G. White -- the Myth and the Truth
by Å. Kaspersen
According to prominent
SDA-leaders, Seventh-Day Adventism stands and falls with Ellen White,
"The influence of the spirit of prophecy is woven into the
warp and woof of Adventist faith, life, and organization. . . . What
we are as a church is a reflection of our faith in the divine authority evident
in the writings of Ellen G. White." (John Robertson, The White Truth,
p. 61. Emphasis supplied. Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1981.)
"Our position on the Testimonies is like the keystone to the
arch. Take that out, and there is no logical stopping place
till all the special truths of the message are gone.... Nothing is surer
than this, that this message and the visions belong together and stand or fall
together." (Review and Herald Supplement, Aug. 14, 1883. Emphasis supplied.)
Please note that the above statement is taken from the Review and Herald, which
is the official organ of the Seventh-Day Adventist church, and that the word
our is being used. Consequently this is an official statement
from the Seventh-Day Adventist church. It cannot be stated more plainly that
some peculiar doctrines of this church are not based on Scripture, but on Ellen
White's "visions" and writings. In other words, no Ellen White, no Adventist
doctrines. We are not touching on SDA doctrines which are based on the Word
of God, but on some peculiar doctrines which has been forming SDAism - the Investigative
Judgment, the adventist sanctuary teaching and 1844. These are the foundations
We read in the above statement that the Advent message and Ellen White stands
and falls together. That is, if Ellen White's visions fall, the advent message
falls; if the advent message falls, Ellen White's visions fall. For years we
have been teached that the "special truths" in "our message" was based on Bible.
Now we know better, according to the official SDA organ. If we remove the testimonies,
"all the special truths in the message" will vanish. Maybe this is the cause
for the serious problems we are having when we try to defend our "special truths"
- the Investigative Judgment, the sanctuary teaching and 1844 - from the Bible
only, without resorting to Ellen White's visions.
This radical standpoint, as quoted above, has been watered down considerably
through the years, but because the pillars of adventism are unprovable from
Scripture alone, contrary to what most SDA's believe, the statement from 1883
is certainly more in harmony with facts than later statements.
This is the case with every cult: No Joseph Smith and his writings, no Mormons;
no Mary Baker Eddy and her writings, no Christian Science; no Mohammed and the
Koran, no Islam.
In his book "The Mark of the Beast", a former president of the General Conference,
G.A. Irwin, states,
"It is from the standpoint of light that has come through the Spirit
of Prophecy that the question will be considered, believing as we do
that the Spirit of Prophecy is the only infallible
interpreter of Bible principles." (G.A. Irwin, The Mark of the Beast,
p. 1. Emphasis supplied.)
This statement by a former president of the General Conference reflects the
same principles found in the Roman Catholic Church. Irwin claims indirectly
that "we" have an infallible authority an par with the Roman Pontiff, eg. to
be the only infallible interpreter of Scripture.
This extreme standpoint from a former GC-president has been toned down considerably
since his time, but in practice a number of ultra-conservative adventists view
Ellen G. White through Irwin's glasses. If she has something to say about biblical
topics, the final word has been said. No more discussion, or you are being labeled
a "disbeliever in Ellen White", and frowned upon.
It is an undisputable fact that the scribes within the Seventh-Day Adventist
church fail to produce conclusive Scriptural evidence when it comes to the central
pillars of SDAism - 1844, the sanctuary teaching and the Investigative judgment.
The latter depends of course on 1844 and the sanctuary teaching. The same can
be said of the other doctrines - they are all interconnected and depending on
each other. Learned SDA theologians know that they are in serious
trouble trying to defend these doctrines from Bible alone. A special committee,
nominated by the General Conference in the 1960's, came together for five years
studying these things, without reaching agreement. Finally, they had to confess
that these doctrines were not on a solid, biblical ground. Other Bible students
reached the same conclusions, among them Ballenger at the turn of the century,
W.W. Fletcher, L.R. Conradi, D. Ford and others. Regarding Ballenger, even the
learned preachers confessed that his conclusions were standing on a solid, biblical
platform. But as one of them stated, "I have always been of the opinion that
the Bible should be interpreted by the writings of Ellen White." Ellen White
condemned Ballenger as a "satanic agent" and threw him out as unclean without
a cent to support his family. Louis R. Conradi and William W. Fletcher were
among other SDA Bible students who came to these obvious conclusions when they
in their Bible studies dodged Ellen White's writings.
That Seventh-Day Adventism in its present form stands and falls with its prophetess,
is a true statement. Her writings are being used as "proofs" for the central
doctrines, all while the lay people in the church are being brainwashed to believe
that these doctrines are in full harmony with the Bible. But how many have followed
the example of the noble Bereans? Some did, and the prophetess labeled them
as "agents of Satan".
