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Manuscript Releases Volume Twelve : Page 12

4. Reflections on the Minneapolis Conference

Dear Children of the Household: I have good news to report this morning. There has been a break in the meeting. Praise the Lord, He is at work for His people. We have felt surely that the enemy of Christ and all righteousness was upon the ground.[* WRITTEN MAY 12, 1889, FROM OTTAWA, KANSAS, WHERE ELLEN WHITE WAS ATTENDING CAMP MEETING.] There were some ministers from Iowa who came armed and equipped to leaven the camp with the very same spirit that was so prominent in Minneapolis. Brother Jones had labored every day, speaking three times a day, but it seemed so hard to make an impression.

We arrived here on Tuesday evening [May 7]. Wednesday I attended the early morning meeting and bore a decided testimony and entreated all present not to act over Minneapolis, and not to be like those Paul describes in Hebrews 4:2. I then entreated them to humble their hearts before God and put away their sins by repentance and confession, and receive the messages God sends them through His delegated servants.

Thursday morning I attended the early morning meeting and felt that I must be more explicit. I was led out to speak more freely in regard to the conference held in Minneapolis, and the spirit that our brethren brought to that conference. I felt that it was not enough to longer deal in general terms uttering truths which might be assented to, but that would not cut deep in the fleshy tables of the heart. The work to be done demanded something more than smooth words, for God would put His rebuke upon anything and everything savoring of the same kind of spirit and influence that was


brought into Minneapolis--doubts, cavilings, playing upon words, turning aside from the close reproofs of the Spirit of God, and regarding them as idle fables and ridiculing and misrepresenting and quibbling upon words.

All this was an offense to God and must not have any place here at this meeting. There were souls starving for food and they must be fed. I told them that which the Spirit of God had revealed to me as I was conducted to the rooms of those who came to the conference. I was made to hear the conversation, the sarcasm, the evil feelings expressed, the bearing false witness, the making light of the message God sent, and the messenger who brought the message. I was told all this was wisdom that was from beneath in marked contrast to the wisdom that was from above, which has been specified by God through His apostles. [James 3:13-18 quoted.]

I related in the Thursday morning meeting some things in reference to the Minneapolis meeting. I told them by what means the Lord had opened to me the spiritual condition of many of those who came to that conference. They came under a delusion, with false impressions upon their minds. This was Satan's work, for the Lord was to revive His people and give them light in clear distinct rays that would lead to the magnifying of Christ. The Lord's command to His people through His messengers was "Go forward." And now Satan determined to hold the people away from the light, that the rich blessing of God should not come upon the delegates.

Satan raised an alarm. They thought the law in Galatians would come up and they would go armed and equipped to resist everything coming from those men from the Pacific Cost, new and old.

I never labored in my life more directly under the controlling influences of the Spirit of God. God gave me meat in due season for the people,


but they refused it, for it did not come in just the way and manner they wanted it to come. Elders Jones and Waggoner presented precious light to the people, but prejudice and unbelief, jealousy and evil-surmising, barred the door of their hearts that nothing from this source should find entrance to their hearts.

I had been, during the forty-five years of experience, shown the lives, the character and history of the patriarchs and prophets who had come to the people with a message from God, and Satan would start some evil report, or get up some difference of opinion or turn the interest in some other channel, that the people should be deprived of the good the Lord had to bestow upon them. And now in this case a firm, decided, obstinate spirit was taking possession of hearts, and those who had known of the grace of God and had felt His converting power upon their hearts once, were deluded, infatuated, working under a deception all through that meeting, and it took but a tiny seed of doubt and questioning to find fruitful soil in the hearts of those who had no living connection with God, whose hearts were hard and unimpressionable. Their base passions were stirred and it was a precious opportunity to them to show the mob spirit.

I could but have a vivid picture in my mind from day to day of the way reformers were treated, how slight difference of opinion seemed to create a frenzy of feeling. Thus it was in the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus--all this had passed before me point by point. The Satanic spirit took control and moved with power upon the human hearts that had been opened to doubts and to bitterness, wrath and hatred. All this was prevailing in that meeting. I decided to leave the meeting, leave Minneapolis. I refused to speak again to our people, but consented to speak to the Scandinavians.


