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Chapter 4 - Make it Know to Others
Chapter 4:    Make  It  Known  to  Others
     ( 1844 to 1845 )


Through the early-winter months of 1844-1845, the Advent believers in Portland, Maine -- and, in fact, elsewhere -- seldom smiled. On the streets they were taunted and ridiculed by former friends and acquaintances. They often had to meet the assertion "You were a set of fools and fanatics" or "I told you so." The uniform testimony of those who passed through the experience was that only those who had endured it could realize the depth of disappointment and its reality.  {1BIO 60.1}
During the last days of October and through November, many of the believers lived in constant expectancy. The Advent papers that survived carried word from the leaders in the movement confirming them in their confidence that prophecy had been fulfilled. Wrote William Miller in a letter dated November 18, 1844:  {1BIO 60.2}
We have done our work in warning sinners, and in trying to awake a formal church. God in His providence has shut the door; we can only stir one another up to be patient, and be diligent to make our calling and election sure.-- Letter published in Advent Herald, Dec. 11, 1844.  {1BIO 60.3}
They fully believed that probation had closed and Jesus would come at almost any moment. But as the days stretched into weeks and Jesus did not come, their faith began to waver. By December most of the believers in the Portland area had abandoned their confidence in the integrity of the October 22 date (WLF, p. 22). Every passing day drove home the conviction that nothing had taken place at that time. James White reported in 1847:  {1BIO 60.4}
When she [Ellen] received her first vision, December, 1844, she and all the band [the group of Advent believers] in Portland, Maine (where her parents then resided) had given up the midnight cry, and shut door, as being in the past.-- Ibid.  {1BIO 61.1}
In other words, they assumed that the 2300 days had not ended yet. Writing to Joseph Bates on July 13, 1847, Ellen White declared:   At the time I had the vision of the midnight cry [December, 1844], I had given it up in the past and thought it future, as also most of the band had.-- Letter 3, 1847.  {1BIO 61.3}
This experience became quite general, and by April, 1845, the larger part of those who had been in the Advent movement and had not immediately repudiated their experience came to conclude that there had been a mistake in the date and that they must look for the fulfillment of the 2300-day prophecy at some time yet to come.  {1BIO 61.4}
But that vision given to Ellen Harmon in December in the Haines home presented an entirely different picture. God had led His people. The Midnight Cry -- a phrase that, as noted, grew out of the application of the parable of the ten virgins to October 22, 1844 -- shone as a light upon the pathway of the Advent believers who were making their way to the heavenly Canaan. If they trusted this light and kept their eyes fixed on Jesus they would safely enter into their reward.  {1BIO 61.5}

