Chapter 41

Truth Still Makes One Free

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Differing Responses Depend on Circumstances and Attitudes
Gifts Are Self-Authenticating
Criticism Founded on a Misunderstanding of Revelation/Inspiration
Criticism That Does Not Recognize That Prophets May Make Mistakes in Details
Unfounded Criticism Involving Ellen White Personally
Shouting, Prostration, Swooning, Creeping
Various Effects of Menopause
Year-long Depression
Charged With Profiting Financially
Israel Dammon’s Trial
No Sabbath Keepers at Atkinson
Endnotes
Study Questions


“It is important that in defending the doctrines which we consider fundamental articles of faith, we should never allow ourselves to employ arguments that are not wholly sound. These may avail to silence an opposer, but they do not honor the truth. We should present sound arguments, that will not only silence our opponents, but will bear the closest and most searching scrutiny. . . . In meeting an opponent it should be our earnest effort to present subjects in such a manner as to awaken conviction in his mind, instead of seeking merely to give confidence to the believer.”1

In a letter to A. G. Daniells, December 31, 1913, W. C. White referred to some of his mother’s letters that were being misused: “Regarding the Fitzgerald letter and the Watson letter and other letters which may perplex us and others, it might be much easier to repudiate a few documents that perplex us, and say they were forgeries, but it is the truth that makes us free, and I do not know of any way in harmony with the law of God than to deal with these matters just as they are.”2

To “deal with . . . matters just as they are” is precisely the aim of this book. Thus, we shall consider some of the charges, allegations, and insinuations that accompanied James and Ellen White during their lifetime (and ever since). The charges and criticisms are generated by at least seven groups:

(1) Those who reject anyone who claims to be a modern prophet, including Ellen White.

(2) Those who fail to utilize basic, commonly accepted rules of interpretation as discussed in chapters 32 to 34. For example, to understand a letter written by Ellen White or one to her by a contemporary requires an understanding of the rules of interpretation. To read into the letter the reader’s presuppositions often leads to faulty conclusions. Further, to read a letter of someone who is in conflict with Ellen White without a background of that writer’s personal history and points of view will lead to faulty conclusions.

(3) Those who rely on rumors and hearsay with no documentary evidence for their allegations. Little credence should be given to information that exists only in the memory of an avowed critic of Ellen White.

(4) Those who see editorial changes in a prophet’s writings and call them “suppressions.”

(5) Those who are troubled by apparent literary dependency.

(6) Those who carry personal presuppositions about how a prophet should function. For example, they believe that prophets “should have full knowledge” from the start of their ministry; their predictions should be unalterable, their writings exempt from all errors, discrepancies, and mistakes, and never include uninspired sources. For them, prophets never express merely personal opinions in their writings.

(7) Those who accept Ellen White as an inspirational devotional writer but reject her theological ministry.


Differing Responses Depend on Circumstances and Attitudes

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Dealing with those who have no personal experience with Ellen White’s writings. From her earliest years, Ellen White was sympathetic and patient with those who opposed her, especially those who had strong convictions about spiritual gifts in modern times. Some of the opposition had seen the fanatical exercises of a few who claimed the prophetic gift, and thus feared all claims, even Ellen White’s.3 Others were opposed because they had been taught that the prophetic gift ended with John the Revelator on the Isle of Patmos.

In the summer of 1861 Mrs. White counseled that those who were “God’s children” and yet “doubted the visions . . . should not be deprived of the benefits and privileges of the church.” How were church members to relate to this group? She wrote: “Long patience and brotherly love should be exercised toward them until they find their position and become established for or against.” However, “if they fight against the visions, . . . if they carry their opposition so far as to oppose that in which they have no experience, and feel annoyed when those who believe that the visions are of God speak of them in meeting, . . . the church may know that they are not right. . . . When professed believers in the truth oppose these gifts, and fight against the visions, souls are in danger through their influence, and it is time then to labor with them, that the weak may not be led astray by their influence.”4

Avoid a controversial spirit. Ellen White counseled two approaches to the “quibbles of our opponents who deal in slander and misrepresentations”: (1) the Nehemiah response—“I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Neh. 6:3). Time devoted to “following the crooks and turns of dishonest opponents” is diverted from those “open to conviction [and] dying for want of knowledge”; (2) the direct response that should be “done promptly and briefly. . . . It is not the best policy to be so very explicit, and say all upon a point that can be said, when a few arguments will cover the ground, and be sufficient for all practical purposes to convince or silence opponents.”5

Mrs. White often followed her own advice: “When errors come into our ranks we are not to enter into controversy over them. We are to present the message of reproof and then lead the minds of the people away from fanciful, erroneous ideas, presenting the truth in contrast with error.”6


Gifts Are Self-Authenticating

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Spiritual gifts are their own best evidence. All prophets have had to stand back and let their ministry speak for itself. In other words, rather than argue their own authenticity, they ignored critics and went about the work assigned to them. Jesus directed His hearers to observe His work: “If I do not the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John 10:37, 38).

