The one commandment that begins with "Remember" has been forgotten

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If we support the Ten Commandments, should we not include the Sabbath?





Dr. Archibald William Truman

The Battle Creek Fire


Dr. Truman was born in 1884. He started his medical career at Battle Creek Hospital and Medical Center, but got his medical degree in Colorado in 1908. He practiced medicine in Glendale California during the 1940ís. After retirement, he moved to Loma Linda, California. He died April 20, 1977 at 93 years of age. This account was transcribed from a taped sermon he gave in Loma Linda at the Azure Hills Church in the late 1970ís.

This eye witness account, like that of Elder Harold Nathan Williams, is what Dr. Truman as a young medical student at Battle Creek saw take place at the hospital, the Review and Herald Press, and the tabernacle church, All shown to Ellen White before it happen. More proof of the supernatural gift given to her, which is a testimony against her current day accusers. Also included in this testimony is a short one by H.M.S. Richards Sr. about what he saw when a boy at a camp meeting where Ellen White preached the Sabbath sermon. These too also bear witness to the Lordís gift given to this lady for over 60 years.

Dr. Truman was in His 90ís when he gave this account in a church.


Again and again, Sister White counsels and urged the leaders of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and the Review and Herald Publishing Department, to get their programs of centralizing everything in Battle Creek.  They must not put all the resources of men and means in one place.  And they must cease commercializing the work of these institutions.  The leaders gave little or no heed to these repeated councils.  Then the Lord's messenger was given startling messages, warning of the impending judgment upon these institutions.

These warnings began to come to the leaders in November 1901, more than a full year before the Review and Herald Publishing plant was destroyed by fire.  May I quote a few brief sentences from Sister White's warnings.  I am reading from Testimonies volume 8 of the Spirit of Prophecy, beginning on page 91.  More than a year before the fire, "I feel a terror of soul as I see to what a pass our publishing house has come.  The presses in the Lord's institution have been printing the soul-destroying theories of Romanism and other mysteries of iniquity.  .  . I have been almost afraid to open the Review, fearing to see that God has cleansed the publishing house by fire. . . I am horrified to think that the most subtle phase of spiritualism should be placed before the workers, and that in a way calculated to confuse and perplex the mind."

A statement from the same volume, page 96.  "Unless there is a reformation, calamity will overtake the publishing house, [I wonder how  Sister White knew. She didn't say "may," she said it "will"] and the world will know the reason.  I have been shown that there has not been a turning to God with full purpose of heart.  The Lord is dishonored in the institutions erected for His honor." 

Calamities struck.  Did we hear the words of from Sister White, I told you so? Oh no!   She was on the Pacific Coast when she received a letter from Elder Daniels, President of General Conference, telling her of the fire in the Review and Herald, and she wrote:  "I am afflicted with all who are afflicted.  But I was not surprised by the sad news, for in the visions of the night I have seen an angel standing with a sword as of fire stretched over Battle Creek.  Once, in the day time, while my pen was in my hand, I lost consciousness, and it seemed as if this sword of flame were turning first in one direction and then in another.  Disaster seemed to follow disaster, because God was dishonored by the devising of men to exalt and glorify themselves. I have seen an angel standing with a sword as of fire, that seemed to turn in every direction, disaster followed disaster." 

  Now I want to go over some of these things with you, because I was there all of this time.  The Sanitarium burned, the barns burned, then the hospital across the street on little narrow Barber Street, caught fire and burned.  The Review and Herald caught fire and burned, the Haskel home where I taught Sabbath School class for some time, had a 125 orphans, and it caught fire and burned, and the Dime Tabernacle itself caught fire and burned.  Ellen White saw an angel with a sword of fire which seemed to turn in every direction. Disaster seemed to follow disaster. I will now detail this for you as I saw it happen.

  The Review and Herald Publishing plant burned December 30, 1902.  The Battle Creek Sanitarium and Hospital burned February 18 of the same year. I was there.  Allow me to mention some personal experiences related to these fires.

The angelís fire sword first struck the Sanitarium Barn.  In those days there were no motor driven trucks or vehicles to do the hauling for a great institution, they had to depend upon the draft horses.  I can still see those beautiful horses in my minds eye, great wonderful strong Clydesdale horses.  And you may know that a barn where horses are kept are the horses refuge. Because of this fact, it is almost impossible to lead or drive a horse out of a barn that is on fire.  The keeper of these beautiful horses, was so intense upon saving them, that he saved none of them and lost his own life trying, perishing  in that fire. 

