Manuscript Releases, vol. 17 [Nos. 1236-1300]


MR No. 1279—Conversations Between Ellen White, A. G. Daniells and Other Church Leaders Regarding the Work in Nashville

Consideration was next given to the work in Nashville. Among other things, was mentioned an interview published in a Nashville paper, in regard to the proposed work of the Dixie Health Food Company, and the effect this interview would naturally have upon the liberalities of our people. 17MR 266.1

Mrs. E. G. White: When I saw that sensational article in regard to what the Food Company in Nashville intended to do, I thought, I will say nothing on one side or on the other; this matter is beyond me. No matter what I should say, complaint would be made. God desires me to stand perfectly free from this whole matter, and I will. 17MR 266.2

I desire you to know that I regard the publication of this article in regard to the food work as a great mistake. It is not right. 17MR 266.3

A. G. Daniells: It is doing great harm. 17MR 266.4

Mrs. E. G. White: I have written all about this matter. I have not sent the manuscript yet because, since returning home, I have been sick. I wrote the manuscript while I was away from home. 17MR 266.5

A. G. Daniells: You see, it has been repeatedly published that the brethren in Nashville were not going into debt, and everybody has understood that a new order of things had set in, and that they were going to have an institution put up without debt; and so they have sent their money in. But now it is becoming known that the institution is badly in debt. For a long time the people did not know that there was a dollar of indebtedness on it. Besides, it has been managed so that thousands of dollars have been sunk just in operating. the business. This is bringing great discouragement and distrust and lack of confidence upon the people. 17MR 266.6

I do not believe that there was any need of having such an experience as this in Nashville. I know very well that at the beginning they had instruction from you that they were not to go into debt; that they were not to go any faster than they were able to pay their way; and that when they would come to a place where they could not pay their way, they should stop until they received means with which to continue their work. I do not believe any of the responsibility can be thrown back either upon you or upon the Lord. 17MR 267.1

They have printed what you said in regard to keeping free from debt; and the people have believed that this was going to be done. Now when it turns out that so much has been lost in expensive management, and that they have gone into debt nearly $25,000 besides, this is having a very bad effect on the minds of our people. I feel that we must take hold of this thing, and stop it, and put it right, and place the institution in a position where it will not continue to lose in its operation. I do not believe there is any need of so heavy a loss every month. 17MR 267.2

Mrs. E. G. White: If they had done just as they promised to do, they would not have gone so far. The establishment would have been much smaller in size. It would have been a great deal better than it is at present. 17MR 267.3

A. G. Daniells: I think that it can be arranged so that they can meet expenses. 17MR 267.4

Mrs. E. G. White: If it cannot be, it had better be closed. 17MR 267.5

A short discussion of the publishing work in the South, followed. Reference was made to the selling qualities of large and small books. 17MR 267.6

Mrs. E. G. White: I do not believe it is right to devote so much attention to the sale of the smaller books, to the neglect of the larger ones. It is wrong to leave lying on the shelves the large works that the Lord has revealed should be put into the hands of the people, and to push so vigorously, in the place of these, the sale of small books. 17MR 268.1


Mrs. E. G. White: I have come to a point where I must not worry over any of these things. I have in the past worried so that I could not sleep after twelve and one o'clock in the morning. I have had to get up at these hours to relieve my mind by writing in regard to these matters. But I must not permit my mind to be taken up with these things so much that it will be affected. My memory is still good, and I desire to finish some things that I have in preparation. 17MR 268.2

I am writing on the life of Solomon. And I wish to write more on the case that I have so many times brought before Dr. Kellogg as illustrative of his own dangers—the case of Nebuchadnezzar. Over and over again I have warned the doctor not to follow the course of this king, who said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built ... by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” 17MR 268.3

Dr. Kellogg is now pursuing a similar course in Battle Creek. I am told that he made the remark that he was glad that the old sanitarium buildings burned down. Brethren, those buildings burned down as a reproof to him, but instead of taking it thus, he has given place to self-exaltation. 17MR 268.4

W. C. White: We have no desire to worry you, mother, with the details of. the work in the South; but it looks to the brethren as if the time has fully come for a rearrangement of the business responsibilities there. 17MR 268.5

