General Conference Bulletin, vol. 6


General Conference Proceedings. FIRST MEETING


May 13, 10:45 A. M.

The first meeting of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference was called in the big tent at 10:45 A. M., May 13, 1909, Elder A. G. Daniells, president, in the chair. GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.49

Elder Daniells: We would like to have the whole congregation join in singing “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.” GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.50

Elder Irwin read the 105th psalm. GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.51

Elder Daniells: We will now engage in a season of prayer, invoking God’s blessing upon this Conference. Every one, I am sure, will join earnestly in this invocation. Brethren Butler and Olsen will lead us, and let us unite heartily with them. GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.52

Elder Butler prayed as follows: O Lord God of Israel! we come as a body of worshipers before thee this morning. We come, O great Creator, to thank thee for the blessings we have received. Lord, our hearts go up in gratitude to thee for the blessings that thou hast bestowed upon us as a people. We have watched thy providences all these years, while the work has come up from a very small beginning to what we have at the present time. Help us to appreciate what thou hast done for us. We could have done nothing, Lord, without thee. Without thy help during these years, all our efforts would have accomplished naught GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.53

Now, blessed Lord, as we are assembled here under such favorable circumstances, we pray that a great abundance of thy blessing may rest upon us. We have seen this work develop from little beginnings until now we see here many who have come from distant lands. We rejoice in this. We pray, O Lord, that thou wilt be with us until we shall have finished this work. Bless, we pray thee, all our deliberations. GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.54

Bless the officers of the General Conference, who superintend the work. Help them; for they need thy blessing. Bear them up in thy almighty arms, we pray thee. Give them wisdom and divine guidance. May this occasion be marked by a meek and quiet spirit, even by the spirit of Christ. GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.55

We would especially remember thy blessings in the growth of this work, while the world is experiencing trouble, and great calamities are giving evidence of the closing of time. We thank thee for the blessed Saviour’s care over us during these perilous times. Help us, O God of Israel, to be men and women of God. Guide us, Heavenly Father, and save us at last for Jesus’ sake. GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.56

Elder Olsen also prayed, saying: Our blessed Lord, and Father in heaven, we do offer thanks and praise to thee at this hour for thy goodness and mercy, and for thy love, which has been with us all the days of our lives. We thank thee that thou hast rendered to us according to thy love, and not according to our worthiness. GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.57

O Lord, we thank thee for the privilege of this gathering. We thank thee for the knowledge of the truth, which is going to all nations, countries, people, and tongues in the earth, and in this we see the fulfillment of thy word, and the prophecy that it should be so. We rejoice to-day that we are seeing this accomplished. GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.58

Now, we pray, dear Lord, as we are gathered from all parts of the earth in this Conference, that the Spirit of the Master may come in, and take possession of every heart. Be thou the guide and director in all the plans, in all the arrangements, in all the work that shall be done in this Conference. May it all bear the divine impress, and nothing of a human weakness. GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.59

Father, grant thy blessing upon every individual soul. Open all our hearts to receive thy Holy Spirit, and may the instruction that shall be given find a place in every heart. Forgive our past way-wardness. Forgive our wanderings from thee. Forgive us wherein we have been unfaithful. Grant thy blessing upon those who are bearing weighty responsibilities in connection with this meeting. May the Spirit of the Lord rest upon them in a very gracious manner. Especially, Lord, grant thy blessing upon our Chairman; give him health and strength, and the Spirit of God in his heart to lead out in this large assembly. We pray that the Holy Spirit may hover over the congregation, that it may rest upon these delegates, and that all may realize a sense of Christ’s presence with us. Father, we pray that thou wilt draw near to give peace to this Conference: that thou wilt hold in check every spirit that would destroy or lead astray from thee, or direct our hearts away from the great message committed to us. May our hearts be as one in the Spirit of God, and may we go forward in this work to its final close and consummation; and we will give thee all the praise, in Jesus’ name. Amen. GCB May 14, 1909, page 2.60

Elder A. G. Daniells (praying): Our Father, who art in heaven, we lift up our voices in earnest petition to thee this morning for thy presence and thy blessing while we are gathered here. O Lord, we are conscious, to some degree, of our weakness and our helplessness, and we pray that thou wilt impress us fully with this understanding, so that we shall not lean to our own wisdom or strength in the matters that shall come before us during this meeting. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.1

Our Father, impress upon us suitably, we pray, our great need of thy divine presence. We ask that thou wilt put within our hearts the spirit of earnest supplication for divine help. Turn our eyes to thee; send thy Holy Spirit here to be the leader of this Conference from beginning to end. O Lord! let heavenly wisdom come to us. Give us clear vision, that we may understand the will of the Lord. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.2

