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


Appeals for Needed Change

This background provides a better understanding of the appeals and cautions that came to the Review manager and the General Conference leaders. In a letter addressed to responsible leaders in Battle Creek, Ellen White wrote: 5BIO 230.1

The men who have been connected with the greatest interests upon this earth have tainted and corrupted the work of God. The instrumentalities which He designed shall be used in advancing His cause have been used to forward unlawful schemes, which are in direct opposition to the work which God has specified as His. God has been forsaken by the men who have voiced decisions regarding His work, which has thereby become entangled.—Letter 4, 1896. 5BIO 230.2

After naming certain leaders in the publishing work, Ellen White wrote sadly: 5BIO 230.3

Professedly, these men were working for the interests of the publishing institution.... I speak that which I have seen, and which I know to be true. The speculative spirit has been gaining supremacy in the Battle Creek publishing house, and oppression is seen in a marked degree. I must speak plainly, for a power from beneath, a power that works in the children of disobedience, is working in the men who are acting in opposition to the leading of the Holy Spirit.... Satan gives them the impression that in their cruel business dealing, they are doing God a service.— Ibid. 5BIO 230.4

The next month she wrote to the manager of the house: I cannot trace with pen and ink the disappointment of my soul as I consider what you might have been had you used and improved your God-given capabilities.... 5BIO 230.5

I have been shown the inward workings and decisions of your councils and board meetings, the strange positions that have been accepted, the mutual obligations involved, and the binding up of plans and inventions that God does not endorse. But nothing that I could say would change the current of selfish, dishonest practices, for you and those connected with you are indifferent to the messages given you of God. 5BIO 231.1

You virtually say, “I do not care for the testimonies. Men in important and responsible positions do not believe in them, and pay no regard to them, and why should I have faith in them?” This is the spirit that has come in, and controls the work at the present time.... 5BIO 231.2

When God sends His messages of warning, and they are turned from with the words, “I do not believe it,” what means has He left to call the deluded soul back to repentance? They care not to obey the “Thus saith the Lord“: and when the message comes through His chosen instrumentalities, they say, “I do not want to hear any more on this subject.” One has, when reproved, taken the written words of reproof, and thrown it in the fire, and another treats it with perfect indifference. 5BIO 231.3

Thus they go on in their own way, doing their own will, and confederating together to devise methods and plans to take from the treasury large wages which they do not earn; they work to rob the workers to whom God has entrusted talents, in order to supply the unjust measure they extract. In other matters also, they deal unfairly, but the books of heaven contain a record of all these dealings.—Letter 28, 1896. 5BIO 231.4

In spite of these messages of warning and appeal that were sent to the leading workers in the publishing house and to church leaders, no noticeable change came about. To Uriah Smith, the editor of the Review and Herald, she wrote in January, 1898: 5BIO 231.5

The Saviour has oft visited you in Battle Creek. Just as verily as He has walked the streets in Jerusalem, longing to breathe the breath of spiritual life into the hearts of those discouraged and ready to die, has He come to you. The cities that were so greatly blessed by His presence, His pardon, His gifts of healing, rejected Him; and just as great, yea, greater evidence of unrequited love has been given in Battle Creek.—Letter 31, 1898 (Testimonies for the Church 8:67). 5BIO 231.6

But she also noted: 5BIO 232.1

Christ sorrows and weeps over our churches, over our institutions of learning, that have failed to meet the demand of God. He comes to investigate Battle Creek, which has been moving in the same track as Jerusalem.

The publishing house has been turned into desecrated shrines, into places of unholy merchandise and traffic. It has become a place where injustice and fraud have been carried on, where selfishness, malice, envy, and passion have borne sway. 5BIO 232.2

Yet the men who have led into this working upon wrong principles are seemingly unconscious of their wrong course of action. When warnings and entreaties come to them, they say, Doth she not speak in parables? Words of warning and reproof have been treated as idle tales.— Ibid. (Ibid., 8:67, 68). 5BIO 232.3

Her fifteen-page letter closes with these words: 5BIO 232.4

These are no idle tales, but truth. Again I ask, On which side are you standing? “If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”— Ibid. (Ibid., 8:68).