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


Ellen White Enters the Fray

Seldom did Ellen White pause to notice criticism of her work. But in this instance she felt she should say something that would be helpful to those meeting the charges brought against her. In early August she wrote an article for the Review and Herald, recognizing the conflict and reminding the readers that this was the kind of situation she had met from beginning days. The article, titled “Our Present Position,” was published in the issue of August 28, 1883. Early in the article she observed: 3BIO 224.5

There are many who consider it a mark of intelligence to doubt, and they pride themselves upon their ability to devise objections to God's Word, to His truth, or to those who proclaim it.—Ibid., August 28, 1883. 3BIO 224.6

Coming more to the point, she admonished: 3BIO 224.7

Brethren and sisters, let not your souls be disturbed by the efforts of those who so earnestly seek to arouse distrust and suspicion of Sister White. These attacks have been repeated hundreds of times during the past forty years; but my labors have not ceased; the voice of warning, reproof, and encouragement has not been silenced. The evil reports framed concerning me have injured those who circulated them; but have not destroyed my work. 3BIO 225.1

Before some of these opposers had an existence, I was shown what would come, and from what source. In the day of God, those who have been seeking to prove me a deceiver must answer for their course.... 3BIO 225.2

Many ask, Why do you not contradict these reports? Why allow them to be circulated? The same question has been asked again and again for the last forty years. My answer is, in the language of one of old, I am doing a great work and cannot come down.—Ibid. 3BIO 225.3

In words of assurance she declared: 3BIO 225.4

Brethren and sisters, have no fears that I shall become disheartened by the cruel attacks of my enemies. I expect them in greater measure, and only wonder that they have not been more frequent. Think of Jesus. How much was said against Him.... The adversary of souls is constantly seeking to divert our minds by bringing in side issues. Let us not be deceived. Let enemies handle your name and mine as they please. Let them distort, misrepresent our words and deeds. Let them fabricate falsehoods as best pleases them....

Leave Sister White in the hands of God. If the work in which she is engaged be of God, it will prosper; otherwise it will come to naught. But remember that your own eternal interests are now at stake.... 3BIO 225.5

Many are in reality fighting his [Satan's] battles while they profess to serve under the banner of Christ. These traitors in the camp may not be suspected, but they are doing their work to create unbelief, discord, and strife. Such are the most dangerous of foes. While they insinuate themselves into our favor, and gain our confidence and sympathy, they are busy suggesting doubts and creating suspicion. They work in the same manner as did Satan in heaven when he deceived the angels by his artful representations.—Ibid. 3BIO 225.6

To Smith she declared of the publishing of the Sabbath Advocate: 3BIO 226.1

I hear the muttering of the dragon from Marion, but I expected worse than this because it is not the men who do this, but Satan behind them. They are merely men, but agents of Satan. It is his power we meet in them.—Letter 14, 1883.

In an unusual move, she paused in her book preparation and wrote a sixteen-page explanation and defense. It opened: 3BIO 226.2

My attention has recently been called to a sixteen-page pamphlet published by A. C. Long, of Marion, Iowa, entitled “Comparison of the Early Writings of Mrs. White With Later Publications.” The writer states that portions of my earlier visions, as first printed, have been suppressed in the work recently published under the title Early Writings of Mrs. E. G. White, and he conjectures as a reason for such suppression that these passages teach doctrines now repudiated by us as a people. He also charges us with willful deception in representing Early Writings as a complete republication of my earliest views, with only verbal changes from the original work. 3BIO 226.3

Before I note separately the passages which are said to have been omitted [as she does in this statement], it is proper that several facts be stated.—Manuscript 4, 1883 (published in full in Selected Messages 1:59-73). 3BIO 226.4

The prime question related to her first vision as published in 1847 as an article in the James White pamphlet A Word to the “Little Flock”. In a move to inform those who questioned the precise wording, the Review and Herald reprinted the article in full and advertised it for sale for 3 cents a copy (The Review and Herald, August 28, 1883). 3BIO 226.5

Through the winter and early spring of 1883 Ellen White had kept close to her writing as she was striving to finish her work on Spirit of Prophecy, volume 4, and to complete the book on the life and teachings of the apostle Paul. Butler was eager to have her attend camp meetings during the summer. On February 18, 1883, he wrote to her: 3BIO 226.6

How much I wish you might get volume 4 out this winter so you could labor in the camp meetings the coming year. Your labors are greatly needed in several conferences. I think your labors would be highly appreciated by most of our people. 3BIO 227.1

As summer came and her book work was going well, she fixed her eyes on the dates for the Eastern camp meetings to start August 22 at Worcester, Massachusetts. Finally, her communication to the president of the General Conference led him to feel he could count on her help. He notified the readers of the August 7 Review and Herald that “Sister E. G. White may be able to attend [the New England meeting], if her health is sufficient to endure the long journey from California.” 3BIO 227.2

With Sara McEnterfer as a traveling companion, Ellen White left California by train for Battle Creek. She arrived Friday, August 17. She went to the home of Edson and Emma for the night and then to the Sanitarium. Almost immediately she was involved in meetings. 3BIO 227.3