Seventh-day Adventists regard Mrs. White as a prophetess and her writings as inspired. They make long arguments from the Bible to prove that there should be gifts, miracles and prophets in the church. But these are the same arguments used by the Mormons, Shakers, etc., in favor of their churches. They do not touch the case. The question is not, CAN the Lord inspire men and women? but, HAS he so inspired Mrs. White? The New Testament repeatedly warns us against accepting false prophets. "Beware of false prophets," Matt. 7:15. "There shall arise false Christ's and false prophets," Matt. 24:24. "Believe not every spirit...Many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1John 4:1.
In every generation many have arisen claiming to be prophets. All have found followers more or less. All they have to do is to firmly believe in themselves and make extravagant claims and they will soon have followers. Let us notice a few prominent ones near our own times.
He was born in Stockholm, Sweden, 1688, and died in 1772. His father was a nobleman of high standing. Hence Swedenborg was highly educated and moved in the highest society. He traveled extensively, and conversed with the most learned men of the age. The king appointed him to a high office, which he filled with great acceptance for over thirty years. He rose to eminence in science and wrote seventy-seven books, covering every branch of science. He was of the purest character and devoutly religious.
1. Often to read and meditate on the Word of God.
2. To submit in everything to the will of Divine Providence.
3. To observe in everything a propriety of behavior, and to keep the conscience clear.
4. To discharge with fidelity the functions of my employment, and the duties of my office, and to render myself in all things useful to society.
Not a stain rests upon his moral character.
At the age of fifty-five he began to have visions of heaven, hell, angels, and the spiritual world. He says: "I have been called to a holy office by the Lord himself, who most mercifully appeared to me, his servant, in the year 1743, when he opened my sight into the spiritual world and enabled me to converse with spirits and angels." Exactly like Mrs. White claims. This work he continued for thirty years, and wrote about thirty inspired volumes. He made most remarkable predictions, which were exactly fulfilled, it is claimed.
He founded a new religion based upon his revelations. The Bible is sacredly taught and holy living enjoined.
This church has steadily increased, till it has societies in all parts of the world and in the leading languages. They publish three weeklies, five monthly journals, and one quarterly, besides many books. He got the start of Mrs. White just one hundred years. His followers believe in him just as implicitly as hers do in her, and are very zealous in propagating their faith. In many respects both moves are much alike. The above is condensed from Schaff-Herzog's Encyclopedia.
These are so well known in America that I need say but little about them. Ann Lee, their leader, was born in England, in 1736; died 1784. Like Mrs. White, "she received no education." She joined a society who were having remarkable religious exercises, and soon began "to have visions and make revelations," which, just like Mrs. White, she called "testimonies." "Henceforth she claimed to be directed by revelations and visions." Schaff- Herzog Encyclopedia, article "Ann Lee." She was accepted as leader and as "the second appearing of Christ." Like Mrs. White, she required a "peculiar kind of dress," "opposed war and the use of pork." Johnson's Encyclopedia, article "Shakers." They have no intercourse with other churches; are renowned for their purity and devotion. They number about 8,000. A careful comparison shows many points of similarity between Mrs. Lee and Mrs. White. The main evidence upon which Adventists rely for proof of Mrs. White's inspiration is the purity of her life and the high moral and religious tone of her writings. They say her revelations must either be of God or Satan. If of Satan they would not teach such purity and holiness. The same reasoning will prove Mrs. Lee also a true prophetess, for she exceeds Mrs. White in this line, so that "Shaker" has become a synonym for honesty. Adventists, please note this point.
She was born in England in 1750, of poor parents, and was wholly uneducated. She worked as a domestic servant till over forty years of age. She joined the Methodists in 1790. In 1792 she announced herself as a prophetess, and "published numerous [over sixty] pamphlets setting forth her revelations." Johnson's Encyclopedia, article "Southcott." She had trances the same as Mrs. White does, and announced the speedy advent of Christ. See Encyclopedia Americana, article "Southcott." She carried on a lucrative trade in the sale of her books as Mrs. White does. Strange as it may appear, many learned ministers believed in her, and thousands joined her followers, till in a few years they numbered upwards of one hundred thousand! She made many predictions, which her followers claimed were fulfilled. "The faith of her followers, among whom were several clergymen of the established church, rose to enthusiasm." Encyclopedia Americana, article "Southcott."
She "regarded herself as the bride of the Lamb, and declared herself, when sixty-four years of age, pregnant with the true Messiah, the 'second Shilo,' whom she would bear Oct. 19, 1814... Joanna dies in her self delusion Dec. 27, 1814; but her followers, who at one time numbered a hundred thousand, continued till 1831 to observe the Jewish Sabbath." Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia. "A post mortem examination showed that she had been suffering from dropsy [edema]." Johnson's Cyclopedia. "Death put an end to both her hopes and her fears. With her followers, however, it was otherwise; and, though for a time confounded by her decease, which they could scarcely believe to be real, her speedy resurrection was confidently anticipated. In this persuasion many lived and died, nor is her sect yet extinct." Encyclopedia Americana, article "Southcott."
Let candid people consider these facts. This movement occurring only thirty years before Mrs. White's work, was in several respects like the present Seventh-day Adventist move. An illiterate woman is the leader. She has visions, writes numerous pamphlets and revelations and predicts the speedy advent of Christ. Her honesty is plainly manifested; her enthusiasm and that of her followers is great. In a short period one hundred thousand accept her "testimonies." The present Seventh-day Adventist move is similar in many respects as has already been seen above.
And here notice the terrible tenacity of fanaticism when once started. When Joanna died we would have supposed that all sane persons would have given it up; but they fix it up some way and go right on, and there they are now. So with the followers of Mrs. White. No matter what blunders or failures she makes, they fix them up some way and go right on. They will do it after she is dead and gone.
This prophet and his visions and revelations are so well known that I mention them briefly. Smith was born in 1805, and died in 1844, the year before Mrs. White began her revelations. He came out in a great religious awakening, as Mrs. White did in the Advent move of 1843-4. In 1823 he also began to have "visions" and "revelations" and see angels. The second advent of Christ was at hand, he said, hence the name, "Latter day saints." His mission was to introduce "the new dispensation." They are the "saints," and all the other churches are "heathen," or Gentiles. Mrs. White's followers are all saints; all other churches are "Babylon" and apostate.
The proof of their inspiration outstrips Mrs. White. They work many miracles, as they strongly assert, have the gift of tongues, and can show many predictions strikingly fulfilled. I have met them frequently, seen Smith's son, and know them well. They also have a new Bible, a new revelation, have started a new sect, and will have nothing to do with others, but proselyte from all.
