Merritt Kellogg Letter

By M.G. Kellogg, 1908

About the last of June, or the first of July, 1900, on returning to Australia from the Tongan Islands, I visited Mrs. E. G. White at her home near Cooranbong, New South Wales for the purpose of consulting with her and W. C. White about future work.  Among other things discussed by Mrs. White and myself, was the matter of establishing the Sanitarium work in Australia on a substantial basis.   This work had been carried on for several years in a small way at Summer Hill in a rented building, but was not a decided success.

Mrs. White told me that she was planning to return to America as soon as she could sell her home and settle up certain matters there in Australia; but she was very anxious to see plans adopted for a building, suitable for Sanitarium work, and the work of erecting it started before she left Australia.  She said that land had been secured and partly paid for, but thus far they had been unable to raise any money with which to erect a building.  W. C. White then said, "We have no plans for a building nor money to pay for making plans."  Sister White then said, "I had planned to have Brother Wessels put his money into a Sanitarium building, and to be it's financial manager, and I fully expected he would do so.  He gave me to understand that he would, and he had to do with selecting the land, but instead of investing his money in that enterprise he suddenly took Steamer a few weeks ago and returned to South Africa without putting a shilling into the work."  Mrs. White then went on to tell me of the efforts she had made to raise money to establish the Sanitarium there in New South Wales.

Nine hundred pounds bad been raised in Australia.  She said that the Sanitarium at Battle Creek ought to help quite liberally, for one of the purposes for which it stood was to assist in establishing Sanitariums in other places.  She said that she had been repeatedly calling on Dr. J. H. Kellogg to send her means to help in this work, telling him that it was his duty to see that the Battle Creek Sanitarium appropriate of it's earnings for that purpose.

I told Sister White that I understood that the Charter of the Battle Creek Sanitarium would not permit the use of any of its earnings outside of the State of Michigan, that it was a legally incorporated institution and that the directors must keep within it's charter restrictions.  She then told me that she had been shown that she, as the Lord's steward, had a right to make demands for money to carry on the Lord's work, and who, said she, has a better right than I to say where the money is needed, or where it shall be used.  She then told me that whenever she asked Dr. J. H. Kellogg to have the Sanitarium send her money he always replied that they could not because of the heavy indebtedness.

This, said Mrs. White, was not the truth.  Dr. Kellogg lied to me about this matter; for at the very time when I was pleading with him so hard for money he was spending thousands upon thousands of dollars of the Sanitarium's earnings in building up and carrying on the work which he is doing in Chicago, for the unworthy poor, a work which God has never called him to do.

To this I replied, "Sister White, I am confident that you are laboring under a mistake in this matter, for the following reasons:

1st.  The Charter of the Battle Creek Sanitarium forbids the use of it's earnings outside of the State; that Sanitarium has no State, County, or City tax to pay on the ground that it is a charitable institution whose charities are to be expended wholly within the State of Michigan.

2nd.  I am informed that the money used by Dr. J. H. Kellogg in carrying on that Chicago work is taken wholly from means donated for that special work, and that it came very largely from people outside of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination."

The following morning Sister White told me that I was mistaken in my view of the matter we had been discussing.  Said she, "I have the proof right here that Dr. Kellogg lied to me when he said the Sanitarium could not send me the money I asked for.  I have proof that at that very tine he was spending thousands of dollars of Sanitarium money in Chicago."  She then handed me a copy of a New York paper, The Observer I think, in which there was an article which purported to give a flattering account of a work conducted by Dr. J. H. Kellogg for the poor of Chicago, whose homes were in the slums of that city.  The article represented Dr. J. H. Kellogg as a great philanthropist, said that he had expended much of his own private means in that work, and many thousands of dollars of the Battle Creek Sanitarium's money.  It further stated that the B. C. Sanitarium intended to keep right on spending many thousands of dollars every year "in that work".

After reading the article through, I said, "Sister White, you must not place much confidence in the statements contained in this paper, for it is evident that the writer of the article which you asked me to read is either a newspaper reporter who seeks to make a sensational article, or a person who has a scheme of his own which he seeks to promote by means of the article.  I know Dr. J.H. Kellogg too well to believe that he would knowingly allow any such flattering stuff to be published about either himself or his work in Chicago.  I do not think he ever saw, or knew anything about this article until after it was published, if he had ever known anything of it.

