The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


ARNOLD, David (1805-1889) and Lucretia K. (c. 1812-after 1889)

David Arnold contributed to early Sabbatarian Adventist doctrinal discussions and was the first president of the New York Conference (1862-1863). He joined the Methodist Episcopal Church at 16 and later engaged in the Millerite movement. After the 1844 disappointment, Arnold retained his Adventist beliefs but showed an openness to new ideas outside the more widely held Adventism of Joshua Himes and the Advent Herald. In 1848 he hosted an important conference of Sabbatarian Adventists on his farm in Volney, New York, and in 1850 joined the publishing committee of James White's Advent Review. From 1849 onward David Arnold contributed a number of significant theological articles to church periodicals. He also served on various New York committees and in 1862-1863 as first president of the newly formed New York Conference. 1EGWLM 783.2

The earliest mention of David Arnold in a Sabbatarian context is from the 1848 Volney conference. Some 30 or 40 persons were present, including James and Ellen White. It is not certain that Arnold was already a Sabbathkeeper at this time, since the meeting appears, at least in part, to have had an evangelistic purpose. James White reported that “Brother Bates preached the Sabbath to them with strong argument, much boldness and power.” Ellen White later recalled that, to her consternation, Arnold strongly urged various heterodox views at the conference. Among them was the idea “that the 1000 years of Revelation xx were in the past,” a viewpoint no doubt inspired by recent editorials on the millennium in the Bible Advocate, to which Arnold had been a subscriber since its inception in 1846. 1EGWLM 783.3

Remarkably, Ellen White reported that the “discordant views” of Arnold and others were resolved and “our meeting ended victoriously. Truth gained the victory.” According to J. N. Loughborough's later interview with a conference participant, the turning point came when Ellen White, while in public vision, raised a Bible aloft, and turned to and recited a number of Bible passages pertinent to the issues under dispute. David Arnold subsequently held the visions of Ellen White in high regard, even to the point of urging that they be made a test of fellowship, a position that both Ellen and James White rejected and for which Ellen cautioned Arnold. 1EGWLM 783.4

See: Obituary: “David Arnold,” Review, July 23, 1889, p. 479; 1880 U.S. Federal Census, “Arnold, Lucretia,” New York, Oswego County, Volney, p. 25; SDAE, s.v. “David Arnold”; search terms “D. Arnold” and “David Arnold” in Review and Herald online collection,; James White to Leonard and Elvira Hastings, Aug. 26, 1848; David Arnold to editor, Bible Advocate, June 24, 1847, p. 74; J. N. Loughborough, “Recollections of the Past—No. 12,” Review, Mar. 3, 1885, pp. 137, 138; Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts [vol. 2], pp. 97-99; Ms 2, 1856 (May 27). For observations on David Arnold's theological contributions, see, for example, SDAE, s.v. “Sanctuary,” “The Daily,” and “Spiritism.” 1EGWLM 783.5