Pantheism and the "Alpha of Apostasy"

By Å. Kaspersen, Ellen G. White -- the Myth and the Truth

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) was one of the most brilliant men in the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination by the turn of the century. As manager of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan, USA, he became world-renowned as physician, surgeon and health-reformer. He was the inventor of corn-flakes and similar cereals, as well as protose and other meat-substitutes. In addition he was a prolific writer, who published more than fifty books.

Within the history of Seventh-Day Adventism Dr. Kellogg also became known for certain things of a less flattering nature. According to Ellen G. White and other SDA-leaders, he was reckoned as the leader behind the so-called "alpha of apostasy" around the turn of the century, and was being accused of disseminating "pantheistic teachings" by means of his book The Living Temple(1902) - a book that deals with hygienic principles, physiology and simple home remedies. It was claimed that pantheistic philosophy was interwoven through the entire book, which today is very hard to obtain. Ellen White wrote a series of letters and testimonies, sounding strong warnings against the book and Dr. Kellogg's "pantheeistic philosophy". She wrote,

"The sentiments in Living Temple regarding the personality of God have been received even by men who have had a long experience in the truth. . . .That those whom we thought sound in the faith should have failed to discern the specious, deadly influence of this science of evil, should alarm us as nothing else has alarmed us. . . . Those doctrines, followed to their logical conclusion, sweep away the whole Christian economy. . . . They make of no effect the truth of heavenly origin, and rob the people of God of their past experiences, giving them instead a false science." (Special Testimonies, Series B No. 7, p. 37.)

"In the book Living Temple there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies. The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given. . . .Living Temple contains the alpha of these theories. I knew that the omega would follow in a little while; and I trembled for our people." (Special Testimonies, No. 2, pp. 50,53.)

Those who are interested, may read this account in Selected Messages, Vol. 1, pp. 193-200. This is Ellen White's and the Adventist version of the "pantheistic issue".

Dr. Kellogg was also being accused of scheming to take over a number of Adventist health institutions. The following quote reflects how the Adventist denomination views the matter,

"Shortly after the turn of the century Dr. Kellogg came into conflict with the leaders of the General Conference over his attempt to get the control of all SDA medical institutions with which he had been associated. He finally did succeed in getting control of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, the Battle Creek Food Company, and the health institution in Mexico. He also began teaching strange doctrines. His book The Living Temple was permeated with the principles of pantheism. Everything was done to help him see his error. Ellen G. White worked with him personally and sent him many messages, but in vain. In 1907 he lost his membership in the church. Only a few intimate friends followed him." (SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 10, art. Kellogg, John Harvey, p. 723. Emphasis supplied.)

So far, the Adventist version of "the alpha of apostasy" is Dr. Kellogg's wishes to control and dictate. Strangely enough, we are never allowed to hear his version of the issue, and his defense against the accusations aimed at him. May we propose that the reason for this, is that the General Conference did not have clean hands in this matter -- that there was something they would try to hide from the lay people because Ellen White was involved, and her integrity would be jeopardized if the whole truth of the matter became generally known.

We are now going to compare the official SDA-version of the "pantheistic crisis" with Dr. Kellogg's own account on what really happened behind the scenes at that time - especially the issues which had to do with his book The Living Temple.

Another Viewpoint

It is well known that a matter has two sides, like a coin. In a Constitutional state the accused will have equal right to give his explanation to his defense in a court of law, not just the accuser. It is unheard of to pass sentence or to convict the accused without ever giving him a chance to explain -- even if the evidences against him are overwhelming. But when it comes to the Adventist denomination and Dr. John H. Kellogg, official sentence has been passed on him, and people have been told for a hundred years now, a one-sided version without ever giving the accused a chance to defend himself. Such however is common practice in closed, authoritarian cults.

What is now going to be told, is a piece of Adventist history unknown for most SDA's: Dr. Kellogg's own explanation of the "pantheistic crisis" -- and a little bit more. This will at least balance the one-sided picture we have been brainwashed with the last hundred years. My personal opinion is that we owe Dr. Kellogg the justice of letting him explain his case. From time to time, the SDA denomination publishes one-sided books and articles on "the alpha of apostasy". With Ellen White as chief accuser, propped up by "visions" and "dreams", the sentence is being passed on the man without ever giving him a chance to explain.

