The Claims of Mrs. Ellen G. White, as Stated by Herself, Considered from the Standpoint of Scripture.

Norwich Tract No. 1, 1890, Issued by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Norwich Town, Connecticut, USA

Mrs. Ellen G. White: Who She is and What She Claims

The body of professed Christians known for more than forty years past by the name Seventh-day Adventists have among their number a woman, Mrs. Ellen G. White, who, they profess to believe, has what is termed the "gift of prophecy," i.e. she is specially and miraculously moved by the Spirit of God in her utterances.

Mrs. White has been connected with this body from its organization to the present time.  She has been, and is today, the leading and most prominent person connected with the S.D.A. movement.  She is a prolific writer and often appears in the pulpit as a public speaker.

In investigating the claims put forth by Mrs. White, we shall make no vague or unsupported charges, but shall quote from the books she has published, that from her own words we may judge of the truthfulness of the claims she makes of being the mouthpiece of God -- of writing and speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit of God.

Before we take up this branch of the subject, I wish to allude to the methods employed by which it is attempted for a while to withhold a knowledge of her claims from the people, and at last to force her upon them.

The course usually pursued by the S.D.A. in presenting the particular points of their faith, is one that is calculated to deceive and mislead the people.  They plainly proclaim that they have no creed but the Bible; that they do not believe in "driving a stake" and tying themselves to it by any set of dogmas formulated into a creed.  They profess to be in favor of the largest liberty for every one to read the Bible for themselves, and urge the importance of walking out in the light of God's truth unfettered by the opinions and teaching of man.  They profess to take the Bible as their text book, and from its teaching proceed to unfold what appears to many as the truth of God.  The different points of their faith, one after another, are taken up, and discussed with apparent candor and frankness, yet, however, carefully and systematically avoiding all reference to the fact of Mrs. White being a "prophetess."

So far as is known this is the policy pursued by this people wherever they labor.  They present certain points of their belief, and when people fully accept them, and draw off from any former church connections, and commit themselves to these particular doctrines, then, and not until then, they present what they term the "Spirit of Prophecy" in a cautious and deceptive manner, withholding the true facts as to what is claimed for her.  When once within the pale of the church, it soon becomes manifest that this one doctrine which has been concealed and so carefully covered up is of the utmost importance, and it then becomes almost impossible to resist the pressure brought to bear upon all to accept her.

We appeal to all sensible and reasonable people if this is an honorable, a manly thing to do; to cover up and conceal the one great prominent point of their faith -- a doctrine which we shall show is of so much importance that the prophet and her followers alike demand you shall accept, or give up all other points of faith, and which both they and she declare to be essential to salvation.

But why, it may be asked, is this matter of "prophecy" so carefully concealed?  Why do they remain so silent upon this one point, especially as they regard it of so much importance?  This people are renowned for their desire for public debate.  Wherever they go they defiantly throw down the challenge of debate to all comers.  The Sabbath, and kindred questions, have frequently been the subject of discussions, but who has ever known them to challenge any one in regard to their "prophet"?  This is the last subject they would wish to debate.  But why?  Why not debate the prophet?  Tracts, books and papers upon all subjects are freely circulated and discussed, save this one.  Why, then, this studied silence concerning a doctrine which they regard of so much importance that their leading men, and even Mrs. White herself, demand that we shall accept, or renounce all other points of their faith?

Without doubt, the reason why debate upon this subject is avoided is that their argument in support of this dogma will not bear investigation, and that they wish to avoid publicity.  To debate is to attract attention.  This is just the one thing they wish to avoid.

The fact that the publications of Mrs. White are widely circulated does not signify a desire to spread a knowledge of her claim of being a "prophetess," for many of her books may be read without learning this fact.  Her claims are chiefly put forward in her books called Testimonies for the Church, the circulation of which is confined principally to the Church membership.

In investigating the claims of Mrs. White, as writing under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, we propose to confine ourselves to what she herself declares, and the declarations of the Word of God.  We propose to institute a comparison between the claims she makes -- the doctrine she teaches -- and what God has revealed to us in His Word.  By this test she must stand or fall.  "To the law and the testimony; if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them."

The first point to which we call attention is this: -- She claims an authority equal with the Bible for her writings -- that they are inspired by the Spirit of God.

Let us look at some of the terms by which she has designated her writings, these "Testimonies for the Church."

Passing over such terms as these -- "I was shown" -- "Said the Angel to me" -- "I saw" &c. -- with which these books abound, let us consider the particular terms which she applies to them.

