Why Did Israel Dammon Reject Ellen White?
He witnessed her visions. He witnessed her miracles.
Why did this Adventist leader reject Ellen White?
Israel Dammon was a leader among the Adventists during the period of 1844-1846. He was a friend of the Whites and accompanied them on some of their travels.
Witnesses Supernatural Events
In the fall of 1846, Dammon accompanied the Whites and Joseph Bates on a trip to Poland, Maine. According to a second-hand account written by J.N. Loughborough in The Prophetic Gift in the Gospel Church, the horse pulling their wagon was "partly-broken" and its wild, erratic behavior had in the past caused the death of two men. Loughborough writes that in the midst of the trip Mrs. White went into a trance. As soon as she went into vision the horse "stopped perfectly still, and dropped his head, looking like a sleepy old horse." While Mrs. White remained in vision, the horse stood perfectly still. When the vision was over, the horse started up on his own "without any indication from his driver." From that time to the completion of their trip the wild horse was "completely tamed."
In addition to the vision mentioned above, Israel Dammon was also present during a number of Mrs. White's early visions. He was present during Mrs. White's vision in February, 1845, at James Ayer's home in Atkinson, Maine, and he even witnessed some of her visions that took place in his own home. (It is most likely that the theme of those early visions was the shut door of salvation.)
Dammon Rejects Mrs. White as a Prophet
After 1846, Dammon no longer regarded Ellen White as a prophet. Despite the supposed miraculous taming of the wild horse, despite the visions he witnessed where Mrs. White described the shut door of salvation (which Dammon himself advocated at that time), Dammon chose to part company with the Whites. He and his wife wrote a candid explanation of their decision to place their trust in the Bible alone:
"We were formerly acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. White, and for a time had confidence in her visions, but for a good many years have had none at all. When we saw that they conflicted one with another, we renounced them altogether, and betook ourselves to the word of the Lord.
"It has been some twenty years or more since we were associated with Mrs. W.; but we remember very perfectly that her first visions or vision was told both by herself and others (especially by Mrs. W.) in connection with the preaching of the "shut door," and went to substantiate the same. While under that influence, and preaching the visions, she, in vision, saw N. G. Reed and I. Dammon, in the kingdom in an immortal state, and crowned. After that, she saw them finally lost. How could both be true? I think one was just as true as the other, and that God never told her any such thing."1
Another possible reason Dammon parted company with the Whites was the harsh letter James White wrote to him. Adventist Elder J. B. Goodrich mentions a visit he had with the Dammons in which the letter was discussed:
"I called on Eld. Dammon and wife, and had a talk with them. Eld. Dammon has an old grudge against
Bro. White for a letter he wrote him in 1845 or '46. He says he censured him to the wrath of
God, and he thinks he had no reason to do so."2
Israel Dammon was one of the first to reject Ellen White. Down through the decades many, many others have followed in his footsteps. If there is one lesson we can learn from Israel Dammon's rejection of Mrs. White, it is this: A supposed miracle or a vision does not prove a person to be a prophet of God. A prophet of God must pass the Seven Biblical Tests of a Prophet.
1. Miles Grant, An Examination of Mrs. Ellen White's Visions, Boston: Published by the Advent Christian Publication Society, 1877.
2. Defense of Eld. James White and Wife: Vindication of their Moral and Christian Character, pp. 108-9, letter by Elder J. B. Goodrich (written early in 1870).