Particularly painful to Ellen was the stance taken by the Review editor, Uriah Smith, in connection with the deteriorating Battle Creek College situation. Since the spring of 1853 when Smith had joined the office force in Rochester, New York, he had been a pillar of strength in the development and growth of the church. Now when the Spirit of Prophecy was being challenged, his support was especially needed.
Smith's children, who were attending the school, sided with the liberal element. His own sympathies tended in the same direction. During this period an occasional interchange of letters took place between him and Ellen. In her testimonies relating to Battle Creek, the church, and the college, she had probed the matter and given counsel based on her insights into the conflict and the attitude of various individuals. One key to the problem came to light later by way of Smith's letter to her written August 10, 1882. He explained his hesitancy to accept her counsel regarding some of these matters by saying: "I had always supposed that a testimony was based on a vision, and I did not understand that you had any vision since the recent trouble in the college commenced." Based on this philosophy, Smith attributed reproof and counsel that she wrote concerning school matters to reports she had received or to her own opinions.