Chapter 14

Confirming the Confidence

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Open Visions Often Changed Skeptics Into Believers
Not An Astronomy Lesson
Henry Family Bible
How Visions Were Remembered
Not All Visions Written Out
Timeliness of Delivering Visions Often Crucial
Foreign Language Tensions
Shortest Testimony
Endnotes
Study Questions


“And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20).

Visions were not always involved in dramatic exposures or in spectacular instruction during church deliberations. Some visions were about everyday matters.

In 1850, church members in Sutton, Vermont, realized that the Whites were wearing themselves out, traveling on common stagecoaches or wagons. They contributed $175 to help buy a horse and carriage, and left it up to the Whites to choose the horse. This important decision did not take long. During the night, Mrs. White had a vision in which she would have the choice of three horses. The next day, she knew that the beautiful dapple chestnut, named Charlie, was the one to be trusted for many years—because the angel had said in the vision, “This is the one for you.”1


Open Visions Often Changed Skeptics Into Believers

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For several decades, contemporaries observed Ellen White in vision and wrote out their descriptions of these impressive events. Open visions often changed skeptical people, even adversaries, into believers.

One of the earliest, most prominent, skeptic-turned-believer was Joseph Bates.2 Along with others who knew only by rumor of Ellen White’s early visions, Bates was not convinced that her visions “were of God.”3 Visions at that time were confused with spiritualistic seances or mesmerism. Bates thought they were nothing “more than what was produced by a protracted debilitated state of her body.”4 But he changed his mind after observing her in several vision experiences.

One vision, in particular, impressed him. In November 1846, at the Stockbridge Howland home in Topsham, Maine, a small company of Sabbath keepers had convened. Among them were Joseph Bates and the Whites. Ellen White was taken in vision and “for the first time had a view of other planets.” After the vision she related what she had seen.

Bates, an amateur astronomer, asked her if she had ever studied astronomy. He was astonished at what he had heard, saying, “This is of the Lord.” Later, after observing several other visions, he wrote in a small tract, “I thank God for the opportunity I have had with others to witness these things. . . . I believe the work is of God, and is given to comfort and strengthen His scattered, torn, and pealed people.”5

Ellen White never wrote out this “astronomy vision.” She never identified by name the planets she saw, nor did she mention the number of moons any planet may have. But Bates attached the planets’ names to what he thought Ellen White was describing, and others, including James White, reported what Bates seemed to have understood from her brief comments. Telescopes today reveal much more about the planets, the number of their moons, and other heavenly phenomena than Bates would ever have dreamed of. What really astounded him was not the description of “planets,” but Mrs. White’s description of the “opening heavens,” a reference to the so-called “open space in Orion.” He was reported to have said that her description “far surpassed any account of the opening heavens he had ever read from any author.”6


Not An Astronomy Lesson

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The point seems clear: the vision was not a lesson on astronomy that was intended to be verified by modern telescopes. Rather, it provided enough information, by a young woman totally uninformed on astronomy, that conformed to the limited information that Bates, an amateur astronomer, had in 1847.7 If Ellen White had given a preview of what the Hubble telescope revealed in the 1990s, Joseph Bates would certainly have been convinced that Ellen White was a fraud, a misguided zealot. His doubts would have been confirmed. Probably he would not have identified himself further with Seventh-day Adventists.

Bates’s confidence in Mrs. White’s visions was tested two years later. The Whites were desperately in need of funds to continue publishing the Present Truth. Unfortunately, Bates was highly critical of the periodical approach to disseminating the message. He favored the pamphlet approach. At the most critical point of disagreement and lack of funds, Ellen White had a vision that the periodical, “was needed . . . . that the paper should go . . . that it would go where God’s servants cannot go.”

When Bates heard of Mrs. White’s endorsement, he dropped his opposition and lent his influence to the developing publishing work.8

Young Daniel Bourdeau, at the age of twenty, was doing missionary work for the Baptist Church in Canada when he heard that his parents and older brother (Augustin C.) had joined the Sabbatarian Adventists in northern Vermont. In his attempt to dissuade them, he discovered that they had persuaded him regarding the Sabbath and other doctrines.