Mrs. E. G. White: I think this work ought to be done. Edson has never made a success yet in financial matters, and he has had this fact spread before him constantly. He has been repeatedly told that his only success was in the ministry and in preparing books for the people. He has never made a success in finance. 17MR 269.1

W. C. White: When the brethren go there, they will be met by this proposition, namely, that Brother Edson White and Brother W. O. Palmer have been instructed to stand together. They will be told that wicked efforts have been made to separate these two men and to overthrow the work that they have organized there; and that the word of the Lord has forbidden anyone to antagonize them in their work. 17MR 269.2

Mrs. E. G. White: Over and over again the word of the Lord has come to them, telling them that neither of them has the physical strength nor the financial ability to carry the food business and the publishing work at one and the same time. If they should attempt this, either one branch or the other would have to suffer. 17MR 269.3

W. C. White: The question with us is, shall we wait another period of time for things to evolve down there, or has the time come for the General Conference and the Southern Union Conference men to get together and in prayerful, thoughtful counsel readjust those matters, and put the best man that they can find in charge of the printing house, and put things on an actual paying basis, and place upon the union conference the burden that belongs to the union conference, and place upon individuals the burden that belongs to individuals, and bring the. business where it will not continually be going into debt? Has the time come for this action? 17MR 269.4

Mrs. E. G. White: It has; and I say, Go ahead. God's cause must not be left to reproach, no matter who is made sore by arranging matters on a right basis. Edson should give himself to the ministry and to writing, and leave alone the things that he has been forbidden by the Lord to do. Finance is not his forte at all. 17MR 270.1

I want the brethren to feel free to take hold of this matter. I do not want them to make any reference to me. I want them to act just as they would act if my son were not there. 17MR 270.2

When I was in Battle Creek, before the Nashville Office was fully established, this young man Palmer was presented to me in the night season as one whom I was to treat as a son. I was instructed to be a mother to him; that he was in great danger of losing his soul, and that I should do all I could to help him to recover himself from the enemy's snare. It was revealed to me that when he associated with his friends his money went like the wind. He could not have money without spending it freely. I was further instructed that if he would take hold of the Southern work, and labor in the fear of God, he would be greatly blessed, and his soul would be saved. 17MR 270.3

Recently I cautioned our brethren against making a change in the management of the Nashville Office too suddenly. They were to wait until some other man could be found whom the Lord would provide for that work. I do not think it is best for Brother Palmer to be connected with the Nashville Publishing House any longer. Let him go into the food business, if he so chooses. I do not think it is best for him to have the least connection with the office of publication. 17MR 270.4

I must always stand on the right side of every question. I do not want anyone to feel that I am sustaining Edson in a wrong. He has felt that it is terrible for me to write to him in the straight way that I have written. I have presented things to him just as they are presented to me. 17MR 271.1

W. C. White: There is another issue that will come up with reference to Edson's work. You remember that A little while ago he bore the burden of the Hildebran school, and all the colored schools in Mississippi; and he has felt that he must go to the people for money, and that he must have a treasury independent from the treasury of the Union Conference, so that he could spend money where the Union Conference might not think it advisable to spend it. 17MR 271.2

Mrs. E. G. White: I hope that he will never have such a treasury. I do not want the brethren ever to feel it their duty to let him have a fund independent from the union conference fund; for I will not encourage any such arrangement. 17MR 271.3

A. G. Daniells: This statement will do our brethren in the Southern Union Conference a world of good—to know that this is your position. 17MR 271.4

Mrs. E. G. White: This is my position exactly. 17MR 271.5

A. G. Daniells: I know they want to foster the work that Edson began among the colored people; but they do not care to have him contract debts for this work and then send in the bills for them to settle, in some way, from their treasury. They feel that they have a right to say something about the debts that are contracted if they have to pay them; and if they know that this is your position too, it will do them a world of good. 17MR 271.6

W. C. White: If edson could know that this is your position, it would do him too a world of good; for just so long as he holds to the position that he. must control an association, and that this association must have a treasury, and that he must go to the people to raise money to replenish this treasury—fighting all the world as to the method of doing it; and that he has the right to expend this money as the Southern Missionary Society thinks best—just so long as this is his position he keeps himself in a conflict on the right hand and on the left, and he carries the burden of the work for the colored people as if he were their only defender and champion. 17MR 271.7