The Mormons began in 1831, about fifteen years before Seventh-day Adventists did; but they number six hundred thousand, more than five times as many as Adventists. Adventists claim that they must be the true church because they are persecuted; but Mormons have been persecuted a thousand fold more. Smith and others were killed; many have been whipped, tarred and feathered, rotten- egged, stoned, mobbed, run out of town, and outlawed. So they must be the true church? Seventh-day Adventists have suffered no persecution. Not one of them has ever been whipped, or stoned, or egged, or tarred and feathered, or mobbed, or killed. Persecution! They have no idea what it is and never will though they are anxious to pose as great martyrs.
Mrs. E.G. White, wife of the late Elder White, leader of the Seventh-day Adventists, claims to be divinely inspired as were the prophets of the Bible. This claim is accepted by the whole denomination. They defend her inspiration as earnestly as they do that of the Bible. Year after year, in their State and General Conferences, ironclad resolutions have been unanimously adopted, endorsing her revelations in the strongest manner.
Time and again I have seen these resolutions adopted by a rising vote of the whole congregation, myself with them. "The visions of Mrs. E.G. White, a manifestation of spiritual Gifts according to the Scriptures," is a book of 144 pages published by them defending her inspiration.
They point to her and her visions as the sign and proof that they are the only true church. Rev. 12:17. Hence it can be seen that this is a vital subject with them.
In my debate with the Adventists at Healdsburg, Cal., Feb. 21-28, 1889, they affirmed this proposition: "The visions of Mrs. E.G. White are revelations from God." Her writings are called "Testimonies." In Testimony No. 33, just published, she makes this claim for her writings: "In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days he speaks to them by the Testimonies of his spirit." Page 189. Again: "It is hardly possible for men to offer a greater insult to God than to despise and reject the instrumentalities [her Testimonies] that he has appointed to lead these." Page 208. Notice that her "Testimonies" are to LEAD God's people now. Of her inspiration Smith says: "It comes to us as a divine message; it is a ray of light from the throne; it is instruction by the Holy Spirit." Replies to Elder Canright, page 77.
In the Advent Review, July 2, 1889, are laid down these, "RULES: 1. We will not neglect the study of the Bible and the Testimonies." This illustrates the place they assign her writings, viz., an appendix to the Bible. She occupies the same relation to her people that Mrs. Southcott did to hers, Ann Lee to the Shakers, and Joe Smith to the Mormons.
Among themselves they quote her as we do Paul. A text from her writings is an end of all controversy in doctrine and discipline. It is common to hear them say that when they give up her visions they will give up the Bible too, and they often do.
Her visions, or "testimonies," as they are called, are so inseparably connected with the whole Seventh-day Adventist doctrine that a person cannot consistently accept the one without accepting the other. Besides, they are so constantly urged upon their people in every possible way, that a person cannot long feel comfortable among them unless he, too accepts them. Any one who rejects or opposes them is branded as a rebel fighting against God. Thus Mrs. White herself says: "If you lessen the confidence of God's people in the testimonies he has sent them, you are rebelling against God as certainly as were Kora, Dathan and Abiram." Testimony No. 31, page 62. She claims that every line she writes, even in a private letter, is directly inspired by God - "the precious rays of light shining from the throne," page 63. Of her own words she says: "It is God, and not an erring mortal, that has spoken." Testimonies, Vol. III, page 257. She states over and over that those who doubt or oppose her are fighting against God, sinning against the Holy Ghost. Thus: "fighting the Spirit of God. Those...who would break down our testimony, I saw, are not fighting against us, but against God," page 260. I could quote scores of passages like these.
These inspired writings now embrace forty bound volumes. Thus they have another Bible, just the same as the Mormons have. They have to read our old Bible in the light of this new Bible. Any interpretation of the Bible found in these "testimonies" settles its meaning beyond further dispute. She says: "I took the precious Bible and surrounded it with several testimonies to the church," Vol. 2, page 605. Exactly; and by the light of these "testimonies" that old Bible must now be read. She continues: "God has, through the testimonies, simplified the great truths already given." Yes, we must now take the Bible as thus simplified by her! Swedenborg, Mrs. Southcott, Ann Lee, Joseph Smith and Mrs. White have each done the same thing - had a new revelation, written inspired books, and started a new sect with a new religion.
There is not a doctrine or a practice of the church, from the observance of the Sabbath to the washing of feet, upon which she has not written. That settles it. No further investigation can be made on any of these matters, only to gather evidence and construe everything to sustain it. How, then, can their ministers or people be free to think and investigate for themselves? They can not, dare not, and do not. How often I have seen some intelligent thought extinguished with this remark: "That contradicts Sister White." This ends the matter. Everything she writes, whether in a private letter or newspaper article, is inspired. Thus: "God was speaking through clay.... In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision - the precious rays of light shining from the throne." Testimony No. 31, page 63. There you have it simon pure: every word she writes is a ray of light from the throne of God. Reject that, and you are rejected of God.
Thus it will be seen that Mrs. White claims the very highest inspiration, the voice of God speaking directly through her. Her followers contend that she must either be a true prophetess or else a hypocrite; but she is neither. Few are aware of what a powerful influence an excited religious imagination will have over a person. Enthusiasts and fanatics are generally honest people. Mrs. White is simply a religious enthusiast self-deceived. This I shall prove by stubborn facts.
I long studied Mrs. White to determine for myself her real character till her case is clear to my own mind. Naturally religious, young in years, uneducated, sickly, she was carried away in the Millerite excitement of 1840- 44. Her fits she accepted as the power of God. Encouraged and sustained by her husband, this thought grew to be a reality to her. A careful study of her writings shows that each year she has become a little stronger in her claims of inspiration till now she asserts that all her utterances, even in a letter, or in a sermon, are inspired. She claims that her dreams, her impressions of mind are all the voice of God to her. She devotes 38 pages of her Testimony No. 33 to vindicating her own high inspiration. Probably she has some way of fixing up her mistakes, contradictions and deceptions satisfactory to herself. So now anything she can learn in any way, any impression of mind, any thought clear to herself, is the Spirit speaking to her. I have no doubt that she believes it. She is more deceived than her followers, for many of them privately doubt her inspiration while publicly defending it.
That she is not inspired is plainly shown by many facts. She has never wrought a single miracle. The old prophets and the apostles wrought miracles freely, to prove that God had sent them. In all these seventy years, in all her forty volumes, not a single prediction has she ever made that has come to pass. This is astonishing, considering that she dwells almost wholly in predictions. It seems as though she ought to have blundered into many things which could afterward be construed into a fulfilled prophecy. But not one can be found. This shows how wild and utterly wrong her theories have been.
