The Meeting in Randolph

1845 - 1846

One day when Sargent and Robbins were visiting at the Nichols home they agreed to Nichols' proposal that they hear Ellen's testimony at their meeting in Boston the next Sunday. But that evening Ellen was shown their hypocrisy and that they were not having a meeting in Boston; it would be in Randolph. So the next morning, instead of driving north into Boston, they drove 13 miles (22 kilometers) south to Randolph, arriving rather late in the morning. They found Sargent and Robbins and a roomful of people meeting in the Thayer home. Wrote Ellen,

As we entered, Robbins and Sargent looked at each other in surprise and began to groan. They had promised to meet me in Boston, but thought they would disappoint us by going to Randolph, and while we were in Boston, warn the brethren against us" (1LS, p. 232).

Closing the morning services rather early, Sargent announced that they would have a short intermission. Ellen Harmon learned during the intermission that one of the critics remarked that "good matter would be brought out in the afternoon." Robbins told Sarah Harmon that Ellen could not have a vision where he was.

Assembling again about 1:00 in the afternoon, several engaged in prayer, including Ellen Harmon.

Writing in 1859 or 1860, Otis Nichols gave this account of the meeting:

About one o'clock p.m. the meeting was opened by singing and praying by Sargent, Robbins, and French; then one of us prayed for the Lord to lead this meeting. Then Sister White commenced praying and was soon afterwards taken off in vision with extraordinary manifestations and continued talking in vision with a shrill voice which could be distinctly understood by all present, until about sundown.

Sargent, Robbins, and French were much exasperated as well as excited to hear Sister White talk in vision, which they declared was of the devil. They exhausted all their influence and bodily strength to destroy the effect of the vision. They would unite in singing very loud, and then alternately would talk and read from the Bible in a loud voice in order that Ellen might not be heard, until their strength was exhausted and their hands would shake, so they could not read from the Bible.

But amidst all this confusion and noise, Ellen's clear and shrill voice as she talked in vision was distinctly heard by all present. The opposition of these men continued as long as they could talk and sing, notwithstanding some of their own friends rebuked them and requested them to stop."But," said Robbins, "you are bowed to an idol. You are worshiping a golden calf."

Mr. Thayer, the owner of the house, was not fully satisfied that her vision was of the devil, as Robbins declared it to be. He wanted it tested in some way. He had heard that visions of satanic power were arrested by opening the Bible and laying it on the person in vision, and asked Sargent if he would test it in this way, which he declined to do.

Then Thayer took a heavy, large quarto family Bible which was lying on the table and seldom used, opened it, and laid it open upon the breast of Ellen while in vision, as she was then inclined backward against the wall in one corner of the room. Immediately after the Bible was laid upon her, she arose upon her feet and walked into the middle of the room, with the Bible open in one hand and lifted up as high as she could reach, and with her eyes steadily looking upward, declared in a solemn manner, "The inspired testimony of God," or words of the same import, and then she continued for a long time, while the Bible was extended in one hand and her eyes [were] looking upward and not on the Bible, to turn over the leaves with the other hand and place her finger upon certain passages and correctly utter their words with a solemn voice.

Many present looked at the passages where her finger was pointed to see if she spoke them correctly, for her eyes at the same time were looking upward. Some of the passages referred to were judgments against the wicked and blasphemous; and others were admonitions and instructions relative to our present condition.

In this state she continued all the afternoon until nearly sundown when she came out of vision.

When Ellen arose in vision upon her feet with the heavy open Bible upon her hand, and walked the room uttering the passages of Scripture, Sargent, Robbins, and French were silent. For the remainder of the time they were troubled, with many others, but they shut their eyes and braved it out without making any acknowledgment of their feelings (DF 105, "Statement by Otis Nichols" [see also 1LS, pp. 232-234; 2SG, pp. 77-79]).

Not long after this these men confessed publicly to some of the most shameful acts of their lives. This had the effect of breaking up the meetings at Randolph and separating the honest believers from their unholy influence. Within a short time the "No-work Party" of fanatics gave up their faith in the Bible and scattered as Ellen had predicted.

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