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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    O. A. OLSEN

    THE President of the International Tract Society, Elder S. N. Haskell, being in a distant land, I am called upon to present the usual address at its biennial meeting. Since we last met, our International Tract Society has enjoyed a good degree of prosperity.GCB February 18, 1895, page 211.10


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    There have been circulated 10,853,085 pages of literature and 50,862 periodicals at the expense of the International Tract Society during the past two years. The Society has furnished our literature in copious quantities in the localities where our brethren have been under arrest and imprisonment, particularly in Maryland, Tennessee, and Georgia. Much literature has also been circulated in territory that is not occupied by any of our organized conferences or tract societies. We have sent literature to our missionaries in foreign lands and the islands of the sea; and as you will see by the report of L. Dyo Chambers, the General Secretary of District No. 2, which will appear in the BULLETIN, 2,710,444 pages have also been circulated in General Conference District No. 2, which is largely a General Conference field.GCB February 18, 1895, page 211.11


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    The balance sheet for the International Tract Society for the year ending Dec. 31, 1892, as presented at the last General Conference, showed a present worth of $3,521.06. This showing, however, did not represent the true financial strength of the Society. Nearly $5000 in merchandise was counted in this showing, which did not represent that amount of money. This merchandise consisted almost wholly of publications that had been given us by the publishing houses for free distribution, and were considered largely out of date, and therefore had but small commercial value. So after taking these publications almost wholly from our accounts, we find ourselves at the beginning of this year worth $3,992.02, and that, notwithstanding the fact that we have circulated more publications than ever before.GCB February 18, 1895, page 211.12


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    In previous years, quite a good deal of attention has been given to the matter of sending publications direct from the office of the International Tract Society to various individuals not of our faith, residing in the islands of the sea and other foreign countries. We have seen most excellent results from this labor, but during the past two years, in addition to this work that we were formerly doing, we have given particular attention to correspondence with our State and provincial societies, endeavoring to assist and encourage them in the work in their respective fields. In many of the States the work is in an encouraging condition. Some of the secretaries have written us that they have sent out more tracts and other small publications in just a few month’s time, than they had used in years before.GCB February 18, 1895, page 211.13


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    We have had an International Tract Society for a number of years, but, notwithstanding that fact, we were not the publishers of a single tract. During the last two years the General Conference Association has asked us to take up the work of publishing tracts and pamphlets. They believed there was an important field for us in this line of publishing, especially in getting our publications into other languages. While we have not seen as much accomplished in this line as we would desire, yet we have made a good beginning.GCB February 18, 1895, page 212.1

    A few of our tracts have reached a very extensive circulation; much beyond anything in our past history. “Christ and the Sabbath,” “Rome’s Challenge” and “Our Answer” have each had a circulation of about half a million. Last summer during the strikes, we got out the little tract, “What Do these Things Mean?” and 150,000 copies of it were circulated in some two or three weeks. While the brethren were imprisoned in Maryland, we circulated about 185,000 of “Now in Jail for Conscience’ Sake.” And as these tracts have been thus selling in such large numbers, we have circulated a great many editions of from ten to twenty-five thousand each of other tracts.GCB February 18, 1895, page 212.2

    It was thought best to have some of these tracts bear the imprint of the International Religious Liberty Association, since they bear upon that particular line of work. They are, nevertheless, the property of, and are published by, the International Tract Society.GCB February 18, 1895, page 212.3

    It is most encouraging to see these small publications being circulated in such large numbers, and we receive evidence at our office almost every day, of the work that our literature is doing. Our canvassers have been in the field for years, selling our large publications, and the seed thus sown, together with the circulation of the smaller tracts, is now springing up. Inquiries are being made on the part of the people everywhere, and we are continually in receipt of letters inquiring about our views and asking for our literature. We know that there is no more potent agency for the advancement of present truth than the circulation of our publications.GCB February 18, 1895, page 212.4


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    The International Tract Society has been interested in a general way, and doing what it could, for the circulation of all our periodicals. But during the last two years, we have especially worked for the Review and Herald, the Sentinel, and the Home Missionary. We have also bestowed a great deal of thought on the Signs of the Times, but have not been able to do as much for that paper as we hope to do in the future. We have some plans in mind to present to this Conference, which have already been talked of in our preliminary councils, that we believe will result in greatly increasing the circulation of some of our pioneer papers.GCB February 18, 1895, page 212.5

    It would be impossible in this brief report to give anything more than a general idea of the workings of our society during the past two years. We trust that these brief paragraphs, however, will give something of an idea to those assembled of what we have been doing since our last report. We will pass to some suggestions of plans for the future.GCB February 18, 1895, page 212.6


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    The needs of a boat for the New York harbor have been presented from time to time by our ship missionary there. Your Board, at a meeting held Dec. 14, 1894, decided to take up the work of raising funds for supplying this much needed vessel, and we have an article in the February number of the Home Missionary relating to it, which most of you have no doubt seen. We trust that our brethren and sisters will take an interest in the matter, and that the needed funds may soon be supplied.GCB February 18, 1895, page 212.7


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    We have a good supply of our publications in the English language; and we believe that we should have our tracts — particularly the smaller ones — translated, on a variety of subjects, into all the languages of the world. Our missionaries in South Africa, South America, Mexico, Europe, and the islands of the sea tell us that as soon as they enter these fields, they find themselves crippled in their work because of a lack of proper literature to circulate among the people. In the past the International Tract Society has been unable financially to take up this work to any great extent, but we believe that we would be inexcusable now for delaying it any longer. A number of our smaller publications have already been translated by the Hamburg (Germany) branch of the International Tract Society and also at our Basle office, and we have translated a few of our publications in this country. But we have only made a beginning and the next two years should certainly mark an advancement in this line of work.GCB February 18, 1895, page 212.8

