“Just as Much President and Vice-president of Timbuctoo as you Were of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference” A.T. Jones to Daniels! Part 1

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Dear Reader,

The following letter was written by A.T. Jones to Arthur Daniels in the year 1906. It involves what “should have been” regarding organization of the church as of the General Conference Session of 1901.


Some History
Some Experience
Some Facts
Elder A. T. Jones
At the Regular Meeting of the Sanitarium Family,
in the Sanitarium Chapel,
Battle Creek, Michigan,
Sunday, March 4, 1906,
8:00 p.m.

Tonight I wish to state the case as it is so far; and why it is that I must speak. The greater part of what I shall say to you tonight has been already said to General Conference brethren; not to all of the General Conference brethren, but to Brother Daniells and some others.

Nowhere in it is there, or will there be, any purpose to attack anybody; nor any attempt to discredit any one; or to put any one in the wrong. I have some facts of history to state, and some facts of experience. I make no objection to any one's doing or having done any of the things to which I do not agree. My sole purpose is to tell why I can not do so. Also I should say that so far as I am concerned and as to anything that shall be said tonight, there is no question at all and no issue at all as to the Testimonies as such.
What I shall further say tonight will be introduced by a short statement that I read last Tuesday morning to such of the General Conference brethren as were then in town. When I learned last Friday that Brother Daniells was to be in town over Sabbath, I sent to him a note asking to meet him and the other General Conference brethren who might be here.

When it came about, on Tuesday morning, there were only three present. If there had been only one, it would have been all the same; or if there had been the whole General Conference Committee, it would have been all the same: as all that I wished to do was to state a few facts, and to tell them what we now find ourselves obliged to do.


In a letter to me the president stated that my "general attitude had greatly perplexed many of our people," as well as himself. I then wrote to him a letter for the express purpose of taking away all ground for his having any perplexity at all concerning my attitude. And as he said that "many of our people" have also in this connection been "greatly perplexed," I desire to take away from everybody all ground for perplexity concerning me.
And since the letter is a simple recital of facts, many of which concern all our people, I believe that what is said in this letter will be the best means that I could employ to relieve all persons of any perplexity that they may have had, or otherwise might have, concerning me or my attitude.
Therefore, three-fourths of this letter I shall read to you tonight: the other fourth pertains to a matter that is not n issue, and is not necessarily in this issue, so far as I am concerned, or as the issue really is. It may yet be made an issue, or a part of the present issue; for the campaign that is being made is a very wide-sweeping thing.
And if it shall be made an issue, or shall be made necessarily a part of the present issue, then, you shall be just as welcome to that part of the letter as you now are to the three-fourths of it that I shall read tonight.
The letter was begun January 26, but because of regular work it was not finished for about two weeks. It runs as follows: --

Battle Creek, Mich.,
Jan. 26, 1906
A. G. Daniells,
Takoma Park Station,
Washington, D.C.
Dear Brother: --
Your letter of the 17th in answer to mine of the 6th goes so far afield from anything expected or, as I think, called for by my letter, that I am disposed to follow you there, and do all that I can to take away all ground for your having any perplexity about me or my course. Indeed, if you had remembered things that at the beginning I said to you, you need not to have been perplexed at all concerning me, if you expected me to be consistent at all.
First, as to General Conference matters, and my relations to the Committee:
Before the General Conference of 1897, at College View, the conditions were such that in that Conference things came to a deadlock. By the Committee and presidents in council, I, in my absence was appointed to read the Testimonies to find the way out. God did lead us out gloriously. A change was made: Brother Irwin being elected president. And I was made a member of the Committee.
It was not very long, however, before the same influences that had produced the situation at College View, were again at work. I saw it plainly enough to satisfy me, and by the time of the General Conference of 1899, at South Lancaster, things were in a bad shape again in some respects -- though not near so far along as at College View. In the South Lancaster Conference one day, all unexpectedly, and unintentionally on the part of anybody in the Conference, the power of God came in in a special manner, bringing the whole Conference to its knees at once, and working a great deliverance again.
Brother Irwin stated openly in the Conference that he had "been a coward." The whole matter can be read in the Bulletin of that Conference for that day. On another day in that Conference, the power of God came in specially and carried the deliverance further.
By action of that Conference, I was continued on the Committee. It was not long before the same old influences were at work; and in about a year they had got such a hold again, that, rather than be compromised, I resigned from the Committee.
Then came the General Conference of 1901, in Battle Creek. According to the arrangements I was to report the proceedings of the Conference: and according to the arrangements, Brother Prescott and Brother Waggoner were not expecting, and evidently were not expected, to have even that much to do. But before the Conference actually assembled in session there occurred that meeting in the Library Room of the College Building, in which Sister White spoke on General Conference matters and organization, declaring that there must be "an entire new organization, and to have a Committee that shall take in not merely half a dozen that is to be a ruling and controlling power, but it is to have representatives of those that are placed in responsibility in our educational interests, in our sanitariums, etc."; that
"there should be a renovation without any delay. To have this Conference pass on and close up as the Conferences have done with the same manipulating, with the very same tone, and the same order --God forbid! God forbid, brethren. . . . And until this shall come we might just as well close up the Conference today as any other day. . . . This thing has been continued and renewed for the last fifteen years or more, and God calls for a change."


