Loma Linda Messages


The Management of Conference Affairs


(Interview on Southern California Conference Matters,—Part 2.)

Report of an interview, Sunday morning, Oct. 6. 1907, in the office room of Mrs. E.G. White. Present: Mrs. E.G. White, Elders G.W. Reaser, J.A. Burden, W.C. White and C.C. Crisler.

J.A. Burden: In your communication to us, you mention that there should not be less than five men of wisdom selected to act with the Union Conference President and the Local Conference President, to lay out a policy and plan for the work. We were not clear what was meant by this—whether men outside should come in and meet with us, or whether men there should come in with us. It seemed to us that five men outside were to come in and act with us. LLM 296.1

Sister White: The five men should act a part in carrying the larger responsibilities. One man is not wise enough, in any place, in any situation, to be a complete whole. This you might as well understand. There must be several minds who will, in the fear of God, act a part in carrying responsibilities. LLM 296.2

J.A. Burden: In our Conference Committee there are seven members; namely, Elder Reaser, myself, Elder Healey, Elder Owen, Elder Ford, Dr. Leadsworth, and Professor Lucas of Fernando. Did your statement have reference to these men? LLM 296.3

Sister White: No, no; it is men who can bear more especially the religious responsibilities. And when the religious responsibilities are kept in the fear of God, everything else will be easily carried. We do not want any human power to dominate his fellowman as regards to religious duties. LLM 296.4

Years ago, my husband and I used to study how we should manage perplexing matters in the office, and deal with men of peculiar temperaments... “Well,” my husband used to say, “let us pray about it.” And so we would kneel down, often in the night season, and we would pray the Lord to pen the way, so that we could approach men wisely, and give them the right instruction. Afterward, when we would try to talk kindly with them, and yet plainly, they would almost always yield. They did not always remain steadfast in their determination to pursue a right course; and because they returned to their former ways, we often had the same battle to fight over and over again. But whatever the matters might be, we felt that the Lord knew all about them, that He could tell us how to act, and that He could move on hearts... LLM 296.5

From the light I have had, the elements in the Southern California Conference have been sadly lacking with regard to a religious experience, a spirit of Christian unity and harmony of action. Some seem too ready to advocate this man or that man, or the other man. Such a spirit has been revealed by many. You know there are different sentiments, and different temperaments, and all these peculiar conditions have made it difficult for those in responsibility to know how to manage; and yet it would be a very unwise thing, Brother Reaser, for you to feel free to question certain things, and give to the people a feeling of uncertainty regarding matters over which they should have no doubt. When doing such work, you are sowing seeds. You may not realize any fruit just at present, but you are sowing seeds that will bear fruit. We must cultivate a spirit of unity. We must strive for unity in following the gospel pattern—Christ Jesus. There is nothing, nothing, that we can present to the people, that will be of greater value than to present Christ, and to study what He would do under like circumstances. And if we present Christ, and strive to labor in the bonds of Christian unity, one party will not be set up against another. Thus grave evils will be avoided. LLM 296.6

Brother Reaser has felt that he was perfectly competent in all these matters, but he doesn't understand as much in regard to himself as he thinks he does. A course that he would take, would lead to certain sure results, and he would not know that what he said at a certain time, had blossomed out and developed into objectionable fruit. But if we try to keep in unity, and humble ourselves before God, He will bless our efforts. You remember that when Solomon was exalted to be king, he humbled himself before God. Realizing that he was taking upon himself responsibilities that he had never carried before, he acknowledged to the Lord, before all the people, that he was but a little child. And so he was, in management. In after years, he was spoiled by his association with idolatrous wives. LLM 297.1

Oh, I have thought, often have I thought, if we only could once get thru with these difficulties, and know we tried to do our best in the fear of God. Shall we not have a crown of life? LLM 297.2

J.A. Burden: We shall feel that it is a joy to be relieved of the things we have suffered. LLM 297.3

Sister White: Well, we shall feel strong, with our life hid with Christ in God. (Sister White referred, at some length, to the sufferings of Christ)... LLM 297.4

Sister White: There is one other point that I want Brother Reaser to keep in his mind,—perhaps he does not understand it fully. He has thought that Willie tells me. Now I am up in the morning, you know, before any one else is up,—at one o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock, and seldom ever after four—more often by three. Recently, for nights and nights and nights, I have seldom been able to sleep after two o'clock, but have been up, writing. I write out the presentations that the Lord has given me in the night season; and when, later on in the morning, Willie comes in to see me, I have already written many pages. Often the manuscript has been placed in the hands of one of my copyists, and is being written out, before he knows that I have written anything, or what I have written. After it is typewritten, a copy is often placed in his hands. It is not he that comes with things to me, but I give to him the light that I have received. LLM 297.5

W.C. White: Sometimes, you know, you propose to read to me what you have written. Sometimes you tell me a little about it, but there is not more than one-twentieth part that I really know anything about before it is passed on by you into the hands of the copyist, to be typewritten. LLM 297.6

Sister White: Yes; I know that. LLM 297.7

W.C. White. But the real point in the minds of the brethren is: Do I, after seeing how things are going in the field,—do I come to you with my representations of how things look to me, and keep presenting them so as to stir you up to write out principles which are good, true principles, but principles which may not be needed at that time, and which do not exactly apply at that time, but which you think apply at that time because of the representations I have made to you of the conditions of the field? LLM 297.8

Sister White: I have not been able to get from Willie full particulars regarding perplexing matters; he is careful to tell me only of victories gained, or anything that will encourage me. When he attends meetings, he does not make it a point to tell me of the difficulties that he encounters in these meetings. Instead of going into particulars regarding the matters that perplex the brethren, he presents those things that he thinks will not disturb my mind. Sometimes letters come, giving me information that I should never gain from him because he won't tell me. LLM 298.1

