At Issue Index   Table of Contents   Previous   Next


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


RETIREMENT 1950-1956


SOON M. L. would be 74. He would need someone to take care of him in his old age. The friends in whose home Annie had been stricken felt a special burden. They brought a candidate, Gladys Grounds. M. L. described her in writing to friends in the mission field: "Well, she's a wonderful woman. She's in her fifties, a little bit on the broad side. She has four children. I think you would like her. I want you to meet her sometime." "She's a nurse, agreeable, even has a sense of humor—more than I deserve."

Gladys welcomed the privilege of being married to such an honored man, and resolved to do everything in her power to minister to his needs and wishes. Life looked so rosy for M. L. that he wrote "Just Married" on his registration at the 1950 General Conference in Exposition Building in San Francisco.

Although M. L. had every reason to expect that his name would come up for retirement, even though no General Conference official had mentioned the subject to him, he had hoped that he would be among those permitted to go on serving for at least another term, as a very few stalwarts had been. But, on July 14, as he was listening to a report of the Nominating Committee, he heard his own name read at the head of an alphabetical list of fourteen ministers to be retired. Almost before he realized what was happening it had been voted.


M. L. knew that several of the men were older than he—one was 85 years old, another 83. On July 16 he read the full text of the report in the Review bulletin:

"It seems fitting in connection with this report to mention publicly the names of some of our older workers, who, because of age or health, should lay down the heavy burdens they have carried during the years, and seek the rest and retirement they have so justly earned.

"These workers are an honored group among us. They have filled places of responsibility with honor and distinction. Only eternity will reveal the contribution they have made to God's cause. Their helpful counsel and advice, as well as such other services as may be deemed advisable, will ever be sought and appreciated. The following are recommended for retirement:

"M. L. Andreasen, H. M. Blunden, H. H. Cobban, Claude Conard, Frederick Griggs, W. K. Ising, M. E. Kern, C. S. Longacre, Meade MacGuire, J. J. Nethery, G. A. Roberts, R. Ruhling, J. A. Stevens, Dr. E. A. Sutherland."1

Four days later, just before adjournment of the General Conference session of 1950, veteran minister Carlyle B. Haynes rose to make a speech, which was recorded in the Review:

"Brother Chairman, inasmuch as there are a few minutes left . . . I should like to make a motion. It has been on my mind for some time, and I think it ought to be made before this meeting adjourns. . . .

"I have reference to the report of the Nominating Committee which recommended for retirement a long list of names. I am not raising any question about the advisability or the propriety of the retirement, but only the way in which it was done. I think


men ought to retire, and should consider retirement, but I don't believe their retirement should be forced upon them before five thousand people. I am inclined to believe that administrators ought to face up to the unpleasantness of the task in dealing with men of this kind, and deal with them frankly in the quietness of their offices.

"I know that men are going away from this meeting with hurt in their hearts, men whom we do not want to hurt. Men who have given earnest, sincere, faithful effort over half a century of time are going away from this meeting feeling that they have been dealt with unjustly.

"We are establishing a pattern that will come to be our practice in the days to come, and I would prefer not to have that kind of pattern established . . . I move that this action be deleted from the permanent records of this conference."

This was duly voted.2

As it worked out, retirement for M. L. meant he would now be more available to the churches that wanted to hear him. After Gladys got off from work at the Glendale Sanitarium at 3:00 p.m., she would drive him as far as 200 miles round trip to an evening appointment. On Sabbaths he would often be booked for four sermons—afternoon and evening as well as two in the morning. As he summed it up some years later: Since my retirement in 1950 I have been busy every minute. The first five years I continued my work as if I were still employed, and did my full share of the work on hand. But having no settled field, I had more leisure than I had had for a long time. So I studied as I had never done before, and got much reading done.

By the time the 1953 Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook was prepared, M. L. and Gladys were


living in Gold Gulch, an area of private homes near the Santa Cruz redwoods. When a visitor came, the first thing M. L. would do would be to take him out to see the big trees. He said that heaven would be in the redwoods.

Their two-bedroom house had a living-dining room and an enclosed porch that M. L. used as an office. There was an outdoor fireplace, used by the Andreasens and their next-door neighbors. Built on a hillside, the house escaped when there was a flood. It was the only white house in the area. When a friend commented, "It sticks out like a sore thumb," M. L. replied, "Well, it could change color."

For about three years the Andreasens lived in the redwoods summer and winter. During that time M. L. devoted much time to writing. When he suffered a heart attack they decided it would be well to move to Glendale, where Gladys owned a home a few blocks from the Glendale Sanitarium.

One reason why M. L.'s heart attack did not come until late in life was because of his attitude toward food. Early in his Adventist lifetime he had learned the lessons of a middle-of-the-road diet, as attested by the granola story. He learned to like simple food.

He often talked about the peanut age. "I believed that if it tasted good, it was wrong! There's a text that says, 'Eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.' It doesn't say that which you like, but that which is good. I didn't like olives, but they were good. The Bible says to eat that which is good. So I learned to eat olives."

One acquaintance remembers: "When I saw him coming I'd put a big pot of beans on the stove, Lima beans, any kind of beans."

M. L. wrote whimsically to a friend in the tropics one time: "Even if the committee should vote in a year or two that I try once more to come down your way, I will be too fat by that time to get into the tropical


suits I have now bought, so they are a total loss." In reality he was careful about his calories. Five years after he wrote that letter he was invited to dinner one Sabbath. He turned down the hickory-nut cookies made especially for him and his wife and insisted on "just a tenth as much" ice cream as the others had.

Exercise was another health precaution M. L. maintained. Only two years before his death he wrote to friends, "I go swimming practically every day. I thank God for my health."

In Glendale, M. L. was more available to his friends. He always loved to have former students visit him. He especially appreciated having some of them drop in and have prayer with him in Scandinavian. Others would listen to music with him. He liked to listen to the Don Cossacks Singers with the lights out. When the record was finished, he would always pray.

A secretary relates: "Once when he was in the foyer of the Southern California Conference, he stopped to read a newspaper. I came in and noticed he was reading Ann Landers. I said, 'She seems to have an answer for everything.' 'She's a smart woman,' he responded. Then, slowly, 'She is a wise woman and a good woman. It would be fearful to be married to a woman like that.'"

When M. L. moved back to Glendale, the Southern California Conference gave him the title of Ministerial secretary. This official recognition gave him a new lease on life. He went from church to church, giving ten-day revivals based on the sanctuary and the Spirit of Prophecy. He spoke at camp meetings. Wherever he appeared, he was, as he always had been, a crowd-getter. "No one slept when he preached."

1 Review and Herald, July 16, 1950.

2 Ibid., July 21, 1950.

At Issue Index   Table of Contents   Previous   Next