Pacific Union Recorder


September 26, 1901

The Southern California Conference


During the Los Angeles camp-meeting many important questions came forward for consideration. Some of them were very perplexing. And because similar questions will arise in other young conferences and missions on the Pacific Coast and elsewhere, I will speak of them through the “Recorder.” PUR September 26, 1901, par. 1

At the last General Conference the work of organizing union conferences was well begun. This work, carried forward till a thorough and efficient organization is perfected, will prove a great blessing. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 2

At the Oakland camp-meeting it was proposed to divide the large California Conference into two conferences. This is a matter of great importance. In many ways it will be for the advancement of the work. Workers in the southern part of California should not be obliged to wait for the action of committeemen hundreds of miles away before proceeding with conference work which all who are on the ground regard as essential. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 3

And in the management of sanitarium and restaurant work also men of sound judgment should be selected to take the local management, that the work may go forward without unnecessary delay. But the brethren in this new conference should not move forward without taking counsel with their brethren in the sister conferences on the Pacific Coast. The light given me is that the very best talent should be placed on the general boards, and that the brethren in southern California should ask counsel from these boards when considering the establishment of large interests, such as the starting of a sanitarium, a food factory, or a school. These are interests too large to be left to the decision of a local board of a newly-formed conference. Mistakes or errors of judgment in these undertakings in California will mean more to the cause elsewhere than many suppose. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 4

The question in the minds of some is, Should not the Southern California Conference have the power to act independently? The following is the instruction given me with reference to this question: PUR September 26, 1901, par. 5


The formation of a conference in southern California does not mean that this conference is to stand alone in its working, isolated from other parts of the union conference. It is not to be a separate entity. Those in that part of the field should not suppose themselves competent to carry forward large enterprises without asking advice and counsel from their brethren. They can not work in a restless and independent spirit and have the approval of God. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 6

If the brethren in the newly-made conference understood what is involved in the establishment and conducting of a sanitarium and a food factory, they would not desire the conference to take this work so fully in its own hands. This work does not concern merely Los Angeles and the rest of southern California. It concerns all California, and goes beyond California to the conferences around and to the parent sanitarium in Battle Creek. In starting a health-food factory, we should remember that its work will affect the entire health-food work. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 7

The formation of the Southern California Conference was a wise move. The matter now to be proved is, Will the men who have been chosen to direct in this conference carry the work forward wisely? If they show that they think they are able to stand alone, plan alone, and work alone, they give evidence that they do not measure their capabilities as God measures them. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 8

It is not God's design that the Southern California Conference shall carry large and important responsibilities, which affect the whole field, without the counsel of the Union Conference Committee and the aid of most trustworthy business men. The movements made to advance the work on the Pacific Coast must be carefully scrutinized, and the work closely knit together. The Southern California Conference is to harmonize with the other conferences on the Pacific Coast. They may have made mistakes, but from these mistakes the new conference may learn wisdom. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 9

Some conferences have tried to establish sanitariums on an independent basis, entirely separate from all other branches of the medical work, but this experiment has always been a failure. Those who take up a new work for the Master of the vineyard are to receive help from those who have had an experience in this work both in failure and success. This is to be distinctly understood. The workers in one part of the field are never to think that they can stand as an independent whole. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 10

Those who desire complete independence for the Southern California Conference are seeking for something different from what was intended in the separation of that conference from the northern conference. In all the work done there is to be harmonious action. Those who have charge of the work in southern California are to make solid, intelligent advancement. But they are never to work in a way which says to their brethren: “We want none of your counsel. We are capable of showing what we can do. We will show that we shall prosper if left to ourselves.” PUR September 26, 1901, par. 11

My brethren, you are never to look upon the separation of the conference in this light. This is not the way in which God works. The work done in one part of His vineyard is to be done with reference to the work in others parts of His vineyard. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 12

Never attempt to build a sanitarium or a school until you have studied the lesson which Christ gave in regard to building a tower. “Which of you,” He says, “intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost; whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” The folly of beginning a work without counting the cost is a reproach to God. Let those who are considering the establishment of a sanitarium first sit down and find out what means they can command. Then let them limit their outlay to their means. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 13

Do not rush. This will hinder the work. Before purchasing a site, find out what the wealthy men of the place will do to help the enterprise. If these men are approached wisely, they will be quite willing to help. Do not think that you must give the impression that you have a full treasury from which to draw. Do not think that strength lies in making a display, so that the world will think us a great and influential people. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 14

From the beginning of the work on the sanitarium,—from the selection of the site and the laying of the corner-stone,—let everything be done with modesty, without boasting or display. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 15

In the erection of the Boulder Sanitarium a great mistake was made in this respect. There were wealthy men in Boulder who would have helped in the erection of the sanitarium had they been asked. But a course was followed which gave the impression that Seventh-day Adventists are a rich people, able to erect costly structures. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 16

The Lord has been greatly dishonored because men have followed the inclination of the natural heart. The work of these men stands today as a witness against pride of display. Because of their extravagance the work in new fields has been crippled. Foreign missionary fields have been robbed of that which belonged to them. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 17

How does God wish us to work?—In self-denial and self-sacrifice. Not a thread of selfishness is to be woven into the pattern. As those who have been placed in positions of trust establish new enterprises, they are to remember the poverty-stricken fields needing help. The work in the dark places of the earth is to be established. God is not pleased when the appeals for help made by those who are working in these fields are not answered, when years elapse before His truth is properly represented. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 18

Let us seek counsel from God. It is the Lord's money which the wealthy men of the world have, and we should not hesitate to ask them to impart of the Lord's goods for the establishment of sanitariums, which are a benefit to all classes of people. It is the privilege of God's servants to go to these men and solicit their aid for the advancement of the work. As you in southern California do this, tell those to whom you go of the missionary work being done throughout America. Tell them of the sanitarium in Battle Creek. Do not be afraid to tell them that you need money to establish in California certain lines of missionary work, and that it is in their power to help. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 19

Tell them that Christ gave His life on Calvary's cross to save to the uttermost all who come to Him, and that He has commissioned His disciples to carry on His work, saying: “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” PUR September 26, 1901, par. 20

Preach a crucified and risen Saviour. If your heart is guided by the Holy Spirit, your words will make a deep impression on minds. Hope will be aroused; courage and faith will be awakened. God gave His only-begotten Son to save sinners. Then will He not exercise His mighty power for the advancement of His work? PUR September 26, 1901, par. 21

I beseech you not to allow human wisdom to come in and spoil the work of God. You need all the sanctified wisdom you can possibly obtain from wise and understanding counselors. And besides this, you need wisdom from above. Look beyond human beings to the divine Counselor. Pray, oh, pray, with heart and voice that God will lead, so that mistakes shall not be made! PUR September 26, 1901, par. 22

I urge you again, my brethren in southern California, to remember that we are all parts of one great whole. It is not safe for those who so earnestly desire to work on independent lines to be left alone in the work. If God has ever spoken by me, I tell you that at the beginning of your work in this new conference, you must humble your hearts before the Lord and build on the solid Rock. God calls for unity of purpose and action. PUR September 26, 1901, par. 23

The end is near. Satan is working with an intensity of effort. Let none of us work blindly, making our efforts of none effect by striving with one another. In order to have strength to meet the increasing power of those who are opposed to God, we must drink deeply of the water of life. God desires His people to constantly gain new power; but we are not all doing this. Christ speaks to us the words He spoke to His disciples, “Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” PUR September 26, 1901, par. 24

Paul writes: “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. . . . Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” PUR September 26, 1901, par. 25

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” PUR September 26, 1901, par. 26

Ellen G. White