In the night season, one of God's messengers stood by my side and asked: "Did not I raise you up when you were sick nigh unto death in Healdsburg? Did not I put My Spirit upon you and sustain you to bear your testimony in Oakland? Did not I your Lord strengthen you to come the long journey to this place? Have not I kept your mind in peace amid the strife and confusion of tongues, and now I have a work for you to do in this place. My everlasting arms are beneath you. I have given you a message to bear. I will show you many things."

I was conducted to the house where our brethren made their homes, and there was much conversation and excitement of feelings and some smart, and as they supposed sharp, witty remarks. The servants, whom the Lord sent, were caricatured, ridiculed, and placed in a ridiculous light. The comment of words passed upon me and the work that God had given me to do was anything but flattering. Willie White's name was handled freely and he was ridiculed and denounced, also the names of Elders Jones and Waggoner.

Voices that I was surprised to hear were joining this rebellion and those with whom I had labored in past years, without any evidence or any sure knowledge of any change in Sister White, were hard, bold, and decided in denouncing her. And of all those so free and forward with their cruel words, not one had come to me and inquired if these reports and their suppositions were true. I was represented as telling things untrue, when I made the statement that not a word of conversation had passed between me and Brethren Jones and Waggoner nor my son Willie upon the law in Galatians. If they had been as frank with me as they were in talking with one another against me, I could have made everything plain to them in this matter. I repeated this several times, because I saw they were determined not to take


my testimony. They thought we all came to the conference with a perfect understanding and an agreement to make a stand on the law in Galatians.

After hearing what I did my heart sank within me. I had never pictured before my mind what dependence we might place in those who claim to be friends, when the spirit of Satan finds entrance to their hearts. I thought of the future crisis, and feelings that I can never put into words for a little time overcame me. [Mark 13:9, 12 quoted.]

All this passed through my mind like a flash of lightning and I was sensible how little trust or dependence could be put in the friendship of men when human thoughts and human passions bear sway. Just as sure as the enemy is permitted to bear sway then we may expect anything. Human friendship, bonds, and ties of relationship are severed, and why? Because there is a difference of opinion in interpretation of the Scriptures. It is the same spirit which condemned the Lord of life and glory. The truth that sanctifies the soul produces no briers and thorns. "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:20). Then the words were spoken, "Only lay hold of the strength of the Mighty One. He is a friend that will never leave thee, never betray thee. He is thy refuge. No storm or tempest can move thee. In God is thy strength. Faith in God is thy shield and buckler. His grace is sufficient for thee."

And what created all this stirring up of human passions which was bitterness of spirit, because some of their brethren had ventured to entertain some ideas contrary to the ideas that some others of their brethren had entertained, which were thought from their understanding to be inroads upon ancient doctrines?


The guide which accompanied me gave me the information of the spiritual standing before God of these men, who were passing judgment upon their brethren. They were not keeping their own souls in the love of God. Had they been growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they would have distinguished light from darkness, and truth from error.

I had declared my intention of leaving the meeting as soon as the Sabbath should close, but when I was assured I had a work to do, to stand at my post, that God had given me a message to bear in His name, and even if I had foreseen the consequences, I could not be clear before God, and have my peace. And my work must not cease here, for my testimony of this character must continue as God should direct until these wrongs were expelled from the churches. Unless the faithful testimonies are continually repeated in the ears of the people of God, the mold which has been left upon the work would not be removed.

There have been, I was informed, misunderstandings not only of the testimonies, but of the Bible itself. Men have exalted themselves and esteemed themselves too highly, which leads to the denouncing of others and passing judgment upon their brethren. Envy, jealousy, evilspeaking, evil surmising, judging one another, has been considered a special gift given of God in discernment, when it savors more of the spirit of the great accuser who accused the brethren before God day and night. There has been a spirit of Phariseeism, a hard, unsympathetic spirit towards the erring, a withdrawing from some and leaving them in discouragement, which is leaving the lost sheep to perish in the wilderness. There has been a placing of men where God alone should be.