The plain truth is that Ellen White tried to dominate Dr. Kellogg the same way she tried to dominate others. But Dr. Kellogg was too strong for her, therefore she eagerly took this opportunity to condemn him, and she took heaven as witness to this dirty plot against the doctor.

We are now going to see how Dr. Kellogg interpreted the "attempts" being made from Ellen White and the General Conference to "help him see his self-deception".

On October 7, 1907, two men from the General Conference, G.W. Amadon (A) and A.C. Bourdeau (B) came on a visit to Dr. Kellogg's home in Battle Creek, Michigan. The purpose of the visit was to interview the doctor before he was expelled from the SDA-church. This interview was being stenographed verbatim by J.T. Case and R.V. Ashley. Obviously, Dr. Kellogg wanted to have this interview in written form, with duly confirmation, because he knew well how shrewd the brethren could be. This stenographed interview was later (Dec. 30, 1907 and Dec. 7, 1954) duly documented as genuine by the Notary Public in Calhoun, Michigan. The entire interview was rediscovered in 1986. It throws light to a dark side of Adventist history. We will make a number of relevant quotes from this 108-page manuscript, letting Dr. Kellogg explain his views on "the alpha of apostasy", "grasping for power" and "the helpful hand of the General Conference". Lack of space does not permit to quote the entire manuscript. Selected quotes will suffice, enough to form a picture of how Dr. Kellogg (K) himself perceived the "crisis".

The church leaders never went to Dr. Kellogg

"Everything was done to help him see his error", the official version claims. Dr. Kellogg, what do you have to say to this?

"K: I might say that this is the first official visit I have ever had from anybody connected with the Battle Creek church. This is the first time that the church officers have ever called upon me with reference to my standing in the church. . . .

"I have long invited them to come and have a talk with me, but they have never come. . . . In the first place, at Berrien Springs, Bro. Daniells, Prescott, and others who were in a hostile attitude towards me received a letter from Sister White in which they were instructed to come to me, and to W.K. Kellogg, and to make no conditions. They never came. I waited on the ground for several days until I was compelled to go home to perform surgical operations, and I waited until the very last minute and the very last train and then hired a conveyance to hurry me to the depot, to give them every opportunity. They never came. They made no overtures of any sort whatever. I then thought that possibly in the light of what Sister White had written, it was my duty to go to them, and felt that possibly I ought to have done so before leaving the ground. So I went to the telephone and spent about two hours at the telephone in telephoning to the brethren - to Brother Butler, to Sister Druillard, and to others there - begging that they would come down here and let us sit down and talk our differences over. And I sent them the message that if they would come, I believed we could settle all our difficulties in half an hour, that we were ready to make every concession that could possibly be made. And they declined to come. They had different appointments. One had an appointment here, another there. Prof. Prescott, however, dropped off on his way through going east and came up with Elder Evans and sat down and had a little talk with me. And in talking matters over he made several statements which I felt were not true, which I knew were untrue, which I proved right on the spot were untrue; and I told him how I looked at it, and I felt that they not only untrue but that he was consciously telling what was not true, for it was so preposterous, so absurd, that it could not be true. . . .

"K: I mean to say he knew he was not telling the truth. And when I put it straight to him, he was completely dumfounded. He could not say a word. He could not raise a question. And I am willing to tell you what that was because that concerns the very thing that I am charged with doing - when the Living Temple was published in the first place. . . .

The Living Temple

"B: I read every word of that Living Temple and some parts of it several times over.

"K: Well, it has been read quite a little, I expect. Some parts of it particularly. Now, in preparing that Living Temple I did it in harmony with a plan prepared by Prof. Prescott and myself, in harmony with Sister White - to prepare an educational campaign for Seventh-day Adventists on questions of health. . . . This book was to be the textbook of the campaign, so I did my best to write that book as I thought in harmony with the teaching that Prof. Prescott was giving here at the Sanitarium and in the Review. . . .