We thank thee that we have gathered here under such favorable conditions. We thank thee for the care that thou hast manifested over these delegates and other brethren and sisters who have come from the ends of the earth to this spot. We thank thee that no serious accidents nor misfortunes have befallen them, and that their health is good. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.3

And now, Lord, having brought us all here in such kindness and tenderness, help us to be loyal and true to thee while we are here. Help us not to forget our God. Help us to seek thee while together. O Lord, we pray that thou wilt this morning forgive all our sins; cleanse our hearts; we beseech thee to take away anything that separates us from thee this morning. Hear us and bless us. Guide us all through the meeting. May there be no carelessness; may there be no forgetfulness of thee; but may we rely upon God day by day. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.4

We believe thou art here, and that thou wilt help us; and we give thee the praise, through Jesus our dear Redeemer. Amen. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.5

At the close of the season of prayer, the entire congregation united in ascribing praise to God by singing hymn No. 226, of “Christ in Song”:— GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.6

“Praise him! praise him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Sing, O earth—his wonderful love proclaim.
Hail him, hail him, highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to his holy name.”

The Chairman (Elder A. G. Daniells): We have just received a cablegram from Africa, giving us this message:— GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.7

“Cape Town, South Africa.—‘Blessings unmeasured.’” GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.8

I am glad our brethren so far away are thinking of us this morning, and that we have their prayers in behalf of this gathering; and I believe that this message from our brethren in the dark continent is an expression of the feelings of our people in all parts of this wide world. We must not forget that we represent them, and that we represent almost every part of the world in this meeting this morning. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.9

I can say but a few words in the way of welcome to this delegation; and, in speaking, I shall not formally extend a welcome to our brethren from foreign lands, because this is a World’s Conference. I am not here to welcome our brethren from what we call “foreign” lands, more than they are to welcome us in this country, which is to them a foreign land. It will be just as proper for our brethren who have come across the seas, to extend a welcome to the American delegates gathered here, as for any one to extend a welcome to those from across the seas. But I can say that, for one, I am profoundly grateful for this gathering. It was four years ago, on this ground, that we decided not to hold another General Conference until four years had passed. At that time, the present hour seemed a long way off. We scarcely knew whether it would be best to postpone the meeting so long; but we find that the time has passed very quickly. The Conference has come as soon as we were ready for it. During the intervening time, we have looked forward with deep interest to this meeting, and our interest has increased as the time for the convening of the Conference has approached. I know, from letters I have received, from the expressions that have come to us, that our brethren—those who are here and those who are not here—have been greatly interested in this convocation; and this great gathering here this morning is some indication of the interest that has been and is being felt in this session of our General Conference. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.10

Now we are gathered from many countries, speaking many languages, representing great needs and diverse conditions. We are here, not for social enjoyment, nor for entertainment; but we are here for a great work, we are here for the accomplishment of great things for the cause of God; and we should address ourselves most earnestly and zealously to that work. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.11

I shall not detain you long in remarks this morning; but in behalf of my immediate associates in the General Conference work here, I do extend to all delegates from America, from the European division, from Australasia, from South America, Africa, and the islands of the sea, as well as the great mission fields, a most cordial welcome. It does us good here to look into your faces. We realize that you have been on the “firing line;” that you have been bearing heavy burdens. You have been facing tremendous needs. Your calls for help have impressed us with this. We are glad that you can take a little respite, and come here and meet with us and with one another, and exchange experiences and views, and join together in laying plans for the onward march of this great movement with which we are connected. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.12

I do sincerely hope, brethren, that this Conference will prove to be a great occasion. Of course we have never had anything like it, so far as the present situation is concerned. Never in the history of this people have our people come from all parts of the field as they have to this meeting. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.13

And now we want this occasion to be more than a large gathering—we want it to be a great meeting. We want it to mark an era. We have had such meetings. I believe that the 1901 Conference marked an era in this work. The 1903 Conference marked an era; it was a great meeting, although not just of the sort that we like, and from it have come great blessings to this cause. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.14

Now the Lord knows exactly what we need at this meeting; he knows what ought to come to us as a people; he knows just what the cause throughout the whole world requires; and he knows what should be done during this Conference to bring that blessing to his cause. My prayer for weeks has been, and still is, that God will reveal that to us, and give us hearts to do what we ought to do to bring his blessing to us. For this let us earnestly pray while we are here together. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.15

We have asked Brother Conradi to speak, representing the European division, and Elder Irwin, the American division; then we shall open the way for our brethren to speak as the Spirit of the Lord impresses them, and as the gratitude of their hearts prompts them to speak at this opening service. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.16

