I long hesitated about bringing personal matters into this book, but could see no way to tell my story without it. My experience illustrates the power which error and superstition have over men. I am amazed at myself that I was held there so long, after my better judgment was convinced that it was an error. I propose to tell the simple facts, just as they were, hit whom they may. Public men become public property, and as such their conduct and work should be laid open and discussed. This is my reason for criticizing the course of Elder White and wife, and others. They invite criticism by claiming to be reformers, better than other people.
I was born in Kinderhook, Branch county, Mich., Sept. 22, 1840. I had no religious training till I was sixteen. I was converted among the Methodists under the labors of Rev. Mr. Hazzard, and baptized by him in 1858. I soon went to Albion, N.Y., to attend school. Here, in 1859, I heard Elder and Mrs. White. He preached on the Sabbath question. I was uneducated, and knew but little about the Bible. I had no idea of the relation between the Old and New Testaments, the law and the gospel, or the difference between the Sabbath and the Lord's day. I thought he proved that the seventh day was still binding, and that there was no authority for keeping Sunday.
As I was anxious to be right, I began keeping Saturday, but did not expect to believe any more of their doctrine. Of course I attended their meetings on Saturday and worked on Sunday. This separated me entirely from other Christians, and threw me wholly with the Adventists. I soon learned from them that all other churches were Babylon, in the dark and under the frown of God. Seventh-day Adventists were the only true people of God. They had "the truth," the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. They defended Mr. Miller's work of 1844, believed in the visions of Mrs. White, the sleep of the dead, the annihilation of the wicked, feet washing, etc. At first these things staggered me, and I thought of drawing back; but they explained them plausibly and smoothed them over, and said they were no test anyway. Having no one to intelligently aid me, I began to see things as they did, and in a few weeks came to believe the whole system. I was again baptized, as their converts from other churches generally are, so as to get clean out of Babylon. Persuaded that time was short, I gave up going to school, dropped the study of all else, listened to their preaching, devoured their books and studied my Bible day and night to sustain these new views. I was now an enthusiastic believer, and longed to convert everybody to the faith. I had not a doubt that it was the pure truth. This is about the experience of all who go with them, as I have since learned.
In May, 1864, I was licensed to preach. Soon began with Elder Van Horn at Ithaca, Mich. We had good success; raised up three companies that year. In 1865 worked in Tuscola county, and had excellent success. Was ordained by Elder White that year. Up to this date I had not a doubt about the truthfulness of our faith. As I now began to see more of Elder White and wife, and the work at headquarters, I learned that there was much trouble with him. I saw that he ruled everything, and that all greatly feared him. I saw that he was often cross and unreasonable. This troubled me a little, but not seriously. In 1866 I was sent to Maine with Elder J.N. Andrews, the ablest man among them. This was a big thing for me. I threw myself into the work with great enthusiasm, and was very happy. Elder Andrews was strong in the faith and very radical, and I partook of his spirit. We had excellent success. By this time I had become quite a writer. I returned to Battle Creek in 1867. At that time there was great trouble with Elder White, and many church meetings were held to investigate the matter. It was clear to me that he was wrong, but Mrs. White sustained him in her "Testimonies" and severely blamed the church. Elder Andrews and a few others proposed to stand up for the right, and take the consequences. My sympathies were with them; but others feared, and finally all wilted and confessed that "we have been blinded by Satan." This was signed by the leading ministers, and humbly adopted by the whole church. See "Testimonies," Vol. 1, page 612. This shook my faith a good deal, and I began to question Mrs. White's inspiration. I saw that her revelations always favored Elder White and herself. If any dared question their course, they soon received a scathing revelation denouncing the wrath of God against them.
About this time several of our able ministers, with quite a party in the West, drew off from the body, in opposition to Elder White and the visions. They were denounced as "rebels," were doomed to perdition, and it was predicted that they would soon come to ruin! But they have continued their work for about fifty years, having several thousand believers. Their headquarters are at Stanberry, Missouri, where they publish two papers, books, etc. They have done a good work in exposing the fallacy of Mrs. White's inspiration.
