Bates had been troubled with serious doubts as to the visions, but the evidence in the experience at Topsham, Maine, at the home of Eli Curtis in November 1846, was such that he accepted them wholeheartedly from that time forth. Bates told the story to his friend J. N. Loughborough, who recorded it in his book The Great Second Advent Movement.
Mrs. White, while in vision, began to talk about the stars, giving a glowing description of rosy-tinted belts which she saw across the surface of some planet, and added, "I see four moons."
"Oh," said Elder Bates, "she is viewing Jupiter!"
Then having made motions as though traveling through space, she began giving a description of belts and rings in their ever-varying beauty, and said, "I see seven moons."
Elder Bates exclaimed, "She is describing Saturn."
Next she said, "I see six moons," and at once began a description of Uranus, with its six moons; then a wonderful description of the "opening heavens," with its glory, calling it an opening into a region more enlightened. Elder Bates said that her description far surpassed any account of the opening heavens he had ever read from any author.
While she was talking and still in vision, he arose to his feet, and exclaimed, "Oh, how I wish Lord John Rosse was here tonight!" Elder White inquired, "Who is Lord John Rosse?"
"Oh," said Elder Bates, "he is the great English astronomer. I wish he was here to hear that woman talk astronomy, and to hear that description of the ëopening heavens.' It is ahead of anything I ever read on the subject" (GSAM, p. 258).
Ellen White reported of this experience that took place in the Eli Curtis home:
After I came out of vision I related what I had seen. Elder Bates then asked if I had studied astronomy. I told him I had no recollection of ever looking into an astronomy.
Said he, "This is of the Lord." I never saw him as free and happy before. His countenance shone with the light of heaven, and he exhorted the church with power (1LS, p. 239).