The "Testimonies" consist mainly of letters to, and concerning, certain individuals, and contain what she claims has been revealed to her by the Spirit of God, or spoken to her by the angels.   The terms she employs to define them give us a just idea of what she claims for them.

Vol. 4, page 440.  This is a testimony to Bro. A.  --

He has no real faith in the Testimonies of the Spirit of God.

Vol. 4, page 53.  This is a testimony to Bro. E.  --

When you come back and gather up the rays of light and take the position that the Testimonies are from God, then you will be settled in your belief.

Vol. 4, page 209.  This is a testimony to the young who are employed in the publication office.  --

The young who heed not the warnings of the word of God, and slight the Testimonies of the Spirit, can only be a living curse to the office.

Vol. 4, page 31.  This is a testimony to Bro. A.  -- 

His habits have not been in harmony with the truth and with the Testimonies of reproof which God has seen fit to give his people.

Vol. 4, page 180.  --

God will send reproofs and warning to his people as long as they continue upon earth.  Those who valiantly take their position on the right side, who encourage submission to God's revealed will... are the true friends of the Lord.

Vol. 4, page 229.  --

For thirty years we have been receiving the words of God and speaking them to the people...  What will be the condition of those who refuse to hear the words which God has sent them?

Vol. 3, page 362.  --

Do you believe that the testimonies of reproof which have been given you are of God?  If you really believe that the voice of God has spoken to you, ... do you heed the counsel given?

Vol. 4, page 197.  --

In slighting the light brought out by his messengers we slight the Saviour of the world.

Vol. 4, page 196.  --

The sin of ------ is a neglect to cherish the light which God hath given them through his messengers...  Those who reject the message of God's servants reject not only the Son, but also the Father.

(The term "messenger" is shown by the context to apply to herself.)

Vol. 4, page 211.  --

When the Testimonies ... are doubted and given up, Satan ... launches them into open rebellion which becomes incurable and ends in destruction.

Vol. 4, page 148.  Here she compares her "Testimonies" with the writings of the apostles and prophets, and to the words of Christ Himself.  --

In ancient time God spoke to men by his prophets and apostles.  In these days he speaks to them by the Testimonies of the Spirit.

How different these words sound than those of Paul in Heb. 1:1,2.  "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son."  What says Mrs. White?  "In these days he speaks to them by the Testimonies."

Vol. 4, page 150.  --

I have been shown that some in these days have even gone so far as to burn the written rebukes and warnings, as did the wicked king of Israel...  To defy the words of the Lord, spoken through his chosen instruments, will only provoke his anger ... the same spirit exists today that persecuted and imprisoned Jeremiah.

Here she styles her Testimonies the words of the Lord, and compares them with the prophecies of Jeremiah, and the burning of one as great an insult to God as the burning of the other.  As we read some of these "Testimonies" we learn the reason why some have been justly exasperated by her meddling with their private affairs, and making public the incidents of the family life, and in their indignation have burned her "Testimonies."

Vol. 4, page 252.  --

If God's word spoken in awful solemnity from the holy mountain is lightly regarded, how will the Testimonies of his Spirit be received?

(Here her "Testimonies" are compared with the words of God spoken from Sinai.)

Although this is not a tithe of what Mrs. White declares in announcing that she speaks under the direct inspiration of the Spirit of God, yet this is sufficient to show that she does make that claim in terms which none can misunderstand.

Let us enumerate the terms she uses in regard to her "Testimonies": --

  • "Testimonies of the Spirit of God."
  • "Testimonies from God."
  • "Testimonies of reproof from God."
  • "The words of the Lord."
  • "God's revealed will."
  • "Word of God."
  • "Voice of God."

To reject them is to reject God.  To slight them is to slight the Saviour.  To doubt them is to be lost.

She compares them to the utterances of the prophets and apostles and even of Christ himself.  She compares them with the law spoken from Sinai.

These are the comprehensive terms by which she would elevate her writings beside the Bible in point of authority, and which entitle them to be received as the word of God.  What more can we claim for the Bible than she claims for herself?  What stronger terms can we use to assert the inspiration of the Bible?  None whatever.  If Mrs. White can substantiate these claims, then her books deserve to be bound with the sacred canon, and be recognized as of divine authority by all who accept the Bible as inspired.

There are many of the professed friends of Mrs. White who seek to make a distinction in her writings, and draw a line between what they claim is inspired, and what is not.  That which is shown to her in vision, or is spoken to her by the angels, say they, is of divine authority; but when she only expresses her own views and opinions, based upon information received from a human source, her words then are of no more authority than those of any other good person.  Against any such position as this Mrs. White most resolutely protests.

