Dear Sister ___________,
Thank you for contacting the Ellen G. White Estate. I really don't know what statements from Mrs. White might lie somewhere behind the comments you have told me about here. Mrs. White did object to the exercise of "kingly power" by church leaders. The cure for that was found at the 1901 General Conference session, where the Union Conference system was adopted and the executive committees of the General Conference was greatly expanded. Mrs. White urged that leaders seek counsel from others, and that decisions be broadly based, especially involving those who might be closer to the situation and have a better understanding of it than the distant leader might have.
I sent your inquiry to a very knowledgeable colleague at the main office of the White Estate to see if he might think of something applicable, but he did not come up with more than what I have mentioned above.
A possible problem is that you may have two layers of interpretation between you and the statement of Mrs. White (if there was one). The first layer of interpretation is the Standish brother who was speaking. He may have quoted a statement (or not) and then given his own restating of it, which could add some coloration of his own. The second layer is your sister-in-law, who heard what was said and remembered things they way they struck her. This has the potential to be even farther from what Mrs. White actually said than the first layer of interpretation.
I think your best bet will be to ask your sister-in-law for the statements she had in mind. Until you see them, you really can't evaluate for yourself the merits of the point your sister-in-law was making. See if she can help you with that. It might be good for her to look up the original statements in any event.
I think your take on the self-supporting work in relation to Mrs. White is accurate.
Sorry I can't help you more. Thank you for writing, and God bless!
William Fagal, Director
Ellen G. White Estate Branch Office
Berrien Springs, MI 49104-1400 USA
Phone: 269 471-3209
FAX: 269 471-2646
Website: www.WhiteEstate.org or www.egwestate.andrews.edu
Just a little background. We are retired from the organized work and living in British Columbia, Canada. My husband has been a publishing director and than a pastor until our retirement about four years ago. We do believe in our Seventh-day Adventist Church and its organization directed by the General Conference.
Unfortunately, my husband's two sisters are recent followers of the Standish brothers, and they really believe that they are the historical church and they have never left the church but we have. They were both in New Zealand, but the one sister had to return to South Africa this week because her visa could not be extended further. They both attended their campmeeting this last weekend in New Zealand and both the Standish brothers led out I believe. The one sister writes:
"I have had long talks with both the Standish brothers, they are such spiritual men who stand for truth though the heavens fall. He was telling us that the 'Organisation' always begs them for their graduates, because they are so well trained. We had one of the Hartland graduates here this weekend as a guest speaker. Colin Standish read to us from Mrs White's writings that the Lord had told her that the 'World Church' was not to be organised by ONE body, e.g. 'The General Conference'. One of the reasons was the cost of getting people to the Sessions etc. every 5 years or more often. The Lord also felt it was not a good thing for there to be a "Boss" like person in charge of a world-wide mission field. Mrs White also condoned and sanctioned Self-supporting Institutions, and they had already started in her day."
1. I don't for one minute believe that our church would beg them for their graduates. We would not employ someone who was following some off shoot.
2. Where was Colin Standish reading from where Mrs. White wrote that the Lord told her that the 'World Church' was not to be organised by ONE body, e.g. 'The General Conference'? Do you know of any such statement or is it all a fabrication? I don't believe that for one minute either. Also "The Lord also felt it was not a good thing for there to be a "Boss" like person in charge of a world-wide mission field." The president does not run our church. That is why we have committees. It seems like the Standish borthers are running their church.
3. As far as Mrs. White condoning and sanctioning self-supporting institutions, that is believable, but I am sure she meant that they were supporting the organized church and not ripping it apart with their continual fault finding. I know our church is not perfect, but they seem to dig up so much dirt!
I do have to reply to my sister-in-law so I would appreciate your comments. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
> Sincerely yours, ___________