 Ellen's Confrontation
What would this 17-year-old girl who had been given a vision do -- a vision that presented information contrary to her own thinking and contrary to what was now held by the Advent believers generally in the Portland area? In recounting the experience two years later in her letter to Joseph Bates, she told of how God instructed her to deliver the message to the band. She also related her reaction:  {1BIO 61.6}
I shrank from it. I was young, and I thought they would not receive it from me.--Ibid.  {1BIO 61.7}
So instead of remaining at home, for she knew a meeting was to be held there that night, she got into a sleigh and rode three or four miles to the home of a friend. There, hidden in seclusion, she felt she would avoid her responsibility. Knowing how the Adventists in the Portland area generally looked on the October 22 experience, she feared the prospects of setting before them any view that would be in conflict.  {1BIO 61.8}
At her friend's home she found Joseph Turner, leader of the Adventists in the Portland area and an important Millerite editor. He had recently reached the conclusion that the Bridegroom had come and prophecy was being fulfilled. Ellen knew nothing of Turner's position, which her vision actually supported. {1BIO 62.1}
As she later recalled, he inquired how she was and if she was in the way of her duty. She knew she was not. Ignoring the questions, she hastened upstairs to a bedroom where she secluded herself. A little later in the day Turner went to her room. She wrote:  {1BIO 62.2}
When he came up, he asked if I was to be at the meeting [at her parents' home] [Prior to OCTOBER 22 and for a time following, the HARMON HOME at 44 CLARK STREET was one of the meeting places for the Advent believers.] that night.  {1BIO 62.3}
I told him, "No."  {1BIO 62.4}
He said he wanted to hear my vision and thought it duty for me to go home.  {1BIO 62.5}
I told him I should not. He said no more, but went away. I thought, and told those around me, if I went I should have to come out against his views, thinking he believed with the rest. I had not told any of them what God had shown me.-- Ibid.  {1BIO 62.6}
How she suffered in body and mind that day! It seemed to her that God had forsaken her. Finally she promised the Lord that if He would give her strength to ride home that night she would at the first opportunity deliver the message He had given to her. He did give her strength. She did ride home that night, but it was late when she got there, and the meeting was over and the people were gone. Not a word was said to her by her family about the meeting or what was presented or how many attended. She later learned that only a few had been present.  {1BIO 62.7}
At the next meeting held in her parents' home she recounted in careful detail what had been shown to her in the vision. What a relief this brought to the Adventists in Portland! They knew Ellen; they knew her family. They had heard that a vision had been given to her, and when they heard it from her own lips they accepted what she told them as a message from God. It met a need in their experience. According to James White there were about sixty [as the HARMON home in PORTLAND was small, it could accommodate less than half this number, arrangements must have been made for a more commodious meeting place for her to relate her views. This is suggested in her account of a meeting where WILLIAM FOY, who had received two visions some three years before, heard her relate her virst vision. As recounted by her in an interview in 1906. See APPENDIX B for FOY'S experience.] belonging to the Advent band in Portland who accepted the vision and through it regained their confidence in the fulfillment of prophecy concerning October 22, 1844  (WLF, p. 22).  {1BIO 62.8}
It would seem that the first telling of the vision in her parents' home in Portland took place within a few days of the vision itself, which she later pinpointed as having occurred in December, 1844. Events took place in rapid succession. In her biographical account she stated:  {1BIO 63.1}
About one week after this the Lord gave me another view, and showed me the trials I must pass through; that I must go and relate to others what He had revealed to me; that I should meet with great opposition, and suffer anguish of spirit. Said the angel, "The grace of God is sufficient for you; He will sustain you."--2SG, p. 35.  {1BIO 63.2}
This vision troubled her much, for in it she was commissioned to go out among the people and present the truths that God had revealed to her. Her health was poor; she was in constant bodily suffering; tuberculosis ravaged her lungs and gave every appearance that she was "marked for the grave." Her family was without money; it was midwinter in Maine. She was timid and entertained serious misgivings about traveling and coming before the people with the claim to have had visions.  {1BIO 63.3}
For several days and far into the night Ellen prayed that God would remove the burden from her and place it upon someone more capable of bearing it. But constantly the words of the angel sounded in her ears: "'Make known to others what I have revealed to you."'-- 1LS, p. 194. Recalling the experience, she wrote: 
    It seemed impossible for me to accomplish this work that was presented before me; to attempt it seemed certain failure. The trials attending it seemed more than I could endure. How could I, a child in years, go forth from place to place unfolding to the people the holy truths of God? My heart shrank in terror from the thought.-- Ibid.  {1BIO 63.4}
Oh, how welcome death would have been, for it would have released her from the responsibilities that were crowding in upon her! She talked with her father of her perplexities. He repeatedly assured her that if God had called her to labor in other places He would not fail to open the way for her. But to Ellen it seemed impossible to submit to the commission.  {1BIO 64.1}
Soon the peace of God that she had enjoyed left her; for a time she even refused to attend the meetings held in her home. One evening she was persuaded to be present. John Pearson encouraged her to surrender her will to the will of God. In her distress she could not muster courage to bring her own will into play. But now her heart united with the petitions of her friends. She later recounted:  {1BIO 64.2}
While prayer was offered for me, that the Lord would give me strength and courage to bear the message, the thick darkness that had encompassed me rolled back, and a sudden light came upon me. Something that seemed to me like a ball of fire struck me right over the heart. My strength was taken away, and I fell to the floor. I seemed to be in the presence of the angels. One of these holy beings again repeated the words, "Make known to others what I have revealed to you."-- 3LS, p. 71.  {1BIO 64.3}
When Ellen regained her consciousness, Elder Pearson, who because of rheumatism could not kneel, stood and declared:  {1BIO 64.4}
"I have seen a sight such as I never expected to see. A ball of fire came down from heaven, and struck Sister Ellen Harmon right on the heart. I saw it! I saw it! I can never forget it. It has changed my whole being. Sister Ellen, have courage in the Lord. After this night I will never doubt again."-- Ibid.  {1BIO 64.5}

