Appeal for a Church School



In 1902 the community surrounding the St. Helena Sanitarium, a community in which Ellen White resided from 1901 until her death, was served by the one-room crystal springs public school. It was taught by a dedicated Seventh-Day Adventist teacher, Mr. Anthony.  {3SM 206.1}


At the turn of the century, Seventh-Day Adventists in some parts of the United States, largely as the result of Ellen White’s counsel, were just moving into the establishment of church schools for the children of grade-school age. At 6:00 a.m. on Monday, July 14, 1902, Ellen White addressed the members of the Sanitarium church, urging the establishment of a church school, and as an incentive offered to provide the use of a nearby portion of her land at Elmshaven for the project. Excerpts from the timely address she gave open this section.  {3SM 206.2}


The sanitarium church accepted Ellen White’s proposal, but when the school opened in the fall no provision was made for small children, because it was reasoned that those under eight or ten years of age should be taught at home in harmony with Ellen White’s instruction given earlier.  {3SM 206.3}


Not all parents were prepared to meet the ideal she set forth in her earlier writings, and this left not a few children to drift without discipline or proper training during their childhood years. The one deterrent to the church’s making provision for the younger children was the oft-quoted E. G. White statement written in 1872 that “parents should be the only teachers of their children until they have reached eight or ten years of age.”–Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 137.  {3SM 206.4}


There seemed to be a marked division of thinking on the part of church officers and members on this important question.  {3SM 207.1}


As time went on the church school board arranged for an interview with Ellen White at her home early Thursday morning, January 14, 1904, to discuss this question of school-age attendance and the responsibility of the church for the education of young children. W. C. White saw it as rather a landmark meeting that would set a pattern for other church schools across the land.  {3sm 207.2}


Ellen White was informed in advance of the issue to be discussed and so was prepared to speak to the question in its several aspects. Minutes of the meeting were made and a copy of them was introduced into the general document file in the Elmshaven vault. However, through some oversight no copy was placed in the regular E. G. White letter and manuscript file. Being minutes of a school board meeting, they were lost sight of for many years. During a thorough search in 1975 for all materials relating to the early training of children, the minutes of this enlightening interview came to light on April 24, 1975, and were published in full in the Review and Herald (now the Adventist Review) of April 24, 1975.  {3SM 207.3}


Brief excerpts from the 1902 appeal for a church school and that portion of the board minutes of January 14, 1904, which relate directly to the appropriate school age for the children of adventist parents, are presented in chapters 23 and 24.  {3SM 207.4}


Chapter 25 brings together a few miscellaneous choice statements under the title of “General Guiding Principles.”  {3SM 207.5}


In 1887 Ellen White suggested in Testimonies, Volume 5, on pages 583, 584, that “strong young men, rooted and grounded in the faith” could “if so counseled by our leading brethren, enter the higher colleges in our land, where they would have a wider field for study and observation,” and who like the Waldenses “might do a Good work, even while gaining their education.” these sentiments were repeated several times during the next decade, emphasizing the opportunities this would give for effective witness in non-seventh-day adventist schools, at the same time sounding timely cautions. Chapter 26 closes with a selection of these counsels.– White Trustees.  {3SM 207.6}



Ms 7, 1904

St. Helena, California

January 14, 1904

Interview/Counsel on Age of School Entrance

This manuscript is published in entirety in 6MR; portions appear in 3SM.


Counsel on Age of School Entrance

Report of an Interview, January 14, 1904


[Up to 1902 the educational needs of the children in the neighborhood of the St. Helena Sanitarium were met by the Crystal Springs Public School, just under the hill. Mr. Anthony, an earnest Seventh-day Adventist, was the teacher. On Monday morning, July 14, 1902, before taking up the duties of the day, the parents met to hear Ellen G. White appeal for a church school where the Bible could be taught. To spur the folk in launching the enterprise, she offered to lease, without charge, a piece of land at the foot of the hill as a site for the proposed school. A one-room building was erected, and in the autumn Miss Sarah Peck, a teacher and one of Mrs. White’s helpers, was called to teach.


Miss Peck conducted a well-disciplined school with forty children attending. The initial work made provision primarily for children beyond the ages of nine or ten. As Ellen White in her 1872 article on education had called for parents to be “the only teachers of their children until they have reached eight or ten years of age” (3T 137), little or no provision was made in the school for such. As is developed in the interview, this was the course quite generally followed.