But I dared not open my mind to a soul. I was only a youth, and had little experience. Older and stronger men had broken down and confessed. What could I do? I said nothing, but felt terribly. I wished I had never heard of the Adventists. Shortly I was back on my field in Maine. Busy with my work, preaching our doctrine, and surrounded with men who firmly believed it, I soon got over my doubts. I have since learned that scores of others have gone through a similar trial.
In 1868 I went to Massachusetts. Being away from the trouble at headquarters, I got on finely. But in May, 1869, I was in Battle Creek for a month. Things were in bad shape. Elder White was in trouble with most of the leading men, and they with him. I was well convinced that he was the real cause of it all, but Mrs. White sustained him, and that settled it. They were God's chosen leaders, and must not be criticized or meddled with. I felt sad. I was working hard to get men into "the truth," as we called it; to persuade them that this was a people free from the faults of other churches; then to see such a state of things among the leaders disheartened me greatly. So far, I myself had had no trouble with any one, and Elder White had been very cordial to me. But I saw then that if I ever came to be of any prominence in the work I should have to expect the same treatment from him that all of the others got. The more I saw of the work, the more objections I saw to it. I will not stop to give them here, as I will give them together in Chapter V.
I had been so thoroughly drilled in the Advent doctrines that I firmly believed the Bible taught them all. To give up the Advent faith was to give up the Bible. So all my brethren said, and so I thought. That year I went to Iowa to work, where I remained four years, laboring with Elder Butler, who soon became president of their general conference. We had good success and raised up several churches. I finally opened my mind to Elder Butler, and told him my fears. I knew these things troubled him as well as myself, for we often spoke of them. He helped me some, and again I gathered courage and went on, feeling better. Still, I came to see each year more and more that somehow the thing did not work as I had supposed it would and ought. Wherever Elder White and wife went they were always in trouble with the brethren, and the best ones, too. I came to dread to meet them, or have them come where I was, for I knew there would be trouble with some one or some thing, and it never failed of so being. I saw church after church split up by them, the best brethren discouraged and maddened and driven off, while I was compelled to apologize for them continually. For years about this time, the main business at all our big meetings was to listen to the complaints of Elder White against his brethren. Not a leading man escaped - Andrews, Waggoner, Smith, Loughborough, Amadon, Cornell, Aldrich, Walker, and a host of others had to take their turn at being broken on the wheel. For hours at a time, and times without number, I have sat in meetings and heard Elder White and wife denounce these men, till I felt there was little manhood left in them. It violated all my ideas of right and justice, and stirred my indignation. Yet, whatever vote was asked by Elder White, we all voted it unanimously, I with the rest. Then I would go out alone and hate myself for my cowardice, and despise my brethren for their weakness.
Elder and Mrs. White ran and ruled everything with an iron hand. Not a nomination to office, not a resolution, not an item of business was ever acted upon in business meetings until all had been first submitted to Elder White for his approval. Till years later, we never saw an opposition vote on any question, for no one dared to do it. Hence, all official voting was only a farce. The will of Elder White settled everything. If any one dared to oppose anything, however humbly, Elder White or wife quickly squelched him. Long years of such training taught people to let their leaders think for them; hence, they are under as complete subjection as are the Catholics.
