THE MATURING OF SADLER
Sadler's experience in San Francisco matured him. He no longer looked upon Ellen White as representative of an infallibility, nor upon John Harvey Kellogg as a man with integrity. Within a few months after his return from San Francisco he terminated his relationship with Kellogg. We have no record of association, affiliation, or connection with Kellogg after that time.
But he did not give up faith in the Testimonies
of Ellen White. They had been the source of his religious experience. He
believed in them, and continued to do so, until he received other light.
But he always held to the belief that the Testimonies were more
than mere invention out of her human mind; he felt she had divine guidance
in spite of her human fallibilities.
He did not resign in despair. He did not become
despondent. He did not immediately give up faith in the Church. It was
another ten years before he left the Church. But by that time other events
transpired which caused him to completely rethink the sources of divine
inspiration, and the foundations of religious faith.
He firmed up his mind, and made decisions to
take his life beyond the Seventh Day Adventist organizations. He would
no longer devote his energies to the Church with its acrimonious inner
warfare. He would devote himself to his fellow "Gentile" mortals. By April,
1904 he was sure of his path.
The influence of Willie White on his mother,
and on her doctrinal writings in her later years, were a matter of deep
concern to many ministers, as well as suspicions to many others. In his
September, 1960 interview with Schwarz, Sadler agreed that "...Dr. Kellogg
was himself guilty of the attempted 'manipulation' of which he accused
others, and the doctor tacitly admitted that this was correct." Sadler
then had good cause to question the authenticity of Ellen White's later
"visions." Before the San Francisco experience he accepted the Testimonies
without question; henceforth he examined them with intellectual and spiritual
The Whites and many others within the Church
were well aware of Sadler's wide influence. He was a prominent member.
In two letters in which Sadler is explicitly addressed, along with several
other leaders, EW attempts to persuade him and those others through the
authority of her "visions." Refer to the tabulation in the preceding chapter,
and the letters of Aug 1, 1904 and March 30, 1906. By some quirk, perhaps
by the manipulation of Willie White, Sadler did not receive a personal
copy of the latter. Perhaps Willie was hoping Sadler would not discover
his mother's letter. Sadler's reply is in the celebrated pleading letter
of April 26. I attach a copy. In that letter he forthrightly and honestly
lays out his heartfelt concerns about the authenticity of her writings,
and the influence upon them by others. Sadler is no longer under any illusion
about their divine authority.
But his relationship with Willie White remains
cordial. On several occasions Willie urges him to return to medical work
within the denomination. On each occasion Sadler rejects those invitations.
In a letter dated Feb 10, 1904 Willie asks
Sadler if he can show his most recent letter to Church leaders. Willie
respected Sadler's views because of Sadler's sincerity and honesty.
A few days later, in a letter dated Feb 14,
1904, Willie offers financial support to Sadler for continued medical studies.
When Sadler explained the offer from Johns Hopkins, Willie saw it as an
wonderful opportunity to expand Mission work into that region. He knows
Sadler would do an excellent job as a devoted SDA believer.
Two years later, in a letter dated April 11,
1906, when he realizes Sadler and Lena are about to graduate from medical
school, he again urges Sadler to join Church work, this time at the Paradise
Valley Sanitarium in California. "It is far from turmoil, and needs
the very work that you and Sister Sadler could do."
But Sadler is firm. He no longer will participate
directly in Church operations. He has set his own path outside the denomination.
Sadler was not disfellowshipped, neither in
the 1907 events which saw the removal of John Harvey Kellogg from the denomination,
nor at any other time. When he left the Church it was a voluntary act on
his part, and later than 1913. I cite the following evidence:
Here Sadler is clearly identifying himself with
Church work, even if "organized" Mission activities. He also clearly recognizes
members of the Church as "brethren."
After 1913 associations with the Church, and
correspondence with White, are no longer on record. Therefore, I assume
he made a decision about that time to disassociate from the Church. In
1911 Sadler made major changes in his life objectives; he left a lucrative
practice as a surgeon and entered into the uncertain work of psychiatry.
1913 was also the year he moved from La Grange, Illinois to north Chicago,
where he remained the rest of his life.
Sadler's April 26, 1906 response to Ellen White is so important to show the maturity he had reached I shall draw out some of the points of that letter. It truly is an indictment against the mendacity and political manipulations within the Church. It was also an indictment against any claim Ellen White may have tried to maintain about the divine inspiration of her later Testimonies.
Sadler was an organized and disciplined person.
He stated that ten or twelve years previously, about 1895, when he was
twenty years old, he had made a systematic study of the EW writings and
a large index of all her published works, going back into the 1850's. This
effort indicates the analytical rigor he used in all matters of import
in his life. As he said, his "soul was ablaze with their value and power."
He conducted frequent public studies at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, at
camp-meetings, and before churches. He was a strong believer. But all that
The first indictment he brought against her
was her inconsistency about her Testimonies and her "letters." She
had claimed that "these letters which I write, in the testimonies I
bear" she was presenting to others what the Lord had presented to her,
and hence of divine authority. Sadler questioned if this was true. Some
years before, while she was in Australia, and hence removed from immediate
contact with events on the American continent, EW had written to Dr. Kellogg
expressing her concerns over the building of new facilities in Chicago
without Church approval -- which she thought had actually been built. She
condemned Kellogg for this effrontery. Unfortunately, the buildings were
mere talk, and took solidity only in her mind. Therefore, she could not
claim divine guidance about an action which never took place. This imaginary
scenario, and her "divine" guidance about it, created a furor within the
Church. She brought upon herself serious doubt about her divine inspiration.
