Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5)


Concern Over the Battle Creek Sanitarium Debt

When the group of leading workers met for the council meeting in her home on the morning of October 19, 1902, as noted earlier, Ellen White launched into the question of rebuilding the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and declared: “I hope you will not incur large debts. I have been instructed to tell our people that they are not to erect such immense buildings for sanitariums.”—Manuscript 123, 1902. 5BIO 200.4

Elder Daniells replied: 5BIO 200.5

After the fire, Dr. Kellogg called some members of the General Conference Committee to Battle Creek to counsel with the Sanitarium Board. We counseled together, and we positively stated over and over that a debt should not be made on the new Sanitarium. Brother Prescott, Brother Cottrell, Brother Evans, and I were there, and we laid it all out. We made provision that when that institution was up, not a dollar of additional debt should rest upon it. They were then in debt $250,000—a quarter of a million; and that was on the land and property that remained after the main buildings were burned. 5BIO 200.6

The General Conference Committee took the position that the Sanitarium debt ought not to be increased. They had all the debt they could carry. We spent two days with them in counsel. After our discussions and arrangements, Brother Prescott said, “We want it thoroughly understood that we agreed that this building shall not cost more than $250,000, and that this money is to be raised from the $150,000 insurance money and from the donations of the Battle Creek citizens.” He laid it all out the last thing before the council closed. “When this thing is done,” he said,“we are not to have a dollar added to our debt.” This was agreed to by all.— Ibid. 5BIO 201.1

But Elder Daniells added: 5BIO 201.2

It now looks as if a large amount of indebtedness would be added to the Sanitarium. The General Conference is not responsible in any way, shape, or manner for a dollar of that. We did not put our hands to any such movement.—Ibid.

To this Ellen White replied: 5BIO 201.3

I hope you will maintain this position in regard to the matter. Dr. Kellogg must not think that because he does this, you must succumb. But God has permitted things to come to such a pass that you can clearly see your duty to refuse to bear the burden of this additional obligation.—Ibid.