"The views I put into the book I gave right at the conference, and they were published in the Bulletin; and I preached around at camp meetings, and there had never been any dissent on the part of the leading brethren from anything I had taught. I had presented my views on the Living Temple at a meeting at the Sanitarium chapel. . . . I presented my views with reference to the healing of the sick, and I presented the very views that I presented in Living Temple. Afterwards Sister White read the report of what I said there, and she said, 'That is right.'. . .

"The view I gave there was that whenever a man was sick and gets well, it is God that heals him; there is no power to heal but divine power; and the healing of the sick is always divine healing; that God may work quickly or he may work slowly; that healing power is creative power; and nothing less than creative power can heal the sick man. . . . But I might state further that Prof. Prescott was one of the committee who was to look over the book, and he went over it and gave me his written report on it. I had his criticism; and in this written criticism of the book, he did not condemn any of the things which he has since condemned. . . .

"K: It was six and a half pages of typewritten manuscript, and not a word said about anything in it for which the book is now denounced - nothing of that kind at all. I have that criticism on file, you know. Then, after I came home from Europe, I found I was under condemnation; and I was condemned at that time because I did not endorse the financial policy of the General Conference. . . .

"When I found the book was condemned as soon as the book was printed, or rather as soon as it was set up ready to print, I held it in plates for a year nearly, waiting to see what would come out of all this discussion. And when the book was finally condemned by Prescott and others openly, I sent a copy of it as soon as it was printed (before I put it into general wide circulation) I sent a copy to Sister White - two copies, one to Sarah and one to Sister White. I sent them both to Sarah to give one to Sister White. . . .

"I waited then for Sister White to have a chance to finish reading the book and to see what her criticism would be. So I held the book in and did not set it in circulation until fall. And at that time, along in October some months after I sent her the book, I sent out copies to the presidents of Union Conferences and asked them to look the book over and see what they thought of it, and if they wanted to use it to help us in paying the Sanitarium, paying off our debts, and helping along other Sanitarium enterprises. And I had back several very favorable letters. . . .

"I never received one line from Sister White condemning the book or giving me any hint against it - never received one line from her hinting to me that I was teaching wrong doctrines, although I had been teaching those doctrines for fifteen years or more, never received a line from her that those doctrines were wrong in any particular. They had been published in the Bulletin repeatedly, and published in at least one 'Week of Prayer Reading,' and I never received a hint that any of them were wrong; and I never did until that article appeared in the Review, although I sent the book to her for her own special opinion, and waited six months before putting it into general circulation. Still I never got any private reproof from her about it, or any letter at all. And about the first thing that appeared was this article in the Review.

"Now I saw that article a day or two before it was printed in the Review. It was not sent to me, but I happened to be in Washington, and some of the brethren there had a copy of it, and let me read it; otherwise I should not have seen it at all before it was printed in the Review. But she did not intend to have it printed in the Review. I know that. It was done by a trick. I am personally knowing to all the facts about it. She never sent it for publication in the Review: she only sent it for the private information of those brethren. And it would not have been printed in the Review if it had not been for a trick on the part of Prof. Prescott. They telegraphed to Sister White that there was a great crisis, and it must be published. They sent her a telegram, and she consented to it on that.

"Now there was no great crisis at all. It was an absolute falsehood. This paper was read before the Council in Washington. I arose before that Council and the whole Conference, and with tears running down my face I said, "I receive what has been said about this thing as from the Lord, and I will withdraw the book from circulation at once." The fact that I did not understand it all - I could not understand it all - but I said, "I see it is evident that the Lord does not want the book circulated; and I shall telegraph immediately to have the book withdrawn from circulation, packed up in boxes, and stopped." I did that thing at once. I telegraphed for the books to be boxed up and put in the basement of the college, and there they are now. There they are now. But that is a very different story from what is being circulated about the thing. I am telling you these facts because I want you to know them.

