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


Ellen G. White: Volume 3—The Lonely Years: 1876-1891


A Statement the Author Would Like You to Read

The role of prophets has never been easy. The Master emphasized this one day as He talked with His disciples and the “multitude,” which included many of the religious leaders of the nation. After reviewing the past He looked into the future and declared that persecution, and even death, awaited heaven's messengers (Matthew 23:29-35). 3BIO 9.1

Ellen White, like the ancient prophets, faced trials and discouraging circumstances as she tried to accomplish her special mission. This volume of the biography portrays the lonely years in her experience. If she had not had to deliver messages of correction, reproof, or rebuke; if the testimony she was called upon to bear had been all of praise and approbation; if she had been able to lean heavily upon human beings to guide her in fulfilling her call, she would not have experienced the periods of loneliness pictured in these pages. 3BIO 9.2

But earthly instructors or counselors could give only limited guidance to her in her special work. To be true to her mission, much of the time she had to go directly to God for help. In 1902 she wrote, “I have been alone ..., severely alone with all the difficulties and all the trials connected with the work.”—Selected Messages 3:67. 3BIO 9.3

Yet Ellen White was no recluse. She was a friendly, warm-hearted person, much loved and highly esteemed, greatly respected, one whose ministry was much sought after. The experiences that led to the feelings of extreme loneliness were reasonably short-lived, and her outlook usually was optimistic and hopeful. 3BIO 9.4

This volume picks up the Ellen White story at a high point in her ministry—a time when she was writing on the life of Christ and also engaged, with her husband, James, president of the General Conference, in a grueling camp meeting labor that had become a recurring summertime activity. The last years of James White's life were marked by notable achievements in building the church and its institutions in spite of periods impaired by illness. His rather sudden death at the age of 60 shocked both Ellen White and the church. 3BIO 10.1

Now midway in her lifework, Mrs. White, though deprived of her husband's companionship and more than ever dependent on divine aid and support, courageously continued her ministry of writing, counseling, and public speaking across America and overseas. 3BIO 10.2

The Seventh-day Adventist Church was growing rapidly and needed an ever-increasing number of ministers and executives to manage its burgeoning conferences and institutional structures. Some of these personnel were new in the doctrine and had limited managerial experience. Ellen White's role as the messenger of the Lord in such circumstances was complicated and involved. This, together with the fact that many members and leaders resisted reproof, correction, and guidance, cast upon her a burden that at times was almost too heavy to bear. This was particularly true as the church passed through the crises related to the General Conference session at Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1888. 3BIO 10.3

It is possible that as you read this volume you may be moved with sympathy for Mrs. White during her lonely years, but it is my hope that you also will be cheered as you note God's guidance and blessings and the favorable response that most church members gave to heaven's messages. Reviewing the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from 1876 to 1891 is an inspiring experience and strengthens one's confidence that God is guiding His people. 3BIO 10.4

Arthur L. White