Did Tithe to the Southern Missionary Society Go to Adventist denominational ordained ministers or independent workers?
On the topic of Seventh-day Adventists and tithe there are people who try to argue that the %10 tithe does not need to be returned to the conference or church. They claim that tithe can be sent to independent ministries or wherever they feel "God's work" is being done. The number one most common evidence that they provide in support of their claim is the situation in 1904 when some women in Colorado gave tithe to W.O. Palmer who at the time was a representative for the Southern Missionary Society. Palmer took the tithe (unsolicted) back to the SMS where it was applied to the Society's work. Anti-tithers say "See! The tithe went to ministers and bible workers and missionaries and since the 1905 Watson Letter gives the appearance of approval then we are also free to send the tithe wherever we want to!" The big problem however is that the tithe in question went only to ordained official denominational conference ministers. It was not given to bible workers, missionaries, or any other workers. And we know this because President of the Southern Missionary Society J.E. White explicitly says so:
Letter dated March 28, 1905 addressed to "Eld. A.G. Daniells, Tacoma Park Station, Washington, D.C." J.E. White says "for several years the Southern Missionary Society has supported from two to five ordained ministers among the colored people, and this support has come from the donations received but the conferences have not allowed the tithe to go to their support." (page 2) "Some people have placed their tithe in mother's hands and she has forwarded to our Society, promptly, to help meet the pay-roll of the ministers. Recently three sisters in Colorado have sent their tithe to the pay the colored ministers in the South." (page 3) "Bro. Palmer never asked an individual to pay tithe, and he certainly did not ask the church to pay its tithe. For this I have the statement of Bro. Palmer and from each of the sisters who paid the tithe." (page 3) "Bro. Palmer said...he never solicited tithe from our people" (page 3) "I will here say that we keep a separate account of the small amounts of tithes that come to us in this way and apply them entirely to pay the ministers working for the colored people." (page 3) "The sisters whom I visited both said their paying tithes was voluntary on their part and was in no way solicited." (pages 3-4)
Here is the actual scanned letter https://ellenwhite.org/correspondence/181834
In a letter dated May 8, 1914 addressed to "Elder C.P. Bollman of Nashville, Tenn." J.E. White says "that all the remittances to the Society sent from tithe, was kept in a separate account and used exclusively in paying ministers." (page 1)
Here is the actual scanned letter https://ellenwhite.org/correspondence/180879
In another letter dated May 8, 1914 addressed to "Mrs. R. Leitzman, Anaheim, Cal." J.E. White claims that tithe went to "[ordained] ministers" (page 2) and "Every dollar received from the tithe of our people was placed in a separate account on the books of the Southern Missionary Society, and was used for paying these ministers and for no other purpose whatever." (page 3) And he specifically says these ministers were ordained by the denomination. Again, here is the actual scanned letter https://ellenwhite.org/correspondence/181345
Was the tithe solicited? No
Did the tithe leave the church? No, the Southern Missionary Society was an official ministry of the Southern Union
Did the tithe go to missionaries? No
Did the tithe go to bible workers? No
Did the tithe go to independent ministers? No
Did the tithe go only to ordained denominational ministers? Yes
Did Ellen White ever encourage anyone to send tithe outside the church? No
Unfortunately, even though these facts have been publicly documented for years people especially within "independent ministries" continue to ignore this evidence and claim that Ellen White supported sending tithe outside the denomination to independent workers. This is false. They have zero evidence to substantiate their claim and their only hope of successfully passing off this misrepresentation is that their audience is unaware of the details of this history.