But Daniel was still an “unbeliever in the visions” until Sunday morning, June 21, 1857, when he observed Ellen White in vision at Buck’s Bridge, New York. He was told that he could examine her during the vision. In his words, “to satisfy my mind as to whether she breathed or not, I first put my hand on her chest sufficiently long to know that there was no more heaving of the lungs than there would have been had she been a corpse. I then took my hand and placed it over her mouth, pinching her nostrils between my thumb and forefinger, so that it was impossible for her to exhale or inhale air, even if she had desired to do so. I held her thus with my hand about ten minutes, long enough for her to suffocate under ordinary circumstances. She was not in the least affected by this ordeal. . . . Since witnessing this wonderful phenomenon, I have not once been inclined to doubt the divine origin of her visions.”9

Ellen White’s longest vision (four hours) occurred in 1845 before her marriage to James. One of the allegations against her was that she could not have a vision if James White and her sister, Sarah (both persons accompanied Ellen on her early travels) were not present. Otis Nichols, hoping to expose the charge, invited Ellen and Sarah to his home, leaving James in Portland. Among those in the Boston area who contested the validity of Ellen Harmon’s experience were fanatical leaders, including Sargent and Robbins, who were also advocating that it was a sin to work.10

Sargent and Robbins were invited and came to Nichols home, but when they learned that Ellen Harmon was present, they quickly withdrew, warning Nichols that her visions were “of the devil.” Before they left, Nichols told them that Ellen Harmon would like to attend their next meeting in Boston, to which they gave their approval.

But the night before the proposed meeting, Ellen was shown in vision that these men had no plan to meet with her; they had alerted their followers to gather in Randolph, thirteen miles south of Boston. In that vision she also was told that she should meet with this group in Randolph, that God would give her a message that would convince “the honest, the unprejudiced ones, whether her visions were of the Lord or from Satan.”11

When Ellen Harmon and her party arrived, Sargent and Robbins groaned in surprise. Robbins told Sarah, Ellen’s sister, that Ellen could not have a vision if he were present! In the afternoon meeting, according to the report of Otis Nichols, Ellen was “taken off in vision with extraordinary manifestations and continued talking in vision with a shrill voice which could be distinctly understood by all present, until about sundown [about four hours].”

What did Sargent and Robbins do during this time? “They exhausted all their influence and bodily strength to destroy the effect of the vision. They would unite in singing very loud, and then alternately would talk and read from the Bible in a loud voice in order that Ellen might not be heard, until their strength was exhausted and their hands would shake, so they could not read from the Bible.”


Henry Family Bible

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Mr. Thayer, the owner of the house, was not convinced that Ellen Harmon was of the devil. He had heard that one test of whether the visions were from Satan was to lay an open Bible on the person in vision. He asked Sargent to do so, but he refused.

Being a man of action, Thayer took his heavy family Bible, opened it, and laid it on Ellen Harmon’s chest (who was inclined against the wall). She arose immediately and walked to the middle of the room, holding the Bible high with one hand. With her free hand, her eyes looking upward and not on the Bible, she began to turn the pages of the Bible, placing her finger on certain texts.

Many in the room who were able to look at the passages where her finger was pointing while her eyes were looking upward, noted that she was quoting them correctly. But Sargent and Robbins, though now silent, continued to steel themselves against the dramatic refutation of all they had said.

Nichols reported later that this “No-work Party” became even more fanatical, declaring themselves free from all sinning. About a year later, the group was scattered amidst the revelations of “shameful acts of their lives.”12

In 1852 a very personal event convinced Marion Stowell that Ellen White’s visions were genuine. On one of their itineraries through northern and western New York, the Whites found Marion exhausted after two-and-a-half years of caring for Mrs. David Arnold. They asked her to join them in their sleigh as they continued their journey.

Marion Stowell recalled later in a letter to Mrs. White: “We had not gone many more miles when you said, ‘James, everything that was shown me about this trip has transpired but one. We had a little meeting in a private family. You spoke with great freedom on your favorite theme, the near coming of Christ.”

James responded: “It is impossible [for this] to transpire on this trip as there is not an Adventist family between here and Saratoga. We will put up at a hotel tonight, and we surely wouldn’t have a meeting there, and tomorrow afternoon will reach home. It must occur on our next trip. . . .”

Ellen replied: “No, James, it was surely on this, as nothing has been shown me of the next one, and it is three months before we take another. It was shown me on this trip, yet I can’t see how it can come to pass.”

Near sundown the Whites, recalling that a recently married friend lived nearby, stopped for a visit and were happily welcomed.

