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The Ellen G. White Writings

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    Attempts to Influence Ellen G. White

    Although Ellen White was not influenced by the erroneous opinions of others, there were some of her brethren who nevertheless tried to influence her. For example, there was a leader in Europe who when she visited Europe in 1885-1887 was heading up our work in the Scandinavian countries. Ellen White, visiting Stockholm, Sweden, wrote in her diary:EGWW 91.1

    Brother ------ [the leader’s name] suggests that it would please the people if I speak less about duty and more in regard to the love of Jesus. But I wish to speak as the Spirit of the Lord shall impress me. The Lord knows best what this people needs. I spoke in the forenoon from Isaiah 58. I did not round the corners at all.—Manuscript 26, 1885.EGWW 91.2

    In 1892 while Ellen White was in Australia, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg wrote a letter to her in which he expressed his observations concerning the question of influence:EGWW 91.3

    There are so many who are ready to say that Sister White has been influenced to do or to say this or that. I often hesitate about writing to you concerning things I would like to write to you about, so that in case remarks of that sort are made I can say with the utmost of confidence that there had been no possible opportunity for you to be influenced by me at any rate. It has been to me a source of more confidence and satisfaction than I can express to you, that I have often seen in my acquaintance with you and your work, wrong set to right through the special leading of your mind by the Lord.EGWW 91.4

    I used often to make a test in my mind, saying nothing to anybody. I would say to myself, Now here’s an evident wrong. Sister White knows nothing about it, or if she knows anything about it, the circumstances are such as would produce a personal prejudice in favor of the wrong rather than against it. If the Lord leads her to denounce and correct this evil, I shall know that she is being especially led. In not a single, single instance did the test fail, and so my confidence grew. I mention these facts very often to those whom I find doubting.—J. H. Kellogg Letter to Ellen G. White, September 9, 1892.EGWW 91.5

    Within the next ten years, Dr. Kellogg lost his way in pantheistic philosophy. He lost his way in the concept of the medical missionary work as it related to Seventh-day Adventist work as a whole. Medical missionary work had been set before us as the right arm of the message, but Dr. Kellogg began to envision it as the whole body and he the head. He, in spite of his earlier declarations, also seemed to forget that Ellen White was not influenced by his opinions or the opinions of others.EGWW 92.1

    In 1902 Dr. Kellogg thought he had an opportunity to influence Ellen White, and he set out to do just that. If there was any man in this denomination who could have influenced Ellen White, John Harvey Kellogg was the man. The White family and the Kellogg family grew up together. James and Ellen White had sent John to medical school. He stood firm for the principles of health reform as set before her and as she had set them before the world. He led out in our medical work.EGWW 92.2

    In 1901 Arthur G. Daniells was elected leader of the church. The next year Daniells planned a council in Europe, and Dr. Kellogg was asked to attend. After the council Kellogg began to look around in England for property for a sanitarium. He had been leading out in establishing some sanitariums here and there. Sister White had called for the establishment of small medical institutions, and he felt the time had come to begin in England. He found a very acceptable property and cabled Elder Daniells, who was in Germany, to come and look at it. Soon after, Elder Daniells came over and looked the property over. He was pleased with it. It could be purchased for some thirty or forty thousand dollars. Daniells told Kellogg that he was pleased with the property, and he asked, “Where will you get the money?” “Oh,” Kellogg replied, “I’ll get the money from the General Conference.”EGWW 92.3

    Now at that time the General Conference was virtually bankrupt. It had more obligations than it had assets. Up to this time, our work had not been operated on a budget. We had borrowed money to send missionaries overseas. Heretofore Dr. Kellogg had been particularly skillful in persuading the General Conference Association to assume large indebtednesses on the sanitariums that he began around the United States. However, when Daniells came into a position of leadership, he declared that the church could not continue to operate on a deficit program and that we must have the money before we spent it. He was determined to bring to a stop the procedures that resulted in ever-mounting debt.EGWW 93.1

