This article is the fourth in a series of five articles on the history of OUTLOOK. To see the other articles in this series, click here.
A. R. Smouse took on the responsibilities of editing the Northern Union Outlook at a tense point in world history. In 1937, Europe was taking steps toward what would become WWII. The memory of WWI was still fresh on people’s minds, and they did not want a repeat of that horrific event, but at the same time, news was coming out of Germany and other Axis-occupied countries of human rights abuses and oppression, and some argued that the United Stated had a moral necessity to intervene.
In the meantime, Adventists were grappling with how to view war. Most considered combat and killing in war to be immoral, and so were either conscientious objectors or signed up in a noncombatant role, such as medic or merchant marine. In an article in the Central Union Reaper only a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Carlyle B. Haynes explained, “Seventh-day Adventist noncombatants inducted into the military forces are still being assigned to noncombatant units … relieving them of the necessity of drilling with arms. Sabbath rulings in army camps have not been withdrawn. Our relationship to God and government is not – and will not be changed.”1
During this unstable era for our nation and its aftermath of the Cold War, the union publications entered an era of stability. The Central Union Conference and the Northern Union Conference remained separated from 1937 until 1980 with no major changes in territory.
The Northern Union Outlook enjoyed stability in leadership over the period of 1937-1980. When it was formed in 1937, A. R. Smouse was asked to be editor. Smouse turned editing responsibilities over to L. H. Netteburg in May of 1952, and Netteburg continued as editor until July 1976, when H. G. Crowson became editor.
Smouse was also a devoted, lifelong employee of the Adventist Church, serving 42 years in the Northern and Central Unions. He began working for the church in 1908 in Sioux Rapids, Iowa, as a church school teacher, leading out in the local church’s youth group as well. He went on to work for the Central Union Conference, then as secretary-treasurer of the Northern Union Conference for 15 years. It was during his time as secretary-treasurer that he was editor of the Northern Union Outlook.
46 years of service to the church
The Central Union Outlook enjoyed a similar level of stability. S. J. Lashier, who began as editor of the Central Union Outlook on May 3, 1938, stayed at the Central Union Reaper until Feb. 24, 1942, when it was turned over to Ava Wall (née Covington). During the five years Lasher was editor, he was occasionally helped by former editor D. D. Rees and Lashier’s assistant editor Mrs. Harry Turner.
Lashier passed away in 1947 at the age of 74, only a few years after turning over editing responsibilities. He held the position of treasurer at the Christian Record Benevolent Association (founded by D. D. Rees) up until a few months before his death. When he passed away, he had spent a total of 46 years in the organized denominational work of the Church, including working for the Portland Sanitarium, Portland Medical Mission, Washington Conference, Portland Sanitarium Food Co., Oregon Conference, North Pacific Union Conference, Central Union Conference, and the Christian Record Benevolent Association.
Editing through radical change
One of the primary reasons for the stability at the Central Union Reaper during this period was one woman, Clara Anderson, who edited the paper from Aug. 4, 1953 until June 15, 1976. Even before Anderson became editor, though, she was already involved in the production of the Reaper.
Anderson was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and married James Anderson in 1940. Clara Anderson was 27 when she and James moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1945. They both began working at College View Printing, she as a proofreader and he as superintendent. The Central Union Reaper was printed at College View Printing, so she was part of proofreading each issue of the Reaper. When the editor of the Reaper was sick or on vacation, she was even called upon to help out with editing the paper.
When Clara Anderson assumed the title of editor in August 1953, it was only about a week after the United States had signed an armistice agreement in the Korean War, effectively ending battle on the Korean peninsula. Over the next 23 years while she edited the paper, America changed radically. The Space Race, the Civil Rights Movements, and the Vietnam War all impacted the Adventist community in varying ways.
Anderson was able to guide the Central Union Outlook through this time and try to keep up with the culture, updating the publication from a black and white newspaper with few pictures to a color magazine-style publication with an emphasis on photos. In 1953, the publication was being produced weekly with 8-12 pages per issue, but by 1976 it had changed to twice per month with 16 pages per issue. It even had a front cover with a photograph, much like today’s magazines. These color covers were introduced sporadically in 1966. It was also under Anderson’s editorship that a yearly issue focusing on education was started, something that continues even in today’s OUTLOOK.
In her position, Anderson was purely an editor, as she rarely (if ever) wrote any articles in the Reaper. She stayed in the background and ensured the paper did what it was intended to do: inform and encourage the Adventist members within the Central Union.
Anderson retired from her position as editor in 1976 after holding the title for 23 years, but she continued as assistant editor all the way up until 1980, when the Reaper and the Northern Union Outlook merged. Halle G. Crowson, who took on editing responsibilities of the Mid-America Union Outlook after the 1980 merger of the two unions, wrote, “For more than 27 years, Clara Anderson served as editor and assistant editor of the Central Union Reaper, and for a few months with Mid-America Union Outlook … I, personally, appreciated Clara’s excellent work, especially during the merger process.”2
In all, Anderson was involved in the creation and production of the Reaper for 35 years, including the time she spent filling in while working for College View Printing. Finally, in 1980 Anderson decided to move to Napa Valley, California, where she spent the rest of her life. She passed away Aug. 25, 2007 at the age of 89.
- Haynes, Carlyle B. “The New Draft Age Limits.” Central Union Reaper. Vol. 11 No. 2. Jan. 13, 1942.
- Crowson, Halle G. “Communication/Religious Liberty/Outlook.” Mid-America Union Outlook. Vol. 2 No. 8. April 2, 1981.
- Campbell, M. V. “Introducing the New Reaper Editor.” Central Union Reaper. Vol. 22 No. 31. Aug. 4, 1953.
- “Clara Anderson.” St. Helena Star. Aug. 30, 2007.
- Whitsett, Robert M. “Obituaries: Lashier.” North Pacific Union Gleaner. Vol. 42 No. 31. Aug. 5, 1947.