Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 9, 1859

Early Experiences in Meeting Fanaticism



Portions of this manuscript are published in 2SG 49-52. See also Annotations.

[Probably from first draft of 2SG written 1858-1860, but recording experiences from 1845.] 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 1

[I went] over to their house and there saw Sister Turner and bore my testimony to her which was to comfort her poor, sore heart. She was weeping as though her heart would break. She there confirmed the vision which I related to her. We learned from different ones that this one and that one had been set aside. Honest, precious souls had been told that they were rejected of God; that these fanatical persons had flocked to my father’s house and made that their stopping place. J. Turner and J. Howell were leaders in this rank fanaticism. They followed impressions and burdens that led to corruption instead of purity and holiness. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 2

Our parents were disgusted as they saw reason and judgment laid aside by them, and impressions were carried out. They protested against it, and as they could not get rid of this company, they closed their house and left the city for Poland, where my two married sisters were living. This did not suit J. Turner and he told me when we arrived at Portland that my father was a doomed man. My mother 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 again from their mouth we heard the fulfillment of the vision given in New Hampshire. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 3

I had been shown that they needed help in Orrington, and that we must go there, for fanaticism had done its work there also; that fanatical spirits had rushed on without judgment until unbelievers became disgusted with their course. These fanatical ones seemed to think that religion consisted in making a noise, being boisterous, rough, and talking in such a manner as to irritate and cause unbelievers to hate them, and then would rejoice that they suffered persecution. Unbelievers were enraged. They could see no consistency in this wild spirit and they made stringent rules that no advent believer should come into town. The innocent here suffered with the guilty. They could not have the privilege of assembling to encourage one another, for even the citizens of the place who were believers were denied this privilege. Sentinels were on the watch to hinder all who should attempt to enter the town. Yet the Lord bade me go. Naturally timid, I would gladly have been excused, but dared not take my own course. My life was not my own. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 4

We first visited Brother S’s family in Orrington. They heartily welcomed us to their home and hearts. Every moment was precious to these hungry children and we sat up till a late hour recounting the trials we had passed through and the refreshing seasons we had enjoyed; and we deplored together the sad state of the cause. I bore a sad and aching heart. It seemed so cruel that the cause of Christ should be injured by injudicious men. Not only were the men injuring their own souls but placing a stigma upon the cause which would not be easily wiped away. Satan was willing to have it so. It suited well his satanic majesty to see the truth mixed with error and then altogether trampled in the dust. He looked with hellish triumph upon the confused, scattered state of God’s children. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 5

Next morning as we were in the front room two men entered the door leading into the kitchen. Sister S. as she opened the front room door looked pale and motioned to us. We had no baggage. We put on our bonnets and stepped out of the front door. Just then there was quite a gathering at a meetinghouse near by, for it was fast (?) day. We passed on with the people and were not discovered. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 6

The meetinghouse was in the direction of Brother B’s house, where we wished to call. Gladly were we received. We prayed and wept together. Brother B. said we need not fear being troubled in his house, for no one dared to dictate to him about who he should have in his family and who he should not. He had quite a war spirit against the course the citizens were pursuing. He was only partially in union with our people, but a portion of his family were fully with us. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 7

We visited many of the brethren. We were hunted for, but the Lord always directed us out of their way to a place of safety, that, too, without the least effort on our part to conceal ourselves. We were engaged in doing the will of God, going from house to house to visit His tried children. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 8

At one house we found them much afflicted. Their children were sick with measles. We prayed for them and the power of God rested upon us. We passed on to Brother W’s and then we rode two miles farther to visit a family in affliction. Sickness was in their dwelling. We prayed with them and the Lord again met with us and comforted us with His love. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 9

As we rode to the last place we were noticed by several individuals, but we trusted ourselves in the hands of God. Through the earnest entreaty of a few brethren we visited a family that was in great error. A few months before they were standing in the clear light of truth, and we took sweet counsel together. Phebe Knapp, a young woman, was with them professing to have visions of God, yet teaching the grossest errors—that the resurrection of the dead had taken place already—and she warned the family she was with not to receive us into their house for we would oppose the truth, referring to the resurrection being past. She taught numerous other absurd errors. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 10

As the family saw Sister Foss and myself coming they fastened the door against us. But we opened it, for the door was insecurely fastened. We entered the dwelling in the name of the Lord. Immediately Phebe Knapp fell to the floor in great apparent agony, crying to the family, “You are in danger, danger, danger.” I had a few moments of calm conversation with the family. I asked them why they showed me so much coldness. When we last parted with them a few months before our hearts were one. They had not seen me since, but I was the same; I believed just as I did. I asked who had changed? They had changed and not us. They had been influenced by the spirit of error. I told them they had received error which caused our separation. We loved them, but could have no union with their error. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 11

I then went into the room where Phebe Knapp was groaning and crying out. I bowed in their midst and asked God to hear me, and for His own glory manifest Himself to these poor, deceived souls, and to show them that we had come to do them good, and to convince them of error, and give them evidence that this was a false burden, and rebuke it. P.K.’s burden left her immediately. After exhorting them faithfully and declaring to them their errors, we left them. I was free. I had performed a disagreeable task and the Lord had sustained me. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 12

As Sister Foss and myself walked back we rejoiced in the Lord. The brethren and sisters had not ventured to meet together for some time, but nearly all came together and there was quite a company assembled. It was a time of solemnity, of rejoicing, and weeping. It is impossible to describe such a meeting. There was no noisy shouting, but a solemnity rested upon all. We were suspected of holding a meeting somewhere, and we afterwards learned that persons were sent to Brother W’s house to see if we were there, or if there was a meeting. At the time these two men came we were all bowed before God. There was no noise but a peaceful weeping spirit rested upon us. The windows were high so that none of us were noticed from the outside. The men went away satisfied that we were not there. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 13

That night I was shown in vision that our work was done in Orrington, that we must leave by daybreak for men would come to take us and we should suffer abuse. There was but little sleeping that night, for we wished to speak encouragingly to each other as long as we could, for we knew not when we should meet again on earth. Some did not close their eyes that night, and early the next morning we were on our way. Two brethren took us in a rowboat to Camden, about five miles. We stepped on board the large steamboat and rode safely over the water to Portland. We received a letter from Brother W. stating that soon after daylight men came to his house for us, and were very angry when they found we had gone. They met the men who had taken us to the steamboat and whipped them, but their testimony was they scarcely felt the stripes. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 14

As I returned to Portland evidence increased of the desolating effects of fanaticism in Maine. J. Turner labored to turn my friends and even my relatives against me, and he succeeded in a measure. And what was all this for? It was because I had faithfully told them what had been shown me concerning his fanatical course. And to justify himself he circulated falsehoods to destroy my influence. My lot seemed hard to bear. I sank in discouragement, and my mind wandered for two weeks. My relatives thought I could not live. But the brethren and sisters met together to pray for me. I was sensible to their earnest, effectual prayers. The power of the strong foe was broken, and I was released from his grasp and was immediately taken off in vision. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 15

In this view I saw that the opposition of man and a human influence should never afflict me again. If I felt an influence affecting my testimony I was to cry to God, wherever I should be, for another angel. One was guarding me continually and I should have another to strengthen me when it was necessary, and raise me above the power of any earthly influence. I saw then for the first time the glory of the new earth as follows. [Manuscript ends here. See Spiritual Gifts 2:52-55 for a description of Ellen White’s vision of the new earth.] 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1859, par. 16