Words of Good Cheer from Europe GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.17

Elder L. R. Conradi: We are surely grateful to the Lord this morning for this General Conference. I believe that if we look over the records of the past, we shall not find another General Conference where the different countries of the wide world were so fully represented as they are here this morning. What we have seen for years by faith we can see to-day with our natural eyes. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.18

Europe can welcome America to this world’s Conference. We are thankful for this. [Amen.] The Lord has said that a time would come when the waste places should be built up, and the foundation of many generations be raised up again. The Sabbatarians, at the time of the Reformation, believed that doctrine, and labored in harmony with it. We can to-day see the waste places built up. The truth we believe is enlightening the world. From all parts of the earth we have come to attend this world’s Conference. The sons of this heavenly family know no difference of nationality; they know but the one language of heaven. When I first came to this Conference, I met some little children: they were the children of China and other countries. So we can truly say that the sons of this heavenly family have come from afar, and the daughters are nursed at our side to-day. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.19

As we have come from all parts of this world, we surely need, more than ever, the anointing of our eyes by God’s Holy Spirit, that we may see the true needs of this world-wide message, and of our ears, that they may be opened always to listen to God’s voice speaking to us, that the will of God, and his will only, may be done in our meeting, and that the kingdom of God may be hastened. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.20

I am sure, brethren, that if we could view the world as heaven views it, we would see, at this hour, hearts lifted up, not only all over Europe; not only all over America, South or North or Central; not simply in Australia and in the islands of the sea; but also in far-distant China, Japan, and India: yea, all over the dark continent of Africa, praying for this Conference. And I believe that our blessed Lord in heaven listens to prayers, and that the Lord is with us, that his Spirit is guiding us, and that he will manifest his glory. GCB May 14, 1909, page 3.21

Elder Irwin’s Greeting GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.1

Elder G. A. Irwin: As I sat here and looked into the faces of the hundreds of earnest men and women who have gathered from all parts of the world in this great convocation of God’s people, I wished that some of the pioneers who have been laid away to rest could have the privilege of viewing this scene. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.2

Every great movement in the earth that has had for its object the elevation of mankind and the promulgation of God’s truth has begun in but a small way. A few men and women struggle in the beginning to give that truth to the world. And there has been no movement in the world since the foundation of the earth to which this statement could be applied better than to the third angel’s message. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.3

The first president of our General Conference is reported to have said that the best evidence of the truthfulness of that message is the message itself; and it seems to me that that was a true statement. Notwithstanding all the efforts that the enemy has made to defeat this truth and to deflect it from its purpose, it has steadily gone on until this morning we are permitted to behold what we see here. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.4

It seems to me that the sight of this great company, who have come from all parts of the world with no other purpose in mind, no other object in view, than to seek the Lord together and plan for the rapid extension of his work in the little while that is left us, should thrill every heart. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.5

I am sure, friends, that the progress that has been made in the past four years shows that God is in this movement. And I may say, also, that we have a message that is going to accomplish its purpose in spite of all the efforts that the enemy can bring to bear against it, either from without or from within. Friends, we should take courage this morning. Courage should be the keynote of this meeting from the very beginning until the end, and we should pray that God may overshadow this place by an innumerable number of angels, and that his Holy Spirit may be the directing, leading influence in every thing that is done. We have numbers here, and that is an encouragement; yet we must not trust to numbers. There is but One upon whom we can lean in a time like this, and that is the Lord. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.6

I can say, brethren, that I was never in my life of better courage. Let that thought be foremost in our hearts at all times. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.7

I pray that the Spirit of God may be with us in a marked manner. I ask the prayers of this congregation for the men who shall preside from time to time, and for the president of our General Conference. Let us hold up his hands, and encourage his heart by our words of faith and courage and by our prayers. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.8

“My Heart Is of Good Courage” GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.9

O. A. Olsen: The scene before us is truly inspiring. It is not merely the largeness of the attendance, but the thought that all parts of the world are represented,—nations, tongues, peoples, living in distant places. What an evidence of the wonderful work that has been accomplished through the third angel’s message! GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.10

Years ago we talked about the message going to the various nations and countries of the world. I remember when the movement was very small in this country. It has been my privilege to see this work develop for about fifty years, and I thank God for what has been accomplished. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.11

Brother Conradi has extended a welcome from Europe and adjoining countries. Brother Irwin has spoken for this country. It is my privilege to represent another large division, the isles of the sea. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.12

Brethren, the isles of the sea are praying for this Conference. Our week of prayer begins the first of May, and as I visited the brethren, they said, That will be a good time for us to pray especially for the General Conference. God is hearing these prayers, and they will be answered. Best of all, our great High Priest is praying for us. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.13

