Harold Nathan Williams
Elder Williams gave this talk in the 1980’s, at which time he was in his 90’s. In this age the enemies of’ truth are bad-mouthing those whom the Lord has called to a special ministry and circulating enemy inspired lies about them. It seems most appropriate that eye-witness testimonies from people who were there and knew Ellen White personally have come to light to tell the truth about this humble godly 19th century lady. It is hard to discredit an honest personal testimony from someone who was there.
It is also hard to find true prophets and messengers in our times. Many claim the gift, but very few are inspired from above. Compare what you read here and the difference becomes readily apparent.
Here is Elder Harold Nathan William’s testimony, given in the twilight years of his life, to the inspiration of Ellen White’s Spirit of Prophecy described in Revelation 19:10. He no doubt has long since been laid to rest, but his testimony now lives on to bear witness to the truth about Ellen White and her gift.
Many Seventh-day Adventist today have never taken the time to read the history of the prophetic gift in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They have never heard about the two men, Hazen Foss and William Foye whom God called, but were too proud and were afraid that people would not believe them and died lost men.
They haven’t heard, and do not know that God then chose a frail young girl to be His messenger. She felt too unworthy, because of her humility. But God chose her to be His Seer. God cannot use proud people, He can only use those who are humble and teachable.
So many new members do not know that physicians examined that frail young women while she was in vision at different times, and could not detect any breath whatever. Some of them even held her nostrils and her mouth shut for long periods of time that would normally have killed her. And yet she lost no vitality, she lost no color.
So many new members do not know that when in vision strong men could not move one of her arms as she pointed in vision to what she was seeing as a Seer. I personally knew men and physicians who examined her, and were convinced that the manifestation was absolutely supernatural. It was impossible to make her blink when she was in vision, and her eyes would be wide open.
I knew one minister who asked permission and he even stuck his finger right in her eye, which was a cruel thing to do. But she did not flinch, she was unconscious to anything going on around her. She became the wife of Elder James White, and was known to millions of people as Mrs. Ellen Gould White.
Now she was positively influenced supernaturally. She was inspired. Was that inspiration from God or from Satan? Well by their fruits shall ye know them. On several occasions while in vision, Mrs. White held a Bible that weighed over eighteen pounds, on her outstretched hand, her arm outstretched, and held that Great Bible on her hand for long periods. This happened the first time when she was a frail 17 year old girl, at which time she held it out at arms length for over a half hour. Afterwards they asked her to pick it up and she couldn’t even hold it with two hands, much less pick it up. That was in 1845.
I challenge you to take a weight, something that weighs 18 ½ pounds, that is also bulky like a big book, and put it on your left hand and see if you can stretch your arm out, and see how long you can hold it there. And for a frail girl do a thing like that, when a strong man would have to brace himself to even put it out there at arms length, that is something. But nothing like this was ever done for an amusement, financial gain or to exalt self.
However, such phenomenal occurrences, while she was in vision did have a definite place in the beginning of her ministry in establishing confidence in supernatural inspiration. She had more than 2000 visions and dreams, but after she was established in her ministry, those demonstrations ceased.
My parents and grandparents before me knew Mrs. E.G. White personally, and I heard her speak at different times. The things I know about her and her work are not mere hearsay, I know from personal experience.
When she had visions in public they were most solemn occasions, and everyone present felt the presence of Christ’s Spirit in their midst. There was no hilarity or grossness, or repulsiveness in connection with her visions. Heaven seemed very, very near indeed.
When people are in trances caused by disease, there are unpleasant manifestations such as jerking, or drawing up of strange countenances. They may mutter, or have unnatural movements and unpleasant situations. When Mrs. White was in vision, every movement was graceful, whether she was standing up or reclining. There was never an embarrassing exposure of her person, or movements or expressions of repulsiveness.
When in vision she had no knowledge of anything going on around her. Though her eyes were open they saw nothing. She was seeing and hearing things unearthly, heavenly things. Nothing could make her blink. It was supernatural.
When she came out of a vision, she would inhale and take a very deep breath, and then wait awhile. After a few intervals like this, she would begin breathing naturally. Her visions varied from a very short time of a few seconds to many hours. One vision was over 7 hours. Though she was never in any convulsion in vision, the strongest man could not move her limbs. She might walk around the room while in vision, and point to things she was seeing in vision. Yet every movement was graceful and natural.
She might repeat Bible references while in vision, and yet without taking a breath. Now you can’t hold your breath and say anything. That also was a miracle. It is naturally impossible to speak without breathing, but she did—that was miraculous. She would speak clearly without breathing, and what she said was never funny or amusing or absurd while in vision, but elevating, edifying, and sacred.