As there were differences of opinion on the policies which should be followed, the school board sought Ellen White’s counsel. She was apprised of the problem in advance and met with the board on January 14, 1904. Considering the understanding of the participants regarding the far-reaching nature of the interview, it is well to identify those present:


Iram James, chairman of the school board, Mrs. White’s farm manager

  1. M. Bowen, manager of the St. Helena Sanitarium
  2. L. Taylor, chaplain of the sanitarium and pastor of the church
  3. J. McDowell, sanitarium plant manager

Mrs. J. Gotzian, a well-to-do widow deeply interested in forward moves, a close friend of Ellen G. White

Miss Sarah Peck, an assistant to Ellen G. White, now the church school teacher

Brother Dennison, a layman, probably a sanitarium employee

There is reference in the interview to Mr. Boeker, manager of Sanitarium Health Food Factory


The stenographic report of this meeting has remained in the general subject file of the White Estate (Document File #102) in a folder relating to church schools, but with the unchallenging cover title of “Report of a Meeting of the Church School Board, Sanitarium, California, January 14, 1904.” Concentrated research in the area of education has just disclosed the 26-page document.—Arthur L. White, February 10, 1975.]




Counsel Regarding Age of School Entrance

Report of Interview


Report of a meeting of the Sanitarium [Cal.] Church School Board, held at “Elmshaven,” Sanitarium, Cal., Thursday morning, January 14, 1904.


Present: Mrs. E. G. White, Elder W. C. White, and the members of the School Board—I. James, L. M. Bowen, Elder C. L. Taylor, H. M. McDowell, Mrs. J. Gotzian, Miss Sarah E. Peck, and Brother Dennison.




Sister White spoke for a time, as follows:

For years, much instruction has been given me in regard to the importance of maintaining firm discipline in the home. I have tried to write out this instruction and to give it to others. In one of the forthcoming volumes of my writings will be published considerable additional matter on the training of children.


Those who assume the responsibilities of parenthood should first consider whether they will be able to surround their children with proper influences. The home is both a family church and a family school. The atmosphere of the home should be so spiritual that all the members of the family, parents and children, will be blessed and strengthened by their association with one another. Heavenly influences are educational. Those who are surrounded by such influences are being prepared for entrance into the school above.


Mothers should be able to instruct their little ones wisely during the earlier years of childhood. If every mother were capable of doing this, and would take time to teach her children the lessons they should learn in early life, then all children could be kept in the home school until they are eight, or nine, or ten years old.


But many who enter the marriage relation fail of realizing all the sacred responsibilities that motherhood brings. Many are sadly lacking in disciplinary power. In many homes there is but little discipline, and the children are allowed to do as they please. Such children drift hither and thither; there is nobody in the home capable of guiding them aright, nobody who with wise tact can teach them how to help father and mother, nobody who can properly lay the foundation that should underlie their future education. Children who are surrounded by these unfortunate conditions are indeed to be pitied. If not afforded an opportunity for proper training outside the home, they are debarred from many privileges that, by right, every child should enjoy. This is the light that has been presented to me.


Those who are unable to train their children aright should never have assumed the responsibilities of parents. But because of their mistaken judgment, shall we make no effort to help their little ones to form right characters? God desires us to deal with these problems sensibly.


Model Church Schools to be connected with Our Sanitariums


In all our sanitariums the standard is to be kept high. With these institutions should be connected, as physicians, managers, and helpers, only those who keep their households in order. The conduct of the children has an influence that tells upon all who come to these sanitariums. God desires that this influence shall be reformatory. And this can be; but care is required. The father and the mother must give special attention to the training of each child. But you know how the families are up on this hillside. The patients understand how it is. The way it is presented to me is that it is a shame that there is not the influence over the young children that there should be. Every one of them should be employed in doing something that is useful. They have been told what to do. If the father cannot be with them, the mother should be instructed how to teach them.


But since I have been here, the light has been given me that the very best thing that can be done is to have a school. I had no thought that the very little ones would be embraced in the school—not the very little ones. But it would be best to have this school for those who can be instructed and have the restraining influence upon them which a school teacher should exert. We have a school here because the Word of God could not be taught in the other [public] school. Our brother that teaches that school is fully capable of carrying a school with teaching the Word. He is fully capable of doing that. He has his position, they have hired him, and as long as they let him stay undisturbed, he had better stay there.