"God wants a change, and it is high time -- it is high time that there was ability that should connect with the Conference, with the General Conference right here in this city. Now wait until it is done and over with, and then gather up the forces and see what can be done. We want to know what can be done right now."
"From the light that I have, as it was presented to me in figures: There was a narrow compass here: there within that narrow compass, is a king-like, a kingly ruling power."
"God means what he says and He says, 'I want a change here.' Will it be the same thing? going over and over the same ideas, the same committees --and here is the little throne -- the king is in there, and these others are all secondary."
"God wants that those committees that have been handling things for so long should be relieved of their command have a chance for their life and see if they can not get out of this rut that they are in --which I have no hope of their getting out of, because the Spirit of God has been working and working, and yet the king is in there still. Now the Lord wants His Spirit to come in. He wants the Holy Ghost king."
"From the light that I have had for some time, and has been expressed over and over again, not to all there are here, but has been expressed to individuals --the plans that God would have all to work from, that never should one mind or two minds or three minds, nor four minds, or a few minds I should say, be considered of sufficient wisdom and power to control and mark out plans and let it rest upon the minds of one or two or three in regard to this broad, broad field that we have."
"And the work all over our field demands an entirely different course of action than we have had; that there needs the laying of a foundation that is different from what we have had. . . . In all these countries, far and near, He wants to be an arousing, broadening, enlarging power. And a management which is getting confused in itself -- not that any one is wrong or means to be wrong, but the principle is wrong; and the principles have become so mixed and so fallen from what God's principles are."
"These things have been told, and this stand-still has got to come to an end. But yet every Conference has woven after the same pattern, it is the very same loom that carries it, and finally, it will come to naught."

She declared that, "God wants us to take hold of this work, every human agency." "Each one is to act in their capacity in such a way that the confidence of the whole people will be established in them and that they will not be afraid, but see everything just as light as day until they are in connection with the work of God and the whole people. . . . All the provision was made in heaven, all the facilities, all the riches of the grace of God was imparted to every worker that was connected with the cause, and every one of these are wholly dependent upon God. And when we leave God out of the question, and allow hereditary and cultivated traits of character to come in, let me tell you, we are on very slippery ground."
"God hath His servants -- His Church, established in the earth, composed of many members, but of one body; that in every part of the work one part must work as connected with another part, and that with another part, and with another part, and these are joined together by the golden links of heaven, and there is to be no kings here in the midst at all. There is to be no man that has the right to put his hand out and say: No, you can not go there. We won't support you if you go there. Why, what have you to do with the supporting? Did you create the means? The means comes from the people. And those who are in destitute fields -- the voice of God has told me to instruct them to go to the people and tell them their necessities; and to draw all the people to work just where they can find a place to work, to build up the work in every place they can."
Upon that instruction and much more to the same effect in that talk, you and Brother Prescott and others took hold of the matters pertaining to the then pending General Conference, set aside entirely the old order of things, and started in new. At the opening of the General Conference, April 2, Sister White spoke briefly to the same effect as in the College Building the day before. Irwin followed with a few words; and then you spoke a few words and introduced a motion "that the usual rules and precedents for arranging and transacting the business of the Conference be suspended, and a General Committee be hereby appointed ... to constitute a general or central committee, which shall do such work a necessarily must be done in providing the work of the Conference, and preparing the business to bring before the delegates." Thus the new order of things was started.
The night of that very first day of the Conference I was appointed to preach the sermon. Since I had been appointed to report the proceedings, I expected to have no preaching or other work to do. Therefore when I was called to preach, I supposed that it was designed to have me preach that one time during the conference, and have me do it at the beginning so that I could go on afterward unmolested with the reporting. I spoke on Church Organization. When that meeting was over, I supposed that my preaching during the Conference was done.
Therefore I was surprised when only two days afterward -- April 4 -- you came to me at the reporters' table and said, "We want you to preach tonight." I said, "I supposed that my preaching was over with, since I have the reporting to do. I can not do this and preach often." You said to me, "You have light for the people: and we want them to have it." I consented and preached again on the subject of Church Organization, developing the subject further, and on the same principles precisely as on the night of April 2.