Marion Stowell continued the story: “Supper over, Emily said, ‘Brother White, would you mind speaking to my neighbors on the near coming of Christ? I can soon fill both rooms. They have heard me tell so much about you both, they will come.’”

And they came. Not until the traveling party were on their way to the next stopping place, Saratoga Springs, did anyone remember the connection between the earlier vision and that evening meeting. Marion confided to Ellen White: “Not once from that time to this has Satan ever tempted me to doubt your visions.”13

Many are the stories, each unique, that reveal how men and women became convinced regarding the genuineness of Mrs. White’s visions. The experience of Stephen Smith is typical. Reports in the Review and Herald indicated that Smith had a series of experiences in the 1850s that led to his being disfellowshipped. During this period, Mrs. White wrote him a testimony. When he received it, he thrust it, unopened, deep within a trunk for twenty-eight years!

During these years Mrs. Matilda Smith remained faithful and received the Review and Herald weekly. Eventually her husband picked up the copies, read them, and was softened by articles written by Ellen White, whom he remembered from the 1850s. Then he attended a revival meeting in the Washington, New Hampshire church, a church that he had been ridiculing for nearly three decades. After making a public confession one Sabbath of how wrong he had been, the following Thursday he remembered that unopened testimony in the bottom of his trunk. The following Sabbath he returned to the Washington church and gave his story:

“Brethren, every word of the testimony for me is true, and I accept it. And I have come to that place where I finally believe they [the testimonies] all are of God, and if I had heeded the one God sent to me, as well as the rest, it would have changed the whole course of my life, and I should have been a very different man. . . .

“The testimonies said there was to be no more ‘definite time’ preached after the ’44 movement, but I thought that I knew as much as an old woman’s visions, as I used to term it. May God forgive me! But to my sorrow, I found the visions were right, and the man who thought he knew it all was all wrong, for I preached the time in 1854, and spent all I had when if I had heeded them, I should have saved myself all that and much more. The testimonies are right and I am wrong. . . . I want to tell our people everywhere that another rebel has surrendered.”14


How Visions Were Remembered

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Most of Ellen White’s visions or dreams probably were written down in broad outline soon after she received them. As time went on, she would fill in the details.15

The vision given on Christmas Day 1865, at Rochester, New York, was especially comprehensive. By 1868, according to James White, Ellen White had written “several thousand pages” based upon that one vision.16 The many concerns in that vision became an important part of her agenda for the next three years.

Mrs. White did not remember at any one time all elements of the vision. When she visited churches and families on her eastern tour in late 1867 and in northern Michigan in 1868, she saw many faces that instantly brought back the messages for them which she then delivered orally or in writing.17

Many times, those who had special testimonies given to them orally wanted a written copy. Obviously these were serious believers who wanted to bring their lives into harmony with the prophet’s admonition. In reference to this practice, James White wrote in 1868: “We wished to say to those friends who have requested Mrs. White to write out personal testimonies, that in this branch of her labor she has about two months’ work on hand.”18

This practice of not writing out the whole vision at once was not uncommon. In 1860 Ellen White reflected: “After I come out of vision I do not at once remember all that I have seen, and the matter is not so clear before me until I write, then the scene rises before me as was presented in vision, and I can write with freedom.

“Sometimes the things which I have seen are hid from me after I come out of vision, and I cannot call them to mind until I am brought before a company where that vision applies, then the things which I have seen come to my mind with force. I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in relating or writing a vision, as in having the vision. It is impossible for me to call up things which have been shown me unless the Lord brings them before me at the time that He is pleased to have me relate or write them.”19


Not All Visions Written Out

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Occasionally Ellen White did not write out the specifics of a vision; what we know about the vision has come from observers. For example, her first health vision in 1848 was reported by her husband James twenty-two years later in the Review and Herald, November 8, 1870.

Her first vision on the Civil War, received at Parkville, Michigan, January 12, 1861, does not seem to have been recorded. However, after coming out of the twenty-minute vision she related to the audience soon-to-be-enacted events. J. N. Loughborough was present and took copious notes.20


Timeliness of Delivering Visions Often Crucial

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Often a letter from Ellen White would arrive in a distant committee meeting or a crucial church meeting on exactly the day when needed, even when she would be thousands of miles away. Other times, not a letter but her presence would alter the direction of a meeting, chiefly because of being instructed by a vision. In 1887 at Vohwinkel, Prussia, she was to speak on Sabbath morning, May 28. During Friday night, she had a dream of what she would be facing Sabbath morning. In the dream the elder of the church “seemed to be trying to hurt someone . . . . the assembling together had not been refreshing to anyone.” A Stranger, who had earlier seated Himself in the assembly, arose to speak at the end of the service, pointing to Jesus as their example in all things.