She displayed thoroughly human attempt at control of Church operations.
Her justification for this remarkable error
was that she prevented the construction of facilities which the Lord was
against, and that their actual existence was irrelevant. Hence Sadler was
forced to ask if this principle applied to all her "letters and Testimonies."
How was anyone supposed to determine which was anticipatory, or actual?
In other words, her inspiration was not divine; she exhibited purely human
desires in her efforts to impose her will above that of Dr. Kellogg or
others. She exposed herself as commanding the policies of the Church, and
its future direction, out of purely human judgments. The contests then
going on between the "Church" and the "Organized Mission Work" devolved
to contests of human will. Inherent in this process was inevitable political
struggle among human personalities for the satisfaction of human desires.
Although Sadler brought the indictment he was unwilling to carry forward
in his letter with the explicit ramifications. He continued to respect
her. Nevertheless, the shadow of it lay between himself and Ellen White
and the Church for all future time.
In a second count he shows that she brought
false accusations against David Paulson, whom Sadler had known for more
than fifteen years, and with whom he had worked intimately for many of
those years. How could she again be in such error if she was divinely inspired?
In a third count Sadler faults her for accusations
brought against his wife Lena. They both had heard EW state clearly in
her chambers at St. Helena that she was not a prophet, but simply a messenger
with a message. When Lena repeated this to someone it got back to Willie
White, who received it with dismay. Such "rumors" would detract from his
mother's authority. The size of his concern, and the potential influence
the Sadlers had upon the Church, may be estimated by the fact that he then
wrote a letter to the Sadlers which was hand delivered to them when they
stepped off the train in Battle Creek Christmas day, 1903.
The same contradiction of position about her
authority was evident in a recent issue of the Review. She had publicly
stated in the tabernacle in Battle Creek that she was not a prophet, yet
the same issue that published her speech also published an article by the
editor that stated the very opposite. What was anyone supposed to believe
about her authority?
This episode caused Sadler to draw out the
influence of Willie upon his mother in a fourth count. Willie's brother,
J. E. White, stated directly to Sadler in Battle Creek that he was prevented
by Willie from talking with his own mother, for fear she would make remarks
to him that would damage her authority. This obvious manipulation of EW
by Willie had brought J. E. White to the belief that her powers would be
taken from her for two possible reasons: a) in order that Willie could
no longer use it for his own purposes, and b) that other men could not
pervert it. J. E. White felt that it would be necessary to expose his brother,
and others who were doing these things.
In a fifth count he again opens the controversy
created by J. H. Kellogg's book, The Living Temple. Sadler quotes
passages from her writings which suggest that she also believed in the
general spirit of God pervading human mortals. He cites page 161 of Desire
of the Ages, and Vol 1. page 205 of the Testimonies. Such belief
was a major point of trouble for Church doctrine, since it would deny God's
actual presence at a specific location within the heavenly Sanctuary. To
maintain the latter the former had to be denied, even though EW herself
had quoted passages from the Apostle Paul which supported such doctrine.
In drawing out this contradiction Sadler was showing the difficulty of
accepting Church doctrines based on her writings, from the implication
that they could not be divinely inspired, since divine authority would
not be subject to such contradiction.
In a sixth count Sadler shows the mendacity
of many within the Church. In order to accept plain contradictions in doctrine
and in her writings he states that he was advised to "lay low" and not
raise the issues. But he is a man of integrity. He must meet God before
the judgment bar. He wants to be right. He deeply desires to emerge from
the darkness of uncertainty to the clear daylight, and then stand as a
man in defense of that which he knows to be right. He cannot possess a
double personality in these matters, as he believes many are doing. He
is unable to clearly ascertain the truth in these matters. He remained
quiet for many years because he truly believed in the Testimonies.
But now he is being pressed on all sides concerning his attitude about
them. EW has not given him confidence in the position he should take.
To further indicate his spiritual confusion,
he goes on to illustrate yet another count. Can EW offer an explanation
for the wide rumors that changes were made in the Testimonies even
as they were going to Press? He will not be a hypocrite. He cannot say
he believes all these things unless he really does, and he can take such
position only if he has gone to the very bottom of every feature of the
Sadler continues with his indictment, in count
after count, all leading to the troubling and unalterable conclusion that
purely human elements entered into Church doctrines and beliefs, and that
the supposed divine inspiration of much of her Testimonies had no
support through the witness of the world of reality.
Ellen White did not respond directly to each
count of Sadler's long indictment. She could not afford to. He had exposed
the hypocrisy and mendacity which lay at the foundation of Church theology
and operations. He did not bring the accusations vengefully; he did so
pleadingly. He truly wanted to know; these supreme difficulties lay at
the roots of his religious belief.
