Campfire Junior Stories from the days of S.D.A. Pioneers


Group I. The Visions and the Spirit of Prophecy

The Meeting a 14-year old Girl Never Forgot 9

As told by Arthur L. White

Our story tonight is about a meeting a junior girl never forgot. At this meeting she saw Sister White in vision. CFJS 5.1

Nellie Sisley was fourteen. A few years earlier, with her mother and brothers and sisters, she had come from England. Now they lived in Battle Creek. Elder and Mrs. White also lived in Battle Creek, not far from the publishing house and Sanitarium. Nellie and her mother went to the prayer meeting at the church in Battle Creek on a Friday evening, June 12, 1868. There were about 200 people at this meeting. Elder and Mrs. White had been away for some time. Now they were at home in Battle Creek and everyone expected that they would both speak at the prayer meeting. Perhaps they would tell about some of their work in the other churches. CFJS 5.2

Elder and Mrs. White came into the church and walked up to the front and sat down on the lower platform. After the song and the prayer, Elder White spoke for about ten minutes. Then he said, “I know that it is Mrs. White you want to hear, and we will turn the meeting over to her,” CFJS 5.3

Then Sister White began to talk. She told the congregation that she was so impressed with the thought that we are not making the preparation to meet Jesus that we ought to be making. Jesus is coming soon, she said, and we must be ready. She pointed out that Seventh-day Adventists were pilgrims and strangers, and we want to live for the future, and get ready for Heaven. After she had spoken for about a half an hour, she seemed to fall backward to the floor. She didn’t drop on the floor with a thud, but it seemed as if angel’s hands were gently letting her down. CFJS 5.4

Nellie and her mother, who had never seen Sister White in vision before thought that she had fainted, and so did many of the audience. Many times when she was given a vision she exclaimed, “Glory!” or “Glory to God.” But this time she did not. The people opened the windows a little wider. A glass of water was brought for Sister White. Then Elder White said, “Don’t be alarmed, for Mrs. White has not fainted but she is in vision.” When Brother White told the congregation that Sister White was in vision, a quietness came to all of the audience. As Nellie told this story years later, she said, “It seemed as if heavenly beings were there in that church. We weren’t frightened. Sister White was lying down on the lower platform, quiet, and absolutely unconscious. Then Brother White said, ‘There may be some in this congregation who may have doubts in regard to Mrs. White’s inspiration and about the visions. If there are any such, we would be glad to have them come forward and try the physical tests as they are given in the Bible.’” CFJS 5.5

Then Elder White knelt down by her side, raised her head and shoulders so that they rested on his knee. Nellie was sitting by her mother, and she knew that occasionally her mother had doubted the visions, and so she said, “Mother, why don’t we go up and see Sister White as Brother White has invited us to do?” CFJS 5.6

So Nellie and her mother went up together. They stood very close by Sister White’s head. They could see that she did not breathe. Her eyes were open and there was a pleasant expression on her face. There was nothing unnatural about her expression. It seemed very natural. CFJS 6.1

Other people in the congregation also came up and there were two large men who worked at our institution who came with the others. One stood on one side of Sister White and the other stood on the other side. Then Elder White spoke. He said, “The entire congregation has seen Sister White fall. They know that she has lost her natural strength. Now we wish to see if she has been supernaturally strengthened.” Her hands were lying clasped lightly on her chest. Elder White spoke to the two strong men. “I want you to take her hands apart. Just pull her hands apart. You have two hands to her one.” So they tried. They pulled and pulled. Some of the people became anxious. Nellie thought that they would hurt Sister White. Brother White said, “Don’t be anxious. She is safe in God’s keeping. You can pull until you are perfectly satisfied.” CFJS 6.2

They said, “We are satisfied now. We don’t need to pull any more.” Then Brother White said, “Take one finger at a time and try to pull them apart.” But they couldn’t do it. They couldn’t do so much as to move one finger. Sister White didn’t change the expression on her face and they just couldn’t move her fingers. CFJS 6.3

Nellie said, as she told the story, that they looked carefully to see if her eyes would close and to see if she was breathing. But her eyes remained open; there was no movement of the eyelids. She didn’t breathe at all. CFJS 6.4

Then Sister White took her hands apart and made graceful gestures, and as she moved her arms, Brother White said to these men, “Now I want you to hold her arms.” And these strong men took hold of her wrists. But they couldn’t stop the motion. It looked like any child could keep her from moving her arms, but she moved them just as though no one was around. The men were afraid they might hurt her, or that what they were doing might interfere with the view that she was having, but Brother White said no, they wouldn’t hurt her or interfere with what she was witnessing in the least. He said that although she was wholly unconscious to anything about her, yet she was safe in God’s keeping. CFJS 6.5