In that Conference the General Conference was started toward the called-for reorganization. All understood that the call was away from a centralized order of things in which "one man or two men or three or four men or a few men" held the ruling and directing power, to an organization in which "all the people" as individuals should have a part, with God, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit as the unifying, guiding, and directing power.
Indeed, the day before my second sermon on organization, Sister White had said, April 3 --
"We want to understand that there are no gods in our Conference. There are to be no kings here, and no kings in any conference that is formed. 'All ye are brethren.' "
"The Lord wants to bind those at this Conference heart to heart. No man is to say, 'I am a god, and you must do as I say.' From the beginning to the end this is wrong. There is to be an individual work. God says, 'Let him take hold of my strength that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.'
"Remember that God can give wisdom to those who handle his work. It is not necessary to send thousands of miles to Battle Creek for advice, and then have to wait weeks before an answer can be received. Those who are right on the ground are to decide what shall be done. You know what you have to wrestle with, but those who are thousands of miles away do not know." -- Bulletin, 1901, pp. 69, 70.
And on the very day of my second sermon, April 4, she said in a talk at 9:00 a.m.: "This meeting will determine the character of our work in the future. How important that every step shall be taken under the supervision of God. This work must be carried in a very different manner to what it has been in the past years." -- Bulletin, p. 83.
In this understanding a new Constitution entire was adopted: and that such was the understanding in adopting this Constitution is plainly shown in the discussions. Under this constitution the General Conference Committee was composed of a large number of men, with "power to organize itself by choosing a chairman," etc.
No president of the General Conference was chosen; nor was any provided for. The presidency of the General Conference was eliminated to escape a centralized power, a one-man power, a kingship, a monarchy. The Constitution was framed and adopted to that end in accordance with the whole guiding thought in the Conference from the beginning in that room in the College Building,
Shortly after the Conference ended, you suggested during the meeting at Indianapolis that my sermon on organization ought to be printed in a leaflet so that our people everywhere could have it -- for study in the work of re-organization. Your suggestion was agreed to and I was directed to prepare it for printing. I did so, and it was printed at General Conference direction, in "Words of Truth Series, No. 31, extra, May, 1901."