She says in "Spiritual Gifts," Vol. II, page 293: "I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in relating or writing a vision as in having a vision." Here she claims that the very words in which her visions are recorded are of divine inspiration. But I know that the words in her written "testimonies" are not inspired; for -
1. When writing them out she will often change what she has written, and write it very differently. I have seen her scratch out a whole page, or a line, or a sentence, and write it over differently. If God gave her the words, why did she scratch them out and alter them?
2. I have repeatedly seen her sit with pen in hand and read her manuscript to her husband for hours, while he suggested many changes, which she made. She would scratch out her own words and put in his, sometimes whole sentences. Was he inspired, too?
3. As she is ignorant of grammar, of late years she has employed an accomplished writer to take her manuscript and correct it, improve its wording, polish it up, and put it in popular style, so her books will sell better. Thousands of words, not her own, are thus put in by these other persons, some of whom are not even Christian. Are their words inspired, too?
4. She often copies her subject matter without credit or sign of quotation, from other authors. Indeed her last book, "Great Controversy," which they laud so highly as her greatest work, is largely a compilation from Andrew's History of the Sabbath, History of the Waldenses by Wylie, Life of Miller by White, Thoughts on Revelation by Smith, and other books.
This she pretends was all revealed to her directly from heaven. It is not something she has heard or read or studied out, but it is what God has revealed to her by the Holy Ghost. Stubborn facts show that her claim is utterly false and her book a deception the same as the Book of Mormon, which Smith stole from Spaulding.
The Pastor's Union of Healdsburg, Cal., investigated the matter and published many examples out of hundreds where she had copied her matter directly from other authors without anything to show it was copied. They went through several works and scores of pages finding the same thing all through her book. This proves her guilty of stealing her ideas and matter from other authors and putting them off on her followers as a revelation from God!
5. Passages Suppressed. Several important passages in the first edition of her visions have been suppressed in all later ones as they contradict what Adventists now believe. For thirty years they have chafed under this charge of suppression. They have denied it, made light of it; and finally the pressure was so hard that in 1882, they republished her first visions, claiming to give them all and word for word. They say: "No changes from the original work have been made." Preface to Early Writings, page 4. They also say the work was printed "under the authors own eye and with her full approval." Page 4. They denounce it as a wicked slander to say that anything has been suppressed.
But I have before me the original work entitled, "A Word to the Little Flock," published by Jas. White, 1847; also "The Present Truth," August, 1849, containing her original visions. Comparing the present edition with the original, I find seven different places where from FIVE to THIRTY lines in a place have been cut right out with no sign of omission! The suppressed passages are very damaging to her inspiration. I will give one short one as an illustration. It teaches what they now deny, viz., that no one could be converted after 1844. The suppressed lines are in brackets.
"I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders, and false reformations would increase and spread. The reformations that were shown me were not reformations from error to truth [but from bad to worse, for those who professed a change of heart had only wrapped about them a religious garb, which covered up the iniquity of a wicked heart. Some appeared to have been really converted, so as to deceive God's people, but if their hearts could be seen they would appear as black as ever]. My accompanying angel bade me to look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it, for the time for their salvation is past." Present Truth, page 22, published August, 1849.
"I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders, and false reformations would increase and spread. The reformations that were shown me were not reformations from error to truth. My accompanying angel bade me to look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it, for the time for their salvation is past." Page 37, edition of 1882.
Now if they mean to be honest and dare publish these suppressed passages, why don't they? They know very well what they are; Mrs. White knows what they are; yet the book is republished "under her own eye" and all these passages left out when it is states that "no changes from the original work have been made." I have both books before me now and know the statement to be untrue and so do they; yet they keep right on sending it out.
6. In 1885 all her "testimonies" were republished in four volumes, under the eye of her own son and a critical editor. Opening hap-hazard to four different pages in Vol. I., I read and compared them with the original publication which I have. I found an average TWENTY-FOUR CHANGES OF THE WORDS ON EACH PAGE! Her words were thrown out and other words put in and other changes made, in some cases so many that it was difficult to read the two together. At the same rate in the four volumes, there would be 63,720 changes.
Taking, then, the words which were put in by her husband, by her copyist, by her son, by her editors, and those copied from other authors, probably they comprise from one-tenth to one quarter of all her books. Fine inspiration that is! The common reader knows nothing about these damaging facts, but I could not avoid knowing them, for I have been where I saw it myself.
I could fill a volume with proof of her mistakes, for all of her books are full of them. I will select but a few.
THE SHUT DOOR. For several years after 1844, Mrs. White had visions saying that probation ended in that year, that there was no more salvation for sinners. Of course she has to deny this now, but the proof is overwhelmingly against her.
1. Seventh-day Adventists are compelled to admit that for some time after 1844 Adventists did hold that probation was ended. Even Mrs. White admits it. She says: "After the passing of the time of expectation, in 1844, Adventists still believed the Saviour's coming to be very near; they held that...the work of Christ as man's intercessor before God had ceased. Having given the warning of the judgment near, they felt that their work for the world was done, and they lost their burden of soul for the salvation of sinners.... All this confirmed them in the belief that probation had ended, or, as they then expressed it, 'the door of mercy was shut.'" Great Controversy, page 268. This statement of Mrs. White herself is enough to settle the point that the Adventists believed "the door of mercy was shut" in 1844. Notice here that the "shut door" means the end of probation, the close of mercy for sinners.
Mr. Miller for a while advocated the shut door in 1844. He says: "We have done our work in warning sinners and in trying to awake a formal church. God in his providence has SHUT THE DOOR; we can only stir one another up to be patient." Advent Herald, Dec. 11, 1844.
Then in the Voice of Truth, Feb. 19, 1845, he says: "I have not seen a genuine conversion since."
Elder G.I. Butler, in the Review and Herald, March 3, 1885, says: "As the time passed there was a general feeling among all the earnest believers that their work for the world was done." "There can be no question that for months after the time passed it was the general sentiment that their work of warning the world was over." "Their burden was gone, and they thought their work was done." Yes; that is just what they did believe, probation was ended.
2. I have conversed with several individuals who affirm positively that they heard her teach this repeatedly. There are many now living who will swear that they heard her teach it.
