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


Manuscript for The Living Temple Turned Down

When the General Conference Committee perceived the nature of the manuscript, a committee of four was appointed to give study to it and bring a report. As members of the committee read, they found such explanations as the following: 5BIO 290.2

Suppose now we have a boot before us—not an ordinary boot, but a living boot, and as we look at it, we see little boots crowding out at the seams, pushing out at the toes, dropping off at the heels, and leaping out at the top—scores, hundreds, thousands of boots, a swarm of boots continually issuing from our living boot—would we not be compelled to say, “There is a shoemaker in the boot”? So there is present in the tree a power which creates and maintains it, a tree-maker in the tree.—JHK, The Living Temple, p. 29. 5BIO 290.3

After the reading, two reports were prepared, a majority report and a minority report, a rather unusual procedure in the experience of Seventh-day Adventists. The reports were taken to the Autumn Council that year. The majority report stated: 5BIO 290.4

“That, we find in the book Living Temple nothing which appears to us to be contrary to the Bible or the fundamental principles of the Christian religion, and that we see no reason why it may not be recommended by the Committee for circulation in the manner suggested.” A. T. Jones, J. H. Kellogg, David Paulson.—DF 15c, W. A. Spicer, “How the Spirit of Prophecy Met a Crisis,” Copy A, p. 27. 5BIO 290.5

The minority report was written by W. W. Prescott, and it read: 5BIO 291.1

“I am compelled to say that I regard the matter, outside those portions of the book which deal with physiology and hygiene, as leading to harm rather than good; and I venture to express the hope that it will never be published.”— Ibid.

The General Conference Committee accepted the minority report. In the discussion that followed, according to the minutes, the author requested the privilege of withdrawing the book from consideration. It was not long, however, according to Elder Daniells, before Kellogg jumped to his feet and demanded an open hearing so that everybody from the Sanitarium and the Review and Herald could hear both sides of the matter. He pointed out it should not be confined to a small meeting of the General Conference brethren. So it was decided to hold such a meeting in the Review and Herald chapel. Daniells expected that only a relatively few people from the Review and Herald would be able to get off work to attend, although the chapel would hold a big crowd. However, when they met at eight-thirty in the morning, the room was packed to the anteroom and down the stairs. The meeting lasted until noon. 5BIO 291.2

Elder Daniells reviewed the history of the church's medical work, the steps being taken to bring the finances into line, and the pantheistic teachings in the galleys of The Living Temple. In the afternoon Dr. Kellogg presented his side of the story. Elder Daniells felt that he faced a real crisis in this situation and spent much of the night in study and prayer. The next morning as the Autumn Council attempted to proceed with its business, Dr. Kellogg was present with a big pile of books. He asked for a point of privilege that he might present the fact that “from the first, Elder James White, George I. Butler, and all ... your leaders have been absolutely opposed to this medical department of the denomination.”—DF 15a, AGD. “How the Denomination Was Saved From Pantheism,” Copy A, p. 13. 5BIO 291.3

The brethren listened for a while. Finally one of the men stood and asked: 5BIO 291.4

“Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of order. I cannot sit here in this committee and listen to these harsh terms that Dr. Kellogg is using against our venerable founder and leader [James White]. I wish the chairman to call him down.”— Ibid. 5BIO 291.5

The chairman accepted the proposition and declared, “‘I will say to Dr. Kellogg, “We do not wish any more of this.” You will please terminate your subject.’”— Ibid., 13, 14. He did, but under protest. 5BIO 292.1

Dr. Kellogg placed a personal order with the Review to print The Living Temple. About a month later the Review and Herald burned, and the plates for the book, which stood ready for the press, were destroyed by the fire. 5BIO 292.2