Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


Chapter 11—(1880) Difficult Times

The two-hundred-page Testimony No. 29 came from the press in early January, 1880. It contained articles on “The Relation of Church Membership,” “Dishonesty in the Church,” “Unscriptural Marriages,” “The Cause at Battle Creek,” et cetera. These were important messages of reproof and correction. Some Adventists in Battle Creek, forgetting that the Lord had declared, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Revelation 3:19), and overlooking the appeal “Be zealous therefore, and repent,” reacted negatively and turned to the public press in Battle Creek to express their bitter feelings. The matter was quickly picked up in Lansing, Detroit, and Chicago. The Lansing Republican of January 17 reported: 3BIO 130.1

Mrs. Ellen G. White, of Battle Creek, well known in Lansing as an able speaker of the Advent persuasion, is receiving a large amount of criticism on her recent vision, marking out a track in which her people should travel. 3BIO 130.2

The Chicago and Detroit dailies, according to Uriah Smith, resident editor of the Review and Herald, were “publishing the most false and unjust statements and insinuation against Sister White and her writings” (The Review and Herald, January 22, 1880). A Battle Creek “morning daily” went far beyond the limits of reporting, according to Smith. He said they “put in whole paragraphs of their own, and place them in quotation marks as if from the writings of Mrs. White. And again, paragraphs are run together with no indication of any omission, which in the book are on different subjects and fourteen pages apart.”—Ibid. 3BIO 130.3

The Battle Creek article asserted that the writings had never before been “presented to the world.” Smith answered this in an article he asked to have published in the Battle Creek Journal. It appeared in its issue of January 14, 1880: 3BIO 131.1

Will you allow us space in your journal to say to the public that if they believe what a morning daily is publishing concerning the writings of Mrs. White, they are most grievously imposed upon. It asserts that these writings have never before been “presented to the world.” ... 3BIO 131.2

They have always been free to the public, and many not of our faith have purchased and read them. And those who will look at the record of the proceedings of our late conference will see that steps were taken to give them still greater publicity, as we are persuaded that they inculcate the highest morality, both public and private, the scrupulous practice of which would be vastly to the advantage of both the church and the world. 3BIO 131.3

The notice informed the public that the book under attack could be had both at the Review and Herald office and at F. E. Peaslee's bookstore in Battle Creek. 3BIO 131.4

The editor of the Lansing Republican in his January 17 issue quoted the Journal: 3BIO 131.5

I would that all other religious beliefs in Battle Creek were as true to morality as Mrs. White and her adherents. Then we would have no infamous dens of vice, no grog-shops, no tobacco stores, no gambling hells, no air polluted with the fumes of rum and that fell destroyer of man, tobacco. 3BIO 131.6

Seldom did Ellen White turn aside to engage in a defense of her work. This was left to others. In this case, through January and February she and her husband continued to visit and strengthen the churches within driving distance of Battle Creek. 3BIO 131.7