The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


Ms 10, 1859

[Circa 1859],1 n.p. 1EGWLM 767.1

Early Experiences in Meeting Fanaticism. 1EGWLM 767.2

Portions of this manuscript are published in Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts [vol. 2], pp. 46-50.

Meeting fanaticism in New Hampshire and Maine during 1845. 1EGWLM 767.3

[We2 visited Claremont (New Hampshire), and] inquired for Adventists. We were told that there were two parties, one holding fast their past advent experience, the other had denied it.3 We stated that we wished to find those who had not denied their past experience, and were directed to Elders B—t [Bennett] and B—s [Billings]4 whom they said believed as we did. They had so much to say against these two men that we concluded that they were “persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” We called on them, and were received and treated kindly; yet a depression came upon me, and I felt that all was not right. 1EGWLM 767.4

Elder B—t [Bennett] had the appearance of being a very holy man. He spoke upon the subject of faith, and said “that all we had to do was to believe, and what we asked of God would be given.” He also had much to say upon charity. Brother White answered, “Blessings are promised on conditions,” and quoted John 15:7, “‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ Your theory of faith is empty as a flour barrel with both heads out. True charity is a very delicate personage, never stepping her foot out of the path of Bible truth.” 1EGWLM 768.1

In the afternoon we called at Brother Collier's.5 We were to have a meeting that night at his house, and supposed they were in union with Elder B—t [Bennett]. We questioned them about him, but could get no information. Said Brother C, “If the Lord has sent you here, you will find them out and tell us.” 1EGWLM 768.2

That evening as I was praying and reaching up by faith to claim the blessing of the Lord, B—t [Bennett] and B—s [Billings] began to groan and cry out, Amen! Amen! and threw their sympathy and influence in with my prayer. Brother White was much distressed. He arose and cried out, “I resist this spirit in the name of the Lord.” As I was speaking with freedom they commenced groaning and crying out, Amen! Amen! I had no union with them, for their amens chilled me. Brother White felt their influence upon him again, and arose and in the name of the Lord rebuked their wicked spirit, and they were bound. They could not rise again that night. 1EGWLM 768.3

After the meeting closed, Brother White said, “Brother Collier, now I can tell you about those two men. They are dealing in a satanic influence and are calling it the Spirit of the Lord.” Said Brother C, “I believe that the Lord has sent you. We have called their influence mesmerism,6 and we do not generally have meetings here because we have no union with their spirit. They rise above us, manifest much feeling, but they leave an influence darker than Egypt. I never saw them checked or tied up before tonight.” 1EGWLM 768.4

While at family prayer that night the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me and I was taken off in vision. A curtain was lifted, and I was shown the case of these men, and a few others in union with them; that they were practicing deception upon the flock of God while professing to be the chosen holy servants of God. I saw darkness and iniquity covered up with a pious garb over their dark designs and deeds, disclosing iniquities that some had scarcely dreamed of, and that God would rend off that false covering and expose hidden things that some have scarcely thought of. 1EGWLM 769.1

We returned to Grantham7 [New Hampshire]. On our way I fell from the wagon and so injured my side that I had to be carried into the house.8 That night I suffered great pain. Sister Foss [Louisa Foss]9 prayed for me, and I united in pleading with God for His blessing and relief from pain. About midnight the blessing of the Lord rested upon me, and those in the house were awakened by hearing my voice while in vision. This was the first time I had a view of the voice of God in connection with the time of trouble.10 In the same vision I was shown that the cause of God had been wounded in Maine and His children disheartened and scattered by a fanatical spirit, and that J. T. [Joseph Turner] and J. H. [John Howell],11 whom we had placed confidence in, were scattering the flock, and under a cloak of godliness were casting fear among the trembling, conscientious ones. I saw that we must go and bear our testimony in Maine.12 I related what I had seen to those present. 1EGWLM 769.2

We soon returned to Portland [Maine] and found the brethren in great confusion. A meeting was appointed at the house of Sister H. [Elizabeth Haines]13 that I might have an opportunity to relate what had been shown me. While imploring the Lord for strength to discharge this painful duty I was taken off in vision, and in the presence of J. T. [Joseph Turner] was again shown his ungodly course. Those present said I talked it out before him. After I came out of vision he said that I was under a wrong influence, that a part of the vision was right and a part was wrong; that it would take a critical spiritual observer to detect the difference; that this was the same spirit that had always pursued him to crush him, etc. 1EGWLM 770.1

With anguish of spirit I left the meeting, for I had a message for J. T's wife [Jane B. Turner].14 I rode to their house and bore my testimony to Sister T, which was to comfort her poor, sore heart. She was weeping as though her heart would break. She confirmed the vision which I related to her.15 We learned from united testimony that honest, precious souls had been set aside and told that they were rejected of God, and that these fanatical persons had flocked to my father's [Robert Harmon, Sr.] house and made that their stopping place. J. T. [Joseph Turner] and J. H. [John Howell] were leaders in this rank fanaticism. They followed impressions and burdens which led to corruption instead of purity and holiness. 1EGWLM 770.2

Our parents were disgusted as they saw reason and judgment laid aside by them. They protested against the hypocrisy they witnessed, and as they could not get rid of this company they closed their house and left the city for Poland [Maine], where my two married sisters [Harriet McCann and Mary Plummer Foss]16 were living. This did not suit J. T. [Joseph Turner] and he told me when we arrived at Poland that my father was a doomed man; that my mother [Eunice Gould Harmon] and sisters might be saved, but my father would be lost. The only reason he offered was because he did not give him possession of his house. When he left Portland his denunciations were bitter. We visited Poland, where my parents were, and as we listened to the recital of their trials and of incidents which had occurred, the vision given in New Hampshire was confirmed.17 1EGWLM 770.3