When Sadler and Lena returned to Battle Creek
they did so with great concern and heartfelt conviction for the future
of the Church. They followed Ellen White's admonition to help the body
of believers and the Church; Sadler attempted to bring John Harvey Kellogg
to a state attuned to the spiritual needs of the Church. Sadler's early
1904 letters show the great efforts he made at the Sanitarium and in the
schools, for a revival in the Church, and in the attitudes of those at
Battle Creek. But Battle Creek had a momentum of its own. It was off on
a mission that had the dedication of its staff and working people, a dedication
to Kellogg and the work he was doing. While everyone listened with respect
to Sadler he was ineffective in bringing the revival he so sincerely desired.
Within four months Sadler was back in Chicago.
He left the Battle Creek scene and never returned. He recognized the futility
of inducing any real change in Kellogg, or in the attitudes which there
prevailed. He came to the realization that he was following the path suggested
by another individual, someone he highly respected for all her faults,
but he was not following his own common sense. He made the decision to
continue his medical education within a religious environment away from
Battle Creek, not the secular environment of Johns Hopkins or other worldly
schools. He definitely wished to maintain his religious life and belief.
Thenceforth he would seek a career in service
to others but it would not be within the Church. As he stated in a letter
to Willie White on February 19, 1906, he was then considering self-supporting
medical missionary work in some new field. As he plaintively stated to
Willie, he did not "consider such a course until all of our recent troubles."
Sadler had matured; he no longer would be led
along paths of religious belief merely out of the consensus of a general
body of believers, who could not agree, either on theology, or the divine
inspiration of the sources of their faith.
Sadler was now prepared, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for further religious growth. It was not short in coming. He had been made ready for a far greater service to God then he or any other person recognized.
|THE CELEBRATED ELLEN WHITE LETTER|
This letter is well known within Seventh Day Adventist scholarly circles and also within the Urantia community. The background of the relationship between Ellen White and William Sadler is not so well known, or regarded with mythical coloring.
Ellen White, disturbed by the general unrest within the SDA community, used personal techniques in an attempt to bring about more loyal devotion from outstanding leaders. The following letter displays her methods.
TO THOSE WHO ARE PERPLEXED
Let those who are troubled now place upon paper a statement of the difficulties that perplex their minds, and let us see if we can now throw some light upon the matter that will relieve their perplexities. The time has come for the leaders to state to us the perplexities of which they have spoken to the nurses and to their associate physicians. Let us now have their reasons for talking with the students in a way that would destroy their faith in the messages that God sends his people. Let it all be written out, and submitted to those who desire to remove the perplexities.
If statements have been made that there are contradictions in the testimonies, should I not be acquainted with the charges and accusations? Should I not know the reasons of this sowing of tares of unbelief?
Some who have gone to Battle Creek have spent many hours with nurses, presenting objections to the Testimonies. Such ones would be able to spend more of their precious God-given time in the study of the Word of God if with humble hearts they would follow the directions Christ has given, and present to me their grievances before they tell them to others. Men do not glorify God in spending so much time in long talks, which sometimes extend late into the night, in an effort to weaken the faith of those who are called to Battle Creek supposedly to be educated in medical missionary lines, and fitted to go forth into any place where duty may call them.
I am praying for you all, and praying for our youth. It is time that we understood who is on the Lord's side. I ask that the leaders in the medical work at Battle Creek, and those who have been associated with them in gathering together criticisms and objections to the testimonies that I have borne, shall open to me the things that they have been opening to others. They should certainly do this, if they are loyal to the directions God has given. We should also have a clear statement of facts from those with whom physicians and ministers have been at work, to undermine their confidence in the Bible, the Messages, and the Testimonies. If there is in your minds the thought that Sister White's work can no longer be trusted, we would be glad to know when and why you came to this decision. It may be that some matters that seem to you very objectionable can be explained. This will be better than to leave these matters until the great future investigation, when every man's work will appear as it is, with the reasons that underlie their course of action.
I am now charged to request those who are in difficulty in regard to Sister White's work to let their questions appear now, before the great day of judgment comes, when every work shall be made to appear with the motive underlying it, when the secrets of all hearts shall be made known, and every thought, word, and deed shall be tested by the Judge of the whole world, and each one will receive sentence according as his works have been.
There is a class who need to look well to the course of action they were pursuing, and to do the diligent work that is essential. "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need to nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and with white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness does not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."
Signed (Ellen White)
38 Calendar Ave.
Mrs. E. G. White
Dear Sister White:
A few days ago I saw a communication from you
in which my name was mentioned, and in which your invited those who had
difficulties regarding the Testimonies to write direct to you.
There are many things that have come up recently
that perplex me; many things which I find myself unable to explain to those
who are perplexed; so while I do not have doubts concerning the "Testimonies,"
I do have many difficulties.
I have not written to you concerning this matter
before, for the reason that I held to the position that if the Lord had
spoken, it was not proper for me to question and criticize, even though
I might be wholly unable to understand or comprehend the message. But since
you have asked for those who have difficulties to present them direct to
you, and inasmuch as my name was mentioned directly, I now feel at liberty
to write you fully respecting my difficulties.
