Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White
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
Chapter 3: Feelings of Despair
While in this state of despondency I had a dream that made a deep impression upon my mind. I dreamed of seeing a temple, to which many persons were
flocking. Only those who took refuge in that temple would be saved when time should close. All who remained outside would be forever lost. The multitudes
without who were going about their various ways, derided and ridiculed those who were entering the temple, and told them that this plan of safety was a
cunning deception, that in fact there was no danger whatever to avoid. They even laid hold of some to prevent them from hastening within the walls.
Fearing to be ridiculed, I thought best to wait until the multitude dispersed, or until I could enter unobserved by them. But the numbers increased instead of
diminishing, and fearful of being too late, I hastily left my home and pressed through the crowd. In my anxiety to reach the temple I did not notice or care for
the throng that surrounded me. On entering the building, I saw that the vast temple was supported by one immense pillar, and to this was tied a lamb all
mangled and bleeding. We who were present seemed to know that this lamb had been torn and bruised on our account. All who entered the temple must come
before it and confess their sins.
Just before the lamb were elevated seats, upon which sat a company looking very happy. The light of heaven seemed to shine upon their faces, and they praised
God and sang songs of glad thanksgiving that seemed like the music of the angels. These were they who had come before the lamb, confessed their sins,
received pardon, and were now waiting in glad expectation of some joyful event.
Even after I had entered the building, a fear came over me, and a sense of shame that I must humble myself before these people. But I seemed compelled to
move forward, and was slowly making my way around the pillar in order to face the lamb, when a trumpet sounded, the temple shook, shouts of triumph
arose from the assembled saints, an awful brightness illuminated the building, then all was intense darkness. The happy people had all disappeared with the
brightness, and I was left alone in the silent horror of night. I awoke in agony of mind and could hardly convince myself that I had been dreaming. It seemed to
me that my doom was fixed, that the Spirit of the Lord had left me, never to return.
Soon after this I had another dream. I seemed to be sitting in abject despair with my face in my hands, reflecting like this: If Jesus were upon earth, I would go
to Him, throw myself at His feet, and tell Him all my sufferings. He would not turn away from me, He would have mercy upon me, and I would love and serve
Him always. Just then the door opened, and a person of beautiful form and countenance entered. He looked upon me pitifully and said: "Do you wish to see
Jesus? He is here, and you can see Him if you desire it. Take everything you possess and follow me."
I heard this with unspeakable joy, and gladly gathered up all my little possessions, every treasured trinket, and followed my guide. He led me to a steep and
apparently frail stairway. As I commenced to ascend the steps, he cautioned me to keep my eyes fixed upward, lest I should grow dizzy and fall. Many others
who were climbing the steep ascent fell before gaining the top.
Finally we reached the last step, and stood before a door. Here my guide directed me to leave all the things that I had brought with me. I cheerfully laid them
down; he then opened the door and bade me enter. In a moment I stood before Jesus. There was no mistaking that beautiful countenance. That expression of
benevolence and majesty could belong to no other. As His gaze rested upon me, I knew at once that He was acquainted with every circumstance of my life and
all my inner thoughts and feelings.
I tried to shield myself from His gaze, feeling unable to endure His searching eyes, but He drew near with a smile,
and, laying His hand upon my head, said: "Fear not." The sound of His sweet voice thrilled my heart with a happiness it had never before experienced. I was
too joyful to utter a word, but, overcome with emotion, sank prostrate at His feet. While I was lying helpless there, scenes of beauty and glory passed before me,
and I seemed to have reached the safety and peace of heaven. At length my strength returned, and I arose. The loving eyes of Jesus were still upon me, and His
smile filled my soul with gladness. His presence filled me with a holy reverence and an inexpressible love.
My guide now opened the door, and we both passed out. He bade me take up again all the things I had left without. This done, he handed me a green cord
coiled up closely. This he directed me to place next my heart, and when I wished to see Jesus, take it from my bosom and stretch it to the utmost. He cautioned
me not to let it remain coiled for any length of time, lest it should become knotted and difficult to straighten. I placed the cord near my heart and joyfully
descended the narrow stairs, praising the Lord and telling all whom I met where they could find Jesus. This dream gave me hope. The green cord represented
faith to my mind, and the beauty and simplicity of trusting in God began to dawn upon my soul.
(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 27-29)