[Release requested to serve the committee provided for by the 1953 Autumn Council, to study the question of remuneration of Seventh-day Adventist workers.]
Let not anyone suppose that if men of ability had larger wages, it would increase their piety, or qualify them to do more and better work. No, this would not be the effect. Ms 75, 1912 , p. 1. ("Fragments," Copied September 16, 1912.)
With many of the workers the spirit of self-sacrifice has greatly diminished because they have lost their first love. Many are grasping for higher wages; but if they were laborers together with God their wants would be more simple; for they spend money needlessly for things which they would not desire if their hearts were sanctified by the truth. Look at the example given you in the life of Christ. Letter 31, 1891 , p. 14. (To "Workers in the Office at Oakland," December 19, 1891.)
I am deeply grieved as I see that those now in positions of trust in our work do not think of the sacrifices made in the past to establish the work in its various branches. It hurts me to see these new workers, who have made few sacrifices and borne few burdens, demanding the highest wages. They know nothing of what it has cost to bring the work to its present conditions. Ms 19, 1892 , p. 1. ("Diary," 1892.)
What shall be the future showing in the church? The Lord calls for decided action among those who claim to be His people. There are many ways of promulgating the truth. The Lord is well pleased when those who go forth
as missionaries are more anxious for the salvation of souls than they are regarding the wages they shall receive for their work. When Christ's witnesses work under the Holy Spirit's guidance, when they are stripped of all selfishness, souls are converted by their earnest, patient, persevering efforts. Ms 54, 1901 , pp. 3, 4. ("Go Work Today in My Vineyard," July 1, 1901.)
Some have felt troubled because Brother and Sister _____ have each been drawing wages from the conference. But it is in harmony with the instruction that has often been given to me, that women who labor with their husbands in gospel work, should be paid for their services. Letter 48, 1907 , p. 9. (To "The California Conference Committee, and the Brethren and Sisters in Berkeley and Oakland," February 1, 1907.)
Women, as well as men, are needed in the work that must be done. Those women who give themselves to the service of the Lord, who labor for the salvation of others by doing house-to-house work, which is as taxing as, and more taxing than standing before a congregation, should receive payment for their labor. If a man is worthy of his hire, so also is a woman.
God has entrusted talents to His servants, and He expects them to see that mistakes can be readily made. Make no mistake in neglecting to correct the error of giving ministers less than they should receive. When you see persons in necessity who have been placed in positions of trust, let God move upon your heart to set things right. The tithe should go to those who labor in word and doctrine, be they men or women. Ms 149, 1899 , p. 3. ("Paying Women Workers," October 24, 1899.)
I know there are those who practice much self-denial to pay their tithes and offerings to the cause of God. Those who stand at the head of the work
should take such a course that they can unblushingly say, "Come, let us act mutually in this work which was commenced in a sacrifice, and is supported by a continual self-denial." The people should not excel those who stand at the head of our institutions in practicing economy, and binding about their wants. It is those men who receive high wages who make very little offerings to the cause. Let the people who strain every nerve and muscle to lay by their tithes have a knowledge of the large wages paid to the workers in the office, and their confidence and faith will be shaken. When you call for donations, there will be no response. Ms 25a, 1891 , pp. 8, 9. (Untitled Manuscript, 1891.)
The publishing institution was founded in self-denial, and should ever have been managed upon strictest economical principles. When there was a pressure for money, the members of the institution should have said, "We will cling to the work; we will take reduced wages. We will do all in our power, bring all our knowledge, all our power, all the wisdom God has given us to make this work what God would have it,--a success." God designs that this institution shall give character to His work, standing as a faithful sentinel to proclaim His truth, reflecting heaven's light amid the moral darkness of the world. In every branch we will do our best to make it a success.
Any self-sacrifice made in behalf of the Echo office is registered in the books of heaven, as an act of faithful stewardship, and not one will lose its reward. Letter 39, 1898 , pp. 14, 15. (To Brethren Woods and Miller, March 27, 1898.)
Let each one who is receiving good wages for this trying time, when means are so scarce, be willing to make some sacrifice on his part for Christ's sake. The Lord will respect the motive and the action, and will reward those
who deny self in this line. Let us all act like those who serve the Lord Christ, and do their duty heartily as unto the Lord. Letter 25, 1896 , p. 2. (To Brethren Daniells and Colcord, June 1, 1896.)