In order to correctly state my present attitude,
it will be necessary for me to go back ten or twelve years, to the time
when I had just finished a systematic study of your writings, having made
a large index of all your published works, including your articles which
appeared in the Review, Signs, and other papers, from back in the
fifties (1850's). The study of your writings did wonders for me; my soul
was ablaze with their value and power, and I conducted frequent public
studies at the Sanitarium, at camp-meetings, and before the churches concerning
It was while conducting such a series of studies
with the South Side Church in Chicago, taking the position that all your
writings were from the same divine source, in harmony with what you state
in Volume 5, page 67 --
"You might say that this communication was
only a letter. Yes, it was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God,
to bring before your mind things that had been shown me. In these letters
which I write, in the testimonies which I bear, I am presenting to you
that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in
the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened
before me in vision, the precious rays of light shining from the throne."
and was earnestly presenting these matters
to the church at that time, that an older minister questioned the soundness
of my position. But I read the passage above quoted, and took my stand
firmly on that. So for years I have been holding that all communications
from you were "Testimonies." Was I right? Or, as it is claimed, are some
"letters" and only refer to and deal with that which is Testimony?
A short time after this, your letter to Dr.
Kellogg concerning the building in Chicago, came, and of course it troubled
me; but I took this position, -- 'I know that the Testimonies come from
a source that is higher than human; therefore, although I have now encountered
a thing that I cannot explain, a thing which I do not understand, a matter
which even appears to me to be without foundation, I will hold unswervingly
to my position.'
Later, I heard from you the explanation of
this matter, which, so far as I was concerned, satisfied me, but left my
mind in this trouble, which I now ask you to help me to understand. Since
the Lord showed you those buildings in Chicago, and since you supposed
they had been erected, and it afterwards developed that they had
not, and that the representation was made merely to prevent their being,
may this not be applied to other representations that have been made to
you? That is, that the Lord gives you these views of things that are not,
but which are likely to occur, for the express purpose of preventing their
occurrence, as in the case of the Chicago building above referred to?
Accordingly, I find myself in a quandary, when
I seek to understand certain things that you have recently written. I am
often at a loss to know how to choose between the following two positions
(1) Am I to acknowledge the conditions or accusations
which are stated in the Testimony as true, and as conditions which really
exist at the present time, even though after prayerful search and
careful inquiry I am still unable to recognize that these things do exist?,
(2) Is this another instance like the Chicago
buildings, in which you presented a thing that does not really exist, but
which the Lord is seeking to forestall?
With these two positions before me, concerning
some matters, I do not know how to choose, and therefore have held the
entire matter in abeyance, in my mind, watching and praying for light.
For instance, I recently read a communication
from you to Dr. Paulson and his wife. From reading this, I would suppose
that at the present time, Dr. Paulson was completely under Dr. Kellogg's
influence; yet, having been associated with him very closely for years,
especially since my return from California; I have not seen this; in fact,
it had appeared to me that Dr. Kellogg exercises less influence over Dr.
Paulson in recent years than over any other of his former colleagues and
present associates. I could write at great length to show how in many important
matters Dr. Paulson has, during the past two and a half years, stood stiffly
by his convictions of right, and been unyielding to the end in various
matters respecting Dr. Kellogg.
These matters I have not given serious attention
to until recently, for I had settled it in my mind that I believed the
Testimonies; I had a personal experience in and with them; and, so
far as I knew my heart, I had settled it that I believed them so well that
I did not think anyone could unsettle my faith in them. But during the
last few months such a denominational issue has been made out of your writings,
and I have been so sorely pressed for a statement of my position, that
I saw it was necessary for me to go to the bottom of these difficulties,
and, if possible, reach some definite position.
You must know, therefore, my joy when having
reached this conclusion, I received this letter from you inviting me to
come direct to you with my difficulties. I know your invitation is extended
in good spirit, and I believe you will receive this letter as the questions
of one who is honest, although perplexed.
Another matter which I find is perplexing many,
is your words to Dr. Kellogg at the General Conference five years ago in
which you stated that you had probably written too strongly to Dr. Kellogg.
If you wrote too strongly concerning any matter which the Lord presented
to you, might you not also write too weakly? Again it is asked, if you
wrote too strongly then, how are we to know that you are not writing too
strongly now? The part of your talk referred to, is as follows --
"I thank God that Dr. Kellogg has not sunk
into despondency and infidelity. I have been afraid of it, and I have written
some very straight things to him; and it may be, Dr. Kellogg -- if he is
here -- that I have written too strong, for I felt as though I must get
hold of you, and hold you by the power of all the might I had. But I have
seen the work, and I have seen the work that has been carried on, and how
can anybody see it and not see that God is at work? That is a mystery to
me, I cannot understand it; I cannot explain it."
Are all of the things specified in your writings
actually in existence, or are some things prophecies of the dangers that
are ahead, and which we are to avoid?
I can't afford to be wrong, whichever way this
is: I must be right, and I expect the Lord to help me into the light
of all these matters, although they seem very perplexing now, and they
seem more perplexing as I continue to investigate. I turned a deaf ear
to these things for years, but now, since our attitude on the Testimonies
is becoming a test throughout the denomination, I realize that I must go
to the bottom of all these things, and know just where I stand on all these
Some four years ago, when my wife and I were
having one of those pleasant and profitable occasions in your upper chamber
at St. Helena, you stated to us that you were "not a prophet," but simply
"little Ellen White, a messenger with a message." On returning to San Francisco,
my wife and I had a considerable prayer and discussion concerning this.