You must do your work with fidelity. You must under the constraining influence of the love of Christ do the work God has given you. Let not your zeal diminish. Then trust the result with God. This was not all that was said, but I did not hesitate a moment in my decision. I prayed the Lord to unite me more fully to Himself. I decided I must work, bearing the message God should give me without calculating the consequences, whether men would hear or forbear. I must not abate one jot or tittle of the message given me to bear, either for favors or because of frowns and alienations of any mortal.

I sent word to Brother Kilgore that I would speak to the Scandinavians in the afternoon, and to the American brethren in the forenoon. I stated to the brethren that I had continued the same work since the Minneapolis meeting. Success has attended my labors, but only one man has had the moral courage to confess that he had done and spoken wrong both of me and the work God had given me. They have not repented of their evil work. I had testimonies for individuals that were in sin, but I had no liberty to reprove them, for these were joined with those who held responsible positions and had a mob spirit, the spirit of the devil to berate, to falsify and inflame the minds of those who ought to have had the spirit of Jesus.

While in Europe, in different ways, at different times, in different places, I was speaking to the people in America, and warning, cautioning, entreating them to have their spirit and works corresponding with the character of the truth which they profess to believe and love. I was shown that there was coming into the ranks of Sabbathkeepers a self-sufficient spirit. [A self-sufficient


spirit] we cherished by young men in responsible positions. A worldly wisdom was taking the place of the wisdom from above. Men were trusting in men. Form and ceremony were taking the place of true piety.

Men were almost devoid of love. Those who praised and glorified them, they would praise and glorify in return. Those who highly esteemed their capabilities were getting above the simplicity of the work. They shaped the work to go in their line, and God would disappoint them and move in His own mysterious way His wonders to perform; and God's ways would not be seen and acknowledged by those who had brought in their own spirit to take the place of the Spirit of God.

That which was presented to me at Minneapolis opened to me the true state of many conference [workers]. If the testimonies which they have long professed to believe crossed their track, or rebuked and corrected their errors, there must be, they thought, some mistake in the testimony.

I told them plainly [that] the position and work God gave me at that conference was disregarded by nearly all. Rebellion was popular. Their course was an insult to the Spirit of God. The Lord sustained me by His Holy Spirit and told me that my work was to stand at my position of trust to do the work the Lord had set me to do, and raised me up from a bed of sickness to do, and His sustaining power would be with me, for His everlasting arms were beneath me; [that] the spirit that was brought at that meeting was a zeal not according to knowledge; that wrong ideas and a spirit not of God had been for years taking control of those who were standing in responsible places. They were lifted up, exalted.

Many things were specified that were being cherished as truth, but which were not in harmony with the message of the truth, and Satan was having things very much his own way. He was taking advantage of human nature. The


disposition and strong traits of character which had not been under subjection to the Spirit of God were stirred into activity as worked against Jesus Christ at His first advent, and led to their taking the first steps in the rejection of Christ. And after their feet were once set in a wrong path, their pride, their jealousy, and self-righteousness would not allow them to acknowledge they had made a mistake.

Many were drawn into this snare by the misrepresentation of others, knowing not what they were doing, not understanding what they were stirred up about. A bewitching power attends all rebellion of whatever order. After they had taken the position with the more responsible ones in attempting to destroy the Son of God after His discourse at Nazareth, they would not repent and retract. Jesus gave them an opportunity after His character and His work were more fully known. He had wrought miracles. He had done works that no other man had done or ever could do, but they did not afterward repent and give Him glory.

I was encouraged to stand firmly against the human impulses that were bearing strongly against [the] light and truth which the Lord had for this time for His People. I was told that, comparatively, I should stand almost alone; but I was not alone, for His Spirit was moving upon many hearts who were like-minded with the Spirit of God. [God said to me], "I have a testimony for you to bear before My people who are hungering for truth. Be not of a doubtful heart, neither be discouraged. My word shall be as a hammer to break the flinty hearts. Be zealous only for the honor of God."

