The Controversy Over the Daily
In SDA History

During the General Conference session in Washington in 1909, there surfaced signals of potential doctrinal controversy in which the "daily" of Daniel 8 largely figured. The Bulletin carries no reference to this, but it was in the back of the minds of not a few present at the session. Ellen White was fully aware of this and saw it as a threat to the long-overdue drive for city evangelism. Leading workers who expended their time and energies in doctrinal disputes could not throw themselves wholeheartedly into the evangelistic thrust. The story takes us back before the session, and then moves forward to some months after the session. This background aids in a better understanding of Ellen White's repeated and almost desperate calls for work in the cities. {6BIO 246.1}

Soon after becoming leader of the church in 1901, Elder Daniells was brought into close association with W. W. Prescott, former president of Battle Creek College. As editor of the Review and Herald and vice-president of the General Conference during the period of 1901 to 1909, Prescott worked closely with Daniells. Early in their association, Prescott brought to Daniells' attention what was termed the "new view" of the "daily" of Daniel 8. His own study and association with workers in Europe had led Prescott to question the presentation in the widely read Uriah Smith book Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, which came to be known as the "old view." At the time, and in succeeding months Daniells counseled that "nothing be said, that the matter should not be agitated or discussed," for fear that something wrong might be brought in, and "for fear that the question of heresy might be raised, and people get unsettled, and controversy be set on foot"(DF 200, AGD, in interview at Elmshaven, Jan. 26, 1908). {6BIO 246.2}

The question of the meaning of the daily was not a new one in Adventist history. William Miller had taught that it referred to paganism, but even before the Disappointment, that view was questioned. The classic 1843 chart produced by Fitch, and used by all the Advent preachers, omitted reference to the meaning of the daily. {6BIO 247.1}

In 1847 O. R. L. Crosier had expressed the view that the daily refers to the high-priestly ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. Uriah Smith in 1854 briefly expounded this position (RH, March 28, 1854). But Smith, rising to prominence shortly afterward, in his Thoughts on the Book of Daniel (1873 ed.,p. 163), went back to the view of William Miller. Smith's became the accepted position until the turn of the century, and thus was known as the "old view." Prescott's position was similar to Crosier's, but nevertheless acquired the less-than-accurate designation as the "new view." {6BIO 247.2}

Ellen White had made no mention of the daily in The Great Controversy, her volume dealing with prophecy. Her only use of the term is found in Early Writings, pages 74, 75, where she reports a vision given to her on September 23, 1850, and this in connection with the subject of time setting. {6BIO 247.3}

The Review and Herald of April 4, 1907, carried an article from the pen of pioneer worker J. N. Loughborough, entitled "The Thirteen Hundred and Thirty-five Days," which, while not making reference to it as such, upheld the old view. As the months passed, Review editor W. W. Prescott found it difficult to refrain from introducing the new view of the daily, which to him carried great light. He was aware that while still in Australia, Ellen White had received a letter from L. R. Conradi, leader of the church's work in Europe, stating that he could not harmonize his views on the question with Smith's and that if she had any light on the subject, he would appreciate receiving it. If she had no light, he intended to publish his view--the new view. The fact that Ellen White did not reply to Conradi's letter left the impression that she had no light on the point (DF 201a, WCW to J. E. White, June 1, 1910). {6BIO 247.4}

The matter simmered, Daniells unwilling to make it an issue since he had his hands more than full in the reorganization of the work of the church and the struggle with Battle Creek problems. The matter was discussed now and again at General Conference Committee meetings, with both viewpoints being considered, but no conclusion was reached (DF 200). {6BIO 247.5}

As careful students took time to examine all the evidence, many were led to accept the new view--A. G. Daniells and W. C. White among them--and polarization began to develop. After the close of the Pacific Union Conference session at St. Helena in late January, 1908, some of the workers lingered on to spend a little time at Elmshaven studying the question. They met in the Elmshaven office--Daniells, Prescott, Loughborough, Haskell and his wife, W. C. White, C. C. Crisler, and D. E. Robinson (ibid.). {6BIO 248.1}