I had always supposed you were a prophet, but I could not maintain that
you were after hearing from your own lips that you were not. However, I
resolved to say nothing about this to anyone. My wife, however, did tell
someone about your statement, and in some way it was told by Sr. Rouf that
Sr. Sadler had made this statement; so, upon returning to Battle Creek,
the first thing that was handed to us on alighting from the carriage at
the Sanitarium, was a letter from Bro. W. C. White, criticizing Mrs. Sadler
for having made this statement, and stating that such an idea would greatly
hinder your work; and that if it really had been stated, it would be necessary
of him to issue a denial.
This greatly perplexed my wife. She knew she
had heard you say it, and she did not see any reason why it should be denied;
but her perplexity was relieved at the time you stated in public in the
tabernacle in Battle Creek, that you were not a prophet, and it was subsequently
published in the Review; but, in the same Review there was
an article by the editor directly contradicting your statement, and proving
that you were a prophet.
Now, Sr. White, what am I to believe? Until
I get more light from you, I shall take your word. I have confidence
that you know more about your gift than anybody else in the world. My personal
contact with you and your work at St. Helena and in California, satisfied
me, not only of the gift which God has given you, but of your sincerity
and earnest faithfulness; and I have therefore purposed in my heart that
no man or any set of men, shall explain to me what you meant when you said
you were not a prophet. I will take an explanation from no one but you.
Another matter: that is, Willie's influence
over the Testimonies. I came into this truth about 20 years ago, and just
before I was baptized by Elder Wm. Covert, (about 18 years ago) I thoroughly
made up my mind concerning the Testimonies. In short, I accepted them;
but from that day to this, especially the last ten years, and more especially
since your return to this country from Australia, I have been hearing it
constantly, from leaders, ministers, from those sometimes high in Conference
authority, that Willie influenced you in the production of the Testimonies;
or as they would often designate it, the "letters" you sent out.
This talk made little or no impression on me.
I resolutely refused to believe it, year after year. I have been given
a copy of the communication written by you under date of July 19th 1905,
addressed to brethren I. H. Evans and J. S. Washburn, and I have since
then not known what to do or say concerning this matter. I refer to the
"After seeing this representation, I awoke, and I fully expected that the matter would take place as it had been presented to me. When Elder Haskell was telling me of the perplexity that they were in to carry forward the Southern work, I said, 'Have faith in God; you will carry from this meeting the five thousand dollars needed for the purchase of the church.'
"I wrote a few lines to Elder Daniells suggesting
this be done, but Willie did not see that the matter carried through
thus, because Elder Daniells and others were at that time very much discouraged
in regard to the condition of things in Battle Creek. So I told him that
he need not deliver the note. But I could not rest. I was disturbed, and
could not find peace of mind."
Please won't you help me to understand this?
It is the most serious of all the difficulties I have encountered in my
experience concerning the Testimonies; and I have it frequently presented
to me, and I don't know what to say in answer.
Until recently, I had but little difficulty
in answering all the objections I ever met against the Testimonies, but
I am now encountering things which I am not fully able to meet.
When I returned to Battle Creek from California,
I brought with me a large number of your recent communications, to read
to the family there. In the course of my reading I read a statement reprimanding
the Managers of the Battle Creek Sanitarium for making their workers sign
contracts. Then I was immediately confronted with the communication from
you stating that the Managers should place workers under contract. In this
case, I refer to the communication found in the General Conference Bulletin
(1893) pages 162, 163, which says:
"Before persons are admitted to our Missionary
Training Schools, let there be a written agreement that after receiving
their education they will give themselves to the work for a specified time.
This is the only way our missions can be made what they should be."
Now, what could I do to explain this? I did
say that this might be an instance similar to that in the scriptures where
Christ told His disciples at one time, to take no purse nor provision,
and in another He told them to take scrip and a cover of raiment. I said,
"Maybe the conditions have changed, therefore the instruction changes."
What is your explanation of this?
I would like to see from your pen a statement
of what you mean in your writings along the line of God in Nature, etc.
I refer to the following passages, and others:
"'Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. No man can of himself cast out the devil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple.
Desire of Ages, 161.
"They have taken a rigid course, and lived so very plain that their health has suffered, disease has strengthened in the system, and the temple of God has been weakened."
Testimonies, Vol 1, p. 205.
I know many honest souls who are in confusion
respecting these passages, in view of your recent writings.
Another thing I want help on, is with reference
to the use of the Testimonies.
(1) Do you approve of sending personal testimonies
which the Lord has given for men, broadcast to other people?
(2) Is it not the Bible rule that when we have
any criticism of a brother, it should be presented to him, then afterwards
to two or three, and then, if he reject it, to the church? That is why
I am now writing direct to you. Does the Lord follow a different rule from
this with regard to the Testimonies?
For instance, the letter to which this is an
answer, although it has my name on it, I have not received personally.
