by John Loughborough
After passing through Ohio, I went on to Michigan and met Elder Cornell at his house in Plymouth. We went together to Tyrone, Locke, and Jackson. Here we parted, he to meet the Whites at Tyrone, and I to go to Battle Creek, Bedford, and Hastings, then to return and meet him at Jackson. Here a very striking incident occurred.
When I reached the home of Cyrenius Smith in Jackson, the Whites and the Cornells were there. Elder Cornell met me at the door and took me to a grove near the house before I saw Elder or Mrs. White. He told me that Sister White had had a vision, and gave me all the particulars. He said she had written it out and hoped I would get a copy of it, for part of it was about a corrupt woman they knew, and she had given an exact description of the case. Elder and Mrs. White had an appointment where this woman lived, but they themselves did not know where she lived. Sister White kept asking him if he knew, but he would evade a definite answer, telling them that if there were such a woman in the state they would probably find her. I agreed with Elder Cornell to say nothing to them about it, but would try to obtain a copy of the vision, and we would watch to see how the thing came out.
When I went into the house, Sister White began at once to tell me of the wonderful meeting they had at Tyrone in which the Lord had given her a vision of all the Sabbath-keepers in the state, and among other things about a woman who claimed to be so holy she did not need the Ten Commandments, but who was represented to her as a corrupt woman. She continued, "I have been writing out this vision and will read it to you." She had written with pencil upon eight pages of foolscap.
I said, "Sister White, I would like a copy of that vision."
She replied, "This is written with pencil, but if you will make a copy with ink for me, you may have the pencil copy."
The copy of the vision described the case of a woman professing great holiness, and who was trying to intrude herself among our people. Mrs. White had never met her, and had no knowledge of her except what was imparted in vision. She not only told the woman's mode of procedure but also that when she should be reproved, she would put on a sanctimonious look and say, "The — Lord — knows — my — heart." She said this woman was traveling about the country with a young man, while her own husband, an old man, worked at home to support them in their evil course.
After we had meetings in Battle Creek and Hastings, we drove to Vergennes, arriving about four o'clock in the afternoon. We called first on a former Christian minister who lived in a log house yet three miles from the place where the meetings were to be held the next day. Elders White, Cornell, and I stopped under a large apple tree in the yard while Sister White went into the house and talked about the day's journey. Soon she came out and said to her husband, "James, we have reached the church where that woman lives."
"How do you know?" he asked.
She replied, "I have seen the man and woman in this house in vision. He thinks the (corrupt) woman is all right, but she thinks the woman is wrong."
Elder Cornell, who knew the people, whispered to me, "She is absolutely right!!"
When someone announced, "Brother Brigham is coming," Mrs. White looked up and said, "I saw them also in connection with this case, but none in that load have any confidence in the woman." When the next load drove up she said, "That load is divided on the woman's case. Those on the front seat have no confidence, but those in the back think she is all right."
A third load came up and she said of them, "They are all under the woman's influence." Then she added. "There is one man who is opposed to this woman whom I have not yet seen. He has sandy hair and a sandy beard, and there's something peculiar about his eyes."
Just then someone remarked, "Brother Pearsall is coming." "Oh," she said, "that is the man who has spectacles on." There was indeed something peculiar about his eyes. As I was talking with him, I commented about his wearing glasses when he was so young. He explained that his eyes were not mates; one was nearsighted and the other farsighted, so he had special glasses made for him. Elder Cornell and I were where we could whisper occasionally unobserved, and he told me he was acquainted with all these people and the positions they took, and that Mrs. White had declared their positions exactly.
We had no meeting that night. The next morning we went another three miles to the place of meeting. The brethren had made ample provision by seating a large barn, but they had made no stand for the speakers, so we took a new wagon box and turned it upside down to serve as a rostrum. A common light stand was placed on one end of the box, and chairs were used for seats. Sister White sat in a rocking chair at the left end of the rostrum, and I sat next to her with Elder Cornell on my right. Elder White stood preaching at the far end. After he had been speaking about ten minutes, a tall, slim, dark-complexioned woman entered and sat next to the door, followed by an old gentleman and a young man who sat down on the front seat within touch of the stand. I noticed that Mrs. White looked intently at these people. She put her fan to her face and whispered to me, "Do you see the tall woman who just sat down by the door? She is the woman I saw in vision. That old man who sat down in front is her husband, and the young man in the green coat beside him is the one with whom the woman is going about the country. When James gets through, I shall relate the vision and you will see whether or not they are the ones." I confess I was anxious to see how things would develop for I had in writing in my pocket just what this woman would say when Sister White would reprove her.