The meeting, in place of bringing some solutions to the problem, served only to harden positions. On January 27, 1908, the day after the meeting, S. N. Haskell wrote to A. G. Daniells, stating that "since the interview yesterday morning I have less confidence in the position taken by Elder Prescott than before."--DF 201. {6BIO 248.2}

Counsel Against Agitating the Subject

Before Prescott left for the East on February 6, Ellen White spoke to him about the problem, telling him not to publish anything at that time that would unsettle the minds of the people regarding positions held in the past. She promised to write him on the subject (35 WCW, p. 217). {6BIO 248.3}

She did not write at once, but on June 24, 1908, she wrote to Prescott of perils that at times threatened his ministry. Among other things she said: {6BIO 248.4}

You are not beyond the danger of making mistakes. You sometimes allow your mind to center upon a certain train of thought, and you are in danger of making a mountain out of a molehill.--Letter 224, 1908. {6BIO 248.5}

She spoke of a tendency on his part "to sway from clearly defined truth and give undue attention to some items which seem to require hours of argument to prove, when in reality they do not need to be handled at all." She urged that when tempted to do this he should say, "We cannot afford to arouse arguments upon points that are not essential for the salvation of the soul." "Keep to the simplicity of the Word," she urged. {6BIO 248.6}

A week later she wrote Prescott again in a letter opening with the words: {6BIO 249.1}

I am instructed to say to you, Let there be no questions agitated at this time in the Review that will tend to unsettle minds. . . . We have no time now to enter into unnecessary controversy, but we should earnestly consider the need of seeking the Lord for true conversion of heart and life. There should be determined efforts made to secure sanctification of soul and mind. {6BIO 249.2}

And then she counseled:

It will prove to be a great mistake if you agitate at this time the question regarding the "daily," which has been occupying much of your attention of late. I have been shown that the result of your making this question a prominent issue would be that the minds of a large number will be directed to an unnecessary controversy, and that questioning and confusion will be developed in our ranks. . . . My brother, let us be slow to raise questions that will be a source of temptation to our people. {6BIO 249.3}

Then she referred to her own relation to the matter and the fact that God had given no special revelation on it, declaring: {6BIO 249.4}

I have had no special light on the point presented for discussion, and I do not see the need of this discussion. But I am instructed to tell you that this small matter, upon which you are concentrating your thought, will become a great mountain unless you determine to let it alone. {6BIO 249.5}

I have been instructed that the Lord has not placed upon you the burden you are now carrying regarding this matter, and that it is not profitable for you to spend so much time and attention in its consideration. . . . There have been different opinions regarding the "daily," and there will continue to be. If the Lord has seen fit to let this matter rest for so many years without correcting the same, would it not be wisdom on your part to refrain from presenting your views concerning it?--Letter 226, 1908. (Italics supplied.) {6BIO 249.6}

This letter was not sent off immediately, and we are not informed of what Ellen White may have instructed him orally, but no articles on the subject appeared in subsequent issues of the Review. {6BIO 249.7}

S. N. Haskell and the 1843 Chart

On August 28, 1908, almost two months after writing to Prescott, she wrote to Elder S. N. Haskell, a stalwart advocate of the old view. Because Ellen White in Early Writings had made reference to "the 1843 chart" in connection with a mention of the daily, Haskell had arranged for the publication of a facsimile copy of the chart and was circulating it. Her testimony to Haskell opened: {6BIO 250.1}

I have had cautions given me in regard to the necessity of our keeping a united front. This is a matter of importance to us at this time. As individuals we need to act with the greatest caution. {6BIO 250.2}

I wrote to Elder Prescott, telling him that he must be exceedingly careful not to introduce subjects in the Review that would seem to point out flaws in our past experience. I told him that this matter on which he believes a mistake has been made is not a vital question, and that, should it be given prominence now, our enemies would take advantage of it, and make a mountain out of a molehill. {6BIO 250.3}

She continued:

To you also I say that this subject should not be agitated at this time. Now, my brother, I feel that at this crisis in our experience that chart which you have had republished should not be circulated. You have made a mistake in this matter. Satan is determinedly at work to bring about issues that will create confusion. There are those who would be delighted to see our ministers at an issue on this question, and they would make much of it.--Letter 250, 1908. {6BIO 250.4}

