Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 8, 1851

Howland, Brother and Sister

Waterbury, Vermont

November 12, 1851

Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 242-245, 401-403; 5MR 239-240; 6MR 118, 253; 8MR 225-227; 1Bio 219-222. See also Annotations.

Dear Brother and Sister Howland:

Here we are at Brother [E. P.] Butler’s. O how changed everything is here. God has wrought for us mightily; praise His holy name. At Washington the Lord took the rule of the meeting Himself. Stephen Smith and Brother Butler were present. There were about 75 present, all in the faith. Brother Stephen Smith was filled with a wrong spirit. He and J. Hart had filled the minds of many with prejudice against us. False reports had been circulated, and the band had been sinking and had lost the power of the third angel’s message. They were sickly, but knew not the cause. The reason was that there was an accursed thing in the camp, and by the assistance of God we were trying to get it out of the camp. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 1

Brother Butler was dark. The time had passed and left those who believed in it very low and dark, and the influence of those who believed the time has been very distracting. Brother Holt talked on the gifts of the Spirit. S. Smith did not confess his wrongs at all; such a self-confident person, who felt so perfectly whole, we have seldom seen. God wrought for us; there was a mighty breaking down before God. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 2

You remember I was not very well when we parted. I continued to grow feeble and all day Sabbath was very weak, not able to sit up; in the eve I fainted quite away. The brethren prayed over me and I was healed and taken off in vision. I had a deep plunge in the glory, and the state of things in Washington was revealed to me, which I declared plainly to them. The vision had a powerful effect. All acknowledged their faith in the visions except Brother Butler and S. Smith. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 3

We all felt it duty to act, and by a unanimous vote of the brethren, S. Smith was disfellowshipped by the church until he should forever lay down his erroneous views. His wife then broke down and said she knew that her husband was not right. The work of God went right on in the meeting. Sunday eve, after we had disfellowshipped Brother Smith (in the afternoon), we had a glorious season. Many confessed that they had been prejudiced against us by different individuals such as S. Smith and J. Hart, but they praised God that they had seen us and were convinced that the visions were of God. The brethren and sisters generally arose and expressed their opinions and feelings; it was a good time. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 4

Monday forenoon we held another meeting and it was the best meeting of the whole; sweet union and love prevailed in the meeting. We then sang the farewell hymn and with sad yet joyful hearts parted—sad that we must part with those we love so well and had taken such sweet counsel with; but joyful that our hearts had been strengthened and comforted together, that the clear light of truth had shone upon us, and that we were soon to meet to part no more, where no discord or disunion reigns. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 5

Just as the meeting closed, Sister Meade, who had been afflicted with a slow fever, requested us to pray for her. We went into a room by ourselves, Brethren Holt, Wheeler, Stowell, James and self. After I had anointed her with oil we prayed over her and she was healed every whit and fell prostrate by the power of God. That night we got into a rowboat and went on to the pond about one mile to Brother Meade’s. His sister was there with a very sick child. We anointed it with oil and prayed over it, and God heard our prayers. Then the two Brother Meades rowed us back again in the night, and the next day we went to Claremont and took the cars for Royalton. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 6

Tuesday, the same eve, the conference commenced. Brother Butler was at that meeting, also Brother Josiah Hart who was so strong on the time, and after it passed by, got a substitute, “the age to come,” and was carrying that about. Such confusion and distraction has followed the time, and fighting against the visions! They had also lost the power of the third angel’s message and some of them were in complete darkness. Brother Hart was stiff and unyielding enough. I got up and told him what God had shown me concerning him. Brother Butler began to break away and come into the clear light. Thursday we seemed to have gone about as far as we could, and to have done all we could, yet there was much more to be done in order for things to be set just right. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 7

In the morn we all seemed to have an agonizing cry for God to work like Himself, a wonder-working God. Our prayers were answered. The power of God came down; it was a good season; angels were hovering over us. I was taken off in vision and saw just the state of things there, and just the state that Brother Baker was in, and Brethren Hart and Butler. I got up and told the vision. It had quite a powerful effect. Brother Hart began to give way a little and break down, but still he did not confess much. Brother Butler came almost out there at Bethel. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 8

I had some straight messages to bear to different individuals, which had their effect. When we parted, we parted in love, and union prevailed among nearly all. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 9