After Ellen White concluded the sermon (that she had entitled, “The Prayer of Christ, that His disciples may be one as He was one with the Father”) in which she described the dream, confessions and weeping and rejoicing swept through the congregation. The church service continued for three hours as the “mellow light of heaven” filled the room.21

General Conference sessions were frequent occasions for Ellen White’s direct intervention. While the 1879 session was in progress, she had a vision, of which she wrote: “November 23, 1879, some things were shown me in reference to institutions among us and the duties and dangers of those who occupy a leading position in connection with them.” Seventy pages followed, filled with counsel, reproof, and encouragement—all of which provided the substance for several talks she gave to the assembly.

Before the session concluded, the following action was voted: “Whereas, God has again most mercifully and graciously spoken to us as ministers, in words of admonition and reproof through the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy; and

Whereas, These instructions are just and timely, and of the utmost importance in their relation to our future labors and usefulness; therefore

Resolved, That we hereby express our sincere and devout thanksgiving to God that He has not left us in our blindness, as He might justly have done, but has given us another opportunity to overcome, by faithfully pointing out our sins and errors, and teaching us how we may please God and become useful in His cause.

Resolved, That, while it is right and proper that we express our thankfulness to God and His servants in this manner, yet the best manner of expressing our gratitude is to faithfully heed the testimony that has been borne to us; and we hereby pledge ourselves to make a most earnest effort to reform on those points wherein we have been shown to be deficient, and to be obedient to the will of God thus graciously made known to us.”22

The crucial presence of Ellen White during the March 1891 General Conference in Battle Creek, Michigan, kept the leadership from making a serious mistake regarding the church’s religious liberty program and other publishing policies.23 The usefulness of the vision’s purpose and relevancy is highlighted in the timing of its presentation in public. Although given to Mrs. White in November 1890, and though she found many opportunities to apply much of the vision’s message to current conditions, the central feature of the vision was held from her memory until the exact moment when it would be most effective.

If she had reported the whole vision (as she tried to do on several occasions) at any other time than after that famous Saturday night secret meeting, it would have been considered patently false information.24

But it was not only with General Conference matters that denominational leaders recognized the timely counsel provided through the Spirit of prophecy. Those involved in crises such as the proposed sale of the Boulder (Colorado) Sanitarium would never forget the prompt, propitious, and lucid direction that the situation demanded—wisdom that leadership could not see without the inspired witness of Ellen White.

The Boulder Sanitarium crisis in the closing months of 1905 is a case study in how “reasonable” certain business plans may appear, even when higher principles and purposes are neglected. At that time conference leadership and leading laymen believed that they were doing the denomination a favor by selling the institution. However, Ellen White made clear that it was not in God’s purpose that another sanitarium should be built in Boulder or in Canon City, one hundred miles south of Boulder—at least not by Adventists. Her unambiguous counsel written to the key players turned the tide although such admonition came as a heavy blow to the leaders.25


Foreign Language Tensions

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Also in 1905 another festering problem was coming to a head. The leaders in foreign-language work in North America were striving hard to have separate printing establishments for work in the German, Danish-Norwegian, and Swedish languages. Further, these leaders wanted separate conferences for the three ethnic groups. At the Foreign Department Council of the General Conference held at College View, Nebraska, on September 5, 1905, church leaders gathered with great apprehension.

Ellen White, residing in California, was asked for counsel. In addition to gathering previous relevant materials, she wrote three new testimonies. The central theme of her counsel, clearly stated in her two years in Europe where the subject was always in front of her, was: “According to the light given me of God, separate organizations, instead of bringing about unity, will create discord. . . . I must write plainly regarding the building up of partition walls in the work of God. Such an action has been revealed to me as a fallacy of human invention.”26

G. A. Irwin, vice-president of the General Conference who was present at the College View meeting, wrote after the council: “I am glad to tell you that the Lord has given the victory here just as signally as He did in Colorado [Boulder Sanitarium crisis, same year]. The communications from Sister White came in just the right time, and answered the most important questions before us. They made the matter so clear and plain that even the most extreme agitators of a separation were led to accept them.”27

During the 1905 controversy with John Harvey Kellogg, many people in Battle Creek were convinced that he had been abused, or, at least, misunderstood. Kellogg’s usual response to Mrs. White’s interventions in the early1900s had been: “Somebody has told Sister White!”

