Chapter 21

Dissidents, Within and Without

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Leaders With Secular Motives
Swayed in Wrong Lines
Clear Response to Dissidents
The Voice—Not Always Welcome
Ellen White’s Counsels and Appeals to D. M. Canright
Spurned in 1888
Study Questions

“When Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you . . . Your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore’” (Acts 8:18, 19, 20-22).

Dealing with motives is a thankless task, even for a prophet. Most often in church-related activities a conflict of motives arises either over the misuse of power or over the allocation of funds. The Battle Creek situation in the 1890s provides a textbook case for dealing with both problem areas.

Denominational debt had increased dramatically due to the rapid expansion of the sanitarium, the college, and the publishing house. Further, the development of Dr. Kellogg’s enterprises, including the medical school, the orphanage, and an old people’s home, drew heavily on Adventist resources.

Leaders With Secular Motives

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Down under in Australia, in 1896, Ellen White was appalled by the overcentralization of power and the huge increase of debt that all this expansion reflected. For her, adding building to building did not give the right “character to the work.” What was needed was not more power and buildings in Battle Creek but for church leaders to realize that “their own characters needed the transforming grace of Christ,”1 which would enable them to represent Christ. Two leaders, A. R. Henry, treasurer of the Review and Herald Publishing Association, and Harmon Lindsay, treasurer of the General Conference, were her chief concern. Both were highly influential in making denominational decisions.

Henry, a banker before he became a Seventh-day Adventist, was invited to Battle Creek in 1882 to assist in the development of the publishing house. In 1883 he also was asked to be the treasurer of the General Conference, a post he held until 1888 when Lindsay became treasurer. Simultaneously during this period, in addition to these two major responsibilities, Henry was a member of the governing boards of nearly all the denomination’s medical and educational institutions in the central and western States.2

Lindsay, though shrewd in business matters, had a less forceful personality than Henry. O. A. Olsen, General Conference president, described him as one who “says but little openly but mutters a great deal.” However, he had been treasurer of the General Conference as early as 1874-1875. His unbroken years of involvement in developing both the sanitarium and the college, as well as control of denominational finances while other General Conference personnel came and went, gave him an understandable reason for sensing his power.3

When new presidents assumed office, it was only natural for them to turn to the “experienced” treasurers for counsel. Elder Olsen, a forbearing, gentle spirit, tried to alleviate the “unChristian speeches” and hard bargaining that characterized denominational business. Not until some very forceful statements from Ellen White arrived did he separate himself from Henry and Lindsay and call other men to take their places. Many letters to Olsen from Mrs. White in Australia emphasized and warned against the secular principles that dominated the business affairs in Battle Creek institutions. She wrote: “I fear and tremble for the souls of men who are in responsible places in Battle Creek. . . . If their works had no further influence than simply upon themselves, I could breathe more freely; but I know that the enemy is using men who are in positions of trust, and who are not consecrated to the work and who know not what manner of spirit they are of. When I realize that men who are connected with them are also in blindness, and will not see the harm that is being done by the precept and example of these unconsecrated agents, it seems to me that I cannot hold my peace. I have to write, for I know that the mold that these men are giving to the work is not after God’s order.”4

Although Ellen White’s sympathies were with Elder Olsen, she did not spare words: “I felt that you were being bound hand and foot, and were tamely submitting to it.” Because God was illuminating her mind, she saw what others could not see clearly: “Things are being swayed in wrong lines.” She saw, behind the surface reasonings, that leading men were acting “as though they were in God’s place, . . . deal[ing] with their fellow men as if they were machines. I cannot respect their wisdom or have faith in their Christianity.”