    In addition to what we have stated upon the importance of circulating our smaller publications in the foreign languages, we believe that we should have many more small leaflets than we now have. We have quite a large number of tracts of from eight to sixty or more pages, but we have very few two to four page leaflets. These little leaflets taking up one or two plain texts of Scripture, and dropping a thought upon them, could be printed at a very small expense; and were our people thoroughly aroused, they could circulate them by the millions of copies. In this bustling age, many people who would not even stop to read an eight-page tract will take up one of these little leaflets, as they would a hand-bill, and read it through at once. The seed would thus be sown, and what the result might be, God alone can tell. Such leaflets can be used by our people in their correspondence; they can be handed out to neighbors and friends, and our ministers and other workers in the field can use them in large quantities to good advantage. We have this question under consideration, and have already secured some manuscript for such leaflets.GCB February 18, 1895, page 213.1


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    When the tract societies were first organized, the work at that time consisted almost wholly in handing out our tracts and papers to our neighbors, and in sending them out through the mails, accompanied by letters. When the canvassing work arose, it so engrossed our attention that we largely lost sight of this line of work. We think that the canvassing work, under God, has been a great blessing in the advancement of the Message, and we do not think we have been any too active in it; but while we are developing the canvassing work, which can engage only a few comparatively, we must not neglect to enlist this other class.GCB February 18, 1895, page 213.2

    The Testimonies have urged upon us all these years the importance of setting to work every man, woman, and child connected with this cause. They have stated that as ministers we have no more important duty than to teach every one in the rank and file of our denomination how they may work for the Master.GCB February 18, 1895, page 213.3

    We have laid out before you in our councils some important plans for greatly increasing the circulation of our pioneer periodicals. Our small tracts must also be sent out in large quantities. We believe that these publications thus circulated will awaken in the minds of the people a desire to read more extensively in our larger books. They will be like advertising sheets that we will scatter profusely, and will give the people a little taste of the Third Angel’s Message, and set them to hungering and thirsting for more.GCB February 18, 1895, page 213.4

    But as we develop these lines of work, it will require upon the part of our ministers, secretaries, and workers in general, a careful study of this great question of giving every one something to do in spreading the message. It has been our experience that when anything is proposed in the line of work, that our people are always anxious to engage in it.GCB February 18, 1895, page 213.5

    There are many other things that might be suggested as important for future lines of work; but we believe that to get our people, each and every one, to feel that God has a work for them to do, is of pre-eminent importance, and it should be studied by every worker connected with this cause. Not that we should hold out before any one that he can work his way into heaven, but that it is the precious privilege of every one who knows Jesus Christ, to co-operate with him in his efforts to save fallen man.GCB February 18, 1895, page 213.6


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    General Summary of State Reports for the Quarter Ending September 30, 1894.

    Schools. Present membership. Average atendance. Scholars/Ch. members. No.of Classes. Contributions received Am’t donated to missions.
    Arkansas 20 339 243 135 43 $ 34 07 $ 19 67
    Atlantic 23 881 662 ..... 126 231 45 110 50
    Australia 28 1020 787 144 139 264 49 38 82
    British 15 334 184 155 36 96 54 40 55
    California 133 3577 2727 1102 502 1296 58 636 34
    Canada 13 154 105 91 27 28 60 22 14
    Central Europe 28 551 409 382 69 129 90 110 93
    Colorado 34 1058 741 373 141 297 52 88 76
    Florida 20 245 163 76 39 48 05 27 65
    German and Russian 33 673 550 446 .... 82 92 74 65
    Illinois 60 1402 1007 692 201 341 53 195 29
    Indiana 81 1808 1241 809 248 332 16 216 01
    Iowa 161 3351 2547 1656 743 362 70 304 99
    Kansas 121 2563 1751 1330 345 470 04 307 67
    Maine 33 445 320 238 68 142 39 115 89
    Maritime Provinces 8 172 107 68 18 29 73 20 23
    Michigan 193 6490 4631 2769 899 1323 48 719 76
    Minnesota 140 3125 2160 1375 561 608 21 370 38
    Missouri 46 1300 971 625 173 178 92 45 48
    Montana 12 169 84 57 18 38 65 19 84
    Nebraska 73 2173 1526 866 304 277 42 99 59
    New England. 35 798 528 378 119 308 89 197 29
    New York 57 742 506 391 107 192 30 126 95
    New Zealand. 26 549 368 234 71 137 94 75 07
    North Pacific 93 1638 1183 813 245 310 10 150 79
    Ohio 106 1852 1492 851 283 501 30 247 27
    Oklahoma & Ind. Ter 30 533 285 305 68 56 93 42 35
    Pennsylvania 75 1363 1045 690 180 272 74 142 59
    Scandinavia. 37 1008 716 .... 124 96 42 18 81
    South Africa 8 285 212 .... 45 144 57 88 08
    South Dakota 70 1191 275 230 167 212 54 155 35
    Southern District 30 611 444 291 82 80 05 37 92
    Tennessee 22 377 286 187 65 71 21 33 91
    Texas 18 539 553 174 62 92 77 65 13
    Upper Columbia 29 973 836 564 126 245 86 78 10
    Vermont 46 457 330 249 73 129 14 110 24
    Virginia 8 164 101 99 23 21 65 14 74
    West Virginia ... .... .... .... .... .... ....
    Wisconsin 139 2678 1868 1318 381 540 08 360 49
    Unclassified. 10 271 227 88 14 72 19 4 91
    Totals 2116 47,849 34,069 20,351 6495 $10,693 93 $5,734 92
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