The Kellogg crisis was perhaps more severe than any previous denominational conflict. Ellen White, on December 21, 1905, had sent a telegram to A. G. Daniells, president of the General Conference, that she had special counsel for him and others at that critical time. The package of manuscripts arrived on December 26 and were read to an overflow audience in the Battle Creek Tabernacle. What proved to be astonishing to all was that two of the manuscripts were written much earlier (August 1903 and June 1, 1904) but were not copied out until she was impressed to do so on the previous Thursday when she had sent her telegram.

The effect of the manuscripts, read without comment, was stunning. Several men who had been captivated by Kellogg’s arguments approached Daniells immediately, saying that the notable meeting held with Kellogg the night before was clearly described by Ellen White in the manuscripts written many months before and copied only days before. They also said that “if there had been a doubt in their minds regarding the source of the testimonies, it would have been swept away by their own statements [as set forth by Ellen G. White] in the testimonies.”28

The shortest testimony Ellen White ever gave was a telegram received by M. N. Campbell, pastor of the Battle Creek church (Tabernacle), during the 1906-1907 struggle over the ownership of the Tabernacle. The Sanitarium group was determined to secure the property. Most of the church trustees were inclined to support the Sanitarium group’s wishes.

But the young pastor, equally determined that the property would remain in denominational hands, called together a few of the leading members for special prayer before the last, and most crucial, meeting. Campbell recorded the event:

“They were all good, faithful men but I don’t know that I ever saw a set of men more scared. Old Brother Amadon,29 one of the finest Christians that ever lived, moaned, ‘If only Sister White were here, if only Sister White were here.’”

Everyone knew that Ellen White was in California, but Amadon continued, “Oh, if only Sister White were here.”


Shortest Testimony

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A few minutes later, ten minutes before the opening of the tense meeting, a telegram arrived for Campbell. It contained this message: “Philippians 1:27, 28. (Signed) Ellen G. White.”

That text and her intended message braced the men for what had to be done. Campbell wrote: “That settled the question. That was a communication from Sister White that we needed right at that moment. God knew we were holding that meeting, and that we had a group of scared men, and that we needed help from Him, and so He gave us the message that came straight to us in the nick of time. It sounded pretty good to us.”30

At times, Ellen White would plead with individuals prior to a serious and life-changing decision, warning them of their own impending crisis. Her concern for her long-time friend, D. M. Canright, while he was going through his final defection, is one example of many.

Canright had asked that his name be dropped from the church books in Otsego, Michigan—a request that was granted on February 17, 1887.31

Although in Europe, Ellen White was not surprised at these sad developments. In vision she had seen Canright going through “rough waters.” She pleaded with him to “Wait, and God will help you. Be patient, and the clear light will appear. If you yield to impressions you will lose your soul. . . .” This letter was later printed in Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 571-573, with “Brother M” referring to Canright. But Canright did not wait, and Mrs. White’s prediction that his “sun will surely set in obscurity” was tragically fulfilled.32

In 1900 Daniel H. Kress, an Adventist physician, was appointed to head up the medical work in Australia. He zealously advocated dispensing with all animal products. But in his frequent travels at the turn of the century he found it difficult to get suitable foods for a balanced diet. As a result, he developed pernicious anemia at the age of forty. When Ellen White saw him in vision, he was at death’s door.

In her usual straightforward manner she instructed him to “make changes, and at once. Put into your diet something you have left out. . . . Get eggs of healthy fowls. Use these eggs cooked or raw. Drop them uncooked into the best unfermented wine [grape juice] you can find. This will supply that which is necessary to your system.”33

Her counsel, prompted by the vision regarding Kress’s dire physical condition, was exactly what the ill physician needed. He fully recovered, and lived fifty-two years longer in a life of medical service and administration.34


Endnotes

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1. Bio., vol. 1, p. 178.