It was shown me by one who did receive it, but whose name is not mentioned
in it at all; and I have in mind many instances of this kind. It does not
seem right to me that personal Testimonies should be multiplied and scattered
broadcast unless they have been rejected by the individual to whom they
were given, and further, that they were of general interest to the church.
Am I right in this?
Again, is it right for me to use a Testimony
given to Bro. A. In my efforts to get Bro. A. To do the thing I think is
referred to in the Testimony which the Lord sent him? Are the Testimonies
for men to use upon the souls of their fellowmen; or are the messages from
God for the Holy Spirit to send home to the human heart with convicting
power? I had supposed the Lord intended the latter to be the case; and
it has been a great trial to me to see the public and private use that
has been made of your writings during this present difficulty between the
General Conference and the Medical Missionary Work.
Another matter that has bothered me since it
happened, although it did not at the time, is that during the Conference
at Berrien Springs, when Prof. Prescott was preaching against Pantheism,
you sent for Dr. Paulson and me one morning, to come and see you; and during
our conversation you presented to us many things that had been shown to
you during the night, and gave us to carry away a copy of a letter addressed
to Bro. Prescott, forbidding them to make these public attacks, etc.
We read this, and supposed the matter would
stop, but that evening and the following, things continued as they were
and when the matter developed further, it appeared that you had given the
Testimony to Willie to give to Bro. Prescott, and that he had failed to
do so, as he publicly stated before the Conference, thinking that the purpose
of the Lord would be better served by his withholding it, and allowing
matters to proceed as they were. I have never been able to fully see through
this. Do you give the directions as to when, how, in what order, and to
whom your writings shall be sent, or is it left for others to decide?
Near the close of this meeting at Berrien Springs, I was talking with Bro. J. E. White, concerning the unpleasantness that had arisen there, and he spoke very positively against his brother Willie and his relation to you, and how Willie was seeking to manage things in his way, and make them come his way, by his influence over you. When I asked him what this all meant, he answered that it meant one of three things:
(1) That you would be removed from the midst
of this confusion, so that your gift could not be used to further the purpose
of your son Willie and others; or,
(2) That the gift would be taken from you,
because men were perverting it; or,
(3) That it would be necessary for him to expose
his brother, and others who were doing these things.
He further told me that it was almost impossible
for him to see you alone, in California, when he went to see you; that
Willie denied him the privilege of a private interview with his own mother.
I have since learned, Sister White, that this
was told to many others besides myself, and can you wonder at the trouble
and confusion that is abroad in the land, when your own son takes such
a view of the matter?
I don't know what to make of such as this,
but since you asked me to come direct to you with all that is bothersome,
I could not be a Christian man and could not pray with my eyes upturned
to heaven, unless I told you the whole story. I am writing in this letter
all that bothers me personally, and in addition, these other things that
I am constantly meeting, and don't know how to explain.
Are the letters you write to the leaders in
our work, in answer to letters they write, Testimonies? Must I receive
everything you write, as from the Lord -- just as it is, word for word,
or are there communications you send out which are your personal letters
-- personal communications from Sr. White? In view of all that has happened
and is happening before my eyes, I am becoming unsettled with reference
to this, and I ask for word direct from you that will clear up this
confusion, and state exact facts and truth.
In this connection, I will explain why I have
never written to you or consulted you on any matter, even when so near
you in California. I have wanted to, scores, yes hundreds of time, but
years ago I took the position -- and I know you will be free to tell me
where I am right or wrong -- that men had no business tampering with God's
messenger. I observed that when David went to Nathan seeking information
concerning building the temple he was told to build a temple. He knew Nathan
was a prophet; he had confidence n the message he gave. But immediately
after, Nathan was instructed by the word of the Lord to forbid David's
building the temple. From this, I concluded that God's messengers were
for God to use, and not man; they were not to be used as Intelligence
Bureaus, Courts of Appeal, or anything of that kind; therefore, I had
no right to go to you for information. If it were human information and
counsel I sought, I had better be on my knees seeking counsel from God;
and if it were divine counsel I wanted, I reasoned that I would get it
anyway, without going to you for it; for when the Lord had showed you aught
for me, you would write it out, and send it to me, without my writing to
you. That is why, altho I have so highly appreciated your counsel and advice,
which you often gave me in California, and which I can never forget, --
I say, this is why, though often perplexed, I did not write to you
for advice. I have often written to Bro. W. C. White, asking him if he
knew anything that had been shown you along a certain line, and if he knew
you had any light along that line, to send it to me; and occasionally he
has sent me manuscripts and copies of your writings, in answer to such
For one, Sister White, I would like to see
an earnest effort to get this matter straightened out among us. I know
many who will stand up in public and say they believe the Testimonies,
and try to drive other people into believing them as they do; yet I know
from personal conversation with some of these men, they do not believe
these Testimonies. Some who are now talking so loudly for the Testimonies,
are the very ones who first told me, in past years, that Willie influenced
you, etc., and I see these people eating meat, and engaging in other things
that are certainly contrary to the light you have so plainly given in the
Testimonies. What am I to think?