Now after all this, it was not long before this whole spirit and principle of General Conference organization and affairs began to be reversed again. This spirit of reaction became so rife and so rank that some time before the General Conference of 1903 at Oakland, Cal., "two men, or three men, or four men, or a few men, I should say," being together in Battle Creek or somewhere else, and without any kind of authority, but directly against the plain words of the Constitution, took it absolutely upon themselves to elect you president, and Brother Prescott vice-president of the General Conference. And than that there never was in this universe a clearer piece of usurpation of position, power, and authority. You two were then, of right, just as much president and vice-president of Timbuctoo as you were of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference.
But this spirit did not stop even there. The thing done was directly against the Constitution. This was too plain to be escaped. And it was just as plain that with that Constitution still perpetuated in the coming General Conference, this usurpation of position, power, and authority could not be perpetuated. What could be done to preserve the usurpation? -- Oh, that was just as easy as the other. A new "Constitution" was framed to fit and to uphold the usurpation.
This "Constitution" was carried to the General Conference of 1903 at Oakland, Cal., and in every unconstitutional way was there jammed through. I say in every unconstitutional way, because in every truly constitutional government the Constitution comes in some way from the people, not from the monarch.
Thus the people make and establish a Constitution. The monarch "grants" a Constitution. When the people make a Constitution the people govern. When a monarch "grants" a Constitution, he seeks to please the people with a toy and keeps the government himself. This difference is the sole difficulty in Russia today; and the difference is simply the difference between monarchy and government of the people; and between oppression and freedom. The people want to make a Constitution. The czar wants to "grant them a Constitution" and have them endorse anew his autocracy and bureaucracy by "adopting" the "Constitution" that he "grants."
And this is just the difference between the General Conference and its Constitution of 1901, and the General Conference and its Constitution of 1903. In 1901 the monarchy was swept aside completely, and the Conference itself as such and as a whole made a new Constitution.
In the General Conference of 1903, the usurpers of monarchical position and authority came with a "Constitution" that fitted and maintained their usurpation, and succeeded in getting it "adopted." And how? -- None of the people had asked for any new Constitution.
The General Conference delegation had not asked for it. Not even the Committee on Constitution asked for it. In behalf of the usurpation it was brought before that committee and advocated there because, in very words, "The church must have a visible head."
 It was not, even then, nor was it ever, favored by that committee. It was put through the committee, and reported to the Conference, only by permanently dividing the committee --a minority of the committee opposing it all the time, and --a thing almost unheard of in Seventh-day Adventist Conference --bringing into the Conference a minority report against it. And when at last it was adopted by the final vote, it was by the slim majority of just five. And it was only by the carelessness of some of the delegates that it got through even that way; for there were just then downstairs in the Oakland church enough delegates who were opposed to it, to have defeated it if they had been present.
They told this themselves afterward. But they did not know that the vote was being taken, and by their not being in their places the usurpation was sanctioned; the reactionary spirit that had been so long working for absolute control had got it; the principles and intent of the General Conference of 1901 were reversed; and a czardom was enthroned which has since gone steadily onward in the same way and has with perfect consistency built up a thoroughly bureaucratic government, by which it reaches and meddles with, and manipulates, the affairs of all, not only of union and local conferences, but of local churches, and even of individual persons. So that some of the oldest men in active service today, and who by their life experience are best qualified to know, have freely said that in the whole history of the denomination there has never been such a one-man power, such a centralized despotism, so much of papacy as there has been since the Oakland Conference. And as a part of this bureaucracy there is, of all the incongruous things ever heard of, a "Religious Liberty Bureau," a contradiction in terms.