These manifestations were never used to raise money. They were never put on to satisfy curiosity or for personal gain in any manner. God’s Seers have been given visions for the benefit and instruction of His people, for edification, comfort and protection from error as well as to expose sin. Most of Mrs. White’s visions were not in public, and when they were, it was always for a specific purpose and situation, and almost always during a most earnest season of prayer.
I have been asked to tell some things that I know personally about Mrs. E.G. White. As a boy I sat many times on a box, close in front of her while she talked and gave Bible studies to my relatives and friends. She seemed to me like a dear Grandma. When I was a man grown, I heard her speak in public, my little sister Beulah and her granddaughter Grace were playmates, so I heard much about the White home. I heard what neighbors, farmers and trades people said about their relations with her. Ones everyday life and relationships with others reveal their character. She was ever concerned for the temporal as well as the spiritual welfare of those around her.
Her writings and teachings always exalted Jesus Christ. She never exalted herself. She never claimed infallibility. She was not above making mistakes, because she was human. She was never a fortune-teller or did things to satisfy curiosity. Her writings and testimonies were always for the good of someone, for edification, instruction, inspiration, encouragement or rebuking sin. Her burden was to help people to be good citizens of earthly governments. And true citizens of God’s Government, and prepare for Jesus Second Coming and for life eternal.
Most of my 93 years in this world as a Seventh-day Adventist, I have observed this: Most people like D. M. Canright, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, A. T. Jones and others, whom I knew personally, who rejected and turned against her writings and messages, did so because of one of three things. They were either angry because their sins or errors had been pointed out by her, or they were unthankful for help that she tried to give them, or else they became puffed up in their own estimation and had to scratch their head way out here. Today, intellectual philosophy of the world has taken the place of Divine revelation. I knew those men back there, and I have known others who have gone out since.
Mrs. White claimed that an Angel instructed her, I personally saw the form and glory of an Angel while he stood by her writing chair. I know she was heavenly inspired. I shall say more about that later.
There is a common misconception about the meaning of the word prophet. There are so very many false prophets, that the word has become corrupted. The main effort of false prophets has been to make predictions, many of which never come true. Foretelling future events is the smallest part, the very smallest part of the work of a true prophet of God. God’s messengers are Seers who not only see visions and see what is coming in the future in regard to God’s work, but also give instruction. Most of the work of a true prophet is to instruct God servants regarding their manner of living, and to turn them from sinful ways to obedience to God’s Commandment, BECAUSE they love God.
It was because there are so many false prophets, and the abuse of the word prophet that Mrs. E.G. White chose not to be called “a prophet,” but rather “God’s Messenger.” Though my mother was much younger than Mrs. E. G. White, they were very good personal friends. I was born on Wood Street in Battle Creek, Michigan, very near the former White home. My grandfather Elder Luther Nathan Lane and his wife and the whole Lane/Williams tribe, knew Mrs. E. G. White personally.
I want to tell you about my first intimate contact with Mrs. E.G. White, the first that I distinctly remember. When I was a good sized boy, my mother took me to the Michigan camp meeting with her. That year instead of having the early morning 5 o’clock devotional meeting in the main tent, those who were staying in 2 or 3 tents throughout the encampment met together. My grandfather was in charge of the colporteurs tent, so he did not meet with us. In our tent there was my grandmother, Mary Lane, her daughter Jenny, a Bible Worker, and her other daughter Effie, and another Bible Worker who was my mother and myself. Just diagonally across the ally was the Haskell tent with Elder and Mrs. S. N. Haskell, and Mrs. E.G. White.
The seven of us met together every morning. I was old enough to understand Bible doctrines clearly. We were so crowded that I sat directly in front of Mrs. White, so close that now and then our knees touched, but that was not embarrassing, because I loved that dear woman as though she was one of my grandma’s.
Sister S. N. Haskell led out one morning with a Bible study about Melchizedek, the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Holy Spirit. When Sister Haskell finished, Sister E.G. White commended her for that study, and added much to it before we had our prayer service. I was deeply interested in that study. My mother, my Aunt Jenny and Sister S. N. Haskell, each wrote down what Sister White said.
My mother wrote it on a blank sheet of paper, and later copied that carefully in our copy of Mrs. White’s book Early Writings. My Aunt Jenny wrote her copy on a blank leaf inside her Bible. Sister Haskell wrote her copy on a blank sheet of writing paper. My wife Ida and I were married in South Lancaster, Mass. June 16, 1913. The Haskell’s were present at the wedding, and the reception. At the time, Ida and I were guests at the Haskell’s in their home. The next day as we were visiting, I asked them if they remembered that early morning meeting I just described to you. Indeed they did. They took us down to the office of their Bible training school, and from their safe, Mrs. Haskell withdrew the notes that she had used in her copy of what Sister White had said. I made a copy of her copy, and later compared it with my mother’s copy, and they were identical.