Vol. 33, page 211.  --

Some have taken the position that the warnings, cautions, and reproofs given by the Lord through his servant, unless they come through special vision for each individual case, should have no more weight than counsel from other sources.  In some cases it has been represented that in giving a testimony for churches or individuals I have been influenced to write as I did by letters received from members of the church.  There have been those who claimed that testimony purporting to be given by the Spirit of God, were merely the expression of my own judgment, based upon information gathered from human sources.  This statement is utterly false.

Here she declares that though what she utters or writes may be in response to information gathered from a human source, yet it is given to her by the Spirit of God.  She then compares herself with Paul, who wrote to the church at Corinth upon information received from the household of Chloe, and that as no one questions the inspiration of the Epistle to the Corinthians because of this, so no one should question her writings under similar circumstances.

On page 219 she rebukes those who would dissect her writings to suit themselves -- accepting a part as from God, and a part merely as human wisdom, and calls upon them to accept her "testimonies" as the word of God, or reject them altogether.

Do not by your criticism take all the force, all the point and power, from the Testimonies.  Do not feel that you can dissect them to suit your ideas, claiming that God has give you ability to discern what is light from heaven, and what is the expression of mere human wisdom.  If the Testimonies speak not according to the word of God, reject them.

In view of this, can anyone who accepts her as a prophetess persevere in dissecting her writings, and regard a part as inspired and a part as not?  She never consents to such a construction as this put upon her writings, but resolutely denounces it from first to last.  She wants no half-way work.

Vol. 4, page 230. --

My work for the past thirty years bears the stamp of God, or the stamp of the enemy.  There is no half-way work in the matter.  The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God or of the devil.

These extracts are sufficient to show that Mrs. White claims for all her writings an equal authority -- no one is permitted to make any distinction. 

But if no distinction can be made in regard to anything she has written, how is it in regard to what she speaks?

Testimonies No. 33, page 219. --

The instructions I have given by pen or voice have been an expression of the light that God has given me.

Again, page 213.  --

As I travel and stand before the people in different places, the Spirit of the Lord brings clearly before me the cases I have been shown, reviving the matter previously given me.

Whatever she speaks in public is of the same character -- the same authority as that which she writes.

We do no violence to what Mrs. White has written, or to the opinions of those who fully accept her, by thus plainly and convincingly showing, from her own writings, the extent and nature of her claims.   This has not been drawn from what her enemies say of her, or even from what her friends claim for her, but from what she herself declares.

We have shown that Mrs. White claims for herself: --

  1. That her writings are of equal authority with the Bible -- that the same Spirit which inspired the one dictated the other.
  2. That all her writings are of equal authority -- that no distinction is permitted between them.
  3. That all she speaks in public is also inspired, and is the utterance of the Spirit of God.

These are the claims put forward by Mrs. White, and we are asked to admit them.  We ask, therefore, whether these claims will bear the test of scripture.  We cannot for a moment admit any such claims as these, unless they be supported by the Word of God.

We deem these claims to be unworthy of credit, and are false, for the following reasons: --

The proof of these assertions we shall now draw from her own writings, and from the Word of God: --


1. She violates both the letter and the spirit of the Bible

As one instance among many in which Mrs. White violates the spirit of the Bible, take the case of Bro. E, mentioned in Vol. 1, page 215.

It is impossible for E to be fellowshiped by the Church of God...  He has stubbornly chosen his own course, and refused to listen to reproof...  If he repents ever so heartily, the church must let his case alone.  If he goes to heaven it must be alone, without the fellowship of the church.  A standing rebuke from God and the church must ever rest upon him, that the standard of morality be not lowered.

What does Christ teach us in regard to a repentant brother? -- "If thy brother repent, forgive him."

Whose "standard of morality" can we suppose this to be which requires for its maintenance that a "standing rebuke from God and the church must ever rest upon" the penitent?  Surely not that of the Word of God.  That requires no such penalty as this.  God proclaims -- "though thy sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow."  Whose standard of morality then is it that demands such an outrage upon the spirit of God's Word in order to sustain it?  It can be none other standard than that which the "Testimonies" contain.  This one paragraph from the writings of Mrs. White is enough to forever extinguish all her claim that she writes by divine inspiration.


2. She denies the right of private judgment in the study of the scriptures and personal religious experience

In support of the second objection, I quote from Vol. 3, page 451. --

God has given his church men who have experience, those who have fasted, and wept and prayed, even through the entire night for the Lord to open the Scriptures to their minds.  In humility these men have given the world the benefit of their mature experience....  The light of truth so carefully brought out in books and papers he [Bro. E.] does not respect, but exalts his own judgment above the most precious light.