Then, writing specifically: “The Lord has presented to me his [Henry’s] dangers. I expect nothing else but he will say, as he has always done, ‘Somebody has been telling Sister White.’ This shows that he has no faith in my mission or testimony, and yet Brother Olsen has made him his right-hand man.”5

In 1896 Elder Olsen made a serious effort to change the widespread secularism prevailing among Adventist workers in Battle Creek. In the publishing house were A. R. Henry, Clement Eldridge, and Frank Belden, and others who pressed their secular ideas. Along with the secularism, Olsen was “exercised” over the “disbelief, skepticism, and indifference that are manifested by our people with reference to the gift of prophecy.”6

Swayed in Wrong Lines

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Some of the particular matters that were “swayed in wrong lines” were the disproportionate salaries being paid to publishing house executives (and more being sought), the persistent refusal to provide merit increases to workers, the feeling of mistrust between workers and management over piecework rates, failure to maintain a systematic training program for apprentices, failure to advance persons within the organization, the appointment of supervisors without spiritual qualifications, failure to conduct evangelistic work among the substantial number of non-Adventist workers, the reluctance to reduce the amount of commercial work or even monitor the offensive jobs, and failure to provide sanitary premises.7

One other important example of the two-faced, high-handed actions of the publishing house’s executives was their relationship to authors. Ellen White was specific: “In the past, publishers have placed themselves as God, to dictate, to control, to manage as they pleased, and to lord it over God’s heritage. They have done a deceptive work in dealing with authors. I have been taken into private councils, and have heard the plans laid down. Men have managed to make an author believe that his work is naught, and that they do not want to have anything to do with the book. The author has no means. He feels that his hands are tied. Men talk and think over the whole process, and succeed in bringing him to their terms, to take the royalty that they offer on the book.

“The dealing with Frank Belden was not true and righteous in all its points. Justice was not done to him. The effort made to grind down Brother Bell and to obtain possession of books, has made a most miserable showing, driving him to an opposite extreme. Men’s brains have been bought and sold.”8

Mrs. White counseled: “Let not authors be urged to either give away or to sell their right to the books they have written. Let them receive a just share of the profits of their work; then let them regard their means as a trust from God, to be administered according to the wisdom that He shall impart.”9

Her counsel regarding sound business principles that reflect the Christlike pattern have become a rich reservoir for Seventh-day Adventists. The difference between the Christlike spirit and the secular, selfish spirit is clearly delineated in her writings.10

Clear Response to Dissidents

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Case and Russell. In 1853 H. S. Case and C. P. Russell, the first dissenters to arise from the emerging Seventh-day Adventist Church (seven years before the first local conference was organized in Michigan, 1861), made two charges against the Whites: (1) that they were getting rich off the church paper, and (2) that Ellen White was being placed above the Bible. Offended at Mrs. White’s counsel directed at them, they launched a new paper, Messenger of Truth, in 1854, to supplant the Review and Herald. In that paper they printed their allegations against Mrs. White’s reliability. They also charged James with using donations for private enterprises and for profiting on church members because he sold Bibles at a higher price than he had paid for them (after buying them wholesale and having them shipped from New York City!). Case and Russell were soon joined by other critical church members.

In June of 1855, Ellen White had a public vision in Oswego, New York. She told members at the meeting that they should no longer be distracted by the Messenger party, that soon the dissidents would be fighting among themselves, and that in a short while our own membership would double.11

Stephenson and Hall. Concurrent with the Messenger party in Michigan, another dissident group was developing in Wisconsin under the leadership of J. M. Stephenson and D. P. Hall, former ministers of the Millerite Movement. These two men had revived a doctrinal position held by some Millerites that Christ, at His second advent, would reign for a thousand years on earth, during which time probation would continue while the Jews played a leading role in the conversion of the nations.

Because James White would not print their views in the church paper, Stephenson and Hall allied themselves with the Michigan-based Messenger party in October, 1854—a great disappointment for James because he thought he had their confidence. In November 1855, at the first conference held in Battle Creek after the move from Rochester, New York, Mrs. White had a vision that encouraged those who were troubled by the Age-to-Come group led by Stephenson and Hall. In that vision she revealed how these two men had earlier been convinced of the integrity of her visions, but on further examination they discovered that their Age-to-Come theology did not agree with certain visions. She saw behind their “smooth” words and their deception. Her advice to the growing church: “The church of God should move straight along, as though there were not such a people in the world.”12

What happened to these dissenters? By 1858, after internal arguments, all had gone their separate ways. Stephenson adopted further strange doctrines, involved himself in “an unsavory divorce,” and ended up in the “poorhouse,” an imbecile at death. Hall went into real estate investments and eventual bankruptcy that terminated in insanity.13

Moses Hull. The tragic case of Moses Hull reveals how kindly warnings given by Ellen White can be disregarded only to one’s hurt. Hull joined the church in 1858, and soon became an influential Adventist preacher, often appearing in the general councils of the church. But within a few weeks after preaching an evangelistic sermon on September 20, 1863, he joined the Spiritualists. What happened?