More years went by. In 1923 with my family I went to visit my parents in California. We were then living in Massachusetts. On Sabbath I was invited to preach in the Sebastopol Church. The Holy Spirit being one of my favorite Bible subjects, I preached about Melchizedek, and the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Holy Spirit. No one knew what I was going to preach about. My Aunt Jenny was present, and at the close of the sermon she asked permission to speak. She had her old Bible with her, and from her page in the back, she read to the congregation the copy that she had made that early morning meeting so many, many years ago. And it was identical with what I had just read to them from my copy of Sister White’s copy, and we compared it again with my mother’s copy. They were exactly the same.
At one camp meeting in Michigan, I decided to find out something for myself. At different times I had heard remarks about the miraculous way Mrs. White’s voice carried. And I decided to do some experimenting. Was it because of her knowledge about the lungs and the vocal chords and how to use them, or was it miraculous? I decided I would find out.
Sister White was the main speaker that Sabbath. Making my way unnoticed to one end of the rostrum, I was very much surprised to hear her talking in an ordinary tone of voice, as though she were addressing the people right near her on the rostrum. Going out and back around the great tent, I went to the other end of the rostrum, and it was just the same. Then I went to different places in that great tent, everywhere I could understand every word she said, and yet she did not raise her voice. She continued to talk as though she were addressing the people like they were on the rostrum. Now friends, at that time man had not yet invented PA systems, but God had his own method.
Crowds of curious people from the city had come to the campground, they stood way out on the field. I went among those people way out in the field, and could still understand every word that Sister White said. The people were saying, that when the ministers were preaching, they shouted and strained their voices and they couldn’t understand half of what they said. And yet when that little woman was speaking, just in a ordinary tone of voice, they could understand every word. They were saying that was a miracle.
Then I went among the family tents, where people were staying there with those who were sick, or mothers with their children. And even in the family tents the people there could understanding what Mrs. White was saying in the big pavilion tent where there were hundreds, perhaps thousands of people listening.
Now, I would like to tell you about my dedication to the ministry. I served as President of the Newfoundland Mission Conference from 1928 through 1932, and went to represent my field in the General Conference held in San Francisco in 1930.
Since my parents were living in Oakland, I visited them. Through the years I had wondered about many things. I had questions that had never been answered. For the first time my father and mother told me the following: (I shall tell it just as mother told it to me that day.) She said, “When you were a baby in your baby carriage only a few weeks old, I was taking a walk with Sister White there in Battle Creek. We were pushing you in your baby carriage, Sister White stopped me and said, ‘Effie, your baby is going to grow up and become a Seventh-day Adventist minister.’ She placed her hand on your heard, offered a simple but beautiful prayer, and dedicated you to the gospel ministry in your baby carriage.” They had kept that story from me all those years.
It was many years before that, that Sister White had had a vision about me, and about my ministry in detail. But she told nothing about that to my mother until she dedicated me to the ministry in my baby carriage. I will have more to tell you about that vision later.
In the early years of the public ministry, a Miss Ellen Gould Harmon who later became Mrs. Ellen Gould White, the wife of Elder James White often visited the Adventists in Dartmouth, Washington, Fair Haven, and New Bedford, Massachusetts. Now there were some Sabbath keeping Adventists in and around Dartmouth, Mass. before Rachael Preston ever made her memorable trip to Washington, and New Hampshire.
Capt. Joseph Bates was born in Fair Haven, just across the river from New Bedford, and lived there most of his life, except for his years at sea. In 1924 I lived with my family within two blocks of his birthplace, and later his beautiful home where he lived.
It was during the two years 1860 and 1861, that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was organized legally as a denomination. But local companies were slow to organize as churches.
Sometime around the year 1860, as near as I can locate the date, Mrs. E.G. White and Capt. Bates held a series of Evangelistic Meetings in what would was called the Adventist Hall in New Bedford, Mass. And raised up a small but strong company of Sabbath keeping Adventists.
While they were holding those meetings, Mrs. E.G. White was the guest in the Jarvis T. Ashley home, on the Arssonet Road, near Dartmouth in New Bedford. Mervin B. Ashley was a grown up young man who lived with his parents at the time.
While Mrs. White was a guest in their home she had a vision, which I want to tell you about. One morning at the breakfast table in the Ashley home, Mrs. White said she could not eat until she told them about a vision she had the night before. In that vision she was shown the company that they were just raising up at that time. She was shown that it would become a strong church and pay the most tithe per capita of any Adventist Church for many years.
That made her very happy, but she was next shown that some would move away, others would apostatize and then scandal would rock the church. The church would almost cease to exist. When only a few remained, they in desperation would sell the church property and it would become a furniture warehouse. That was terrible. They would then meet in a dirty old hall with just a hand full of members.
