Selected Messages Book 3


Chapter 14—Initial Steps in Writing and Publishing The Great Controversy Story

The 1858 Great Controversy Vision

The Vision March 14, 1858—In this vision at Lovett's Grove, [Elder and Mrs. White, who resided in Battle Creek, Michigan, were holding meetings with the believers at Lovett's Grove, Ohio. The vision here referred to was given to Ellen White while attending a funeral service conducted by her husband on Sunday afternoon, March 14, 1858.—Compilers.] Most of the matter of the great controversy which I had seen ten years before, was repeated, and I was shown that I must write it out. That I should have to contend with the powers of darkness, for Satan would make strong efforts to hinder me, but angels of God would not leave me in the conflict, that in God must I put my trust.—Spiritual Gifts 2:270 (See Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 162.) 3SM 99.1

Satan's Attack—Monday we commenced our journey homeward.... While riding in the cars we arranged our plans for writing and publishing the book called the Great Controversy, immediately on our return home. I was then as well as usual. On the arrival of the train at Jackson, we went to Bro. Palmer's. We had been in the house but a short time, when, as I was conversing with Sr. P., my tongue refused to utter what I wished to say, and seemed large and numb. A strange, cold sensation struck my heart, passed over my head, and down my right side. For a while I was insensible; but was aroused by the voice of earnest prayer. I tried to use my left arm and limb, but they were perfectly useless. For a short time I did not expect to live.—Ibid., 271. 3SM 99.2

Writing the Controversy Story—For several weeks I could not feel the pressure of the hand, nor the coldest water poured upon my head. In rising to walk, I often staggered, and sometimes fell to the floor. In this condition I commenced to write the Great Controversy. I could write at first but one page a day, then rest three; but as I progressed, my strength increased. The numbness in my head did not seem to becloud my mind, and before I closed that work Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1 [Notice of the publication of the book, Spiritual GiftsThe Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels, with a listing of its chapters, was given by James White in The Review and Herald, September 9, 1858, in two last page notes:

Spiritual Gifts

“This is a work of 224 pages written by Mrs. White, with an introductory article on the perpetuity of Spiritual Gifts, by Bro. R. F. Cottrell. Price 50 cents.

Spiritual gifts, or the Great Controversy, has now been sent to all who have ordered. If any do not receive it in due time, let notice be given.”

The book was eagerly secured and ran through two or more printings.—Compilers.], the effect of the shock had entirely left me.—Ibid., 272. 3SM 100.1

Shown Satan's Hindering Tactics—At the time of the conference at Battle Creek, June, 1858, ... I was taken off in vision. In that vision I was shown that in the sudden attack at Jackson, Satan designed to take my life to hinder the work I was about to write; but angels of God were sent to my rescue, to raise me above the effects of Satan's attack. I saw, among other things, that I should be blessed with better health than before the attack at Jackson.—Ibid., 272. 3SM 100.2