It is reported that you and Brother and Sister _____ have taken a vacation, and that you say that I said that when on a vacation a physician should draw full wages. But the finances of the sanitarium must be taken into consideration. Money should be produced by the managers of an institution before they spend means on vacations. It is cruel and unjust to take pay when on a vacation from an institution so loaded with debt as the sanitarium. The Lord is beholding His work, and a record is kept of every dollar expended.
My brother, you have left things at loose ends, and I feel very sorry that you have taken the course that you have. Right principles have been constantly kept before you. My brother, let me say that I know you have grown to manhood without learning the lesson all should learn in childhood and youth, the lesson of self-denial and self-sacrifice. For your present and future good, remember that you are responsible for the use you make of your Lord's money. God has given you as a physician, genius and capabilities. Ever realize that you must make the best use of your talents, because they are not your own. They are entrusted to you by God, not to be used in pleasing and gratifying impulse, but for Him and Him alone, because they are His. Letter 38, 1901 , pp. 1, 2. (To a physician, 1901.)
I could not sleep after two o'clock last night. In the last American mail I received a letter from _____. He gave me some points of the difficulties through which he was passing in reference to his recently published book. He feels that he has been unnecessarily thrown into perplexities, and that he was not treated fairly. If his statements are correct, he is not
far out of the way in his conclusions. If it cannot be made to appear that he has neglected his work in the office, if he has worked his full hours, what right has anyone to say how he shall employ the hours which are his own? I have not referred to this matter at all in writing to him; but I feel it my duty to mention it to you. My letter to him you will receive. It speaks for itself. When Captain Eldridge was receiving large wages in the office ($30.00 per week), he was paid as high as from four to six dollars per week, to have some care of the work and books relating to my business. Edson says he neglected the work for which he was paid, and he was much hurt over the matter.
I cannot see how it is just and right to say what shall and shall not be done by those employed in the office with their time after they have given full hours of work. This matter Brother Henry urged before me by letter when I was in Europe in regard to Professor Bell and Elder Smith, maintaining that they should have no royalty, because they were receiving wages for their work. Letter 42, 1893 , pp. 1, 2. (To Elder O. A. Olsen, July 13, 1893.)
I received your statement in reference to the royalties on books. . . . There is, and ever will be, a flood of books issued if a large remuneration is given to authors. The little story books written are not a great tax on the writers, neither are books of this character of vital consequence to the world. A difference must be made in the books written. They cannot be classed together. . . .
The publishing house should receive their share of the profits from the books published. This should be proportionate to the work they do in getting out notices, etc. But let the publishers be careful not to claim that they are the ones who do the greatest amount of work in preparing these books for the market. Let the authors take a reasonable sum for their work, but they
are not to sell their right to any institution. This will not be a blessing to the institution.
Let men and women who have a burden to produce books, work to bless the cause of God by the use of their pens. Let them work, and if they have an income from their work, let them make use of that income to do their part in uplifting the standard of truth where God shall direct. Let them seek counsel from God. Let them believe the promise of Christ that He will send the Comforter to teach them all things and bring all things to their remembrance. Letter 43, 1899 , pp. 1, 2; 11, 12; 17. (To Brethren Irwin, Sisley, Smith, and Jones, March 11, 1899.)
I was shown that the office of publication should not be conducted on the same principles as are other publishing houses; for it is to be something after the order of a training school. Everyone connected with it is to be a true missionary, and work upon the same principles that brought it into existence. Self-denial should characterize all the workers.
After my husband's first sickness, there was a change in the order of things, not pleasing to God. In place of seeking to carry out the directions given of God, a selfish, unchristlike spirit prevailed. The cloud of the Lord's displeasure was gathering over the office. The people of God were becoming discouraged. They had denied themselves to pay their tithes, and refused themselves conveniences which they thought they must have; but the wants of the cause were dearer to them than self-indulgence, and they were much blessed in making their freewill offering. But when they saw that men in the office were grasping for higher wages, their confidence was shaken. Did the Lord require so much more of them than of those closely connected with the office?
Self-denial should characterize the men employed in responsible positions in the office, and they should be an example to all the workers. The office was brought into existence through self-denial, and the same spirit should be manifested and maintained. The great object must be kept in view. This is missionary work, and those who have no missionary spirit should not continue in the work. You must retain the confidence of the people. Unless you carry the people with you, your work will be a failure. Brethren, workmen, from the highest to the lowest, you should maintain in the office the spirit manifested by Christ in coming to our world. Letter 5, 1892 , pp. 3, 4. (To C. Eldridge, September 2, 1892.)