Thursday afternoon we left Royalton and took the cars for Waterbury. We changed cars at Northfield and as we stepped from the cars, met Brother Baker; he came with us to Waterbury. Found Brethren Loveland and Lindsay waiting for us at the depot. We went about 2 miles to Brother Butler’s, stopped there a few hours for refreshment, and went eight miles in the eve toward Johnson and stopped with Sister Benson that night, and the next day went on to Johnson, the place appointed for the conference. Some had already arrived to attend the meeting. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 10

I did not expect Brother and Sister Butler that night, for we parted with Brother Butler the day before about noon and he had to drive 50 or 60 miles to reach home and then prepare to come 25 miles farther to Johnson. But he had got so waked up he could not stop on the way, but drove until one o’clock the next morn before he got home. He was anxious to get his wife to Johnson. She was not right; had been a strong believer in the time and had felt very wrong toward James and Brother Holt because they struck against the time. But about three o’clock, two wagon loads came from Brother Butler’s; Brethren Hart and Baker in one wagon and Brother Butler, his wife and sister in the other wagon. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 11

The meeting that eve was deeply interesting. There were about 73 present. Brother Baker spoke, and spoke quite well, about the time and his disappointment; yet he did not view things in their true light. He was much discouraged and sunken. After he sat down a man by the name of Walker arose, who had very lately embraced the truth and thought and acted as though he knew it all. He said he expected the brethren were expecting a confession from him because he was so strenuous upon the time, but said he had nothing to confess and he did not think Brother Baker had. He was not sure but something did take place, that Jesus did leave the Most Holy the time they said He would. He was happy, these were the happiest days of his life. He went on in this strain, with such a wild spirit, that all were disgusted with him. The Spirit of God came upon James, and he arose and rebuked him in the name of the Lord. His mouth was closed in a moment; he could not say anything more, but sat down and did not say anything through the meeting. He was rebuked by God. This was a great help to the meeting and a great help to Brother Baker. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 12

I got up and told them what God had shown me about some trying to get a substitute after the time passed, some would get Jesus upon the great white cloud, others would be looking to old Jerusalem, or as they called it, the age-to-come. I asked Brother Walker where he would be or what would be his state if Jesus had now left the Most Holy and His work for the saints was all done and he in the state he then was? I talked plainly. The Lord helped me. I showed them how the messengers that had been toiling in the scattering time had labored to get the truth before them, how much they had suffered, and now when God’s cause was prospering, they embrace the third angel’s message and enter into the labors of the chosen messengers of God and lift up their heel against them. But I am making my story too long. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 13

Sabbath day the brethren lectured. James talked twice from the Word, Brother Holt once. It was a very interesting time. Truth never looked so plain and clear. One hundred were present. It was a precious time, praise the Lord. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 14

Sunday Brother Holt lectured in the forenoon and James in the afternoon. In the morning meeting before Brother Holt commenced to lecture, Sister [E. P.] Butler, who came to the meeting and was obliged to keep her bed nearly all the while, confessed in the meeting that she had been wrong. Then Brother Butler talked very well; there was a confession made all around with weeping. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 15

Then I got up and told my vision about Brethren Baker and Hart and others. I never had it in a more clear manner. I told Brother Baker [that] his going to the churches to proclaim the third angel’s message was all wrong, that he had to tame down that message or he could not have got into the churches, and that he had been taking the children’s bread and giving it to dogs. I told him just how his case was shown to me, and also told them all that the messengers of God should be perfectly united in their views of Bible truth and should consult with each other and should not advance any new view until they first went to the messengers and examined those views with the Bible, and if they were correct let all the messengers spread them, and if they were error lay them to one side. Then the gospel seed would be sown in union and raised in strength; and all the messengers, East and West, North and South, would be telling the same story. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 16

After I got through talking it was time for the lecture to commence so none made any remarks. In the afternoon after James talked, Brother Baker arose; none knew what he was about to say. He told them that every word of the vision related in the forenoon concerning him, was truth, just exactly as it was. (I saw in vision that Brother Baker had not had any bitter feelings towards us like some others.) He referred to this in particular, he knew it to be just so. “Well now,” says he, “you will say, What is Brother Baker going to do with the visions? I will tell you. It is high time for me to decide there is no half way work about this business; the visions are all of God or there are none of them of God. Well, say you, what is Brother Baker going to do? Believe the visions. I see that they are inseparably connected with the third angel’s message and if I give up the visions I must give up the third angel’s message; and if I give up the third angel’s message I give up that we have had the first and second; and if I give up that we have had the first, second and third angels’ messages, I give up the Word of God, my Christian experience, and am an infidel at once.” 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 17