For two years prior to his defection, Ellen White had been warning him regarding his selfishness, covetousness, lack of management skills, and overweening trust in his own abilities.14 In 1862 he had been debating publicly with Spiritualists, enjoying his success as he turned some of his hearers into espousing Christianity. But on one occasion, with no Adventists to accompany him, he debated in Paw Paw, Michigan, a strong Spiritualist center. Overconfident of his own ability, he soon found (in his own words) his “tongue . . . seemingly as thick as my hand, and what I had often used before as an argument seemed to me like nonsense. I was defeated.”15

Two weeks later, November 5, 1862, Hull sensed his problem and asked for the Whites and M. E. Cornell to come to his Battle Creek home to pray for him. During the prayer session, Ellen White was given a vision. Of it she wrote: “I was shown the condition of Bro. Hull. He was in an alarming state. His lack of consecration and vital piety left him subject to Satan’s suggestions. . . . He is asleep to his own danger. . . . He was presented to me as standing upon the brink of an awful gulf, ready to leap. If he takes the leap, it will be final; his eternal destiny will be fixed. . . . Never should one man be sent forth alone to combat with a Spiritualist.”16

The Whites then took Hull with them on a preaching circuit in Michigan, hoping that close companionship would help him throw off his bondage.

On June 6, 1863, Ellen White sent another message to Moses Hull. She analyzed part of his problem: “When you should be studying your own heart, you are engaged in reading books. When you should by faith be drawing near to Christ, you are studying books. I saw that all your study will be useless unless you faithfully study yourself. . . . You lack sobriety and gravity out of the pulpit. . . .When treating upon the most solemn subjects, you often bring in something comical to create a smile, and this frequently destroys the force of your whole discourse. . . . Be not flattered by remarks which unwise and foolish brethren may make concerning your efforts. If they praise your preaching, let it not elate you.”17

But three months later, Hull did leap into that “awful gulf.” He became a lecturer and writer for the Spiritualists.18

Stanton in Montana. While Ellen White was in Australia, A. W. Stanton, a worried Montana layman, published a compilation of Mrs. White’s statements that seemed to support his position that the Adventist Church had apostatized and become Babylon. He concluded that it was time to stop supporting the organized church financially and to “come out of her.”19

Further, Stanton had sent an intermediary to Ellen White in Australia, hoping to enlist her support. He could have saved his money, because she had already written her comments to Stanton on March 23, 1893. Her review of the Biblical teaching regarding what John the Revelator meant by “Babylon” was simple and cogent. Forthrightly, she wrote: “If you are teaching that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Babylon, you are wrong. God has not given you any such message to bear. . . . I presume that some may be deceived by your message, because they are full of curiosity and desire for some new thing.”20

In addition, she wrote four articles for the Review entitled, “The Remnant Church Not Babylon.” These were later republished in Testimonies to Ministers.21

In this series of articles Mrs. White made clear her distress with those who took selections from her writings, making them appear to endorse the particular position of the compiler. She wrote: “Through making unwarrantable liberties, they have presented to the people a theory that is of a character to deceive and destroy. In times past many others have done this same thing, and have made it appear that the Testimonies sustained positions that were untenable and false.”