"Now I went to Prof. Prescott after this public meeting down there, and I said to him, 'Prof. Prescott, what is the trouble? What is the difficulty?' I had a private talk with him. I said, 'I have written that book, as I supposed, in harmony with what you and I believe, and what was generally believed, and just what I have been teaching for many many years. And if I have made any mistakes in expression, I am willing to withdraw them.' I might say that at the council held here the fall before, I asked the chairman to appoint a committee and let the committee revise this book and whatever they found in it that is wrong, we would take it out. I said, 'Anything that is not in harmony with the Bible and with the teaching of the denomination, I will take out of the book if you will point it out to me.' Now that is on record. You can find it there. I offered to do it at the very beginning, before the book was printed and after it was printed, and I sent it to Mrs. White for her consideration, but did not get a word of fault found with it.

"After it was printed and condemned, I said, 'Very well, I will withdraw it from circulation and pack it up.' . . . I could not help but feel that your attitude toward the book was a part of a campaign to bring me into subjection, to hinder me in my work at the Sanitarium; I could not help but feel that way. . . .

"Then I said, 'Prof. Prescott, you take this book of mine and revise it. Go through it from one end to the other, and you make a cross on the margin and underscore anything you think is wrong in this book, and I will take it out.' . . .

"Prof. Prescott said, 'I do not want to be a censor.' 'Well,' I said, 'I request you to do it. And you do not need to make any argument about it, but simply check on the margin of the book everything that is wrongly stated, and I will simply take it out.' And he said, 'I will do it'. . . .

"I went up to see Elder Haskell, and he agreed to do the same thing. Now Prof. Magan remained behind in Washington, and he afterwards told me, 'Prof. Prescott won't do that. He is not going to revise that book and send it to you.' I said, 'He said he would.' 'Well, but,' he said, 'he won't; because I heard he told Elder Daniells he was going to do it, and I heard Elder Daniells say at once, 'You ought not to do that'. . . .

"I waited until Sunday and it did not come; and Monday came a postal card saying, 'I did not get it finished, and was not able to get it off.' And the next day I got a letter saying that he was not going to do it at all. He advised that the book should not be printed. The next thing I noticed was an article in the Review (by EGW). . . .

"After a few days I got a letter from Haskell saying he would send a few suggestions. I guess he sent a few suggestions. Then I wrote to Will, told Will White the story, and I said, 'I propose to take out of the book certain pages which contain the matter which has been objected to, and to change the name of it to The Miracle of Life. And now I want to know what your mother thinks about that.' And I wrote her a letter and told her that I accepted what she had written with reference to the book as a message from the Lord, and had stopped the sale of the book.

"Will wrote me back that what I suggested to him seemed to him to be all right, and he said, 'I will speak to Mother about it, and if you do not hear anything to the contrary, go ahead.' I never heard a word to the contrary, so I went ahead. In fact, I felt so sure that if I took out everything that was complained of that they would find no fault with it that I sent out a little circular. I had ordered the circular sent out before, and had got the report from it. . . .

"Now with reference to Prof. Prescott, the situation was this: that it got out and got around that Prof. Prescott was going to revise the book just as he said he would, and Elder Daniells came in and talked to him and told him he must not do it. So he was in a tight fix - so he had to say something. Because that made it appear as though this difficulty which they had themselves created for the purpose of bringing us into subjection to them - that difficulty was going to be healed up, and they would not have it healed up for anything. The last thing in the world they wanted to have done was to have the thing healed up because they wanted to keep this thing going until the Sanitarium was crushed, so that they might bring the medical work into subjection to them. That is what their whole campaign was planned for. Elder Daniells told Prof. Sutherland after the first council meeting we had here, 'We made a mistake in attacking the theology of the book' . . .

"I am not a pantheist, and I don't believe in pantheism. Now, you heard what I said at Berrien Springs. I got up and made a public statement that if there was anything in what I had written on this question, that I would retract it and denounce it as being untrue. . . . I am not a pantheist, and you know it. If I were a pantheist, I would be out worshipping the morning sun. . . .