Vol. 3, page 450. --

No such thing is countenanced as one man's starting out upon his own responsibility, and advocating what views he chooses, irrespective of the church.

Page 428, she declares --

The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church; neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church.

Page 447. --

Bro. B. is doubting point after point of our faith.  Will Bro. B. yield his own judgment and opinions, and come with the body?

Vol. 1, page 413. --

There are many restless spirits who will not submit to discipline, system and order.  They think their liberties would be abridged were they to lay aside their own judgment and submit to the judgment of those of experience.

Page 324. --

Differences of opinions must be yielded that all may come into union with the body that they may have one mind and one judgment.

Vol. 3, page 417. --

You are constantly inclined to individual independence.  You do not realize that independence is a poor thing when it leads you to have too much confidence in yourself, and trust to your own judgment, rather than to respect the counsel and highly esteem the judgment of your brethren, especially those in the offices.

Page 432. --

The Redeemer of the world does not sanction experience, and exercise in religious matters, independent of his organized and acknowledged church.

Vol. 3, page 492. --

But when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon the earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must be surrendered.

Does it not appear evidence that in a General Conference "that is the highest authority that God has upon the earth," which demands the surrender of our "private judgment," and a prophet who speaks by divine inspiration, we have the upper and nether millstone that will grind us to powder, and take from us all right of private judgment in the study of the Bible and of personal religious experience?

But why pursue this thought any further.  Her books are full of this.  Do these declarations of Mrs. White sound anything like the teachings of the Bible?  Shall we accept as divinely inspired any person whose teachings so manifestly contradict the spirit of God's word?  What does God say?  "Come let us reason together."  Man is a reasoning being -- therefore his judgment must be convinced.  Man is a thinking being, therefore he has a right to think for himself.  Man is a responsible being, and is responsible alone to God.  But what says this "Oracle"?

Vol. 3, page 433. --

Many have the idea that they are responsible to Christ alone for their light and experience, independent from his acknowledged followers.  But this is condemned by Jesus.

These extracts from her writings are sufficient to show that she does not permit the right of private judgment.  When we take into consideration the fact that Mrs. White professes to speak by divine inspiration, is it possible for us to admit her claim in view of these declarations she makes, and her efforts to deprive us of the right of private judgment and experience?

It may be alleged that Mrs. White strongly urges individual study of the Bible, and that she has often refused to give her own opinions in regard to certain passages, declaring that all should study the Bible for themselves.  This is true; but it is only one of the almost numberless instances in which she is at variance with herself.  She frequently urges the study of the Bible; but at the same time demands that we bring our views of Bible truths to harmonize with her own teaching.  We are told that we have the fullest liberty to accept any additional light which has not been seen or endorsed by her; but are we at the same time at liberty to entertain any views, even though they appear to be taught by the Bible, which are not in harmony with the generally accepted points of faith as endorsed by the "spirit of prophecy"?

If we have a human standard by which all our views of Bible truths are to be tested -- if there is a certain mould that is to shape our thoughts, and to which at last we must bring all our conclusions -- is it not a most miserable farce to even pretend that we are at liberty to read the Bible and think for ourselves?  Let anyone understand the Bible so as to be at variance with anything Mrs. White has taught, he will soon feel the grasp of her strong hand, and the hand of the church, to bring him to submission.  It is true that where she has not spoken, each one is at liberty to read and think for himself; but all points upon which she has expressed her opinion her decision must be considered final.  Under such conditions is it not a base deception to pretend that she allows the liberty of private judgment in the reading of the Scripture?


3. She advocates a human creed as the word of God

It is no disparagement to the S.D.A. that they have a creed.  Only in the first place, they deny having any creed save the Bible.  And secondly, the creed they do have is made an inspired creed by the endorsement of Mrs. White.  We quote from the S.D.A. Year Book, 1889.  "Seventh-day Adventists have no creed but the Bible."  In view of what has been quoted from the writings of Mrs. White, and of what we shall yet quote, we may dismiss the above statement as false and deceptive.  The only justification possible to be offered for such a statement is, that this people regard her writings as equal with the Bible, and that when they declare they have no creed but the Bible, they include in this statement the writings of Mrs. White.  If they do not mean this, they stand convicted before the world of falsehood.  If they do mean this, they are guilty of deception.  The moment we accept any human interpretation of the Bible, that moment we have a creed.  If it be our own interpretation, then it is our own creed.  If it be the interpretation that another has given, then we accept another man's creed.  If at any time our creed be approved by one who speaks under divine inspiration, then we have an inspired creed that is of equal authority with the Bible, and can never change.

