Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years: 1905-1915 (vol. 6)


The Food Factory

The production of healthful foods would soon become a part of the Loma Linda program, in addition to canning fruit. Early in 1906 the manager, J. A. Burden, who was acquainted with food production at the St. Helena Sanitarium food factory, began to plan for such a work at Loma Linda. The logical place for such a factory as he saw it, was behind the main Sanitarium building, some 100 or 150 yards to the east. It would be a good-sized plant and produce foods the sale of which, he hoped, would provide profits that would reduce the indebtedness of the institution. 6BIO 30.5

While in northern California, Ellen White received visions relating to the food business and the location of the factory. On May 6 she wrote a ten-page letter to Burden, putting matters in proper perspective: 6BIO 30.6

I must write you words of counsel. I am instructed to say, Move guardedly, and be careful not to take upon yourself too many responsibilities. Your mind is to be left as free as possible from matters of secondary importance. 6BIO 30.7

The Lord has instructed me that it would be a mistake for us to plan for the production of large quantities of health foods at Loma Linda, to be distributed through commercial channels. Loma Linda is a place that has been especially ordained of God to make a good impression upon the minds of many who have not had the light of present truth. Every phase of the work in this place, every movement made, should be so fully in harmony with the sacred character of present truth as to create a deep spiritual impression. 6BIO 31.1

Everything connected with the institution at Loma Linda should, so far as possible, be unmingled with commercialism. Nothing should be allowed to come in that would in any wise lessen the favorable impression you are striving to make. If we manifest a genuine faith in eternal realities, this will have a far-reaching effect on the minds of others. We must allow nothing to hinder our efforts for the saving of souls. God requires us to leave impressions that will help awaken unbelievers to a realization of their duty. Let us use voice and pen in helping those who need clear discernment. 6BIO 31.2

Many are now inquiring, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” We cannot answer this question satisfactorily by connecting with our sanitariums the production of health foods for commercial gain. By our example we are to leave upon the minds of our patients the impression that we are sustained and guided by the grace of God, and that we are keeping constantly in view the glory of God. 6BIO 31.3

Then she wrote of the interesting way the matter was opened to her in the visions of the night: 6BIO 31.4

I was shown a large building where many foods were made. There were also some smaller buildings near the bakery. As I stood by, I heard loud voices in dispute over the work that was being done. There was a lack of harmony among the workers, and confusion had come in.—Letter 140, 1906. 6BIO 31.5

She then saw Elder Burden's distress, and his attempts to reason with the disputers to bring them into harmony. She saw patients, somewhat hidden by the shrubbery, who overheard these disputes, and who were “expressing words of regret that a food factory should be established on these beautiful grounds,” so near the Sanitarium. “Then One appeared on the scene, and said, ‘All this has been caused to pass before you as an object lesson, that you might see the result of carrying out certain plans.’”— Ibid. 6BIO 31.6

Ellen White then writes of how a contrasting view was given to her: 6BIO 32.1

And then, lo, the whole scene changed. The bakery building was not where we had planned it, but at a distance from the Sanitarium buildings, on the road toward the railroad. It was a humble building, and a small work was carried on there. The commercial idea was lost sight of, and, in its stead, a strong spiritual influence pervaded the place. A suitable helper was given Brother Hansen at such times as he required help. The management of this small bakery did not bring a heavy responsibility upon Brother and Sister Burden. The patients were favorably impressed by what they saw. 6BIO 32.2

She pointed out further: 6BIO 32.3

We shall have a work to do at Loma Linda in supplying health foods, in a limited way, to the surrounding cities; but it has been presented to me that in the establishment of a large food factory, you would be disappointed in your expectations. The influences connected with its management would not make a favorable impression upon the people.— Ibid.

With this counsel before him, it did not take long for Elder Burden and his associates to decide where to locate the bakery—on the road near the railway. 6BIO 32.4