Manuscript Releases, vol. 2 [Nos. 97-161]


MR No. 142—The Nature and Purpose of Adventist Schools

[Release requested by E. C. Walter, registrar at Pacific Union College, for use in his doctoral thesis in the field of Seventh-day Adventist education.]

These institutions which are placed here in our midst are one inducement and one constant appeal to the churches here to keep themselves in the love of God. Here is a place for youth where they may come as students to receive an education in the sciences. But is this the end of their work? If it is, they could just as well go to the colleges anywhere in our land, but it is not the end of the matter.—Manuscript 2, 1885, 2. (Sermon in Battle Creek Tabernacle, July 25, 1885.) 2MR 211.1

The Author of nature is the Author of the Bible. Creation and Christianity have one God. All who engage in the acquisition of knowledge should aim to reach the highest round of progress. Let them advance as fast and as far as they can; let their field of study be as broad as their powers can compass, making God their wisdom, clinging to Him who is infinite in knowledge, who can reveal the secrets hidden for ages, who can solve the most difficult problems for minds that believe in Him who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light that no man can approach unto.—Letter 67, 1894, p. 6. (To W. W. Prescott, January 18, 1894.) 2MR 211.2

Physical, mental, and moral industry must be combined in proper education.—Letter 60, 1896, p. 5. (To Herbert Lacey, “Instruction to Schools,” December 20, 1896.) 2MR 211.3

A teacher who has an intelligent knowledge of the best methods and who can not only teach the theory, but can show by example how things should be done, will never be a drug on the market.—Manuscript 61, 1897, 6. (“Our School Work,” June 8, 1897.) 2MR 211.4

The inquiry has been made, “If the end of all things is at hand, why are you making such large preparations for schools?” It is for the very reason that the end of all things is at hand that we are investing means in school buildings. We desire to call the youth away from the cities where Satan has wrought upon the minds of men under his dominion and power, to work against everything in the line of reform.—Manuscript 10a, 1898, p. 1. (“The Necessity of Establishing Schools,” February 1, 1898.) 2MR 212.1

From the light given me there is to be opened to our youth means whereby they, while attending the school, may learn how to use tools. Buildings should be erected on the school grounds by the students themselves. Under the guidance of experienced workmen, carpenters who are apt to teach, patient, kind, the youth are to learn how to build economically. Then it is essential that our printing be done where our principal school is established, and we should have a printing press and fonts of type where another class of students may be trained to manage everything connected with typesetting and press work. 2MR 212.2

Again, our youth, both men and women, should be taught how to cook savingly, and to dispense with everything in the line of flesh foods.—Manuscript 105, 1898, 1-4. (“The Education Our Schools Should Give,” August26, 1898.) 2MR 212.3

In your school work, do not spend time in learning that which will be of little use to you in your after life. Instead of trying to gain a knowledge of foreign languages, strive first to speak the English language correctly. Be sure to learn how to keep accounts. Gain a knowledge of those lines of study that will help you to be useful wherever you are.—Manuscript 125, 1902, 5. (“Words to Students,” talk at the opening of the San Fernando School, October 1, 1902; a No. 900 Manuscript Release.) 2MR 212.4

Voice culture is a study that should find an place in every institution for the education of the youth.—Letter 367, 1904, pp. 2, 3. (To W. W. Simpson, September 18, 1904.) 2MR 213.1

The principal of a school cannot do justice to his work when his interests are divided. Brother Cady cannot do justice to this school and be away in the field so much of the time, as has been the case in the past. The school needs his presence. It should not be left to the uncertainty that arises when the one who stands at its head is absent. The one who stands as principal should devote the greater part, if not all, of his time and energy to the school. He should study and plan for its success, and should put his whole soul into an effort for its advancement. 2MR 213.2

It is a mistake to allow students to choose their studies. In years past this mistake has been made in the Healdsburg school. As a result, students who had not mastered the common branches have sought to climb higher than they were prepared to go. Some who could not speak the English language correctly have desired to take up the study of foreign languages. A knowledge of how to speak and write our own language correctly is more important to us than the knowledge of a foreign language. 2MR 213.3