While she was without special light from the Lord on the particular point in question, she did receive light on the matter of the controversy the discussion was causing, and she wrote, "I have been instructed that regarding what might be said on either side of this question, silence at this time is eloquence." She pointed out that "Satan is watching for an opportunity to create division among our leading ministers." In this two-page letter she made a second reference to the chart Haskell had printed. Under the chart he had quoted words from Early Writings in regard to the view of the daily held by those who gave the "judgment hour cry" in the early 1840s. She wrote him, "It was a mistake to publish the chart until you could all get together and come to an agreement concerning the matter. You have not acted wisely in bringing to the front a subject that must create discussion, and the bringing out of various opinions." {6BIO 250.5}

Then, significantly, in closing her letter, she declared:

Elder Haskell, I am unable to define clearly the points that are questioned. Let us not agitate a subject that will give the impression that as a people we hold varied opinions, and thus open the way for those to work who wish to leave the impression on minds that we are not led by God. It will also be a source of temptation to those who are not thoroughly converted, and will lead to the making of rash moves.--ibid. (Italics supplied.) {6BIO 251.1}

How different was the situation brought to view here than in 1905 when Ellen White was called upon to meet decisively the views advocated by Elder A. F. Ballenger, which involved the work of Christ in man's behalf in the heavenly sanctuary. On that she had not only the evidence of the confirming miracle-working power of the Spirit of God in the establishment of the doctrine but repeated visions, as well, pointing out the errors in the views of Dr. Kellogg and Elder Ballenger, which would, if accepted, do away with that fundamental truth. {6BIO 251.2}

The Issue of Inspiration

In the case of the daily, however, those who held the old view, with Haskell in the lead, maintained that to veer away from it would strike a mortal blow to confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy because of what they claimed was her endorsement of that view in the chapter "The Gathering Time," published in her first little book in 1851 and republished in Early Writings, pages 74-76. {6BIO 251.3}

In this chapter, written in September, 1850, in the context of time setting and containing such expressions as "Time has not been a test since 1844, and it will never again be a test" and "The message of the third angel . . . must not be hung on time," she wrote: {6BIO 251.4}

I have seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered; that the figures were as He wanted them; that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until His hand was removed. {6BIO 252.1}

Then I saw in relation to the "daily" (Dan. 8:12) that the word "sacrifice" was supplied by man's wisdom, and does not belong to the text, and that the Lord gave the correct view of it to those who gave the judgment hour cry. When union existed, before 1844, nearly all were united on the correct view of the "daily"; but in the confusion since 1844, other views have been embraced, and darkness and confusion have followed. Time has not been a test since 1844, and it will never again be a test.--EW, pp. 74, 75. {6BIO 252.2}

The advocates of the old view maintained that the wording of this statement placed Heaven's endorsement on the view of the daily held by Miller and eventually repeated by Uriah Smith. The new-view advocates held that the statement must be taken in its context--the context of time setting. Ellen White's repeated statements that "I have no light on the point" (Letter 226, 1908) and "I am unable to define clearly the points that are questioned" (Letter 250, 1908), and her inability to make a definite statement when the question was urged upon her, seemed to give support to their conclusion. They were confident also that the messages given through Ellen White would not conflict with the clearly established events of history. {6BIO 252.3}

While some who were involved in the discussion attempted to follow the counsel against agitating the matter of the "daily" as one of importance, and no articles on the subject appeared in the Review, Haskell did not remain silent. While he was willing to concede that the matter of the "daily" was one that should take a position of minor importance, and the question of the "daily" itself did not "amount to a hill of beans" (S. N. Haskell to WCW, Dec. 6, 1909) and he had never preached on the subject, his concern was "to save the cause of God and those who believe the old views on the teachings of the Spirit of Prophecy" (S. N. Haskell to AGD, Jan. 27, 1908). Writing to Elder Daniells on March 22, 1908, Haskell declared: {6BIO 252.4}