Vol. 3, page 447. --

God is leading out a people upon the great platform of truth...  He has given his people a straight chain of Bible truth...   This truth ... has been searched for as for hidden treasure.  It has been dug out through careful searchings of the Scripture.

Page 446. --

God is leading out his people from the world upon the exalted platform of faith...  They will not be at variance, one believing one thing and another having faith and views entirely opposite, each moving independently of the body... they will come to the unity of the faith.

Page 361. --

God designs that his people shall be a unit; that they shall see eye to eye, and be of the same mind, and of the same judgment.

Vol. 1, page 327. --

Men who now go forth to preach the truth have things made ready to their hand...  The truth has been brought out link after link till it forms a clear connected chain.  To bring the truth out in such clearness and harmony has required careful research.

Vol. 1, page 239. --

It is now easy compared to what it once was to preach the third angel's message.  Those who now engage in this work and teach the truth to others, have things made ready to their hand...  The truth is brought for them -- arguments all prepared.

Vol. 3, page 317. --

After those who lead out in this work have labored hard to bring out the truth you embrace it, and go out to labor, presenting the arguments which others with inexpressible anxiety have searched out for you.

Now we submit to the candid judgment of every intelligent thinking person if these statements made by one who professes to be inspired do not establish the fact that there is a creed -- a system of doctrines prepared -- which all must believe who accept her claim.   Human creeds are but a human interpretation of what the Bible teaches.  Here is a creed not only professing to be drawn from the Bible, but has what all other creeds lack; it has the endorsement of one who speaks by divine authority.  There is no possible way to avoid the conclusion that if Mrs. White speaks with divine authority, the creed she commends must be accepted too as inspired.  Thus she advocates a human creed as the word of God.

One thought more.  If we admit the claim of Mrs. White, we must accept as from God, not only all that she has uttered in the past, but all she may utter in the future.  These give this people not only a written creed, but also an unwritten one.  The written one consists of all she has written or endorsed in the past; the unwritten one all she may write or endorse in the future.  You may search through all Protestantism for anything like this, but you will search in vain.  The only thing in all the world that bears anything like a family resemblance, is Catholicism.


4. She asserts the infallibility of the church

Vol. 3, page 451. --

God has bestowed the highest power under heaven upon his church.  It is the voice of God.

Of what church is Mrs. White here speaking?  The following extract will determine.

Vol. 3, page 492. --

But when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority God has upon earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must be surrendered.

Then are we not right in objecting to the claims of Mrs. White because she asserts the infallibility of the S.D.A. Church?


5. She advocates lawlessness, i.e. the violation of God's law.

Vol. 1, pages 417-418. --

There are little companies arising who believe that God is only with the very few...  Some of these profess to have the gifts among them ...  One man arises and claims that God has sent him...  Another cherishes erroneous views in regard to the future age...  Another zealously urges the American costume.  They all want religious liberty...  Would to God that they would be reformed, or give up the Sabbath.

We say No!  On the authority of God's Word, No!  If you are keeping God's Sabbath, hang to it.  Whatever lawlessness you may be guilty of, stop that, but do not add the lawlessness of violating the fourth commandment.

But again.  Vol. 3, page 442. --

As soon as Bro. A, or any others decide that the man who had had the most to do in bringing the cause of present truth up to its present condition, are not of God ... then the course for them to pursue ... is to renounce the entire work as a delusion and a fraud.

She does not say, renounce the delusion -- renounce the fraud -- but "renounce the entire work."

If you cannot accept that which appears to you as error, then don't accept that which may appear to you as truth.  Take all of it or none.  Mrs. White never seems to grasp the idea that truth is truth, and stands upon its own merits, independent of the character of those who profess to believe it.  Our work is to sift the error from the truth -- to separate the chaff from the wheat -- not to reject all alike.


6. She sets up a false standard of duty

Vol. 1, page 549. --

I was shown that Sabbath-keeping Adventists should not engage in life insurance.  This is a commerce of the world which God does not approve.

Page 534. --

Wealthy men have no right to take interest from their poor brethren.

Page 532. --

There is no business of man's of sufficient importance to cause him to transgress the fourth precept of Jehovah...  If in order save property we break over the express command of Jehovah, where is the stopping place?

Vol. 4, page 467. --

If a Christian has ten or twenty thousand dollars, God's claims are imperative upon him, not only to give his proportion according to the tithing system, but to present his sin-offerings and thank offerings to God.

