Historical Events

Fannie Bolton, a very zealous Adventist, discovers Ellen White hypocritically eating shellfish and beef steaks while talking about being a holy vegetarian.

Fannie Bolton's Testimony

Anonymous, The Gathering Call, February, 1932, pp. 16-22

"We were very zealous and conscientious believers in the Testimonies and other writings of Mrs. White being given by inspiration of God until one who was very closely associated with her work and in whose integrity we had perfect confidence, told my companion and myself many things connected with that work which showed us it was subject to very much human manipulation, though our informant seemed to be trying to uphold the work as of God. We could not doubt the truth of what we heard, and when later we saw truth in the Bible which these writings contradicted, we had no hesitancy to “maintain the Bible and the Bible only as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms.”


In 1912, we were in Battle Creek for some weeks. One day while at the home of a friend she called our attention to a lady who was passing and said, “There goes Miss Fannie Bolton. Wouldn’t you like to meet her?” We replied that we should. We had once asked why she had separated from Mrs. White’s work and the answer had been given that she had told some things that she should not have told. We had never before seen Miss Bolton."


When we had opportunity we told her that we would like to have a talk with her regarding her experiences while connected with Mrs. White’s work as one who was of much interest to us was still there and had told us of some things. Miss Bolton said she would meet us that and the following afternoons in a park where we could talk without interruption. The following is a crude report of that interview just as I wrote it with pen and paper as Miss Bolton talked. I could add many items which I heard from her later, but this is all that I ever wrote down just while she told it and I have not changed any of the wording. I am sorry some personal items appear but I do not wish to change it in any way now, and nothing that I heard later discredited anything that is here written.


She [Fannie Bolton] was converted to S. D. Adventism about the year 1885. Was very zealous. Had previously attended Evanston College in Illinois. Experienced in writing essays which girls passed off as their own productions. Thru Elder George B. Starr, who had brot [sic] the “truth” to her she was called to work with Sister White. She was very conscientious in following out all instructions given in the Testimonies and discarded articles of diet condemned by them. It seemed a wonderful thing to her that she should be called upon to help in the work of a prophet of the Lord.


Elder Starr went with her to the station in Chicago where she was to meet Sister White and party and go with them to Healdsburg, California. This was about two years after she had become a Sabbath keeper. Elder Starr was anxious to personally conduct her into the presence of Sister White, but she was not readily found. He asked Eld. W. C. White regarding her whereabouts but he simply replied that she was somewhere about in the company. At last, in a corner of an eating room, rather screened off from others, she was found making a breakfast of raw oysters, with vinegar, pepper and salt in evidence before her. Sister Fannie was a young, inexperienced girl, but surprise, horror and bewilderment took possession of her. She was shocked beyond expression and Eld. Starr took her aside as he noted from the expression of her face how she felt and told her she must not let it trouble her that Sister White did this, that she needed such refreshment to fit her for her long, tiresome trip, and that raw oysters are very easily digested. But Sister White from this time seemed like a Sphinx to Sister Bolton. [See Starr’s comments, p. 118]

There was quite a party of them and they occupied a tourist car to themselves. One day she saw Eld. W. C. White enter the car with an open brown paper spread in his hand on which was a piece of bloody thick beefsteak. This looked horrible to her, but it was handed to Miss Sarah McEnterfer who cooked it an an oil stove and it was passed to the company after being cut up. Marion Davis and Fannie Bolton did not eat of it. Most or all of the others did.

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