These, with other things, threw me into doubt and discouragement, and tempted me to quit the work. I saw many an able minister and scores of valuable men leave us because they would not stand such treatment. I envied the faith and confidence of brethren who went on ignorant of all this, supposing that Battle Creek was a little heaven, when, in fact, it was as near purgatory as anything I could imagine. Many poor souls have gone there full of faith and hope, but have soon gone away infidels. In 1872 I went to Minnesota, where I had good success. By this time I had written much, and so was well known to all our people. In July, 1873, myself and wife went to Colorado to spend a few weeks with Elder White and wife, in the mountains. I soon found things very unpleasant living in the family. Now my turn had come to catch it, but instead of knuckling down, as most of the others had, I told the elder my mind freely. That brought us into open rupture. Mrs. White heard it all, but said nothing. In a few days she had a long written "testimony" for wife and me. It justified her husband in everything, and placed us as rebels against God, with no hope of heaven only by a full surrender to them. Wife and I read it over many times with tears and prayers; but could see no way to reconcile it with truth. It contained many statements which we knew were false. We saw that it was dictated by a spirit of retaliation, a determination to break our wills or crush us. For awhile we were in great perplexity, but still my confidence in much of the doctrine and my fear of going wrong held me; but I was perfectly miserable for weeks, not knowing what to do. However, I preached awhile in Colorado and then went to California, where I worked with my hands for three months, trying to settle what to do. Elders Butler, Smith, White and others wrote to us, and tried to reconcile us to the work. Not knowing what else to do, I finally decided to forget all my objections, and go along as before. So we confessed to Elder White all we could possibly, and he generously forgave us! But from that on my faith in the inspiration of Mrs. White was weak. Elder White was very friendly to me again after that.
Now the Adventists say that I have left them five times, and this is one of the five. It is utterly untrue. I simply stopped preaching for a few weeks, but did not withdraw from the church nor renounce the faith. If this is leaving them, then most of their leading men have left them, too, for they all have had their periods of trial when they left their work awhile. About 1856, Elders J.N. Andrews and J.N. Loughborough, who were then the most prominent ministers among them, and several other persons, left the work and went into business at Waukon, Iowa. Mrs. White gave an account of this in "Experience and Views," pages 219-222. Elder White and wife went there, and, after a long effort, brought them back. Mrs. White says: "A dissatisfied party had settled in Waukon.... Brother J.N. Loughborough in discouragement had gone to work at his trade. He was just about to purchase land," etc., page 222. These men did just what I did.
Elder Uriah Smith, by far the ablest man then in their ranks, also had his seasons of doubt, when he ceased to work, and engaged in secular employments. Hear his own confession: "That I have had in my experience occasional periods of trial, I do not deny. There have been times when circumstances seemed very perplexing; when the way to harmonize apparently conflicting views did not at once appear, and under what have seemed for the time strong provocations to withdraw from the work, I have canvassed the question how far this could reasonably be done, or how much of this work could consistently be surrendered." Replies to Elder Canright, page 107. His own words show that he has doubted different parts of the theory, the same as I did. For years we were on intimate terms; often traveled and labored together. We freely talked over these matters. His doubts and trials were very similar to my own. This ran through a long period of years, till it was feared that he would quit them entirely. His wife was nearly driven to insanity over similar trials. Finally they broke down, "confessed" the same as I did once, and now profess to be satisfied. He wrote to me that he had to endorse Mrs. White's visions out of policy. The thing is so unreasonable, that most of them at times are more or less troubled over it, just as I was. In the language of J.W. Morton, "I pity their delusions, and abominate the spiritual tyranny by which they and others are held to the most unscriptural dogmas. Even Mr. Smith, for whom, however he may denounce me, I entertain only the most kindly feelings, is in a position that calls for tender commiseration. He is expected, as the great man of the denomination (for he undoubtedly is by far the ablest man they have), to give a full and explicit endorsement of Mrs. White's claims of inspiration; and yet whoever scans his public utterances on this point - especially he who has skill to 'read between the lines' - can see that his endorsement is so feeble as to be no endorsement at all. Such a position is one in which I would not place my worst enemy. He is, in part at least, under the heel of a spiritual tyranny. Oh, that Uriah Smith had the courage, and the manliness, to assert, before God and man, his right to that 'soul liberty' which is the inheritance of every child of God!"
