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Minister and administrator. Daniells became a Seventh-day Adventist at the age of 10. He did some training at Battle Creek College, taught in public school, and later worked with R. M. Kilgore in Texas. He worked as secretary to James and Ellen White for part of a year, remaining from then on close to W. C. White and Ellen White. G. I. Butler called him to preach in Iowa in 1880, where he was later ordained. From 1886 to 1901 he worked in New Zealand and Australia, which involved him with more close work with Ellen White and her son William after their arrival in 1891.
He was able to bring his experience with new administrative structures “down under” to the General Conference when he was elected president in 1901, and similar changes were made in the overall organization of the church to bring it to financial and functional health. In addition to structural changes, he was challenged by many crises during his presidency, from the Kellogg schism, the move of the church headquarters and publishing house from Battle Creek to Takoma Park, to the problems caused by the loss of key workers such as A. F. Ballenger and A. T. Jones.
He was a strong administrator, and had Ellen White’s support, though she frequently wrote him testimonies of correction and instruction. He promoted city and overseas missions. He served as General Conference secretary from 1922 to 1926, and then as director of the ministerial association until his death. He promoted righteousness by faith, writing in 1926 Christ Our Righteousness to recall the important and neglected teachings from the Minneapolis era. He worked to the end of his life supporting the prophetic gift of Ellen White, though accused of not believing in it by those with rigid views of how inspiration worked. He wrote his final book on this topic, The Abiding Gift of Prophecy.