A few weeks later about four o'clock in the morning, someone bounded up the college stairs, shouting the Sanitarium is on fire.  Now the Battle Creek College, some of you know was just across the street from the Sanitarium, and the upper floor of the college had been converted into living quarters and living rooms for men students and men workers.  And I had a room there at this time.

I hurried across the street to the Sanitarium.  There was a little smoke issuing from one basement window.  Patients were being taken back from the porch and the lawn into the building.  A number had been brought down for safety, and it was reported now to the nurses the fire is out.  So they began to take the patients back into the building.  Meanwhile, the fire was creeping along the basement pipelines to the main elevator at the center of the building.  Now friends can you feature this.  Here is a building erected for the care of the sick, they had one large main elevator at the center of this building.  They had a small dummy elevator at the south end.

  The main stairway of this Sanitarium encircled the elevator from the basement floor to the top story.  The fire crept along with these pipes until it got to this central elevator, and that just acted like a chimney, and the fire ascended and spread through all the floors so quickly, that it was almost impossible after that moment to get any patients out through this main elevator or the main stairway. 

I saw those great ladder trucks on each side of the building. The buildings all were dark because the lights went out early. These ladder trucks pulled along on each side of the building. The patients were taken down six patient slides down these ladders to safety. 

The large five floor hospital building across narrow Barber Street caught fire on the roof and burned to a cinder, as did the Sanitarium.  While the embers were still glowing and smoking, Dr. Kellogg called the nurses and working family together in East Hall Assembly room.  East Hall was a five story building which was the home for the lady nurses.  It was directly in the path of the flames, it caught fire on the shingles on top, again and again. Dr. John F. Morris, had a group of us on top of that building with fire extinguishers, right directly in the path of the flames.  It caught fire at different times, but we were able to extinguish the flames and the building was saved.  It had quite a large assembly room, and this is where Dr. Kellogg called together the nurses and the working families after the fire.


  Dr. Kellogg called the nurses and working families together in East Hall Assembly room, and said to us.  "The reason the Lord burned the Sanitarium, was because he wanted to give us a bigger and a better one." But the Lord's Messenger said, "Lay no more bricks in Battle Creek.  Battle Creek is going down."  Sister White meant that Battle Creek was going down, finished; speaking of course of our work that was centered at that time in this city. 

A prominent city businessman asked Dr. Kellogg after the fire, "Are you going to consult the old lady about rebuilding?" Said he, "No we are not!"  They rebuilt a bigger and a better one.  The floors in this new sanitarium building, were of chipped marble (terrazzo). The lower end of this building was 15 stories high, and cost over $3 million dollars. Back then the money was different from money now. That amount would purchase far more materials than it would today. The chandeliers in the new sanitarium cost a $1,000 apiece.  But the new sanitarium venture proved a complete failure.  The sanitarium was sold to the United States Government, and became the Percy Jones Memorial Hospital.

Our text began, "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established.  Believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper."  Ten months after the Battle Creek Sanitarium fire, our large Review and Herald publishing plant burned to the ground.  Elder Luther Warren was holding revival meetings in the old Dime Tabernacle just across corners from the Review and Herald publishing plant.

Arthur Wright and I had an evening class in Battle Creek College, under Professor Kirby.  We would literally run down Champion Street to be present at Elder Warren's meetings.  We were just about to enter the church, the old Tabernacle, when we spied the fire in the Review and Herald paper stockroom.  Arthur was a part-time printer in Review and Herald, and knew the building well. 

The night watchman had not yet discovered the fire.  We entered through a rear door, turned on the fire alarm and telephoned the fire station.  Nearly 5000 Adventist filed out of the Tabernacle and lined the streets along Mc Candly Park, which was just across the street from the Press. 

On the lips of many, was the troublesome question, Why?  It is not remarkable that when the Sanitarium and Hospital burned, having at that time 800 patients, with the principle escape route cut off, that is the elevator, as I have explained in the main stairway.  There was no loss of life, friends did you ever hear of anything like it? 

  Occasional we hear of a great fire.  But did you ever hear of a Sanitarium or a Hospital five stories high, filled with sick people catching fire?   There were many surgical cases in that hospital, and quite a few bed patients in the Sanitarium.  The escape routes were cut off early, and yet, every one of those patients were brought down to safety.  How can you explain it? 

  When the Review and Herald burned, which had hundreds of employees, not one lost their life.  When the Haskel Home burned, with a 125 orphans, no one lost their life.  There is no explanation possible except that divine providence was at work.