To this Mrs. White replied with some warmth, "I know what I am talking about, that article was written by your brother's own man, the man who always travels with him to do his writing.  Your brother knew all about that article before it was published for he directed the writing of it, and it was published by his order."  I again endeavored to show Sister white that she held a mistaken view of the matter, but she closed my mouth by declaring with much warmth that she was not mistaken, that she knew whereof she was speaking.  She then exclaimed, "Your brother has been expending vast sums of money in the erecting of buildings and in carrying on a work in Chicago to which God has never called him.  It was his duty, and the duty of the Battle Creek Sanitarium to help us in establishing a Sanitarium here in Australia.  He has always plead poverty and indebtedness as an excuse for not helping us, yet he has spent thousands in his own work in Chicago, a work which God never required at his hand.  He has become exalted like Nebuchadnezzar, and like Nebuchadnezzar he must be humbled.  I am going to write him a short testimony on this subject, but I do not want you to write him a word about what I have said to you about it.

She then exacted a promise from me that I would not write to him on the subject.  This promise I faithfully kept.  Mrs. White evidently kept her promise, for a few months later word came to me from St. Helena that Dr. J. H. Kellogg had refused to acknowledge as true a testimony from Sister White charging him with having spent thousands of dollars in erecting buildings in Chicago which ought to have been sent to Australia in response to Mrs. White's demand.

Being desirous of ascertaining the facts about that testimony, I made a special trip to St. Helena in 1906 and asked W. C. White to show me what his Mother had written Dr. J. H. K. about the erection of buildings in Chicago.

W. C. White then told me that Dr. Stewart, of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, had asked for a copy of the same testimony.  He then showed me two letters, written by his Mother to Dr. J. H. Kellogg, and also his letter to Dr. Stewart in which he copied what his Mother had written to Dr. J. H. Kellogg.

In these letters Mrs. White said that she had been shown in vision a great building which Dr. Kellogg had erected in Chicago, and that a sheet of paper had been held up before her on which was written, "Consumers, not Producers."  On the sheet of paper were several rows of figures which represented the amount of money which had been expended by Dr. Kellogg in the buildings and work which he had erected and was doing in Chicago.  These letters were written in Australia in 1909.

In W. C. White's letter to Dr. Stewart he says that his Mother first saw the newspaper article, herein before referred to, Feb. 24, 1900, and that she wrote the first letter Feb. 27, or three days later.  He also said that his Mother said she thought the buildings had been erected, but this was not the case, and she did not know how to correct the mistake she had made until 1902, two years after seeing the buildings in vision when in Australia.  W. C. White wrote to Dr. Stewart that in 1902 Judge Arthur told his Mother that a plan had been made at request of some of the Doctors, when Dr. J. H. Kellogg was in Europe, for a building to be erected in Chicago in which to conduct the Medical Missionary College, and that shortly after receiving this information from Judge Arthur she had a vision in which she was shown that the object of the first vision was to prevent the erection of the building.  When W. C. White told me this in explanation of the testimony which accused Dr. Kellogg of having so squandered the Lord's money in erecting large buildings, I asked him if he thought it was fair treatment to accuse Dr. J. H. K. with apostasy and rebellion because he did not acknowledge as true a testimony which accused him of having done what he had not done, nor even contemplated doing, a testimony based on a dream or night vision which Mrs. White said she misunderstood.  W. C. White refused to give me any reply to this question.  I then said, Bro. White, just put yourself in Dr. J. H. Kellogg's place, how would you have felt?  What would you have thought?  What would you have said?  How would you have acted, had you received such a testimony and then been compelled to wait two years for any kind of an explanation, and then to receive such an explanation as you give Dr. Stewart here in 1906?  W. C. White could not answer these questions.

As I understand the matter, there are many things which have brought about the persecution which has been waged against Dr. J. H. Kellogg and which has finally culminated in his expulsion from the Battle Creek church.  Some of these things were remote and were only incidental.  Others were more immediate, of these I will mention three which stand out more glaringly than the others.

