In the Conference Address on "Organization," printed in the Review and Herald of June 11, 1861, is found a historical allusion to someone who had been almost refused admittance to the message, because the one who brought it to him believed that it should be confined to those of the original advent faith. The document is signed by nine people. Which of the nine is the one referred to? Can you tell the name of the one who brought the message to him, and who doubted the genuineness of his conversion, for the reason stated?
Because of a statement by Elder J. N. Loughborough—one of the nine who signed the document, and who accepted the message in 1852—some have thought that the allusion was to him. But this is a misapprehension. He does refer to a man by the name of Sweet, who "expressed very serious doubts as to the genuineness of my religious experience, because he 'thought it not possible now for sinners to be converted.' "—"The Great Second Advent Movement," p. 234. But a study of the paragraph in which this statements occurs reveals that this incident happened during a First-day Adventist camp meeting at Canandaigua, New York, in the year 1848, and was thus at least four years too early to be the one referred to in the Conference address of 1861, as being within a period of "from six to nine years previous." We have the definite statement of Elder J. H. Waggoner, one of the nine signatories, to the effect that he was the one who wrote the address, and that the allusion was to himself. "I was the one," he wrote, "of whose salvation the doubt was expressed, because I had no part in the advent work of 1844."—Review and Herald Supplement, Aug. 14, 1883. Elder Waggoner does not give the name of the individual who had doubted his conversion, but he does state positively that "not one of the leaders or ministers ever expressed any doubt on the subject; on the contrary, they hailed my conversion to the message with joy, and received me cordially."—Ident.
By comparing what Elder Waggoner says concerning this individual with the early reports and records in the Review, we can with virtual certainty identify him, and follow his course until he was disfellowshiped and became an active opponent of the cause. Here is Elder Waggoner's statement:
"I afterward learned that Brother White was laboring with this man in order to correct his errors at the very time of my introduction to him. But without organization, we had no means of holding such persons in check. This man with all his vagaries, represented the S.D.A. cause to us in Wisconsin for a time; but he was never recognized by 'the leaders' as a preacher, nor endorsed as a teacher among them."—/dem.
In the first letter appearing in the Review (May 27, 1852) from the pen of J. H. Waggoner, he reports meetings held in his vicinity by Brethren W. Phelps and H. S. Case. Tracing the reports from Mr. Case, we find that they exactly fit the foregoing statement by Elder Waggoner. Speaking of the introduction of the work into the State of Wisconsin, Elder James White wrote:
"H. S. Case, and some others who first visited the State, moved in a manner calculated to prejudice the people against the truth. But this is nearly overcome by the judicious labors of Brethren Waggoner, Phelps, Stephenson, and Hall."—Review and Herald, July 4, 1854.
In the same issue of the paper but in another column, he wrote further, identifying one point of controversy. "It is true that Case, Russell, and some others took exclusive views relative to the shut door, and for a while manifested a rash spirit." Mr. Case was disfellowshiped from the church during a conference at Jackson, Michigan, February 17, 1854. Accompanying the publication of this action is a note by Elder James White, in which he says, speaking of the one thus disciplined:
"He has been a cause of great trial to the brethren for years, and a source of reproach to the cause of truth, and the entreaties of his brethren who have patiently and kindly labored with him, have been unheeded by him."—Id., April 18, 1854.
Not long after this, Mr. Case, with others, engaged in active opposition to their former brethren, and started a publication called the Messenger. The attitude of our workers to the "Messenger Party" was the subject of counsel in the very first number of "Testimonies for the Church," written in November, 1855. (See Volume I, pages 122, 123.)
In the light of all these well-authenticated facts, there can be found in the Conference Address of 1861 no implication that any of the leading pioneers were involved in an extreme view regarding the -shut door" as late as 1852.