The office is fast losing its peculiar character the Lord directed in its establishment, and it is never to take a worldly mold. Those who are welded together to sustain each other, determined to carry out certain plans without the counsel of the church or of the people, may succeed for a time, but not long; for God will not permit it. There is too much self, too much confidence in what men can do, too little confidence and dependence upon God, the divine Ruler. Men handling sacred things, are not to speak lightly, but with trembling, of the work of God; God's grace must be manifested in all the work, of whatever kind it may be. The proud heart must be humbled every day before God, lest He shall humble it. Success of the right kind will attend your efforts in proportion to your consecration, self-denial, and self-sacrifice.
I was instructed that the Lord's will was not fulfilled when the leaders in the office were willing to take such large wages; but how quickly was the bribe taken, how quickly selfishness was manifested. This is greatly at variance with the principles upon which the publishing house was established;
and it is not in harmony with the Spirit and work of God. There have been serious mistakes made in exalting business above the service and worship of God. Here is where thousands have made shipwreck of faith, and made the greatest possible mistake. The Lord says we are to be "not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11). The Lord has left a wide door open for those who would go into His work, but energy must be mingled with another element, with living zeal in the service of God. We must be not only diligent in business, but "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Ms 6, 1890, p. 7 . ("Counsel to Workers in Publishing Houses," November 25, 1890.)
When sin strikes inwardly, it assails the most noble part of a man's being. It makes terrible confusion and havoc with man's Godlike faculties and powers. While physical disease prostrates the body, the disease of selfishness and covetousness blasts the soul.
The walls of protection that God has raised for His people's safety have been battered down. The lines of protection of individual rights and interests have been confused through human policy, and a host of satanic agencies have rushed in to make the most of their opportunity.
Every plan brought in to obtain advantage for self opened the door wide for dishonest practices. You know this just as well as did the men whom you condemn for taking from God's treasury higher wages than they earned by honest effort.
The Lord has shown me that this system of high wages is directly contrary to justice and righteousness. The plea is made that those who carry responsibility are always awarded higher wages than those under them. But those who were supposed to be doing important work in the Review and Herald
office were being tried and tested, and every phase of their work was swinging the publishing house in false paths, contrary to the instruction given by Christ in the Old Testament and the New.
Such a masterly confederacy united to carry things its own way that a work entirely human has been mingled with the handling of sacred things. Each felt pledged to sustain and work for the interest of the other. A system of robbery toward God was brought in. "Shall I not judge for these things?" God asks. The Lord has opened the matter to me, and my heart has burned with indignation. Light has been given that the Lord would in His own time make these men a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. Letter 26, 1897 , (To a Worker in the Publishing House, December 10, 1897.)
The publishing institution was built up by sacrifice, but by the example men in responsible places have given to the people this spirit has been lost. The Lord has not stirred hearts to give for the advancement of the cause, and selfishness has leavened the churches. Unfaithful stewardship has been revealed in the payment of large wages to men who have made God's work and cause a matter of merchandise by which to enrich themselves. . . .
If they had called together the men of the conferences and demanded an investigation of matters--which it was their right to do--decisive measures would have been taken to stop the existing evil. But this was not done.
Had they changed the order of things, and brought in the same principles which were revealed in the work when the first buildings were erected, the spirit of self-sacrifice would have been retained, and the work have moved onward and upward. God's people would have understood that the way and work of the Lord cannot prosper when His people are unwilling to sacrifice self. Heavenly intelligences would have helped them to climb to higher levels to
understand by experimental knowledge that they were to be laborers together with God. God desires that His people shall be conquerors, moving bravely through all difficulties. God is faithful. He will make His people complete in Him.
There has been a mistake all round; and it is a great work to come back from every wrong path and choose the right. Ms 86, 1899 , pp. 5, 6. ("The Review and Herald and the College Debt," June 18, 1899.)
Standing in important positions of trust are selfish, covetous men, who are receiving higher wages than they should take. Less wages would be far better for them and for their children; for this would lead them to economy and self-denial. But each week's record in the books of heaven shows that there are men in their selfishness who are ready to grasp every dollar they can obtain, while men working in much harder fields, and with far fewer advantages, work for half of what these men receive.