It is the Early Writings that I would defend and as long as I believe they teach the view I take, and there are many others that believe the same, and if Sister White does not give any explanation in harmony with Prescott's idea to defend the testimonies for the sake of others I shall defend them. Must I be made to believe the testimonies teach a certain thing, contrary to my own judgment and the reading of the writings, when Sister White herself does not so explain it? {6BIO 253.1}

Thus, with not a few the discussion took on a major significance--namely, the integrity of the testimonies and loyalty to the Spirit of Prophecy. The question of revelation-inspiration was pressed to the front. Quite a number of leaders became involved, but we may look to S. N. Haskell as representing certain views and Elders A. G. Daniells and W. C. White taking another position. All three had labored very closely with Ellen White and had unquestioned confidence in her call and work. The crux of the matter was an understanding of and interpretation of the Early Writings statement. Said Haskell: {6BIO 253.2}

If Sister White says that she does not mean what she said when she said what she did on the "daily," then I will say no more.--S. N. Haskell to CCC, March 30, 1908. {6BIO 253.3}

Daniells just as pointedly made his understanding clear:

I want to tell you plainly that it is my deep conviction that those who hold the new view and who interpret the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy in harmony with that view, as Brother Prescott has done in his tract, are the truest friends of the gift of prophecy in our ranks. I believe that those who interpret that passage in Early Writings as supporting the "old view" are doing your mother a great wrong. They are arraying her against the plain text of the Scripture, and all the reliable history of the world. {6BIO 253.4}

As I look at it, your mother and her writings need to be protected from such short-sighted expositors. Every time I review this study I am profoundly thankful that the passage in Early Writings is so susceptible of interpretation which is in harmony with both Scripture and history. . . . {6BIO 253.5}

If they [our brethren] will expound Daniel 8:9-14 by the Scriptures and history they will establish a harmony between the Bible, the testimonies, and history, and this will establish the confidence of many thousands of our people.--AGD to WCW, Feb. 22, 1910. {6BIO 254.1}

Study of the Context Important

Concerning this whole matter, W. C. White, after spending a day or two studying it through carefully, on June 1, 1910, wrote to Edson, taking the position that the context of the statement must be considered. {6BIO 254.2}

It is evident that the vision of September 23, 1850, as published in Early Writings, new edition, pages 74-76, under the title "The Gathering Time," was given to correct the prevalent error of time setting, and to check the fanatical doctrines being taught regarding the return of the Jews to Jerusalem. {6BIO 254.3}

The statement concerning the "daily" of Daniel 8:9-14, as published in Early Writings, appeared first in Present Truth, Vol. I, No. 11, dated Paris, Maine, November, 1850. During the same month and in the same place, there was published the first number of Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, which has continued as the church paper of Seventh-day Adventists ever since. In this first number appears an article by Elder Joseph Bates on "The Laodicean Church," in which he writes at considerable length on the confused state of various bodies of Advent believers, in contrast with the unity that the commandment-keeping Adventists were endeavoring to maintain. {6BIO 254.4}

On the point of confusion of many bodies of Adventists, at that period in their history, over the question of prophetic "time," he declares: {6BIO 254.5}

"For six successive years, viz: from the fall of 1844 to the spring and fall of 1850, the most of these leading members have been aiding and assisting each other in changing the chronology, i.e., the world's history, to prove that they were on the true position. What have they gained? Answer, nothing but disappointment and confusion. This, too, in direct opposition to their standard work--Advent Shield. It has not proved to be their shield, that is clear. Six times did we say, yes more. Some have moved the time for the termination of the 2300 days, from fall to spring, for six years in succession, and thus they have almost finished a circle (if seven years would make one), instead of gaining one inch the right way." {6BIO 254.6}

One month later [December, 1850], in [Second Advent] Review and [Sabbath] Herald, Vol. I, No. 2, Elder James White wrote as follows: {6BIO 255.1}

"Our Present Position"

"There has never been a time since we first embraced the Advent faith, that our position looked so clear and satisfactory as at the present. Our pathway, like 'the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,' is brightening at every step we take. This was to be the portion of the 'just,' who in the waiting, watching time, should 'live by faith.' {6BIO 255.2}

"The 2300 days.--This prophetic period has been, and still is, the main pillar of the Advent faith. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that we have a correct view of the commencement and termination of this period, in order to understand our present position. {6BIO 255.3}