"If I have made an error in any expressions in this book, the Living Temple, I am very ready to correct it. I have been ready to correct it all the time. I only ask to have it pointed out for me. But when somebody says, 'You say so and so' and I tell them to find it, they can't find it so I can't take it out - I can only take out things that are pointed out to me. I wanted the General Conference folks and the State Conference presidents to come here to take up this whole thing here at Battle Creek, to go into the whole thing and settle it. And if you will have such a council here we will abide by the decision of that council, but we ought to have a square looking into the whole business. These brethren say there have been crooked things here. Let them come and show them up. . . .

"A: What Sister White sent here one time - I wanted you to see and read it yourself before it was read in the Tabernacle. I thought certainly that must melt down everything. Sister White said there on the occasion of that meeting that it seemed as though there would be a rending asunder of soul and spirit, and she said the Lord Jesus Christ came down himself and would have taken you right by the hand, and your brother Will, and would have lifted you right out into the light and liberty, but it wasn't done. Now your statement throws --

"K: I will go further and tell you something more. I am telling you the truth before the Lord. There were a lot of brethren there that knew it all. I am aware of what you say - that the two stories are not parallel. I cannot account for that. Only that there were some things the Lord did not let Sister White know about. I will tell you something more I don't believe she knows anything about at all. The last morning I was there, after I had been there several days, I sat in the house the next door to the house where W.C. White was staying. And I saw him out on the back porch or sitting on a log somewhere with his head in his hands. And I said, 'Will looks as though he is feeling pretty bad.' And he had some reason to, because, you see, when Prof. Prescott preached a sermon on Friday night against me and against the Living Temple, in which he did not read a line out of Living Temple, but he read out of Spiritualist books, heathen books, and pantheistic books, and theosophical books - read all those things, horrible things, making those people believe that he was reading out of my book all the time. It was the most horrible thing; I could not stand it, and I came pretty nearly shouting out at the time.

"Somebody asked him what book he was reading from, and he would not tell them. Then he went on and told this awful tale, these awful heathen doctrines, and said, "This is the doctrine that is being taught among us by this book that has been circulated." But in College View he stated before a public audience that we had circulated 50,000 copies of that book; and it was a falsehood. And he knew it was a falsehood when he told it -- of the Living Temple.

"Elder Evans came to my house when he got back and said, 'Prof. Prescott, W.C. White and Elder Daniells have bound themselves together in a conspiracy to ruin you and I have letters which I think will prove it'. . . .

"He (W.C. White) is a schemer, and he wanted that attack to be made on me; and the brethren on the ground knew that, Sutherland and others, and they had seen that letter that Sister White had given to W.C. White - had got a copy of it from Maggie and others. And now Sister White had told Prof. Prescott not to give that address and not to say a word against me; but instead of that, Will White kept that in his pocket, and Prof. Prescott came out that night with a most diabolical tirade against me, charging me with all sorts of diabolical things, reading from other books and then saying, 'That is the doctrine Dr. Kellogg is teaching.' Now, then, Prof. Prescott has gotten into a very humiliating position. Elder Jones sat there taking notes of the things which he charged me with. He put them down one after another, and the next Sunday morning Elder Jones stood up at six o'clock in the morning in the same room and he read out of the Review from Prof. Prescott's own pen every one of those things he had charged me with and not one of which could he produce from the Living Temple. Now that is the situation he was in. He 'took to the woods.' A number of people here in town know that to be the truth of it. Elder Jones started at six o'clock in the morning, and that meeting did not close until one o'clock. They stayed away from breakfast. And when Elder Jones got through reading from the Review the things that Prof. Prescott had written, and it was found that he himself had done the things he had charged me with, and that I had not done these things - when he proved them all upon Prof. Prescott, Will White sat with his head getting lower and lower and lower. Elder Daniells said, 'Well, I am dumbfounded. I don't know what to say.'

"Now in that same meeting I got up and said to them there that I did not intend to write in Living Temple anything that was not in harmony with what Sister White had written and with what the Review was publishing and what was accepted by the denomination. I said, 'Now, I am ready to repudiate this moment, and I do retract, anything that is not in harmony with what Sister White herself has written in a recent article in the Review. That is what I believe. If there is anything in my book that is not in harmony with that, I retract it and denounce it.' How could they ask anything more of me? Sister White had instructed those people to come to me and offer me the right hand of fellowship, and they did not. I stayed there until the last day I could stay. I had to hurry home to do operations. That morning I saw W.C. White there. I knew Will was doing those tricky things. . . .

