Eyewitness Accounts of a Prophet of God

Ellen White VisionJ. N. Loughborough

J. N. Loughborough was present during 50 of Ellen White’s visions. He talks about those experiences here:

“I will state some facts relative to the visions. The first time I saw Mrs. E. G. White (formerly Miss Harmon) was in October, 1852. On that day I saw her in a vision that lasted over one hour. Since that time I have had the privilege of seeing her in vision about fifty times. I have been present when physicians have examined her while in this state, and I esteem it a pleasure to bear testimony to what I have seen and know. I trust a narration of the facts in the case may not be carelessly cast aside for the random suppositions of those who have never seen her in this condition.

“In passing into vision she gives three enrapturing shouts of ‘Glory!’ which echo and re-echo, the second, and especially the third, fainter, but more thrilling than the first, the voice resembling that of one quite a distance from you, and just going out of hearing. For about four or five seconds she seems to drop down like a person in a swoon, or one having lost his strength; she then seems to be instantly filled with superhuman strength, sometimes rising at once to her feet and walking about the room. There are frequent movements of the hands and arms, pointing to the right or left as her head turns. All these movements are made in a most graceful manner. In whatever position the hand or arm may be placed, it is impossible for anyone to move it. Her eyes are always open, but she does not wink; her head is raised, and she is looking upward, not with a vacant stare, but with a pleasant expression, only differing from the normal in that she appears to be looking intently at some distant object. She does not breathe, yet her pulse beats regularly. Her countenance is pleasant, and the color of her face as florid as in her natural state.

“Her condition as to breathing, loss of strength, and being made strong as the angel of God touches her, all agree perfectly with the description given by the prophet Daniel of his own experience in vision when he says: ‘Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.’ ‘For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, and said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee; be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my Lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.'”

M. G. Kellogg, M.D.

A description of a vision given in Michigan, May 29, 1853, at a meeting held in Tyrone, Livingston County:

“Sister White was in vision about twenty minutes or half an hour. As she went into vision every one present seemed to feel the power and presence of God, and some of us did indeed feel the Spirit of God resting upon us mightily. We were engaged in prayer and social meeting Sabbath morning at about nine o’clock. Brother White, my father, and Sister White had prayed, and I was praying at the time. There had been no excitement, no demonstrations. We did plead earnestly with God, however, that He would bless the meeting with His presence, and that He would bless the work in Michigan. As Sister White gave that triumphant shout of ‘Glory! g-l-o-r-y! g-l-o-r-y!’ which you have heard her give so often as she goes into vision, Brother White arose and informed the audience that his wife was in vision. After stating the manner of her visions, and that she did not breathe while in vision, he invited any one who wished to do so to come forward and examine her. Dr. Drummond, a physician, who was also a First-day Adventist preacher, who (before he saw her in vision) had declared her visions to be of mesmeric origin, and that he could give her a vision, stepped forward, and after a thorough examination, turned very pale, and remarked, ‘She doesn’t breathe!’

“I am quite certain that she did not breathe at that time while in vision, nor in any of several others which she has had when I was present. The coming out of the vision was as marked as her going into it. The first indication we had that the vision was ended, was in her again beginning to breathe. She drew her first breath deep, long, and full, in a manner showing that her lungs had been entirely empty of air. After drawing the first breath, several minutes passed before she drew the second, which filled the lungs precisely as did the first; then a pause of two minutes, and a third inhalation, after which the breathing became natural.”

Signed, M. G. Kellogg, M.D., Battle Creek, Mich., Dec. 28, 1890.

F. C. Castle

The following statement is from an individual who witnessed a medical examination of Mrs. White while in vision at Stowe, Vermont, in the summer of 1853. He says:

“A physician was present, and made such examination of her as his wisdom and learning dictated, to find the cause of the manifestation. A lighted candle was held close to her eyes, which were wide open; not a muscle of the eye moved. He then examined her in regard to her pulse, and also in regard to her breathing, and there was no respiration. The result was that he was satisfied that it could not be accounted for on natural or scientific principles.”

Signed, F. C. Castle.

D. H. Lamson

The following description relates to an examination made while Mrs. White was in vision, in a meeting held in the home of Elder James White, on Monroe Street, Rochester, N.Y., June 26, 1854:

“I was then seventeen years old. It seems to me I can almost hear those thrilling shouts of ‘G-l-o-r-y!’ which she uttered. Then she sank back to the floor, not falling, but sinking gently, and was supported in the arms of an attendant. Two physicans came in, an old man and a young man. Brother White was anxious that they should examine Sister White closely, which they did. A looking-glass was brought, and one of them held it over her mouth while she talked; but very soon they gave this up, and said, ‘She doesn’t breathe.’ Then they closely examined her sides, as she spoke, to find some evidence of deep breathing, but they did not find it. As they closed this part of the examination, she arose to her feet, still in vision, holding a Bible high up, turning from passage to passage, quoting correctly, although the eyes were looking upward and away from the book.