"B.C. 457 was the year presented, and clearly proved by Brother Miller, as the true date for the commencement of the 2300 days. It was published to the world by every Second Advent paper in the land, by books, and by public lectures, as the true date. The proof was so very conclusive that those who examined the point with candor embraced it at once. Learned opponents did not, and could not, show that we were incorrect in dating the 2300 days from B.C. 457. With this clearly ascertained date for the commencement of the main pillar of the 'original' Advent faith, lecturers went forth united to give the judgment-hour cry. This was the date written upon the 'chronological chart of the visions of Daniel and John, published by J. V. Himes, 14 Devonshire St.' {6BIO 255.4}

"It was the united testimony of Second Advent lecturers and papers, when standing on 'the original faith,' that the publication of the chart was a fulfillment of Habakkuk 2:2, 3. If the chart was a subject of prophecy (and those who deny it leave the original faith), then it follows that B.C. 457 was the year from which to date the 2300 days. It was necessary that 1843 should be the first published time in order that 'the vision' should 'tarry,' or that there should be a tarrying time, in which the virgin band was to slumber and sleep on the great subject of time, just before they were to be aroused by the Midnight Cry."--DF 201a, WCW to J. E. White, June 1, 1910. {6BIO 255.5}

W. C. White in his letter to Edson then pointed out that these facts must be kept in mind as one studies the statements in Early Writings in which the daily is mentioned. {6BIO 256.1}

At one point a little later in the discussions, Elder Daniells, accompanied by W. C. White and C. C. Crisler, eager to get from Ellen White herself just what the meaning was of her Early Writings statement, went to her and laid the matter before her. Daniells took with him Early Writings and the 1843 chart. He sat down close to Ellen White and plied her with questions. His report of this interview was confirmed by W. C. White: {6BIO 256.2}

I first read to Sister White the statement given above in Early Writings. Then I placed before her our prophetic chart used by our ministers in expounding the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. I called her attention to the picture of the sanctuary and also to the 2300-year period as they appeared on the chart. {6BIO 256.3}

I then asked if she could recall what was shown her regarding this subject. {6BIO 256.4}

As I recall her answer, she began by telling how some of the leaders who had been in the 1844 movement endeavored to find new dates for the termination of the 2300-year period. This endeavor was to fix new dates for the coming of the Lord. This was causing confusion among those who had been in the Advent Movement. {6BIO 256.5}

In this confusion the Lord revealed to her, she said, that the view that had been held and presented regarding the dates was correct, and that there must never be another time set, nor another time message. {6BIO 256.6}

I then asked her to tell what had been revealed to her about the rest of the "daily"--the Prince, the host, the taking away of the "daily," and the casting down of the sanctuary. {6BIO 256.7}

She replied that these features were not placed before her in vision as the time part was. She would not be led out to make an explanation of those points of the prophecy. {6BIO 256.8}

The interview made a deep impression upon my mind. Without hesitation she talked freely, clearly, and at length about the 2300-year period, but regarding the other part of the prophecy she was silent. {6BIO 257.1}

The only conclusion I could draw from her free explanation of the time and her silence as to the taking away of the "daily" and the casting down of the sanctuary was that the vision given her was regarding the time, and that she received no explanation as to the other parts of the prophecy.--DF 201b, AGD statement, Sept. 25, 1931. {6BIO 257.2}

To understand her comment on the daily written in the early 1850's we need to understand a little of the controversy taking place at the time. In the years following 1844 many of the Millerites were looking for new dates from which to begin the 2300 day prophecy and thus establish a new date for Christ's second coming. But about 1849, a new argument was introduced and a new basis for the 2300-year calculation was projected by nominal Adventists. They accepted the word “sacrifice” as belonging in the text in connection with “daily,” and began contending this meant Jewish sacrifices. New interpretations of the timeline were being established on this new basis. New charts were being produced by these nominal Adventists that illustrate the problem Ellen White is addressing.