She was then shown a man who had bought the church from them. He would start a lawsuit and demand his money back plus damages for extra expense. The little group would be desperate, as he was suing them because they had deeded the property to him without proper title. He would demand damages. She saw that 8 different Seventh-day Adventist ministers would try to hold revival services in New Bedford and they couldn’t get anybody to come.
The scene in her vision changed, she saw a young man a minister raise up new churches and then go to New Bedford. He would redeem the church, pay off the furniture merchant, satisfy his demands, buy more land and enlarge and modernize the church building, hold evangelistic meetings successfully, erect a modern church school building and start a church school, and the church would be strong again.
And then she was shown something that gladdened her heart, but amazed and astonished her. She just could not understand it. She saw the church become something like a lighthouse, flashing something like lightening, but invisible. These flashes would go out from the church carrying the Three Angels Messages great distances. How could she see something that was invisible? It amazed her, but it made her happy.
THE FULFILLMENT OF THAT PROPHECY:
Just as she had seen it in vision, the company she and Capt. Bates had raised up became a strong church. The members called a special legal meeting to organize a church. Elders J. B. Goodrich and D.A. Robinson met with the company and gave them guidance, March 24, 1887, and voted a resolution to become a church.
According to the old records 17 members signed a covenant to become a church. Since there were some legal details unclear to all of them, they adjourned. Since the company in Washington, New Hampshire was ready also to organize, Elders Goodrich and Robinson went there and helped them finish organizing their church, and then they went back to New Bedford and continued organization April 10, 1887. Just the difference between March 24, and April 10, the Sabbath keepers in New Bedford were the first to sign a covenant to become a church, and those in Washington, New Hampshire were the first to complete it.
I made a copy of those old records. I really dug into those records and talked to many of the old members. July 11, 1890 the New Bedford congregation bought a lot on the corner of Willow and Bullet Streets and erected a church building. For years they did pay the largest per capita tithe of any Seventh-day Adventist Church, just as Mrs. White had seen years before. Then just as she had seen, members moved away, some died, and others apostatized. And during the Alpha deception between 1900 and 1905, a number left the church—apostatized. Scandals rocked the church, only a handful of members remained. They could not even keep up the church building and repairs, and pay for public utilities. They got in debt and in utter discouragement they sold the property for only $1,000, just enough to pay off their church debts.
Up to the year 1924, every part of the vision had been completely fulfilled to the point where the church almost ceased to exist. And the few members who were left, sold the property to a furniture merchant by the name of Smith, and he turned it into a warehouse. They had spent the money and paid off their obligations.
Now enters the picture, a young man and his wife had raised up two self-supporting churches, and who had reactivated two more. In 1923 he had been invited to enter the ministry officially, and go on the conference payroll, at $15.00 per week with no subsidies. He also raised up new churches in Fall River and Martha’s Vineyard, and was given what was left of the church in New Bedford to pastor.
With his family he moved first to Fair Haven and was barely settled when he received legal notice that Mr. Smith the furniture dealer was suing the church for selling him the church property without legal title. He was demanding his money back plus damages for lost time, inconvenience and extra expense.
The church record book showed only 26 members on the church record book. About 13 of those had not set foot in the church for about 15 years, they did not observe Sabbath or even profess Adventism. The Pastor took Brother Armstrong the church leader with him and visited those 13 people, who had given up their faith. There was no local church elder, but they did have a church leader. All of those 13 people were very friendly, but they did not desire membership in any church and signed letters of resignation, which left just 13 members in the church. Then 2 of those left and joined what was called the Reformed Seventh-day Adventist Church in New Bedford, leaving just 11 disheartened and discouraged members.
It was then that the Pastor read the notice of Mr. Smith’s lawsuit. They had long since spent the money they got from Mr. Smith for the church. It seemed absolutely impossible to meet his demands. They were about the most discouraged 11 people you could possible imagine.
Years before, the church congregation had elected a Board of Trustees to hold the church property legally in trust. Each year one or more of the Trustees retired and others were elected to serve. Not knowing much about real estate law, the New Bedford members had failed to elect new Trustees. All of the old members were dead, and the congregation had sold the property to which they had no title. A lawyer was consulted and told them that they could never sell the property to anyone, but that no one could legally possess it either.
Doing some studying and consulting with a young lawyer, the young Pastor found that there were just enough of the old original members living to constitute a quorum for a legal meeting. They met and elected a new Board of Trustees, and that Board deeded the property to the Conference Legal Association to hold in trust. He then, to be sure, went to the bank and procured a loan, paid Mr. Smith his money back, and got him to withdraw the lawsuit. And then through the land court, for $100 he got a cleared positive title from the State.
The church was rebuilt, modernized and every single way. One of the old sisters in the church and two men helped the Pastor to enlarge the church building, the excavated and finished off classrooms in the basement, and modernized the church and had a modern church school building erected adjacent to the church. They started of the church school with 28 children and 2 qualified teachers and a helper. Did the pastor go in debt? Absolutely not! He paid the bank, and paid off all bills, and they did not owe anyone one red cent.
