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

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    Problems that Loomed Large

    Ellen White, a full seven months pregnant, could not escape the conference at the White home in Rochester in late June, 1854. She had to face the realities of her situation, but her spirits were low. The problems loomed large before her:1BIO 304.3

    1. Anna, James's sister, was at death's door with consumption (Life Sketches of James White and Ellen G. White (1880), 309).1BIO 304.4

    2. James was far from well and facing large problems in publishing the Review and Herald and managing the office.1BIO 304.5

    3. Lumen Masten, in charge of the printing office, was failing fast with tuberculosis.1BIO 304.6

    Confided Ellen White:1BIO 304.7

    4. “Trials thickened around us. We had much care. The office hands boarded with us, and our family numbered from fifteen to twenty. The large conferences and Sabbath meetings were held at our house. We had no quiet Sabbaths; for some of the sisters usually tarried all day with their children. Our brethren and sisters generally did not consider the inconvenience and additional care and expense brought upon us. As one after another of the office hands would come home sick, needing extra attention, I was fearful that we should sink beneath the anxiety and care. I often thought that we could endure no more; yet trials increased.”—Ibid. Then she observed:1BIO 304.8

    With surprise I found that we were not overwhelmed. We learned the lesson that much more suffering and trial could be borne than we had once thought possible. The watchful eye of the Lord was upon us, to see we were not destroyed.—Ibid., 309, 310.1BIO 304.9

    5. One source of aggravation and trouble that gave James and Ellen White deep concern were the irresponsible activities of the group of Sabbathkeeping Adventists in Michigan who had withdrawn from the main body and had started publishing the Messenger of Truth.1BIO 305.1

    The two dissident ministers in Jackson, Case and Russell, having been reproved by the visions, were now in bitter opposition. Wrote Ellen White:1BIO 305.2

    They would not bear reproof, and in a secret manner at first, afterward more openly, used their influence against us. This we could have borne, but some of those who should have stood by us were influenced by these wicked persons.—Ibid., 310.1BIO 305.3

    This was the first time the pioneers had been confronted with the development of a dissident movement within their ranks, and at a time when formal church organization was yet several years off. Up to this point, the movement, devoted to heralding the third angel's message, was built largely around the Review and Herald. Now this was challenged, and through it, its editor.1BIO 305.4

    At the same time, White was forced to deal with the future of the Review, its ownership, its support, and its editorship. The major factors of concern here were his very poor health, suffering as he was from overwork, and the ultimate responsibility for the paper to serve a rapidly growing constituency. The two distressing elements, the dissident movement and the welfare of the Review and Herald, emerged simultaneously in the late summer of 1854.1BIO 305.5

    It was all too much for James. Ellen White described the bleak situation:1BIO 305.6

    He was troubled with cough and soreness of lungs, and his nervous system was prostrated. His anxiety of mind, the burdens which he bore in Rochester, his labor in the office, the sickness and repeated deaths in the family, the lack of sympathy from those who should have shared his labors, together with his traveling and preaching, were too much for his strength, and he seemed to be fast following Nathaniel and Anna to a consumptive's grave.1BIO 305.7

    That was a time of gloom and darkness. A few rays of light occasionally parted these heavy clouds, giving us a little hope, or we should have sunk in despair. It seemed at times that God had forsaken us....1BIO 305.8

    If the cause of God had been ours alone, we might have trembled; but it was in the hands of Him who could say, No one is able to pluck it out of My hands. Jesus lives and reigns.—Ibid., 311, 312.1BIO 306.1

    This was demonstrated through the next fifteen months. By the time the Review office and press were moved from Rochester to Battle Creek, Michigan, in November, 1855, both were settled. In the interest of clarity, the dissident movement will be considered first.1BIO 306.2

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