For this reason the lay people are brainwashed to believe that they under no
circumstances are to turn the spotlight on their prophetess and her writings.
She is "sacrosanct". If you do that, you are venturing on forbidden ground.
Maybe the reason for this is fear - fear that someone should begin to make personal
investigation and discover that the map does not correspond with the terrain.
If Ellen White falls, Adventism falls, at least in its present form. This will
not happen, because history and experience shows that sectarians are true to
their guru until death. Several suicide cults can attest to that.
Ellen G. White have had an enormous influence within Adventism for 150 years,
and for those adventists who are true to their prophet, undisputable evidences
that she was not what she pretended to be, are not evidences at all. Paradoxically,
to those adventists heaps of evidences against Ellen White will only serve as
oil on fire and confirm them still more in their belief in Ellen White. Literature
such as this article are for them a fulfillment of her predictions. They are
slaves under the yoke of "ellenocraty".
The person Ellen G. White
In "Bibelstudier" (the norwegian Sabbath School quarterly), February
20, 1999, we found this statement by EGW,
"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."
(Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 27. Emphasis supplied.)
Dear reader, do you still believe this after reading the documentation in this
"In her writings there is to be found no teachings which are not in harmony
with Scripture" (Bibelstudier, p. 64).
After reading this article, you may evaluate if this is a true statement.
"Many of her aquaintances could attest to her noble character" (ibid., p. 64).
I have no right to judge any person, but I will at least mention that she on
occasions lied to others, lied about her visions, lied about her plagiarizing,
and lied about herself. She seldom apologized for all her blunders by sending
out false testimonies which hurt and damaged other persons. In this article,
we have documented several examples of this.
During many years she pretended to be a rigid health reformer while she was
not. She spiced up her testimonies with sharp reproofs and the wrath of God
over people who digressed from health reform while she herself was guilty of
doing the very same things - and maybe even to a greater extent than the accused!
She was of course nice and sociable towards persons who supported her and did
not gainsay her - those who parrotted her, but she was often merciless against
persons who did not support her or who pointed their finger at something she
had been writing, or something in her personal life which did not correspond
with her profession. She labeled them as satanic agencies and would have nothing
more to do with them. She became angry at those who gainsayed her in her many
It is of course human to err and make blunders, but Ellen White claimed heavenly
visions and instructions to what finally turned out to be blunders which put
both herself and other persons in embarassing positions.
In other words, Ellen White was a human being with many defects of character,
like all of us. She was definitely not the madonna-figure on her pidestal certain
fanatical adventists make her to be. She was in the same position all of us
are. However it is a grave thing to take God as witness for unjust treatment
of other persons, or to lie - swear falsely - in the name of God, which she
certainly did at occasions - probably in an effort to maintain her own status
as true end time prophet in the SDA church.
"Seventh-Day Adventists believe they can decide the genuineness of a prophet
by seing him or her in light of the criteria found in the Bible. When we test
Ellen White according to these criteria, we find that she is a modern, inspired
prophet" (Bibelstudier, p. 65).
The documentation in the present article should convince open-minded persons
that the above statement is not quite true. How many adventists have given their
prophet a thorough biblical test? When we are saying that she passes all biblical
tests, and that all her writings are in harmony with Scripture, we are reading
Bible through Ellen White and interpreting Scripture according to preconceived
ideas. The same applies to other cults. They read verses of Scripture which
are interpreted in advance, consequently everything they come out with is "in
harmony with Scripture". This is not to test a prophet with Scripture; it is
to test Scripture with the prophet. This is exactly the way Seventh-Day Adventists
are using Ellen White. It is possible to use Scripture to "prove" almost everything.
It depends on which glasses you are putting on when you read the Bible.
"It is regrettable that someone
would spend their time undermining her work and deny her inspiration. To be
armored against such attacks, we are to know what the Bible says about the marks
of a true prophet" (ibid., p. 63).
The present article will of course
be regarded as a grandiose attempt to "undermine her work" and "deny her inspiration".
There is no reason to pay much attention to such statements. It is the Bible
and undisputable, documented facts that will settle the matter. We have documented
the circumstances about her visions, and we have documented how large parts
of her writings came into shape. Many a myth has been consigned to the grave.
But some will say; "the documentation
in this article is rather dubious. It most certainly derives from persons who
had a grudge against her".
Such arguments are based on the
1. Ellen White always
told the truth.2. Adventist pioneers always told the truth
about her when they were supportive of her.3. Adventist pioneers never
told the truth about her when they were not supportive of her, or remained neutral.4.
Adventist pioneers who always told the truth about her when
they were supportive of her,always became untruthful about
her when they changed their mind after having discovered a number of things.
Strange logic indeed.