Since charts figure in this matter, Ellen White's comments in the above interview that imply she was referring to this time setting are given strong support as the reckoning of the Cummings 1854 "prophetic chart" is studied. In this the Jewish altar of "daily sacrifice" in 446 B.C. is used as the starting point for a new 2300-year time span set to end in 1854. This chart, published at Concord, New Hampshire, in 1853, was typical of charts that commenced the 2300 days with what was said to be the taking away of the "daily sacrifice." [THE ORIGINAL OF THIS CHART, PROBABLY NEVER SEEN BY DANIELLS, IS NOW IN THE ADVENT SOURCE COLLECTION AT ANDREWS UNIVERSITY.] {6BIO 257.3}

A Call to Halt the Controversy

Ellen White watched with growing anxiety and distress the time-consuming controversy between leading brethren on an unimportant point and one on which she repeatedly said she had received no light. On July 31, 1910, she could restrain herself no longer. She took her pen and wrote: {6BIO 257.4}

I have words to speak to my brethren east and west, north and south. I request that my writings shall not be used as the leading argument to settle questions over which there is now so much controversy. I entreat of Elders Haskell, Loughborough, Smith, and others of our leading brethren, that they make no reference to my writings to sustain their views of the "daily." {6BIO 257.5}

It has been presented to me that this is not a subject of vital importance. I am instructed that our brethren are making a mistake in magnifying the importance of the difference in the views that are held. I cannot consent that any of my writings shall be taken as settling this matter. The true meaning of the "daily" is not to be made a test question. {6BIO 257.6}

I now ask that my ministering brethren shall not make use of my writings in their arguments regarding this question; for I have had no instruction on the point under discussion, and I see no need for the controversy. Regarding this matter under present conditions, silence is eloquence.--MS 11, 1910 (see also 1SM, p. 164). {6BIO 258.1}

She pointed out that "the enemy of our work is pleased when a subject of minor importance is used to divert the minds of our brethren from the great questions that should be the burden of our message," and she insisted that as this was not a test question, it should not be treated as such. Then in this connection, obviously speaking of Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, which she held in high esteem, she wrote: {6BIO 258.2}

In some of our important books that have been in print for years, and which have brought many to a knowledge of the truth, there may be found matters of minor importance that call for careful study and correction. Let such matters be considered by those regularly appointed to have the oversight of our publications. Let not these brethren, nor our canvassers, nor our ministers magnify these matters in such a way as to lessen the influence of these good soul-saving books.--Ibid. (see also 1SM, p. 165). {6BIO 258.3}

She pointed out that "should we take up the work of discrediting our literature, we would place weapons in the hands of those who have departed from the faith and confuse the minds of those who have newly embraced the message" and advised that "the less that is done unnecessarily to change our publications, the better it will be."--Ibid. In closing the communication, she called everyone back to the earnest counsel that had been given to warn the cities. {6BIO 258.4}

A few days later, on August 3, 1910, she addressed a communication to the ministry of the church: {6BIO 258.5}

To My Brethren in the Ministry:
Dear Fellow Workers: I have words to speak to Brethren Butler, Loughborough, Haskell, Smith, Gilbert, Daniells, Prescott, and all who have been active in urging their views in regard to the meaning of the "daily" of Daniel 8. This is not to be made a test question, and the agitation that has resulted from its being treated as such has been very unfortunate. Confusion has resulted, and the minds of some of our brethren have been diverted from the thoughtful consideration that should have been given to the work that the Lord has directed should be done at this time in our cities. This has been pleasing to the great enemy of our work. {6BIO 259.1}

The light given me is that nothing should be done to increase the agitation upon this question. Let it not be brought into our discourses, and dwelt upon as a matter of great importance. We have a great work before us, and we have not an hour to lose from the essential work to be done. Let us confine our public efforts to the presentation of the important lines of truth on which we are united, and on which we have clear light.--Letter 62, 1910 (see also 1SM, p. 167). {6BIO 259.2}

Then she referred to the last prayer of Christ calling for unity, brought to view in John 17, and commented, "There are many subjects upon which we can speak--sacred, testing truths, beautiful in their simplicity. On these you may dwell with intense earnestness. But," she urged, "let not the 'daily,' or any other subject that will arouse controversy among brethren, be brought in at this time, for this will delay and hinder the work that the Lord would have the minds of our brethren centered upon just now." And she pleaded, "Let us not agitate questions that will reveal a marked difference of opinion, but rather let us bring from the Word the sacred truths regarding the binding claims of the law of God." --Ibid. {6BIO 259.3}