While returning from Australia on the high seas late in 1900, Ellen White received a vision warning her of the danger of private interviews. Apparently some were using such interviews to advance their own agendas. The message was: “‘Enter into no controversy. . . . I have a message for you to bear, and as this message is given to the people, it is not for you to try to make them believe it. This is not your work.’”7

During the 1904 pantheism crisis when subtle error had been endorsed by many church leaders, Mrs. White wrote: “Last night I woke at ten o’clock. . . . During that time the whole matter was laid open before me, and I was instructed that I must bear the testimony given me, and then leave matters with the Lord. It is not my work to try to make people believe the message given me. When the assertion is made, ‘Someone has told her,’ I am to make no response. On that point, the conflict is over for me.”8

On some questions Ellen White was not to “answer Yes or No.” Why? Because people would misconstrue her statements. She explained: They were “endangering their souls at times by listening to deceptive representations regarding the message that God has given me. Through many twistings and turnings and false reasonings on what I have written, they try to vindicate their personal unbelief. . . . They do not see clearly. Therefore I dare not communicate with them.”9


Criticism Founded on a Misunderstanding of Revelation/Inspiration

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Earlier we studied the deep differences that separated those who believed in verbal inspiration from those who believed in thought inspiration.10 This difference of understanding has divided Biblical students for centuries; and it has caused division in the Seventh-day Adventist Church since its beginning, especially in understanding the ministry of Ellen White.

When church members do not agree on the basic rules of interpretation as discussed in chapters 32 to 34, it will be virtually impossible to agree on some subjects. Many of the so-called charges of inconsistencies and of contradictions in the writings of Ellen White can be traced to differing rules of interpretation—virtually all of which are generated by a belief in some form of verbal inspiration.

However, not all the charges against Ellen White were rooted directly in a limited view of inspiration. Some stemmed indirectly from a misunderstanding of inspiration, such as concerns for possible suppression of earlier material, her denial of literary dependence, and the supposed contradictions within her own works and/or with the Bible.


Criticism That Does Not Recognize That Prophets May Make Mistakes in Details

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As we discovered, prophets at times misquote Scripture and make mistakes in minor details, such as dates and places.11 For instance, Ellen White once wrote “Melbourne, NSW,” instead of “Melbourne, Victoria.”12 Prophets are not infallible.13

Until one understands the nature of revelation/inspiration, any discrepancy in details appears to him/her as evidence of a lack of divine inspiration. From earliest times, discrepancies have appeared in prophetic writings. Anyone who says that discrepancies should not appear in Ellen White’s writings does not understand how God speaks through prophets. Those who base their confidence in Matthew or Mrs. White on the fact that prophets never make mistakes are heading for disappointment, perhaps even complete loss of faith.


Unfounded Criticism Involving Ellen White Personally

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The following charges have continued to be circulated even though they have been answered many times. Some of the earlier rumors were answered in The Defense of Elder James White and Wife, an 1870 pamphlet that was available at the publishing office. On the back page of the church paper, January 11, 1870, James had appealed: “Will those who know of things in the general course of Mrs. White and myself, during the period of our public labors, worthy of exposure, or unworthy of Christians and teachers of the people, be so kind as to make them known to the office immediately.”

This notice was to help a committee composed of J. N. Andrews, G. H. Bell, and Uriah Smith complete their report regarding many harsh charges leveled against the Whites. What was the nature of those charges? That the Whites were dishonest, fraudulent, and covetous. The committee reviewed all the charges and showed them to be baseless.14

Often her colleagues would write about how Ellen White’s presence would change the minds of those who had heard the “pure fabrications.” J. H. Waggoner, in 1869, wrote: “Many who had never seen her had heard the foolish falsehoods circulated against her, and came with the full effect of them on their minds; but when they heard the plain, practical truths of the Bible, the pure principles of Christianity presented in the earnest and powerful manner in which she was aided by the Lord to speak them there, all these feelings were swept away.”15 But because most people even today hear only the charges, we will make a brief response to some of them.