2. For a biography of Joseph Bates, read Godfrey T. Anderson, Outrider of the Apocalypse: Life and Times of Joseph Bates (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1972); Schwarz, Light Bearers, pp. 59-70; Spalding, Origin and History, vol. 1, pp. 25-41; see also Joseph Bates, Autobiography (Battle Creek, MI: Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, 1868, facsimile reproduction, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, TN, 1970) for a review of his life up to 1858. Bates, a converted sea captain, spent his fortune promoting the Millerite message. He became one of the first Sabbatarian Adventists (1845), the first to print a tract, The Seventh-day Sabbath a Perpetual Sign (1846), on the seventh-day Sabbath. This tract became the convincing confirmation for James and Ellen White that Saturday, not Sunday, is the Christian Sabbath.—Schwarz, Light Bearers, pp. 59, 60; Bio., vol. 1, pp. 116, 117.

3. Life Sketches, p. 97.

4. Ibid.

5. A Word to the Little Flock, p. 21, in Knight, 1844 and The Rise of Sabbatarian Adventism, p. 175 ; see J. N. Loughborough, Rise and Progress of the Seventh-day Adventists (Battle Creek, MI: General Conference Association of the Seventh-day Adventists, 1892, reprinted by Payson, AZ: Leaves of Autumn Books, Inc., 1988), pp. 125-128; Schwarz, Light Bearers, p. 67; Bio., vol. 1, pp. 113, 114.

6. Loughborough, GSAM, pp. 258, 259.

7. Some may wonder why God did not give Ellen White “the whole truth” about planets, open spaces, etc. Experience shows that He has never given “the whole truth” to any prophet in one sitting. Paul, for instance, had much to say about how Christian slave holders should treat their slaves, but he did not see “the whole truth” about how slavery as a system should be dismantled. The Lord emphasized this principle: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12); see also, Mark. 4:33 and 1 Cor. 3:2

8. Bio., vol. 1, pp. 171, 172.

9. Loughborough, GSAM, p. 210.

10. See p. 50.

11. Bio., vol. 1, pp. 100-102.

12. Ibid., pp. 103-105.

13. Letter to Ellen White from Marion Stowell Crawford, Oct. 9, 1908, cited in Bio., vol. 1, pp. 225, 226.

14. Ibid., pp. 490-492.

15. See the story of the 1890 Salamanca, New York, vision in Bio., vol. 3, pp. 464-467, 478-483. See also p. 188.

16. Review and Herald, June 16, 1868, p. 409.

17. See the Bushnell experience, pp. 127, 128.

18. Review and Herald, March 3, 1868, p. 192.

19. Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, pp. 292, 293.

20. Contrary to Contemporary Optimism in chapter 15 provides additional information. Loughborough, RPSDA, pp. 236-237. In his preface, Loughborough wrote: “Since November 1853 I have kept a diary of daily occurrences.” The narrative [in RPSDA] from that date is from the record of this diary.

21. Bio., vol. 3, pp. 363-365.

22. Bio., vol. 3, pp. 128, 129; Review and Herald, Dec. 11, 1879. p. 190.

23. See p. 188.

24. The Salamanca Vision episode reveals how a prophet is led by the Lord not to reveal and use all the contents of a vision at once. The central message is to be given at the exact time when needed most. After the dramatic events in Battle Creek that followed Ellen White’s public testimony, O. A. Olsen, General Conference president, wrote: “Sister White had had no opportunity to have any knowledge of what had gone on in that room during the night in the Review office. . . . The Lord had shown it to her before the thing took place; and now, the very morning in which it took place, she had been, in a special manner, called by the Lord to present what had been shown her. It is needless to say not only that it brought relief to many minds, but that it gave cause for great thankfulness that at such a critical moment the Lord stepped in and saved us from the perplexity and confusion that seemed to be coming up on important questions.”—DF 107b, O. A. Olsen account, cited in Bio., vol. 3, pp. 477-481. Six prominent ministers signed a statement that included these words: “The relation [telling] of this vision made a profound and solemn impression upon that large congregation of Seventh-day Adventist ministers present at that early-morning meeting. When they heard those who had been reproved for the wrong course taken in that council confess that all Mrs. White had said about them was true in every particular, they saw the seal of divine inspiration had been set upon that vision and testimony. The power and solemnity of that meeting made an impression upon the minds of those present not soon to be forgotten.”—DF 107b, joint statements, cited in Ibid., p. 482.

25. In order that all concerned throughout the denomination might profit by the Boulder Sanitarium experience, the history of the crisis and testimonies from Ellen White were incorporated in a pamphlet of eighty pages under the title “Record of Progress and an Earnest Appeal in Behalf of the Boulder, Colorado, Sanitarium.” This pamphlet is known today as Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 5. See also Bio., vol. 6, pp. 33-43.