Now while all this was going on, the pastor launched an evangelist series. Now the church didn’t have any money for evangelism, and he didn’t dare ask the conference for money, especially after 8 of their ministers had tried and couldn’t get anybody to come.
Oddfellows Hall near the center of the city was the popular place for public lectures or special meetings. He went to talk with the business manager who said, “Sure I’ll rent you the hall, but you won’t get anybody to come. Hasn’t anyone ever told you that this city was the Roman Catholic city that broke the heart of Dwight L. Moody, and ended his evangelistic career? What do you think you can do?” The pastor replied that he didn’t know that he could do much, but God could. And then the agent said, “Hasn’t anyone told you that 8 of your preachers in the past have rented this hall and couldn’t get anyone to come. What do you think you can do?”
Well the young Pastor knew he could do but very little, but God could. Dances and other public meetings had been held there, and there was just one bench in the whole place that would seat 5 people if they crowded together. The Pastor asked where he could get some more chairs and benches. The agent told him, “In the basement of course, but you won’t get enough people to fill that one bench.”
Nevertheless, the Pastor paid the agent for the first meeting out of his own funds. He went home and found two pictures. One of monkeys in a cage, and another of the same size of a Bible, and cutting diagonally he put them together into one picture with the words in bold print, Does Evolution Monkey with the Bible? And he gave the time and place of the meeting. Going to the city newspaper office, he paid for a small 4″ advertisement out of his own pocket. He had done what he could. Now it was up to God for the results.
He went off to Martha’s Vineyard for the Sabbath services, leaving Brother Armstrong to conduct services in the New Bedford Church. Sunday afternoon he came back to New Bedford to Oddfellows Hall an hour early, expecting two of the men in the church to help him get things ready.
When he got there the Hall was already packed with people all standing up, for the chairs were not yet set up. God had brought the people! Elder W.C. Moffett, the Conference President, and Elder J. E. Edwards the Conference Treasurer, had somehow heard that meetings were to be started, but supposed they would be cottage meetings. When they got to the pastor’s home the wife directed them to the Hall. They said afterward that it took them a half hour to elbow their way in before they could find out whether they were in the right place or not.
Meetings were well attended. This was followed by a tent effort. When the final church building was ready for occupation, there were enough new members to fill it. The Bank was paid off, all other bills were paid, and it was absolutely free from debt. The Church was going strong again just as Sister White had been shown in vision some 60 years or more before that.
Now friends, I know this is true because I was that young minister. Well, you ask, what about those invisible flashes like lightening carrying the message? In vision she had been shown that the New Bedford Church would be something like a lighthouse, with invisible flashes going out carrying the message. Every Sunday night in Oddfellows Hall, a very distinguished appearing gentlemen sat near the exit and would get away every night before the Pastor could get to him. Who could he be?
The attendance held good in Oddfellows Hall. Every Sabbath the church was well filled. Wednesday night Prayer Meetings were still being held in a large parlor at Tom Potters home in the center of the city, which had been the former Mayor’s Mansion.
One morning the Pastor’s telephone rang and a pleasant voice asked if the Pastor would please meet him at once at Tom Potter’s home, the former Mayor’s Mansion, and he hung up. Well the Pastor was delighted to meet the gentlemen who always got away before he could meet him. He introduced himself as the Manager and owner of Radio Station WNBH. He said I have attended every one of our lectures at Oddfellows Hall. “I want those lectures broadcast over my radio station.”
The Pastor said he had inquired at the radio office, and learned that a half-hour cost $25 at the studio, but $50 at any remote point. At the present time they could not afford even a half-hour let alone $50 for an hour. At the present time they could not afford it. The gentlemen laughed and said, “You only think you can’t afford it, I want to install remote control in Oddfellows Hall, one in your church, and one here in the former Mayor’s Mansion. I am a devout Roman Catholic and have attended everyone of your meetings in Oddfellows Hall.
“You have hurt the Roman Catholic Church more than any other man who has ever come to this Catholic city. But you take it all from the Bible, and your listeners love you. You don’t throw any mud or insults at anybody else. We want your messages to go over my radio station.
“Listen, I want to broadcast your Sunday night meetings in Oddfellows Hall, your Sabbath School and Church services, and your Wednesday night meetings here in this building.”
Wheeeeeoh! Well the Pastor threw up his hands, well that would be 8 times $50 or $400 per week, and we can’t even afford a half hour. And the man laughed again. “You only think you can’t afford it. Now listen, you say things that hurt peoples conscience, but you do it in love and listeners love your for it and respect you. “But those Russelites, they have gone on the air over my station and called the Pope a Hog, and the Priest Pigs, and the Nuns terrible things. Even if I were a Protestant, I would not have such language going out from my radio station. Now they are coming back tomorrow morning, expecting to sign a contract for a year. I want nothing to do with those people. I have a contract right here all made out between Radio Station WNBH, and Pastor Harold N. Williams. All you have to do is put your John Henry right here on this dotted line, and you can have the whole thing for only $9 per week, instead of $400. That will just about pay for the electric current.”