As to the discourses of Seventh-day Adventist ministers, her counsel continued: {6BIO 259.4}

Our ministers should seek to make the most favorable presentation of truth. So far as possible, let all speak the same things. Let the discourses be simple, and treating upon vital subjects that can be easily understood. . . . We must blend together in the bonds of Christlike unity; then our labors will not be in vain. Draw in even cords, and let no contentions be brought in. Reveal the unifying power of truth, and this will make a powerful impression on human minds. In unity there is strength.--Ibid. (see also 1SM, pp. 167, 168). {6BIO 259.5}

She closed her appeal with the admonition that "while the present condition of difference of opinion . . . exists, let it not be made prominent. Let all contention cease. At such a time silence is eloquence."--Ibid. (see also 1SM, p. 168). {6BIO 260.1}

Futility of Controversy Over Minor Doctrinal Points

These clear-cut messages, in which proponents of both sides of the controversy over the daily were named and called upon to cease and desist, brought to a halt open discussions and freed a number of the leading men involved to give attention to more important lines of endeavor. There was forever made clear the futility of involvement in doctrinal controversy on points of minor importance, or points on which there is no clear light in the Spirit of Prophecy writings. Among other factors, the incident brought to the front points for consideration in the study of revelation and inspiration, opening the way for positive, fruitful approaches. It did not, as was feared by the adherents of the old view, destroy confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy itself. {6BIO 260.2} At the same time it brought to view the lengths to which men who were brethren would go in attempts to accomplish their determined ends. One illustration of this was provided in the manner in which private personal testimonies were used. A linotype operator at the Review and Herald office, who had been reared in the Midwest in a community of "staunch old patriarchs" who had an undying love and zeal for the truth, was led to espouse the old view of the daily. He won the confidence of the custodian of the General Conference files containing in bound form testimonies sent to leading men, and gained access to materials that should have been held in confidence, testimonies to key individuals that at times dealt with matters between them and God. In the controversy, excerpts from these personal testimonies were used to discredit key men who held the new view. Daniells decried the access that was given to private testimonies and believed that shockingly indiscreet use was made of some of them. Certain men, he declared, seemed to have their pockets full of personal testimonies (AGD to WCW, Aug. 5, 1910). {6BIO 260.3}

As Elder Daniells traveled around the field, he was often called upon to deal with questions asked about Ellen White and the Spirit of Prophecy. This was true also in his correspondence. He found that taking into account the contextual considerations often solved what seemed to be difficult questions. When pressed as to why an ordained minister was managing a denominational sanitarium when Sister White had spoken against ministers performing largely administrative duties, he pointed out that the state of the man's health was a factor. He urged that it would not do to take a single statement and stretch it beyond its purpose and meaning. {6BIO 261.1}

W. C. White repeatedly declared his position that statements in the Spirit of Prophecy must be taken in their proper context. On the question of the Early Writings statement in which the daily is mentioned, he considered it relevant that his mother had written much concerning the importance of the Advent Movement and of the 2300-year prophecy, while the nature of the daily itself was "wholly ignored" in all her writings except in one thirty-five-word sentence, found in the middle of the argument that "time has not been a test since 1844, and it will never again be a test." To him the context of the statement found in Early Writings seemed to involve the entire article in which the statement was originally written, the entire scope of the Ellen White writings on the subject, and the historical background of the original writing (DF 201b, WCW to J. E. White, June 1, 1910). {6BIO 261.2} But larger issues than the identity of the daily concerned W. C. White: {6BIO 261.3}

I have told some of our brethren that I thought there were two questions connected with this [daily] matter that were of more importance than the decision which shall be made as to which is most nearly correct, the old or the new view regarding the "daily." The first is, How shall we deal with one another when there is difference of opinion? Second, How shall we deal with Mother's writings in our effort to settle doctrinal questions?-- WCW to AGD, March 13, 1910. {6BIO 261.4}


10 Sept, 2003