Moreover, I have frequently been advised to
"lay low," and be quiet; to say to the people "These things are all right,"
and smooth them over; but Sr. White I can't do that. I have got to meet
God before the judgment bar. I want to be right. I want to get out of this
confusion into the clear daylight, and then stand like a man in defense
of that which I know to be right; but I can't possess a double personality
in this matter as it seems to me many are doing. I have kept still for
many years, for I believe the Testimonies, and the only reason I
am making a diligent effort to get to the bottom of these things, and get
to the bottom now, is that I am pressed on all sides to define
my attitude concerning the Testimonies, and these difficulties that have
Another question -- I would like to know from
you, as a minister, what use I am to make of the Testimonies as a test
of fellowship? Is it right for me to baptize and receive people into the
Church, who have not positively accepted the Testimonies? I refer, not
to those who have rejected the Testimonies, but those who have not yet
felt able to take their stand, yet are otherwise in harmony with the Third
Angel's message. What is my duty in this respect?
It has been reported to me -- in fact was told
me by a brother before I left San Francisco -- that you sent certain manuscripts
to the Pacific Press, to be published, and after they were set up, in type,
you recalled and materially changed them so as to give them an entirely
different meaning, and they were published. Is this so? I didn't believe
it when it was told me. The brother who told me said he could prove it,
but I told him I was not looking for that kind of evidence. I have heard
this many times since, and would like to know if this is so.
I have no inclination to go into these things,
but in the fierce contention that is raging over these matters, it is necessary
for me to go to the bottom of these things, in order to tell my brethren
where I stand, that they may know whether they will choose to fellowship
me or not.
I will not be a hypocrite. I will never say
to my brethren that I believe all these things, unless I do; and
I cannot conscientiously nor consistently say I do believe them all,
till I have gone to the very bottom of every feature of our present misunderstanding.
This is a matter which circumstance have forced
upon me and although it is exceedingly unpleasant, and though I would have
much preferred to have gone about my work, and let the Lord work these
things out in His own good time; yet I could not do this, in view of the
situation in which I find myself, and more especially after you yourself
personally addressed me, and straightly directed that all these difficulties
should be sent direct to you. I am now fully and honestly complying with
that request, and hope to get the desired and much needed light.
Another matter: What shall be my attitude toward
those who hesitate in accepting a Testimony, or apparently reject the Testimonies?
Shall I leave them alone with God and their Bibles, or shall I publicly
denounce them, and make war upon them? Or shall I give them a little time
in which to be led of God and be convicted by His Holy Spirit?
Another matter -- the one that is most confusing
of all to me, is your recent writings concerning the Battle Creek Sanitarium.
I cannot possibly arrive at a conclusion as to just what you mean with
reference to the helpers at Battle Creek, etc. From what the Lord has shown
you, is it right of any Seventh-day Adventist to labor in the Sanitarium?
Is the institution to be turned over to the world? What attitude should
I take toward the situation that I find it in today? I fully understand
that young and inexperienced workers are not to go there, and I fully agree
with it; but does that mean experienced workers are not to go? I
am perplexed to know what really is your present attitude toward the Sanitarium
with reference to these matters.
Is it true that your Testimonies of recent
date are any more of the Lord than older ones? Does a late Testimony abrogate
all former communications touching the same theme?
Another thing -- with reference to the American
Medical Missionary College. The impression is going throughout our ranks
that it would be better for students to go to outside medical schools than
to this School. Now, Sr. White, I don't believe this. I am willing to be
convinced, if I am wrong; but I have been in two outside medical schools
and cannot conscientiously advise any of our young people to go to these
outside schools; and I have in my possession a communication from you,
written 10 or 12 years ago, in which you forbid Dr. Kellogg and others
to advise our students to go to Ann Arbor or other worldly medical schools.
How am I to understand this former communication in which you forbid students
to go to outside medical schools, and later ones which are interpreted
as forbidding our people to go to the American Medical Missionary College.
Where would you advise me to recommend Seventh-day Adventists young men
and women to go to obtain a medical education? In view of what I have seen
and heard in worldly medical colleges, I certainly could not conscientiously
advise my sister to attend such schools, as long as our medical college
is in existence. Now please help to know what I am to do in this situation.
This is just how it looks to me -- I am ready to be set right if I am wrong.
Several years ago you sent a Testimony to the
Conference concerning the Mt. Vernon Sanitarium, in which you stated that
the Conference should not engage in establishing and conducting Sanitariums,
yet now I observe that our entire denominational policy is that none but
Conference committees and conference organizations should own and conduct
sanitariums. Is it wrong for earnest and well-meaning individuals to engage
in private medical missionary work? Can I not be a part of the work of
this Message along medical lines unless my work is owned and immediately
supervised by the Conference? In view of the Mt. Vernon communication,
I took my position on the subject; now, on what grounds am I to change?
Concerning the use of the word "denominational,"
I think there is great misunderstanding on the part of some as to exactly
what you mean by this word. You have recently said concerning our medical
work that it should be "denominational"; yet I have before me a communication
addressed to "Dr. Kellogg and all who are connected with him n the Sanitarium
Board and Council," date Jan 11, 1899, in which you speak of the medical
missionary work as being "undenominational." If some knew just what you
mean by the word, and in what sense it was used, I think it would clear
up considerable confusion. The passage referred to reads:
"Our brethren in America who are engaged
in medical missionary work can, by appealing to the outside people, obtain
help, because theirs is not a denominational work."