Now friend, what would you have done if you had been the pastor? Well that is exactly what I did. I paid for it out of my own pocket.
Now the Millennial Denomination lead by Pastor Russell, was known as Russellites, and then as International Bible Students, and today as Jehovah Witnesses. Well they didn’t get on that radio station.
After we went on the air, we often got as many as 150 fan letters on Monday morning from our Sunday broadcast. As I opened each letter I looked at the signature before reading the letter in case it might be from someone I knew.
The very first letter I opened on Monday was signed by the Mother Superior and 8 Nuns who lived in the Nunnery in Fair Haven across the river. She said that she had a secret radio in her bedroom, and that she gathered 8 Nuns whom she trusted into her room and locked the door. They had listened to every broadcast. She said, “You are preaching God’s truth and we are praying for you. As soon as you have read this letter, please burn it up. Being a Protestant you would probably not understand this, but if our Priest, our Father Confessor and the higher ups learned of this, it might cost us our lives.”
The very next letter I opened was signed by the Father Confessor himself at the Nunnery. He was a very prominent clergyman in Fair Haven and new Bedford. He said, “You are preaching God’s truth and I am praying for you, God Bless You. You would not understand this being a Protestant, but higher ups learned about what I am doing, there’s no telling what might happen to me, you must burn this letter at once.”
That led to correspondence between the Priest and myself. I corresponded with him, even after I went to Newfoundland. He accepted everything, including the Sabbath, and then I heard from him no more. I wonder what happened to him.
Now listen to this, one morning the Pastors telephone rang again, and old Brother Martin Ashley asked him to come to the church at once. Do you remember who he was? Martin Ashley was a grown young man who copied that vision as given at the breakfast table, at the Ashley home when he was a young man. He had kept it all those years.
Well I met him at the church, and tears were running down his cheeks but how happy he looked. He said, please sit down here by me. We sat down In front of the pulpit that was used by Sister White and Capt. Joseph Bates when they raised up the company that became this church.
We sat down. And then for the first time, I heard about Sister White’s vision in the Ashley home in North Dartmouth, more than 60 years before that. Martin and other old members had watched the fulfillment of that vision through the years for more than 60 years. Oh how happy he was. Now, the climax of the vision had been reached. Sister White was already dead. She had been shown in vision, something that she could not understand.
She had seen invisible flashes going out from the New Bedford Church like lightening, going out in every direction and carrying the message to people who probably wouldn’t get it in any other way. Those invisible flashes were radio! After listening to the visions as repeated by Martin Ashley that morning, can you imagine the feeling, the impact of it upon the pastor. The old man and the young man had a real prayer meeting there in front of that old pulpit. That was the beginning of Adventist Radio, and the beginning of a half-century of radio evangelism by that Pastor.
A GLORIOUS ANGEL SEEN WITH MRS. WHITE:
Now listen carefully again. I want to ask you an important question. Sometime when a thunder storm is raging, and you may be sitting in your home or working around with your electric light turned on, have you suddenly had a flash of lightening come that lighted up your room making it light as daylight? Well most everyone has had that experience.
Now another question. If that should happen again, but that flash of lightening instead of going off would lighten the whole area continuously right there, what would you do? Well whatever you do, listen as I tell you a personal experience that came to me.
Doctors Grant and Clingerman were the surgeons at St. Helena Sanitarium. It was the year 1911. One of the male nurses a medical student assisted at times in the surgery. For a while he was on duty in the hospital from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. He had a room on the backside of the hospital, in fact on the porch of a cottage, so situated that he could look into the window of Mrs. White’s bedroom and writing room. There were no curtains to interfere at that time. He was seldom in his room, except to sleep and had never paid any attention to Elmshaven particularly, which was Sister White’s home.
One morning he saw something he shall never forget. No one can ever tell him Mrs. White was not God’s Messenger. One morning about 2:15 a.m. he rushed into his room and turned down the light, and was just undressing to go to bed when his room suddenly lighted up like broad daylight. But was the most beautiful light he had ever seen. Whirling around to see its source, he saw it coming from Mrs. E. G. White’s writing room. It was so brilliant that everything in her room was clearly visible. He saw Mrs. White get up out of her bed, throw her dressing gown or something like that over shoulders, go to her writing chair sit down and start taking notes.
Now he could not see features, the person standing there was facing Mrs. White. So he could only see the person’s back and part of his side, and the side of his face, so it was impossible to see any features. That person was not clothed with clothing like men wear now, but he was clothed with that beautiful covering of light. There was no human language to describe it, but it was most beautiful.