The president of the Kansas Conference solicited an interview with me and said his confidence in the testimonies was greater than ever before, for he was in that house where it seemed indeed to be as I had said, a godless, prayerless house. Such comments as were made of me and my work from men he supposed would


never speak such words, so astonished him that he felt that he must speak and let them know he was not of the same mind. He reproved the spirit, the words, that had been spoken.

Several others were in the same house and stated the same things. They thought they would never mention the matter to anyone, but now they felt that they must speak. They acknowledged [that] every word Sister White had spoken was true, that her name, her work, her testimonies of the Spirit of God were freely commented upon; and the statement was made that Sister White was under the influence of Willie White, A. T. Jones, and E. J. Waggoner, and that they were not reliable. These brethren named were treated in words and charged with many things, that there was, I had stated, a wrong spirit. They deeply regretted they were in that company where for a long time not a vocal prayer was offered, but [there was] enough talk to confuse the minds of those who had not a long experience in the work of Sister White.

Thursday afternoon I spoke to the people, although I was weak, for the air was depressed. The word was received in just that way and in just that spirit that the individual hearers possessed. Those who were watching to find somebody to pick flaws in, whose hearts were barricaded with unbelief, thought Sister White did not talk with much spirit. Those who wanted light and truth were fed and considered the words spoken as from God. I had a long talk with young Brother Washburn, who opened his heart frankly to me.

Friday morning again I read some things before the people assembled, in reference to Minneapolis and the way my brethren treated the servants whom the Lord sent to them with messages of truth. Then several bore testimony in regard to their experience at the meeting at Minneapolis; and yet we did not seem to break through.


Sabbath Brother A. T. Jones talked upon the subject of justification by faith, and many received it as light and truth. I spoke in the afternoon, and the Lord strengthened me to bear my testimony with freedom. Then there were many testimonies borne, testifying that they appreciated the light and truth presented to them. But it seemed difficult for those who had been dwelling in an atmosphere of doubt, to take the position of learners. They would quibble at little points that were of no consequence. The leaven that has wrought in Iowa Conference, was in our midst.

Sunday morning I attended the meeting, and prayed and talked. I bore to the company assembled a plain, clear, sharp testimony, taking up again a solemn reproof against the sin of our doubts and unbelief; that in every congregation Satan had his agents right among us through whom he could work. Their natural and acquired abilities he could use if there was any chance for him to do so.

There are those who have lived in an atmosphere of doubt, men of talent and acquirements who attend our special meetings for business and for counsel, whom Satan works through, to hinder the work of God. When propositions are made to advance the work, when the glory of God alone is considered, these men, supposing themselves to be wise and of far-seeing judgment, will catch at a little item of no particular consequence, and they will talk over it and make everyone else talk over it, and hinder the work which might have moved right along to its completion. And when once they start a thing, they will hold tenaciously to their ideas. They consider it a virtue, a matter of praise in them, to appear to have this great caution and wonderful foresight, when [they] are only carrying the stones to trig the wheels, making the work exceedingly


trying in these business meetings because these men intrude themselves to notice, when the "Well done" would have been said to them in heaven and in earth if they had kept silence.

The very thing that the Lord had impressed upon the minds of His servants that ought to be done has not been done at the right time, because these men advanced their own ideas under the suggestions the devil had put in their minds to hinder the work of God and to disgust those who would see the work of God move. There have been suggestions made by themselves which have carried, which God never put into their minds. Satan attends every board meeting, every business meeting, every committee meeting, and if he can impress anyone's mind to make objections or to throw in suggestions that will delay the work hours and weary out those who are called upon to attend these meetings, he is wonderfully pleased. He has had his way in the matter. And the business which should be pushed through with dispatch, yet in an intelligent manner, is made tedious and to drag along because of the human, unsanctified elements in the character of some who are placed in responsible positions, who do not have knowledge when to speak and when to keep silent.

This is the way Satan has wrought among us effectively. If these men are not converted, [these men] who are so ready to block the wheel, who will oppose things which commend themselves to the judgment of those who generally preside at these meetings, let them be left off the board, for although they may have some excellent ability they have mingled with it a self-esteem and ideas that they wish to have prevail which will be carrying out Satan's line as he wants it. They are a detriment, a hindrance, to your business meetings, and make them unsatisfactory, wanting in dignity and make most tedious delays of business that might be executed with expedition and thoroughness.


