Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)


The Conference Address on Organizing Churches

An important address on the organization of churches was drawn up by a committee of nine—the ministers who attended the conference—and was written by J. H. Waggoner. It reviewed briefly the history of the church, particularly the holding of “general conferences” here and there with no attempt at equalized representation or to keep minutes of decisions reached. It called for the organization of churches dealt with, for “purity of the membership,” and for members to carry with them proper papers when moving to a new location. It specified that there must be papers certifying to the qualifications of those who ministered. The address closed: 1BIO 448.1

Our object in this is to call your attention to the necessity of a more thorough organization, and invite your cooperation in the effort to effect it. We have seen with deep regret the distrust with which reforms of this kind are viewed, and trust it is for want of understanding the necessities of the case. We have examined it with carefulness and prayer, and hope and pray that you will examine it in the same manner, and believe that you will arrive at the same conclusion.—Ibid., June 11, 1861 1BIO 448.2

This hope, however, proved to be in vain. While there was unanimity at the conference in Battle Creek, this was not true in the field generally. 1BIO 448.3

With repairs being made on their home, with the laying of plans for the new publishing house, with planning for a trip east to secure moral support for organization and for funds badly needed by the publishing association, James White, as reported by Ellen to Mary Loughborough, was “too busy to know whether he is sick or well” (Letter 6, 1861). He was yet to discover the extent of the negative feelings in the field, particularly in New York State and Ohio. 1BIO 448.4