Fear of Exaltation

One reason Ellen shrank from the trying ordeal was that she recalled the experience of some entrusted by God with large responsibilities who became proud. She feared that this might be a danger to her. She in vision discussed it with the angel. "If I must go and relate what thou hast shown me," she pleaded, "preserve me from undue exaltation."  {1BIO 64.6}
Replied the angel:  "Your prayers are heard and shall be answered. If this evil that you dread threatens you, the hand of God will be stretched out to save you; by affliction He will draw you to Himself and preserve your humility.  {1BIO 65.1}
"Deliver the message faithfully. Endure unto the end and you shall eat the fruit of the tree of life and drink of the water of life."-- 1LS, p. 196.  {1BIO 65.2}
With this assurance in her heart Ellen committed herself to the Lord, ready to do His bidding whatever that might be or whatever the cost.  {1BIO 65.3}
This experience must have taken place in mid-January, 1845. How quickly Providence opened the way for her to enter into her work! Ellen had two married sisters living in Poland, Maine, about thirty miles north of Portland. One, Mary, was married to Samuel Foss. In late January he had business in Portland, and while he was in the city he called at the Harmon home. He told Ellen that Mary was eager that she should come and visit her. "I thought this was an opening from the Lord," she later wrote (Letter 37, 1890). She decided to go with him to Poland, Maine.  {1BIO 65.4}
In the bitter cold and in spite of her feeble health, she made the thirty-mile journey with her brother-in-law--crouched on the bottom of the sleigh with a buffalo robe over her head. When she reached Poland she learned that there would soon be a meeting of the Adventists at the little chapel on McGuire's Hill. Mary invited Ellen to attend. She consented, and at the meeting stood to relate what God had shown her in vision. For five minutes she spoke in only a whisper, then her voice broke clear and she addressed the audience for nearly two hours. This was the first occasion that she told of her first vision outside of Portland. She reported, "In this meeting the power of the Lord came upon me and on the people."--Ibid. She stated:  {1BIO 65.5}
When my message was ended my voice was gone until I stood before the people again, when the same singular restoration was repeated. I felt a constant assurance that I was doing the will of God, and saw marked results attending my efforts.-- 1LS, p. 197.  {1BIO 65.6}

