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THE LIFE OF M. L. ANDREASEN - by Virginia Steinweg


BATTLE CREEK 1899-1900


THOUGH THE work at the children's home was rewarding, it was not exactly what M. L. planned as a lifework. He wanted to be a preacher. But when he presented himself to the committee as a candidate for service, he was turned down. Said one, "You will never make a minister; you can make money. Do that, and let those of us who can preach do so." But M. L. was not to be dissuaded. He continues his account:

It was thirty years after the Disappointment that the first school structure. Battle Creek College, went up. It was not a school for children, however. It was a college. God might delay five years, but it would not be well to count on any more. Children would never grow up to become missionaries and go to foreign fields, so a college was founded for adults, who would spend a year or two in preparation before entering the field. It took many years before Battle Creek College enrolled college students. Most of those who attended had barely finished eighth grade.

An article in the Reviewby Prof. E. A. Sutherland called for young men to come to Battle Creek for a short preparation and then go out in the vineyard as God might lead. M. L. Andreasen felt it was a call to him, so the family went to Michigan to prepare more definitely for the Lord's work. Battle Creek was not new to Annie. She had attended college there during the years 1887-1889. But this time she did not attend school. She had a lively little girl to look after, who in May rejoiced to welcome a baby sister.


This was next-to-the-last school year (1899) before the college was moved to its country location near Berrien Springs. While Profs. Sutherland and P. T. Magan were at the head of the school, A. T. Jones and Uriah Smith were among the teachers.

According to the records, M. L.'s subjects were Bible, history, psychology, pedagogy, and the ever-present grammar. This latter may have included practice in homiletics, for he relates:

I was preaching one night and was going strong, my subject being the new earth. I mentioned the streets of gold, when a voice called out, wrong. I knew the voice. It was A. T. Jones. I stopped, perplexed. What had I said wrong? Were there no streets of gold in the New Jerusalem? No, there were no streets of gold in the city. But I knew I was right, and turned to read the text in Revelation 21:21. And behold. Elder Jones was right. The text reads "And the street of the city was of pure gold." "Street." Singular. There is only one street of gold. Elder Jones was right. I was wrong. I learned that the hard way.

There was another case when the older minister stopped the young man who was preaching and said he did not have the matter right and that he himself would now give the correct interpretation. I was not the victim that night, but trembled a bit, because I would have preached as the young man did. This kind of program was hard on the younger men, but it did make them study and be very firm in what they did believe.

I had Elder A. T. Jones as teacher for a while. He and Dr. Waggoner were the prominent men in the 1888 Conference, and Jones was full of the subject. I immediately fastened myself to him, and when he learned that I was not entirely ignorant about the council, he spoke freely. He loved to talk and he loved to be on the water, so that whole summer we


spent every Sunday on beautiful Lake Goguac in a rowboat discussing theology, and particularly the 1888 Conference. He naturally was prejudiced in his own favor, but I had already heard both sides in the Omaha discussions, so I was able to judge what was history and what was his interpretation. He appeared to want to be fair, but he had had some rather hard experiences since that conference ten years before, and was bitter toward certain men. But the summer was very profitable to me.

One Sunday there was a near catastrophe on Lake Goguac. A group of children, including Andreasen's 3-year-old daughter. Vesta, somehow got into a boat tied to a dock. The boat tipped over, children and all. M. L.'s prompt use of his swimming skill saved the day as he fished the children out one after another.

Another man that I had for a few days as teacher was Uriah Smith. He was not a regular teacher, but "filled in." While Jones was rather unpolished. Elder Smith was polite and courteous. He had been editor of the Review for many years, and had fallen into the habit of most editors, to think that he knew all things and that others knew very little, if anything. He did it in a quiet way, but when he spoke he gave the impression that no one had better question what he said.

While at Battle Creek I also became acquainted with Dr. Kellogg, who gave me some of the correspondence he had with Sister White. Before he died I stayed with him some days and he kindly offered me much of his material. But I displeased him when he asked me to do something I could not do, and he withdrew his offer. I also submitted to his lengthy recital of some things he had experienced, and as a reward I got some quite valuable materials. But I did not get some I wanted. I read them, but did not get possession of them.

When I left Battle Creek to go teaching I had


gotten not only some schooling but also firsthand information of many things in regard to controversies pending and in the process of solution.

In 1877, only months after accepting the medical superintendency of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, John Harvey Kellogg began the production of granola as a health food for his patients. This pioneer, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal found public acceptance and by 1889, in addition to many other food products, the Sanitarium Food Company was selling granola at the rate of two tons per week.*

Before young M. L. entered upon his teaching experience, he had an unusual experience in connection with granola. He was selling religious books at the time. In future years he recounted the story to audiences on many occasions:

I accepted the Spirit of Prophecy without question, and often didn't stop to think. Whatever was written, that I did. I was not always wise in doing this, and it took me some years before I found myself, as it were. But let me explain.

I believe in health reform. I lived on granola. Some make fun of it. You might not like it to begin with, but it was very good. I canvassed for a while and lived on granola only. While I canvassed I carried my little bag of granola with me and ate its contents with water. I ate only twice a day and was careful not to eat too much.

But then someone read to me what Sister White said: "You eat too much." Generally speaking, we do eat altogether too much. I took that in a personal way, so I cut my ration right in two. Now I did not eat too much. But what was my astonishment to find that after I had halved my ration the statement was still there in the Testimonies, volume 2, page 374:


"You eat too much." What should I do now? Should I cut my ration in two again? But that wouldn't do any good. It would still say, "You eat too much." Then it dawned on me that I had to use good sense, and I thank God for a little good sense, at least. I was honest and intended to do right. But I hadn't learned what you would do well to learn, that when you find any statement, first of all, believe it. But remember that in many cases there are balancing statements. You may read. You must not eat this, or that, or the other. Believe it, but also look for those balancing statements, not to do away with the word, no, but to strengthen. Then you will find that you stand on good solid ground.

While I was canvassing on my granola and water, I tell you I was happy when Friday came. Then I'd have a day off. But what should I do? I canvassed in territory where there were no Adventists. What should I do on Sabbath! In one place I heard there was a good Seventh-day Adventist twenty miles away. I thought. If it's fifty miles, I'm going there. I must see a Seventh-day Adventist. So I walked and arrived at last. There was a good old sister. I'm sure she was perplexed as I appeared before her. I had never seen her before, but I felt. You are my mother, I could love you, I do love you. I don't think I told her that, but I think she felt it. I was homesick. And I never appreciated more the brethren and sisters in the church. What a wonderful thing it is to come home!

* Richard W. Schwartz, John Harvey Kellogg, M.D. (Nashville, Term.: Southern Pub. Assn., 1970), p.209.

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