26. Bio., vol. 6, p. 48.

27. Ibid., p. 49.

28. Bio., vol. 6, pp. 67-72. For a similar experience, occurring in 1903, see Schwarz, Light Bearers, p. 292. See pp. 200-204 for further discussion of the Kellogg/Pantheism controversy and another timely message from Ellen White.

29. George Amadon joined the Review and Herald Publishing Association in 1853 as a young printer. After the Press fire and the move to Washington, D.C., he remained in Battle Creek and served the Battle Creek church as a visiting pastor. SDAE, vol. 10, p. 58.

30. Bio., vol. 6, pp. 126-129.

31. The church clerk, in that church business meeting, summarized Canright’s public statement wherein he stated “that he had come to a point where he no longer believed that the Ten Commandments were binding upon Christians and had given up the law, the Sabbath, the messages, the sanctuary, our position upon [the] United States in prophecy, the testimonies, health reform, the ordinances of humility. He also said that he did not believe the Papacy had changed the Sabbath. And though he did not directly state it, his language intimated that he would probably keep Sunday. He thinks that Seventh-day Adventists are too narrow in their ideas.” —Cited in Carrie Johnson, I Was Canright’s Secretary (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1971), p. 82.

32. Ibid., pp. 168, 169.

33. D. H. Kress, M.D., “The Testimonies and a Balanced Diet,” in George K. Abbott, M.D., The Witness of Science to the Testimonies of the Spirit of Prophecy (revised edition) (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1948), pp. 138-141. Portions of Ellen White’s letter to Dr. Kress are found in Counsels on Diet and Foods, pp. 202-207.

34. SDAE, vol. 10, p. 886. For a sample of scores of similar occasions wherein Ellen White, in the most timely manner and because of the facts given to her in vision, intervened to counsel, reprove, encourage someone, note the following: (1) A minister in the young San Francisco church was saved from an embarrassing, potentially disastrous, church investigation on Sunday, January 28, 1872, because of a letter he received from Ellen White on Saturday evening.—Loughborough, GSAM, pp. 387, 388, cited in Bio., vol. 2, pp. 363, 364. (2) W. W. Prescott, president of Battle Creek College, had become a forceful advocate of Anna Phillips, a self-proclaimed “prophet.” One of his purposes for traveling to Walla Walla College in early 1894 was to read one of Anna Phillips’s testimonies. Elder Haskell was also at Walla Walla and reported to Ellen White: “Your testimony came just in season to save some trouble at College Place. I have heard of something of the kind before when your letters or testimony would come just at the time when a meeting was in progress and it just reached the people in time to save trouble, but [I] never experienced it before. . . . Brother Prescott was going to read the testimony of Anna Phillips, although we had had some talk over the matter. But the day just in season your letter came and then he of course had opportunity to read it. This settled the question with him. He said, ‘Then that is all there is to it. Now I will take some of the same medicine that I have given other people.’ . . . But God in His providence had that testimony come on the very train it should have come and it reached me just in season.”—Letter from S. N. Haskell to Ellen White, March 9, 1894, cited in Glen Baker, “Anna Phillips—Not Another Prophet,” Adventist Review, Feb. 20, 1986, p. 9. (3) The famous Waukon-trip dash across the “frozen” Mississippi in December 1857 was prompted by a vision wherein Ellen White saw the early Adventist leaders from New England in need of immediate spiritual counsel. Against all recommendations, the White party pushed through the snowstorms and the breathtaking experience on the river, suffering frostbite and little food—only to find that their old friends, including the Andrewses, Loughboroughs, and Stevenses, were “sorry that we had come.” But the Spirit of God prevailed.—Bio., vol. 1, pp. 345-349; Maxwell, Tell It to the World, pp.139-141; Spalding, Origin and History, vol. 1, pp. 279-289.


Study Questions

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1. What circumstances changed Joseph Bates’s skepticism into calm confidence?

2. Why didn’t God give Ellen White a picture of Orion such as a modern Hubble telescope would provide?

3. How did Ellen White’s longest vision provide confidence to the observers?

4. How did the 1852 vision in eastern New York bring confidence to others?

5. On what occasions did the remarkable timeliness of a vision cause much rejoicing and added confidence?

6. How did Ellen White’s visions help Doctor Kress in a practical way?

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