Mrs. White would look up toward the person, and then make some notes. Then she would look up again and take some more notes. She kept doing that for 15 or 20 minutes. The next night the same things happened at the same time. And the third night the same thing at the same time.
One thing puzzled him, he had never been in those rooms, but he had been told that the window on his left was Sister White’s bedroom, her sleeping room and the one on the right was her writing room. Much later he was told that because of her feebleness they had moved her bed around to the entrance of her writing room.
His little sister Beulah and Grace White, Sister White’s granddaughter, were playmates, so he knew something about the home from what little Beulah had said.
In 1978 he visited Elmshaven and talked with Sister White’s granddaughter Grace, and was shown those rooms. After seeing what he saw three nights in succession, he was taking his usual early morning walk, when he met Herbert and Henry coming up from Elmshaven to their little print shop at the Sanitarium. They were about 16 years old at that time, twin grandsons of Sister E.G. White. He loved those boys, he had his camera with him and took their picture and he still has it.
After that they talked a few minutes, and he said, “What is your Grandma doing in the middle of the night at the present time.” Well they shrugged their shoulders, and one of them said, “Oh I hope she is sleeping at that time of night, why?” He didn’t tell them why immediately, and then soon the other one spoke up saying, “Oh Mr. Williams, I remember now, a few mornings ago breakfast was late, and I was eating in a hurry and not paying any attention to what was going on around the table, until I saw Grandma lean over toward Daddy, and I listened and I heard her say to Daddy, that the Angel Gabriel was helping her with her manuscript.” I said, “What manuscript?” “Oh a book.” “What book, what is it going to be.” They said, “It is going to be Acts of the Apostles.”
He then told the boys what he had seen those three nights in succession, and asked if they would try to get the first copy off the press, which they did as they ran the print shop. He cherished that volume because of what he had seen with his own eyes.
Hereafter friends, when you read that book “Acts of the Apostles,” remember what I have told you. Because I was that young man, who saw the glory of that Angel as he helped Mrs. White with her final check up on her manuscript for that book. No one can ever tell me that she was not divinely inspired.
Elder Ernest Lloyd a well-known Seventh-day Adventist minister was a close friend of my brother-in-law and of my wife, and he told us that he had seen that glorious light on several occasions, but from a different direction so he could not see into her room.
ELLEN WHITE’S LAST PUBLIC ADDRESS:
I shall now share with you the experience I had when Sister E.G. White made her last public address. It was in the pioneer days of Pacific Union College, the old Angwin summer resort was being transformed into a college, and my father was one of the workmen. My brother and sister were in church school there. I was off one Sabbath and spent the day with my folks at the college. Sabbath services were being conducted in what, I was told, had been the old dance hall or theater. It was a strange place to have a church service, but what else could they do.
They had their Sabbath school and church services there until they could build a church. Chairs were very close together. I sat in a chair so close to the rostrum that my knees touched it, and it didn’t feel comfortable. I had to look up to anyone standing in the pulpit.
Intermission after Sabbath school was over, the first hymn for the worship hour had been sung and prayer offered, when the double doors at the end of the stage that was being used for a rostrum opened, and there was Sister E.G. White in her carriage, driven by Elder W.D. White her son. I watched as he and President Irwin and Elder Ott of Washburn, carried her in bodily and sat her down in the speaker’s chair. There she rested for a few minutes, and then two of the brethren helped her to the pulpit.
It was announced that she had a special message for the young people. After a short rest, the two men helped her to the pulpit, because she was so feeble that she could not stand by herself. I was looking right up into her face. She excused the men, and said something about the presence of the Holy Spirit as she offered a short prayer. Her countenance seemed to me to just light up like a paper lantern when you light a candle in it.
From that time on, you would have thought she had the energy of a middle-aged woman. It was astonishing. Her message was one of courage and warning, not particularly to the present generation, but to the children of the generation before her. She described the lawlessness, the violence, the immorality, the permissiveness, the conditions that we have before us today.
Now back at that time, the people didn’t lock their doors. She said that in only a few years, women would not even be safe in their own home. Well people did not doubt what she was saying, but that seemed so strange that they shook their heads. Now back at that time we used to see men smoke pipes and cigars, but we never saw a woman smoking, no woman would smoke. Some young smart aleck would smoke a cigarette he had made himself, but that was very uncommon. They called it coffin nails back there, and I think that was a pretty good name for them. Mrs. White said that in a few years, most people would be smoking cigarettes, and that women would smoke them just like the men, and that the young people would smoke them. What do we see today?
When she finished her message, she offered another short prayer and that light left her face. She would have fallen back on the floor had not two of the men caught her and carried her out. That was the last time she ever spoke in public, and I’m so grateful that I had the privilege of hearing her message.
