Shut Door Statements not Included in Early Writings

By A.C. Long, Advent and Sabbath Advocate, (Marion, Iowa, 1883), edited for the web by Brother Anderson

Introduction by Brother Anderson

In 1882, the SDA Church published a book called Early Writings which purported to have the earliest writings of Ellen White. The reason it was published was to silence critics who had complained for many years that the earliest writings of Ellen White contained grave errors regarding the "shut door" doctrine. Shortly thereafter, the real early writings of Ellen White surfaced when one of Ellen White's critics, A.C. Long, published the tract below. It proves that material had been suppressed from her earliest writings.

Comparison of the Early Writings of Mrs. White with Later Publications by A.C. Long

Statement by Isaac Wellcome
Eld. White had published several of Ellen's visions on small sheets for general distribution; but as time passed on the theology of her later visions was materially different from former ones, and they were suppressed... these visions as published now are greatly in conflict with those which acquaintances and witnesses in New England were accustomed to hear from her lips, after recovering from her clairvoyant state, or to read on sheets as published at first, by Eld. White."1

It is not pleasant nor congenial to our feelings to call attention to the erroneous doctrines and false standards raised by other denominations, yet at times it becomes our duty to do so. My mind is impressed that it is now [my] duty to write upon the above subject, and show some of the false claims put forth by some of the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventists in support of the visions of Mrs. E.G. White. I have had the privilege of perusing a work recently published by SDAs at Battle Creek, Michigan, entitled Early Writings of Mrs. White. This claims to be a republication of all her early visions. In the publishers' preface of this book I find the following:

"And for still another reason we take peculiar pleasure in its republication. Our opponents have been wont to make loud claims that there was a desire and an attempt to suppress these views, because the work has been so long out of print. The presence of this book will be a sufficient refutation of the groundless charge.”

The last sentence of this preface reads as follows:

"The verbal changes have been made under the author's own eye and with her full approval."

In the Advent Review under date of Dec. 26, 1882, is an article from the pen of Elder G. L Butler, under the caption, "A Book Long Desired." In this article, he calls the attention of his readers to the importance of purchasing the above-mentioned book; and from that article we make the following quotation:

"These were the very first of the published writings of Sister White... Many have greatly desired to have in their possession all she has written for publication... So strong was the interest to have these early writings reproduced that several years ago the General Conference recommended by vote that they be republished. The volume under consideration in the result of this interest. It meets a want long felt... There is another interesting feature connected with this matter. The enemies of this cause, who have spared no pains to break down the faith of our people in the testimonies of God’s Spirit, and the interest felt in the writings of Sister White, have made all the capital possible from the fact that her early writings were not attainable. They have said many things about our 'suppressing' these writings as if we were ashamed of them. They have tried to make it appear that there was something objectionable about them, that we feared would come to the light of day, and that we carefully kept them in the background. These lying insinuations have answered their purpose in deceiving some unwary souls. They now appear in their real character, by the publication of several thousand copies of this 'suppressed' book, which our enemies pretended we were very anxious to conceal. They have claimed to be very anxious to obtain these writings to show up their supposed errors They now have the opportunity."

From the above quotations we gather the following points:

  1. That these early writings of Mrs. White were republished under her eye and with her full approval.
  2. That they contain all of her early visions.
  3. That those who have claimed that certain portions of her early visions were suppressed, are liars, since they are now all republished.

Having now set their claims clearly before the reader, we are ready to make a few statements:

  1. That this book referred to, does not contain all of her early visions.
  2. That portions of her early visions are suppressed, and that the lie properly falls upon their own character and not upon ours.

We shall now proceed at once to the proof of these statements, and the reader can judge who is right in this matter. On page 9 of the above-mentioned book I find this heading: “My first Vision,” and a foot note is appended stating that this vision was first published in 1846. Now, I am fortunate to have in my possession a small tract of 24 pages published in 1847, by Elder James White, entitled "A Word to the Little Flock," which contains this same vision, with these remarks from Elder White:

"The following vision was published in the Day Star, more than a year ago, by request of friends. It is republished in this little work, with scripture references for the benefit of the little flock."

We shall now enter into a comparison of these works.

Commencing at. the beginning of this first vision I read down 33 lines and find that the late republished work agrees with the old one of 1847, nearly word for word, [with] only a few slight changes without altering the sense. But at the end of the 33rd line, behold, I find four lines omitted or suppressed. These read as follows:

"It Was just as impossible for them [those that gave up their faith in the '44 movement,] to get on the path again and go to the city, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all along the path, one after an other."

Why these lines have not found a place in her recent book we are left to conjecture, and to my mind they clearly teach the shut door doctrine. For she says that it was just as impossible to reclaim these apostates as it was to save all the wicked world which God had rejected. This, taken with that other passage in the shut door vision where she saw that "the time for their salvation is past," is strong evidence to show that she believed for a time that the salvation of sinners was past after 1844.

