Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


Shuttling, Healdsburg—Oakland

But James and Ellen White could not keep away from Oakland. The Signs of the Times and the Pacific Press were James White's “children.” In spite of earnest resolves and bold statements of intention, Oakland with its interests was close to their hearts. During March, April, and May they shuttled between their Healdsburg hideout and Oakland. 3BIO 81.6

James's health was up and down, with little improvement. On the night of April 4 his true condition opened up to Ellen White in a vision. What was presented to her she wrote out the next day and is on file. It comprises a five-page double-spaced letter. It opens: 3BIO 82.1

Dear Husband:

I dreamed last night that a celebrated physician came into the room while we were engaged in prayer for you. Said he, “Praying is well, but living out your prayers is still more essential. Your faith must be sustained by your works, else it is a dead faith. Be careful that your faith is not a dead faith. 3BIO 82.2

“You are not brave in God. If there is any inconvenience, instead of accommodating yourself to circumstances, you will keep the matter, be it ever so small, in your mind until it suits you; therefore, you do not work out your faith. You have no real faith yet. You yearn but for victory. When your faith is made perfect by works, you will cease studying yourself and rest your case in the hands of God, bearing something, enduring something, not exactly in accordance with your feelings. 3BIO 82.3

“All the powers on earth could not help you unless you work in harmony, exercising your reason and your judgment and setting aside your feelings and your inclination. You are in a critical condition. You are establishing a state of things in your system that is not easily subdued.”—Letter 22, 1878. 3BIO 82.4

Then the “celebrated physician” took up specific items, particularly in relation to James's eating. Some very close things were said: “‘Your own depraved habits are keeping not only you but your wife from the work to which God has called you.... 3BIO 82.5

“‘You have felt so fearful you would be reduced in strength that you have eaten more than was necessary, placed in your stomach a greater amount of food than the system could take care of well.... Your food should be taken dry and [you should] take a longer time to masticate it. Eat slowly and much less in quantity. Two or three articles at one meal is all that should be placed in the stomach.... You are dying of notions and yet you do not make sufficient efforts to produce a radical change.... Your life would be more secure in self-forgetfulness. God has a work for you and your wife to do. Satan says, “you shall not accomplish the work if I have power to control the mind. I can control everything and bind both as with fetters of iron.” ...You can arise. You can throw off this invalidism. Will you be a man and work with the prayers of God's people?’”—Ibid. 3BIO 82.6

Andrew Brorson was brought in to give James White treatments. The two spent several weeks at Litton Springs, five miles from the Whites’ mountain farm home. There were reports of improvement. “Father's symptoms are very encouraging,” wrote Ellen White on May 5. Then another step was taken: decision was reached that it would be best for him to return to Battle Creek and place himself under the care of Dr. Kellogg and his associates at the Sanitarium. White informed the readers of the Signs: 3BIO 83.1

We give, in this week's Signs, the report of the dedication of our Sanitarium building at Battle Creek, Michigan, and the appropriate address by Elder Canright. We were called to Battle Creek more than one year since to take charge of the general management of the large building. This with other laborious work proved too great a tax upon our strength, and we have been a sufferer for nine months. And not finding all that benefit we hoped by visiting this State, we have determined to return to Battle Creek to be under the skillful treatment of Dr. Kellogg, and his fellow physicians.—The Signs of the Times, May 23, 1878. 3BIO 83.2

The next week the last page carried the notice that “we leave Oakland, California, for Battle Creek, Michigan, Friday, May 31.” He added, concerning plans: 3BIO 83.3

We design to spend June and July at the Battle Creek Sanitarium.... We also expect to spend the month of August in the State of Colorado, and return to attend the General Conference and camp meeting in Michigan. 3BIO 83.4

Mrs. White designs to attend the Oregon camp meeting, and if her health will admit, she will join us at General Conference.—Ibid., May 30, 1878 3BIO 83.5