Elder Geo. I. Butler, who for many years took the place of Elder White as leader of the denomination, got into trial with his brethren, and, practically, out of the work. Till middle life he was a small farmer. Naturally he was a humble, good man, with a strong sense of fairness. Elder White became jealous of him. Later, Mrs. White also turned against him and required a servile submission which he would not make. Said when he could not be an Adventist, and be a man, then he would be a man, as others had decided. Disappointed and soured, under pretext of ill-health, he went off to Florida on a little farm - another example of the blighting effect of Adventism. He is now doing what I did two or three times, only from a different cause. Has he, then, left them?
In 1874 Elder White had arranged to have a big debate held at Napa City, Cal., between Elder Miles Grant, of Boston, Mass., and one of our ministers. Though Elder White and wife, Elder Cornell and Elder Loughborough, their ablest men, were there, they selected myself to defend our side, which I did for about a week, while the other ministers sat by. I mention this to show the confidence they had in me, though I had been in so great a trial but a few months before. In 1875 we returned to Michigan. Elder Butler was now out with Elder White, who took every possible opportunity to snub him; but I was in high favor, was sent to attend their state meetings in Vermont, Kansas, Ohio and Indiana. With Elder Smith, was sent as delegate to the Seventh-day Baptist General Conference. In 1876 I was sent to Minnesota, then to Texas, and so on through most of the Southern States, to look after our interests there. Each year greater responsibilities were laid upon me. That year I raised up a large church at Rome, New York, and labored over the State. Went with Elder White and wife to Indiana and Illinois, and was then sent to Kansas to hold a debate, and to Missouri for the same purpose. This year I was elected a member of the General Conference Committee of three, with Elder White and Elder Haskell, and continued on the committee two years. It is the highest official authority in the denomination.
In 1877 I went to New England, where I raised up two churches and did other work. I spent 1878 in general work in various States, as Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, and Ohio. In the fall was president of the Ohio conference. In 1879 labored in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. At the general conference at Battle Creek in the fall, things were in a bad shape. Elder White was cross, and Mrs. White bore down heavy on several ministers. Harshness, fault-finding and trials were the order of the day. I felt that there was very little of the spirit of Christ present. I got away as quickly as possible. I saw more and more clearly that a spirit of oppression, criticism, distrust and dissension was the result of our work, instead of meekness, gentleness, and love among brethren. For the next whole year these feelings grew upon me, till I began to fear we were doing more harm than good. My work called me among old churches, where I could see the fruit of it. Generally they were cold and dead, backslidden, or in a quarrel, or nearly extinct, where once they had been large and flourishing churches. I lost heart to raise up more churches to go in the same way. One day I would decide to quit them entirely, and the next day I would resolve to go on and do the best I could. I never suffered more mental anguish in my life. I labored that year in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.
In the fall of 1880 I resolved to leave the Adventists, and, if I could, go with some other church. I was president of the Ohio conference. Our annual state meeting was at Clyde, Ohio. Elder and Mrs. White were there. My mind was made up to leave them as soon as the meeting was over. Against my protest they re-elected me president. Mrs. White urged it. Said I was just the man for the place; yet her special claim is to be able to reveal the hidden wrongs in the church. Here was an important matter. Why did she not have a revelation about it? No, I was all right so far as she knew. The next week I resigned, went east, and wrote Elder White that I would go with them no longer. Then she sent me a long written revelation, denouncing me as a child of hell, and one of the wickedest of men, though only two weeks before she thought me fit to be president of a conference!
For three months I taught elocution. I knew not what to do. I talked with ministers of other churches, but they did not seem to know how to help me. I could settle on nothing. I held on to my Christianity and love for Christ and the Bible, and preached and worked as I had opportunity. I was glad I had decided to leave the Adventists, and felt much better. Finally I met my present wife, who was an Adventist. Then I had a long talk with Elder Butler, Elder White, Mrs. White and others, and was persuaded that things were not as I had imagined. They said I was in the dark, led by Satan, and would go to ruin. All the influence of old friends, associations, habits and long cultivated ideas came up and were too strong for my better judgment. I yielded, and resolved again to live and die with them. In my judgment and conscience I was ashamed of the surrender I had made, yet I tried to feel right and go on.
