The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 21—To W. M. Healey


Battle Creek, Mich.

December 9, 1888

Dear Brother Healey:

I have not had a very easy time since I left the Pacific Coast. Our first meeting was not like any other General Conference I ever attended. The thought that some of our brethren ventured to entertain some ideas contrary to those of the leading brethren filled the minds of some of our brethren with such prejudice that they could not with any fairness even come to an investigation of the positions of our faith with anything like Christian feelings. It was more after the order developed by the priests and rulers and Pharisees in the days of Christ. Because I came from the Pacific Coast they would have it that I had been influenced by W. C. White, Dr. Waggoner, and A. T. Jones. 1888 186.1

Brother Butler wrote me a letter of a most singular purport, and made wonderfully strong statements in it. He called these men whom God has appointed to do a special work in His cause fledglings. He moreover said that he had received letters from Northern and Central California, saying that they would not send their children to the college if the views of E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones were brought in. Well, I will not attempt to tell you all about this matter; but I learned that you were one who wrote letters of warning to Elder Butler. I asked him if I might see the letter, but he said that he had destroyed it. Strange proceedings! My brother, Is the Lord leading you? or is the enemy working upon your mind as upon the minds of others? I have come to the conclusion that this is the case. I have not changed my views in reference to the law in Galatians, but I hope that I shall never be left to entertain the spirit that was brought into the General Conference. I have not the least hesitancy in saying it was not the Spirit of God. If every idea we have entertained in doctrines is truth will not the truth bear to be investigated? Will it totter and fall if criticized? If so, let if fall, the sooner the better. The spirit that would close the door to investigation of points of truth in a Christlike manner is not the Spirit from above. 1888 186.2

You wrote that plans were all laid, and that A. T. Jones, Dr. Waggoner, and W. C. White, had things all prepared to make a drive at the General Conference. And you warned Elder Butler—a poor sick man, broken in body and in mind,—to prepare for the emergency; and in that conference Elder Butler felt called upon to send in telegrams and long letters, “Stand by the old landmarks.” Just as though the Lord was not present at that conference, and would not keep His hand on the work! 1888 187.1

My testimony was ignored, and never in my life experience was I treated as at that conference; and I give you, my brother, with some others of our brethren, the credit of doing what you could to bring this state of affairs about. You may have thought that you were verily doing God service; but it served the cause of the enemy rather than the cause of God. 1888 187.2

I would write you more fully, but the particulars may all be written out and you will have them in time. 1888 187.3

Elder Butler has been doing a work in the interpretation of the testimony and upon the inspiration of the Scriptures which God has never put upon him, and its influence was brought over to the General Conference in Oakland, and since then has been at work like leaven, and the very same prejudice and irritation of spirit that was upon the Pacific Coast in a degree we find this side of the Rocky Mountains. I was grieved and distressed when I learned that you had done the very same work others have done, stirred up the mind of a feeble, sick man, and caused him to look at things in a distorted light. In the responsible position which Elder Butler has occupied some have looked at him rather than to God. They have accepted his exaggerated ideas, and they have felt that they must, as he said, “Stand by the old landmarks.” I am sorry to hear that you are willing to work as a traitor against your brethren. Upon whom can we rely? And what is this all about? Why A. T. Jones and Dr. Waggoner hold views upon some doctrinal points which all admit are not vital questions, different from those which some of the leading ones of our people have held. But it is a vital question whether we are Christians, whether we have a Christian spirit, and are true, open, and frank with one another. I do not like the unchristian spirit which has prevailed both east of the Rocky Mountains, and on the Pacific Coast on this subject. Could you not trust God to manage these matters? Has not the Lord been speaking through His servant for the last forty-five years, and has He left me to walk alone? If ever our brethren needed their eyes anointed with eyesalve it is at the present time. I do not want our brethren to know that you were the one who communicated to Elder Butler the information you did, for I fear it would create suspicion in them that you were not a man to be trusted; that you would betray them if you had a chance. 1888 187.4

I think it is high time that we were Christians at heart. The condition of things here is such that it requires most earnest, persevering labor to counteract the work that has been done here for a few years in the past. I am glad that a time has come when something will stir our people to investigate the points of our faith for themselves. We should not consider that either Elder Butler or Elder Smith are the guardians of the doctrines for Seventh-day Adventists, and that no one may dare to express an idea that differs from theirs. My cry has been: Investigate the Scriptures for yourselves, and know for yourselves what saith the Lord. No man is to be authority for us. If he has received his light from the Bible so may we also go to the same source for light and proof to substantiate the doctrines which we believe. The Scriptures teach that we should give a reason of the hope that is within us with meekness and fear. 1888 188.1

Brother Healey, it is best for us to look to God and trust in God. The ideas you have given to Elder Butler may have placed Dr. Waggoner, A. T. Jones, Willie, and myself in a false light. The information coming as it did from Pacific Coast had great weight with him. I think we better know what kind of laborers we are connected with, whether because they feel like it they will betray the brethren and create suspicion and distrust or will seek to promote peace and harmony between the two great institutions East and West. 1888 189.1

I have not1 told you that my views are not changed in regard to the law in Galatians. But if we have had the truth upon this subject our brethren have failed to be sanctified through it; the fruits are not after Christ's order, but bitter as gall. 1888 189.2

I have been working as I never worked before. I have felt that something must be done or many souls will be lost. This church in Battle Creek is like the valley of dry bones. They need to be stirred with some power to give them life. Why we have had to work and pray and work even to have Brother Jones obtain a hearing in Battle Creek, and many of our leading men were provoked after they heard him talk to think that there were those in responsible positions who would close the door to light and to knowledge, keeping out just what they needed. But I have not time to write more. 1888 189.3

Recopied September 12, 1962