Did Canright Recant?

Sources: The Case of D.M. Canright, pp. 139-142 (Library of Congress Catalog Number: 64-23172), and two letters from E.S. Ballenger

Through the years Seventh-day Adventists have circulated many falsehoods concerning D.M. Canright. They have falsely reported that he regretted leaving the sect, that he recanted, and that he asked to be reinstated in the sect he had left. Evidence showing the falsehood of those accusations is presented below.

Canright's daughter, Mrs. Genevieve Day wrote this letter in April 18, 1921, shortly after his death:

Dear Mr. Fulton:

Your letter with enclosure from the lady inquiring about father is just received and I wish to thank you for your kindness. It is surprising how persistent the Adventists are with thier lies. There seems to be quite an epidemic of them recently. We didn't hear much about them for some time but almost every day brings something new.

It may be due to a claim that I was notified about from California recently, that it is being told that my cousin [Alta] who was very kind to father and also to us at the time father was in the hospital at Battle Creek, has stated that father confessed to her that he repudiated his writings against Adventism. According to her written reply in regard to this she stated that as much as she wishes it were so, as she is a devoted Adventist, there is absolutely no ground for any such statements and she even says that she would like to know who is telling such a falsehood. I am telling you this so that you will understand what to say if that rumor reaches you.

We wish to thank you for your kindness in regard to these repeated accusations that the Adventists are sending out.

Genevieve C. Dey

The following is an excerpt from a letter that Canright's son wrote on May 23, 1962:

He [Canright] thought very highly of most of his Adventist friends, but he certainly didn't agree with them on their religion. As to his wanting to return to them at any time after he left them, I can say it is an absolute falsehood, if anyone makes that statement.

Many others who knew Canright during his last days affirmed that he never recanted from his beliefs about Adventism. Here is one letter from a friend, written November 9, 1939:

Dear Brother Keithley:

So you are having inquiries about our good old brother Canright. Well, I used to have them quite frequently when I was pastor at Berean.

The dear old brother was true to the faith once for all delivered to the saints, to the very end. He did not recant on his deathbed. I used to call on him before he died and was present and took part in his funeral services...

Yours coridally,
H.C. Fulton

Below are two letters from E.S. Ballenger, a personal friend of D.M. Canright. The first is to Harry S. Weaver, Sept. 29, 1933:

I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with him about a week or ten days before he died. I asked him definitely regarding his hope and he expressed great confidence in the Lord and in the assurance he had of being accepted. He died very quietly and peacefully and never made any confession or expressed any regrets regarding his course after leaving the denomination.

E.S. Ballenger letter to Paul N. Barker, April 5, 1953:

I spent an afternoon with D. M. Canright, just a week before he died and I had a very intimate conversation with him. He felt perfectly ready, to meet his Lord and was expecting that the time of his end was near at hand. Many grossly false reports have been circulated regarding him. He died at the home of one of his daughters. After his death, two of his daughters came to see me. They were greatly incensed at the report that their father had recanted before he died. They were in a frame of mind to bring suit against the denomination for misrepresenting their father. I feel quite certain that they would have prosecuted the leaders if I had recommended it, but I discouraged them from going to law about the matter. He may have said a good word for Mrs. White, I don't know about that, but for his recanting, or considering himself as a lost man, is made up of a whole lie, made up out of unholy desires.