Mrs. E. G. White: So he was at one time, when no one stood ready to take hold of this work with him. But now that there are other people in the South who are helping to do this work, the burden does not rest upon him alone. 17MR 272.1

It is highly proper that the work of the Southern Missionary Society should be under the direction of the Southern Union Conference. 17MR 272.2

Regarding the steamer Morning Star, I have written Edson that I saw no objection to this boat's being used in missionary work if this fellow workers felt clear to advise its use. I told him that if the brethren, in counsel with him, felt that there was a class of people living along the rivers who could be reached only by means of a boat, and that if to reach these they were willing to undertake to put the Morning Star into service once, I had no objections to offer. 17MR 272.3

Question: Would you think it best for Edson to insist on the future existence of the Southern Missionary Society as an independent organization in order that this kind of work could be carried on without hindrance? 17MR 272.4

Mrs. E. G. White: I cannot give countenance to Edson's operating independently, because I know that he is not a close financier. 17MR 272.5

Question: It is God's will for him to carry the burden of an independent society and an independent work within the Southern Union Conference, and to do things and to carry burdens that the Union Conference does not feel free to do and to carry; and also to appeal for means in ways that the Union Conference cannot approve? 17MR 273.1

Mrs. E. G. White: No. When I saw that interview in regard to the Dixie Health Food Company, as printed in a Nashville paper, I said to myself, My duty is done for the present. Not another plea can I publish asking our people to help to establish the work in the Southern field, until something is done to right this matter. In this sensational article it was claimed that half a million dollars was to be expended in connection with the establishment of the health food business in Nashville. It was a terrible representation, and I determined not to have anything more to say. 17MR 273.2

E. R. Palmer: That paper has been circulated all around where conditions in the Nashville publishing house and the Southern Missionary Society are known. 17MR 273.3

Mrs. E. G. White: With that presentation in circulation, channels through which means should have flowed into the Southern field have been closed. 17MR 273.4

A. G. Daniells: Before I knew what the brethren were doing, I realized that the publication of this article was closing up the channels through which money would have flowed into the Southern Union Conference treasury. 17MR 273.5

Mrs. E. G. White: Things must be put on a different basis. There was a time when the Southern field was being robbed and neglected. At that time it was necessary for appeals to be made for means independently of the organized body. But this time is in the past. Many are now interested in the progress of the cause there. The brethren acknowledge the mistakes that they have made in the past, and are ready to work that field. Let them plan to open new fields in the South, and carry forward the work on a right basis. Let them not falter in doing the right thing. 17MR 273.6

A. G. Daniells: There is a disposition to carry forward aggressive work in the southern field in right lines. They have good men down there to act as counselors and leaders. 17MR 274.1

Mrs. E. G. White: I do not desire that any personalities should be brought into this question. I desire to see the business of the Nashville Publishing Association carried on just as it should be carried on—in God's order. 17MR 274.2

A. G. Daniells: That is a sensible position, Sister White, and the problem can be worked out on that ground. 17MR 274.3

Mrs. E. G. White: My personality is not my own, and I have no right to use it for selfish purposes. I can stand before the throne of God, and be perfectly clear on this point; for I have never used my personality selfishly. My husband used to tell me that I was more in danger of going to the other extreme. - 17MR 274.4

Sister White further stated that she wished it distinctly understood that when she had spoken encouragingly of the food manufacture by the brethren in Nashville, she knew nothing about the large plans of the Dixie Food Company. She said that she had advised our people in every section of the country to experiment with the food products of their respective localities, and had encouraged them to make healthful foods from these natural products. 17MR 274.5

When Edson and Brother Palmer asked her advice about their manufacturing two or three products that they had experimented on, she told them that she saw no objection to their doing this; but afterward she cautioned them not to enter into the food business while holding positions of responsibility in the publishing house. She told them plainly that they could not carry both lines of. work at the same time and do justice to both. She advised them to let the Southern Union Conference control the manufacture and sale of health foods for the southern field, and suggested that the profits could be used to advance missionary work in that field.—Manuscript 123, 1902, 8-17. 17MR 274.6

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

August 6, 1987.