    With this in mind Daniells told Kellogg that the General Conference did not have the money. He said, “Doctor, when you find the money I am willing that you should move forward and purchase this institution.” Dr. Kellogg replied, “We will get the money from the General Conference.” Elder Daniells said, “No, John, the General Conference does not have the money, and we cannot go on into debt. When you find the money, you can go ahead.” Kellogg replied, “I’ll get the money from the General Conference and I’ll show you!” Soon afterward the two men parted, not in the best of spirits. Elder Daniells went back to Germany, and Dr. Kellogg took the boat for New York and from there went by train to Battle Creek.EGWW 93.2

    On the way Kellogg planned his strategy. He knew, of course, of Ellen White’s burden for the medical missionary work and of her many appeals for this kind of service. He determined he would get her on his side. He would write a letter to her and in the strongest possible light place before her the wonderful opportunities that lay ahead of us if we only purchased the property in England, and pointing out that the only thing standing in the way of availing ourselves of this golden opportunity was Daniells’ stubbornness.EGWW 93.3

    When Dr. Kellogg got to Battle Creek he called in his secretary and began dictating a letter to Ellen White. When he got to ten pages he was only nicely started. On page 20 he was well into his subject. Finally on page 71 (the letter was double spaced) he signed his name and sent the letter to Ellen White, who was at Elmshaven in California. He left nothing out that would influence her to favor what he was planning and to see Daniells’ unreasonableness and narrow-mindedness.EGWW 94.1

    In due time Elder Daniells returned from Europe, and when he got to the General Conference office in Battle Creek, his secretary, who happened to be a close friend of Dr. Kellogg’s secretary, told him about the 71-page letter that had been written to Ellen White and what was in it. As Elder Daniells related the story to me he said, “I could just feel the blood pressure rising.” He declared to himself, “That’s not fair, that’s not right, that’s not just.”EGWW 94.2

    At the close of the day he went home, and after supper he took some sheets of paper saying to himself, “I must give Sister White my side of the story.” And he wrote a page, and a second page, and he was beginning the third page when he thought, What am I doing? If Ellen White is God’s prophet, I don’t need to tell her anything about this. He tore the sheets to bits and threw them in the wastebasket. He said nothing to anyone, but in his heart he pondered, How will Sister White receive me when I see her at Oakland in California at the General Conference session a few weeks from now?EGWW 94.3

    The time came to go to the session. Elder Daniells crossed the continent to Oakland and went to the Pacific Press, then in Oakland, to pull things together for the opening of the conference the next day. (We held no precouncils in those days.) As night drew on, the burden of the meeting rolled upon his heart. There were great issues at stake. He knelt to pray there in the Pacific Press office room. As the burden of the cause swept over his heart he agonized with God. The next thing he knew he was prostrate on the floor clutching at the floor boards pleading with God to save His cause. All night he prayed. Then as the beams of the sun shone through the window in the morning, the impression swept over him as clearly as if a voice had spoken to him, “If you stand by my servant till her sun sets your sun will not set in obscurity.”EGWW 94.4

    Elder Daniells arose, went to his room, cleaned up, got ready for the session, and then went to greet Ellen White, welcoming her to the conference. He knew she was in Oakland, and he knew where she was staying—in a cottage she had rented not far from the church where the session would be held. It was a beautiful spring day. The door to her cottage was open, and as he stepped up on the porch he noticed that Ellen White was in the kitchen at the end of the hallway, so he opened the screen door and walked down through the hallway. She heard him coming. She got up and came into the hall, saw who it was, and reached out her hand warmly and grasped his hand, and said, “Elder Daniells, we are in a crisis. Every man must stand true to principle. We can’t concede now.”EGWW 95.1

    This was enough for Elder Daniells. He knew by her firm handshake and the tone of her voice that Ellen White had not been influenced one whir by Kellogg’s letter. At the conference Elder Daniells received her steadfast support.EGWW 95.2

    At that conference Kellogg, angered, told Daniells, “You think you’ve got a General Conference. You come back to Battle Creek and I’ll show you who has a General Conference.” Soon afterward Kellogg did call a great medical missionary congress, with about three times the number of delegates as had attended the General Conference of 1903. But as for his letter influencing Ellen White to support his position, all his arguments had not moved her by one hair’s breadth. W. C. White, her son, observed this fact also.EGWW 95.3

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