But here is a work that must be done for the families and for the children that are as old as seven years and eight years and nine years. We should have a lower department, that is a second department, where these children could be instructed. They will learn in school that which they frequently do not learn out of school, except by association.


There are to be those who are older, that you have confidence in, who are trying to be Christians, as special monitors. Whenever the children are out of the building, these monitors should take charge of a certain company and see that there are no wrong things carried on among them. That is what we used to have when I went to school. That is what was done when the children were let out at recess or at noon. And then when in the school, the older ones would take charge of the younger ones. The teacher would give them the lesson that they should have, and then the monitors would carry them on in the study, say in spelling, in reading, and such things as that; and they would become educated—the teachers as well as the little children were learners. That is the way the primary schools were carried on when I went to school.


I thought it was a little strange that they should have these little classes given into the hands of the students, and I asked the teacher if she would not explain it to me. She said she would. She said that those who were put over these children were learning more in that very discipline of hearing them read and spell and cipher than it was possible for them to obtain in their classes. That is why they were appointed.


Should the children be in school?


Now, it seems that the question is about these children going to school. I want to know from the parents, every one of them, who it is that feels perfectly satisfied with their children, as they are, without sending them to the school—to a school that has Bible lessons, has order, has discipline, and is trying to find something for them to do to occupy their time. I do not think there is anyone, if they come to understand it, who will have objections. 


But when I heard what the objections were, that the children could not go to school till they were ten years old, I wanted to tell you that there was not a Sabbathkeeping school when the light was given to me that the children should not attend school until they were old enough to be instructed. They should be taught at home to know what proper manners were when they went to school, and not be led astray. The wickedness carried on in the common schools is almost beyond conception.


That is how it is, and my mind has been greatly stirred in regard to the idea, “Why, Sister White has said so and so, and Sister White has said so and so; and therefore we are going right up to it.”


God wants us all to have common sense, and He wants us to reason from common sense. Circumstances alter conditions. Circumstances change the relation of things.

Here is a sanitarium, and that sanitarium must carry the highest possible influence inside and out. Then, if they see children who come there—sharp-eyed, lynx-eyed, wandering about with nothing to do, getting into mischief, and all these things—it is painful to the senses of those that want to keep the reputation of the school. Therefore, I, from the light that God has given me, [declare] if there is a family that has not the capabilities of educating, nor discipline and government over their children, requiring obedience, the very best thing is to put them in some place where they will obey. Put them in some place where they will be required to obey, because obedience is better than sacrifice. Good behavior is to be carried out in every family.

We are educating God’s little ones in our homes. Now what kind of an education are we giving them? Our words, are they loose and careless and slack? Is there an overbearing disposition? Is there a scolding and fretting because parents have not the powers to manage? The Lord wants us to take all things into consideration. Every parent has on his hands a sum to prove: How are my children? Where are they? Are they coming up for God or for the devil? All these things are to be considered.


The book that is coming out will have much to say in regard to the great principles that are to be carried out in training the children from the very baby in arms. The enemy will work right through those children unless they are disciplined. Someone disciplines them. If the mother or the father does not do it, the devil does. That is how it is. He has the control.


We want every child to be where he can be impressed in regard to God’s claims upon him and to carry God’s claims out. The Lord says of Abraham, I know him, that he will command his children and household after him, to keep the way of the Lord. These children are to come up with a discipline that they will carry out in their lives, wherever they are. Now here is the work, and it is no light job to decide what to do.


I shall not say so much now, because I want to understand just what I should speak on. I want the objections brought forth, why children should not have an education.


We could do the same as they have in Battle Creek. They took me from place to place in the orphan asylum [Haskell home] in Battle Creek. There were their little tables, there were their little children from five years old and upward. They were being educated on the kindergarten plan: how to work and how to manage. They had a great pile of sand of a proper quality, and they were teaching the children how to work together, how to make Noah’s ark, and how to make the animals that enter into the Noah’s ark. They were all doing this kind of work. It takes something.


Whoever has their children have this education should feel an interest to see that the teachers are paid for doing this extra work. There will have to be an extra teacher. Sister Peck cannot teach them all. She could not be around, but she could use those that are older to help and oversee and do the things that the children are learning, and so they can be worked in. Yet the school should be under the supervision of teachers that carry responsibility.