The shut door doctrine was the belief that the door of mercy was closed against sinners in 1844, and consequently that there was no salvation for them after that time. That this was the belief of the body of Adventists at that time is evident from the following extract taken from Review and Herald, June 11, 1861, and signed by nine of their prominent ministers:

"Our views of the work before us were then mostly vague and indefinite, some still retaining the idea adopted by the body of Advent believers in 1844, with Wm. Miller at their head, that our work for the world was finished, and that the message was confined to those of the original Advent faith. So firmly was this believed that one of our number was nearly refused the message, the individual presenting it having doubts of the possibility of his salvation because he was not in the '44 move."

From the above we learn that they did believe that the time for the salvation of sinners expired in 1844. Mrs. White believed this doctrine and taught it in her visions, but since that time she has renounced that doctrine, and consequently those portions of her visions that taught it are now suppressed and denied. This proves that her visions are fallible and hence have no higher source than her own mind.

We now return again to compare these works. I read down through 72 lines more and find that the new book is a correct reprint of it so far. But here at the end of the seventy second line, there is another chasm, omission or suppression of 22 lines, which reads as follows:

"And as we were gazing at the glories of the place our eyes were attracted upwards to something that had the appearance of silver. I asked Jesus to let me see what was within there. In a moment we were winging our way upward, and entering in; here we saw good old father Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Daniel, and many like them. And I saw a vail with a heavy fringe of silver and gold, as a border on the bottom; it was very beautiful. I asked Jesus what was within the vail. He raised it with his own right arm, and bade me take heed. I saw there a glorious ark, overlaid with pure gold, and it had a glorious border, resembling Jesus’ crowns; and on it were two bright angels—their wings were spread over the ark as they sat on each end, with their faces turned towards each other and looking downward. [Exodus 25:18, 20. Hebrews 9:3-5.] In the ark, beneath where the angels’ wings were spread, was a golden pot of Manna, of a yellowish cast; and I saw a rod, which Jesus said was Aaron’s; I saw it bud, blossom and bear fruit. [Numbers 17:8.] And I saw two long golden rods, on which hung silver wires, and on the wires most glorious grapes; one cluster was more than a man here could carry. And I saw Jesus step up and take of the manna, almonds, grapes and pomegranates, and bear them down to the city, and place them on the supper table. I stepped up to see how much was taken away, and there was just as much left; and we shouted Hallelujah—Amen. We all descended from this place down into the city."

Why should these 22 lines be suppressed? Why omit them when this vision was republished in 1851, and also in 1882? If a part of this vision was from the Lord, why not all of it? And what right has she or any person else to reject a part of God’s word? That these lines are omitted in the republication of this vision since 1851, is a fact that cannot be denied. We are again left to conjecture why these lines are omitted. It appears evident to my mind that at this early period she believed in the immortality of the human soul, and that the saints went to heaven at death, for she says that she saw Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Daniel, and many like them, in the heavenly Jerusalem above. As these had no resurrection they must have ascended there at death. As she does not now believe in that doctrine this portion of her vision had to be suppressed. That weak and childish expression of glorious grapes growing on silver wires, and these wires attached to golden rods, was doubtless sufficient to have it struck out also.

We again return to the comparison of these works. We read 43 lines further, and see that they agree again; but at the end of the last-mentioned line, two more lines are suppressed which read as follows:

"Well, bless the Lord, dear brethren and sisters, it is an extra meeting for those that have the seal of the living God."

Why is this suppressed? Perhaps because it teaches that a certain class of saints are to have an extra meeting, and they only will be sealed. From this suppression I read 34 lines more, which brings me to the close of her first vision. This first vision was given shortly after the passing of 1844, as you will see in a footnote on page 9 in her recent work. This first vision as published by James White in 1847 contained 200 lines, but now 28 of these lines are suppressed, which shows that over one eighth of the whole vision is suppressed.

Having now got through with her first vision, we are ready to proceed to others. On page 25 of this same book, Early Writings of Mrs. White, we have another vision, as seen by her in 1847, at Topsham, Maine. This vision covers about three and one-half pages. The first two pages are a verbatim reprint of my old copy, published by Eld. James White in 1847, entitled A Word to the Little Flock. But, on the third page there are two suppressions, one near the top of the page, of four lines, the other near the bottom, of eight lines. The first reads as follows:

"And if one believed and kept the Sabbath and received the blessing attending it, and then gave it up and broke the holy commandment, they would shut the gates of the Holy City against themselves, as sure as there was a God that rules in heaven above."

