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


Concern for Developments at Battle Creek

Only too well Ellen White sensed the critical situation in Battle Creek and awaited the news of the outcome of the important meetings being held there—the meetings of the General Conference Committee, meetings of the Review and Herald constituency, and the meetings of the International Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association. 5BIO 262.1

In the heat of the battle at the General Conference session in Oakland, Dr. Kellogg challenged Elder Daniells on the steps of the church: 5BIO 262.2

“You think that this little body of men over here are the General Conference. I will show you that there is another General Conference when I get back to Battle Creek.”—DF 15a, AGD, “How the Denomination Was Saved from Pantheism,” copy A, p. 21. 5BIO 262.3

Pressing close, the doctor shook his finger at Daniells’ nose and boasted: 5BIO 262.4

“I will show you that I have a bigger delegation representative of this body of people than you have.”— Ibid., 21, 22. 5BIO 262.5

It is true that at that time Seventh-day Adventists who were engaged in medical-related lines of work outnumbered all other denominational workers—evangelists, administrators, publishing-house employees, and educational workers—by about two to one. 5BIO 262.6

Seeing the approaching struggle over control of institutions, Dr. Kellogg had called a twelve-day meeting of the International Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association in Battle Creek to follow the Oakland General Conference session, which closed on Sunday, April 12. To set aside twelve days for such a meeting was most unusual, but these were unusual times. The meeting would open in Battle Creek on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 21. Delegates were called in from the United States and Europe, representing “each of our sanitariums, food companies, benevolent institutions, and other enterprises connected with the medical missionary work” (The Medical Missionary, February, 1903). 5BIO 262.7

The delegates would be housed in the new Sanitarium building that was to be dedicated in a few weeks’ time. The meeting was billed as “without doubt the most interesting one ever held in the history of the association.” “Matters of the highest importance, questions of vital interest, principles which are far-reaching, must be considered calmly, earnestly, and resolutely.”— Ibid. 5BIO 262.8

As interest-drawing features, a series of special separate conferences was announced for missionary nurses, for physicians, for sanitarium business managers, for superintendents of food work, and for those engaged in city medical missionary work (Ibid.). 5BIO 263.1

The day this convention would open was the day appointed for the Review and Herald constituency meeting, when decisions would be made concerning the future of the publishing house. The next day, April 22, delegates to the General Conference session held in Oakland would meet in the Battle Creek Tabernacle to hold the last meeting of the 1903 session, which for legal reasons had to be held there. 5BIO 263.2

Fully aware of all these activities, Ellen White hoped and prayed that all concerned would yield fully to the leadings of the Spirit of God, particularly Dr. Kellogg, for whom she carried a heavy burden. She had not conversed with him at the session, for as she explained to Elder Haskell, “At the time of the General Conference in Oakland, I was forbidden by the Lord to have any conversation with Dr. Kellogg.”—Letter 51, 1904. In words that gave an inkling of what might well be ahead, she wrote, “I have been shown that Dr. Kellogg has had papers drawn up by lawyers, the wording of which was such that few would see beneath the surface, and discern their final influence upon the work.”—Letter 59, 1903. 5BIO 263.3

On the day the session closed in Oakland, she wrote from her home to Elder Daniells: 5BIO 263.4

A great sadness is upon me. I see that some in God's service are inclined to find fault and to work selfishly, using the Lord's goods to please and glorify self. Some do this [in] one way and some in another.... 5BIO 263.5

There is an important work to be done in Battle Creek in the coming councils. If you can move so wisely as to save Dr. Kellogg, and yet not sacrifice one principle of truth, if you can pass through this crisis without the loss of one soul, it will be because the Lord has worked with minds.—Letter 49, 1903. 5BIO 263.6