Now I have perfect confidence in Sister Peck’s teaching, but if she carries on what she has carried on—and I am satisfied it is just the thing that ought to be done—there would have to be an extra teacher; don’t you think so?


Sister Peck: I think if we did the work is a satisfactory manner, and if we have any more children, we ought to have some extra help.


Sister White: My ideas have come out in a crude way, just a jot here and a jot there. I have it written out, but not all. I have more to write. I want you to take care of what I have said. First, understand that. This is the light that has been given me in regard to these things.


Here are children that are quick. There are children five years old that can be educated as well as many children ten years old, as far as capabilities are concerned, to take in the mother’s matters and subjects.


Now I want that just as long as Willie’s children are here, and they live here [ages: Henry and Herbert, 7 years; Grace, 3 years], I want they should have the discipline of a school. If it can be connected with this school by putting on an addition to the building, one room say, for such students, every one of us ought to feel a responsibility to provide that room. Those mothers that want to keep their children at home, and are fully competent and would prefer to discipline them themselves, why, no one has any objection to that. They can do that. But provision is to be made so that the children of all that have any connection with this food factory and sanitarium, and these things that are being carried on here, should be educated. We must have it stand to reach the highest standards.


Elder C. L. Taylor: Sister White, there is one question that I should like to raise, regarding the responsibility of parents and the relation of that responsibility to the church school. Now suppose I have a little boy—I have one—seven years old. We are perfectly capable of training him, we have fitted ourselves to do that work. Now suppose we choose not to take that responsibility, to neglect the boy, let him drift around. Then does it become the responsibility of the church to do what I could do if I would do? That is the question. If I don’t take care of my boy when I can, when I am able to do it, would I ask the church to do it in my place?


Sister White: You are not compelled to let your boy go out from your jurisdiction unless you want him to. That is your privilege. But those parents who have children out of school and don’t take charge of them, if they are not willing to have their children brought in and educated, then let them move off of this hill just as quickly as they can, because they should not be here.


  1. L. Taylor: I do not believe you catch my point. I have a boy. Suppose I neglect him. Then must the church go to the expense of fitting up a new building to do what I can do at home but do not do? Through my neglect, must they be put to extra expense to provide a teacher for my child when I can take care of him myself?


Sister White: You can take care of them, but do you?


Elder W. C. White: She refuses to take your isolated experience.


Sister White: The church here on this hill is a responsible church. It is connected with outside influences. These influences are constantly brought in to testify of us. The question is, Shall it be united, and shall it, if it is necessary, prepare a room—which won’t cost everlastingly too much—a room that these children should come to and have discipline, and have a teacher, and get brought up where they are prepared for the higher school? Now that is the question.


I say, these little children that are small ought to have education, just what they would get in school. They ought to have the school discipline under a person who understands how to deal with children in accordance with their different temperaments. They should try to have these children understand their responsibilities to one another and their responsibility to God. They should have fastened in their minds the very principles that are going to fit them for the higher grade and the higher school. 


There is a Higher School that we are all going to, and unless these children are brought up with the right habits and the right thoughts, and the right discipline, I wonder how they will ever enter that school above? Where is their reverence? Where are their choice ideas that they should cultivate? And all these things. It must be an everyday experience. 


The mother, as she goes around, is not to fret and to scold and to say, “You are in my way, and I wish you would get away, I wish you would go outdoors,” or any such thing. She is to treat her children just as God should treat His older children. He calls us children in His family. He wants us educated and trained according to the principles of the Word of God. He wants this education to commence with the little ones. If the mother has not the tact, the ingenuity, if she does not know how to treat human minds, she must put them under somebody that will discipline them and mold and fashion their minds.


Now, have I presented it so that it can be understood? Is there any point, Willie, that I have in the book that I have not touched here?


Elder W. C. White: I don’t know. I find, Mother, that our people throughout the States and throughout the world, I must say, sometimes make very far-reaching rulings based on an isolated statement.


Now, in my study of the Bible and in my study of your writings, I have come to believe that there is a principle underlying every precept, and that we cannot understand properly the precept without grasping the principle. 


I have believed that in some of the statements which have created a good deal of controversy—like your counsels concerning the use of butter, and your statement that the only teacher that a child should have until it was eight or ten years old—it was our privilege to grasp the principle. I have believed that in the study of those statements that we should recognize that every precept of God is given in mercy, and in consideration of the circumstances. 


