Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce


Chapter 32—Brother G

[W. C. White statement: “Regarding Brother G, I can speak quite freely. About 1875 he married a very brilliant schoolteacher.... She was very talented, but after a number of years she became quarrelsome and made his life miserable. At that time he was associated with a very brilliant young woman who was an accountant at X College, and formed a fondness for her. Sister White wrote him a very plain warning, which he promised to heed. Shortly after Sister White had gone to Europe, Brother G resigned his position at X College, went to Michigan to visit his sister, and offered no obstruction to his wife in getting a divorce. TSB 219.4

“Thus far, those who knew the case approved, but shortly after this he married the bookkeeper before mentioned; then all his friends were greatly grieved. He taught a while at , then settled near , and for many years worked very hard, his wife helping him to make a living on a little fruit and vegetable farm. They came to see the wickedness of the course they had taken. They repented of it very bitterly, and their brethren and sisters were satisfied that their repentance was genuine. They had three beautiful children growing up, and no one, as far as I know, encouraged them to separate. When the matter was put before Sister White, she did not encourage a separation, nor could she encourage any movement to exclude him from participation in the work of the third angel's message. In his later life he labored in a humble way in self-supporting work in the South. TSB 220.1

“If persons living in the light of the third angel's message purpose to leave one companion for the sake of uniting with someone else, it is our duty to warn and reprove and discipline. TSB 220.2

“If persons before embracing the message have entangled themselves, and afterward have repented, confessed their sins, received forgiveness of God, and won the confidence of their brethren, it is better for both ministers and laymen to leave them alone, enjoying the forgiveness and justification which have been wrought through Christ, without undertaking to tear up existing relations.”—February 21, 1927. TSB 220.3

Elder White later added, “It has been my belief for a long time that our brethren make a serious mistake in their efforts to break up families by arguing that in the fulfillment of their vows, made unwisely in most cases, that they are continually, day by day, committing adultery.”—W. C. White letter, January 6, 1931. TSB 221.1

Ellen White's attitude toward Brother G is revealed in the letters that follow.] TSB 221.2

Oh, for Wisdom From on High!—Dear Brother Haskell: ... We consider the opening [of the Bible School at Melbourne] was good. All are pleased with the buildings and location for the school. This is rather remarkable, for generally some have criticisms to make, but we have not heard one word of dissatisfaction expressed or even intimated. TSB 221.3

We had conversation after the meeting with Elder Starr. The question was in reference to a teacher of grammar for the advanced classes. There is no perplexity in regard to the first classes of grammar, but we need well-qualified teachers in all branches, and we hope Elder Olsen will find either a man or woman that can come to Australia as a thorough teacher. If only G had kept himself straight, he would be just the one to come. But the question is whether his record will not follow him. We scarcely dare venture the matter and run the risk. That the man has sincerely repented I have not a doubt, and I believe the Lord has forgiven him. But if obliged to make explanations it would not be an easy matter to do; so what shall we do with G? Leave him where he is, a prey to remorse, and to be useless the remainder of his life? I cannot see what can be done. Oh, for wisdom from on high! Oh, for the counsel of One who reads the heart as an open book! How Satan watches for souls to bind them with his hellish cords that they become lost to the work and almost helpless in his hands. “Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”—Letter 13, 1892. (Written five years after Brother G's unscriptural marriage.) TSB 221.4

Invitation to Another Country—Dear Brother G: I have had my mind drawn out for you time and again. Had I felt at liberty to exercise my judgment, I should have given my counsel a long time ago for you to change your location. I had hoped my brethren would have had wisdom from above to give counsel to you that you should not be where you are today. If you have anything to do, it must be soon. Were you in this country [Australia], I fully believe you would see doors opening where you could be at work to be a lightbearer to those who are in the darkness of error. TSB 222.1

How would it be should you come to this country? Like Abraham, going out not knowing whither he went, and humbly seeking guidance, I plead that you make a break. Come here to Australia, while we are here. Come on your own responsibility. You will have means, if you sell your farm, to bring you here. Then I believe the way will open for you to work, and may the Lord direct you, is my earnest wish and sincere prayer.... TSB 222.2

There is work in abundance for you to do in the great harvest field. Here are fields all ripe for the harvest, work to be entered upon in Sydney, of about a million people, and Melbourne numbering still more. There is Queensland to be entered. There are thirty Sabbathkeepers in one place in Queensland that have never seen nor heard the living preacher, and others are scattered all through that region, waiting for the message of truth. TSB 222.3

Will you please consider this matter, and write us what you think? What are your finances? What are you thinking of doing? How is the Lord leading your mind? Please consider the matter, and may the Lord give you wisdom to move somewhere at once. In much love.—Letter 7a, 1894. TSB 223.1

Following the Lord's Leading—Dear Brother and Sister G: I am pleased to hear from you, and to learn that you are endeavoring to be of still greater service to the cause of God. It is your privilege to receive a rich blessing in helping others. You may be “diligent in business,” and also “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” You may help your associates in the exercise of your judgment, and by inculcating the principles of economy. We must spend money judiciously, and I believe that you will endeavor to do this. TSB 223.2

Be ever hopeful, and increase in the grace and wisdom of Christ. I am more than pleased that you can engage in school work and unite your influence with other workers in opening the Scriptures to those who do not understand the Word of God. I believe that the Lord has been leading you.—Letter 56, 1910. TSB 223.3