I am glad to bring you a good word of cheer from the island field. The Lord is blessing; the work in onward. I could not but note, as we were on our journey, that at every port where our vessel stopped, and also at many places as we came by rail, we were greeted by some of our brethren, and in many places had the privilege of holding meetings with them. How different that is from the way it was years ago! We stopped at Brisbane, in Queensland, and held a meeting there; at Suva Vou, in Fiji, we met with our brethren; and at Honolulu we had a good meeting with the brethren assembled there. So in Victoria, British Columbia, Winnipeg, in all these principal places; brethren, wherever you go, the message is there to-day. All that is now left to do is some filling in. May God hasten the time when the work will all be finished. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.14

Brethren, my heart is of good courage in the Lord. I have confidence that God will do just what he has said he would do. What we need in this meeting is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, fitting and preparing us to go forward to finish this work in a short time. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.15

The Beginning of This Work GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.16

Elder G. I. Butler: These brethren have spoken on a subject that warms my heart. I suppose that my experience dates back a little farther in this message than that of almost anybody else in this congregation. My experience dates back to the great Advent movement of 1844. I have seen old Father Miller at my father’s house several times. I well remember the beginning of this work. After listening to one sermon from Brother Joseph Bates, my mother commenced to keep the Sabbath in 1848. Father began its observance a little later. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.17

I was troubled with doubts back there. It seemed strange to me that with a people so few, so poor, and so weak, any one could ever talk about seeing this world enlightened with the message of present truth. It looked to me the greatest folly. But I came to it after awhile, through God’s providence,—out of infidelity into this glorious truth. At that time there were not more than fifty Seventh-day Adventists in the world. For a number of years they met in cottages or in barns. They had no tents no conferences. But the work was forward. They used to live by faith, brethren, back there. That was the only way they could live. Now we all see the work going to the ends of the earth. If anybody falls out now, he must be blind indeed. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.18

As others have said, I am full of courage. Some one may say, Are you not discouraged, Brother Butler? You have been looking for the Lord so long, you have seen so many trials and troubles and apostasies. Thank the Lord, No. I am not discouraged. I am growing old, and am weakening physically, but my heart is still in this message. I know that God will give it a glorious triumph. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.19

An Incident Recalled GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.20

Elder E. W. Farnsworth: This opportunity makes me think of an incident in the life of Paul, when he was on his way to Rome. When he landed in Italy, and met a few brethren who came down to meet him, he thanked God and took courage. As I look into the faces of this congregation. I can not but think that this is an occasion in which we all may thank God and take courage, and believe still more firmly than ever in the truth of the third angel’s message. Here is a congregation present to-day with only one purpose in view,—to give this message to the world. Brethren, that is our business. God has given us this work to do, and I am in favor of sticking to the text. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.21

I have been thinking of the many things we ought to be thankful for. At least four of these men [pointing to brethren in desk] have been presidents of our General Conference. I hope they will stay with us until the Lord comes that we may have the benefit of their prayers, counsel, and inspiration. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.22

I have an inexpressible hungering and thirsting after the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I would not for anything intimate that the Holy Spirit is not with us, and that he has not worked for us. I recognize that, and I glorify God for it with all my heart. But there seems to be taught in the Bible a length and a depth, a height and a breadth, of spiritual power that I wish we all could have. And so I have prayed, and I do pray, that this conference may be marked by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit such as we have never seen before Brethren, it is a good place here to seek the Lord. Let us individually seek God for the outpouring of that Spirit. And may God help us to find it, for Christ’ sake. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.23

One of Our Oldest Pioneers GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.24

G. W. Amadon: I did not suppose— GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.25

A. G. Daniells: Brother Amadon was one among the very first to accept this message, and to connect with the Review and Herald, and he has been with us a half century or more. He is one of our oldest pioneers in this cause today. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.26

G. W. Amadon: I was about to say brethren and sisters, that I did not suppose that I would have anything to do in this meeting but to hear and think and pray. It is a great inspiration to my heart to be present, and to see such a concourse of believers as this. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.27

I embraced the truth in the summer of 1853, and later on in the year I went to the Review and Herald Office, little as then was, and remained with it until went down in ashes. God has been very good to me. GCB May 14, 1909, page 4.28

The first general meeting I ever attended, held by this people, was a sort of General Conference in the year 1854, in Brother White’s house, in Rochester, N. Y. I think there must have been as many as twenty-five or thirty besides the little company of believers in Rochester. How this work has grown since 1853! We did not then suppose that anything would be done for foreign fields, only in this way,—that people would emigrate from foreign countries, particularly from Europe, and they would write letters back and tell their friends about the truth. But how things have changed. Wonderful, wonderful is this closing work of God! My heart rejoices in it. GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.1