The Importance of Voice Culture—Voice culture is presented to me as of the greatest importance. Students should receive a training that will prepare them to impart the knowledge they receive. Unless they are taught to read and speak slowly and distinctly, with clearness and force, placing the emphasis where it belongs, how can they teach with any good effect? They should not be allowed to speak so fast that they cannot be clearly understood. Every word, every syllable, should be plainly spoken. 2MR 213.4

Students should be taught not to speak from the throat, but to bring the abdominal muscles into action. The throat is only the channel through which the voice is to pass. If public speakers would learn to use the voice properly, there would not be so much throat trouble among them. 2MR 214.1

Those who are to go into the field as teachers and ministers should be trained to speak in a way that will arouse an interest in the precious truths which they present. A man may not have so much knowledge, yet he can accomplish much if he has a voice so well trained that he can impart clearly that which he knows. But if a man cannot tell in a forcible manner what he knows, of what benefit is his learning, even though his mind be stored with knowledge? 2MR 214.2

Prof. Cady: Should we provide a special instructor for voice- training, or should we distribute the teaching of this branch among all the instructors? 2MR 214.3

Mrs. E. G. White: The wisest thing to do is to experiment. You will have to do much experimenting before you can decide upon the best methods. If you should know of someone who is especially fitted to teach voice culture, it might be best to secure his services. I know that the voice can and must be trained. The Lord wants the teachers in our schools to make the most of themselves, and to teach the students to make the most of themselves. 2MR 214.4

The Value of the Common Branches—It is important that students be taught to spell correctly and to write plainly. They should be given a thorough drill in these branches. There are men in responsible positions, physicians, lawyers, and even editors, whose writing can scarcely be read. A great mistake has been made in their education. 2MR 214.5

In education the work of climbing must begin at the lowest round of the ladder. There are many who feel that they have finished their education, but who are faulty in spelling and in writing, and who can neither speak nor read correctly. These need to go back and begin to climb from the first round of the ladder. 2MR 215.1

When voice culture, reading, writing, and spelling take their rightful place in our schools, a great change for the better will be seen. These subjects have been neglected, because our teachers have not realized their value. But they are more important than Latin or Greek. I do not say that it is a wrong to study Latin or Greek, but I do say that it is a wrong to neglect the subjects that lie at the foundation of education in order to tax the mind with the study of Latin and Greek. 2MR 215.2

The Question of Grading—The system of grading is a hindrance to the pupil's real progress. Some pupils are slow at first, and the teacher needs to exercise great patience. But these pupils may, after a short time, learn so rapidly as to astonish him. Others may appear to be very brilliant, but time may show that they have blossomed too suddenly. The system of confining children rigidly to grades is not wise. 2MR 215.3

A. T. Jones: The sooner grades are done away with, so that the teacher can get close to the children, the better. 2MR 215.4

Mrs. E. G. White: I know that some better system can be found just as soon as our instructors learn the true principles of education.... 2MR 215.5

You have begun in the right way. Students must have outdoor labor, that their muscles may be kept in a healthy condition, that the brain may be kept clear. The health of the brain depends on the health of the other parts of the human machinery. You need not be discouraged because there has been a loss in the industrial departments. This experience may save you from a larger loss in the future. Industrial work is a great help and blessing to the students.... 2MR 215.6

The influence for good that the manual training work has exerted over the students overbalances the financial loss, and would overbalance it were it ten times as large as it is. How many souls this work has helped to save, you will never know till the day of judgment. Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do. But when students are kept busy in useful labor, the Lord has opportunity to work with them.—Manuscript 69, 1903, 1-4, 7-9. (Talk given by Mrs. E. G. White at Healdsburg College board meeting, “Instruction Regarding School Work,” July 7, 1903.) 2MR 216.1

Released August 29, 1962.