lives. Our example is to inspire those with whom we come in contact in our work, to become better acquainted with the things of God. SpTB03c 3.4

If we are to go to the expense of building sanitariums in order that we may work for the salvation of the sick and afflicted, we must plan our work in such a way that those we desire to help will receive the help they need. We are to do all in our power for the healing of the body; but we are to make the healing of the soul of far greater importance. Those who come to our sanitariums as patients are to be shown the way of salvation, that they may repent, and hear the words, Thy sins are forgiven thee; go in peace, and sin no more. SpTB03c 4.1

Medical missionary work in Southern California is not to be carried forward by the establishment of one mammoth institution for the accommodation and entertainment of a promiscuous company of pleasure lovers, who would bring with them their intemperate ideas and practises. Such an institution would absorb the time and talent of workers who are needed elsewhere. Our capable men are to put forth their efforts in sanitariums established and conducted for the purpose of preparing minds for the reception of the gospel of Christ. SpTB03c 4.2

We are not to absorb the time and strength of men capable of carrying forward the Lord's work in the way He has outlined, in an enterprise for the accommodation and entertainment of pleasure seekers, whose greatest desire is to gratify self. To connect workers with such an enterprise would be perilous to their safety. Let us keep our young men and young women from all such dangerous influences. And should our brethren engage in such an enterprise, they would not advance the work of soul-saving as they think they would. SpTB03c 4.3

Our sanitariums are to be established for one object,—the advancement of present truth. And they are to be so conducted that a decided impression in favor of the truth will be made on the minds of those who come to them for treatment. The conduct of the workers, from the head manager to the worker occupying the humblest position, is to tell on the side of truth. The institution is to be pervaded by a spiritual atmosphere. We have a warning message to bear to the world, and our earnestness, our devotion to God's service, is to impress those who come to our sanitariums. SpTB03c 4.4

As soon as possible, sanitariums are to be established in different places in Southern California. Let a beginning be made in several places. If possible, let land be purchased on which buildings are already erected. Then, as the prosperity of the work demands, let appropriate enlargement be made. SpTB03c 5.1

We are living in the very close of this earth's history, and we are to move cautiously, understanding what the will of the Lord is, and, imbued with His Spirit, doing work that will mean much to His cause, work that will proclaim the warning message to a world infatuated, deceived, perishing in sin. SpTB03c 5.2

In Southern California there are many properties for sale on which buildings suitable for sanitarium work are already erected. Some of these properties should be purchased, and medical missionary work carried forward on sensible, rational lines. Several small sanitariums are to be established in Southern California, for the benefit of the multitudes drawn there in the hope of finding health. Instruction has been given me that now is our opportunity to reach the invalids flocking to the health resorts of Southern California, and that a work may be done also in behalf of their attendants. SpTB03c 5.3

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” John 4:35. SpTB03c 5.4

For months I carried on my soul the burden of the medical missionary work in Southern California. Recently much light has been given me in regard to the manner in which God desires us to conduct sanitarium work. We are to encourage patients to spend much of their time out-of-doors. I have been instructed to tell our brethren to keep on the lookout for cheap, desirable properties in healthful places, suitable for sanitarium purposes. SpTB03c 6.1

Instead of investing in one medical institution all the means obtainable, we ought to establish smaller sanitariums in many places. Soon the reputation of the health resorts in Southern California will stand even higher than it stands at present. Now is our time to enter that field for the purpose of carrying forward medical missionary work. SpTB03c 6.2


St. Helena, Cal.,

October 13, 1902.

To the Directors of the Los Angeles County Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association:

Dear Brethren,

During my stay in Southern California, I was enabled to visit places that in the past have been presented to me by the Lord as suitable for the establishment of sanitariums and schools. For years I have been given special light that we are not to establish large centers for our work in the cities. The turmoil and confusion that fills these cities, the conditions brought about by the labor unions and the strikes, would prove a great hindrance to our work. Men are seeking to bring those engaged in the different trades under certain unions. This is not God's plan, but the planning of a power that we should in no case acknowledge. God's Word is fulfilling; the wicked are binding themselves in bundles ready to be burned. SpTB03c 6.3

I have been instructed that the work in Southern California should have advantages that it has not yet enjoyed. I have been shown that in Southern California there are properties for sale on which buildings are already erected that could be utilized for our work, and that such properties will be offered to us at much less than their original cost. In these places, away from the din and confusion of the congested cities, we can establish sanitariums in which the sick can be cared for in the way in which God designs them to be. In our efforts to help the sick, we are to take them away from the cities, where they are continually annoyed by the noise of trains and street cars, and where there is little besides houses to see, to places where they can be surrounded by the scenes of nature, and where they can have the blessing of fresh air and sunshine. SpTB03c 6.4

This subject was laid out before me in Australia. Light was given me that the cities would be filled with confusion, violence, and crime, and that these things would increase till the close of this earth's history. There is much to be said on this point. Instruction is to be given line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. And our physicians and teachers should be quick to see the advantage of retired locations for our sanitariums and schools. SpTB03c 7.1

Properties such as those to which I have referred are being offered to us, and some of them we should purchase when it is plain that they are what we need, and when provision can be made for their acquisition without a burdensome debt. Where there are orchards on these places, so much the better; but on other properties, where the buildings are just what we need, trees can be set out. SpTB03c 7.2

The fact that in many cases, the owners of these properties are anxious to dispose of them, and are therefore willing to sell at a low price, is greatly in our favor. We must study economy in the outlay of means. At this stage of our work, we are not to erect large buildings in any of the cities. And we are not to follow extravagant and unduly large plans in our work in any place. We are to remember the cities which have been neglected, and which must now be worked. The people in these cities must have the light of truth. In our establishment of sanitariums, we are not to spend large sums of money in the erection of costly buildings; for there are many places to be worked. We are to be wise in securing advantages already provided that the Lord desires us to have. We are to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves in our efforts to secure country properties at a low figure, and from these outpost centers we are to work the cities. SpTB03c 7.3