3. Written testimony. John Megquier, Saco, Me., a man noted for his integrity, writes: "We well know the course of Ellen G. White, the visionist, while in the state of Maine. About the first visions she had were at my house in Poland. She said that God had told her in vision that the door of mercy had closed, and there was no more chance for the world." The True Sabbath, by Miles Grant, page 70. Mrs. L.S. Burdick, San Francisco, California, was well acquainted with Mrs. White. She writes: "I became acquainted with James White and Ellen Harmon (now Mrs. White) early in 1845. At the time of my first acquaintance with them they were in wild fanaticism, used to sit on the floor instead of chairs, and creep around the floor like little children. Such freaks were considered a mark of humility. They were not married, but traveling together. Ellen was having what was called visions; said God had shown her in vision that Jesus Christ arose on the tenth day of the seventh month, 1844, and shut the door of mercy; had left forever the mediatorial throne; the whole world was doomed and lost and there never could be another sinner saved." L.S. Burdick, "True Sabbath," page 72. O.R.L. Crosier kept the Sabbath with them in 1848. He writes: "Ann Arbor, Mich., Dec. 1, 1887. Yes, I KNOW that Ellen G. Harmon, now Mrs. White, held the shut door theory at that date." Then he gives the proof. These persons knew the facts and have put their testimony on record.
4. The Present Truth. James White, editor, Oswego, N.Y., May, 1850, has an article by the editor on the "Sanctuary, 2300 Days, and the Shut Door." Elder White says: "At that point of time  the midnight cry was given, the work for the world was closed up, and Jesus passed into the Most Holy place.... When we came up to that point of time, all our sympathy, burden and prayers for sinners ceased, and the unanimous feeling and testimony was that our work for the world was finished forever.... He [Jesus] is still merciful to his saints, and ever will be; and Jesus is still THEIR advocate and priest; but the sinner, to whom Jesus had stretched out his arms all the day long, and who had rejected the offers of salvation, was LEFT WITHOUT AN ADVOCATE when Jesus passed from the holy place and shut that door in 1844." Any honest man can see that the shut door meant no salvation for sinners, and this is what Elder White taught in 1850. In a report of labor in the Advent Review, May 15, 1850, Elder White, in noticing the death of a sister Hastings, says: "She embraced the Sabbath in 1846, and has ever believed that the work of warning the world closed in 1844."
Again: "Many will point us to one who is said to be converted, for positive proof that the door is not shut, thus yielding the word of God for the feelings of an individual." Present Truth, Dec. 1849. This shows that they held to the shut door idea for years after 1844. What a fanatical and abominable doctrine that was for Christians to teach! Mrs. White was right with them and in full harmony with them on this all these years. She had revelations almost daily. If they were of God, why did she not correct them in this fearful error? Even if she had said nothing confirming this delusion, yet the simple fact that she had no revelation contradicting it all during these years, is enough to destroy her claim to inspiration. But the fact is, she taught this error as strongly in her visions as the brethren did in their arguments.
Here are her own words: "March 24, 1849.... I was shown that the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, relating to the shut door, could not be separated.... I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders, and false reformations would increase and spread. The reformations that were shown me were not reformations from error to truth but from bad to worse, for those who professed a change of heart had only wrapped about them a religious garb, which covered up the iniquity of a wicked heart. Some appeared to have been really converted, so as to deceive God's people, but if their hearts could be seen they would appear as black as ever. My accompanying angel bade me to look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it, for the time for their salvation is past." Present Truth, pages 21-22, published August, 1849.
Here you have the shut door and no mercy for sinners just as clear as language can make it. Every candid reader knows what it teaches. It is pitiable to see the shifts and turns, evasions, dodges, quibbles, if not something worse, resorted to on this passage to save Mrs. White's visions. But there it stands, to mock at all their efforts. Here is another passage teaching the same doctrine: "it was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the city, as all the wicked world which God had rejected." 'A Word to the Little Flock,' page 14, published in 1847. At this time, then, God had rejected the wicked world - shut door, you see.
Here is another vision in which she teaches the doctrine of the shut door in its very worst form, that is that after 1844 not one ray of light comes from Jesus to the wicked but they are all turned over to the devil to whom they now pray instead of to God. After Jesus left the holy place she says: "I did not see one ray of light pass from Jesus to the careless multitude after he arose and they were left in perfect darkness.... Satan appeared to be by the throne trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne and pray, Father give us thy spirit; then Satan would breathe upon them an unholy influence." Early Writings, pages 46-47. Not one ray of light comes to sinners since 1844 but all are left to the Devil! What is the use of their denying that she taught this doctrine? She certainly did and she knows it. This fact and the bold denial of it now, brand her as a false teacher.
I will briefly notice some other mistakes she had made, enough to show that she is wholly unreliable.
1. For over forty years she, herself, has been constantly expecting the end of the world, and it has not come yet. This alone ought to open the eyes of all to see that she has no knowledge of the future.
2. Slaves. In 1849 she foretold what would happen when Jesus comes, and said: "I saw the pious slave rise in triumph and victory and shake off the chains that bound him, while his wicked master was in confusion." Early Writings, page 28. But now there are no slaves. She had not then dreamed of the abolition of slavery.
3. Nations angry. "The nations are NOW getting angry." Early Writings, page 29. That was thirty-eight years ago. It takes a long time for them to get fighting mad!
4. Another mistake. "Some are looking too far off for the coming of the Lord." Page 49. That was thirty-eight years ago, and no Adventist then looked for time to last ten years.
5. Another blunder. "The time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly finished." Page 49. Jesus went there in 1844. Hence, he had then been there six years. She saw that the time for him to be there was nearly finished, but it has continued sixty years since. A false prediction, as any one can see.
6. A few months only in 1849. "Now time is almost finished, and what we have been [six] years learning, they [new converts] will have to learn in a few months." Page 57. But instead of a few months, they have had sixty years!
7. She broke the Sabbath for eleven years. Though she had vision after vision about the Sabbath, yet for eleven years they all began it at six P.M. instead of at sunset as the law requires. Lev. 23:32. When they found their mistake, she saw it, too, in vision. She says: "I acquired why it has been thus that at this late date we must change." Testimony No. 1, page 13. A poor leader she.
8. Her predictions about the rebellion a failure. "Jan. 4, 1862, I was shown some things in regard to our nation." Testimonies, Vol. I, page 253. All will remember the great anxiety and uncertainty of those days. How would the war end? Specially were her people anxious, as they were non-combatants and liable to the draft. Here was an inspired prophetess right in their midst, having abundant revelations about the length of women's dresses, what people should eat, etc. What relief to all would have been a few short words from heaven about the results of the war. The pressure upon her for light was so great that she had to say something. So she took her pen and scribbled away through thirty-two long pages about the war. At this date it is amusing to read it. This "revelation" alone is enough to show that she knows absolutely nothing of the future. All she wrote was merely a restatement of the popular view of the matter at the time. I shall quote a few sentences as samples. "The system of slavery, which has ruined our nation, is left to live and stir up another rebellion." Was slavery left to stir up another rebellion? Now we know that statement was utterly untrue.
