Manuscript Releases, vol. 1 [Nos. 19-96]


Could not Approve Plans for Building in Los Angeles

[Statement made by E. G. White, September 15, 1902, at a council meeting called in Los Angeles to consider plans for the erection of a building on Hill Street to be used for restaurant and sanitarium work.]

With the light that I have had in regard to sanitariums where the sick are to be treated I cannot give one word of counsel about huddling in the city. I cannot do it myself, and yet it may look very different to others; but with the light that I have, I could not advise placing a building in the city. You are out of the city, I know; you are out at one side. That changes the proposition somewhat; but further than that, I could not say; I could not give you any advice. You will have to arrange that among yourselves, because I could not give advice to build a sanitarium in any city. I could not do it, because it has been so distinctly laid before me that when a sanitarium is built, it must be located where it can accomplish the end in view—the object for which it is established. 1MR 248.1

The object that we have in view is not to get money, particularly, it is to get souls, to take those who are suffering with disease, and place them in the best position possible for the recovery of health. We have no confidence in drug medication. God wants us to be out where we can have the advantages of nature in every respect, in the air and in the scenery. 1MR 248.2

If we can get a place that is completed or partially finished, that will be better than to put up a large building just now, when we know that the end is near, and every city is to be turned upside down every way. There will be confusion in every city. Everything that can be shaken is to be shaken, and we do not know what will come next. The judgments will be according to the wickedness of the people and the light of truth that they have had. If they have had the truth, according to that light will be the punishment. Christ pronounced His woes on the cities that had had most of His instruction. That is why I am so afraid of their putting up a great building in Battle Creek, or in any place where the truth has been known for years. To receive from the people that have not accepted the truth, money to help build up the sanitarium,—I can see no light in it. 1MR 248.3

Here, you may say, the light has not been shining so long. No, it has not, but still the word has come that sanitariums should be located out of the cities. God has a purpose in that. He told the children of Israel that when the plagues should come they must go out of the Egyptians’ houses into their own houses, for if they were found mingled with the Egyptians, they would be destroyed with them. They must be a separate people. So our institutions should have every advantage possible, not as far as grand buildings are concerned, but in location. The buildings are not half as much consequence as the space and grounds around a sanitarium. It is the sanitarium that should have the fruits, the flowers, every advantage to call out—well, I have written it; you have had it; it is just as forcible now as when I wrote it. I see nothing to change my mind in regard to Los Angeles on these points.... 1MR 249.1

The leaders in the sanitarium have mingled with unbelievers, admitting them to their councils, more or less; but it is like going to work with their eyes shut. They lack the discernment to see what is going to break upon us at any time. There is a spirit of desperation, of war and bloodshed, and that spirit will increase until the very close of time. Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads,—it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved,—just as soon as God's people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land, to give us warning, that we may know what is coming.—Manuscript 173, 1902, 3-6. (“Medical Missionary Work in Southern California,” November 20, 1911.) 1MR 249.2

The Lord has at no time guided in the large plans that have been laid for buildings in Los Angeles. He has given light as to how we should move, and yet movements have been made that are contrary to the light and instruction given. 1MR 250.1

The complete plan in regard to the purchase of the Hill Street property was not laid before me till my last visit to Los Angeles. I was then taken to see this property, and as I walked up the hill in front of it, I heard distinctly a voice that I well know. Had this voice said, “This is the right place for God's people to purchase,” I should have been greatly astonished. But it said, “Encourage no settlement here of any description. God forbids. My people must get away from such surroundings. This place is as Sodom for wickedness. The place where my institutions are established must be altogether different. Leave the cities, and like Enoch come from your retirement to warn the people of the cities.” 1MR 250.2

The words were spoken: “The divine hand is not guiding in the steps that have been taken in regard to this property. The spiritual vision of men has been darkened. Plans have been made that the Lord has not inspired.” 1MR 250.3

I was afterward instructed that the whole matter was inspired by human wisdom. Men have followed their own wisdom, which is foolishness with God, and which, if they continue to follow it, will lead to results that they do not now see. The spiritual eyesight has been blinded. 1MR 250.4

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). The Lord calls upon those in charge of His work in Southern California to have their eyes anointed with the heavenly eyesalve. This is their only safety. 1MR 251.1

I am astonished that our brethren should have thought of purchasing the property on Hill Street.... After I had seen its situation, I knew that I could not for a moment give my consent to the establishment there of an institution of any kind. 1MR 251.2