Meeting Hazen Foss
The next morning in her sister's home she met Hazen Foss, who told Ellen his story:  {1BIO 66.1}
Some time before the first vision was given to Ellen in December, the Lord had given just such a vision to Hazen. He had been instructed that he was to tell others what God had revealed to him. However, he felt he had been deceived in the disappointment of 1844. He knew, too, that ridicule and scorn would come to anyone who claimed to have a vision from God, so he refused to obey the promptings of God's Spirit. Again the Lord came near to him in vision; he was instructed that if he refused to bear the message Heaven would have him give to the people, the Lord would reveal it to someone else, placing His Spirit on the weakest of the weak.  {1BIO 66.2}
But Hazen still felt that he could not bear the burden and the reproach of standing before the people to present a vision from God. He told the Lord that he would not do it. Then very strange feelings came over him, and "a voice said, 'you have grieved away the Spirit of the Lord."'-- Letter 37, 1890. This frightened Hazen. Horrified at his own stubbornness and rebellion, he told the Lord that he would now relate the vision. He called a meeting of the Adventists for the purpose. When the people came together he recounted his experience. Then he tried to tell what was shown to him, but he could not call it to mind. Even with the most concentrated effort he could not recall a word of it. He cried out in distress,  {1BIO 66.3}
"It is gone from me; I can say nothing, and the Spirit of the Lord has left me."--Ibid.  {1BIO 66.4}
Those who were present described the meeting as the most terrible meeting they ever were in.  {1BIO 66.5}
As Hazen talked with Ellen that February morning in Poland, he told her that although he had not gone into the chapel where she had spoken the evening before, he had stood outside the door and heard every word that she had said. He declared that what the Lord had shown to her had first been shown to him. But, said he:  {1BIO 66.6}
I was proud; I was unreconciled to the disappointment. I murmured against God, and wished myself dead. Then I felt a strange feeling come over me. I shall be henceforth as one dead to spiritual things. . . . I believe the visions are taken from me, and given to you.  {1BIO 67.1}
"Do not refuse to obey God, for it will be at the peril of your soul. I am a lost man. You are chosen of God; be faithful in doing your work, and the crown I might have had, you will receive."--Ibid.  {1BIO 67.2}
This unusual experience made an indelible impression upon Ellen's mind. The biddings of God's Spirit were not to be trifled with.  {1BIO 67.3}
Ellen Ventures Into the Field
For nearly three months Ellen had been unable to speak above a whisper, but now she had the omens of God's providence as she might venture forth to tell of the visions God gave to her. Shortly the way opened for her to do so.  {1BIO 67.4}
Fanaticism was breaking out. Under God's guidance and protection she must meet it -- hardly a work religious leaders would today assign a young woman of 17 years. But the agent chosen by God was not only one through whom He could speak but also one whose message the people would know came from Him.  {1BIO 67.5}
To understand better what was happening, we should review a bit. The Adventists in their experience of expectation in 1844 had absolute confidence that Jesus would come on October 22. They allowed not one doubting thought. No mental reservation allowed for the question "What if Jesus does not come?" So certain were they that crops of hay, grain, and potatoes were left unharvested in the fields. There was a certainty that all things earthly would end sometime on Tuesday, October 22.  {1BIO 67.6}

But Christ did not come. Wrote Ellen White:   The time again passed unmarked by the advent of Jesus. Mortality still clung to us, the effects of the curse were all aroundus. It was hard to take up the vexing cares of life that we thought had been laid down forever. It was a bitter disappointment that fell upon the little flock whose faith had been so strong and whose hope had been so high. But we were surprised that we felt so free in the Lord, and were so strongly sustained by His strength and grace. -- 1LS, p. 189.  {1BIO 67.7}