God said, “What God hath joined together let no man put asunder;” and yet Christ explains the law of divorce as given because of the hardness of their hearts. Because of the degeneracy of the people, a divorce law which was not in God’s original plan was permitted. I believe that the principle should be understood in regard to such isolated statements as your protest against the use of butter, and the statement that the child should have no other teacher than the mother until it was eight or ten years old. 


Now, when that view was given you about butter, there was presented to you the condition of things—people using butter full of germs. They were drying and cooking in it, and its use was deleterious. But later on, when our people studied into the principle of things, they found that while butter is not best, it may not be so bad as some other evils; and so in some cases they are using it. 


I have supposed that this school question was the same. The ideal plan is that the mother should be the teacher—an intelligent teacher such an one as you have described this morning. But I have felt that it was a great misfortune to our cause from Maine to California and from Manitoba to Florida, that our people should take that statement—that the child should have no teacher but the parent until it is eight or ten years old—as a definite forbidding of those children to have school privileges. If I understand it, that is really the question before us this morning. 


When the brethren study this matter from the standpoint of the good of the child, from the standpoint of fairness to the parents, as far as I can see, they all acknowledge that there are conditions in which it would be better for the child to have some school privilege than to be ruled out. But there is the precept, A child shall have no teacher but the parents until it is eight or ten years old; that settles it. 


Elder C. L. Taylor: Brother White, I don’t think you have that right, so far as our position is concerned. We do not believe that we have any right to bar out any children because of their age simply because the testimony has said so. We have never talked for a moment that we should keep them out because they are too young. We have said repeatedly, “If your children want to come to the school, send them.” But, on the other hand, where the parents are able to take care of their children who are younger than eight or ten years of age, we have felt they ought to do it, and not to make that a responsibility of the church. This is especially so when there is a matter of expense—extra expense—involved. Now that is the only question. We are not holding to a rule saying that no children excepting those of certain ages should come to school: but rather, we say that those who can educate their children at home ought to do it rather than to send them to the church school when we are so hard pressed for means and would have to hire another teacher. 


Sister E. G. White: Well, if parents have not got it in them you might just as well stop where you are. Therefore, we have got to make provision, because there are a good many parents that have not taken it upon themselves to discipline themselves. They are not disciplined. When the father and mother are disciplined themselves, then we will begin to talk about their disciplining their children. But as long as they are not disciplined themselves, their children are not disciplined. There is so much lacking in the matter, so much to be presumed and ventured, that in the name of the Lord, I say, Establish something where you can have a mind that realizes the importance of the work of dealing with human minds. There are fathers and mothers who do not know anything about how to deal with human minds. They don’t know how. 


Elder C. L. Taylor: We will take Brother White’s children. If Brother White wants to send his boys, they should go to school. I would never say a word against it in the world. I would never say they should not come to school. But, take Brother White, or take my own case, or take Brother Boeker’s, if we can educate our children ourselves, would it not be better for us to do it rather than to send them to the school? 


Mrs. E. G. White: No one will force anybody to send them to school. If they cannot see the advantage, and think that home is the best place, why, it is their privilege to stay at home. But then again, there has got to be some advantage. 


Sister Peck: I suppose, Sister White, we will never have a church where every family is just what it ought to be, and there will always be these exceptions to meet; and so some provision shall have to be made for those exceptions.


Sister White: I believe that the people about here that have advantages can each do a little something to support a school for the others. I am willing to do it. I do not think that should be a consideration that should come in at all. [We talk of] “the expense,” “the expense,” “the expense”—it is nothing at all to have the weight of a thimbleful of expense. 


Elder White: As my children have been mentioned, I should like to say a word about this. My interest in the outcome of this interview is not now at all with reference to my own children. My interest in the outcome of this interview is with reference to its influence upon our work throughout the world. My interest for this school from the beginning until now has not been principally with reference to my children.


Sister White: From the light I have, with every sanitarium that is established anywhere, there shall be a school with that sanitarium. That is the light given me. That is how it is we are to see that the children are cared for, and the sanitarium shall take an interest to sustain such a thing. It is their business to do it. It is right that they should do it.


Elder W. C. White: It is known by everybody that Sister Peck has had a broad experience in teaching, and that she has had four years’ experience with Mother, dealing with her writings, helping to prepare the book Education. My greatest interest for the school has not been my own family, neither has it been simply the St. Helena church.