Again: "It seemed impossible to have the war conducted successfully," page 256. Another failure, for it was conducted successfully. All can see that her ideas were just those generally rife at the time. I have long watched and studied her carefully, till I have become satisfied that this is always true of her prophesyings - they are wholly moulded by the sentiment around her at the time. Here is another: "This nation will yet be humbled into the dust," page 259. Was it? No. Again: "When England does declare war, all nations will have an interest of their own to serve, and there will be general war," page 259. Did anything of this kind happen? No; but it is just what all then expected. Once more: "Had our nation remained united, it would have had strength; but divided, it MUST FALL," page 260. How it did fall! "I was shown distress and perplexity and famine in the land," page 260. Just what all expected then; but where was the famine? "It looked to me like an impossibility now for slavery to be done away," page 266. Of course it did, for that was just the way it looked to all others then. But did it look that way to God? That was the question. Was he telling her?
She claims that what she writes is not merely her own ideas but the mind of God himself. Thus: "I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision." Testimony, No. 31, page 63. This, then, was the way the thing looked to God at that time! Again: "Blood has been poured out like water, and for naught." Testimony for the Church, Vol. I, page 367. Was it for naught, ye brave soldiers? Ye liberated slaves? Ye freed nation? I could give scores of such quotations all through her writings, showing how they have failed always and everywhere.
One of the worst blunders Mrs. White ever made, one which plainly showed her fanaticism and that God had nothing to do with her work, was the move she made on dress. First she wrote: "God would not have his people adopt the so-called reform dress," Testimonies, Vol. I, page 421. "If women would wear their dresses so as to clear the filth of the streets an inch or two," it would be in harmony with their faith, page 424. Four years pass, and she again writes: "God would now have his people adopt the reform dress," page 525. "Nine inches as nearly accords my views of the matter as I am able to express it in inches," page 521. Here are two revelations exactly opposite as to the style of dress and the length, an inch or two, then nine inches, from the ground is the length. What occasioned this change in the mind of the Lord? The answer is easy: In the time between the two revelations Mrs. White had spent some time at Dr. Jackson's "Home," Dansville, N.Y. Here a short dress with pants was worn, and she fell in with the idea and soon had a vision requiring its adoption as above. That is the whole of it. But the dress was a shame and a disgrace and an utter failure. Think of a modest woman on the streets with pants on, and her dress cut half way up to the knees! But for eight years Mrs. White pushed that dress with all her power, put it on herself as an example, till most of the sisters put it on. But it created a terrible commotion. Husbands swore, brothers refused to walk with their sisters, men sneered and boys hooted. Some of the sisters argued, some cried, some rebelled, but most submitted. I know, for my own wife wore it for eight years - had to. Finally, Mrs. White quietly dropped it off herself, and now no one wears it. Here they are all living in direct violation of a plain revelation from God! Common sense came out ahead of fanaticism.
If God ever spoke through Mrs. White about anything, he did about the dress, requiring the woman to wear it. I was there and know how she urged it, heard her many times. Her Testimonies at the time were full of it. She said: "I have done my duty; I have bourne my testimony, and those who have heard me and read that which I have written, must now bear the responsibility of receiving or rejecting the light given. If they choose to venture to be forgetful hearers, and not doers of the work, they run their own risk, and will be accountable to God!" Testimonies, Vol. I, page 525. Yet they have all run the risk and laid off the dress, Mrs. White with the rest. How does she get out of it? By all sorts of dodges, by blaming everybody but herself. It has been a great stumbling block to them.
Mrs. White originates nothing. In her visions she always sees just what she and her friends at the time happen to believe and be interested in. Her husband and other leading men first accept or study out a theory and talk it till her mind is full of it. Then when she is in her trance that is just what she sees. One who has been all through the Advent work and well knows, says: "The visions have brought out no points of faith held by Seventh-day Adventists."
Mrs. White herself confesses that she is influenced by others in writing her "Testimonies." Thus: pages 138-139. "What appeared in Testimony No. 11, concerning the Health Institute should not have been given until I was able to write out all I had seen in regard to it.... I yielded my judgment to that of others and wrote what appeared in No. 11.... In this I did wrong." Testimonies, Vol. I, page 563. She here "lets the cat out of the bag." She made such a blunder that she was compelled to blame some one else for it and so to tell the truth that she was influenced by others to do it! Fine inspiration.
Elder White was well aware of how she was influenced by others to see and write as they impressed her to do. Hence he was very jealous of having leading men talk anything to her alone opposing his views, for he feared she would then have a revelation favoring them and opposing him as indeed she did towards the last. Thus he wrote: "The pressure has been terribly hard on my poor wife. She has been impressed very much by Elders Butler and Haskell." Again: "I think my wife has been more severe than the Lord really required her to be in some cases. Satan has taken great advantage.... Elders Butler and Haskell have had an influence over her that I hope to see broken. It has nearly ruined her. These men must not be supported by our people to do as they have done." James White, Battle Creek, May 25, 1881. That shows the confidence which her own husband had in her revelations.
The proof is abundant that Mrs. White's visions are merely the result of nervous disease, a complication of hysteria, catalepsy and ecstasy. That she honestly believes in them herself, I do not doubt. I have personally known four other women, all Seventh-day Adventists, who likewise had visions. All were sincere Christians, and fully believed in their own visions. But all were sickly, nervous females, and hysterical. Not being encouraged in them, but opposed by their ministers, they finally gave them up. In every age such cases have been numerous, of whom a few, like Mrs. Southcott, Mrs. Ann Lee and Mrs. White, have become noted for awhile.
Medical books and cyclopedias, under the words "hysteria," "catalepsy" and "ecstasy," give a complete description of Mrs. White's case, as stated by herself and husband. This anyone may see by one day's study. My space will allow me to give but a few points.
1. The sex - a female. "The vast preponderance of hysteria in the female sex has given rise to its name." Raynold's System of Medicine, article, Hysteria. So say all the authorities. This fits Mrs. White, a female.
