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


Crisis in England

A crisis in the Daniells-Kellogg relationship had been reached only a few weeks before at a committee meeting held in the denominational publishing house in London. For a year following the General Conference of 1901, there had been a close working relationship between the two men. It was Kellogg, at the meeting of the General Conference Committee held at the 1901 General Conference session, who had nominated Daniells to serve as chairman of the Committee and thus leader of the church (DF 15a, AGD, “How the Denomination Was Saved From Pantheism,” copy A, p. 6). 5BIO 201.4

General meetings were held in Europe in the summer of 1902. Dr. Kellogg, a member of the General Conference Committee, was asked by Daniells to attend these meetings and bring strength to the medical work there. Kellogg was eager to start a sanitarium in England. He found an attractive property near London and sent a cable to Elder Daniells, then in Christiana (Oslo), Norway, asking him to come to see a property available at a reasonable price. Daniells dropped his work and took three of his associates with him to London, where they met Kellogg at the publishing house. The committee meeting that day was a stormy one, with tears and threats. 5BIO 201.5

In spite of all that had been said about debt and the importance of a cash policy at the time an agreement had been entered into concerning the rebuilding the Battle Creek Sanitarium, the doctor proposed the purchase of the prospective sanitarium property at a cost of $30,000, on the basis of the British brethren assuming $5,000 or $10,000 of the obligation and the General Conference $20,000. Daniells was the first to speak: 5BIO 202.1

“Doctor,” he said, “that would be creating a debt here of $25,000.”— Ibid., 8. Kellogg agreed that that would be so. Daniells continued: “And you are aware that we have been working night and day for two years with [Christ's] Object Lessons to roll away the reproach of debt from the schools?” The doctor was aware of that. Then Daniells pointed out that with the church members working so hard to clear debts, he did not see how the General Conference could assume more debt without their approval. 5BIO 202.2

But Kellogg would not take defeat. He blurted out, “You do not want to have any medical work done in England. You are blocking everything.”— Ibid. 5BIO 202.3

Before the day was over, Dr. Kellogg pushed Elder Daniells into the washroom, stood against the door, and for nearly two hours harangued him over a “cash policy” that he declared the church had never followed, not even at the beginning. “We had always assumed obligations,” he said, “and worked them out and raised the money.”—Ibid., 9. 5BIO 202.4

“I know we have always assumed,” replied Daniells, “but we have never paid up yet, and we are in debt heels over head everywhere.... I am pledged to my committee and to our people not to go on any longer with this borrowing policy.”— Ibid. 5BIO 202.5

Kellogg retorted angrily that Sister White would “roll ... [Daniells] over in the dust” if he took such a stand. After more stormy debate, the discussion terminated with Dr. Kellogg's saying, “Well, sir, I will never work with you on this cash policy. I will see you in America. Good day.”— Ibid., 9, 10. 5BIO 203.1

Whether Dr. Kellogg knew it or not, Elder Daniells had Ellen White's strong support in avoiding further debts. Kellogg returned to Battle Creek and labored hard to alienate the General Conference Committee members and workers generally. With this experience and the mounting costs of rebuilding of the Sanitarium, for which no provision had been made, tensions grew. It was at this point that Daniells arranged for the General Conference Committee to meet in Battle Creek on November 10, 1902. 5BIO 203.2

On Sunday morning, October 26, 1902, just a week after the momentous October 19 meeting at her home, Ellen White wrote in her diary: 5BIO 203.3

During the past night I have slept but little.... I have spent the greater part of the night praying that the Lord, by some way of His own choosing, will open Dr. Kellogg's understanding, that he may see that he is departing from the faith. Unless he is led to realize his true spiritual condition, he will walk away from Christ into false paths. 5BIO 203.4

I am greatly burdened by the thought that those connected with the doctor in medical missionary work do not see that he is not standing on the platform of Bible truth. Unless there is a change, grave errors will be brought in. These will be rejected by some, but by others they will be accepted. Dr. Kellogg will have a sad account to give unless he sincerely repents for lifting himself up unto vanity and assuming over souls a power that has hurt them spiritually.—Manuscript 137, 1902. 5BIO 203.5

On Thursday of that week a telegram addressed to W. C. White was received at Elmshaven from Elder Daniells at the church headquarters in Battle Creek. It read: “Important conference meeting at Battle Creek, November tenth. Come without fail. Bring Knox and Alonzo [A. T. Jones]. Signed, A. G. Daniells.” (20 WCW, p. 552). 5BIO 203.6

This was a call of distress, a summons to General Conference Committee members on the Pacific Coast to hasten to Battle Creek for an important meeting. It was to be a forerunner of the Autumn Councils (now called Annual Councils) of the General Conference Committee that from year to year deal with the finances of the denomination. It was precipitated by Dr. Kellogg's insistence that the denomination should not be dominated by men who stood for a no-debt policy. He consistently took the position that since sanitariums were philanthropic institutions they should be launched without expectation of returning the capital investment nor even be burdened with the interest.—28 WCW, p. 452. 5BIO 203.7

Kellogg had come back to the issue again and again, begging, arguing, and finally weeping as he pleaded for permission to go further into debt (DF 45h, JHK to EGW, December, 1902). 5BIO 204.1

The financial situation in the denomination was deteriorating. Daniells wrote to one member of the General Conference Committee on November 6: 5BIO 204.2

I presume that you have heard that recently very heavy pressure has been brought to bear upon the General Conference Committee to become party to the debt-making policy in carrying on the medical work. During the past summer, four medical institutions have been erected, or launched, at a cost of at least $30,000. This does not include the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which in all probability will add $300,000 to its indebtedness. Thus in one short year, almost half a million dollars of sanitarium and food factory debts have been created.—AGD to N. W. Allee, November 6, 1902 (29 AGD, pp. 44-45). 5BIO 204.3

The issues were clear-cut, and Daniells was a man of principle. He took his stand upon sound business principles and the principles Ellen White had enunciated and urged. He had heard her say in the council meeting at Elmshaven only three weeks before the Battle Creek meeting, “I hope you will not incur large debts.”— Manuscript 123, 1902. When he reported the firm stand in England to Ellen White and the proposition that “when we have the money in hand, we will be ready to invest” (Ibid., 1902) she had commented,“But that is not Dr. Kellogg's manner of working,” and she urged Daniells to stand firm. He did. 5BIO 204.4

The thrust of the November meeting was clear, and with the issues and personalities involved, it was a stormy one. During the two-week session a number of communications were received from Ellen White giving encouragement and support. She was in earnest. 5BIO 204.5

Dr. Kellogg declared to some of his friends that Elder Daniells would have to be turned out of office. He suggested a successor, Elder A. T. Jones. To replace Daniells would have been quite possible under the faulty provision made at the 1901 General Conference session for the choice of a leader for the church. A majority of the General Conference Committee—thirteen men—could at any time change the chairmanship and thus the leadership of the church. The Doctor threatened to renew the controversy at the next General Conference session, which was only a few months away. Elder Daniells commented: 5BIO 205.1

I presume no General Conference officer has ever come into more violent controversy with him [JHK] than I have, and I cannot hope to have his friendship again unless the Lord works a marvelous change.—AGD to O. A. Olsen, December 1, 1902. 5BIO 205.2

“I must confess that I do not like this strife,” he wrote. “I am not a fighter; I do not like to disagree with men. I would rather pack my satchels and go to the heart of Asia.”—AGD to W. O. Palmer, December 4, 1902. 5BIO 205.3

Fully conversant with Ellen White's counsel, the General Conference Committee took a firm position on financial matters. 5BIO 205.4