What Became of A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner?
What Became of A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner?
Statement Prepared by Arthur L. White, Secretary of The Ellen G. White Estate
Taken from Thirteen Crisis Years Appendix B, pages 312-325
Elder A. T. Jones was born April 26, 1850, in Ohio, and from 1870 to 1873 served in the United States Army. While stationed near Walla Walla in the Territory of Washington in 1873 he was led to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Jones was a studious man, interested especially in history; and after becoming a Seventh-day Adventist, in due time he entered the ministry. His name appeared in ministerial lists of the denomination in 1885, when it is noted that he became an associate editor of the Signs of the Times, published in Oakland, California. ATJEJW 1.1
Elder E. J. Waggoner was born in Wisconsin, January 12, 1855. He attended Battle Creek College in its earliest days and received a classical education. After completing his college work, he was persuaded to take the medical course. He completed his work at Bellevue Medical College, New York. From there he went to the Battle Creek Sanitarium, where he served as staff physician for some time. Waggoner’s heart was in evangelism, and in 1883 he was called to assist his father, J. H. Waggoner, editor of the The Signs of the Times, May 6, 1886 issue lists E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones as associate editors. ATJEJW 1.2
The two men were quite different in build, manner, temperament, and delivery. Of this a personal acquaintance, A. W. Spalding, wrote: ATJEJW 1.3
“Unlike as garden fruit and apples of the desert were these two, yet they teamed together in close fellowship and cooperation. Young Waggoner was not even like his father, tall and massive; he was short, stocky, somewhat diffident. Jones was a towering, angular man, with a loping gait and uncouth posturing: and gestures. Waggoner was a product of the schools, with a leonine head well packed with learning, and with a saver tongue. Jones was largely self-taught, a convert found as a private in the United States Army, who had studied day and night to amass a great store of historical and Biblical knowledge. Not only was he naturally abrupt, but he cultivated singularity of speech and manner, early discovering that it was an asset with his audiences.”—Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 2, pp. 289.291. ATJEJW 1.4
The Minneapolis Conference and its aftermath drew both Elder Jones and Elder Waggoner into increasing prominence in the work of the church. God blessed their ministry, and it was their privilege to lead in a renewed emphasis on the basic Protestant doctrine, righteousness by faith. For many years they were held in high esteem. ATJEJW 1.5
Knowing well the peril of those who are used mightily of God, and with a seeming premonition, Ellen White wrote in 1892: ATJEJW 1.6
“It is quite possible that Elder Jones or Waggoner may be overthrown by the temptations of the enemy; but if they should be, this would not prove that they had had no message from God, or that the work that they had done was all a mistake. But should this happen, how many would take this position, and enter into a fatal delusion because they are not under the control of the Spirit of God. They walk in the sparks of their own kindling, and cannot distinguish between the fire they have kindled, and the light which God has given, and they walk in blindness as did the Jews. ATJEJW 1.7
“I know that this is the very position many would take if either of these men were to fall, and I pray that these men upon whom God has laid the burden of a solemn work, may be able to give the trumpet a certain sound, and honor God at every step, and that their path at every step may grow brighter and brighter until the close of time.”—Letter 24, 1892. ATJEJW 1.8
Jones and Waggoner, so highly honored of God, because of their wide influence for good, became the special point of attack of the great adversary. The Ellen G. White communications to both men through a fifteen year period following 1888 reveal that each had weaknesses in his experience and each made mistakes. This, however, did not disqualify them to do God’s service. It is with regret that we record that both men lost their way. We shall review rather briefly the experience of the two men, and then deal first in detail with Elder A. T. Jones. All that appears here is presented in kindness, but it is appropriate that a record of the facts be made available to all interested in the work of the church and in the experience of these two men at one time so influential in its work. ATJEJW 2.1
In 1884 Elders Waggoner and Jones met. On April 26, 1886, as Elder J. H. Waggoner, the father of E. J. Waggoner, was released from his responsibilities as editor of the Signs of the Times, E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones were selected to serve jointly, and their names appeared jointly as editors for three years, from May 13, 1886, to May 6, 1889. The issue of May 6, 1889, lists E. J. Waggoner as editor and A. T. Jones as special contributor. ATJEJW 2.2
Elder Waggoner then carried the work of editor until May 11, 1891, when the name of Elder M. C. Wilcox appears on the masthead. It will be observed that the two men held editorial responsibilities through the Minneapolis conference and E. J. Waggoner for two and a half years beyond. ATJEJW 2.3