It is not for the spiritual advantage of any man to take such large wages. In doing so he deprives his fellow laborers who work fully as hard as he of the means they should have for the work in other parts of the field. The covetous man sees the many fields unworked. He sees that money is needed to lift the standard of truth in new places. But he does not consider the necessities of those who break these unworked fields. He takes the highest wages he can obtain, because, as he supposes, his position entitles him to them.
It would be well for the workers in receipt of large salaries to study the principle of equality. When they empty their hearts of selfishness, and humble themselves before God, they will see that during the many years they have been taking from the treasury their unrighteous wages, others, who have
done just as much and as faithful work, have been receiving just one half the amount. Had they loved God supremely and their neighbor as themselves, they would have seen a large work to be done in fulfilling the commission of Christ to preach the gospel to all the world, and they would not have dared to use the means which God designed for destitute fields. Those men who place so high an estimate on their own merits and service will be surprised to see in the day of final rewards that they are regarded as least, while those who have worked earnestly and faithfully and unselfishly, with small wages, receive the highest reward from Him who makes no false estimate. Ms 113, 1899 , pp. 6, 7. ("The Wages of Unrighteousness," August 11, 1899.)
Sanctification through the truth bears fruit to the glory of God. Under its power men are stripped of the ambition that contends for the supremacy, stripped of the selfishness which leads men connected with our institutions to grasp in their covetousness, all they can obtain from the treasury in large wages, when they know that their brethren, laboring just as hard in fields where the wear and tear is great, and often under heavy pressure of circumstances, do not receive much more than half of what they receive. The men in our institutions who have placed such a high estimate upon their own services are not sanctified by the Holy Spirit. They have not that sanctification which gives them sensitive consciences, leading them to love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves. Their influence and example are detrimental. They do that which they would not wish their brethren to know,--they grasp from the treasury. They are blind, and cannot see that by so doing they are depriving others of the wages they should receive. Their selfishness shuts them away from the sanctification of the Spirit of God. . . .
Those in our institutions who grasp at the surplus means disqualify
themselves to understand what it means to be a partaker with Christ in His suffering. The barbed arrows of the Lord, sent by an angel's hand, come to such ones; but they are not wounded. So far have they departed from correct principles that they are blind. They listen to convincing truths, spoken with great earnestness, but still they do not reform; for they have turned aside and warded off every salutary impression.
If they would be content with lower wages, their spiritual danger would be far less. A reform must take place in their lives, else they will never see the King in His beauty. Their experience in this life will decide their eternal destiny. In earnest, authoritative, solemn tones, the voice of the great Teacher has been making appeals to them, but still they are not converted. They have not turned from false, unscrupulous principles. Ms 94, 1899 , pp. 2, 3, 6. ("To Do Justly, to Love Mercy, and to Walk Humbly with Thy God," July 18, 1899.)
For a long time the evils existed in the office at Battle Creek. The messages that God had given did not have sufficient weight with those who filled prominent positions to change the current of things. I was shown that Satan was jubilant when the selfishness of men was robbing the treasury of God. There are some who have not had kindly feelings toward me because they were deprived of these large wages. Such feelings were indulged by _____, _____, _____, and others. Never will any one of these men be clear before God until he makes restitution to the Lord's cause for that of which the selfish, avaricious spirit has robbed the work. I was shown that the result of paying such exorbitant wages would be that workers who were really conscientious would be oppressed; the ones who grasped every dollar they could put to their own use would manage matters to please themselves if they
had a chance to do so. . . .
Now in regard to myself, I care not for wages; but I do care for strict principle and equity. I do care for sound judgment. When men who had entered into a confederacy have taken from God's treasury large wages that they no more earned or deserved than did others in the office or engaged in building up other branches of the cause, who received small wages, but who were doing their work conscientiously in integrity and wholeheartedness and purity, a deep wrong was done that God does not wink at. When these men are converted, every dollar they have received above what they should have had will be returned to the treasury. We are dealing with Christ in the person of His saints. To allow one to be exalted, and another, more faithful and true, to be placed in a hard position, is not just and equal. God will surely repay these things. Letter 57, 1894 , pp. 6, 7. (To Brother Olsen, June 10, 1894.)
The work that God has pointed out to be done has not been done. City after city has been left unworked. Ministers laboring in the most destitute fields have been left to work as best they could, with insufficient means. A meager sum has been apportioned to them. Some have needed means to obtain food and clothing, and yet men, in their covetousness, have refused to help them. God looks upon the workers who are seeking to preach the gospel and to do true missionary work as more worthy of large means than some others. And they have greater need than some for large wages. Many calls for help are made upon them. They meet those who are in pitifully needy circumstances, and they deny themselves in order to help those needy ones.
