A Prophet Among You


Appendix A

An Experience With a False Prophetess

(This is the incident referred to under point 2, on page 382.) APAY 469.1

During 1893 and 1894 there was a maiden lady at Battle Creek by the name of Anna Phillips, sometimes called Anna “Rice-Phillips,” who claimed to have the gift of prophecy. She wrote her visions and sent them to the leading elders. Her claims were whispered around among some of the lay members, and naturally they caused concern and comments. APAY 469.2

It was on a Sabbath morning in the middle of April, 1894, that Elder A. T. Jones in the Dime Tabernacle, which seated about four thousand people, presented Anna Phillips’s testimonies as a genuine manifestation of the spirit of prophecy. APAY 469.3

I will never forget the scene as he stood in the pulpit and read her testimonies. He spoke of the sheep following the True Shepherd, for “they know His voice.” John 10:4. Then he read some of Ellen White’s testimonies, and said, “Do you hear the voice?” (He referred to the voice of God through the Holy Spirit.) “Yes,” said he, “we hear the voice.” Then he read some of Anna Phillips’s testimonies and said, “Do you hear the voice?” “Yes,” he said, “it is the same voice.” He then argued the genuineness of Miss Phillips’s testimonies simply because he could hear the voice, as he claimed. Some of the rest of us, for some reason, did not hear the voice. APAY 469.4

When the meeting closed, the people quietly left the building; but instead of going to their homes, they gathered in groups and began to discuss the new prophetess. “Can it be so?” some said. Others said, “Do you think Elder Jones is right, or may he be mistaken?” “Will she and Sister White work together?” some inquired. “I should like to know what Sister White has to say about it,” remarked others. Finally the crowd dispersed and went to their homes, musing on the way. APAY 469.5

I was a young man attending Battle Creek College, and knew not what position to take. I had confidence in Elder Jones, yet I wanted more evidence of the genuineness of Anna Phillips’s testimonies. The Sabbath was passing and the shades of another night drew on. APAY 470.1

On Sunday morning I went to the Review and Herald office and purchased a postal card. I had just stepped to the writing board when Elder Jones came in. APAY 470.2

“Any mail?” he inquired in his characteristic way. I watched, and saw a long envelope bearing the return address of “Mrs. E.G. White.” I was immediately interested, for I recalled his sermon the day before concerning Anna Phillips. I stood and closely watched him as he sat down on a bench and began to read. I saw that he was deeply affected, for tears began to flow freely. He read on. APAY 470.3

Presently, Elder A. O. Tait came in, and Elder Jones said, “Oscar, come here. Sit down. You heard me preach that sermon yesterday?” APAY 470.4

“Yes,” replied Elder Tait. APAY 470.5

“Well, read this,” he said, as he handed him the testimony he had just received from Sister White. APAY 470.6

Here is a part of what Elder Tait read: APAY 470.7

“No. 3, George’s Terrace, APAY 470.8

“St. Kilda Rd. APAY 470.9

“Melbourne, Vic., March 15, 1894. APAY 470.10

“Elder A. T. Jones. APAY 470.11

“Dear Brother: APAY 470.12

“I have a message for you. Did you suppose that God has commissioned you to take the burden of presenting the visions of Anna Phillips, reading them in public, and uniting them with the testimonies the Lord has been pleased to give me? No, the Lord has not laid upon you this burden. He has not given you this work to do.... APAY 470.13

“My dear brother, I wish to present before you some things concerning the dangers that threaten the work at the present time. The work of Anna Phillips does not bear the signature of heaven. I know what I am talking about.... APAY 471.1

“How is it, my brother, that you have taken up these communications, and presented them before the people, weaving them in with the testimonies God has given Sister White? Where is your evidence that these are of God? You cannot be too careful how you hear, how you receive, how you believe.” APAY 471.2

“Who told Sister White a month ago,” said Elder Jones, “that I was going to preach that sermon about Anna Phillips as a prophetess?” APAY 471.3

“Ah, you know, Alonzo,” declared Elder Tait, in his calm, yet firm, way. APAY 471.4

“Yes, I do know. God knew what I would do, and He impressed Sister White a month before I preached the sermon to send the testimony that I am wrong. Look at that date, ‘March 15, 1894.’ I am wrong.” The two men left the post office. APAY 471.5

The next Sabbath Elder Jones read part of the testimony sent him thirty days prior to the date he preached his sermon, mailed from Melbourne, Australia. It reproved him for his position taken concerning Anna Phillips’s testimonies. He said, “I am wrong, and I confess it. Now I am right.” That ended the matter and saved the church from the pitfall of Satan. APAY 471.6

Anna Phillips repudiated her experience and became a trusted Bible worker. She died a loyal Seventh-day Adventist. APAY 471.7

—W. M. Adams (the young man in the post office). APAY 471.8