I said no one lost their lives, but that is not entirely true. There was one man who lost his life in the Sanitarium fire, he had been brought down from a upper floor to the porch to safety.  But he had some stocks and bonds, and some cash in his room.  Even though the building was dark, he slipped back up one of the end stairways around the elevator to get his valuables.  Some of the boys and I picked up his bones and some warped coins.  I carried around for a long time a dollar warped half double.  I wish I had kept it, but someone wanted it and I let it slip out of my hands. These coins were a mute testimony of what happened to this poor man who had been brought to safety, but took a chance to retrieve his assets but lost his life doing so.

  I think of the Coconut Grove fire in Boston. These were all vigorous young people, dancing and having a good time.  They were on the ground floor, yet hundreds lost their lives.  Think of the Iroquois Theater fire in Chicago. These weren't bed patients, yet I think it is safe to say that hundreds  lost their lives in that fire.

Were the Battle Creek Sanitarium and Hospital bed patients just lucky?  And were the hundreds of Review and Herald workers spared by chance of good fortune.  Listen to what Ellen White said in Testimonies, Vol. 8, page 102.    "God is not working to destroy life, but to save life.  In the recent destruction, that's the Review and Herald now, "In the recent destruction the lives of the workers were graciously preserved, that all might have an opportunity to see that God was correcting them by a message coming not from a human source, but from above.  God's people have departed from Him; they have not followed His instruction, and He has come near them in correction; but He has not brought extinction of life.  Not one soul has been taken by death."  On the same page, "When the Battle Creek Sanitarium was destroyed, Christ gave Himself to defend the lives of men and women." 

What does that mean? Who was directing the nurses and the firemen on that fatal night when these two large Sanitarium Hospitals properties, were quickly turned to ashes.  And all of these patients saved, with the one exception I have explained? Who was directing the forces, "When the Battle Creek Sanitarium was destroyed, Christ gave Himself to defend the lives of men and women.  In this destruction, God was appealing to His people to return to Him.  And in the destruction of the Review and Herald office, and the saving of life, He makes a second appeal to them.  He desires them to see that the miracle-working of the Infinite has been exercised to save life, that every worker may have opportunity to repent and be converted."


  Sister White said, Battle Creek was going down.  The renown Dr. Kellogg said, Battle Creek was going up. It did! It went up in smoke.  Battle Creek College was moved to Berrien Springs, which is now Andrews University.  The Review and Herald Publishing work, was moved to Washington, D.C.  The Medical College, the old American Medical Missionary College, failed and was moved to Loma Linda which opened the same year that the old American Medical Missionary College closed. 

  Scripture says: "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established.  Believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper." 


Now permit me to relate a personal experience in connection with the story of Elder D.M. Canright of Battle Creek days.  For years Elder Canright was an intimate friend of and a co-laborer with Elder James and Ellen White.  Later he became her bitterest opponent, and did the most of any man to discredit her work and to malign her good name. 

Elder Canright for years was a strong Seventh-day Adventist preacher, and a Conference President.  Before he his defection from the church, he wrote on January 6, 1885, which account you will find in Elder Rebockís book Believe His Prophets. "While I have carefully read the first, second and third volumes of the Spirit of Prophecy, heaven seemed very near to me.  If the Spirit of God does not speak to us in these writings, then I should despair of ever discerning it.  I have read many books, but never one which has interested me so intensely as volume four of the Great Controversy by Sister White.  The ideas concerning the nature and attributes of God, the character of Christ, and the rebellion of Lucifer in heaven, carry with them their own proof of inspiration."

  Why did Elder Canright leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church?  I believe it was because he wanted to become a great man.  Here are my reasons for saying this. He was an eloquent and forceful speaker.  After an address which he gave in a popular church in Chicago before an audience of more than 2000 non-Seventh-day Adventist, the people literally swarmed him. They rushed to the platform and held him for another half hour.  After he and his fellow ministers, and my friends Elder D.W. Rebbish left the Temple, he said to Pastor Rebbish,  "If it were not for this despised Sabbath question, I could become a great man."  He did leave the Sabbath truth and did become a great man. 

  In 1888, Sister White wrote a kindly friendly yearning letter to Pastor Canright, entreating him for his wife and children's sake to consider the choice he had made, and for his own souls sake, to ponder the path that his feet were treading.  Said she, "I called to mine your temptation through false and ambitious hopes to become greater away from our people than with them."  You will find that in Volume five, of the Testimonies, page 621.


