Even though there is not a straight line marked out for us as individuals, speaking of the message as a whole, Sister White tells us that “a line of truth extending from that time [“after the passing of the time in 1844…”] to the time when we shall enter the city of God was made plain to me…” (1SM, p. 206).
The line that Sister White saw in vision stretching all the way to the Kingdom was not said to be a line of truth mixed with error but, rather, was described as a “line of truth” (just truth) extending all the way to “the city of God.”
Though the formal organization of the Seventh-day Adventist church did not occur until some years later, Sister White’s vision (illustrated here) put the starting point after the 1844 disappointment because, in a very real sense, the light on the subjects of the sanctuary and a number of other important doctrines were received from that time. If we were to visualize the line of truth Sister White describes, it might look something
Moving forward in time, we know that the line of truth did not jump from the Adventist church back to any of the first-day Millerite Adventist groups that existed at that time. Neither did the line of truth detour later through the Reformed Adventists or any other split-off Adventist group. Almost all Davidians will agree that the next movement or group on the line of truth is the Shepherd’s Rod message that went forth from Mount
Brother Houteff tells us that “when God reveals truth, He is able to lead His servants into all truth, and does not allow such instruments to mix His truth with error. Though they may not understand all, yet the message they bear is the truth and nothing but the truth” (2SR, p. 13). In other words, teachers and “prophets” who incorporate additional erroneous “truth” into their message are not on this straight line of truth, and they can never be part of this straight line of truth as long as they are teaching part error and part truth.
Knowing that the line of truth continues on to the Kingdom of God, it is clear to Davidians that the line must pass through Mount Carmel. But we also know that after Brother Houteff
died, Sister Houteff introduced a great deal of error into the movement. Clearly, it is impossible for the pure line of truth to pass through Sister Houteff’s teachings or through new Mount Carmel. Where, then, did the line of truth go after Brother Houteff’s death and the eventual sale of the “whole” of old Carmel? (10SC, p. 1:3).
After the shepherd was smitten in 1955 and the sheep were scattered (1TG 18:18), Davidian history records that the “Timely-Truth Educator,” published by Brother and Sister Bingham, was the only effective Davidian voice opposing Sister Houteff’s erroneous teachings. The Binghams were also directly responsible, through the Educator, for calling and arranging the crucial 1961 re-organizational Session responsible for saving the Davidian movement that Florence Houteff and New Carmel were right then hard at work destroying.
Without the 1961 Session, the only organized Davidian groups most of the world would have known would have been branch Davidians. Assuming for a moment that we accept this proposition (a historically true proposition, as we will see shortly), and if we also accept the proposition that God still has a people and an Association somewhere in Davidia today, then this unknown true Association must be on the line of truth following both Mount Carmel and the 1961 Session.
The question that we may all reasonably ask at this point is, “Who is this unknown association that is on this line of truth?” Whichever Association it is, Sister White’s vision of the line of truth tells us that this Association must (1) teach truth without added error, and (2) it must come from a previous parent that was on the line of truth, and teaching truth without additional error.
The way we Davidians have tried in the past to answer the question, “which is the true Association today?” has always been primarily through doctrinal discussion. This is not a bad way, in theory, but one which has only produced endless debate and stalemate, in practice. In fact, though, there is a better and less contentious way of reliably answering this question. Brother Houteff tells us that “time and chance [history] are still the most trustworthy witnesses, as well as the best disclosers of mysteries” (14Tr., p. 51). If we were to apply Brother Houteff’s inspired advice to the question of which Association is on the line of truth today, we will find, perhaps surprisingly, that the record of “time and chance” of the Davidian movement since 1955 does, indeed, provide us with a “trustworthy” answer. Since past years of doctrinal argumentation and discussion have often served only to push us farther apart, rather than draw us closer together, perhaps it is worth seeing what “time and chance,” “the best disclosers of mysteries,” have to say on the subject.