During the last few weeks leading up to April 21, 1844óthe time first thought to be the end of the 2300-day prophecyópreparations for the glorious advent of Christ intensified. The rich and the poor, the high and the low, ministers and laymen, crowded into Portland's Beethoven Hall to hear the final exhortations to repent. Ellen White recalled the unity and peace among those of the sincere believers in her circle of friends and family:
How carefully and tremblingly did we approach the time of expectation. We sought, as a people, with solemn earnestness to purify our lives that we might be ready to meet the Saviour at His coming. . . .
Worldly business was for the most part laid aside for a few weeks. We carefully scrutinized every thought and emotion of our hearts as if upon our deathbeds. . . . There was no making "ascension robes" for the greatevent; we felt the need of internal evidence that we were prepared to meet Christ. . . .
But the time of expectation passed. . . . The disappointment of God'swaiting people was great (ibid., pp. 180-184).
Although perplexed and disappointed, they did not renounce their faith. Ellen said:
We fully believed that God, in His wisdom, designed that His people should meet with a disappointment, which was well calculated to reveal hearts and develop the true characters of those who had professed to look for and rejoice in the coming of the Lord (ibid., p. 186).