Early in 1881 I went with Elder White to New York. By this time he had lost the leadership of the people. Elders Butler and Haskell had taken his place, and hence he was very hostile to them, working against them, and planning all the while to get them out and get back in again himself. But the people had largely lost confidence in him as a leader. He wished me to work with him against them, saying that we would then be on the General Conference Committee together. He had good grounds to oppose Haskell, who was always a crafty, underhanded man. Elder White wrote me thus: "February 11, 1881 - I wish Elder Haskell were an open, frank man, so I need not watch him." Again: "Battle Creek, Mich., May 24, 1881 - ...Elders Butler and Haskell have had an influence over her [his wife] that I hope to see broken. It has nearly ruined her. These men must not be suffered by our people to do as they have done... I want you to unite with me... It is time there was a change in the offices of the General Conference. I trust that if we are true and faithful, the Lord will be pleased that we should constitute two of that board."
I could give much more to show how little confidence the leading men had in each other. I wrote Elder White that I could not unite with him nor work with him. July 13, 1881, he wrote me again: "I have repeatedly abused you, and if you go to destruction, where many, to say the least, are willing you should go, I should ever feel that I had taken a part in your destruction.... I do not see how any man can labor with me." Soon after this he died. I have no doubt that Elder White believed in the Advent doctrine, and persuaded himself that he was called of God to be a leader. He had some excellent qualities, and doubtless meant to be a Christian, but his strong desire to rule and run everything, together with an irritable temper, kept him always in trouble with some one. No one could work with him long in peace. Elder Butler told me that his death was providential to save the body from a rupture. Mrs. White was so offended at Butler, that she would have no communication with him for a long while. All these things helped me to see that I was being led by selfish, ambitious men, who were poor samples of religious reformers.
That year I labored in Canada, Vermont, Maine, New England, and Michigan, and was elected member of the State Executive Committee of Michigan that fall. I worked another year in Michigan. But I was unhappy; I could not get over my doubts; I had no heart in the work. Several leading ministers in the State felt about the same. I then decided to quietly drop out of the ministry and go to farming. This I did for two years, but retained my membership with the church and worked right along with them. But I was in purgatory all the time, trying to believe what I could not. Yet I was not settled on any other church, and feared I might go wrong and so stood still. In the fall of 1884, Elder Butler, my old friend, and now at the head of the Advent work, made a great effort to get me reconciled and back at work again. He wrote me several times, to which I made no answer. Finally he telegraphed me, and paid my fare to a camp-meeting. Here I met old friends and associations, tried to see things as favorable as possible, heard explanations, etc., etc., till at last I yielded again. I was sick of an undecided position. I thought I could do some good here anyway; all my friends were here, I believed much of the doctrine still, and I might go to ruin if I left them, etc. Now I resolved to swallow all my doubts, believe the whole thing anyway, and stay with them for better or for worse. So I made a strong confession, of which I was ashamed before it was cold.
Was I satisfied? No. Deep in my heart I was ashamed of myself, but tried to feel that it was not so. But soon I felt better, because I had decided. Gradually my faith came back, till I again really felt strong in the whole doctrine, and had no idea I should ever leave it again. In a few weeks I was sent to attend large meetings in Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota, Iowa, and New England; assisted in revival meetings in Battle Creek; was appointed with Elder Butler to lecture before the ministers on how to labor successfully; conducted a similar course in the Academy at South Lancaster, Mass.; was at the state meetings in New York, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. In the spring of 1886 was appointed to lecture before the theological class in the Battle Creek College, and Associate Editor of the 'Sickle'.
