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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    J. H. Waggoner Recalls His Experience

    Writing in 1883, J. H. Waggoner made reference to his own experience, much like Heman Churchill's, and wrote:1BIO 265.1

    I have before me the report of a meeting held in Vermont, signed Joseph Bates, dated Fairhaven, November 4, 1850. In the last paragraph the report says:1BIO 265.2

    “The two Brothers Martin and their companions, with two others in Bennington, professed their clear convictions of the seventh-day Sabbath and shut door.”1BIO 265.3

    This, then, was noted as an article of their faith as late as 1850. But now notice further. In this same report he says: “Brother and Sister Butler came from Waterbury with Brethren Chamberlain and Churchill.” And yet Brother Churchill was not in the first message; his first Advent experience was in the faith of the third angel's message, the Sabbath, and the shut door! It is also true that Brother Churchill was held off for a time by some who were in doubt about his case, but Sister White had a message of hope for him, which silenced the objections of all who had confidence in the visions.... The visions were the means of bringing them out to the faith of an open door as well as the shut door.—RH Supplement, August 14, 1883.1BIO 265.4

    In a “Conference Address” published in Ibid., June 11, 1861, signed by J. H. Waggoner and several others, Waggoner made a veiled reference to his own experience. Apparently the penman for the group, he was identified by Ellen White in her 1883 statement as found in Selected Messages 1:64. Note the reference, penned by Waggoner, to the “shut door” in this 1861 “Conference Address“:1BIO 265.5

    If we go back to a period of from six to nine years, we find the believers in the third angel's message, few in number, very much scattered, and in no place assuming to take the name of a church. Our views of the work before us were then mostly vague and indefinite, some still retaining the idea adopted by the body of Advent believers in 1844, with William Miller at their head, that our work for “the world” was finished, and that the message was confined to those of the original Advent faith. So firmly was this believed that one of our number [Waggoner himself] was nearly refused the message, the individual presenting it having doubts of the possibility of his salvation because he was not in “the ‘44 move.”—The Review and Herald, June 11, 1861.1BIO 265.6

    Ellen White, quoting this in her 1883 statement, added:1BIO 266.1

    To this I need only add, that in the same meeting in which it was urged that the message could not be given to this brother, a testimony was given me through vision to encourage him to hope in God and give his heart fully to Jesus, which he did then and there.—Manuscript 4, 1883 (see also Selected Messages 1:64).

    The Patch, Churchill, and Waggoner experiences, and the experience reported by Marion Stowell, provide a few of how the pioneers related themselves to the opening door.1BIO 266.2

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