My interest in this school lies in the fact that it is our privilege to set a pattern. The successes and failures and the rulings of this school will affect our church school work throughout California and much farther, because of Sister Peck’s long experience as a teacher, and her work with you, Mother, in helping to prepare the book on education. All these things have put this school where it is a city set on a hill.


Now my distress at the ruling with reference to the younger children has been not principally because my children were ruled out, but to build up a ruling which I consider is very cruel. It is being used in a way to do our younger children a great deal of harm. 


The world is doing a great work for the children through kindergartens. In places where we have institutions, and both parents are employed, they would gladly send children to a kindergarten. I have been convinced that in many of our churches a kindergarten properly conducted for a few hours a day would be a great blessing. I have not found anything in your teachings or rulings, Mother, or advice to our people that would be contrary to it. But the rulings of our school superintendents have killed, completely killed, in most parts of the country any effort toward providing kindergarten work for our children. 


There are a few instances where they stand to carry it forward. Dr. Kellogg does it in his orphans’ school that you have seen and praised, and in a few other places they are doing it. At Berrien Springs they ventured last summer to bring in a kindergarten teacher and to permit that part of the work to have a little consideration; but generally, in about nine-tenths of the field, this ruling of our school superintendents kills that part of the work completely. 


Mrs. E. G. White: Well, there has got to be a reformation in that line.


Elder White: And the ruling in this school here, and the reasons that have always been given me for this ruling, has been based on your statement that a child’s mother is to be its only teacher until it is eight or ten years old. I have believed that for the best interests of our school work throughout the world, it is our privilege to have such an interview as we have had this morning, and also to study into the principle which underlies such things.


Sister White: Yes, it is right that it should stand before the people right. Now you will never find a better opportunity to have Sister Peck have the supervision over even the younger children. There has got to be a blending in some way.


As for a room, and there should be room, I question which is best, whether it should be connected right with the building, or whether it should be separate. It seemed to me that it might be a building by itself. I do not know which would be best. That must be considered—the advantages and disadvantages. I think Sister Peck, as well or better than any of the rest of us, could tell how that should be.


  1. M. Bowen: While there has been a ruling as to the age limit, has it not been on account of space? I don’t think any of us are opposed to kindergarten work.


Bro. Dennison: It was not altogether on room, was it? I know we talked there with Sister Peck. Did you not explain that the reason why the children were barred out was on account of the testimonies?


Sister Peck: We did not have room this year.


Elder White: The other thing has been used to cut off discussion.


Elder Taylor: Sister Peck has told us over and over again that she has told parents to send their children, if they wished. We did not say that they should.


Elder White: My personal interest, as far as sending children to school, has entirely passed now. I have no thought of sending my children here. I don’t expect to. But in the interests of truth, in the interests of principle, and in the interests of a good understanding of where we are at, and how we are to treat other people’s children, I am just as much interested as I have ever been.


Elder Taylor: We have talked this: That the church school will not be a blessing to a community, when it comes to take a responsibility that the parents themselves can carry. And when we go ahead and put our money into a building, it does not make any difference whether it is a building or a room. But when we take the responsibility that could be carried by the parents, then the church school becomes a curse or a hindrance rather than a blessing. Now that is all I have ever heard when we have come to the point.


It has been a matter of eight years, because we have recognized all the way along that some of six are better able to go to school than others of eight or nine. But it is the principle of others bearing the responsibility. Now, so far as any one here is concerned, I have never known that any one has kept his children from school because provision was not made.


Elder White: That is the first intimation that I have ever had of any such position. I have never heard that before.


Brother Iram James: That can’t be so, because you will find on the minutes that Horsemann’s children were voted out when they wanted to send them.


Elder Taylor: That was last year, when we had no room; but this year it has been talked all along that if they would send them, send them. It looks to me that the church school can become a hindrance if it opens up and says, Send the children; it is the best place for them; send your children. 


Sister Peck: It has been a question in my mind on that point, Sister White, what our duty as teachers is—whether it was to try to help the parents to see and to take up their responsibility, or to take it away from them by taking their children into the school. 


Sister E. G. White: If they have not felt their responsibility from all the books and writings and sermons, you might roll it onto them from now till the Lord comes, and they would not have any burden. It is no use talking about responsibility when they have never felt it. 


We want to have a school in connection with the sanitarium. It is presented to me that wherever there is a sanitarium, there must be a school, and that school must be carried on in such a way that it makes an impression on all who shall visit the sanitarium. People will come into that school. They will see how that school is managed. It should not be far from the sanitarium, so that they can understand. 


