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


Appendix A

A. G. Daniells’ March 15, 1910, Letter to the Former Pacific Union Conference President

I received my first report of the pacific union conference just as I was leaving keene, Texas, for Battle Creek to attend the Lake Union Conference. I meant to drop you a line at once, but the meeting at Battle Creek kept me so busy that I could not sit down and write you as I wanted to. Then came the Northern Union Meeting, and then the press of the work that had accumulated at my office during the winter while I was away attending union conference meetings. 6BIO 449.1

Since returning to headquarters a week ago, I have had a good long talk with brother evans about the pacific union meeting. He has given me quite a full, and I judge fair, account of the conference. Of course I was very anxious to know how you were feeling with reference to what had taken place. 6BIO 449.2

Now, brother -----, I must tell you that words cannot express how deeply I regret some of the experiences through which you have passed since going to the pacific coast. I hoped, and really expected, when you went to California that you would enter upon the most valuable experience of your life. I knew that you would have occasion to come into close association with brother and sister white [W. C. White and his mother, Ellen G. White], and knowing how very helpful my association with them in australia had been to me, I counted on your experience being the same as mine. 6BIO 449.3

I went out to the australasian field a young man with very little experience in this cause except as a preacher. During my first four years in that mission field, I gave myself wholly to evangelistic work. Then brother and sister White came, and in a short time I was Called to conference administrative work, and was closely associated with them. This was all new and untried to me. It seemed as though I could never get hold of administrative work. Many, many times I was overwhelmed with discouragement and decided in my own mind that I could never succeed in conference management, and that I surely would go back to the field work as a preacher. 6BIO 449.4

But brother and sister White encouraged me to hold on and helped me to succeed. Sometimes the help given was in the form of sharp reproof from sister White. This was not pleasant to the natural heart, I can assure you. It cut deeply. I could not always understand all that was said, nor the way it was given. But I did not dare to reject the counsel, and as I studied and prayed, and yielded my heart in submission to God, light came to my mind and courage to my heart, and always new help for my tasks. Brother White and I often differed in our policies—sometimes sharply. But we never allowed bitterness to take root in our hearts. Many times we went to the woods together for prayer, and I know the Lord blessed us. 6BIO 450.1

Thus I worked my way inch by inch into the sort of work I have been doing since you and I met in Jersey City in 1900. The Lord has been my helper, but he has surely used both brother and sister White to instruct, encourage, and help me. This, I trust, I shall ever appreciate as I should. I would not think of claiming that Brother white made no mistakes in the process. I thought at the time that he did, and still think so. But the help he rendered so far outweighed the unpleasantness that grew out of the mistakes, that I am more than willing to have had that unpleasantness in order to get the help that I needed. 6BIO 450.2

Now, my dear brother, I had fondly hoped that your association with brother and sister White on the coast would be as helpful to you as mine with them in australia was to me. And I still hope that in some way the Lord will make it so. 6BIO 450.3

This is a world of differences, misunderstandings, and complications. Trials and disappointments of various kinds come to Christians as well as sinners. Even preachers and conference officials cannot escape them altogether. And it is well they cannot. If they could, I am afraid they would forget how to sympathize with their fellow men in trials and temptations. And, not knowing how to feel for others, they would not know how to take hold and help Them, and so they would become like job's comforters of whom he said, “miserable comforters are ye all.” Even Jesus, the Son of God, was tempted in all points like as we are, that he might be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and so be to us a merciful high priest. 6BIO 450.4

I have found it helpful to me, brother ------, to think along this line. And it has helped me to occasionally run over the experiences of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph in Canaan and Egypt. And Moses, too, and David. These men whom God surely called and led, and signally blessed and honored, passed through severe trials and temptations. In the hour of his greatest grief Jacob felt that the hand of even the almighty was against him, but he learned later that this was not so. Joseph's experience, we know, was for the purpose of making him a humble, kind, sympathetic ruler in Egypt. And all of david's hard, dreadful time with saul was to help him to be the right kind of a king. 6BIO 451.1

Now, brother ------, you and I know that men today, especially ministers and men who are placed in positions of responsibility in the cause of God, need trials and personal experiences calculated to make them humble and submissive in God's hands, and yet strong and helpful as leaders among God's people. 6BIO 451.2

I do not understand the details of the experience through which you are now passing; but whatever they may be, I sincerely hope that you will make all these things steppingstones to a higher and better experience. In my own personal experiences, I am trying to feel more concerned about the benefit I can get from the mistakes of both myself and others than to worry about the mistakes themselves. This is the only way I know how to make unpleasant, trying experiences, whatever may be their cause, beneficial. 6BIO 451.3

Naturally, I am wondering what you are going to do. As soon as I heard that you had been relieved of the conference responsibilities you had been bearing, I said to brother thompson, who was with me, that if I were in that situation I would take advantage of the change and do evangelistic work for a time. There is nothing so calculated to cheer one's heart and fill him with courage as to preach the Gospel to sinners. That is the most satisfying work to my heart I have ever done. I would be glad if I could take up that blessed work today and forever be free from the harassing perplexities of administrative work. I reckon it would do every conference president good to occasionally drop out of office and spend a year raising up Churches. 6BIO 451.4

I do not feel that I can at this distance be of very much service to you, but I would like very much to encourage you. When we worked together on this side of the continent I certainly enjoyed your company and appreciated your help. I always felt that I understood you—that you were open, and frank, and honest, that you said what you meant. As I recall the perplexing work we carried on together for several years, it gives me pleasure to think of the absolute sincerity and honesty of your reasoning and decisions. I want to assure you that I shall always appreciate this. Your course in this respect has been a help to me. And I believe that you are still the same sincere, honest man. But I have feared for some time that you were becoming too independent, and too harsh with those who differed with you. In our work we will all of us have to always guard ourselves lest we become so positive and unyielding that we shall exercise arbitrary authority in our administration. I know that I have to watch and pray on this point, and I guess most men do. Really our only safety is in humble submission. 6BIO 452.1

Well, brother ------, I did not intend to say so much when I began. I hope you will not think I have been lecturing you. I have said to you what I would say to my dearest friend. Now, pick up courage. Do not surrender to temptation to blame anyone. Extract all the benefit you can from the experience through which you are passing. Take hold of the Lord's work with new courage. Read the Bible and pray for a new enduement and A new inspiration, and press on with the work to which God has called you. 6BIO 452.2

Please give my Christian love to sister ------, and accept the same for yourself. Let me hear from you. Until then I remain, your sincere brother, 6BIO 452.3

(signed) A. G. Daniells.