Early Writings


The Two Ways Out of the Perplexity

Mrs. White then speaks of how the two groups of Advent believers related themselves to the experience of the disappointment of October 22, 1844: EW xxix.2

“The passing of the time in 1844 was followed by a period of great trial to those who still held the Advent faith. Their only relief, so far as ascertaining their true position was concerned, was the light which directed their minds to the sanctuary above. Some renounced their faith in their former reckoning of the prophetic periods, and ascribed to human or satanic agencies the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit which had attended the Advent movement. Another class firmly held that the Lord had led them in their past experience; and as they waited and watched and prayed to know the will of God, they saw that their great High Priest had entered upon another work of ministration, and following Him by faith, they were led to see also the closing work of the church. They had a clearer understanding of the first and second angels’ messages, and were prepared to receive and give to the world the solemn warning of the third angel of Revelation 14.”—The Great Controversy, 431, 432. EW xxix.3

Certain references occur in this work, on pages 42-45, to the “open door” and the “shut door.” This is correctly understood only in the light of the background of the experience of our early believers. EW xxix.4

Not too long after the Disappointment the pioneers saw that while there were those who through the definite rejection of light had closed the door to their salvation, there were many who had not heard the message and had not rejected it, and these might benefit from the provisions made for man's salvation. By the early 1850's these points stood out clearly. Then too, avenues for the presentation of the three angels' messages were beginning to open up. Prejudice was dying away. Ellen White, looking back to their experience following the Disappointment wrote: EW xxx.1

“‘It was then next to impossible to obtain access to unbelievers. The disappointment in 1844 had confused the minds of many, and they would not listen to any explanation of the matter.’”—The Review and Herald, November 20, 1883. EW xxx.2

But in 1851 Elder White was able to report: “‘Now the door is open almost everywhere to present the truth, and many are prepared to read the publications who have formerly had no interest to investigate.’”—The Review and Herald, August 19, 1851. EW xxx.3