To establish an institution for the advancement of God's work in such a place, would be contrary to the light that God has given regarding this work. Think of the annoyance to which the workers would be subjected in such a location. How long would they, with an immense hotel right beside them, be allowed to keep the Sabbath in peace? For us to establish a sanitarium there would be like Lot going into Sodom. It would be worse, because as far as the outward surroundings of Sodom were concerned, it was like the garden of Eden. But on the Hill Street property there is no spare land, and no opportunity to see the beauties of nature. 1MR 251.3

The erection of the bakery in Los Angeles was premature. The work was not ready for it. If the eyes of the brethren had been anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, they would not have done that which they have done. The erection of so large a bakery building, and the carrying forward of the work planned, meant the investment of means and skill that were not at their command. 1MR 251.4

God's people are not to go forward blindly in the investment of means that they have not and know not where to obtain. We must show wisdom in the movements that we make. Christ has laid before us the plan upon which His work is to be conducted. Those who desire to build must first sit down and count the cost, to see whether they are able to carry the building to completion. Before they begin to carry out their plans, they must advise with wise counsellors. If one worker, failing to reason from cause to effect, is in danger of making unwise moves, his fellow workers are to speak words of wisdom to him, showing him where he is in error. 1MR 251.5

God sees the end from the beginning. He would have no buildings erected for our work except by the united judgment of the workers, and the brethren sharing the responsibilities. These are to become satisfied that their plans are in harmony with the will of the Lord. Let the councils of our people be conducted with a view to earnest, aggressive work. But let not a stone be laid in the building up of new plans until there is a complete understanding among the workers. In such matters, individual responsibility is not in the order of God. 1MR 252.1

Some of the movements that have been made in the work in Southern California have not been inspired by God, and these movements have left a shadow on the work. But the mistakes that have been made may work out for good if they are accepted as showing the need of all being interested in the work of God and the manner of its advancement. The work in all its branches is to be carried forward in a way that will recommend its existence. 1MR 252.2

The Lord calls upon the workers in Southern California to come into line, and to make no movements that will hinder Him in working in accordance with His own purposes. We must wait for the Lord, and learn from Him how to advance the work in Southern California. We are not to make hurried movements, but wait in patience until the Lord prepares the way before us. 1MR 252.3

I am told that Dr. Kellogg advised the brethren to go ahead and build in the city of Los Angeles. But did he not know that the Lord has given instruction in regard to the need of getting out of the cities? As far as possible, our institutions should be located away from the cities. We must have workers for these institutions, and if they are located in the city, that means that families of our people must settle near them. But it is not God's will that His people shall settle in the cities, where there is constant turmoil and confusion. Their children should be spared this; for the whole system is demoralized by the hurry and rush and noise. The Lord desires His people to move into the country, where they can settle on the land, and raise their own fruit and vegetables, and where their children can be brought in direct contact with the works of God in nature. Take your families away from the cities, is my message. 1MR 252.4

The truth must be spoken, whether men will hear, or whether men will forbear. The cities are filled with temptation. We should plan our work in such a way as to keep our young people as far as possible from this contamination. 1MR 253.1

The cities are to be worked from outposts. Said the messenger of God, “Shall not the cities be warned? Yes; not by God's people living in them, but by their visiting them, to warn them of what is coming upon the earth.” 1MR 253.2

Our restaurants will have to be in the cities. In regard to these restaurants, I am instructed to say that too much of an effort is being made to have one large restaurant in a city. It would be more in the order of the Lord to have several smaller ones. He desires a work to be done for those who are served. The sowing of the seeds of truth, not the obtaining of a large number of patrons, is to be the first consideration. Numbers is no true evidence of success. 1MR 253.3

The words were spoken: “Do not flatter yourselves that because a large number come each day to the restaurant, you are making great advancement in the work. What are you doing to save souls? You gather in a large company, and then feed them at too low a price. You employ your helpers at too low a price. What encouragement have they that they are doing God's service?” 1MR 253.4

Our Instructor turned to the men in charge of the Los Angeles restaurant, and said, “Do you realize that your work is weighed in the balances, and found wanting? It is no evidence, because you feed a large number every day, that you are accomplishing the greatest good. Would it not be well to have a fewer number, and then work for their salvation by well- defined methods. Boast not of numbers. Where are the souls that have been led to feel an interest in present truth?” 1MR 254.1