Curiously enough, adventists who
follow this kind of logic when it comes to Ellen White, do not follow the same
logic when it comes to "outcasts" from other cults, such as mormonism and Jehovas
Witnesses. When people from these cults get their eyes opened and leave - and
eventually write books, uncovering their former church, such persons will of
course be branded by their former church as liars with dubious documentation.
"He is not to be trusted. He is an outcast. He does not tell the truth. He is
trying to defame us".
But in such cases, many SDA's will
say, "See? What did we say about them? This person knows pretty well what he
is talking about. After all he had been connected with them for several years.
We recommend this book to all Seventh-Day Adventists". No SDA will question
But when a SDA get his eyes opened,
and eventually leave - and writes books uncovering his former church, the SDA's
will rant, "His documentation is not sound. He is not to be trusted. He is an
outcast. He does not tell the truth. He is trying to defame us, and he gives
a completely distorted picture of what we are standing for".
When a Mormon or a Jehovas Witness
read his book, they say, "See? What did we say about them? This person knows
pretty well what he is talking about. After all he had been connected with them
for several years. We recommend this book to all Jehovas Witnesses". No JW will
question their documentation.
It's a strange world we are living
in, and people sometimes manifest odd behaviour. But all will of course try
to defend their own.
Some will say, "the author of this
article defends Ballenger, Kellogg and Canright, and we know these persons were
under Ellen White's condemnation".
Yes. There is much evidence to their
having been unjustly condemned by the adventist prophet. How many have investigated
their case from their own testimonials? The opportunity has been given in this
article. I am a defender of truth and justice. However, for the guardians of
myths the end justifies the means, and the means have at times been merciless
in its character. Even today there are SDA ministers standing on the pulpit
condemning the above mentioned persons. One should be extremely careful to travel
around condemning persons without knowing their case. Most adventists know these
men from Ellen White's writings and what the denomination has to say about them.
Is this how it works in a court of law? I am sorry to say that some have made
a life-style out of acting as an accuser of the brethren. But God's law plainly
says, "Thou shalt not lie".
The authors of the above quoted
Bible lessons and other official SDA-literature are supported by a strong denomination,
and they are intent on preserving the myth by presenting the fictive Ellen White,
not the real one. This of course has to do with authority and money. Ellen White
is a convenient tool to maintain authority over church members, quoting selected
"Spirit of Prophecy" statements when there is a need - either to collect money
or to bring people into line. "Ellen White says" - and church members who are
brainwashed to accept their prophet as God's infallible mouthpiece are brought
into submission. This is the case with every authoritative cult which claims
extra-biblical writings as their authority. The Adventist denomination is no
exception. Such propaganda is common among cults which try to maintain the image
of their guru in order to keep church members into submission.
In their General Conference sessions
the Adventist church has voted that Ellen G. White is an inspired prophet. The
same applies to the Mormons/Joseph Smith and Christian Science/Mary Baker Eddy.
But a vote with two thirds majority does not make Joseph Smith and Mary Baker
Eddy true prophets, nor Ellen White. This is not the criterion. A majority vote
does not make these writings into harmony with God's Word. I do not say that
everything in their writings are unbiblical. It is more correct to say that
not all are in harmony with the Bible. Such is also the case with the writings,
visions and revelations of Ellen White. It is an undisputable fact that not
everything are in harmony with God's Word. I think we have produced sufficient
documentation to that effect.
Votes and decisions in human councils
do not make darkness to ligh nor error to truth or vice versa. Light and darkness,
truth and error are quite able to stand on their own feet and maintain their
status regardless of human votes by raising of hands. It is the Bible and the
Bible onlywhich settles the matter and discriminates between
light and darkness, sweet and bitter, and truth and error.
In fact, Ellen White gives this
good counsel, which is in perfect harmony with Bible,
"Suppose a brother held a view that
differed from yours, and he should come to you, proposing that you sit down
with him and make an investigation of that point in the Scriptures; should you
rise up , filled with prejudice, and condemn his ideas, while refusing to give
him a candid hearing? The only right way would be to sit down as Christians
and investigate the position presented, in the light of God's word, which will
reveal truth and unmask error. To ridicule his ideas would not weaken his position
in the least if it were false, or strengthen your position if it were true.
If the pillars of our faith will not stand the test of investigation, it is
time that we knew it. There must be no spirit of pharisaism cherished among
us." (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 44.)
This was a good admonition, which
sadly enough Ellen White did not follow herself. The Ballenger case should prove
this. What did Ellen White do with the kind, pleading letter he wrote to her,
asking for help? He just found out that central points in the SDA sanctuary
teaching were not in harmony with Scripture. When he pointed out this fact to
her, what did she do? Did she sit down with him in a christian spirit, trying
to figure out the problems from the Bible?
