Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

54/99

MR No. 1554—Testimony Concerning the Work in Ohio; Church Leaders to Be Chosen Carefully

(Written May, 1863, from Battle Creek, Michigan.)

I have been shown some things in regard to Ohio. First I was shown the great importance of ministers who profess the truth being especially led and counseled of God, that in all their efforts they may advanced and build up the cause of God, and in order to do this they must be free in God themselves. They must not move from impulse but from principle and sound judgment, and by faithful labor and example lead on the church for whose benefit they are laboring to disinterested benevolence, brotherly love, devotedness to God, self-forgetfulness, and holiness. 21MR 260.1

Some who have labored in Ohio have not studied as they should their moves and the influence of the course they were pursuing. Ministers will be held accountable for the part they have acted in placing the cause in its present weak condition in Ohio. These ministers did not all design to move wrong, but they did not feel the burden of their work as God designs every minister should. They did not depend upon God but trusted too much to their own strength. They did not feel that a great weight was attached to every move and action of theirs in the church. They did not with earnestness and wrestling prayer seek the special wisdom and direction from One who never errs. Self was too prominent in their labors, and as the result many mismoves were made. 21MR 260.2

I was shown that the success and progress of a church depend very much upon the first impressions they receive and the first instruction given them by the ministers who labor among them. Ohio has been unfortunate. Men professing to be sent of God, whom God never sent, have had influence among them, and their influence has cursed the cause of God in other places. When they had destroyed their influence in one State, they would leave the field they had desolated for a new field where their course had not been known and where for this reason they could do the most harm. Such have been the labors of S. W. Rhodes and G. W. Holt in Ohio. The instruction given by them was perfectly calculated to lead the people in Ohio to extremes. 21MR 260.3

S. W. Rhodes was severe, exacting, and his teachings and example led the people of God to look more to each other than to look to God, and to watch the failings of their brethren and sisters. He was censorious, peevish, fretful, and in a high degree abusive. He abused the kindness of his brethren, and instead of teaching the commandments of God in a humble spirit as Christ's ambassador and letting the truth do its work, he mixed up with these commandments his own overbearing commands, which caused some to be disgusted and turn away from the truth altogether, and others to be thrown into a state of fear that they could not please God if they would, for their minds were in constant agitation. His influence led the people of God to errors in judgment and faith, the result of which cannot yet be understood or fully known. 21MR 260.4

The course of G. Holt was even more injurious than that of Brother Rhodes. His family were a source of trouble and vexation everywhere they lived. His children were low, depraved, and ungovernable. Reproofs had been repeatedly given in Connecticut, but on every occasion when reproved through vision, instead of receiving it and acting on the light God had given him, his feelings rebelled against it, and he acted out his rebellious feelings, refused to do anything, acted stubborn and willful. He did not reform, and therefore his family grew worse and worse, chose their own ways, and were a reproach to the cause of God in Connecticut and New York. He moved to Ohio and carried the curse along with him. Again he was reproved through vision, and he rose up against it and tried in every way to destroy the influence of my husband. [Four pages missing here.]... 21MR 261.1

I was pointed to different things which have occurred but ought not to have been, which have injured the confidence of the brethren in Ohio in their ministers. Brother Loughborough sought hard to help the churches in Ohio. Sending for his wife and Carrie Carpenter was a mistake and hurt his influence. Had he sent for his wife alone the case would have been far better, but as it was it gave an occasion for surmisings and lowered him in the estimation of those whom he wished to help. 21MR 261.2

I saw that Brother Loughborough's anxiety to meet the wishes of his wife and please her has often led him astray. He has often been called from the work which God would have him do to attend to some wish or desire of his wife, which she would not have had if she had been consecrated to God. She had a will which was strong as a lion within her, which led her to feel that she had rather die than not follow out this will and have her desires gratified. 21MR 261.3

Ministers professing to be servants of Jesus Christ will have to learn not to be servants of their companions at home. God's work comes first, and they are not to be called from it on any account, whether the wife submits to it or not. Satan often makes the wife an agent to make the husband unfaithful to his Master's calling. 21MR 261.4

Brother [M.E.] Cornell and wife visited Ohio, and Brother Cornell did a strange and sad work—he spoke against Brother Loughborough. His old jealous feelings led him to speak of Brother Loughborough in a manner calculated to prejudice the churches against him. That was a miserable, despicable work. God left Brother Cornell to take his own course and follow his imperfect judgment, and stirring appeals were made to the church and they handed out their means liberally to him. They thought he would use it to spread the truth, but he forfeited their confidence, which they had reposed in him, by hastening and spending the means in a wrong manner, publishing charts, which was all wrong. Brother Cornell had first preached the truth to many of them and they had so much confidence in him that when he erred it nearly ruined them. 21MR 262.1