WITNESS OF A WORLDLY SCHOOL TEACHER:
Years before, a certain student had missed some high school subjects, because of illness. He had gone on with his education, but had never made up those subjects one of which was advanced English. In 1914 he and his wife were registered nurses in Oakland and Berkeley, California while living in the city of Melrose, which is now way inside the city Oakland.
One day he called on the principle of the Chauncy Fremont High School in Melrose. And was received very graciously and enrolled as a special student. The teacher of the literature department was Miss E. McMillan. The students were translating ancient writings into modern English, studying Chaucer and Shakespeare, and acting out many of the plays, many of which were very vulgar.
They knew that he was preparing for the gospel ministry and wanted to become a medical missionary. Miss McMillen suggested that instead of doing all these things that the class was doing, that she would bring books from the University in Berkeley for him to study in her private office. He would take part at special times with the class, but would not waste a lot of his time on such trivia.
Toward the end of the school year, she announced a special test. She would have certain students read their favorite quotations and the test would be for the members of the class to tell who the author was by the style of language. Those who had never received a grade below 95% would be exempt from final written examination, if they would volunteer to bring her quotations for that oral test.
He was one of the fortunate ones, and I think God had something to do with it. His quotations were from the Desire of Ages, as he gave his first quotation only one hand was raised, and that of a young lady who was the brightest student in the class. She said, Miss McMillan, I am not positive, but the style is quite like that of General Wallace who wrote the book Ben Hur. But somehow that quotation seems more beautiful. It seems sort of sacred, sort of inspired.
Well Miss McMillan smiled and she said, “Well you are right,” and she turned and said, “Mr. Williams that quotation that you just gave was from the pen of Mrs. E.G. White. I would know her authorship anywhere anytime, because it has a peculiar ring to it. It seem inspired as the student just told us.”
But to impress the class that she was an authority, she mentioned her degrees in literature from Universities in Europe, as well as in the United States. She called on no one else, but took all the rest of the class period lecturing. She explained that the most perfect and most beautiful literature does not consist of large words to show off a great vocabulary on the part of the author. But beautiful, beautifully constructed sentences composed of words that most people can understand, and then she commented on the Bible.
She then required every member in that class to write down the following: “Of all the literature, ancient, medieval or modern, the most perfect and the most beautiful, outside of the Bible itself is the literature written by Mrs. E.G. White, and is the ‘Creme de la creme’ of all her writing is the book Desire of Ages from which Mr. Williams just gave a quotation.” She told the class that she knew very little about the religion of Mrs. White, or the church of which he was a member, but that she had read her books simply from the standpoint of literature criticism.
Needless to say I was thankful that day to be a humble member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and to have had the privilege of knowing Mrs. E.G. White personally as God’s Messenger.
Many years ago, I was about to launch my radio broadcast over radio station in Gadsden, Alabama, while I was living there. I asked Elder Caviness who was the district pastor to accompany me as I talked with the Editor of one of the great southern newspapers. He was a very friendly gentleman, and while we were conversing, he opened a drawer in his desk, took out a book and held it up and said, “I have just now finished reading this book. Whoever that woman was who wrote that book, must have been inspired of God. She could not have written a book like that unless she was inspired.” And what do you suppose that book was? It was the book “Great Controversy.”
[CLOSING REMARKS REGARDING ACCUSATIONS ABOUT ELLEN WHITE PLAGERIZING:]
Now in closing I would like to make a few personal observations. In our modern competitive society, it has become quite necessary to patent and copyright, but as I study the literature, ancient, medieval and modern, the fact strikes me forcibly, that they commonly borrowed from one another.
A very large part of our New Testament Scripture consists of quotations and paragraphs and paraphrases from the Old Testament. If you would dig into that you will be amazed. Much of the New Testament is paraphrased from the Old Testament without giving any credit, and even Jesus Christ did that Himself, and you can’t tell me that He was dishonest.
In fact it is almost impossible to do even much talking or writing without using phrases or idioms or sentences used by someone else before. The more widely we are read, the more it becomes impossible to be original. Inspiration does not make it mandatory to be original. Inspiration can guide us in our choice of reading and study, in producing what we have attained.
The mind or the brain is an intimate recording machine. We reproduce what we have heard or read from others, in authoring a treatise or a book, one has to watch his step diligently or words or sentences will slip into our production. Paraphrases or even whole sentences used by some author before us. That bothered me not a bit when I discovered a half century ago, that Mrs. E.G. White did that at times. The great bulk of her writings were her own words, but she often used the words and sentences, and in rare instances even a page from a book of someone else. Don’t let those things bother you.
I would enjoy telling you many more interesting experiences that I have had personally with Mrs. White and the Spirit of Prophecy.
God Bless you, do not lose your faith.
Elder Harold Nathan Williams, 1980’s