“She had a view of the seven last plagues. Then she saw the triumph of the saints, and her shouts of triumph I can seem to hear even now. To these facts I freely testify.”

Signed, Elder D. H. Lamson, Hillsdale, Mich., Feb. 8, 1893.

David Seeley

“This is to certify that I have read the above testimonials of David Lamson and Mrs. Drusilla Lamson, concerning the physician’s statement when examining Mrs. E. G. White while she was in vision, June 26, 1854. I was present at that meeting, and witnessed the examination. I agree with what is stated by Brother and Sister Lamson, and would say further that it was Doctor Fleming and another younger physician who made the examination. After Mrs. White rose to her feet, as they have stated, quoting the text of Scripture, Doctor Fleming called for a lighted candle. He held this candle as near her lips as possible without burning, and in direct line with her breath in case she breathed. There was not the slightest flicker of the blaze. The doctor then said, with emphasis, ‘That settles it forever, there is no breath in her body.'”

Signed, David Seeley, Fayette, Iowa, Aug. 29, 1897.

Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Fowler

The following statement relates to an examination made while Mrs. White was in vision in Waldron’s Hall, Hillsdale, Mich., in the month of February, 1857.

“We were present when (in February, 1857) Sister E. G. White had a vision in Waldron’s Hall, Hillsdale. Dr. Lord made an examination, and said, ‘Her heart beats, but there is no breath. There is life, but no action of the lungs; I cannot account for this condition.'”

Signed, A. F. Fowler, Mrs. A. F. Fowler, Hillsdale, Mich., Jan. 1, 1891.

D. T. Bourdeau

“June 28, 1857, I saw Sister Ellen G. White in vision for the first time. I was an unbeliever in the visions; but one circumstance among others that I might mention convinced me that her visions were of God. To satisfy my mind as to whether she breathed or not, I first put my hand on her chest sufficiently long to know that there was no more heaving of the lungs than there would have been had she been a corpse. I then took my hand and placed it over her mouth, pinching her nostrils between my thumb and forefinger, so that it was impossible for her to exhale or inhale air, even if she had desired to do so. I held her thus with my hand about ten minutes, long enough for her to suffocate under ordinary circumstances; she was not in the least affected by this ordeal. Since witnessing this wonderful phenomenon, I have not once been inclined to doubt the divine origin of her visions.”

Signed, D. T. Bourdeau, Battle Creek, Mich., Feb. 4, 1891.

James White Statement, 1868

“1. She is utterly unconscious of everything transpiring around her, as has been proved by the most rigid tests, but views herself as removed from this world, and in the presence of heavenly beings.

2. She does not breathe. During the entire period of her continuance in vision, which has at different times ranged from fifteen minutes to three hours, there is no breath, as has been repeatedly proved by pressing upon the chest, and by closing the mouth and nostrils.

3. Immediately on entering vision, her muscles become rigid, and joints fixed, so far as any external force can influence them. At the same time her movements and gestures, which are frequent, are free and graceful, and cannot be hindered nor controlled by the strongest person.

4. On coming out of vision, whether in the daytime or a well-lighted room at night, all is total darkness. Her power to distinguish even the most brilliant objects, held within a few inches of the eyes, returns but gradually.”

George I. Butler, 1874

“For nearly thirty years past these visions have been given with greater or less frequency, and have been witnessed by many, oftentimes by unbelievers as well as those believing them. They generally, but not always, occur in the midst of earnest seasons of religious interest while the Spirit of God is specially present, if those can tell who are in attendance. The time Mrs. White is in this condition has varied from fifteen minutes to one hundred and eighty. During this time the heart and pulse continue to beat, the eyes are always wide open, and seem to be gazing at some far-distant object, and are never fixed on any person or thing in the room. They are always directed upward. They exhibit a pleasant expression. There is no ghastly look or any resemblance of fainting. The brightest light may be suddenly brought near her eyes, or feints made as if to thrust something into the eye, and there is never the slightest wink or change of expression on that account; and it is sometimes hours and even days after she comes out of this condition before she recovers her natural sight. She says it seems to her that she comes back into a dark world, yet her eyesight is in nowise injured by her visions.