1st, Dr. Kellogg is a man of whom W. C. White has stood in fear for many years.  He has told me on several occasions that he was afraid of him, afraid of his influence, afraid of his power as an organizer.  He said to me more than once, "I am afraid to meet Dr. Kellogg, he has such a way of stating things that I cannot answer him."

Just before the General Conference which was held in Oakland in 1903 I asked W. C. White who he thought would be elected President?  He replied, "We have been planning to elect Elder A. G. Daniells, and I expect we will be able to elect him if your brother does not oppose us.  I am afraid, however, that he will come to this Conference with sufficient influence to prevent it.  I am in hopes, however, that we may be able to elect Elder Daniells."  This shows how greatly he feared Dr. Kellogg.  So much for this cause.

2nd, Dr. Kellogg had been left alone in his struggle to re-build the Sanitarium.  An attempt had been made to ruin his credit, and Dr. K. had decided to give his book, Living Temple, to the Sanitarium, they to publish it and use the profits as a building fund.  A large edition was to be printed and sold by subscription.

As soon as this fact became known a move was made by those who were working against Dr. Kellogg to stop the sale of the book by pronouncing it heretical.  The true reason for wishing the sale stopped was because its sale would absorb many of the Canvassers who were engaged in selling Sister White's books, and other of the S.D.A. denominational books; therefore, to stop the sale of Living Temple, the charge was made that it taught pantheism.  This charge was made by some of the General Conference officers in the face of the fact that the theology taught in Living Temple is in perfect harmony with thetheology taught by Sister White and the leading ministers of the denomination and the editors of the denominational papers.

In 1904, when the book Living Temple was being so severely criticised I called on Sister White and had a talk with her on the subject.  She told me that the book taught pantheism.  I told her that I had read it carefully several times and that I had been unable to find in it any different theology than that which I found in several of her books.  I then asked her if she had even read the book.  "No," said she, "I have never read it, Willie has called my attention to a few paragraphs, but I have never closely examined it.  It was not necessary for me to do so.  I have been shown twice in the night season that which makes me say it must not be sold.  In one of these night visions a dignified person, the one who is usually present when I am in vision, stood before me with a copy of Living Temple in his band.  Holding it up before me he said, 'This book must not be sold.'  A short time before, or after, this I had been reading an account of a Steamer which in crossing the Atlantic, had encountered a large iceberg and had found it very difficult to avoid colliding with it.

"A few nights after reading this account I dreamed that I, with many others, was on a Steamer on the ocean; we had been sailing along smoothly but suddenly came very close to an enormous iceberg.  The Captain tried in every way to get away without a collision, but his efforts were useless.  It seemed as though our vessel would be hurled against the iceberg and dashed in pieces.  At the moment when it seemed that we would be struck by the ice, the dignified person whom I have so often seen in the night season, appeared on deck and speaking to the Captain, he said, 'Meet it, Meet it, Meet it.'

"At this the Captain had the ship put about and run straight for the iceberg.  It struck the berg with a tremendous crash which made the ship tremble from stem to stern, but the blow destroyed the berg.  The ice came tumbling onto the ship until it seemed as though it must sink, but the ice all slid off, the ship rose and sailed safely on it's way.  When I awoke from this vision I knew at once what we had to do about Living Temple and about your brother's work.  We have got to meet it just as I saw the ship meet the iceberg.  Now I want to tell you again that your brother John is not truthful.  He has lied to me.  When I wrote to him that he must not sell Living Temple he promised me faithfully that he would not, but he has broken his word for he kept right on selling the book and has sold many thousand copies since he promised not to sell any more.  It is impossible for your brother to speak the truth, speaking untruths has been his failing all his life.  Your brother John has become exalted like Nebuchadnezzar and like him he must be humbled, and I expect that like Nebuchadnezzar he will go insane."