After a short message, Elder White turned to his wife, "I think someone else has something to say and I will close."
Mrs. White introduced her remarks with the text, "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." Finally she said, "If the Lord called a woman to the ministry, she would not be traveling about the country with a man other than her husband." On uttering these words, there was much agitation in the audience, some nudging their seatmates, and whispering, "Just as I told you."
Sister White came still closer, "Friends, what I am talking about is right here before us. That tall woman who came in and sat by the door a few moments ago claims to be very holy. She also claims to have the gift of tongues. The words she rattles off are mere gibberish. If every nation on earth heard her, not one of them could understand a thing for she does not talk any language. This woman claims a holiness so high she does not need the Ten Commandments. She professes to be sanctified. This old man on the front seat is her husband. God pity him. He toils at home to earn money for her to travel around the country with this young man who sits by his side, — supporting them in their iniquity. God has shown me that with all their pretensions to holiness, this woman and this young man are guilty of violating the seventh commandment." After a few more words, Sister White sat down. The people knew that Mrs. White had just come three miles from her lodging place, and that the other woman had come two miles from the opposite direction, and they had not seen each other before.
As Mrs. White bore her testimony there was an anxious looking toward Mrs. Alcott, the woman reproved, to see how she took it. Had she been innocent of the charge, it would naturally be expected for her to deny the whole thing. With every eye fixed upon her, she slowly rose to her feet, and with a sanctimonious look said slowly, "The — Lord — knows — my — heart," and sat down. Then the forenoon meeting closed.
After we left the barn to take dinner at a brother's house nearby, the woman rallied the people together for a prayer meeting. It was a complete bedlam of voices calling at once, "O Lord! O Lord!" She asked the young man to pray, and what a prayer it was! "O Lord, take care of our persecutors. Send a bucket of tar and a bag of feathers, and a wooden horse, and ride them out of town on a rail," and many other expressions of similar character. Then for a few minutes Mrs. Alcott talked, making no reference whatever to Sister White's talk, but went on to teach her doctrine of sanctification. In the midst of this she broke out with what she called tongues. I reached the barn in time to hear, "Kenne kenni, kenne kenno, kenne kenne, kenne kennue," and the same combined in other order. Then her meeting closed.
It was a hot summer day, and we were taking dinner in a small room. The people pressed so thickly about, stifling the air, that Sister White fainted. Elder White and I offered prayer. The blessing of God came, restoring consciousness, but she was immediately off in vision. Elder White took her up in his arms and carried her out-of-doors among the people who were anxious to see her in vision. Our meeting for the remainder of the day was instruction upon the truths for our people.
The sequel I now relate was told me by residents of Vergennes who carefully watched the case. The next Sunday after our meeting, Mrs. Alcott held a meeting at the school-house. A curious crowd came to hear what she would now say. She made no reference to Sister White, but went on a harangue about holiness. She claimed that she and the young man were being prepared to enter upon a mission among the Highland Indians who lived a few miles away. While she was talking, an Indian lad from the reservation passed the house with his gun on the way to a hunt. Some of the boys who sat near the door asked him to come in for the woman could talk his language. They gave him a seat near the door. As soon as Mrs. Alcott saw him, she broke out with her "Kenne kenni." The Indian stared at her for a while, then seizing his gun he gave a whoop and started off on a run. The boys ran after him and asked what the woman had said. He replied, "Very bad injun that!" "But what did she say?" they pressed him. He replied, "Nothing. She talk no Injun!"
A son of Mr. Alcott by a previous marriage went to his father's house and told this woman what he thought of her. He said, "If God has called you on a mission to the Indians, why are you not about it? I don't believe you can talk the language of the tribe. Will you go with me to the interpreter's house and talk and have it tested?" She agreed and he took her to the interpreter. "Here is a woman who talks your language. I want you to tell me what she says."
After she had talked in tongues and prayed in tongues the interpreter said, "Madam, I have been interpreter for seventeen different tribes of Indians, and you have not uttered a single Indian word." This ended her influence in Vergennes. Shortly before leaving town, the young man friend admitted, "What Mrs. White said about us is all true, — too true!"
(Miracles in My Life, pages 28-32.)