  Decades passed by, and Mrs. White's life ended in 1915, at the age of 88.  The White family invited me to attend her funeral in Battle Creek, Michigan.  I crossed much of the continent to be present, and was standing a few feet from her open casket in the great Dime Tabernacle, when an old broken man, D.M. Canright came along in the line.  He paused, placed his hands, both hands on the bier on the casket, and looked and looked at that peaceful face now at rest.  He raised his broken adhesive patched spectacles and peered some more.  And with warm tears trickling from his face, said on mournful tones, "There lies a noble Christian women gone."  He left, went to the other street entrance to the church, and passed the casket a second time.  He was shabbily dressed. He was poverty stricken and living alone.  His wife was being cared for by relatives, because he was unable to support her.

  My dear friend and associate in the Washington Sanitarium, Dr. D.H. Kress, made a friendly visit to D.M. Canright in his home.  Said Dr. Crest, "There was not even a scatter rug on his floor.  His dream of worldly greatness had turned to bitter ashes upon his lips."  Why did he not come back to the Seventh-day Adventist Church?  He said he couldn't come back.  He died a discouraged, disheartened, disillusioned, dejected and destitute old man, without hope, without money, and apparently forsaken by his new found non-SDA church friends. 

  The poet wrote, "There is a line by us unseen, it crosses every path.  The hidden boundary, between God's mercy and His wrath."  Terrible thought Mr. Forest? But it is Biblical.  From Amos I quote, "Behold the days come saith the Lord, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land.  Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord, and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east.  They shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it." 

  I have one more brief reference I want to read from Book 1, of Selected Messages, page 48.  "Satan is constantly pressing in the spurious, the false to lead away from the church.  The very last deception of Satan will be [will be what, not the last deception, but the very last, what will be the very last deception of Satan be, deception to our people, we ought to know, the very last deception of Satan will be,] to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God.  Where no vision is the people perish.  Satan will work ingeniously, in different way and through different agencies to unsettle the confidence of God's Remnant people in the true testimony.  There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies, which is Satanic.  Have you ever heard anything about that?  Have you ever seen any evidence of it?  There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is Satanic.  The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the churches in them. 

  "Believe in the Lord Your God, so shall ye be established, believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper."



Founder of the "Voice of Prophecy" radio broadcast, was interviewed by his son H.M.S. Richards Jr. (both now deceased) on a 45 RPM record in the 1970ís. The elder Richards was asked to relate an experience he had as a boy when he attended a camp meeting at which Ellen White was the main speaker on a Sabbath morning.

Question: . . .How did Ellen White impressed you when you met her personally or heard her speak, what did you notice about her?

Answer: She was absolutely sincere it seemed to me.  She was very plain in her cloths, black dress, a little white cuff around  her wrist.  She was quiet and friendly, just like a dear old Saint of the Lord, a Christian mother.  It was at Boulder Colorado. I was in my mid-teens, I think it was in 1909.  She and her son Willie and Miss MacEnterfer, her nurse, were there with her. The meeting was in a building with a tin roof. Just as she got up to speak, it began to rain. The noise of the rain on the roof became deafening. As she began to speak, her voice was in a conversational tone and could not be heard over the din of rain falling on the tin roof. But then her voice changed into a speaking voice. It was just like a silver bell. In those days there were no amplifiers, yet you could hear every word she said, and a 1000 people there could hear it all.  She used over a 100 texts--I counted them. She had a big floppy Bible in her hand.  When she had talked about 40 minutes, her son Willie White got up, and said Mother you are tired and have come a long way and have some big journeys just ahead of you. We donít want you to get to tired so that you canít continue. She said, "Oh, Iím not quite through, I havenít prayed yet. I want to pray before I get through."

She finished up her talk in about 3 minutes. Then she kneeled down on the front of that platform, which was about two feet high. She was on the side next to me. I was about 20-25 feet from her. She began to pray with these words: "Oh, my Father," not "our Father." In two or three minutes I was afraid to look up. I was afraid I would see God there. The mighty power that came over me and over that audience would never be forgotten. She continued her prayer a little while. Then you could hear sobs all through that audience, sinners weeping before God. There was nothing in her prayer that was excitable. She just prayed calmly and quietly, but the power of the Lord came in there. It was a great mountain peak in my life as a young fellow, and I look back to it with great pleasure to know that I was there close to her and could hear and see her. The impression was that she was just what we believed her to be, Godís special servant for these last days.



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