Then she reminded her fellow church members: “There are matters in the Testimonies that are written, not for the world at large, but for the believing children of God, and it is not appropriate to make instruction, warning, reproof, or counsel of this character public to the world.” She agreed that evils exist in the church and will continue until the end, yet “the church in these last days is to be the light of the world that is polluted and demoralized by sin. The church, enfeebled and defective, needing to be reproved, warned, and counseled, is the only object upon earth upon which Christ bestows His supreme regard.”22

Ellen White’s published counsel stopped the movement about as fast as it had developed. Earlier, in the late 1880s, she had analyzed the anatomy of apostasy and Satan’s strategies:

· “He works upon minds to excite jealousy and dissatisfaction toward those at the head of the work,

· “The gifts are next questioned; then, of course, they have but little weight, and instruction given through vision is disregarded,

· “Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position,

· “Then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and

· “Then the downward march to perdition.”

Mrs. White continued her probe: “When the Testimonies which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable, and ends in destruction.”23

The Voice—Not Always Welcome

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It would be rewriting history to assert that Ellen White’s detractors were only the dissidents, the charismatic leaders who revived once-forsaken theological errors, or the preachers in the popular churches. Counsel, and, at times, reproof, are not always welcome, no matter to whom given. If she had offered praise only, she would have been acclaimed as the bearer of singular good judgment. But she shared the burden of Scripture’s genuine prophets.

From the earliest days of her prophetic ministry she had to contend with strong-willed men and women whose self-centered motives and unBiblical views needed to be exposed.24

In 1869, Ellen White at 41 again had to contend with slander, rumor, and disinformation. Looking back after the camp meeting itineraries, she wrote: “The lies of sheer malice and enmity, the pure fabrication of iniquity uttered and circulated to defeat the proclamation of truth, were powerless to affect the minds of those who were really desirous to know what is truth. I did not doubt for a moment but the Lord had sent me that the honest souls who had been deceived might have an opportunity to see and hear for themselves what manner of spirit the woman possessed who had been presented to the public in such a false light in order to make the truth of God of none effect.”

In that letter she emphasized a point that is always relevant: “None are compelled to believe. God gives sufficient evidence that all may decide upon the weight of evidence, but He never has nor never will remove all chance [opportunity] for doubt, never will force faith.”25

Later that year, in October, the malicious attacks were so prominent that a leadership committee of J. N. Andrews, G. H. Bell, and Uriah Smith was appointed to investigate the charges leveled against James and Ellen White. The committee called for all the evidence that could be gathered that would substantiate the allegations.

Following the committee’s open invitation a few weeks later, the Whites also requested on the back page of the Review: “Will those who know of things in the general course of Mrs. White and myself, during the period of our public labors, worthy of exposure, or unworthy of Christians, and teachers of the people, be so kind as to make them known to the office immediately.”26

On April 26, 1870, the report in pamphlet form was ready for distribution. Church members everywhere now had in their hands the evidence proving that the slanders, rumors, and disinformation were without foundation. The report was not challenged.

In the Review, beginning at the end of 1869 and running well into 1870, James White wrote twenty-five front-page articles on “Our Faith and Hope, or Reasons Why We Believe as We Do.” J. N. Andrews, then Review editor, followed with an editorial of twenty propositions regarding the use of Ellen White’s visions.

Of using Ellen White’s writings as a “test,” Andrews penned: “There is such a thing . . . as men having in the providence of God an opportunity to become acquainted with the special work of the Spirit of God, so that they shall acknowledge that their light is clear, convincing, and satisfactory. To such persons, we consider the gifts of the Spirit are clearly a test.”27

In 1880 Testimony No. 29 was published.28 Much of the counsel was directed at the developing Adventist “ghetto” in Battle Creek. Some of the Battle Creek church members, not ready for the reproofs and challenge, turned to the local newspapers to express their feelings. The editors of the newspapers in Battle Creek, as well as in Lansing, Chicago, and Detroit, along with the citizens of Battle Creek, were also able to read Ellen White’s searching messages. And newspapers love conflict.