Doubtless this passage was too deeply colored by the shut door doctrine to allow it a place in its republication. The second passage reads as follows:

"I saw all that 'would not receive the mark of the Beast, and of his Image, in their foreheads or in their hands,' could not buy or sell. [Revelation 13:15-17.] I saw that the number (666) of the Image Beast was made up; [Revelation 13:18.] and that it was the Beast that changed the Sabbath, and the Image Beast had followed on after, and kept the Pope’s, and not God’s Sabbath. And all we were required to do, was to give up God’s Sabbath, and keep the Pope’s, and then we should have the mark of the Beast, and of his image."

This passage teaches a doctrine contrary to their present views on this subject, and hence its omission from their late works. She here teaches that the beast that is numbered is the two-horned beast, or "image beast" as she calls it. But Uriah Smith, in his Thoughts on Revelation, teaches that the ten-horned beast is the numbered beast, and applies to the Papacy. She doubtless, at that early period, believed the number 666 applied to the different Protestant denominations, a position they now repudiate. Therefore, this portion of her vision must be repudiated and omitted from her works. The remainder of this vision, which consists of about a page, is found on comparison to be the very same as published in Word to Little Flock. This vision consists of 125 lines as first published by Elder James White, and as 12 lines are suppressed, the average suppression of this vision is about one-tenth, or one line in every ten.

Having now examined the first two visions as found in this recently published work, we shall proceed to the third, which is found on page 29, and is entitled “The Sealing.” She had this vision [on] Jan. 5, 1849. I am again fortunate in having in my possession this vision, published the same month and year in which she received it. It bears the signature of E.G. White, and is addressed as follows: “To those who are receiving the seal of the living God.” This vision consists of 106 lines, but in the republication of these Early Writings of Mrs. White I find nineteen lines omitted. These suppressed lines read as follows:

"I saw the state of some who stood on present truth, but disregarded the visions,—the way God had chosen to teach in some cases, those who erred from Bible truth. I saw that in striking against the visions they did not strike against the worm—the feeble instrument that God spake through; but against the Holy Ghost. I saw it was a small thing to speak against the instrument, but it was dangerous to slight the words of God. I saw if they were in error and God chose to show them their errors through visions, and they disregarded the teachings of God through visions, they would be left to take their own way, and run in the way of error, and think they were right, until they would find it out too late. Then in the time of trouble I heard them cry to God in agony—“Why didst thou not show us our wrong, that we might have got right and been ready for this time?” Then an angel pointed to them and said–'My Father taught, but you would not be taught.–He spoke through visions, but you disregarded his voice, and he gave you up to your own ways, to be filled with your own doings.'"

The above suppressed passage is a fearful warning against those that disregard her visions, for to oppose them “is to strike against the Holy Ghost.” For if she is inspired, as they claim, instead of suppressing this portion, it ought to have been published as a preface in her 34 volumes of inspiration, as a warning against those who might feel inclined to oppose her visions. But there is another view to this.

If to strike against her visions is to strike against the Holy Ghost, have not the publishers struck against the Holy Ghost, since they have struck out the above portions referred to? And has not Mrs. White herself struck against the Holy Ghost, since it was done under “her eye and with her full approval?” Perhaps the reason for the above suppression was because it condemned the SDA leaders.

We have now examined three of Mrs. White's early visions and find fifty-nine lines of them omitted. These lines are not found in any of her works that I have seen that have been published since 1849, They are omitted in Experience and Views (1851), Spiritual Gifts (1858), and Early Writings of Mrs. White (1882). This last work may be a correct reprint of Experience and Views (1851), but it certainly is not "all the early writings of Mrs. White," as we have clearly shown. We might go on and show more suppressions, but we have presented enough for any candid mind. ...

In this article we have been free to express our opinions as to the cause of these suppressions, and whether right or wrong, the stubborn fact remains, that fifty nine lines of her first three visions are omitted from her late published works, and they cannot deny it. How does the above fact compare with the statement of Elder G, 1. Butler, that this late work contains "all the early writings of Mrs. White?" Upon whose character falls these "lying insinuations" now? Who now “appears in their real character by the publication of these” suppressions?

Again, since she claims to be divinely inspired, what right has she and others to suppress portions of God's word? In Revelation we read, “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18,19). I understand this language to apply to all of God’s inspired word. Now if Mrs. White’s visions are the word of God, and they have taken away some of them, then their part will be taken away from the book of life, and from the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book. But if they are not the word of the Lord, then they have been adding to his word, and God will add unto them the plagues that are written in this book. So, taking either horn of the dilemma, they are found under the condemnation of the Lord. They should confess their sins and forsake them, that the Lord may have mercy upon them at his coming.