2. The age. "Hysteria is infinitely more common among females, beginning usually from fifteen to eighteen or twenty years of age." Theory and Practice of Medicine, by Roberts, page 399. "In the female sex, hysteria usually commences at or about the time of puberty, i.e., between twelve and eighteen years of age." Raynold's System of Medicine, article, Hysteria. Here again it exactly fits the case of Mrs. White. She had her first vision at the age of seventeen. See Testimonies, Vol. I, page 62. "Notwithstanding this mode of life, their health does not materially deteriorate." Johnson's Cyclopedia, article, Hysteria. So with Mrs. White. She has gradually improved in health and her visions have as gradually ceased. At first she had visions almost daily, but they have grown less frequent as she grew older and healthier, till after about forty-five years of age, since which time she has not averaged one in five years, and even these are short and light, till now she has ceased entirely to have them. Now read this: "Hysteria generally attacks women from the age of puberty to the decline of the peculiar functions of her sex." Johnson's Cyclopedia, article, Hysteria. Mrs. White's case again, exactly.
3. The cause. Hysteria, catalepsy, epilepsy and ecstasy are all nervous diseases, which sometimes co-exist or alternate or blend together so it is difficult to distinguish them. The causes noted are: "1. Mental disturbance, especially emotional; for example, a sudden fright, prolonged grief or anxiety. 2. Physical influences affecting the brain, as a BLOW OR FALL ON THE HEAD." Theory and Practice of Medicine, by Roberts, page 393. "In ten of my cases the disease was due to reflex causes, which consisted in six cases of injuries to the head." Fundamental Nervous Disease, Putzel, page 66. This is Mrs. White again, exactly. At the age of nine she received a terrible blow on the face, which broke her nose and nearly killed her. She was unconscious for three weeks. See her life in Testimony, Vol. I, pages 9-10. This shock to her nervous system was the real cause of all the visions she afterwards had.
4. Always weakly and sickly. "Most hysterical persons are out of health." Theory and Practice of Medicine, by Roberts, page 404. "Fainting fits, palpitation of the heart appear very frequently and are sometimes so severe that persons affected with them seem to be dying." Encyclopedia Americana, article, Hysteria. Now read the life of Mrs. White, and she tells it over and over, times without number, about fainting frequently, pain at the heart, and about being so sick that she expected to die. And it is remarkable that most of her visions were immediately preceded by one of these fainting death spells. This shows plainly that they are the result of nervous weakness. She says: "My feelings were unusually sensitive." Testimonies Vol. I, page 12. Now read this: "Woman...whose nervous system is extremely sensitive, are the most subject to hysterical affections," Encyclopedia Americana, article, Hysteria. An exact fit.
When nine years old a girl hit her on the nose with a stone, broke her nose, and nearly killed her. Page 9. "I lay in a stupor for three weeks." Page 10. "I was reduced almost to a skeleton." Page 11. "My health seemed to be hopelessly impaired." Page 12. "My nervous system was prostrated." Page 13. Here was the origin of her hysteria of after years. In this condition she "listened to the startling announcement that Christ was coming in 1843." Page 14. "These words kept ringing in my ears; 'the great day of the Lord is at hand.'" Page 15. "I frequently attended the meetings and believed that Jesus was soon to come." Page 22. Of her impression of hell she says: "My imagination would be so wrought upon that the perspiration would start." Page 24. "I feared that I would lose my reason." Page 25. At one time she did become insane for two weeks as she writes herself. Spiritual Gifts, Vol. II, page 51. She continues: "My health was very poor." Testimonies, Vol. I, page 55. It was thought that she could live but a few days. Then it was that she had her first vision, really a fit. Page 58. "I was but seventeen years of age, small and frail." Page 62. "My strength was taken away," and angels talk with her. Page 64. "My friends thought I could not live.... Immediately taken off in vision." Page 67. Notice that her visions happen when she is very sick! This tells the story; they are the result of her physical weakness. If it was the power of the Holy Ghost, why didn't God send it when she was well? Why not?
"I often fainted like one dead." The next day she was well and "rode thirty-eight miles." Page 80. This is characteristic of hysterical females, as all know who have seen them. They are just dying one hour and all well the next. Mrs. White has gone through that a thousand times. She is just dying, is prayed for, is healed by God, and all well in a few minutes. In a few days she goes right over it again. But if God heals her, why doesn't she stay healed? This used to bother me. When Jesus healed a man, did he have to go back and be healed over again every few days? She goes on: "I fainted under the burden. Some feared I was dying.... I was soon lost to earthly things" - had a vision. Page 86. Again: "I fainted. Prayer was offered for me and I was blessed and taken off in vision." Page 88. There you have it, the same old story. It is simply her hysterical imagination, nothing more. Next page. "I fainted...taken off in vision." So she goes on all through her book. Says the Encyclopedia Americana, article, Hysteria: "Fainting fits, palpitation of the heart appear very frequently and are sometimes so severe that persons afflicted with them seem to be dying." Mrs. White exactly.
On page after page the same story is repeated by herself. In the account of her last vision, Jan. 3, 1875, she was very sick till it ended in a vision. Testimonies, Vol. III, page 570. Dreadful sick, almost dead, then a vision - this is the story, times without number, from her own pen. That tells the story. The vision is the result of her physical weakness.
5. Visions in public. "As a rule a fit of hysteria occurs when other persons are present, and never comes on during sleep." Theory and Practice of Medicine, by Roberts, page 401. Most of her visions occur in public, and generally while she is very sick, or when praying or speaking earnestly. This was the case with her first vision. Spiritual Gifts, Vol. I, page 30. So, again, on pages 37, 48, 51, 62, 83, and many more, she has her visions in the presence of many. I do not know that she ever had a vision alone.
6. Inclination to Exaggerate and Deceive. All medical books state that hysterical persons are given to exaggeration and deception. The inclination is irresistible. Nothing can break them of it. Gurnsey's Obstetrics, article Hysteria, says: "Such persons entertain their hearers with marvelous tales of the greatness and exploits of their past lives.... These accounts are uttered with an air of sincerity well calculated to deceive the honest listener, and such unbridled license of the imagination and total obliviousness in regard to the truth, which are vulgarly attributed to an entire want of principle and the most inordinate vanity, are in reality due to that morbid condition of the female organism which is designed by the comprehensive term hysteria."
Mrs. White is always telling what great things she has done. The deception which she so often practices, and which I have witnessed in her myself, is here accounted for on principles which do not impeach the moral character, and I am glad to accept the explanation.
7. Does not breathe. "Stoppage of respiration usually complete." "Generally appears to hold his breath." Robert's Theory and Practice of Medicine, page 393-394. Elder White, describing her condition in vision says: "She does not breathe." Life Incidents, page 272. They always refer to this fact with great confidence as proof of the supernatural in her visions; but it will be seen that it is common in these diseases.