By my urgent appeal, an effort was made to bring up our ministers to some plan of study in which they are very deficient. I was on the committee to arrange this. I selected the course of studies and framed all the questions, by which they were to be examined. I was then furnished a shorthand reporter, and in the summer was sent to ten different states, namely, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota, and Michigan, to attend their state conferences, examine their ministers, report their meetings for the daily press, etc., and this I did. In our conflict with the Disciples at Des Moines, Iowa, it was agreed that each side should select a representative man and hold a debate on the Sabbath question. They selected Professor D.R. Dungan, president of Drake University. Our people selected me. We expected a notable time, and I made every possible effort to be ready. That preparation did much to convince me of the unsoundness of some of our positions on the covenants, the two laws, etc. In our General Conference that fall, a sharp division occurred between our leading men over the law in Galatians. One party held it was the ceremonial law, the other the moral law - a square contradiction. After a long and warm discussion the conference closed, each party more confident than before. There was also much disagreement over other points of doctrine, and a good deal of warm party feeling. This, with other things, brought up my old feelings of doubt, and decided me that it was time for me now to examine and think for myself, and not be led nor intimidated by men who could not agree among themselves.
I used every minute I could get for several weeks, carefully and prayerfully examining all the evidence on the Sabbath, the law, the sanctuary, the visions, etc., till I had not a doubt left that the Seventh-day Advent faith was a delusion. Then I laid the matter before the leading men at Battle Creek, resigned all the positions I held, and asked to be dismissed from the church. This was granted February 17, 1887. That was the first and only time I ever withdrew from the church, nor was any charge ever made against me during the twenty-eight years I was with them. As soon as I took my stand firmly, to be a free man and think for myself, a great burden, which I had carried all these years, rolled off. I felt like a new man. At last I was out of bondage. I have never for a moment regretted the step I took.
They now report that I left them four or five times before, and then went back. This is entirely untrue. From the time I joined them, in 1859, till I withdrew, in 1887, I remained in good standing in that church. After I was licensed to preach in 1864, my credentials were renewed each year except one, when I was farming and did not ask for them. Till I left them, in 1887, I never preached nor wrote against them once; nor did I unite with any other church, nor teach any doctrine contrary to theirs. Let them deny any of these statements if they can. They say I may yet return to them. They know better. The moment I took my stand decidedly, that matter was settled forever. The fact that I remained with them under all these trials for twenty-eight years, shows that I am not a vacillating man, as they now try to think.
I am often asked why I did not leave them sooner. Why it took me so long to find that it was an error. Then the Adventists affirm that I must have been dishonest while with them, or I am dishonest now. They say I am an apostate now, because I left them and joined the Baptists. My answer is this: If to change one's opinion and join another church makes one an apostate, then more than half their members are apostates, for they have come from other churches to join the Adventists. Again, they circulate and commend highly a book called "Fifty Years in Rome," written by a man who was many years a learned priest in the Roman church. They say that his high standing and long experience in that church makes his book invaluable. But they say that the fact that I was with them in high standing so long, and now have left them, only proves that I am a hypocrite!
Any candid man can see the inconsistency of their positions. I united with the Adventists when I was a mere boy, uneducated, with no knowledge of the Bible, of history, or of other churches. I went into it through ignorance. For years my zeal for that faith, and my unbounded confidence in its leaders, blinded me to their errors. But, as I grew older, read my Bible more, read history, met with other churches, heard sermons and read books against Adventism, became better acquainted with our leaders, with the inside workings of the church, learned more about its unfavorable origin, the many mistakes we had made, saw the fruit of it in old churches, on families and society, got hold of the early writings of Mrs. White and others; gradually I began to see that Adventism was not just what I had first supposed it to be. When I embraced it in 1859, Seventh-day Adventism was only fourteen years old, the believers were few, and it was comparatively untried. But when Adventism was twenty-five years older, ten times as large, and had fully developed its spirit and shown its fruits, when I had had the education, observation and experience of a quarter of a century, I think my judgment in the matter ought to be worth more than when I embraced it as a green boy.