No. After having received his letter,
she condemned the man, in the name of heaven, as an agent of the devil, being
led by spiritistic powers. She was not willing to follow her
own counsel and yield to the Word of God. It was obvious that her own honor
and her own writings took priority before the Bible and truth and justice. All
this she did in the name of heaven, testifying this in the Lord's name.
This is one of the things about
Ellen White that have made the author of this article particularly hesitant.
This article is not intended as
a personal, malicious attack on Ellen White as a human being. God shall judge
her, not we. But we must admit that much is required from those who claim advanced
light and constant communion with heaven, God and angels.
It is a fact that there exists two
versions of the human being Ellen G. White. One is the fictiveEllen
White, the other is the real Ellen White. We are asking for
the real Ellen G. White to stand up. The fictive Ellen White
has never existed. She is an imaginary product created by myths and superstitions.
She then became the imaginary Ellen White, the adventist madonna entrusted with
heavenly authority. The purpose of this article is to kill the fictive Ellen
White and let the real Ellen White stand up. It will then be manifest that she
was not a madonna, but a human being like ourselves, full of errors and shortcomings.
This, however does not excuse her numerous, and grave offences against people
who were innocent in what they had been accused of. Neither does it excuse her
rather easy-going relation with truth.
To many adventists, Ellen White
stands as an effective block to further Bible study. Because her writings are
being considered the final word, the Ellen White reader does not progress further
in his/her Bible understanding than Ellen White's own understanding. And her
understanding was faulty in many areas, because she depended on the interpretations
arrived to by the pioneers.
Some ultra-conservative adventists
deny vehemently that Ellen White did plagiarize from other authors. They claim
that everything in her writings are original, derived directly from heaven.
Some of these people even publish magazines, in which every EGW-quote bear a
stamp with the text: "Inspired". They claim that the allegations of plagiarism
are from the devil, and undisputable evidences to the contrary, even direct
comparisons, glance off as water on the goose. For such people fact are not
facts, and evidences are not evidences. Sadly to say, they are completely brainwashed
by "ellenism". They must defend her at any cost, and to them the end justifies
the means. Some are even extreme to the degree that they label all who come
up with information which they perceive as "attacks on Ellen White", as Jesuits
and catholic infiltrators.
Robert J. Ringer gave this pertinent
admonition on how to deal with such people,
"You have no obligation to deal
with irrational people. . . . Talking, arguing and/or begging don't work with
irrational people. Attempting to persuade them through logical argument will
only wear you out. Dealing with an irrational person is a can't-win situation.
. . . Always go out of your way to avoid can't-win situations. When someone
surrounds you on all sides with irrational points, don't stand for it. Exit
through the top, if necessary, but get out. When every side you turn to leads
to trouble, you're in a can't-win situation." (Robert J. Ringer, Looking Out
for #1, p. 111-12. Quoted in Walter Rea, The White Lie, p. 220.)
It will be profitable to us to know
the truth about Ellen White's writings. In that way we do not make exaggerated
claims about them, but place them where they belong, and handle them accordingly.
There are many good, spiritual things in her writings, but they are not "the
Spirit of Prophecy". Much of the good, spiritual content she had been borrowing
from other authors, and we are to view her writings in that light. Certainly
many of the authors she borrowed from, were inspired by the Holy Spirit when
they wrote their books. A notable example is "Night Scenes in the Bible" by
Daniel March, which is a wonderful book.
In addition, Ellen White's visions,
dreams and revelations should be tested by the Bible. This we have done. Did
she pass the test? You be the judge.
"But the prophet, which shall presume
to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that
shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou
say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
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
hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him" (Deut. 18:20-22).
"Son of man, prophesy against the
prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of
their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD;
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto
the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
O Israel, thy prophets are like
the foxes in the deserts.
Ye have not gone up into the gaps,
neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in
the day of the LORD.
They have seen vanity and lying
divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they
have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.
Have ye not seen a vain vision,
and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it;
albeit I have not spoken?
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against
you, saith the Lord GOD.
And mine hand shall be upon the
prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly
of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel,
neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am
the Lord GOD.
Because, even because they have
seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a
wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:
Say unto them which daub it with
untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower;
and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.
Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall
it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing
shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it.
So will I break down the wall that
ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that
the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall
be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Thus will I accomplish my wrath
upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and
will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it;
To wit, the prophets of Israel which
prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there
is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.
Likewise, thou son of man, set thy
face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart;
and prophesy thou against them,
And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the
head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and
will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?
And will ye pollute me among my
people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that
should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying
to my people that hear your lies?
Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make
them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even
the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.
Your kerchiefs also will I tear,
and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand
to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Because with lies ye have made the
heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands
of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him
Therefore ye shall see no more vanity,
nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye
shall know that I am the LORD.Ezek.13:2-23
"Prove all things; hold fast that
which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21).