"This man Evans came into this room voluntarily and told me that Daniells and Prescott and White had organized a conspiracy and combined together to ruin me and would do it if they could. And he said, 'I believe I have letters to prove it'. . . .

"I have got a document, a report of that meeting, that shows how testimonies are manufactured. It shows the whole thing right in operation, a testimony being made. And it has got Sister White's name signed to it when the thing was manufactured on the spot, and it has got the internal evidence in it. Sister White suppressed the thing, and you know it. . . .

"That is the time they started their campaign against me, for I was there along with Ed but didn't know it until afterwards. Daniells sat there, and there are reports of things, statements made to Sister White just as false as sin, Brother Amadon. And she came out and took a position, told these men what to do. When they came up here and denounced the book Living Temple, it was only so that they might get rid of making up the $200,000. Sister White told them not to when they told her the tales they told her, and they wanted to know how in the world they could get out of it. And the only way in the world was to denounce the book, and afterwards Daniells told Sutherland they made a mistake denouncing the theology of the book. . . .

"I want to tell you that when Mrs. White wrote in her article that that book Living Temple taught free love doctrines, she wrote something that was libelous and is not true. There are no such doctrines in Living Temple. You have read the book through. Did you find any such there?

"B: I didn't think I did at the time.

"K: You cannot find it. It is not there. I do not believe in free love doctrines, and I never have been standing on that side of the fence. I am trying to stand up for straightforwardness and purity, and I try to do my part in holding up correct standards in the world. These people have come out to try to smut us in every way they can.

"B: That is one of the points I wanted to speak to you about sometime - that is, what is contained in that book.

"K: I will tell you about that. It will take but just a minute to say all I have to say about it, and that is this thing. I believe in the omnipresence of God. How God is omnipresent, I don't know. Do you believe in the omnipresence of God?

"B: I do - omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience

"A: Present as a Holy Spirit.

"K: That is all I believe.

"B: I believe we are in the likeness of God with regard to intellect as well as to body. But at the same time that the knowledge that He has is unlimited, but with us it is limited. And power He has is unlimited, but with us it is limited.

"K: Certainly, certainly. Now I hear the brethren say when they are in a meeting, 'I feel that the Lord is here.' I go into the laboratory, look into a microscope, see cells under my eyes, see cells working there, and I say 'God is here working.' I cannot see how God's Spirit is separate from His presence. Now you see I don't mean the Lord Himself is here; I mean His Spirit is here. It is all right as far as I am concerned. All I wanted to explain in Living Temple was that this work that is going on in the man here is not going on by itself like a clock wound up, but it is the power of God and the Spirit of God that is carrying it on. Now, I thought I had cut out entirely the theological side of questions of the trinity and all that sort of things. I didn't mean to put it in at all, and I took pains to state in the preface that I did not. I never dreamed of such a thing as any theological question being brought into it. I only wanted to show that the heart does not beat of its own motion but that it is the power of God that keeps it going. Now, Sister White wrote an article and said, 'It is wrong to say that God Himself is in the tree.' Now, I didn't intend to say that. I didn't intend to say that - that God Himself, the Almighty, separate and distinct from His power, from His Spirit as a separate entity - that He was in the tree. I didn't mean to say that. I meant simply that the Spirit, the power, the intelligence of the Almighty, is being manifested in all these living things that are going on about us.

"A: Yes, in all vegetable life, in all animal life.

"B: In everything.

"K: Certainly. I never dreamed of such an interpretation being put upon it as they have. When I found such an interpretation was being put on it, I said, "I will change it, do anything to correct that." And you know, they would not let me change it.