Uriah Smith asked the Battle Creek Journal for the courtesy of printing a rejoinder, which was granted, exposing some of the lies. A few days later, correspondent Henry Willis wrote in the Journal: “I would that all other religious beliefs in Battle Creek were as true to morality as Mrs. White and her adherents. Then we would have no infamous dens of vice, no grogshops, no tobacco stores, no gambling hells, no air polluted with the fumes of rum and that fell deadly destroyer of man, tobacco.”29

In 1883, noting that Uriah Smith and others seemed cool to her work, Ellen White asked for a meeting with the publishing house employees.30

Later she reported, in part, her remarks made at that August 20 meeting: “The most extravagant, inconsistent reports in regard to my position, my work, and my writings will be put in circulation. But those who have had an experience in this message, and have become acquainted with the character of my work, will not be affected by those things unless they themselves backslide from God, and become corrupted by the spirit of the world. Some will be deceived because of their own unfaithfulness. They want to believe a lie. Some have betrayed sacred, important trusts, and this is why they wander in the mazes of doubt. . . . There are some, even connected with our institutions, who are in great danger of making shipwreck of faith. Satan will work in disguise, in his most deceptive manner, in these branches of God’s work. . . .

“For forty years, Satan has made the most determined efforts to cut off this testimony from the church; but it has continued from year to year to warn the erring, to unmask the deceiver, to encourage the desponding. My trust is in God.”31

Ellen White’s Counsels and Appeals to D. M. Canright

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Ellen White’s experience with D. M. Canright illustrates well her concern for people as well as the sad result when they rejected her counsel. Both of the Whites recognized early Canright’s above average qualifications for the ministry. He soon became an outstanding evangelist and debater. But he was often discouraged and required close personal labors from the Whites and other leaders to keep focused.32

In 1882 Canright gave up preaching and went to farming. In a letter to a friend in 1884 he said that he no longer had confidence in the visions of Ellen White. “I have no feelings against any of them [leading church workers], excepting Mrs. White. I dislike her very much indeed. . . . But they are good men for all that, and I never shall willingly oppose them.”33

Responding to the urging of his friends, Canright attended the Jackson, Michigan, camp meeting in September, 1884. Here he once again confessed his error before a thousand people, declaring that the clouds of darkness had rolled away. He humbly sought Ellen White’s forgiveness. In the October 7, 1884, Review, he published the whole story that led up to his rejection of Ellen White, reciting one testimony after another that he thought too severe or inaccurate. But now his mind had changed. He wrote: “I want to say to all my friends everywhere, that now I not only accept, but believe the testimonies to be from God. Knowing the opposition I have felt to them, this change in my feelings is more amazing to myself than it can be to others.”34

During 1885 and the early months of 1886, almost every issue of the church paper had strong, cogent articles by Canright. His article, “To Those in Doubting Castle,” was perhaps his strongest as he went over his own experience, driving in stake after stake with the evidences for the doctrines of the Adventist Church and the validity of Ellen White’s ministry.35 He spent the summer in aggressive evangelism, he wrote friendly letters to Mrs. White in Europe, and was well thought of throughout the denomination.

However, key leaders knew his weaknesses as well as his strengths. When G. I. Butler, not Canright, was elected president of the Michigan Conference in 1886, Canright apparently made his next decision. In January 1887 he advised Butler that he no longer would be a Seventh-day Adventist. By March, now preaching for the Baptists, he began his campaign to recant all of his many confessions and affirmations for the Adventist faith that he had made time after time for years.36 Canright could not take counsel. The voice of the Lord through His messenger was not welcome, though often publicly affirmed.

Spurned in 1888

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Earlier, we noted that Ellen White was spurned by many at the 1888 General Conference in Minneapolis.37 Her appeal to lift eyes higher than the legalism that so many had unconsciously slipped into fell on many deaf ears. A few days after the conference she wrote: “I have not had a very easy time since I left the Pacific Coast. Our first meeting was not like any other General Conference I ever attended. . . . My testimony was ignored, and never in my life experience was I treated as at the [1888] conference.”38

In 1890 she penned: “Brethren, you are urging me to come to your camp meetings. I must tell you plainly that the course pursued toward me and my work since the General Conference at Minneapolis—your resistance of the light and warnings that God has given through me—has made my labor fifty times harder than it would otherwise have. . . . It seems to me that you have cast aside the word of the Lord as unworthy of your notice. . . . My experience since the conference at Minneapolis has not been very assuring. I have asked the Lord for wisdom daily, and that I may not be utterly disheartened, and go down to the grave brokenhearted as did my husband.”39