In the management of the school there is to be the very best kind of discipline. In learning, the students cannot have their own way. They have got to give up their own way to discipline. This is a lesson that is yet to be learned by a good many families. But we hear, “Oh, let them do this. They are nothing but children. They will learn when they get older.” 


Well, just as soon as a child in my care would begin to show passion, and throw himself on the floor, he never did it but once, I want to tell you. I would not let the devil work right through that child and take possession of it. 


The Lord wants us to understand things. He says, Abraham commanded his children and his household after him, and we want to understand what it means to command, and we want to understand that we have got to take hold of the work if we resist the devil. 


Well, I do not know whether we are any further along than when we began.


Elder Taylor: Yes, I think we are.


Sister White: But some things have been said.


  1. M. Bowen: I think we know what we will have to do.


Sister Gotzian: Enough has been said to set us thinking and to do something.


Sister White: The Lord is in earnest with us. Yes; we have got to be an example. And now you see there are so many sanitariums, and so many schools, that must be connected with them. We have got to come to our senses and recognize that we have to carry an influence—that is an influence in regard to the children. 


Elder Taylor: There is another matter, on the studies. I have a burden for recognizing what Brother White says—that this school should be an example. I have felt that we are still following too much the plan of the public schools. We are cramming the students, the little children carrying all the way from five to ten studies. It seems to me that we really ought to begin to make a change by getting away from the plan of cramming and stuffing and get back to the simple principles of teaching them to read and write and spell and getting those foundation things. We should work that plan out here and see if we cannot make a success of those principles that have been given us in the testimonies.


Sister White: Yes, I think the practical is of great value. The practical working out of these things should be accomplished not by merely a lesson, but the lesson must be so simple that the students can take it in, digest it, and know the reasons for it. If they do that, there cannot be so many studies. There must be fewer studies and more drill.


Sister Peck: I think that is right, Sister White, I think we ought to have more thorough drill in the fewer lines of study.


Elder Taylor: As it is now, parents are constantly comparing the church school with the public school. They say, If you make a change, and begin to cut off certain things from certain classes, why, you don’t give my children as much as they can get in the public school.


Sister White: If they prefer to send their children to the public school, let them send them. But these many studies is a great fallacy. 


I have seen such precious talent that is sacrificed. A father says that a child can have so much money. And that is all he can have in his schooling. Some of the most precious youth came to Battle Creek. The father said so and so. They would go to the public school. And they would sit up with a little lamp burning, long into the night, to get all these studies that they had to have. Well, when they came to get through with that, they just broke down. Some of the most precious talent broke down, and they died in a short time. 


Sister Peck: Even if they don’t break down, Sister White, their knowledge is so fragmentary and without foundation that it is of no real use to them in after years. 


Sister White: Your school is to be a sample school. It is not to be a sample after the schools of the day. It is not to be any such thing. Your school is to be according to a plan that is far ahead of these other schools. It is to be a practical thing. The lessons are to be put into practice, and not merely a recitation of [theory].


Elder Taylor: I am satisfied that when we begin to move in that direction, we will see real light come in.


Sister White: Brother Leininger’s children had no need to have died, but they were not under the discipline of the care that they ought to have had. The Lord wants us to have that education that we can utilize, and the most simple education that the children can have now is the very best for them. Then there will be a reaching out after more and more education as years come on. But they are not to stuff themselves right now with things clear beyond their years. It is not the right thing to do. We have got to have our A.B.C., and the Alpha is not the Omega. We must learn that.


My idea is to have advantages for the little ones. We are not to throw them into Brother Anthony’s school because they are children and don’t have to pay anything. Brother Anthony, I believe, will do his best as far as the schooling is concerned, but he cannot teach the Bible. There is the Bible. That is what we want. It is to teach our children when they rise up and when they sit down, and when they go out, and when they come in. Your children here must be in such a school as that. You cannot teach them the commandments of God, the law of God, and importance of the law, in a public school. 


What is their reading lesson—do they have reading books?


Sister Peck: We have three classes in reading. The youngest class uses a little Bible reader that Professor Sutherland got out. I don’t know whether you remember it. Another class uses a book that Professor Bell has prepared; and another class is using Mount of Blessing this year.


Sister White: Well, this has got to be worked out some way. Have you got any propositions to make? Let us hear them.


