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


Sound Financial Policies Adopted

The action of primary importance taken at this council was: 5BIO 205.5

Whereas, the work of carrying on the third angel's message is rapidly enlarging and extending into new fields; and, whereas, Unless careful management be given to the operations in extending the message, large debts will be contracted; therefore, 1. We recommend, That all evangelical and missionary enterprises carried on in the name of the denomination, or under the denomination's support, be conducted on a strictly cash basis.—The Review and Herald, December 9, 1902.

Another of the significant actions that cut across Kellogg's views on finances read: 5BIO 205.6

We further recommend, (a) That the General Conference or Mission Board from this day be not held financially responsible for any obligations which they have not assumed by their own action. 5BIO 206.1

(b) That the foregoing be the general policy of the union and State conferences and other organizations and institutions of the denomination. 5BIO 206.2

(c) That all parties undertaking local enterprises, such as institutions, church buildings, and other undertakings in this country, secure their means in their respective local territories, and not by general call for means unless previously arranged.— Ibid. 5BIO 206.3

As to the Sanitarium that was nearing completion in Battle Creek, the Council wrote into the record: 5BIO 206.4

That this General Conference Committee and council renew our hearty cooperation with the Battle Creek Sanitarium board and the Medical Missionary Association in their plans and work to recover from the effects of the fire, to renew the institution, and to promote their work as never before. 5BIO 206.5

That this council approve of the Sanitarium getting money on bonds to satisfy its indebtedness, from whomsoever it may be able, at the lowest possible rate of interest.— Ibid. 5BIO 206.6

At the close of the meeting Elder Daniells reported to Elder C. P. Bollman: 5BIO 206.7

We have had probably the most severe crisis the General Conference Committee has ever experienced with the Doctor. We have endeavored to hold our ground, and I think we have been successful.—AGD to C. P. Bollman, November 26, 1902. 5BIO 206.8

And to Elder N. P. Nelson he explained: 5BIO 206.9

You will learn ... of the terrible time we had during our council. It was very clear from the start that Dr. Kellogg occupied what we would call a hostile attitude. Of course, he declared that he was on the most friendly terms with us personally, and charged all the hostility to us. I know better.

I know very well how hard I worked for him in Europe, how we differed in our views of finances, and what heavy pressure he brought to bear upon me to yield my convictions.... On my return to America, I found that he had been talking to my friends against me, and was doing all he could to prejudice them. He continued this work until our council opened, and then a fierce struggle began.... 5BIO 206.10

I took the position that the time had come to stop the work of debt making.... In the next place, I claimed the right to think for myself and to express my convictions in any board meeting or publicly without being held up to ridicule, and charged with being an obstructionist, and unwilling to cooperate with those with whom I differed. These were really the two questions over which our battle was fought. Without boasting, I can say that the Lord gave the General Conference Committee a victory.—AGD to N. P. Nelson, November 28, 1902. 5BIO 207.1

At this November meeting not only was there disagreement on financial issues, but theological matters were beginning to loom. It was here that the issue of the teachings of Kellogg's book The Living Temple came into the open, an issue with which Ellen White would become deeply involved. Daniells wrote of issues of prime importance: 5BIO 207.2

One was the securing of money for the Battle Creek Sanitarium; another was the circulation of The Living Temple on the same plan of Christ's Object Lessons. Growing out of the latter was another issue, and that was regarding the character of the teaching or doctrines set forth in The Living Temple.—AGD to G. A. Irwin, December 12, 1902. 5BIO 207.3

Apparently defeated in his financial maneuvering, Dr. Kellogg did not wait for the General Conference session. In December he dictated a seventy-page letter to Ellen White—a letter clearly aimed at alienating her from Arthur Daniells and gaining her support for himself. It was a letter in which the doctor used every possible argument he could summon to influence her. A close associate of Elder Daniells learned of the letter and reported the matter to him. He decided he must write to Ellen White presenting his side of the story. That evening he sat down and wrote one page and started on another. Then he came to himself. 5BIO 207.4

“‘What are you doing?’” he asked himself. “‘Are you helping the Lord to give Sister White information which she should have? I guess He is able to do it Himself.’”—DF 15a AGD, “How the Denomination Was Saved From Pantheism,” copy A, p. 15. He tore up the sheet, “threw it into the wastebasket, and never wrote her a line” (Ibid.). But in his mind he pondered. He knew well that if any man could influence Ellen White, it was Dr. Kellogg. 5BIO 208.1

Kellogg's seventy-page letter was not mailed until early or mid-February. It was read to Ellen White on March 16 (21 WCW, p. 270). It betokened a storm ahead. Would the messenger of the Lord be influenced? The answer came in March, 1903, at the General Conference session. It was a decided No; she was not influenced. 5BIO 208.2

In the meantime, on the night of December 30, 1902, the Review and Herald publishing house burned to the ground. Disaster was following disaster. 5BIO 208.3