The third and chief thing which, in my opinion, contributed most to the persecution of Dr. J. H. Kellogg and his final expulsion from the Church, was the fact that Mrs. White had sent him, as a testimony from God, a charge that was not true, in any particular, a charge that was based on a dream which came to her as a result of reading the newspaper article concerning his work in Chicago and as a result of having seen in some of our denominational papers, a cut of the rented building in which the work in Chicago was conducted.  Having made a mistake which she could not satisfactorily explain or correct she and others then made the mistake of trying to humble the Doctor and bring him to terms by seeking to destroy his influence, by proclaiming him a pantheist, a hypocrite, and a dangerous person.  Not satisfied with this they sought to cripple the Sanitarium in its work by an endeavor to prevent it from getting nurses to care for the patients, by circulating all manner of vilifying stories about the Doctor and his helpers.  They also sought to cripple the Medical Missionary College by preventing students from entering it as far as possible.  This work of trying to cripple the Sanitarium and the Medical College was hatched up by some of the officers of the General Conference.  It was agreed by them that the safest, the quickest, and probably the only way in which Dr. Kellogg could be crushed and humbled would be by cutting off his supply of students, helpers and nurses.  After agreeing upon their plan, and after agreeing that the only way in which it could be accomplished was by showing that he was a pantheist, and a general all round bad man, they wrote the matter out, sent it to Sister White, got her to endorse the plan, and to write some articles for publication in the Review & Herald.

These statements I had from Bro. Osborne, who told me that he was present at the meeting where the matter was considered by officers of the General Conference Committee.  He also told me that he was the secretary of that Committee.  I have just learned that Bro. Osborne died about ten days ago.

To sum up, I am shut up to the conclusion that the persecution and expulsion of Dr. J. H. Kellogg was due primarily to a blunder of Mrs. White in sending a short testimony of reproof to him, charging him with having done things which he had not done and, secondarily, to a fear that the Doctor would use this false vision against her to the hurting of her influence in the denomination, and against her claim of being the mouth piece of God to this people.  And thirdly, to a fear that if he was not humbled, crushed, or driven out of the Church, as was Nebuchadnezzar from among men, he would by his great organizing ability finally turn the canvassers from the sale of Sister White's books to the sale of his own, and thus abridge her income from the royalty on her books, which I am told W. C. White's son-in-law reported here in Healdsburg as being five thousand dollars a year.

There are several reasons why I am fully satisfied that Mrs. White has sent out many false testimonies, believing at the time that she was speaking truth.  I am personally knowing to two such testimonies in which a person was sharply reproved for doing certain things, when to my certain knowledge the person reproved had not only not done, but had actually done the very opposite.  Another thing which makes me believe that Mrs. White is not God's mouth piece in all she writes, is the fact that she has to employ helpers of literary ability to revise and edit what she says the Lord specially reveals to her.  The most noted of these helpers were Marian Davis and Fanny Bolton.  It seems very strange that what is given by inspiration of God, to a person specially chosen and inspired by Him, has to be revised and edited by an uninspired person.

In 1894, when in Melbourne, Australia, Mrs. White told me that in writing Great Controversy, and preparing it for the people, Marian Davis and Fanny Bolton had charge of it.  She further told me that these girls were responsible for certain things which went into that book in the shape in which they did.  She said that Marian Davis confessed her part in the wrong, but Fanny Bolton would make no confession.  Mrs. White did not tell me just what wrong was committed by the girls.  I suppose the reason why she spoke to me on the subject was because of the fact that Fanny Bolton had come to me with a statement as follows. 

Said Fanny, "Dr. Kellogg, I am in great distress of mind, I come to you for advice for I do not know what to do.  I have told Elder Starr (Geo. B.) what I am going to tell you, but he gives me no satisfactory advice.  You know, said Fanny, that I am writing all the time for Sister White.  Most of what I write is published in the Review and Herald as having come from the pen of Sister White, and is sent out as having been written by Sister White under inspiration of God.  I want to tell you that I am Greatly distressed over this matter for I feel that I am acting a deceptive part.  The people are being deceived about the inspiration of what I write.  I feel that it is a great wrong that anything which I write should go out as under Sister White's name, as an article specially inspired of God.  What I write should go out over my own signature, then credit would be given where credit belongs."  I gave Miss Bolton the best advice I could, and then soon after asked Sister White to explain the situation to me.  I told her just what Fanny had told me.  Mrs. White asked me if Fanny told me what I had repeated to her, and my affirming that she did, she said, "Elder Starr says she came to him with the same thing."  Now, said Sister White with some warmth, "Fanny Bolton shall never write another line for me, she can hurt me as no other person can."  A few days later Miss Bolton was sent back to America.  From that day to this my eyes have been open.


Signed, M. G. Kellogg

Category: Pioneer Documents
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