Messenger of the Lord


Counterfeits in the 1840s and 1850s

In 1845, before her marriage to James White, Ellen Harmon and others confronted a group in New Hampshire who appeared to be assured in the Lord. She soon learned that “they claimed perfect sanctification, declaring that they were above the possibility of sin.” The leaders told her: “All that we have to do is to believe, and whatever we ask of God will be given us.” This kind of thinking leads to the belief that “the affections and desires of the sanctified ones were always right, and never in danger of leading them into sin.” In many cases, this thinking led to free love with all of its worst consequences. 5 MOL 194.4

The “no-work” group, strange as it may seem today, attracted followers, especially those who cared for their leader’s needs! First in Paris, Maine, and then in Randolph, Massachusetts, Ellen Harmon had to give reproof, reminding all concerned that “reason and judgment” were not to give way to impressions: “God ordained that the beings He created should work. Upon this their happiness depends.” 6 MOL 194.5

False humility, accompanied with boisterous excitement of some in Maine, brought disrepute to early Adventists prior to 1846. Young Ellen reported: “Some seemed to think that religion consisted in great excitement and noise. They would talk in a manner that would irritate unbelievers.... They would rejoice that they suffered persecution.... Some ... professed great humility, and advocated creeping on the floor like children, as an evidence of their humility.... I told them plainly that ... the humility which God looked for in His people was to be shown by a Christlike life, not by creeping on the floor.” 7 MOL 194.6

Frequent time-setting became a spiritual disaster for those who indulged in it and rejected the admonition from Ellen White. She wrote: “Different times were set for the Lord to come, and were urged upon the brethren. But the Lord showed me that they would pass by, for the time of trouble must take place before the coming of Christ, and that every time that was set, and passed, would weaken the faith of God’s people. For this I was charged with being the evil servant that said, ‘My Lord delayeth his coming.’” 8 MOL 195.1

On the back page of the Review, July 21, 1851, Ellen White reported on a vision given her on June 21: “The Lord has shown me that the message of the third angel must go, and be proclaimed to the scattered children of the Lord, and that it should not be hung on time; for time never will be a test again. I saw that some were getting a false excitement arising from preaching time; that the third angel’s message was stronger than time can be.” MOL 195.2