Again, it was only during the last few years that I gained possession of early Adventist documents, which show how they now deny and contradict what they once taught. These are now either suppressed or kept out of sight, so that not one in a thousand of them knows or will believe that they ever existed. My doubts of the system did not come to me all at once and clearly. It was well known that for the last dozen years I was with them, I was greatly troubled over these things. Gradually, year by year, the evidence accumulated, till at last it overbalanced the doctrine, and then reluctantly and sorrowfully I had to abandon and renounce it. God pity the soul that has to go through what I did to be honest to his convictions of right.
Notwithstanding it was well known to all that I frequently had serious doubts about their faith, yet, as soon as I took hold with them again, each time they immediately put me forward and set me at the most important work. Elder Butler says: "He doubtless would have been [elected to important office] had he not proved himself unreliable in so many instances. His ability would have justified it." Review and Herald Extra, Nov. 22, 1887. Suppose, now, that I had been an office-seeking man, caring more for place and position than for truth and conscience, what would I have done? I would have gone right along, pretending to be full in faith and in harmony with them. But instead of this, time and again, I went directly to their influential men, Elders White, Butler, Haskell, etc., and told them my doubts. Let candid men judge of my motives.
The day I left them I held the following positions: Was teacher of theology in their college at Battle Creek, where I had a class of nearly two hundred of their best young people; was associate editor of the Gospel Sickle; was writing the lessons for all their Sabbath Schools throughout the world; had the charge of some eighteen churches in Michigan; was member of the Executive Committee of the International Sabbath School Association; member of the Executive Committee of the Michigan State Sabbath School Association; and at the last session of the general conference was chairman of the International Sabbath School Association, and was on nine different committees, several of them the most important in the conference, as the one on distribution of laborers over all the world, the theological committee, the one on camp meetings, on a special course of study in our college, on the improvement of the ministry, etc. This shows what they thought of my ability. I had just gotten out a new pamphlet, "Critical Notes," of which they printed an edition of 10,000 after I left them. Others of my works they have revised, left my name off, and use them still. Why reprint mine after I have left them and renounced what they teach? They now say that my writings are cheap and worthless. But while I was with them they published over twenty different productions of mine, and circulated hundreds of thousands of them, translated several of them into other languages, and paid me hundreds of dollars for them. Strange that all at once I have become so imbecile, and my writings so worthless. Any one can see the animus of all this.
Elder Smith, in Replies to Canright, page 25, says I left them at a time when my withdrawal embarrassed them more than it would have done at any other time. This confesses that I was becoming more and more useful to them, and all know that I was. At the time I left I was getting higher pay than ever before, and was on friendly terms with all. All the leading men, as Butler, Haskell, Smith, etc., were my warm personal friends, ready to do all in their power to assist me. Had I desired office, or better position, all I had to do was to go right along without wavering, and positions would come to me faster than I could fill them. But if I left them, where could I go? What could I do? How even make a living? I took this all in, and it required all the courage and faith in God I could master to take the risk.
It cost me a terrible struggle and a great sacrifice, for in doing it I had to leave all my life-long friends, the cherished hopes of my youth, the whole work of my life, all the means of my support, every honorable position I held, and bring upon myself reproach, hatred and persecution. I had to begin life anew, among strangers, with untried methods, uncertain where to go or what to do. No one who has not tried it can ever begin to realize the fearful struggle it requires. It is the dread of all this which holds many with them who are yet dissatisfied where they are. I know that this is so, for many have confessed it to me, and yet remained where they were. Anyone of candor and fairness can see readily that self-interest and personal ambition would have held me with them. Yet, as soon as I did leave them, though I went out quietly and peaceably, and let them entirely alone, and even spoke favorably of them, they immediately attributed to me all sorts of evil motives, base sins, and ambitious designs. They seemed to feel it a sacred duty to blast my reputation, and destroy my influence, if possible. "Apostate" was the epithet all applied to me. I was compared to Baalam, to Kora, Dathan and Abiram, to Judas, Demas, and a whole list of evil characters. Not one honest or worthy motive was granted me. The meanest and wickedest reports were circulated as to what I had done or said - things that I would despise even to think of. Yet all were eagerly accepted and believed as undoubted truth. But I expected it, for it is the way all are treated who dare to leave them and give a reason for it.