Though unwelcome in Minneapolis, Ellen White remained undaunted. Her writings in the 1890s drilled into the church, to whoever would listen, the voice of God making clear the fullness of the everlasting gospel (Rev. 14:6, 7).40

We can now see what lay behind the leadership’s strong desire for Ellen White to leave America for Australia. The earthquake aftershocks into the 1890s prompted by her strong support of A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner, her equally strong disapproval of attitudes among many church leaders, plus the deep insights and clear messages involving the policies of the financial men running the General Conference and the publishing house, had much to do with the “urging” that she be sent to Australia.

In 1896 she wrote to the General Conference president: “The Lord was not in our leaving America. He did not reveal that it was His will that I should leave Battle Creek. The Lord did not plan this, but He let you all move after your own imaginings. . . . We were needed at the heart of the work, and had your spiritual perception discerned the true situation, you would never have consented to the movements made. But the Lord read the hearts of all. There was so great a willingness to have us leave, that the Lord permitted this thing to take place. Those who were weary of the testimonies borne were left without the persons who bore them. Our separation from Battle Creek was to let men have their own will and way, which they thought superior to the way of the Lord. . . . When the Lord presented this matter to me as it really was, I opened my lips to no one, because I knew that no one would discern the matter in all its bearings.”41

Earlier she had written in her diary on August 5, 1891: “This morning my mind is anxious and troubled in regard to my duty. Can it be the will of God that I go to Australia? This involves a great deal with me. I have not special light to leave America for this far-off country. Nevertheless, if I knew it was the voice of God, I would go. But I cannot understand this matter. Some who are bearing responsibilities in America seem to be very persistent that my special work should be to go to Europe and to Australia.”42

But go she did, setting a good example for all to follow in responding to the decisions of church leadership. As time went on, she discovered, as did Joseph, that “it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Gen. 45:8). In spite of not being welcomed by men at the heart of denominational leadership, once more Ellen White set her face like flint to duty.

But with each crisis, it seems that some forget the way they had been led in the past. For example, during the critical year 1903, when all Battle Creek—Adventists and the general public—were in consternation regarding proposals and plans to move the General Conference and the publishing house, Ellen White’s counsel was unambiguous, as clear as the noon sun on a cloudless day: “Move!” But the chaplain of the Sanitarium, Lycurgus McCoy, led the multitude who resisted the moves. He did not think the denominational leadership had enough business acumen to make such heavy decisions. Further, though McCoy considered Ellen White sincere, he did not “believe that the Lord has spoken to her on this question, although she believes it.”43

McCoy’s faint praise has often been repeated through the years. Those who have faced challenges, thinking that each new occasion is “different” from past problems, may or may not have had time to see clearly the relevancy of Ellen White.

It is apparent from Biblical history that prophets do not hold an elective position; they are not “called” to their office by the group they are to serve. In a special way the prophet stands outside the bureaucratic or institutional door. Hebrew prophets understood this unique role, much to their distress at times. When the institutionalized church is confronted by the prophet, certain human dynamics are in motion that often treat the prophet as “unwelcome.”

The prophet perceives the possible inhumanities of bureaucracy and the inherent rigidities and possible irregularities in institutionalism. For those within the institutional structure, the prophet is often perceived as exasperating with his/her vigorous challenges, searching counsel, or frank reproof. For those within who are motivated by other than the purest principles, the prophet is always unwelcome.

Throughout Ellen White’s seventy-year ministry, many listened to her voice gladly. Her counsel proved self-authenticating. When the prophet’s disturbing voice ruffled unconsecrated feelings, relatively few leaders and members found excuses to turn away. When church leaders listened to the voice, the Advent movement prospered.44


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1.Testimonies to Ministers, p. 319.

2.SDAE, vol. 10, pp. 690, 691.

3.Schwarz, Light Bearers, p. 262.

4.Letter 59, 1895, cited in Bio., vol. 4, pp. 253, 254.

5.Ibid., p. 255.

6.Schwarz, Light Bearers, pp. 262, 263.

