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


Chapter 28—Sanitariums in Southern California

When Ellen White returned to the United States from Australia in 1900, she carried in her heart the memory of visions given her in which she was shown that the time had come to establish sanitariums in southern California. With a widening knowledge of the advantages of southern California from a health standpoint because of its sunshine and warm climate, the area was becoming more and more popular for those who sought relief from the cold winters of the East and from their physical ailments. 5BIO 359.1

After she reached America, visions relating to this matter were repeated to her. On October 13, 1902, she wrote: 5BIO 359.2

I have been instructed that the work in southern California should have advantages that it has not yet enjoyed. I have been shown that in southern California there are properties for sale on which buildings are already erected that could be utilized for our work, and that such properties will be offered to us at much less than their original cost.—Letter 157, 1902 (Special Testimonies, Series B 14:6). 5BIO 359.3

In these places, away from the din and confusion of the congested cities, we can establish sanitariums in which the sick can be cared for in the way in which God designs them to be.— Ibid. 5BIO 359.4

She wrote of the light that had been given her concerning the confusion and violence and crime that would increase, especially in the cities. She declared: 5BIO 359.5

There is much to be said on this point. Instruction is to be given line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. And our physicians and teachers should be quick to see the advantage of retired locations for our sanitariums and schools.— Ibid. 5BIO 360.1

In August, 1901, as she was attending the Los Angeles camp meeting, this matter had weighed upon her mind, and she began to think in practical terms of securing properties. In a vision of the night, she seemed to be in a council meeting in which consideration was being given to establishing a sanitarium in southern California. She wrote of the vision: 5BIO 360.2

By some it was urged that this sanitarium should be built in the city of Los Angeles, and the objections to establishing it out of the city were pointed out. Others spoke of the advantages of a country location.—Testimonies for the Church 7:85. 5BIO 360.3

She described what she saw and heard in this vision and made mention of one who often instructed her at such times. “There was among us One who presented this matter very clearly and with the utmost simplicity. He told us that it would be a mistake to establish a sanitarium within the city limits.”— Ibid. 5BIO 360.4

Her Instructor continued: 5BIO 360.5

A sanitarium should have the advantage of plenty of land, so the invalids can work in the open air. For nervous, gloomy, feeble patients, outdoor work is invaluable. Let them have flower beds to care for. In the use of rake and hoe and spade they will find relief for many of their maladies. Idleness is the cause of many diseases.

Life in the open air is good for body and mind. It is God's medicine for the restoration of health. Pure air, good water, sunshine, the beautiful surroundings of nature—these are His means for restoring the sick to health in natural ways.— Ibid. 5BIO 360.6

Ellen White envisioned sanitariums in the country “surrounded by flowers and trees, orchards and vineyards. Here it is easy for physicians and nurses to draw from the things of nature lessons teaching of God. Let them point the patients to Him whose hand has made the lofty trees, the springing grass, and the beautiful flowers, encouraging them to see in every opening bud and blossoming flower an expression of His love for His children.”—Ibid., 7:85, 86. 5BIO 360.7

During the camp meeting itself, where she spoke daily, as noted earlier, she went out with some of the brethren to look at two prospective properties. She was instructed that not only in various sections of Los Angeles but in San Diego and in other tourist resorts in southern California, health restaurants and treatment rooms should be established. 5BIO 361.1

This visit sparked the revival of concern for the medical missionary work throughout the world, but especially in southern California. It was not long until Ellen White and her staff at Elmshaven were working on drawing together counsel already given, and she prepared new counsel for the Testimonies for the Church, volume 7. Section Two, comprising fifty-nine pages, is given over to consideration of sanitarium work. Section Three, with twenty-eight pages, is devoted to the restaurant and health-food work. 5BIO 361.2

Again, in September, 1902, Mrs. White was in southern California, attending the camp meeting. She was still interested in looking for properties that could be obtained at reasonable prices and used for sanitarium purposes. She went to San Fernando, where a property had been secured for school purposes at a reasonable price. After the camp meeting she went down to San Diego and twice visited the Potts Sanitarium property, six miles south of the city. The buildings had stood idle for years and the property was available for only a fraction of the original cost. 5BIO 361.3