8. Importance of self. "There is a prevailing belief in the importance of self, and the patient thinks that she differs from every other human being." Raynold's System of Medicine, article, Hysteria. Mrs. White to a hair. Hear her laud herself: "It is God, and not an erring mortal, who has spoken." "God has laid upon my husband and myself a special work." "God has appointed us to a more trying work than he has others." Testimonies, Vol. III, pages 257, 258, 160. I have known her nearly thirty years, and I never knew her to make confession of a single sin or evil in all that time, not she. Seventh-day Adventists ridicule the Pope's claim to infallibility but they themselves are bowing to the authority of a woman who makes higher claims to infallibility than ever pope or prophet did. Space will not allow me to fill out every particular of her experience by quotations from medical works compared with her own statements; but even these given above are sufficient to show the nature and philosophy of her attacks. They are the result of nervous disease, precisely the same as has been often seen in the case of thousands of other sickly females.
9. Testimony of Three Physicians. Dr. Fairfield was brought up a Seventh-day Adventist; was for years a physician in their Sanitarium at Battle Creek. He has had the best opportunity to observe Mrs. White. He writes: "Battle Creek, Mich., Dec. 28, 1887. Dear Sir: You are undoubtedly right in ascribing Mrs. E.G. White's so-called visions to disease. It has been my opportunity to observe her case a good deal, covering quite a period of years, which, with a full knowledge of her history from the beginning, gave me no chance to doubt her ("divine") attacks to be simply hysterical trances. Age itself has almost cured her. W.J. Fairfield, M.D."
Dr. Wm. Russell, long a Seventh-day Adventist, and a chief physician in the Sanitarium, wrote July 12th, 1869, that he had made up his mind some time in the past, "that Mrs. White's visions were the result of a diseased organization or condition of the brain or nervous system." "When giving to a conference at Pilot Grove, Iowa, 1865, an account of her visit at Dr. Jackson's health institute, she stated that the doctor, upon a medical examination, pronounced her a subject of hysteria." Mrs. White's Claims Examined, page 76.
Here is the testimony of three physicians, who have personally examined Mrs. White. She joined the Millerites in their great excitement of 1843-44. In their meetings she often fainted from excitement. In the enthusiasm and fanaticism of the time many had various "gifts," visions, trances, etc. She drank deeply of their spirit. The grief and disappointment of the passing of the set time were too much for her feeble condition. Says Dr. Roberts: "The exciting cause of the first hysterical fit is generally some powerful sudden emotional disturbance." "Sometimes the attack is preceded by disappointment, fear, violent, exciting or even religious emotions." Library of Universal Knowledge, article, Catalepsy. Just her case in 1844, in the great excitement and disappointment she then met.
Dr. George B. Wood's "Practice of Medicine," page 721 of Vol. II, in treating of mental disorders, and explaining the cause and phenomena of trances, says: "Ecstasy is an affection in which, with a loss of consciousness of existing circumstances, and insensibility to impression from without, there is an apparent exaltation of the intellectual or emotional functions, as if the individual were raised into a different nature, or different sphere of existence. The patient appears wrapped up in some engrossing thought or feeling, with an expression upon his countenance as of lofty contemplations or ineffable delight.... Upon recovering from the spell, the patient generally remembers his thoughts and feelings more or less accurately, and sometimes tells of wonderful visions that he has seen, of visits to the regions of the blessed, of ravishing harmony and splendor, of inexpressible enjoyment of the senses or affections."
A person perfectly familiar with Mrs. White could not have described her visions more accurately. Another high medical authority, in describing ecstasy and catalepsy, says: "It often happens that the two diseases alternate or co-exist. In ecstasy the limbs are motionless, but not rigid. The eyes are open, the pupils fixed, the livid lips parted in smiles, and the arms extended to embrace the beloved vision. The body is erect and raised to its utmost height, or else is extended at full length in recumbent posture. A peculiar radiant smile illuminates the countenance, and the whole aspect and attitude is that of intense mental exaltation. Sometimes the patient is silent, the mind being apparently absorbed in meditation, or in the contemplation of some beatific vision. Sometimes there is mystical speaking or prophesying, or singing, or the lips may be moved without any sound escaping.... Usually there is complete insensibility to external impressions. Ecstasy is often associated with religious monomania. It was formerly quite common among the inmates of convents, and is now not infrequently met with at camp-meetings and other gatherings of a similar nature. Many truly devout people are extatics." G. Durant, M.D., Ph.D., member of American Medical Association, Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, etc., etc., recipient of several medals, etc.
This is Mrs. White's case very clearly. Hundreds of similar ones have occurred in every age, and are constantly occurring now. The sad part of it is that so many honest souls are deluded into receiving all this as a divine revelation.
1. It is an error and a deception.
2. She deceives herself and others.
3. She teaches false doctrines.
4. She has a harsh, uncharitable spirit, and begets this in all her followers.
5. She builds up an isolated sect, and thus destroys all their influence for good.
6. Her teachings make her people narrow, bigoted, and gloomy. Thus she blasts the peace of thousands of souls.
7. It leads her advocates to deceive. Being afraid that it will hurt them in new places, if it is known in what light they really hold her visions, they keep them back as long as they can and then they deny that it is a matter of importance with them. This is false and deceptive, for they hold faith in her visions to be as important as keeping the Sabbath, and they hold her visions to be as sacred as the Bible.
8. To defend her mistakes and errors, both she and her apologists have to deny the plainest facts and resort to arguments very questionable.
9. To defend her errors, they compare them to supposed errors in the Bible, and thus destroy faith in that book.
10. She rules her whole people with a rod of iron, and dictates to them in everything, even the smallest and most private affairs of family life. She boasts that her work "is to come down to the minutiae of life." Testimonies, Vol. II, page 608. With this idea she meddles with everything public and private, and all the affairs of families, till it becomes, to a man of spirit, an intolerable bore. She meddles between husband and wife, parents and children, breaks up marriage engagements which do not suit her, dictates to all her followers what they shall eat, how, and when; the cut and color of their dress; their business, the disposition of their means, etc., etc. In proof of this let a person read any of her "Testimonies," for they are full of it.
11. Her severity and harshness have driven many to despair, others to back- slide, and others out of the church. I can name many individuals and families whose happiness she has blasted. She broke the heart and darkened the life of my first wife by her cruel words to her. Any one who dares to get in her way must either succumb, be crushed, or driven out. The effort to bind her visions as inspired upon the faith and consciences of the whole denomination has produced continual wrangling, division, and much bitter feeling, right among themselves for the last sixty years. Families, churches and conferences have been divided over them, while hundreds, yes, thousands, have been driven from them because they would not accept Mrs. White's visions as inspired.
