The White Obelisk

By Dirk Anderson, 2005

Below is a photo taken at the burial site of Elder and Mrs. James White, July 24, 1915:1

Obelisk on White Grave

Notice the obelisk which appears as a memorial to James White. It was erected on the White burial site during Ellen White's lifetime, and most likely with her approval. We do not know if Mrs. White was directly involved in the selection of the obelisk, nor do we know if Ellen White fully understood the history or meaning of the symbol. However, we do know that Mrs. White claimed to have frequent visits with spirit guides during the later years of her life. As far as we know, none of them objected to the obelisk. This seems a bit odd because in the Old Testament, God spoke through His true prophets commanding the destruction of heathen obelisks (see 2 Kings 10:26). The Israelites were forbidden by the true prophet Moses from erecting stone images:

"YOU SHALL make for yourselves no idols nor shall you erect a graven image, pillar, or obelisk, nor shall you place any figured stone in your land to which or on which to bow down; for I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 26:1, KJV Amplified Bible)

The obelisk was first used by the Egyptians to house the spirit of the Sun god Ra.2 According to Wikipedia:

"Obelisks were a prominent part of the architecture of the ancient Egyptians, who placed them in pairs at the entrance of temples. ... The obelisk symbolized the sun God Ra... It was also thought that the God existed within the structure."

Vatican Obelisk in Rome

The obelisk is also a symbol used in Freemasonry. It is used by the Masons, according to one Masonic author, as a symbol to represent sex.3 Perhaps the best-known obelisk appears at the Vatican in the center of Saint Peter's Basilica (shown on the left). In the Bible, the obelisk was used in Baal worship. In other words, it was a form of idol. God disapproves of his people making or using idols: "Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land" (Lev. 26:1). In one Old Testament account, the priests of God killed the Baal worshippers on God's orders, and their obelisks were destroyed:4

"… King Jehu said to the guards and to the officers, 'Go in and slay them; let none escape'. And they smote them with the sword; and the guards before the king threw their bodies out, and went into the inner dwelling of the house of Baal. They brought out the obelisks [pillars] of the house of Baal and burned them" (2 Kings 10:26, Amplified Bible).

Dr. Cathy Burns describes how God commanded the Israelites to destroy heathen obelisks:

"When the children of Israel would forsake God, they turned to worshipping idols. One of the idols they worshipped was the obelisk. God had specifically forbidden them to do so ...They were also told that, when they went into pagan nations, they 'shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars (obelisks) and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods and destroy them out of that place. Ye shall not do so unto the Lord your God'. Many other such warnings are also in the Bible. The following references use the same Hebrew word for 'pillar' (obelisk) but it is translated as 'images'. See: Exodus 23:24; 34:13 Deuteronomy 7:5; 16:22; 1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 10:26-27; 17:10; 18:4; 23:14; 2 Chronicles 14:3; 31:1; Hosea 10:1-2; and Micah 5:13 ... The Bible clearly states, 'Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you' (2 Corinthians 6:17)."5


It is quite unsettling that a symbol associated with the Egyptian Sun god, Freemasonry, the Vatican, and Baal worship, would be placed upon the burial site of James and Ellen White.


1. Mrs. White's funeral was on July 24, 1915, the same date that the photograph was taken. However, according to the White Estate, she was not interred until 33 days later. On March 22, 1999, William Fagal of the Ellen G. White Estate Branch Office at Andrews University, emailed D. Fischer: "Her funeral took place on Sabbath, July 24, 1915. She was not actually interred, however, until Thursday, August 26."

2. Op. Cit. H.L. Hayward, Symbolic Masonry: An Interpretation of the Three Degrees, p. 207. 'Two Pillars' Short Talk Bulletin, Sept., 1935, Vol. 13, No 9. Charles Clyde Hunt, Some Thoughts On Masonic Symbolism, p. 101.

3. Op. Cit. Haywood, quoted above, p. 206-7 and Rollin C. Blackmer, The Lodge and the Craft: A Practical Explanation of the Work of Freemasonry, p. 94. See also Hayward, "Symbolic Masonry: An Interpretation of the Three Degrees", Washington, D.C., Masonic Service Association of the United States, 1923, p. 206-7 and Rollin C. Blackmer, "The Lodge and the Craft: A Practical Explanation of the Work of Freemasonry", St. Louis, The Standard Masonic Publishing Co., 1923, p. 94.

4. Unknown author, "Symbols Prove Invisible Fraternity of Freemasonry is Satanic",

5. Dr. Cathy Burns, "Masonic and Occult Symbols Illustrated", p. 343.

Category: Shocking Statements
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