Another thing where Satan comes and uses his power is to work upon the human elements to foster unbelief, and they have lived and breathed in the atmosphere of unbelief until it is second nature to hunt up doubts and sow the seeds of doubts. They have some precious qualities, but when doubts and quibbling take hold of their mind, all the gifts and abilities entrusted to them from God are used as weapons of darkness. They do not know that they are under the influence of the great deceiver, to assault the most sacred things of God with wicked self-deification. They use the power they possess and the confidence entrusted in them by other minds to rivet more firmly the bonds of infidelity, questioning, and doubts of the very truths God would have them, His people, respect and reverence.

I say, let not these be deceived. Mistake not your influence to deceive others for the final come out of the matter. There is a decision to be pronounced by Him who is a true watcher, who weighs with other scales than those who are deluded. Your time has not been employed in a manner to meet the "Well done," when the last decision shall be made.

Think ye not that the heavenly Watcher sees your unbelief and opposition? Think ye not your ridiculing, scoffing words are never to appear before you again? Even the outpouring of the Spirit of God you have treated with contempt, and have passed your unsanctified judgment upon; and when the messages have come to you that you must be converted to God, how you have misunderstood and perverted the meaning of these words. The voice of unbelief and contempt of God's work and God's servants have been by those blinded by selfishness and self-deception, as the voice of God. But an almighty hand is at work for His people, to purge from them the spirit of self, the base material that they flattered themselves was gold.


Who shall comfort God's servants when they are grieved and disappointed? Will their faith steer clear? Will they be Christlike amid the rocks without shipwreck? God does not take pleasure in disappointing our hopes and bowing our souls down with anguish. God will fulfill the desire of them that are faithful to do His bidding. But we must not prescribe to Him time, place, or manner, when this must be done. He will not suffer His servants to spend their strength for naught. There may be an appearance that they are frustrated for a time. It is for their good, for their success is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth.

The Lord has His eyes upon the workers. He suffers obstructions and apparent failures to take place that His wisdom and His power may be more decidedly manifested, and that His own Name may be glorified, for the Lord alone is to be exalted. God's workers must walk in the way of duty and commit themselves, their work, their time and talents, to God.

In the providence of God I bore my testimony in Battle Creek, in Potterville, in Des Moines. There the reports have been circulated in regard to the meeting at Minneapolis, but God gave me perfect freedom before [our] ministering brethren and the church, but those who had misinterpreted me and made statements that were in accordance with their feelings, have said nothing to retract their evil work upon the mind of Elder Butler and upon the minds of others.

Jesus says in solemn accents, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." While Christ was teaching the most important truth, there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews, about purifying. This was one of the ways the Pharisees worked when the truth they saw was


affecting men's consciences. They would start some question of little importance to create a dispute, and thus divert the minds that they saw were being convicted.

This plan of Satan has been carried on through the ages. He will work upon some minds to get into a dispute about some things in the church whenever the Lord begins to revive His people. He lays hold of human elements in the church, upon something that might be as well left wholly alone, to quench the spirit of harmonious action and to divert the mind from living issues. In every church gathering for worship, Satan is there also, to use every element that he can use in human nature to serve his purpose. He will use to bring in unbelief, evil surmising, and [he will endeavor] to get up side issues to divert the mind from the living issues; and [so] the Lord Jesus has warned us to watch and pray [lest] ye enter into temptation.

When our brethren were engaged in their unholy work of contempt for their brethren whom the Lord sent with a message to them, did they think that they were doing God service? Did it not enter their minds that they were entering into temptation? They did not pray. They had no disposition to humble their hearts before God and stop their contention and plead with God for the enlightenment of His Spirit.

Have they not examples before them in the past and in the present, where the banners of rebellion against the messages God sends and against His servants, are waving around us? Are there not enough blasphemers and despisers who have rejected light and cast aside His counsel? Must there be, even in our very midst, those who claim to be doing the work of God but who are openly profaning His name in word, in spirit, and in actions; and will this unhallowed work go


on, that the measure of iniquity shall be still swelling the figures, before the church shall feel the importance of wrestling with God for the revealing of His power?