7.Ibid., p. 263. See also The Publishing Ministry, pp. 114-178, 205-249.

8.Letter 43, 1899, cited in The Publishing Ministry, p. 232.

9.Testimonies, vol. 7, pp. 176-178. See also The Publishing Ministry, pp. 230-238.

10. Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 279-423, 457-484. In the Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White, vol. 1, pages 344-352 are devoted to an enormous amount of counsel on subjects such as management principles, necessary competencies required, entanglements, causes of failure, personal integrity, Christlike principles that should mold transactions, secular attitudes that mar Christian business management, and the danger of speculation.

11. Loughborough, GSAM, pp. 325, 326. In the Jan. 14, 1858, issue of the Review and Herald, the editor wrote in reference to the disbanded Messenger party: “At the time of the disaffection, when the effort was made to break down the Review, the church property at the office was valued at only $700. Since then it has increased to $5,000. Then there were about one thousand paying subscribers, now there are about two thousand, besides quite a free list.”—See Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 122-123; Bio., vol. 1, pp. 306-310.

12. Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 116-118.

13. Schwarz, Light Bearers, p. 446; Bio., vol. 1, pp. 308-315.

14. Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 411-442; vol. 2, p. 625; vol. 3, p. 212.

15. Bio., vol. 2, p. 55.

16. Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 426-430; see Bio., vol. 2, pp. 56, 57.

17. Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 435, 436.

18. SDAE, vol. 10, p. 718. See also James R. Nix, The Life and Work of Moses Hull, unpublished Seminary paper, 1971, 81 pp.

19. Schwarz, Light Bearers, p. 446.

20. The complete letter was printed in the Review and Herald, Sept. 12, 1893.

21. Review and Herald, Aug. 22, 29, Sept. 5, 12, 1893; Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 32-62.

22. Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 34, 49.

23. Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 672. Here Ellen White recalls portions of testimonies first given in Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 236; vol. 3, p. 328; and vol. 4, p. 211. In the early 1880s, she wrote: “A prevailing skepticism is continually increasing in reference to the Testimonies of the Spirit of God; and these youth encourage questionings and doubts instead of removing them, because they are ignorant of the spirit and power and force of the Testimonies.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 437.

24. Note the 1851 conferences at Washington, NH; Bethel, VT; Johnson, VT, cited in Bio., vol. 1, pp. 217-223.

25. Letter 12, 1869, cited in Bio., vol. 2, p. 276.

26. Ibid., pp. 277-279. In this same Jan. 11, 1870 issue, James White wrote: “The position and work of Mrs. White and myself, for more than twenty years, have exposed us to the jealousies of the jealous, the rage of the passionate, and the slanders of the slanderer. Having consciences void of offense toward God and toward men, we have kept at our work. But from our almost utter silence in the line of defense, accusers have grown impudent and bold, so that it has been thought best, for the good of the cause with which we hold so intimate connections, to meet their slanders with a plain statement of facts, which will probably appear in pamphlet form for very extensive circulation.”

27. Review and Herald, Feb. 15, 1870. Proposition 14 stated: “The object of spiritual gifts is to maintain the living work of God in the church. They enable the Spirit of God to speak in the correction of wrongs, and in the exposure of iniquity. They are the means whereby God teaches His people when they are in danger of making wrong steps. They are the means by which the Spirit of God sheds light upon church difficulties, when otherwise their adjustment would be impossible. They also constitute the means whereby God preserves His people from confusion by pointing out errors, by correcting false interpretations of the Scriptures, and causing light to shine out upon that which is in danger of being wrongly understood, and therefore of being the cause of evil and division to the people of God.

“In short, their work is to unite the people of God in the same mind and in the same judgment upon the meaning of the Scriptures. Mere human judgment, with no direct instruction from Heaven, can never search out hidden iniquity, nor adjust dark and complicated church difficulties, nor prevent different and conflicting interpretations of the Scriptures. It would be sad indeed if God could not still converse with His people.”

28. Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 384-522.