I never witnessed such a melting, weeping time before. Bro. Butler had taken his stand the day before and told the brethren and sisters in public where to find him, on the side of the visions. “I believe them to be of God, am a full believer in the visions, so you may know where to find me.” Others expressed their belief, and hearty confessions were made by Brother Hart and others. Never did I witness such a powerful time. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 18

Monday morn we had another meeting; the power of God rested upon us. I was taken off in vision and saw many things. I saw that Brother Baker must not sink down, that God had a work for him to do, not to feed the dogs but the starving sheep, feed the sheep, feed the sheep, said my accompanying angel. It was a melting, weeping time when I related the vision. Brother Baker was comforted and made strong. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 19

We parted with the brethren and sisters while sweet love and union prevailed among all. Sister Butler, who came to the meeting so sick, went home quite well and much strengthened. Six wagon loads of us left Johnson and came to Sister Benson’s twenty miles, took some refreshment and then went on to Brother Butler’s. Brethren Baker and Hart were with us. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 20

Brother Baker had not slept any for two or three nights, troubled with disease of the heart. He said he must go home and be sick some days but we got a spirit of prayer for him and the Lord heard us pray. Brother Baker was healed and he glorified God with a loud voice; he had a baptism of the Holy Ghost. We parted with him and Brother Hart rejoicing, triumphant in God. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 21

One thing I have not mentioned. Brother Baker has come into the salutation and washing the saints’ feet which he never believed in before. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 22

We stopped (Brethren Holt, Wheeler, James and self) a few days and wrote. Wednesday Brethren Holt and Wheeler went to Vergennes, Vt. to inform them that we should be there Sabbath and Sunday. Brother Butler carried us to Vergennes Thursday, 44 miles. Sabbath day it was very stormy but we went three miles to Brother Everts; there were but few [who] could attend that meeting on account of the storm. Brother Everts is a blessed brother, but has been in the “age to come” all over and he said he could not give it up. When we were there he was in a very dark place. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 23

Henry Allen lived about one mile from Brother Everts. He held such a strong mixture of views that if followed out would lead to spiritualism [of] the worst kind, such as spiritual wifery. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 24

Sabbath eve I had a great burden such as I have borne before. I saw that Brother Everts must give up his “age to come,” that he had lost the power of the third angel’s message, and I saw that the accursed thing must be put out of the camp or Israel would be sickly. That accursed thing was such views as I have mentioned that Henry Allen held. He was not at the meeting at Brother Everts, being sick. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 25

After I had the vision and told it, Brother Everts began to confess and break down before God. He gave up his “age to come” and felt the necessity of keeping the minds of all on the third angel’s message. I had as solemn a view at that time as I ever had in my life. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 26

The next day we went to Henry Allen’s and God gave me a cutting message for him and I dared not daub with untempered mortar. Never did I have such a cutting message for any one before. He did not break down. We withdrew all fellowship from him until he should give up his spiritual union views and get right. We left the brethren and sisters there in a much better state than we found them. I must close. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 27

Edson is well and smart. Clarissa is well. I have not seen Sarah yet. She is seven miles from here visiting the brethren and sisters. Stephen has just gone to see her. James is well and Aunt Rachel; I also. Anna Smith is with us. She is just the help we need. She takes right hold with James and helps him much. We can leave her now to get off the papers and can go out more among the flock. Henry, Edson says thank you for his Bible and box of candy. He is much pleased with them. James, Clarissa, Annie, Aunt Rachel and self send love to you all, especially my little Henry. Hope he will be good. In love, 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 28

E. G. White

I would here say our healths failed a number of times on our journey. It seemed as though we could not go through the meeting. But we would go away alone with a few brethren and sisters and pray together, and God heard and answered and when we returned home we were better than when we left home. E. W. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 29

Eliza Willard has come out strong in all the truth. Deborah Dunham has also come into the truth. Her sister has been so troubled, and Brother Day’s girl, that they have broken down before God, given their hearts to Him and have been baptized. The work of God is going on, praise His name, we will rejoice in Him. E. G. W. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 30

Give our love to all of the church. You see I have written you a long letter. You must do the same to me. After you read this please to copy it off for Mother in plain hand writing. It will save my writing another letter. Do write it to her as soon as you can, and answer this after you copy it off for her. I want to hear from you very much. Do write. Tell Henry to be very good and love the Lord. In great haste and much love. 1LtMs, Lt 8, 1851, par. 31