Sister Peck: No, I don’t know that I have any propositions to make. I believe our school board here is solid on the idea of doing everything we can to work out this educational problem, not simply for the sake of this school here, but for the sake of our educational work in general. I am sure that we all appreciate very much the privilege of having you with us and helping us along this line. I know that what we have gotten this morning will really be a great help to us in working out this problem and planning for the school as we ought. We have talked over these matters a good deal in one way and another, and of course we meet a good many difficulties, too, and we shall expect to meet them. But we will have to learn how to overcome these difficulties. 


I have wished a good many times that in our school here we might have another department, not altogether because the school could be improved, but because I have longed so much for an opportunity to give more time to solving some of these questions that are perplexing the minds of all our teachers. I feel sure that I could be a help in some lines more than I am now if I were freer to work out some of these problems. If the problems were solved problems, it would not require half the energy to execute the work. But so many of our problems are unsolved problems.


We have never been over the ground, and we are going over a new road. We have to cut our way every step, and to do so takes more time and energy and thought than it will when we have been over it once and can go over it again. I have often thought that some of our people feel that we should handle so much, because other teachers do, and because teachers in ungraded schools in the past have handled all the way from fifty to one hundred students, and they learned a good deal, too. But we have another problem altogether to solve. It is another question to manage.


Sister White: We are educating for the kingdom.


Sister Peck: And everything is new, and it does mean a great deal more when the road is new and untried than when we are following a road hundreds of years old.


Elder Taylor: In the number of studies today, we have duplicated all that the public school has, and then we have added Bible, and nature study, and manual training, and generally vocal music. 


Sister White: I cannot see a particle of sense in that. Just cut off some of those studies. Teach them the Bible. Have that as one of their living, practical points of education. That is what it ought to be. We should take no account of how many things they bring out in some other schools. We are on a different road.


Elder Taylor: Now take the matter of history. We have history in the public schools, U. S. History. We are expected to teach history in our church school, but we cannot teach history in our school as they teach it in the public school.


Sister Peck at the present time is simply working it out to connect all the events that have come into our history and the history of this country with the Bible in the fulfilment of prophecy. She helps the children to see the signs of the times and the working out of God’s plans, and she keeps their minds in touch with God all the time. I have felt that if we could have time in our schools for that, we could cut off other studies that crowd in, and then we would begin to see light come in, and our children would get hold of God.


Sister White: I think we should consider that problem. If there are those who do not want to send their children to our school, at which preparation is given for the future eternal life, to learn here the Alpha of how they should conduct themselves for the Omega, the end, then they can take their children and put them where they please. If this is the public school, all right. What we want is to educate our children for the future immortal life, and we have but a little time to do it in. This is the work to be accomplished. We are to educate them how to behave, and all of this. I tell you, the teacher carries a big responsibility to [inculcate] principles to work upon for all time. 


We must educate our children so that we can come up to the gates of the city and say, “Here am I, Lord, and the children that Thou hast given me.” We must not come up without our children to hear the words, “Where is My flock, My little flock, that I gave you—that beautiful flock that I gave you, where are they?” And we reply they have been left to drift right into the world, and so they are unfitted for heaven. What we want is to fit them for heaven so we can present the little flock to God, and say, “I have done my best.”


We think that another teacher should be brought in. We need one that has a good, all-round disposition. One that is even, and that can mold and fashion. These little ones move by impulse, just as they feel.


I think what care the Lord had over the children of Israel. They were so forgetful. He told them just what to do. He told them to plaster the rock, and they were to write on this rock the commandments of God. This was after that they passed over Jordan. You see how particular He was.


And then there were the two mounts, there were places that they had to go through that repetition, one the mount of curses and the other the mount of blessings. From these two prominent positions the advantages of the blessing and the disadvantages of the curse were pronounced.


This is a wonderful closing thought


Did the professed believers in the truth live the truth, they would today all be missionaries. Some would be working in the islands of the sea; some, in the different countries of the world. Some would be serving Christ as home missionaries. Not all are called upon to go abroad. Some may be successful in business lines, and in this work they may represent Christ. They may show to the world that business may be conducted on righteous principles, in strict fidelity to the truth. There may be Christian lawyers, Christian physicians, Christian merchants. Christ may be represented in all lawful callings.—Manuscript 19, 1900.

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Which Age to go to School and Which School




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