The work in Southern California is to advance more rapidly than it has advanced in the past. The means lying in banks or hidden in the earth is now called for to strengthen the work in Southern California. Every year many thousands of tourists visit Southern California, and by various methods we should seek to reach them with the truth. SpTB03c 8.1

Our medical missionary work in Los Angeles should be in a much more favorable position than it is. The Lord designs that much more shall be done in this city than has been done there. But I can not speak freely about this at present, for fear that men will take advantage of what I say, and will endeavor, by my words, to vindicate wrong plans. Some of the brethren in Los Angeles have at times lacked spiritual discernment. They have not always been able to see what could be done by proper effort on their part. A large work has been done in some lines, but the methods followed have not been such as to bring glory to God in the saving of souls. SpTB03c 8.2

I have been instructed that the greatest work that we can do in this life is to prepare for the future immortal life and help others to prepare for it. We are to arrange our business in such a way that we and all who are connected with us shall be able to serve God with all our powers. We must allow nothing to obscure our vision of heavenly things. SpTB03c 8.3


Sanitarium, Cal.,

August 8, 1904.

To Our Brethren and Sisters in Southern California:

Again and again during the past five years symbolic representations have been presented to me in visions of the night, showing what we ought to be doing in sanitarium work to help the sick to recover soundness of body and mind. On the night of October 10, 1901, I was unable to sleep after half past eleven at night. Many things regarding the sanitarium work were presented to me in figures and symbols. I was shown sanitariums near Los Angeles in running order. At one place I saw sanitarium work being carried on in a beautiful building. On the grounds surrounding the building there were many fruit trees. This institution, which was away from the city, was filled with life and activity. SpTB03c 8.4

As in the visions of the night I saw this place, I said to our brethren, “O ye of little faith! You have lost much time.” On the lawn were the sick in wheel chairs. There were some patients to whom the physician had given a prescription to spend all their time out-of-doors during pleasant weather. SpTB03c 9.1

Some had come to the institution with discouragement written on their countenances. I seemed to be living there myself, and I could not help speaking of the change that took place in these countenances. Where once was written despair, we could now read hope and joy. Amidst the singing of the birds, we all knelt down on the grass, and united in praising the Lord. SpTB03c 9.2

Then it seemed as if we had been in the place for months. I was speaking to the sick people, telling them of God's goodness and mercy, when one arose and sang a beautiful hymn. The voices of nearly all were raised in expressions of thankfulness for help received. SpTB03c 9.3

While speaking, I said: “We must have sanitariums in favorable places in different localities. This is God's plan. He has ordained medical missionary work as a means of saving souls, and that which we see here is a symbol of the work before us. We are to arouse our churches to engage disinterestedly in God's work, and to carry forward this branch,—medical missionary work.” SpTB03c 9.4

The physicians present were interested in these words, and one, extending his arms and waving them back and forth, said, “Is not this better than drugs? Aches and pains have left you, without the use of medicine.” SpTB03c 9.5

On the grounds of this beautiful place that I saw in the visions of the night, there were many shade trees, the boughs of which hung down in such a way as to form leafy canopies somewhat in the shape of tents. Underneath these canopies patients were resting. The sick were delighted with their surroundings. While some worked, others were singing. There was no sign of dissatisfaction. SpTB03c 10.1

I awoke, and for some time could not sleep. Many vivid scenes had passed before me, and I could not forget the words I had spoken to the patients and the helpers. Brethren and sisters, Christ has instructed me to say to you, The Holy Spirit will make your hearts tender and soft by His grace. The Lord will guide you and teach you His way. SpTB03c 10.2

Again I lost consciousness, and other scenes passed before me. I was in another locality, surrounded by different scenery. Again it seemed as if I were pleading with those who were sick to look unto Jesus, the great Healer.... SpTB03c 10.3

The love of Jesus in the soul will banish all hatred, selfishness and envy; for the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. There is health in obedience to God's law. The affections of the obedient are drawn out after God. Looking unto the Lord Jesus, we may encourage and serve one another. The love of Christ is shed abroad in our souls, and there is no dissension or strife among us. SpTB03c 10.4

Let us invite Christ to be an abiding Guest in the soul-temple. His law will be engraved in the minds and hearts of His commandment-keeping people. It is greatly to our advantage to keep the law of God. Of this law, Moses said: “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you.” SpTB03c 10.5

It is pleasing to the Lord for us to obey His law; and upon all who are obedient He bestows His special blessing. In obedience there is life and happiness. SpTB03c 10.6

Moses continued: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” There was a tendency to add to the law by making human restrictions; and the Lord guarded against the adding of man-made tests, which would bring in confusion. And He guarded, too, against the taking away of any of His precepts. Never are we to put our words in the place of God's words; for thus we would be taking away from His law. SpTB03c 10.7

“Your eyes have seen,” said Moses, “what the Lord did because of Baal-peor; for all the men that followed Baal-peor the Lord thy God hath destroyed from among you. But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.” SpTB03c 11.1

After reading these scriptures, I seemed to be instructing the people that man-made laws, man-made yokes, would be prepared for the Lord's people, but that we are not to allow our minds to be diverted from the Word of the Lord, to the words of men. “Break every yoke,” is the instruction given. SpTB03c 11.2

I then awoke, and began writing out some cautions that had been given me. In the midst of the company in which I had been, there seemed to be a divine Presence, which all recognized. Praise the Lord for His lovingkindness and for the precious assurances that are given us in His Word. SpTB03c 11.3