I saw that Brother Cornell was premature in organization, and he placed men to lead in the church who were in no way calculated to fill the office. Such moves should be made with the greatest caution, but Brother Cornell trusted too much to his own judgment. It is always best to wait a little until character is developed before putting [persons into office] in the church, unless all are thoroughly acquainted with the persons elected and know them to be fit to act in the capacity in which they are chosen to act. 21MR 262.2

In the apostles’ day there were no hasty movements in regard to their selection of men to important church duties. It was with much trembling and fear that they moved. Although these very men who were to choose others to an important office were men of faith and full of the Holy Spirit, men who had healed the sick and done many mighty miracles, yet it was with much prayer and reliance upon God that they chose those who should bear the burdens of the church. I was shown that the men who act in the church are all out of their place. The church cannot progress with such ones to act for them. The church would be far better off without anyone to lead than the ones who act as leaders, for then all would feel a measure of responsibility. 21MR 262.3

I was shown that ministers should pray more and rely upon God for heavenly wisdom, then there would not be so many mismoves. 21MR 262.4

I was shown that Brethren Waggoner and Loughborough did not at first see the necessity of one system being adopted and carried out. This led to wrong results, and the censure was suffered to rest on Brother [T.J.] Butler, which did not wholly belong there. 21MR 262.5

Brother [J.H.] Waggoner went to Ohio and took his wife, a body of death and darkness. He was a deceived man. God marked such inconsistencies. Repeatedly he had been reproved for being affected by the influence of his wife, for Satan was using her as an agent to destroy him and get him down from the work. Yet to please her he took the body of darkness with him. He did not believe the vision which had been related to him; if he had he would have acted out his faith. Had another taken the course he had taken, he would have censured him severely. He had had much light but did not follow it. 21MR 262.6

I saw that he was unmerciful in his dealing with the church in Iowa. He bore down upon them in a tyrannical manner, yet in the sight of God their sin was of far less magnitude than his, for they never had the light he had had in regard to the visions. I saw that God could not let His especial strength and blessing rest upon such ministers who follow Him so heedlessly. Then again the course Brother Waggoner pursued to throw out hints and talk in a mysterious manner in regard to my husband and some of the ministering brethren was highly displeasing to God, and cast an influence which is not yet fully done away. 21MR 263.1

Brother T. J. Butler [See The Review and Herald, March 11, 1862, p. 117; The Review and Herald, June 18, 1872, p. 6] has had occasion to feel himself injured. Brother Dudley used him wrong. The church in Ohio had lost confidence in the ministers of Battle Creek and in the leaders of this work. An array of circumstances had occurred by which Satan had figured to destroy the people of God in Ohio. In order to do so he must commence with the ministers, and he succeeded too well. 21MR 263.2

At the time of organization, the churches in Ohio, especially at Gilboa, held back and began to watch and criticize and find fault. Brother Butler and the church viewed things in the wrong light, and he wrote out the minds of the church. He had in honesty done his part to bring them to that state of mind, but when he spoke he spoke the minds of the church. When the matter was presented as it really was, all should have been convinced that the enemy had presented the matter to them in an exaggerated form. Brother Butler manifested too much stubbornness and the church did not do him justice. They stepped back and threw all the blame upon Brother Butler. This was wrong. 21MR 263.3

Brother [Joseph] Dudley erred greatly. He felt hard, bitter feelings towards Brother Butler. His feelings were unreasonable and unchristian. The church, failing to do their duty to Brother Butler and leaving him to suffer censure alone, which belonged to them, first discouraged him, then embittered his feelings. He felt that he had been unjustly used by those who should have helped him. He looked back at the conference at Battle Creek and thought that an honest course had not been taken. He was mistaken. 21MR 263.4

Satan meant that mistake should ruin him. His brethren were of the same mind as he in regard to the name. But God ruled in that meeting [See The Review and Herald, October 23, 1860, p. 179. Also Testimonies for the Church 1:224.] notwithstanding some confusion and the holding back of those who should have acted and let their influence tell on the right side. God's angels were ministering in the meeting, and when “Church of God” was to be the name of His commandmentkeepers, the angels directed the mind of my husband and one or two others in another channel and to fasten upon another name which was expressive of their faith and which was appropriate for His people. 21MR 264.1

Brother [T. J.] Butler did not understand this change, and Satan has been troubling him with it ever since; and Brother Butler, being naturally stubborn and feeling the injustice of his brethren, became more and more tempted until he yielded the Sabbath and withdrew his interest from Sabbathkeepers. He felt bitter, very bitter. But I saw that God still pitied him and angels were seeking to win him to God and the truth again. I saw that those who have injured Brother Butler should confess where they had suffered him to suffer their wrongs, and they should take everything out of his way.—Manuscript 8, 1863. 21MR 264.2

Ellen G. White Estate

Silver Spring, Maryland,

February 28, 1991.

Entire Ms.