As the weeks stretched into months, a wedge began to separate the Adventists. Some continued to hold that prophecy was fulfilled on October 22. A much larger group took the position that they were mistaken in the date; the events that they had thought would transpire in the fall of 1844 they now felt were all in the future.  {1BIO 68.1}
Adventists of the smaller group, having cut loose from church creeds and church discipline, avowed their purpose to find their guidance in God's Word alone. The evidences of God's leading and providences in their experience for the past year or two had been too great to deny. The embryo of God's remnant church was in this group.  {1BIO 68.2}
But in the vulnerable period in the early months of 1845, when they were reaching out to ascertain their position and responsibilities as sheep without a shepherd, Satan, the great adversary, made his inroads. Not yet perceived by the little flock, this had been clearly portrayed in the prophecy of Revelation 12:17: "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed." Satan certainly did make war on the believers, intent to thwart, if possible, the very purposes of God by destroying at the outset the remnant church of prophecy.  {1BIO 68.3}
Following what they interpreted to be the biddings of God's Word, but without proper leadership and lacking balance and a true understanding of what it meant to follow Christ, a relative few (but including some of the most trusted believers) became involved in strange and sometimes wild fanaticism. "These men and women," wrote Ellen White, who was personally acquainted with some, "were not bad, but they were deceived and deluded." She commented, "In the past they had been blessed with a consciousness that they had a knowledge of the truth, and they had accomplished much good; but [now] Satan was molding the work."-- Letter 132, 1900.  {1BIO 68.4}
These fanatical teachings and actions on the part of some divided the little group who were clinging to their confidence that prophecy had been fulfilled on October 22. There were those who patiently awaited the dawning of light that they might gain a true understanding of their position and their work. These became the spiritual forefathers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  {1BIO 69.1}
But a few others found it hard to wait and were soon swept off their feet by the teaching that there was a spiritual coming of Christ. Christ came, they declared, on October 22, 1844. We are now in the kingdom, they asserted. Every tenet of belief and every activity of those involved was molded by this concept of the spiritual coming of Christ. In this were seeds that soon yielded a harvest of fanatical and shameful activities.  {1BIO 69.2}
 It was into this scene that 17-year-old Ellen Harmon was cast. The December vision revealed to her that God had led His people in their October 22 experience, and that if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus they would safely reach the heavenly reward.  {1BIO 69.3}
     It was this young woman who in midwinter was bidden by God to go into the field and present to the people the messages that He gave to her. The beginning made at Poland, Maine, assured her that God was leading and that she must trust fully, casting herself on the Lord, ready to follow His directions.  {1BIO 69.4}
The Fruitful Journey to Eastern Maine
After the few days in Poland at her sister's home, Ellen was back again in Portland, convinced that she must follow the intimations of God's will. She had promised to go if the Lord opened the way, and now she was invited by William Jordan and his sister Sarah to journey with them to eastern Maine. "I was urged to go with them," she wrote, "and relate my visions."-- 2SG, p. 38. The Jordans were driving by sleigh the one hundred miles to Orrington, on the Penobscot River. Mr. Jordan had a horse that belonged to a young Adventist minister, James White. As he had business that would take him to certain parts of eastern Maine, he decided to return the horse and invited Miss Harmon to accompany them so that she might bear her witness in a wider circle. Little did Ellen realize what was before her. She had now assumed a confident trust in God. Financial resources for her journey did not concern her. Just where her itinerary might take her she did not know. As to the message that she should bear, she would depend wholly upon God.  {1BIO 69.5}

