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Note: Since criticisms about Ellen White's life are dealt with elsewhere on this site, we here simply let her tell in her own words her life story.—WebMaster
Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White

Chapter 13: Removal to Michigan

Almost Defeat

from EGW Estate
First home built by James White on Wood Street,
Battle Creek, Mich., 1857.—White Estate.
In 1855 the brethren in Michigan opened the way for the office of publication to be removed to Battle Creek. At that time my husband was owing between two and three thousand dollars, and all he had besides the books on hand was accounts for books, and some of these were doubtful. The cause had apparently come to a halt, orders for publications were very few and small, and he feared that he would die in debt. Brethren in Michigan assisted us in obtaining a lot and building a house. The deed was made in my name, so that I could dispose of it at pleasure after the death of my husband.

Those were days of sadness. I looked upon my three little boys, soon, as I feared, to be left fatherless, and thoughts like these forced themselves upon me: My husband dies of overwork in the cause of present truth; and who realizes what he has suffered, the burdens he has for years borne, the extreme care which has crushed his spirits and ruined his health, bringing him to an untimely grave, leaving his family destitute and dependent? I have often asked the question, Does God have no care for these things? Does He pass them by unnoticed? I was comforted to know that there is One who judgeth righteously, and that every sacrifice, every self-denial, and every pang of anguish endured for His sake, is faithfully chronicled in heaven, and will bring its reward. The day of the Lord will declare and bring to light things that are not yet made manifest.

I was shown that God designed to raise my husband up gradually; that we must exercise strong faith, for in every effort we should be fiercely buffeted by Satan; that we must look away from outward appearance, and believe. Three times a day we went alone before God, and engaged in earnest prayer for the recovery of his health. Frequently one of us would be prostrated by the power of God. The Lord graciously heard our earnest cries, and my husband began to recover. For many months our prayers ascended to heaven three times a day for health to do the will of God. These seasons of prayer were very precious. We were brought into a sacred nearness to God, and had sweet communion with Him. I cannot better state my feelings at this time than they are expressed in the following extracts from a letter I wrote to Sister Howland:

"I feel thankful that I can now have my children with me, under my own watchcare, and can better train them in the right way. For weeks I have felt a hungering and thirsting for salvation, and we have enjoyed almost uninterrupted communion with God. Why do we stay away from the fountain, when we can come and drink? Why do we die for bread, when there is a storehouse full? It is rich and free. O my soul, feast upon it, and daily drink in heavenly joys. I will not hold my peace. The praise of God is in my heart and upon my lips. We can rejoice in the fullness of our Saviour's love. We can feast upon His excellent glory. My soul testifies to this. My gloom has been dispersed by this precious light, and I can never forget it. Lord, help me to keep it in lively remembrance. Awake, all the energies of my soul! Awake, and adore thy Redeemer for His wondrous love!

"Souls around us must be aroused and saved, or they perish. Not a moment have we to lose. We all have an influence that tells for the truth or against it. I desire to carry with me unmistakable evidences that I am one of Christ's disciples. We want something besides Sabbath religion. We need the living principle, and to daily feel individual responsibility. This is shunned by many, and the fruit is carelessness, indifference, a lack of watchfulness and spirituality. Where is the spirituality of the church? Where are men and women full of faith and the Holy Spirit? My prayer is: Purify Thy church, O God. For months I have enjoyed freedom, and I am determined to order my conversation and all my ways aright before the Lord.

"Our enemies may triumph. They may speak bitter words, and their tongue frame slander, deceit, and falsehood, yet will we not be moved. We know in whom we have believed. We have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. A reckoning day is coming, when all will be judged according to the deeds done in the body. It is true the world is dark. Opposition may wax strong. The trifler and the scorner may grow bold in their iniquity. Yet for all this we will not be moved, but lean upon the arm of the Mighty One for strength.

"God is sifting His people. He will have a clean and holy church. We cannot read the heart of man. But the Lord has provided means to keep the church pure. A corrupt people has arisen who could not live with the people of God. They despised reproof, and would not be corrected. They had an opportunity to know that theirs was an unrighteous warfare. They had time to repent of their wrongs; but self was too dear to die. They nourished it, and it grew strong, and they separated from the trusting people of God, whom He is purifying unto Himself. We all have reason to thank God that a way has been opened to save the church; for the wrath of God must have come upon us if these corrupt pretenders had remained with us.

"Every honest soul that may be deceived by these disaffected ones, will have the true light in regard to them, if every angel from heaven has to visit them, to enlighten their minds. We have nothing to fear in this matter. As we near the judgment, all will manifest their true character, and it will be made plain to what company they belong. The sieve is moving. Let us not say: Stay Thy hand, O God. The church must be purged, and it will be. God reigns; let the people praise Him. I have not the most distant thought of sinking down. I mean to be right and do right. The judgment is to set, the books are to be opened, and we are to be judged according to our deeds. All the falsehoods that may be framed against me will not make me any worse, nor any better unless they have a tendency to drive me nearer my Redeemer."

(Testimonies for the Church, pp. 97-100)

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