Now when I was opposed to this thing before and in the General Conference of 1897, and before and in the General Conference of 1899, and before and in the General Conference of 1901, and before and in the General Conference of 1903, why should you be perplexed that I have not fallen in with it and helped to make it a success since 1903?
Why should I, in 1903, abandon all the principles and teaching by which I was right in opposing it until and including 1903? When I was in the right all these years in opposing it, and in doing all that I could to keep it from succeeding, why and upon what principles should I have swung in and favored it just because at last in a most arbitrary, unconstitutional and usurping way it did at last succeed?
Again, in the General Conference of 1901 you yourself said that in the principles of organization that I preached I had "light for the people." Those principles were the ones that prevailed in that Conference; and at your own suggestion these principles as preached in my first sermon, were published for the help of the denomination in the work or reorganization.
But the principles and the form of organization of 1903 are directly the opposite of those that in 1901 you said were "light for the people." If my second sermon in the General Conference of 1901 had been printed along with the first, the people would have been able to see more plainly how entirely the course of things in 1903 was the reverse of that of 1901. And any one can see it now by reading General Conference Bulletin of 1901, pages 37-42 and 101-105.
Now, brother, were those principles light in 1901? If so, then what did you do when you espoused the opposite of them in 1902-1903? Or, were those principles light in 1901, and darkness in 1903? Or were those principles really darkness in 1901, when you said that they were light? Or are they still light today as they were in 1901? And if in the General Conference of 1901 you were not able to distinguish between light and darkness, what surety has anybody that you were any more able to do so in 1902-3? Or is it possible that in 1902-3 you were not, and now are not, able to see that the principles and the course of action of 1902-3 are not the same as those of the General Conference of 1901? In other words, is it possible that you can think that certain principles with their course of action, and the reverse of them are one and the same?
I know that the principles that in 1901 you said were "light for the people" were then really light, and that they are now light, and forevermore will be light. They are only plain principles of the word of God. I hold these principles today exactly as I did in 1901 and long before, and shall hold them forever. For this cause I was opposed to the usurpation and unconstitutional action of 1902-3 that were the opposite of these principles; and shall always be opposed to them.
In view of all these facts, again I ask, Why should you think that I should abandon all, just because you and some others did? I think that it was enough for me to keep still these three years. It is true that I had had no disposition to do anything but to keep still about it. For when the General Conference of 1903 made their choice that way, I have no objection their having what they have chosen. I have no disposition to oppose it in any other way than by preaching the gospel.
Indeed, the strongest possible opposition that can be made to it is the plain, simple preaching of the plain gospel. There is this about that, however, that now the plain simple preaching of the plain gospel will be considered "disloyal to the General Conference," "disloyal to the organization," etc.
Nevertheless, I am going to continue to preach the plain gospel, as that gospel is in the Word of God. For when the General Conference and the "organized work" put themselves in such a position that the plain preaching of the gospel as in the Word of God is disloyalty to the General Conference and the "organized work," then the thing to do is to preach the gospel as it is in the Word of God. End of Jones’ letter.

What follows is internet conversation about the above letter: 

Laval Picard <forerunner000@yahoo.ca> wrote:

David, you are absolutely right in your assessment. I have studied the issu myself over the years and I have come to the same conclusion as you have.


David <davidroush@myself.com> wrote:

Bro. Arnold;

Some have left an established church for the wrong reasons but not
all have done this.

Maybe you should let those who you fellowship with know what you
believe maybe then they would allow you to teach.

As for A. T. Jones, I have a copy of a GC Sessions bulletin where he
makes his stand for the wrong that was done to him by the leaders of
the church, W. C. White, A.G. Daniells, just to name two.
There are a couple of things that drove him from the denomination,
lies from the leadership and the kingly power.
Anyway a short story to briefly explain.
1901 there was a change in the GC leadership, they went from having
1 man as the head of the church to having a 5-man committee. Jones,
Waggoner and others established this change. Sister White said that
God approved of this change, that there would be no more kingly
power in the leading of the church.
Anyway, A. G. Daniells was the chairmen and just before 1903 he
called for another GC Session, which took place in 1903. They're
where less than half the people in attendance as there was in 1901
Session this is due in fact to the lateness of the call for the GC
Session by Daniells. Jones and a couple of others stood against what
Daniells was trying to and that was to reestablish the kingly power,
they failed in trying to stop it.

A. T. Jones did not talk against the change once it was done and he
went back to Battle Creek to teach and to preach.

Anyway W. C. White and A. G. Daniells made so interesting comments
in the churches R&H and A. T. Jones finally replied. White and
Daniells accused Jones things A. T. Jones replied to them concerning
the untruths that they had printed but it was to late Jones had been
tried and convicted by White and Daniells and they took away
his "man-made" credentials.
It is really an interesting story to read the whole thing and then
to read the R&H and the Signs of the Times articles all of, which
supports A. T. Jones and not White and Daniells.

Jones continued to preach the same truth that had sustained the
believers from the early years despite of the falsehoods that where
spread about him.

I am sure that someone is going to ask for proof of what I have
written; I will head it off now. If you want the facts then do some
research on the events? But stay away from the white estates if you
want the truth on this matter it took me about 6 months to finally
get to the bottom of the matter.

Here is a title of a book on this subject by A. T. Jones "An appeal
for evangelical Christianity", the contents was presented before the
GC ion 5/27/1909. And it was reprinted from Australia.

What I have written truly does not even slightly do it justice.