Encouraging the Fainthearted and Meeting Fanaticism
Ellen tells of her call to the unique situation and the assurances of God's protecting care:  {1BIO 70.1}
I was shown that God had a work for me to do amid dangers and perils, but I must not shrink. I must go to the very places where fanaticism had done the most evil, and bear my messages of reproof to some of those who were influencing others; while I should give comfort and encouragement to those who were timid and conscientious, but deceived by those they thought were more righteous than they. I saw that we would be in danger of imprisonment and abuse. Although I should have no sympathy with the deceived, fanatical ones, no difference would be made; for anyone bearing the name of Adventist would have no consideration shown them.  {1BIO 70.2}
I was young and timid, and felt great sadness in regard to visiting the field where fanaticism had reigned. I pleaded with God to spare me from this -- to send by some other one. The Spirit of the Lord again came upon me, and I was shown my faith would be tested, my courage and obedience tried. I must go. God would give me words to speak at the right time. And if I should wait upon Him, and have faith in His promises, I should escape both imprisonment and abuse; for He would restrain those who would do me harm. . . .  {1BIO 70.3}
I waited no longer, but went trusting in God. I saw most of the brethren and sisters. As I warned them of their dangers, some were rejoiced that God had sent me; others refused to listen to my testimony as soon as they learned that I was not in union with their spirit. They said I was going back to the world,  that we must be so straight and so plain and so full of glory, as they called their shouting and hallooing, that the world would hate and persecute us.-- Letter 2, 1874.  {1BIO 70.4}
At Orrington, Jordan delivered the horse to James White. Ellen Harmon became acquainted with this youthful but most earnest Adventist minister, so firm in his confidence in the fulfillment of prophecy in the Adventist experience. [IN THE SUMMER OF 1843 JAMES WHITE HAD VISITED PORTLAND AND LABORED FOR A TIME WITH ELDER JOHN PEARSON. IT MUST HAVE BEEN IN CONNECTION WITH THIS VISIT THAT HE LEARNED OF ELLEN HARMON AND HER PERSONALITY. IN HIS BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH HE STATES:
She began her work of encouraging the believers and meeting fanaticism, a work that was to continue through the next year or two. Reporting her experience of this period, she wrote: "The Spirit of God attended the message I bore, hearts were made glad in the truth, and the desponding ones were cheered and encouraged to renew their faith."--1LS, p. 197. In the early records we find the names of some who at some point were involved in fanaticism: Joseph Turner, Israel Damman, a Mr. Bennett, John Andrews, William Hyde.  {1BIO 71.1}
Writing later of her dual work of encouraging the fainthearted and in meeting with those involved in the fanaticisms that broke out in Maine and New Hampshire, she explained:  {1BIO 71.2}
The disappointment in 1844 had confused the minds of many, and they would not listen to any explanation of the matter. They were impatient and unbelieving, and many seemed rebellious, coming out in a most decided manner against their past Advent experience. Others dared not go to this length, and deny the way the Lord had led them. These were glad to hear arguments from the Word of God which would harmonize our position with prophetic history.  {1BIO 71.3}
As they listened to an explanation of the disappointment which had been so bitter to them, they saw that God [had] indeed led them, and they rejoiced in the truth. This awakened the most bitter opposition on the part of those who denied our past experience.  {1BIO 71.4}
But we had a still worse element to meet in a class who claimed that they were sanctified, that they could not sin, that they were sealed and holy, and that all their impressions and notions were the mind of God. Conscientious souls were deceived by the pretended piety of these fanatics. {1BIO 71.5}

As to the fruits of her labor she declared:

   The Lord used us as instruments to rebuke these fanatics, and to open the eyes of His faithful people to the true character of their work. Peace and joy came into the hearts of those who broke away from this deception of Satan, and they glorified God as they saw His unerring wisdom in setting before them the light of truth and its precious fruits in contrast with satanic heresies and delusions. The truth shone in contrast with these deceptions like clear gold amid the rubbish of earth.-- RH, Nov. 20, 1883.  {1BIO 72.1}

Some were sorely repentant and, Ellen White explained at the General Conference in 1901, "were afterward among our most reliable men and women. But there were others who ever after walked in sadness. We could not at any time make them feel that they were worthy to work for the Master."-- GCB, April 23, 1901.  {1BIO 72.2}
The reader should guard against reaching the conclusion that the group of believers as a whole were involved in fanaticism. Some who were involved have been named, but there were stalwart souls who never wavered: Otis Nichols, the Howland and Hastings families, Joseph Bates, and others. As Ellen White explained in her article in the Review and Herald of November 20, 1883, "Many of the pioneers, who shared with us these trials and victories, remained true to the close of life." Nevertheless, as she explained in her letter to Elder Loughborough in 1874, "a fearful stain was brought upon the cause of God which would cleave to the name Adventist like leprosy. Satan triumphed, for this reproach would cause many precious souls to fear to have any connection with Adventists. All that had been done wrong would be exaggerated, and would lose nothing by passing from one to the other. The cause of God was bleeding. Jesus was crucified afresh and put to open shame by His professed followers."-- Letter 2, 1874.  {1BIO 72.3}
Not alone as a matter of history is the fanaticism met in early years recounted here. Because on several occasions Ellen White was shown in vision that the history of the past would be repeated and God's people would be called upon to meet elements of fanaticism before the end of time, we delineate in considerable detail the involvements of that first critical year in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  {1BIO 72.4}

Continue to Chapter 5 -  Messenger of the Lord at Word (1845)

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