Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


The Meeting at Johnson, VT.

Soon we returned to Vermont, and held a remarkable meeting at Johnson. On our way we stopped several days at the home of Brother E. P. Butler. We found that he and others of our brethren in northern Vermont had been sorely perplexed and tried by the false teachings and wild fanaticism of a group of people who were claiming entire sanctification, and, under the garb of great holiness, were following a course of life that was a disgrace to the Christian name. LS 133.1

The two men who were leaders in the fanaticism were in life and character much like those we met four years before in Claremont, N. H. They taught the doctrine of extreme sanctification, claiming that they could not sin, and were ready for translation. They practised mesmerism, and claimed to receive divine enlightenment while in a sort of trance. LS 133.2

They did not engage in regular work, but in company with two women, not their wives, they traveled about from place to place, forcing themselves upon the hospitality of the people. Through their subtle, mesmeric influence, they had secured a large degree of sympathy from some of the grown-up children of our brethren. LS 133.3

Brother Butler was a man of stern integrity. He was thoroughly aroused to the evil influence of the fanatical theories, and was active in his opposition to their false teachings and arrogant pretensions. Moreover, he made it plain to us that he had no faith in visions of any sort. LS 133.4

Rather reluctantly Brother Butler consented to attend the meeting at the home of Brother Lovejoy at Johnson. The two men who were the leaders in the fanaticism, and who had greatly deceived and oppressed God's children, came into the meeting, accompanied by the two women dressed in white linen, with their long black hair hanging loose about their shoulders. The white linen dresses were to represent the righteousness of the saints. LS 134.1

I had a message of reproof for them, and while I was speaking, the foremost of the two men kept his eyes fastened upon me, as mesmerists had done before. But I had no fear of his mesmeric influence. Strength was given me from heaven to rise above their satanic power. The children of God who had been held in bondage began to breathe free and rejoice in the Lord. LS 134.2

As our meeting progressed, these fanatics sought to rise and speak, but they could not find opportunity. It was made plain to them that their presence was not wanted, but they chose to remain. Then Brother Samuel Rhodes seized the back of the chair in which one of the women was sitting, and drew her out of the room and across the porch onto the lawn. Returning to the meeting-room, he drew out the other woman in the same manner. The two men left the meeting-room, but sought to return. LS 134.3

As prayer was being offered at the close of the meeting, the second of the two men came to the door, and began to speak. The door was closed against him. He opened the door and again began to speak. Then the power of God fell upon my husband. The color left his face as he arose from his knees. He lifted his hands before the man, exclaiming: “The Lord does not want your testimony here. The Lord does not want you here to distract and crush His people.” LS 134.4

The power of God filled the room. The man looked terrified, and stumbled backward through the hall into another room. He staggered across this room and fell against the wall, then recovered his balance and found the door out of the house. The presence of the Lord, which was so painful to the fanatical sinners, impressed with awful solemnity the company assembled. But after the children of darkness had gone, a sweet peace from the Lord rested upon our company. After this meeting the false and wily professors of perfect holiness were never able to reestablish their power over our brethren. LS 135.1

The experiences of this meeting won us the confidence and fellowship of Brother Butler. LS 135.2