Concerning Reform Dress and the change of instruction
concerning its length, you wrote in the Review and Herald that the
apparent discrepancy was due to the fact that the objects were presented
to you, and you were left to describe them in your own language. Is your
position today any different from that which you took then, and which is
stated in the articles referred to?
The article I refer to, is an answer to a question
asked you, and appeared in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald,
October 3, 1867, and is as follows:
"Does not the practice of the sisters in wearing their dresses 9 inches from the floor, contradict the Testimonies No. 11, which says that they should reach somewhat below the top of the lady's gaiter boot? Does it not also contradict Testimony number ten, which says that they should clear the filth of the street an inch or two without being raised by the hand?
"The proper distance from the bottom of the dress to the floor was not given me in inches. Neither was I shown the ladies gaiter boot; but three companies of females passed before me with their dresses as follows with respect to length:
"The first were of fashionable length, burdening the limbs, impeding the step, and sweeping the street and gathering the filth; the evil results of which I have fully stated. This class, who were slaves to fashion, appeared feeble and languid.
"The dress of the second class which passed before me was in many respects as it should be. The limbs were well clad. They were free from the burdens which the tyrant, Fashion, had imposed upon the first class, but had gone to that extreme in the short dress as to distrust and prejudice good people, and destroy in a measure their own influence. This is the style of the 'American Costume,' taught and worn by many at 'Our Home,' Dansville, New York. It does not reach to the knee, I need not say that this style of dress was shown to me to be too short.
"A third class passed before me with a cheerful countenance, and free and elastic step. Their dress was the length that I described as proper, modest, and healthful. It cleared the filth of the street and sidewalk a few inches under all circumstances, such as ascending and descending steps, etc.
"As I have before said, the length was not given me in inches, and I was not shown a lady's boot, and here I would state that altho I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words that I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by the angel, which I have always enclosed in marks of quotations. As I wrote upon the subject of dress, the view of those three companies revived in my mind as plain as when I was viewing them in vision, but I was left to describe the length of the proper dress in my own language as best I could, which I have done by stating that the bottom of the dress should reach near the top of the lady's boot, which would be necessary in order to clear the filth of the street under the circumstances before named.
"I put on the dress, in length as near as I had seen and described as I could judge. My sisters in Northern Michigan also adopted it, and when the subject of inches came up, in order to secure uniformity as to length everywhere, a ruler was brought, and it was found that the length of our dresses range from eight to ten inches from the floor. Some of these were a little longer than the sample shown me, while others were a little shorter.
"Numerous letters came to me from all parts of the field, inquiring the length of the dress shown me. Having seen the rule applied to the distance from the floor of the several dresses, and having become fully satisfied that nine inches comes the nearest to the sample shown me, I have given this number of inches in number 12, as the proper length of the dress in which uniformity is very desirable.
"If it is said that a lady's boot is not
nine inches high, I would say that I wear a boot eight inches high, and
when I have walked before my sisters it uncovered, as those properly dressed
walked before me in the vision, they could not see the top of the boot."
In your writings you have stated that all the
twelve disciples were present at the Last Supper; but in "Christ our Savior"
it is stated that but eleven were present; Judas being absent. A number
of years ago, I was told that you or your son made this change in the manuscript.
Is this so? Does anyone have authority to in any way change your writings?
To what extent and in just what way, are the Testimonies edited after they
leave your pen, before they are crystallized into type?
Now Sister White, this is all I have to write.
Of course there are scores of rumors in the air at this time, but I am
not concerned with rumors. My wife and I are concerned, either personally
or in the case of very dear friends, with all I have written in this letter.
The questions I have raised are those which must be speedily settled in
our own minds. The situation we find ourselves in demands it. Our souls
desire it. But we cannot settle them until we know we are settling them
I stood unmoved for years in the face of many
of these objections, but now the whole matter had taken such a peculiar
turn that we find ourselves sorely perplexed, and are so persistently questioned
concerning these matters, and in view of your invitation to write direct
to you, if we had difficulties, I feel it is now my duty as a Christian
and as a minister, to send to you the things which I have noted in this
letter, and await from you that which the Lord may direct you to offer
us a means of answering, explaining, denying, or otherwise making clear
these things; and I shall forever appreciate anything you may do in this
direction, and promise to give it careful and prayerful attention.
We have been made sad to learn of the terrible
and disastrous earthquake in San Francisco; and just to think, we ourselves
lived there but two short years ago! I see many evidences of the approaching
end in the earth, not the least of which is the confusion that has come
into our own ranks, and the unsettled condition in which I see many minds.
I pray the Lord will guide His own people and bring them once more into
It has saddened our hearts to see these difficulties
and perplexities descend upon you in your declining years, and we would
not add the least thing to your burdens if we could possibly help it, and
would not lay these perplexities before you at this time, but for the reasons
that you have requested it; that we must have them settled; and that we
know of no other way in which they may be explained, and finally disposed
Mrs. Sadler joins with me in wishing you much
of the sustaining strength and blessed ministry of our Master's good Spirit,
and I remain
Your brother in the Work.
W. S. Sadler