Are prayerless companies to associate together in their spirit of opposition against light and truth, but not associate together to seek the Lord with all their hearts? Did these who formed a confederacy expect that this was the sanctifying influence of the truth upon them? Did they expect the Lord would guide them into all truth [while they were so] lukewarm [and] lifted up in self-sufficiency that they felt no need of keeping their hearts with all diligence, out of which are the issues of life? Personal piety, practical piety and spiritual-mindedness, were not kept up by secret and vocal prayer. Is not this the true state of the case? Was the course pursued by those congregated in these houses, of a character to kindle the fire of devotional love in their hearts?

The light given me was that after a few superficial performances in private or public, they were filled with the accusing spirit, with evil surmisings, and several have acknowledged they did not want to say that Sister White lied, but they did say they did not believe she told the truth when she stated that she had not had conversation with W. C. White, Elder Waggoner, or Elder Jones. Have not these, my brethren, been wrought up by the spirit of Satan to thus judge me? And yet not one of them sought an interview with Sister White. Not one tried to obtain the true state of the case from her. In all the scenes of rebellion that have arisen, not one has charged me with untruth before this, and if they judge of me in this light, fired with a zeal that certainly is from beneath, they have thought and said worse things of Brethren Jones and Waggoner. Is this the


course that we are to pursue in standing by the "old landmarks"? Is this the zeal for the Lord of hosts and for the spiritual interest of our brethren?

Where is the spirit that Moses had when he cried earnestly to God day and night that He would exalt His own name among the nations? Where is that disinterested self-devotion which prompted the prayer of Moses, "Yet, if now Thou wilt forgive their sin, and if not, blot me I pray Thee, out of Thy book"? Where [was] there anything of this shown in the zeal of these brethren? God forbid [that] anything should ever take place again like that which transpired at Minneapolis. All this undue excitement of natural feelings of chagrin and vexation was not the zeal heaven-born to stand in defense of the truth.

Would God that those who acted a part in this work would have repented before God, after reflection, that they had seen that they were mistaken in Sister White and in their brethren ministers, [that] they had been as humble as Willie White and made as clean a confession as he did, broad enough to cover the wound he feared he had made. His course put to blush and shame those who have displeased God and injured their brethren in a most unchristian manner, which has involved them in darkness and perplexity, in which their own spirit and natural hearts have involved them.

You may be annoyed because I keep this matter before you, but happy will you be if you see this matter as it is, if your eyes are opened to see the spiritual darkness and corruption of your own hearts, and repent.

May 13 . This morning there was a precious meeting of confession. Brethren Porter, Washburn, and Wakeham, all have yielded their opposition and surrendered to God. Brother Wakeham's testimony was that he had enjoyed more of the Spirit of God in the last 24 hours than he had done in all his life before. He was getting free and rejoicing in the Lord.


Brother Porter bore a clear, free testimony. Brother Washburn also rejoiced in God. Oh, how grateful is my soul to see these, who have been enshrouded in an atmosphere of unbelief, now talking faith, now grasping the righteousness of Christ; and these who, ignorantly and in their unbelief, have let unholy thoughts and feelings into their hearts, and then grieved the Spirit of God, seek God while He may be found, call upon Him while He is nigh.

Your feelings, your words that have been spoken against your brethren, have been registered against you in the books of heaven as done to Jesus Christ in the person of His saints. "Inasmuch as ye have done this to one of the least of these, My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."

Repent before the Lord. If you do not repent, "I will come unto you and remove the candlestick out of its place. " Then the result will be moral darkness. I attended the afternoon meeting, and after Brother Jones had spoken upon faith, there were many free testimonies borne. As many as six and eight were on their feet at a time, and they seemed like starved sheep who were feeding upon meat in due season.

I pray that this good work may go on and that Zion may arise, because her light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon her. Let the individual members of the church humble themselves before God, and accept the message which will bring healing to her bruises and wounds.--Letter 14, 1889. (To "Dear Children of the Household," May 12, 1889.)