Sin can only be atoned for with blood.  What shall we say, then, when a professed prophet of God declares it to be the duty of a man of large means to offer a sin-offering of money?

Vol. 4, page 470-476. --

When a verbal or written pledge has been made in the presence of our own brethren to give a certain amount, they are the visible witnesses of a contract made between ourselves and God...  No legal bond is more binding upon the Christian for the payment of money, than a pledge made to God...  A church is responsible for the pledges of the individual members.

No. 33, pages 44, 45, 47. --

Bro. E, ... I was much surprised to read your recommendation of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Robinson Crusoe and such books...   We hope no more such recommendations will appear...  It seems wonderfully strange to me, consider all I have written in regard to the reading of exciting stories, to see a recommendation from your pen to read Uncle Tom's Cabin, Robinson Crusoe, and AEsop's Fables.

What human book teaches any purer morals, exposes villainy, and has done a more noble work than Uncle Tom's Cabin?  To that little book, more than to any one human cause, is due the overthrow of American slavery.  This story of the wrongs of the slave and of the evil influence of the system upon our nation, has thrilled the hearts of those who loved their fellow-men; and under the influence of its teaching our nation in one generation accomplished the march of centuries, and now we stand a nation redeemed from the curse of slavery, and human flesh and human souls are no longer an article of merchandise.  This book has a place in any home.  It has been read by most of us; it is read in every land, and will be read by our children as long as the world shall stand.  And now, in this nineteenth century, a professed prophet of God, standing in the presence of millions of emancipated slaves, prohibits the reading of that book which so largely contributed to their freedom.  Do you believe that she utters these words by the inspiration of the Spirit of God?

As to the two other books she mentions, who but she has ever thought to raise a word against them?  Robinson Crusoe is a simply interesting story of a castaway, the incidents of which were largely taken from actual life.  AEsop's Fables contain practical moral lessons, and ought to be read and heeded by everyone.  Why did not Mrs. White include in her prohibition the fables contained in the Bible?  She should have done so in order to have been consistent.

In the standard of duty which Mrs. White sets up, we have noticed the following particulars.

  1. She prohibits life insurance.
  2. She prohibits taking interest on money loaned.
  3. She declares it to be unlawful to save property upon the Sabbath.
  4. She declares that the church is responsible for the money pledges of its individual members.
  5. She declares that Sin-offering may be made of money.
  6. She prohibits the reading of all light or fictitious books.

Are we not right when we allege that Mrs. White sets up a standard of duty unknown to Scripture?


7. She exalts her "visions" above the Bible

Mrs. White began to have "visions" in the year 1845.  Vol. 1, page 73.  She commenced to keep the Sabbath in the autumn of 1846.  Early in that year her attention as called to the question of the Sabbath, but she rejected its claim, and would not recognize the authority of the fourth commandment.  She even rebuked those who observed the day, and refused to accept their counsel.  Subsequently she was taken to heaven in visions and was shown, as she claims, the ark containing the two tables of stone upon which was written the ten commandments, the fourth of which was encircled with a halo of light.  She then commenced to keep the Sabbath.

By this act she exalts her visions above the Bible.  She would not obey the command until she could have a "vision" to supplement the Word of God.


8. She uses her professed gift for obtaining money

The manuscript of Testimony No. 11 was all ready for the press, and in the publisher's hands.  While preparing the manuscript for No. 12 she receives a letter from the publishers informing her that the publication of No. 11 would be delayed until she could prepare a testimony for that No. that would move the brethren.  The leaders at Battle Creek were in need of money; the brethren were holding back and did not furnish all the funds that were wanted.  But the leaders knew what string to pull to make the means forthcoming.  They just delay the publication of No. 11 and inform Mrs. White of the situation.  She says, "They needed the influence of my testimony to move the brethren."  She yielded to their request, and the necessary "Testimony" was forwarded.  This transaction is recorded in Vol. 1, page 563, and onward.  Mrs. White let out this little secret of artful financiering, and says: "I shall be blamed for speaking as I now speak."  Among any other people such a transaction as this would bury all the parties concerned in eternal infamy and shame.  What shall we call such a transaction as this -- this using the professed gift of prophecy for the purpose of "moving the brethren"?

But again, Vol. 4, page 390. --

The volumes of Spirit of Prophecy and also the Testimonies should be introduced into every Sabbath-keeping family...  It is not the wisest plan to place these books at a low figure...  You should lend Spirit of Prophecy to your neighbors and prevail upon them to buy copies for themselves.