29. Bio., vol. 3, pp. 130, 131. In a special message to the Battle Creek church, Testimony for the Battle Creek Church, July, 1881, p. 80, Ellen White wrote: “I have been shown there are unruly tongues among the church members at Battle Creek. There are false tongues that feed on mischief. There are sly, whispering tongues. There is tattling, impertinent meddling, adroit quizzing. Among the lovers of gossip, some are actuated by curiosity, others by jealousy, many by hatred against those through whom God has spoken to reprove them. All these discordant elements are at work. Some conceal their sentiments, while others are eager to publish all they know, or even suspect, of evil against another. I saw that the very spirit of perjury that would turn truth into falsehood, good into evil, and innocence into crime is now active, doing a work which savors of hell rather than of heaven. . . . All have defects of character, and it is not hard to find something that jealousy can interpret to his injury.”—Cited in Bio., vol. 3, p. 189.

30. Uriah Smith had taken sides in the Battle Creek College crisis against Goodloe Bell, the former head of the English Department at the college. See Bio., vol. 3, p. 196. The deeper issue, however, was Uriah Smith’s refusal to read a testimony that Ellen White had given him to read to the church during the college crisis. He withheld it for several weeks because he was not in agreement with her counsel. Learning of this attitude, she wrote another, more candid, letter to the Battle Creek church wherein she wrote that “you might say it was only a letter. Yes, it was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me.”—Ibid., pp. 198-201.

31. Review and Herald, Oct. 16, 1883. Several weeks after that August 20 meeting, Uriah Smith reported in the church paper the activities of the autumn Michigan camp meeting. His account at that time showed that he had a definite change of mind and heart regarding Ellen White. See Ibid., Oct. 9, 1883. In the Review Extra of Dec. 1887, Uriah Smith wrote an extended review of his period of doubt in 1883 regarding some aspects of Mrs. White’s ministry. The full statement, entitled “The Weight of Evidence,” may also be found in Bio., vol. 3, pp. 493-496.

32. Bio., vol. 2, pp. 455-456; vol. 3, pp. 152, 153.

33. Carrie Johnson, I Was Canright’s Secretary (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1971), p. 65.

34. Ibid., pp. 65-72; Bio., vol. 3, pp. 263-267. Published testimonies to the Canrights appear in Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 304-329 (1873); Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 162-170 (1880); Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 516-520 (1886).

35. Review and Herald, Feb. 10, 1885.

36. Johnson, I Was Canright’s Secretary, pp. 74-80.

37. See p. 195.

38. Letter 7, 1888, in 1888 Materials, pp. 186-189.

39. Letter 1, 1890, in 1888 Materials, pp. 659, 660, 664.

40. See p. 198.

41. Letter 127, 1896, in 1888 Materials, pp. 1622, 1623.

42. Bio., vol. 4, p. 15.

43. Schwarz, Light Bearers, p. 308.

44. General Conference president G. I. Butler lived through the growing pains of the young Seventh-day Adventist Church. He saw and heard the voice of God’s messenger as she counseled, reproved, guided, and taught her contemporaries. Ellen White was not an historical footnote to Butler, she was a living voice who saw clearly when others stumbled. Out of a living experience with her and her testimonies, Butler wrote the following: “We have tested them as a people for nearly a quarter of a century, and we find we prosper spiritually when we heed them, and suffer a great loss when we neglect them. We have found their guidance to be our safety. They never have led us into fanaticism in a single instance, but they have ever rebuked fanatical and unreasonable men. . . . We admit that their influence upon Seventh-day Adventists during their past history has been weighty, but it has always been for good, and always had a tendency to make us a better people.”—Review and Herald, June 9, 1874.

Study Questions

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1. In what ways did Ellen White use the term “character” in describing the work in Battle Creek at the beginning of the twentieth century?

2. What is meant by “secular” leadership?

3. When people become acquainted with the writings of Ellen White, in what ways are the writings a test?

4. What are the personality features that characterized D. M. Canright in his leadership role as an Adventist minister? What was the flaw that motivated him during his various defections and final break with the church?

5. Who were some of the prominent dissidents of the nineteenth century? What were their chief complaints? Were these complaints justified? What happened to the defectors?

6. What is the basic problem in apostasy?

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