Was Sixteen in 1844 GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.2

J. L. Prescott: As I look into your faces, I can but say, “What hath God wrought!” As I came into this tent, I was reminded of the first Advent tent-meeting that I ever attended, in the year 1842, in Concord, N. H. There I heard Joshua V. Himes, and the message seemed precious to my heart. I was born into the faith in 1838. I was sixteen years old in 1844. With my mother I attended the first general gathering after the passing of the time of 1843, at Exeter, N. H. The believers gathered to compare notes, and to engage in some concerted action. After two or three meetings, a brother, H. K. Snow, showed clearly that the 2300 days had not ended, that they must extend to the tenth day of the seventh month, in 1844. The message he gave brought wonderful light and blessing to the company. Well, beloved, I have been an Adventist all these years. I delight in the message. I rejoice in the prospect that the work will soon be consummated in this generation, that possibly the dear Lord will let me survive to witness his coming in the clouds of heaven. GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.3

Having passed my eighty-first birthday the eighth of last month, I am happy in my dear Lord, who has so wondrously preserved me alive from time to time, and has healed my bodily infirmities. Five years ago last December I was brought down to the verge of the grave. The Lord graciously heard prayer, and raised me up. It has been our experience from time to time, when in need of physical help, to receive his blessing in answer to prayer. I rejoice to-day in the Lord, my blessed Saviour. Beloved, be of good cheer. GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.4

Greeting from Elder Wheeler GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.5

Elder Daniells: We have a message sent to us by the oldest minister in our denomination. Elder Frederick Wheeler, now in the ninety-ninth year of his age. This statement was dictated to Elder F. H. DeVinney at West Monroe, N. Y., May 3, 1909. We will ask the secretary to read it. GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.6

(Reading): “To my brethren assembled in General Conference, I improve this opportunity to send you my feeble greetings, and assure you of my love for, and continued interest in, present truth. I believe that we are living in the closing period of the gospel age; that every hour is full of deepest interest, and should be improved to the very best possible advantage to secure our own needed preparation and the advancement of the truth. I rejoice to-day that the Lord in mercy saw fit to give me a place in this work in its early history. For more than half a century I have looked for the realization of the ‘blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.’ GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.7

“That hope was never more precious to me, nor my confidence in its soon realization more firm, than to-day. I rejoice in the progress that the truth is making; that God is opening the way, in his providence, for the gospel of the kingdom soon to go to all the world. I humbly pray for the special blessing of God to be upon each of you, and upon the Conference, and that it may result in the advancement of the cause and the salvation of the perishing. While I can not well expect to live to see it, yet I firmly believe that the consummation of our hopes will be in this generation.” GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.8

Roll-Call of Delegates GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.9

The Chairman stated that time would not allow the many who would gladly speak to do so at this time; and after motion to waive the reading of the minutes of the last session, in 1905, the secretary read the roll-call of delegates from union conferences already received into the General Conference, and from mission fields. A few delegates were not yet present, but nearly all responded. (The full list of delegates appears in this number.) GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.10

Admission of Conferences GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.11

The Chairman then called for report as to union conferences not yet admitted to the General Conference. W. B. White presented for admission the North Pacific Union Conference, organized out of the territory of the Pacific Union, in 1906. It includes the States of Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and the Territory of Alaska, a territory larger than all the United States east of the Mississippi, with a population about equal to that of Kentucky. The union has a membership of five conferences, with 143 churches, and 5,724 members. “The great Northwest,” he said, “‘the last West,’ is rapidly developing. The future looks bright for evangelical work.” GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.12

Upon motion of W. B. White, the request for admission of the North Pacific Union Conference to the General Conference, was granted, and its delegates were seated. GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.13

The hour for adjournment having come, admission of other union conferences was deferred, and, upon motion, the Conference adjourned until 3 P. M. Benediction by Elder R. A. Underwood. GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.14

A. G. DANIELLS, Chairman,
W. A. SPICER, Secretary.

Our ten-cent magazines are making a deep impression upon the reading public. In the spring, 1909, issue of the Journal of Inebriety (Boston, Mass.), the official organ of the American Medical Association for the Study of Inebriety and Narcotics, Life and Health is referred to by the editor as being a “journal of much prominence, published at Washington, D. C.” He states further: “This is a very attractive journal both in style and in dress, and has a very large circulation, and is evidently a great silent teacher along hygienic lines.” GCB May 14, 1909, page 5.15