This testimony appears very significant when we take into consideration the price for which these books are sold.  Books as large, and bound equally as well, can be bought for fifty cents per volume.  The "Testimonies" sell for $1.50 per volume.  Now here are directions professing to come from a divine source that call upon all to buy these books.  If these "Testimonies" contain the "revealed will of God," why not sell them at a "live and let live" price?  Do I need to say more? -- selling "Testimonies" at $1.50 per volume which call for free contributions!  Is this what the "gift of prophecy" is for, to sell books at an exorbitant price?  to "move the brethren" to contribute freely?

Here are a few choice extracts from the writings of Mrs. White.  Let the reader judge if they are in harmony with the teachings of the Bible.

Early Writings, supplement, page 31. --

There is no example given in the word for brethren to wash the sisters' feet; but there is an example for the sisters to wash the feet of brethren...  I saw that the Lord had moved upon sisters to wash the feet of brethren, and that it was according to gospel order.
The holy salutation ... should ever be regarded in its true character.  It is a holy kiss.  It should be regarded as a sign of fellowship to Christian friends when parting, and when meeting again after separation of a few weeks...  There can be no appearance of evil when the holy kiss is given at a proper time and place.

Vol. 1, page 664-665. --

Bro. C. A. White introduced to us the matter of his Combined Patent Washer and Wringer...  He has since made us a present of one ...  It does the work well and fast.  A feeble woman who has a son or husband to work this machine, can have a large washing done in a few hours.  Bro. White sent circulars which any can have by addressing us including postage.

It is well to bear in mind the fact that Mrs. White claims that these "Testimonies" are from God, and are all alike inspired by the Spirit of God.  It therefore follows that in the above extract we have an inspired advertisement of a patent washing machine.  Bro. White, it would seem, had an eye to business in introducing to the notice of, and present to the "Spirit of Prophecy," one of his "Combined Patent Washing and Wringing Machines," and was seeking for his wares a free advertisement.  An impartial judge in any court of justice would refuse with disdain any gift which might be presented to him for the purpose of personal gain.  Should not one who presents herself as a prophet of the Most High be equally as judicious?  Is this what the "Spirit of Prophecy" is for, to advertise patent Washing Machines?

The following extracts in regard to diet are to be understood in the light of divine commands, that is, if we admit her claims.

Vol. 3, page 21. --

We bear a positive testimony against tobacco, spirituous liquors, snuff, tea, coffee, flesh meats, butter, spices, rich cake, mince pies, a large amount of salt, and all exciting substances used as articles of food.

Vol. 2, page 68. --

Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach.

Page 61. --

You have used the fat of animals, which God in his word expressly forbids.

Page 400. --

Eggs should not be placed upon your tables.

Page 368. --

Pickles should never find a place in any human stomach.

Page 370. --

I frequently sit down to the tables of brethren and sisters and see that they use a great amount of milk and sugar...  from the light given me, sugar when largely used is more injurious than meat.

Page 373. --

Never let a morsel pass your lips between your regular meals.

We may well ask, what then does she allow us to eat?

Page 67. --

A plain, simple diet, composed of unbolted wheat flour, vegetables and fruits, prepared without spices or grease.

Undoubtedly much can be said in favor of abstaining from the use of many of these articles as a question of Health Reform -- that is a question to be considered by itself, and is well worth our attention.  Upon this question I do not presume to decide.  I raise this simple question: Does not Mrs. White prohibit much that the Bible permits, upon an authority she claims to be equal with the Bible?  If so, can it be that she speaks by divine authority?  It is unnecessary to refer to the permission given in the Bible for the use of meat as an article of food or to call attention to the fact that the Bible does not forbid the use of nearly every article which Mrs. White prohibits.  It is enough for us to learn that she, by an authority which she professes to be divine, sweeps from our tables nearly every article we have upon it, and confines us strictly to a vegetable diet permitting neither "fish, flesh or fowl."

We have alluded to but a few of the many instances in which the assertions of Mrs. White are not in harmony with the Word of God.  But these are sufficient to convince any unprejudiced mind that her claim of being inspired by the Spirit of God is unworthy of credit, and is false, and that it will not stand the test of Scripture.

It may be asked, How are we to account for much of the phenomena which attend the "visions" of Mrs. White, if we deny her claim that these visions are given by the Spirit of God?  How account for her great influence over the people with whom she is connected, her apparent success in laboring for the denominational body, and the fact that much which she writes is in harmony with the Bible?

