During the months that led up to October 22, 1844, the believers were absolutely united in their confidence that Jesus would come on the appointed day. But as the weeks stretched into months a wedge began to separate the Adventists. Fanatical teachings and actions on the part of some divided the little group who clung to their confidence that prophecy had been fulfilled on October 22. A few, following what they interpreted to be the biddings of God's Word, but lacking balance and a true understanding of what it means to follow Christ, became involved in strange and sometimes wild fanaticism.
A small group, however, having cut loose from church creeds and church discipline, maintained their purpose to find their guidance in God's Word alone. They patiently awaited the dawning of light, that they might gain a true understanding of their position and work. These became the spiritual forebears of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Into this scene the 17-year-old Ellen Harmon was cast. She began her work by encouraging the believers and countering fanaticism, a work that was to continue through the next year or two.