"'And if you will show me,' I said to Prof. Prescott, 'if you will show me how to correct this I will fix it right away.' But they would not let me do it. If they did the game was up right away, you see. The whole game was up - this campaign that was going on. If they will show me how to fix that book so it can't possibly convey any such erroneous impression as they say they got from it - just show me how to fix it up - and I will be tickled to death to do it. I didn't want to be teaching anything that would lead anybody astray. So there it is; the books are there in the basement.

"I have asked the General Conference to fix it; I have asked Haskell to fix it; I have asked Prescott to do it, told them to cross out everything they thought conveyed a wrong idea according to their notions, and I would take it out. Prof. Prescott said it was so interwoven all through from cover to cover that it could not be extracted. That was so preposterous. I knew it was not the truth, and I knew he did not think it was the truth, because the greater part of the book is about what to eat, what to drink, about what to wear and how to exercise, and a whole lot of other things where this question could not possibly come in at all. . . . I shall just simply accept the thing when it comes along.

"But I am not going to withdraw from the church or make any request to be put out, because that will put me in an attitude in which I do not wish to stand. I stand for the truth, and I have not changed, and I do not want anyone to have any excuse for saying I have. I want the people who keep on telling the lies to be responsible for the lies. (1907 Interview. Emphasis supplied.)

Scheming and lies

So far Dr. John Harvey Kellogg's own account on "the pantheistic crisis" - "the alpha of apostasy", according to Ellen White. This is his own version of the issue. We have learned what were his own views on "pantheism", and that there may have been some misunderstandings - and that Dr. Kellogg in so case wanted to correct them. But strong leaders in the General Conference did not want that to happen, because the issue was part of their scheming to oust the doctor. They inflated the whole matter to incredible proportions, and Ellen White was misinformed and manipulated by her own son Willie and other strong leaders. To support their scheming, she received "visions". "The alpha of apostasy" was, in brief, a schemed deception from beginning to end - there was no "apostasy" or "crisis" at all.

As we have seen previously, Ellen White did send out testimonies where she claimed that Dr. Kellogg had "rejected" the testimonies at that time. This claim does not correspond with his own explanation.

The entire interview tells a story about how strong leaders in the General Conference disseminated the most vicious lies about Dr. Kellogg; that his sanitarium in reality was a covert whore-house; that the doctor procured whores from the West-Indies and disguised them as nurses, and that he himself was a womanizer. We learned how Ellen White was manipulated and misinformed, and how she sent out "testimonies from God", which later on showed up to be based on misinformation. We have learned how strong leaders in the General Conference accused Dr. Kellogg of swindle, wanting to get the power - while in reality the leaders themselves were guilty of what they accused him for.

During the whole interview, Dr. Kellogg talks respectfully about Ellen White; his attitude stands in strong contrast to the meanness, scheming and lies he experienced from some leading brethren. But Ellen White was guilty herself, with her false visions. She claimed revelations from heaven to participate in a scheme to break the will of an apparently innocent man.

There exist a number of letters and manuscripts from A.T. Jones from that time, which confirm the scheming of the General Conference against Dr. Kellogg.

If we are to form a relatively complete picture of "the pantheistic crisis", it is important that both parts involved are given equal opportunity to explain. The accused: Dr. Kellogg, and the accuser: Ellen White and the Adventist denomination. We are familiar with Ellen White's and the denomination's version - which we can find in numerous books. For obvious reasons, the accused's own version has been hidden. Very few know of it. Dr. Kellogg has been sentenced "in absentia". The sentence was passed on basis of a one-sided account of the case, and without damning evidence.

Dr. Kellogg was subjected to scheming and persecution (and he was not the only one. A.T. Jones did also experience some nasty things from Ellen White and the SDA-denomination), and we owe him a just hearing. The question of Dr. Kellogg being a pantheist or not, we will leave to God. Only He knows the heart.

On November 10, 1907, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was expelled from the SDA-church at Battle Creek, without the biblical rule being followed. Dr. Kellogg did not got the opportunity (as far as I know), to stand before the congregation to defend his case. Were the leading brethren afraid of what he would have to say?

Merritt G. Kellogg

In 1908 Dr. John H. Kellogg's older brother (or half-brother), Merritt G. Kellogg, wrote a 33-page handwritten manuscript, where he gives an account of how he conceived the issue. Here follows an excerpt from his manuscript.

