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
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
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."
ABOUT D. M. CANRIGHT, GREAT OPPONENT OF ELLEN WHITE:
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,
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
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."