During the twenty years now since I left them, they have had spies constantly on my track, who have watched and reported the least thing I have said or done, to torture it into evil, if possible. This they circulate to the ends of the earth, and it comes back to me in newspapers and letters. They have issued four different publications against me, and Mrs. White, in her last "revelation," has devoted three articles to myself! Yet I don't amount to anything; never did! "Sour grapes," you see. It has been widely reported that I was smitten with a terrible disease, had broken up my church, been expelled from the denomination, and more yet, concerning all which the Lord judge between us. The pastors of all the churches here, and public men of the place have had to make written statements to meet these attacks in distant states. Sometimes this has seemed hard to bear, but knowing that I was right, I have had grace and patience to keep steadily at my work, and leave the rest with God and my friends.
I am in constant receipt of letters from all parts of the country, saying that the Adventists affirm that I have asked to be taken back among them! They will report it till I die, and long after. This book shall be my answer. They are so certain that the curse of God will follow all who leave them, or that they will become infidels, or return to them, that they cannot be reconciled to have it otherwise.
"Glenwood Springs, Colo., March 29, 1889. D.M. Canright, Otsego, Mich.: My Dear Friend and Brother - If the lightning's shivering crash had torn my scalp loose from my head, I would not have been more surprised than I was today by having placed in my hands your pamphlet entitled "The Jewish Sabbath." I have read after you for years, sold your valuable works, and preached the "Third Angel's Message." Now, I wish to ask you, how do our people treat you? To my knowledge you were a great favorite, and quoted oftener than any standing near the head. Do they go back on you as hard as they did on Snook? I suppose that your great research and life-long study of the subject in hand goes for nothing with them, and that you are classed among the fallen angels. F.A.B."
April 19, 1887, at Otsego, Mich., where I had lived for eight years, I was ordained as a minister of the Regular Baptist Church, by an exceptionally large council, composed of several of the ablest ministers of the state. The 'Otsego Union' of that date says: "Regularly appointed delegates were present from Baptist churches in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Plainwell, Three Rivers, White Pigeon, Allegan, Battle Creek, Paw Paw, Hickory Corners, Prairieville and Otsego. Rev. A.E. Mather, D.D., of Battle Creek, was elected moderator of the council, and Rev. T.M. Shanafelt, D.D., of Three Rivers, secretary. The order of exercises was as follows: Reading of the Scriptures, by Rev. H.A. Rose, of Kalamazoo; prayer, by Rev. D. Mulhern, D.D., of Grand Rapids; ordination sermon, by Rev. Kendall Brooks, D.D., President of Kalamazoo College; prayer of ordination, by Rev. M.W. Haynes, of Kalamazoo, with laying on of hands by Rev. H.B. Taft, of White Pigeon, Rev. E.A. Gay, of Allegan, and Rev. H.A. Rose, of Kalamazoo; hand of fellowship, by Rev. T.F. Babcock, of Prairieville; charge to the pastor, by Rev. L.B. Fish, of Paw Paw; charge to the church, by Rev. I. Butterfield, of Grand Rapids.
"Rev. D.M. Canright has thus been fully recognized by a large and representative council as a regular Baptist minister, and pastor of the Baptist church in Otsego."
I have never regretted leaving the Adventists, nor for one moment had the slightest desire to return.