During all of this time, she was looking upward with a natural expression in her eyes, except that her eyelids never closed. Brother White said, “Now that you are satisfied that there is supernatural strength which she has while in vision, we will see if her eyelids will close.” There was a brightly burning lamp on the stand, and Brother White took the shade off and put this light right in front of her eyes. Nellie thought for sure that Sister White would move her eyes to protect them, or close her eyes, but she didn’t. She was not conscious to anything going on about her. The same natural expression remained and her eyes were not starry or glassy. At times the expression on her face changed. Sometimes she looked pleased, and at other times, she seemed very troubled. CFJS 6.6

“Now,” said Brother White, “we must see if there is any breath in her body.” As Nellie told the story many times in later years, she said, “There didn’t seem to be any breath. Everything looked all right only that she didn’t breathe.” CFJS 7.1

Elder White said, “Now, we will send out and get a mirror and we will test her to see if she is breathing.” So someone went next door and borrowed a mirror and held it close to her face, but no moisture gathered on the mirror. What happens, boys and girls, when we breathe on a mirror? Of course; It gets all foggy from our breath. So the people knew that she wasn’t breathing. But as they felt of her pulse, they found that her heart continued to beat regularly and the color in her face did not change. CFJS 7.2

Occasionally Sister White spoke. The sentences were short and she spoke of some of the things which were being shown to her in vision. At times, her face appeared animated and excited and at other times her face looked sad and she seemed to be shrinking back from what she saw. CFJS 7.3

When she began to come out of the vision, she took three long, deep breaths. Her lungs had been empty. Brother White assisted her to a chair. Then Brother White said to her, “The congregation would be very interested in the vision. I know that they will want to know something about what you have seen.” CFJS 7.4

Sister White replied that she would gladly tell the people what was shown to her in vision. For about a half an hour, she talked. She had seen in vision the bright and glorious home that the Lord is preparing for His people. Then she had also seen the destruction of the wicked people and what troubled her greatly was that she saw some who had been Seventh-day Adventists among those who were lost. They had started on the narrow pathway to the heavenly home, but for different reasons had turned aside. Some had become discouraged. Some were very much in love with the pleasures of the world. Others were more interested in making money than they were in serving the Lord. So there were quite a few who had been Adventists who had wandered away from the truth. CFJS 7.5

As she spoke about the New Jerusalem, she said, “Oh, I wish I could describe it; I have no language in which to tell you even a little of what has been shown to me. If you could be there and see what I saw, you would never allow anything on this world to tempt you to live in such a way as to be in danger of losing eternal life.” CFJS 7.6

For a time after the vision, she could not see very well. She told the people, “Now, you may not understand why I can not see well. If you turn your face toward the sun for a while, then turn away, you will understand. Heaven is brighter than the sun.” Then she gradually regained the use of her sight and the experience of the vision didn’t injure her sight at all. Many visions were given to Mrs. White, but they did not leave her weak or ill. CFJS 7.7

As Sister White talked with the people, she said, “It is not the large sins that we do, but the little things. Carelessness, not fully accepting the responsibility that the Lord would be glad to place upon us. We are living too lightly. We are spending too much time and thought on our present interests. Some of these things may be all right in themselves, but they crowd out the heavenly things.” CFJS 7.8

As Nellie and her mother and the people went home that night, they said to themselves, “How glad we are that we went to prayer meeting tonight; Now we have seen Sister White in vision. We know that God gives her the visions.” And they determined in their hearts to study the counsels which were written out, and to apply those counsels in their lives. CFJS 8.1

What was shown to Sister White in that vision, she soon wrote out and printed in a little pamphlet called Testimony for the Church, No. 16. It is found today in Testimonies for the Church 2:112-199. Again and again you will find reference to the vision given June 12, 1868. When Sister White wrote of the vision, she said, “June 12, 1868, while speaking to the brethren in the house of worship in Battle Creek, Michigan, the Spirit of God came upon me. And in an instant I was in vision.” Brother White also tells us about this vision. CFJS 8.2

Nellie married a young minister and she spent a large part of her life serving the Lord in America and Australia. While in Australia, she often traveled with Sister White and at times she and her husband lived at Sister White’s home. Nellie never forgot that Friday evening when she and her mother went to prayer meeting and she saw Sister White in vision. CFJS 8.3

Based on the accounts given by Mrs. Nellie Sisley Starr, James White and others.