Manuscript Releases, vol. 14 [Nos. 1081-1135]


MR No. 1118—The Work of the General Conference

President and Committee to Care for Spiritual Interests—The General Conference Committee has a weighty responsibility in caring for the interests of our people and of the work which is committed to them. As the field of our work widens, this responsibility becomes greater. It is not the will of God that those who are called to this position should so lade themselves down with business cares that they are crippled in the work to which they have been chosen. 14MR 278.1

Especially is this true in regard to the president of the General Conference. His time is not to be filled up with the details of business; for this in a great degree disqualifies him for the very work which he should do. He cannot continue to carry the burden he has carried in these lines, without neglecting lines of work which cannot be left to others. Let men be chosen to give themselves to the business part of the work, and leave the president of the General Conference free to attend to the spiritual interests. Let him have time to understand the spiritual needs of the church. 14MR 278.2

The voice of the General Conference has been represented as an authority to be heeded as the voice of the Holy Spirit. But when the members of the General Conference Committee become entangled in business affairs and financial perplexities, the sacred, elevated character of their work is in a great degree lost. [See A. L. White, The Early Elmshaven Years, 70-83, 223-235, for a discussion of conditions in the Seventh-day Adventist Church about the time this manuscript was written.] The temple of God becomes as a place of merchandise, and the ministers of God's house as common businessmen. Their work is brought down on a level with common things. Business cares and perplexities unfit them for the consideration of matters relating to the spiritual interests of the work, which require the keenest perception, the most careful thought, the most delicate tact, and the deepest spiritual insight. 14MR 278.3

God does not intend that the General Conference Committee should embrace financial responsibilities that call for a large amount of labor, for the churches are thus deprived of the very help they need. And the decisions of the Conference will come to be regarded as on a level with the opinions of businessmen. The sacred authority with which God has invested His servants is lost. 14MR 279.1

The sixth chapter of Acts should be carefully studied by the members of the General Conference Committee, and its instructions should be heeded. Let men be chosen to attend to the business lines of the work, and give counsel in these matters. Let them be devoted men, men of faith and prayer, set apart to do this special work.—Manuscript 33, 1895. 14MR 279.2

No Kingly Authority To Be Exercised—There is need of a most earnest, thorough work to be carried forward now in all our churches. We are now to understand whether all our printing plants and all our sanitariums are to be under the control of the General Conference. I answer, Nay. It has been a necessity to organize union conferences, that the General Conference shall not exercise dictation over all the separate conferences. The power vested in the Conference is not to be centered in one man, or two men, or six men; there is to be a council of men over the separate divisions. 14MR 279.3

The showing by the past leadership of the Conference is not after God's order. There has been a work done of a character that has not been approved of God. The result we have before us in the ruins where once stood that large printing plant, with its expensive facilities. 14MR 280.1

The divine statutes have been set aside. The time will soon come when God will vindicate His insulted authority. “The Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” “But who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth?” 14MR 280.2

In the work of God no kingly authority is to be exercised by any human being, or by two or three. The representatives of the Conference, as it has been carried with authority for the last 20 years, shall be no longer justified in saying, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we.” The men in positions of trust have not been carrying the work wisely. 14MR 280.3

The Lord calls for wise men to preside over His work, and to be faithful shepherds of His flock. He has a work to be done in every city. The General Conference has fallen into strange ways, and we have reason to marvel that judgment has not fallen, showing “by terrible things in righteousness” that God is not a man that He should lie.—Manuscript 26, 1903. 14MR 280.4

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

April 11, 1985.

Entire Ms.