We answer, we are not called upon to account for or explain any phenomenon, however wonderful or even miraculous it may seem which may attend any person whose teachings, in part or whole, are not in harmony with the Bible.  "If they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them."  If they contradict this word we cannot believe them, even though their magic rod be turned into a serpent, or though fire fall from heaven to consume their flocks and herds, or bands of Chaldeans are called forth to destroy with the sword, or "a great wind from the wilderness" destroy our dwellings.  Our motto should be, "God's Word against anything or everything that man or Satan can bring against it," and if we should be unable to account for any visible manifestations which may attend any who speak contrary to God's word, we are nevertheless to hold to that Word still, and reject all who speak against it.  But is there anything more surprising or unaccountable attending these "communications" of Mrs. White than is seen in connection with spiritual mediums at the present day?  We answer, No!  So far as we can learn there is not a single phase of phenomena attending the one that does not attend the other.  It is undoubtedly true that if we solve the mystery of one, we likewise solve the mystery of the other.

Neither is there anything new or wonderful in the fact that Mrs. White exerts a great influence over those who admit her claims.  When we shall be able to account for the strange fascination and power which Spiritualism exerts over those who accept it, we then, undoubtedly, will be on the right path to account for the influence of Mrs. White over those who accept her.

As to the claims that the fact of the success of Mrs. White in advancing the denominational interests is a proof that she is led by the Spirit of God, we reply, if the objections we allege against her claims of divine inspiration are valid, then her success in such a work can be no proof that she is of God.  So also the fact that she is in harmony with the Bible in much that she teaches can be no proof of the claims she makes, if so be that she antagonizes the Bible in any essential particular.  Christ declares, Matt. 24:24, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that were it possible they shall deceive the very elect."  How are we to suppose these false prophets will speak if they are so nearly to deceive the elect?  If their teachings, as a rule, did not harmonize with the Bible, there would be no danger whatever that the elect would be deceived by them.  The force of the warning of our Lord lies in the fact that, in the main, their teaching will be so scriptural, and the visible manifestations so wonderful, that the false will seem to be the real.  We must expect these false prophets to speak so nearly as the Scriptures teach that the false will be hid behind that which seems true.

It may appear singular to some that a church bearing the name "Seventh Day Adventist" should issue a public protest against the claims of Mrs. White, and that to be consistent we should abandon the name if we abandon the prophetess.  When this church was organized we were not asked to accept Mrs. White.  In fact all, or nearly all, were ignorant as to what was claimed for her.  When, however, the issue was forced upon us by those in authority, a decision was made, yet so as to leave the church organization and church property in the hands of those who rejected Mrs. White.  The name "Seventh Day Adventist" correctly expresses our faith.  We hold to the Sabbath, and are looking for the personal coming of Christ.  What name then more fitting than the name we bear -- the name first chosen by a vote of the church?

It is true that as a matter of self-protection we have withdrawn from the N.E. Conference, but our relations to the body of S.D.A. is precisely the same now as during the first year of our organization.  We were S.D.A. then without any connection with the N.E. Conference.  We are the same now.  We are "Seventh Day Adventists" in name and fact, standing publicly committed against Mrs. White, and protesting against her unscriptural and unreasonable demands.

We have refused to allow this yoke of bondage to be placed upon us.  We have taken our stand for a free Bible -- for free thought -- for a free conscience -- and for Religious Liberty.  We appeal to all who recognize the Bible as the only and sufficient rule of life and faith; to all who would have a conscience in harmony with the Bible; to all who would reserve the right of thinking for themselves, and who desire personal liberty in their religious experience and belief, to all such we appeal against the demands of this self-appointed prophetess.

There are many other statements of Mrs. White which are not in harmony with the teaching of Scripture that cannot be noticed in the brief limits of this tract.  We may, at some future time, allude to them.  We urge upon those whom it may concern to carefully read the writings of Mrs. White with this thought in mind, that she claims an authority for her writings equal with the Bible, and that it is an unmanly, a dishonorable thing, to profess to believe her claim while disbelieving any statement she makes.  She herself declares that "The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil."  Say not that she is a good woman, for if she be not something more than a good woman, how, in view of the claims she makes, can she be a good woman even.  Mrs. White allows no half-way work, but demands that we either fully accept her or reject her altogether.

We have thus, in as concise a manner as possible, endeavored to state a few of the many objections we hold against the claims of Mrs. White.  If human language is capable of correctly expressing ideas, the extracts we have quoted from her writings assert doctrines which are entirely at variance with the Scriptures, and make demands to which we cannot yield without the surrender of all that makes us Christian freemen.

It is because we believe that Mrs. White places herself between those who accept her and the Word of God that we enter this public protest against these unscriptural demands, and challenge her friends to a fair investigation.

Category: Books and Tracts
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