The Lord has given us several ways to test all false prophets. “For if they speak not according to this word [the Bible,] there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). Mrs. White teaches contrary to the Bible in many respects. Again, we hear the Lord saying, “When a prophet, speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass; that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet speaketh it presumptuously: thou shall not be afraid of him" (Deut. 18:22). Although Mrs. White may threaten us with sinning against the Holy Ghost if we oppose her visions, and thus try to intimidate us; yet the Lord tells us not to be afraid of her, for she has spoken many things that have not come to pass. We shall now bring a prophecy of hers to the above test. In 1849, she had a vision concerning the time of trouble, which was published in 1851, in Experience and Views, and republished in their late work, on pages 47-49. In this she speaks as follows:

"Some are looking too far off for the coming of the Lord. Time has continued a few years longer than they expected; therefore they think it may continue a few years more, and in this way their minds are being led from present truth, out after the world. In these things I saw great danger; for if the mind is filled with other things, present truth is shut out, and there is no place in our foreheads for the seal of the living God. I saw that the time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly finished and that time can last but a very little longer."

In this vision she sees that some are looking too far off for the coming of the Lord, and that these persons think that he may not come for a few years more. This was in 1849. Did the Lord come in a "few years?" He did not. Consequently, as the thing did not come to pass, you are not to be afraid of her, as the Bible teaches.

But there is another point in the above quotation to which I wish to call the reader's attention; it is this: “I saw that the time for Jesus to be in the Most Holy Place was nearly finished.” Now, according to their position, Christ had been in the most holy place just five years; for they teach that Christ passed from the holy to the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary in 1844; and consequently, when Christ had been in the most holy place for five years, she sees that his time in the most holy place was "nearly finished," and therefore she expected the Lord to come in a "few years" from 1849; but as he did not come, therefore she must be a false prophetess. The expression, “nearly finished,” to allow the greatest latitude of meaning possible, cannot mean less than one half done. For instance, if I say the day is nearly finished, or the week, or mouth, is nearly finished, they must be at least one half finished, or I would be stating a falsehood. Now, if "nearly finished," in the above vision, means only one-half finished, then the Lord would have come about 1854, or five years after this vision was given. But as he did not come at that time, it proves this vision false and her a false prophetess.

Now the facts are these: thirty-four years have elapsed since this vision was given, and as Christ had been in the most holy place but five years at that time, according to their position, therefore his work in the most holy place had just begun, instead of being nearly finished. It would be a glaring falsehood to say that a day is nearly finished in the morning, or that a week is nearly finished on Monday, or that a year is nearly finished in January. Therefore, it a glaring falsehood for Mrs. White to assert that the time for Christ to be in the most holy place was nearly finished when [as of 1883,] thirty-four years have elapsed since that time, and according to their calculation he had only been there five years. Consequently, as the prophecy has failed, the Lord has not spoken through her and we are not to be afraid of her.

The design of this article is simply to republish some of the suppressions of the early writings of Mrs. White, and to refute the charge of Elder G.I. Butler that by our "lying insinuations" we "deceive some unwary souls," and not to enter into a thorough examination of her claims; but those that wish to examine this subject further will find an able work by H.E. Carver, entitled "The Visions of Mrs. E.G. White Examined," and another work by H.C. Blanchard, entitled “Testimonies of Mrs. White Compared with the Bible.” But this article presents some stubborn facts which abundantly show that her visions are only of human origin, and that even the SDA leaders must regard them in the same light or they would never have ventured to suppress portions of her early visions, which we have clearly shown they have done.

Comments on the Continuing Deception, by Brother Anderson

I bought my copy of Early Writings in the early 1990s--a full 110 years after SDA leaders learned from A.C. Long that critical material had been suppressed and deleted from the book. I thought I had purchased the very earliest writings of Ellen White. Even the preface of the book led me to believe that. Notice what it says:

"Footnotes giving dates and explanations, and an appendix giving two very interesting dreams, which were mentioned but not related to the original work, will add to the value of this edition. Aside from these, no changes from the original work have been made in the present edition, except the occasional employment of a new word, or a change in the construction of a sentence, to better express the idea, and no portion of the work has been omitted. No shadow of change has been made in any idea or sentiment of the original work, and the verbal changes have been made under the author's own eye, and with her full approval."2

What the authors of the preface failed to disclose is that by "original work" they meant James White's 1851 revision of Ellen White's earliest writings, named Christian Experience and Views. However, this is not the original writings of Ellen White. The originals were written between 1846 and 1851. They appear as articles in the Present Truth and Day Star magazines, and they contain embarrassing statements which were not included in Experience and Views. It is deceptive for the work named Early Writings to contain writings that are advertised as the "original" writings and the introduction states that "no changes from the original work have been made."

See also


1. Isaac Wellcome, History of the Second Advent Message, (1874).

2. Publisher's Preface to Early Writings, v. This same preface is still in the White Estate's 2017 electronic version of the book.

Category: Shut Door
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