Peace and Grace

--- In DefendEGW@yahoogroups.com, "Arnold Sy Go" <arnold.sygo@...>
> > apostasies among God's chosen people. Therefore, for the
> > faithful to willingly leave the church would be unprecedented."
> >
> > To a point I would agree with you here as it
concerns "prophets /
> > messengers.
> > However, look at the reformation the list is very extensive on
> > who left the organized churches and even after that time frame
> > and women left the organized churches. Look at the "Millerite
> > Movement of one.
> Yes, many have left the organized church. But the thrust of my
comment was
> that they don't WILLINGLY leave. note this from EGW:
> "As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical
> in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding
> generation. Again and again the history of Christ's withdrawal
from Judea
> has been repeated. When the Reformers preached the word of God,
they had no
> thought of separating themselves from the established church; but
> religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that
bore it were
> forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth. In
our day few
> of the professed followers of the Reformers are actuated by their
> Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth
> whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the
steps of
> the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love,
in order
> to declare the plain teaching of the word of God. And many times
those who
> are seeking for light are by the same teaching obliged to leave
the church
> of their fathers, that they may render obedience." {DA 232.2}
> Note that Reformers are "forced to turn away" and "obliged to
leave" the
> church. That is in sharp contrast with the attitudes I see among
many of
> today's self-proclaimed reformers.
> Speaking of Millerites, I recall Charles Fitch's experience in Sin
Shall Not
> Have Dominion Over You. That was a fine example of speaking the
truth in
> love, mixing power with humility.
> ---
> > A.T. Jones is another, while it can be said that he
> > was forced out and it can also be argued that he left the
> > church, while he did not leave the message.
> Exactly why did he leave the church? What doctrine caused the
> ---
> > I feel few truly leave because of actual belief differences. I
> > be incorrect in this.
> I believe research supports your conclusion.
> ---
> > I know one person that was removed from office of being an
elder, SS
> > teacher position, and was not allowed to even speak because he
> > to a dual prophecy understanding of Daniel and Revelation.
> Well, some have said that I should not be allowed to speak in
church because
> I do not "believe the same thing as ..." Sadly, these people don't
> know what I believe. Worse, they don't even really know what they
> Worst of all, they cannot defend their belief using the Bible/SOP;
they have
> to rely on some human idol to tell them what to believe.
> It is scary to realize the extent idolaters will go to when you do
not bow
> to the their idol. Orthodoxy is not all it's cracked up to be.
> By God's grace,
> Arnold M. Sy Go
> -end-
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: DefendEGW@yahoogroups.com
> > [mailto:DefendEGW@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David
> > Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 4:24 PM
> > To: DefendEGW@yahoogroups.com
> > Subject: [DefendEGW] Re: His church is not to be broken up
> > into independent atoms
> >
> >
> > "Second, inspiration has not given a call to leave the last
> > And in
> > spite of the apostasies in EGW's day, she did not leave the
> > And as
> > you pointed out, none of God's true prophets/messengers left,
> > despite the
> > apostasies among God's chosen people. Therefore, for the
> > faithful to willingly leave the church would be unprecedented."
> >
> > To a point I would agree with you here as it
concerns "prophets /
> > messengers.
> > However, look at the reformation the list is very extensive on
> > who left the organized churches and even after that time frame
> > and women left the organized churches. Look at the "Millerite
> > Movement of one. A.T. Jones is another, while it can be said
that he
> > was forced out and it can also be argued that he left the
> > church, while he did not leave the message.
> > So it is not really unprecedented, we have today many people
> > the church not because they are tired of the teachings that may
> > may not be false. I feel that in many cases it is because the
> > have been hurt by someone or group of people and they leave the
> > church and try to get back at it because they think that they
> > been wronged.
> > I feel few truly leave because of actual belief differences. I
> > be incorrect in this.
> >
> > I know one person that was removed from office of being an
elder, SS
> > teacher position, and was not allowed to even speak because he
> > to a dual prophecy understanding of Daniel and Revelation. There
> > not a single leader at the time that could refute what he was
> > saying. That was because they themselves did not understand the
> > prophecies. He moved his membership and a few years later came
> > tried to put his daughter into the school at the church and they
> > denied her entrance and even denied his moving his membership
> > into the church and did so without a vote by the church members.
> > This is man's authority.