12. They produce doubts and infidelity. When those who have been led to firmly believe them finally come to see that they have been deceived, then they are in danger of losing faith in everything and so becoming out and out infidels, or at least skeptical. Large numbers have gone to ruin that way whom I have personally known. Some have gone to the Spiritualists, some to the Free Thinkers, some to the Shakers, some to the Mormons, and some to the world. They have nearly driven Mrs. White herself into infidelity. Here are her own words: "In the night I have awakened my husband, saying, 'I am afraid that I shall become an infidel.'" Testimonies, Vol. I, page 597. How unlike the apostles that sounds.
There is no example in the Bible where a prophet took advantage of his inspiration to enrich himself. They generally worked hard, had little, and died poor. But Mrs. White began poverty poor. She says: "We entered upon our work penniless." Testimonies, Vol. I, page 75. But as soon as they became leaders, they managed to supply themselves well. Since I knew them, thirty years ago, they have had an abundance, and have used means for themselves lavishly. They would always have the best and plenty of it. Everywhere they went they required to be waited upon in the most slavish manner. Mrs. White dresses very richly, often is furnished women to wait on her, and all their time and expenses are paid by the conference.
When Elder White died he left a large fortune. He was a sharp business man, and took advantage of his position to benefit himself and his family, and she aided him in it by her revelations. How different from Mr. Moody! Mrs. White is eighty years old, is worth thousands, has a large income, has not a single soul dependent upon her, says that time is about to end, urges all to cut down their possessions, yet takes large royalty on all her numerous books and seems as eager for money as others. How is this?
The last year I was with them she received $18 per week, was furnished two women to wait upon her and all traveling expenses paid. The same year they sold 20,000 copies of Great Controversy on which she received a royalty of $2,500 besides and income from all her other works. Her inspiration has paid her well financially.
Take an example or two of how she used her revelations to make money: In 1868 Elder White had on hand several thousand dollars' worth of old books which were dead property, as they were not selling and were growing out of date. He hit on a plan to raise a "book fund" for the free distribution of books and tracts. This fund he used to buy out his and her old books! When the money did not come fast enough, she had a revelation about it thus: "Why do not our brethren send in their pledges on the book and tract fund more liberally? And why do not our ministers take hold of this work in earnest? ...We shall not hold our peace upon this subject. Our people will come up to the work. The means will come. And we would say to those who are poor and want books, send in your orders.... We will send you a package of books containing four volumes of Spiritual Gifts, How to Live, Appeal to Youth, Appeal to Mothers, Sabbath Readings and the two large charts, with key of explanation,... and charge the fund four dollars." Testimonies, Vol. I, page 689. Every one of these books was their own. The money came and they pocketed it all. I was there and know.
Mrs. White now has forty inspired books. To sell these, every possible effort is made through every channel. She is constantly urging it by all her inspired authority. Hear her: "The volumes of Spirit of Prophecy and also the Testimonies should be introduced into every Sabbath keeping family.... Let them be worn out in being read by all the neighbors.... Prevail upon them to buy copies.... Light so precious, coming from the throne of God, is hid under a bushel. God will make his people responsible for this neglect." Testimonies, Vol. IV, pages 390, 391. So, of course, her books must be pushed and sold while she makes money. It pays to be inspired!
1. I once accepted Mrs. White's claim to inspiration for the same reason that most of her followers do. I first accepted the Sabbath and then the other points of the faith till I came to believe it all.
2. Once among and of them I found all stating in strong terms that Mrs. White was inspired of God. I supposed they knew, and so took their word for it; and that is what all the others do as they come in, deny it as they may.
3. I soon found that her revelations were so connected with the whole history and belief of that church that I could not consistently separate them any more than a person could be a Mormon and not believe in Joseph Smith. I believed the other doctrines so firmly that I swallowed the visions with the rest, and that is what all do.
4. When I began to have suspicions about the visions I found the pressure so strong that I feared to express them, or even to admit them to myself. All said such doubts were of the Devil and would lead to a rejection of the truth and then to ruin. So I dared not entertain them nor investigate the matter; and this is the way it is with others.
5. I saw that all who expressed any doubts about the visions were immediately branded as "rebels," as "in the dark," "led by Satan," "infidels," etc.
6. Having no faith in any other doctrine or people, I did not know what to do nor where to go. So I tried to believe the visions and go along just as thousands of them do when really they are in doubt about them all the time.
Her last Testimony just out reveals the fact that there is a wide-spread effort among her people to modify her high claims. She protests vehemently and warns them to keep their hands off. Sooner or later there must be a revolt against her claims.
The following from Chamber's Encyclopedia, article, Southcott, is also applicable to Mrs. White and her followers: "The history of Joanna Southcott herself has not much in it that is marvelous; but the influence which she exercised over others may well be deemed so, and the infatuation of her followers is hard to be understood, particularly when it is considered that some of them were men of some intelligence and of cultivated mind. Probably the secret of her influence lay in the fact that the poor creature was in earnest about her delusions. So few people in the world are really so that they are always liable to be enslaved by others who have convictions of any kind, however grotesque. On her death-bed Joanna said: 'If I have been misled, it has been by some spirit, good or evil.' Poor Joanna never suspected that the spirit which played such vagaries was her own."
Just so of Mrs. White. It is marvelous that with all the proof of her failures intelligent men are still led by her. But the case of Joanna, of Ann Lee, and others, helps us to solve this one. All have earnestly believed in their own inspiration, and this alone has convinced others.
"The Bible and the Bible Only, as a Rule of Faith and Practice," is the Protestant watchword for which saints have fought and martyrs died.
The Catholic church has the Bible and - and - something else - an infallible Pope to interpret it.
The Swedenborg church has the Bible and - and - something else - Swedenborg's revelation to interpret it.
The Shakers have the Bible and - and - something else - Mother Ann Lee's revelation to interpret it.
The Mormons have the Bible and - and - something else - Joe Smith's revelations to interpret it.
Christian Scientists have the Bible and - and - something else - Mrs. Eddy's Science and Health to tell what it means.
Seventh-day Adventists have the Bible and - and - something else - Mrs. White's revelations to interpret it.
Each of the above churches has done exactly the same thing, namely, has put right along with the good old Bible another interpreter to tell what that old Bible really means. Whatever these new interpreters say it means, all their members must accept as true without further question. Dare a Catholic dispute the Pope's interpretation, or a Mormon dispute Smith's, or an Adventist dispute Mrs. White's interpretation? No indeed.
Click here to read Life of Mrs. E.G. White by D.M. Canright