W.C. White: Tell the brethren who told you most about the Southern California camp-meeting,—I, in all the times I have been with you, or Brother Cottrell, in his one visit of two hours and a half here? LLM 298.2

Sister White: Elder Cottrell told me much that I had not heard at all from W.C. White, you know. There were only a few items referred to that had been told me before. Elder Cottrell entered into the particulars. I told him that I wanted to know something about conditions in Southern California, and about his impression of the meeting recently held there; for I had written out some things, and I wanted to know how matters stood; and so he told me some things about the Los Angeles meeting. Of course, our interview was not so very long, and we could not cover the whole ground. LLM 298.3

W.C. White: Now with reference to Paradise Valley Sanitarium, and the proposed transfer of the institution to the California Conference: That was a perplexing thing for me to present to Mother. I will tell you what I did. I insisted that Brother Ballenger should write us a letter, giving an official statement from the president. He did so. Mother has read it, and we now have this statement on file. Now with reference to my own report. Instead of telling Mother about it, I sat down and wrote to Eld. Daniells, and let her read my letter to him. Now what she has gotten from me regarding Paradise Valley, is from the reading of Brother Ballenger's letter, giving his statement as president of the Board, and also what she learned from the letter that I wrote to Eld. Daniells. Both of these letters are on file in my office. Now if any one wants to know what I have presented to Mother about Paradise Valley, they can see these letters that she has read. LLM 298.4

You may know how the brethren felt, and why they excluded Prof. Ballenger and me from the committee meeting when they considered our propositions and made other propositions. So up to the present day I have never heard any of the reasons why the brethren rejected our propositions, nor the reasons for the propositions which they made. It was voted that I should present these matters before the stockholders. I cannot do it, because I was excluded from that council meeting. Now why was I excluded? Was it the fear of some members that I was going to make representations of what was done in the committee to Mother, and that they were going to be censured? LLM 298.5

G.W. Reaser: I did not hear that. LLM 299.1

W.C. White: Well, of course, if the brethren ever get around to tell me the reasons why they excluded me from the council, it would be very interesting. LLM 299.2

G.W. Reaser: You may know that Dr. P. S. Kellogg is at Paradise? LLM 299.3

E.G. White: Is he there now? Well, I am glad they have secured a doctor, but I wish they had secured one who is inclined to take more active part in religious matters. LLM 299.4

G.W. Reaser: He is not inclined that way, much— LLM 299.5

W.C. White: There is a physician by the name of Eastman, who has been working in Santa Barbara. He has some money. He has recently visited Paradise Valley, along with Brother Ballenger. They have talked up a plan of his taking his money, and buying out some of the present stockholders, and then with the other stockholders, forming a new association, in which he will be the manager and the physician. LLM 299.6

J.A. Burden: His proposition is to buy the property, as Brother White has said, taking in some of the old stockholders who would be congenial with him; and he would run the place as a private institution, a private corporation, in harmony with the conference—or aim to run it in harmony with the Conference. This plan, of course, our brethren realize, would give them a permanent physician, and would relieve them of financial pressure. LLM 299.7

G.W. Reaser: And he proposes that this new corporation have in it the same magnanimous features stipulated by the original incorporators—to let all the surplus, above the sum necessary for interest and other running expenses, go to missionary work, and for the upbuilding of the institution. LLM 299.8

Sister White: it will be necessary for our brethren to find out what the religious principles of the man are. LLM 299.9

G.W. Reaser: So far as we know him, he is an excellent spiritual-minded man. He has been an elder of the church at Santa Barbara. We do not know anything wrong concerning him. He is a rather young physician, but he seems to be thoroughly in harmony with the organized work. LLM 299.10

Sister White: Well, why can not he come in now? LLM 299.11

J.A. Burden: I asked that question,—why, if he is such a magnanimous man and a missionary? The answer was, He would want more wages than they felt like paying—a hundred and fifty dollars a month, and his board and room, and his wife's board and room. LLM 299.12

G.W. Reaser: If he goes in as the manager and physician, he wants a hundred and fifty dollars a month for himself, besides board and room for himself and wife. LLM 300.1

W.C. White: Can this matter rest until we go down there at the time of the meeting, or is it something that must be decided now? LLM 300.2

Sister White: How much did Dr. Holden ask? LLM 300.3

J.A. Burden: One hundred dollars a month, and thirty-three and a third percent of his surgical fees. LLM 300.4

Sister White: And you thought that was too much, did you? LLM 300.5

J.A. Burden: We would have been glad to pay him one hundred dollars, or even one hundred and fifty a month, but we did not feel that it was right to pay him a percentage on the surgical fees. LLM 300.6

Sister White: Well, I do not know; I do know that one of the evils that crept in at Battle Creek, and spoiled the spirituality of men in responsibility, was the desire for higher and still higher wages. I have forgotten just how high they did climb. LLM 300.7

W.C. White: Thirty dollars a week. LLM 300.8

Sister White: The setting of a high price upon a man's labors, by the man himself, does not give a right representation of the self-denial of Jesus Christ; and He is our Pattern. I wrote to Dr. Kress recently regarding the matter of wages, and counselled him to be careful to set before his associates, at the very beginning of his work in Washington, an example of self-denial, so that others whose wages were not high, would not feel as if they were being wronged. The evil of high wages is liable to crop out almost anywhere; and we must keep before our brethren the self-denying example of our Pattern, Christ Jesus; for we are to be a missionary people, and many laborers are to be set at work and supported in the Lord's vineyard. LLM 300.9