"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 the theology 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 criticized 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[this was 'the young man' referred to previously in this manuscript, AK], stood before me with a copy of Living Temple in his hand. 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'. . . .

"'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.' [He never did. He lived as a healthy man till he died at age 93, AK].

"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. (Merritt G. Kellogg, A Statement, 1907. Emphasis supplied.)

The schemers at the General Conference conspired against Dr. J.H. Kellogg by concocting lies. Then the schemers went to Ellen White and got "the Spirit of Prophecy" joined to their scheming. Then Ellen White receives a "vision" - in precise time for the occasion. She uses strong words when she says, "It is impossible for your brother to speak the truth, speaking untruths has been his failing all his life". This statement by her is not to be taken seriously, of course. There are strong evidences that Ellen White quite often was far more reckless with truth than Dr. Kellogg.

In harmony with Ellen White's writings

William H. Grotheer has this to say about the book The Living Temple,

"Few today really know what the book is all about, for few have ever seen a copy. I recall, after learning about the existence of the book, of obtaining a copy on loan from a history professor at Andrews University. To my surprise, the major portion of the 568 page book, involved physiology, anatomy and principles of health and hygiene. The first fifty pages contained philosophical concepts which were subject to 'question' and even in these it was difficult to discern 'the deadly heresies'. When I returned the book to Dr. Vande Vere, I commented on this point, and he remarked that unless one knew what Ellen White had written about the book, a casual reader would not see the error charged to it.

"At the time of publication in 1903, those who favored a wide circulation for the book, declared, 'it contains the very sentiments that Sister White has been teaching.' (ibid, p. 52) in fact Kellogg himself maintained that the views expressed in his book were in harmony with Ellen White's chapter, 'God in Nature' found in Education. (John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., p. 185) On this point, I have personally, on several occasions, conducted an experiment with different audiences in discussing this issue. I compiled a series of quotations from Education and Living Temple, and asked those listening, as I read, to indicate from which book they were taken. At no time did anyone actually identify the quotations correctly." (Watchman, What of the Night, 12-94, p. 5-6. Emphasis supplied.)

Ellen White admitted that the "questionable passages" in Dr. Kellogg's book The Living Temple were almost in full harmony with her own writings (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 2, p. 53). In order to explain away this, she claimed that they (the objectionable passages) were "the more dangerous". In doing so, she in fact condemned her own writings. When people are not able to discern between her statements in the book Education (plagiarized to some extent from John Harris) and those in The Living Temple, we have full right to brand her book Education as "dangerous" as The Living Temple itself! Ellen White did not quite manage to solve this dilemma, therefore the stronger became her condemnations of Dr. Kellogg's book, which she did not even read!

Ellen White stated that the book The Living Temple contained "the alpha of deadly heresies." We have learned on what foundation her accusations of heresy against Dr. Kellogg was based upon. At that time there were quite a few books on pantheism, spiritism and paganism in circulation. Why then ear-mark Dr. Kellogg's book the way it was done? We have seen the answer? Ellen White's "visions" on the "pantheistic crisis" and The Living Temple were false visions which were convenient for strong leaders who wished to break down Dr. Kellogg. The entire affair was a dark spot (among others) on Ellen White's reputation as a "Messenger of the Lord".


In February, 1902, the Sanitarium at Battle Creek burned down, and in December the same year, the publishing house and printing press, also at Battle Creek, burned down to ground. Some indicated that these fires were deliberately started from powers who wanted to break down Dr. Kellogg. In 1903, Ellen White wrote a testimony, where she stated that these fires were "judgments from God." The printing press had been keeping the plates to the book Living Temple. But in 1906, the denomination's publishing house and printing press at Oakland, California -- Pacific Press -- burned down, and this time Ellen White herself suffered a substantial loss. She had paid several thousand dollars to New York artists for illustrations to be used in her books, and all the illustrations went up in smoke. After this Ellen White did not have much to say about certain fires being "judgments from God".

Category: Tests of a Prophet
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