“While she is in vision, her breathing entirely ceases. No breath ever escapes her nostrils or lips when in this condition. This has been proved by many witnesses, among them physicians of skill, and themselves unbelievers in the visions, on some occasions being appointed by a public congregation for the purpose. It has been proved many times by tightly holding the nostrils and mouth with the hand, and by putting a looking glass before them so close that any escape of the moisture of the breath would be detected. In this condition she often speaks words and short sentences, yet not the slightest breath escapes. When she goes into this condition, there is no appearance of swooning or faintness, her face retains its natural color, and the blood circulates as usual. Often she loses her strength temporarily and reclines or sits; but at other times she stands up. She moves her arms gracefully, and often her face is lighted up with radiance as though the glory of heaven rested upon her. She is utterly unconscious of everything going on around her while she is in vision, having no knowledge whatever of what is said and done in her presence. A person may pinch her flesh, and do things which would cause great and sudden pain in her ordinary condition, and she will not notice it by the slightest tremor.

“There are none of the disgusting grimaces or contortions which usually attend spiritualist mediums, but calm, dignified, and impressive, her very appearance strikes the beholder with reverence and solemnity. There is nothing fanatical in her appearance. When she comes out of this condition she speaks and writes from time to time what she has seen while in vision; and the supernatural character of these visions is seen even more clearly in what she thus reveals than in her appearance and condition while in vision, for many things have thus been related which it was impossible for her to know in any other way.

“Peculiar circumstances in the lives of individuals, whom she never before had seen in the flesh, and secrets hidden from the nearest acquaintances, have been made known by her when she had no personal knowledge of the parties other than by vision. Often has she been in an audience where she was wholly unacquainted with the individuals composing it, when she would get up and point out person after person whom she never had seen before, in the flesh, and tell them what they had done, and reprove their sins. I might mention many other items of like nature, but space forbids. These things can be proved by any amount of testimony, and we confidently affirm that they are of such a character that they could not be accomplished by deception” (Review and Herald, June 9, 1874).

Nellie Sisley Starr’s Eyewitness Account of a Vision at a Prayer Meeting, June 12, 1868

“She walked back and forth and talked to us, and as she walked, she fell right down. She fell down gently. She went down as if an angel’s hands were under her. Sister White lay perfectly quiet and unconscious…Her eyes were open, with a pleasant expression on her face. Nothing unnatural or unusual… Brother White said to these large men, ‘Take her hands apart. You have two hands to her one. Just pull her hands apart.’ So they tried. They pulled and pulled till some of us got anxious that they would hurt her.

Brother White said, ‘Don’t be anxious; she is safe in God’s keeping, and you can pull until you are perfectly satisfied.’ They said, ‘We are satisfied now. We don’t need to pull anymore.’

He said, ‘Take up one finger at a time.’ That was impossible. They could not do so much as move a finger. It seemed like a block of granite…Brother White said to these men, ‘Now hold her.’ I think they thought they could. They grasped her by the wrists, but they could not retard the motion. It looked like any child could hold her, but she went on just the same…

‘Now we must see if her eyelids will close.’ There was a large Rochester (kerosene) lamp close by on the stand. He removed the shade and put this light right in front of her eyes. We thought she would move her eyes to protect them. She didn’t. She was perfectly unconscious…the eyelids did not close…

‘Now,’ Brother White said, ‘we must see if there is any breath in her body.’ There didn’t seem to be any. Everything looked all right, only there was no breath. Brother White said, ‘Now we will send out and get a mirror, and we will test it.’ So someone went to the next door and got a mirror, and it was held close to her face, but no moisture gathered. So there was no breathing” (2Bio, 232-234).

J. N. Loughborough Describes a Spirit Medium Doctor Testing a Vision by Ellen White

“I will mention another medical examination that I witnessed at Parkville, St. Joseph County, Mich., Jan. 12, 1861. At the close of an exhortation given by Mrs. White to a large congregation that had assembled at the Adventist meeting-house, the blessing of God rested upon her in a remarkable degree, and she was taken off in vision while seated in her chair. There was present a Doctor Brown, a hale, strong man physically, a spirit medium. He had said that her visions were the same as spirit mediumship, and that if she had one where he was, he could bring her out of it in one minute. An invitation was given for any who desired to do so to come forward, and by examination satisfy themselves as to her condition while in vision.

The doctor came forward, but before he had half completed his examination, he turned deathly pale, and shook like an aspen leaf. Elder White said, ‘Will the doctor report her condition?’ He replied, ‘She does not breathe,’ and rapidly made his way to the door. Those at the door who knew of his boasting said, ‘Go back, and do as you said you would; bring that woman out of her vision.’ In great agitation he grasped the knob of the door, but was not permitted to open it until inquiry was made by those near the door, ‘Doctor, what is it?’ He replied, ‘God only knows; let me out of this house;’ and out he went.”

egw-vision-with-bibleOtis Nichols

“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 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 passage 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.”