What of your helpers? Are they becoming indifferent in regard to the truth? If they are, and if no effort is being made to give spiritual help to them and to those who come each day for meals, the business might better be carried on by unbelievers; for this would not exert so strong an influence against the truth. 1MR 254.2

My brethren, carry on your work in a way that will fortify souls against temptation, rather than leading them into temptation. Letter 182, 1902, pp. 1-7. (To “Dear Brethren,” September 20, 1902.) 1MR 254.3

I have always looked with great interest upon the work in Los Angeles and in San Diego, hoping that right moves would be made, and that the sanitarium work might be established in these important places. Every year large numbers of tourists visit these places, and I have longed to see men moved by the Holy Spirit meeting these people with the message borne by John the Baptist: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).... 1MR 254.4

The Lord has ordained that memorials for Him shall be established in many places. He has presented before me buildings away from the cities, and suitable for our work, which can be purchased at a low price. We must take advantage of the favorable openings for sanitarium work in Southern California, where the climate is so favorable for this work. 1MR 254.5

It is the Lord's purpose that sanitariums shall be established in Southern California, and that from these institutions shall go forth the light of truth for this time. By them the claims of the true Sabbath are to be presented, and the third angel's message proclaimed. 1MR 255.1

Institutions in which medical missionary work can be done are to be regarded as especially essential to the advancement of the Lord's work. The sick and suffering are to be relieved, and then, as opportunity offers, they are to be given instruction in regard to the truth for this time. Thus we can bring present truth before a class of people who could be reached in no other way.... 1MR 255.2

There is a special work to be done at this time,—a work of great importance. Light has been given me that a sanitarium should be established near Los Angeles, in some rural district. For years the need of such an institution has been kept before our people in Southern California. Had the brethren there heeded the warnings given by the Lord, to guard them from making mistakes, they would not now be tied up as they are. But they have not followed the instruction given. They have not gone forward in faith to establish a sanitarium near Los Angeles. 1MR 255.3

The buildings secured for this work should be out of the cities, in the country, so that the sick may have the benefit of outdoor life. By the beauty of flower and field, their minds will be diverted from themselves, from their aches and pains, and they will be led to look from nature to the God of nature, who has provided so abundantly the beauties of the natural world. The convalescent can lie in the shade of the trees, and those who are stronger can, if they wish, work among the flowers, doing just a little at first, and increasing their efforts as they grow stronger. Working in the garden, gathering flowers and fruit, listening to the birds praising God, the patients will be wonderfully blessed. Angels of God will draw near to them. They will forget their sorrows. Melancholy and depression will leave them. The fresh air and sunshine, and the exercise taken, will bring them life and vitality. The wearied brain and nerves will find relief. Good treatment and a wholesome diet will build them up and strengthen them. They will feel no need for health-destroying drugs or for intoxicating drink. 1MR 255.4

It is the purpose of God that a sanitarium shall be established at some suitable place near Los Angeles. This institution is to be managed carefully and faithfully, by men who have clear spiritual discernment and who have, also, financial ability.—men who can carry the work forward successfully, as faithful stewards. 1MR 256.1

We are to labor under the counsel of the great Master Workman. In His strength human beings can and will follow a course of action that will win souls to Christ. Letter 147, 1904, pp. 1-5. (To Brother Bowles, April 26, 1904.) 1MR 256.2

Earnest work should be done in establishing a sanitarium near Los Angeles. Letter 169, 1904, p. 1. (To the Ministers in Southern California, April 27, 1904.) 1MR 256.3

For a long time our people in Southern California have had messages from the Lord that there should be sanitariums near Los Angeles. Letter 325, 1904, p. 2. (To Our Brethren and Sisters in Southern California, December 12, 1904.) 1MR 256.4

For a long time we have seen the importance of having a sanitarium established near Los Angeles. Letter 29, 1905, p. 2. (To Sister Bradford, January 1, 1905.) 1MR 256.5

The Lord has often instructed me that we should avail ourselves of providential opportunities to secure buildings suitable for sanitarium work in favorable locations away from the cities. I have been shown that the city districts of such places as Los Angeles are unsuitable for special sanitarium work. This was pointed out very clearly at the time the workers in Los Angeles were planning, a few years ago, to build a large sanitarium in one of the very busiest and noisiest parts of the city. The light given to me at that time, was, “Away from the cities!” I was shown that if we would watch and search, we should find suitable properties in retired localities. Letter 94, 1909, p. 1. (To Dr. and Mrs. D. H. Kress, January 14, 1910.) 1MR 257.1

White Estate

Washington, D.C.