One night I seemed to be in an assembly in which only a small number were present. Arrangements were being made to raise the wages of certain ones. One of authority reached out His hand and taking the records, examined
them critically. Then He said, "A change will soon take place. Those who have been in the Review and Herald Office as leaders have been unfaithful in their stewardship. They are to be released from their responsibilities, unless they give evidence of thorough conversion. I will not serve with unprincipled devising, neither will My Spirit strive with them unless they repent. The work is no longer to be entrusted to your keeping. The means in the Lord's treasury, which should have been used to enable men to enter new fields, is grasped by selfish, unsanctified hands. Those who are truly converted, body, soul, and spirit, are filled with the spirit of self-sacrifice." Ms 19, 1903 , pp. 1, 2. ("Unselfishness in Service," April 8, 1903.)
I have given you the instruction that God has given me. He has told us what He expects of us. Wherever we may go, we are zealously and faithfully to carry out the principles of Christ's kingdom, thus showing plainly the difference between those who serve God and those who serve Him not.
When the office of publication is once more established, a much purer, holier atmosphere should pervade it than pervaded the institution in Battle Creek. Principles should be followed that will make the institution an honor to the cause of God. Those who refuse to work except for the highest wages should not be encouraged to connect with this institution. We do not need those who have no spirit of self-sacrifice.
God's work is to go forward. Its success depends on the putting forth of consecrated efforts and the carrying out of pure principles. Amidst the apparent confusion of surrounding difficulties, we may feel at a loss to know how to proceed. Let us be sure that those who are united with the work are first united with Christ. Letter 106, 1903 , pp. 4, 5. ("To the General Conference Committee," May 30, 1903.)
Men who are controlled by selfish desires should not remain connected with our institutions, and their course of action had better be exposed, that every church of Seventh-day Adventists may know what principles govern these men. . . .
Selfishness and self-glorification are becoming the curse of our institutions, and leavening the whole camp of Israel. We have come to the place where God calls a halt, and we must now investigate, that we may know the motives which prompt to action and may know in whom the words of Christ are fulfilled. Jesus has said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matthew 17:24). Self is to be hidden in Christ.
We have need to be alarmed because selfishness and covetousness are becoming a ruling power among us, and the Lord is displeased. The consciences of many are like India rubber. Men can be bought and sold by the highest bidder. When such men are weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, they are found wanting, for conscientiousness, honor, integrity, and fidelity are lacking. . . . Letter 41, 1890 , pp. 1-4. (To Dr. J. H. Kellogg, December 24, 1890.)
A contract has been made with you, but the sooner this contract is changed, the better. The plan that you are to receive above your wages any money that you may make in certain lines of work, is opening a door of temptation which will lead to evil results. This is not discerned by you or by those who drew up these articles of agreement. But it will be the means of great injury to you, and will bring reproach upon the cause of God. There is in this plan an erroneous principle, which must be considered. Nothing is to be left at loose ends. Everything is to be bound off. You are
to receive a definite sum as wages for your work, and live within that sum.
Something of this character has been carried on in the negotiations with Dr. _____. It is a fraudulent transaction. God sees its tendency and its result. This method of remuneration is not to be carried out in the sanitariums that are to be established. This institution must pay you a suitable sum for your services. And all who are connected with the institution must receive remuneration in proportion to their services. Letter 99, 1900 , p. 5. (To a Physician in one of our Sanitariums, July 9, 1900.)
Do not talk about your meager wages. Do not cultivate a taste for expensive articles of dress or furniture. Let the work advance as it began, in simple self-denial and faith. Let a different order of things come in. Letter 94, 1899 , pp. 12, 13. (To "My Brethren in Responsible Positions," June 16, 1899.)
There is just as much self-denial required now as when we first started in the work, when we were only a little handful of people, when we knew what self-denial meant, what self-sacrifice meant, when we tried to get out the little papers, little leaflets, that should go to those who were in darkness. There are a few connected with the office today who were with us then. For years we received no wages, except barely enough to furnish us with the plainest food and clothing. We were glad to wear second-hand clothes, and sometimes we had hardly food enough to sustain our strength. Everything else was put into the work. After a time, my husband received six dollars a week, and we lived on that, and I worked with him in the cause. Others labored in a similar way. General Conference Bulletin , vol. 4, p. 184. (March 20, 1891.) White Estate Washington, D.C.