Shouting, Prostration, Swooning, Creeping

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From time to time the charge is made that Ellen White in her early years participated in the common excesses of certain Protestant groups in the 1840s. Methodist camp meetings and church services, especially, were known for their enthusiasm expressed in “shoutings,” “swoonings,” “prostrations,” and “creepings.”16

As a young Methodist, Ellen Harmon probably shared some of this enthusiasm. But after her divine calling, she soon was shown that some of these practices could tend toward fanaticism.

Soon after October 22, 1844, fanaticism increased among certain former Millerites, especially in the group that believed that Christ had indeed come to them spiritually on October 22, 1844. Ellen White recalled that some “thought it wrong to work. . . . Still others believed that the righteous dead had been raised to eternal life. . . . A few sought to cultivate a spirit of humility by creeping on the floor, like little children. Some would dance, and sing, ‘Glory, glory, glory, glory, glory, glory,’ over and over again. Sometimes a person would jump up and down on the floor, with hands uplifted, praising God; and this would be kept up for as long as half an hour at a time.”17

In the first few months of her early ministry, Ellen Harmon, the timid teenager, had to contend with grown men who refused to work and crept like children: “I told them plainly that this was not required; that the humility which God looked for . . . was . . . a Christlike life, not . . . creeping on the floor. . . . God ordained that the beings He created should work. Upon this their happiness depends.”18

All Ellen White knew about her new duties as God’s messenger was to visit former Millerites who still believed in the significance (though misguided) of October 22, 1844, and share her message of hope. In her divine assignment, where else would she go to find people who would even listen to her?19

Directed by God, she continued to attend such meetings during 1845, but no records portray her as a participant in these fanaticisms or excessive enthusiasms. However, in response to later charges against her, she wrote that she “never crept as a religious duty, and never sanctioned or gave the slightest encouragement to this voluntary humility.” Further, she described those “very many instances where I was pressed and urged, wept over and prayed for by zealots to come to these manufactured tests and crosses. I utterly refused to submit my judgment, my sense of Christian duties, and the dignity we should ever maintain as followers of Jesus Christ, who were expecting to be translated to heaven by receiving the finishing touch of immortality.”20

Gradually Mrs. White saw the danger of excessive enthusiasm in worshiping God. At Paris, Maine, in 1850, she saw in vision that spiritual “exercises were in great danger of being adulterated.” How? By being orchestrated. “Therefore implicit confidence could not be placed in these exercises.”

Her counsel continued: “I saw that we should strive at all times to be free from unhealthy and unnecessary excitement. I saw that there was great danger of leaving the Word of God and resting down and trusting in exercises. . . . I saw danger ahead.”21


Various Effects of Menopause

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Some have alleged that Ellen White’s open, or public, visions ceased after menopause, strongly suggesting a causal link between physiology and her visions. She herself dated menopause at 1869.22 Even if her open visions stopped in 1869 or shortly thereafter, that could be sheer coincidence. However, people reported observing public visions in 1879, and the latest in 1884, as recalled by J. N. Loughborough at the 1893 General Conference session.23

No evidence exists to even intimate that public visions grew less frequent because of menopause; the real reason was that in later years one of the chief purposes for public visions was no longer needed. By the 1870s Ellen White’s writings were widely published; her public witness to her divine call had been established in the experiences of many thousands of witnesses.24


Year-long Depression

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Ellen White was fifty-four years old when her husband died. They had been married thirty-six years. Rarely have married people endured so much together; rarely has a married couple accomplished so much of lasting significance. It is understandable that she felt that “the light of her home” had gone out when her husband, “the tired warrior,” died.25 At the funeral she spoke for ten minutes on the Christian’s hope.26

Ellen White grieved, freely speaking of her aloneness. But she was never despondent. One week after the funeral she spoke for fifty minutes in the Battle Creek church “with great clearness of mind and strength of voice” on the uncertainty of life and the privileges of a Christian.27 After a few months’ rest in Colorado, she resumed her remarkable schedule of writing and speaking.


Charged With Profiting Financially

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This charge arose early in Ellen White’s ministry, and, in spite of full disclosure through the years, it is repeated occasionally. Critics judge her on the basis of what most other people would do with a successful writing career. But a quick look at her personal life style, including her proverbial frugality, her incessant giving and borrowing (on future royalties), and her investment in the education of many young people, should evoke admiration, not censure.28

Ellen White personally supported a staff of assistants. In addition, for many years she had to find money to loan to the publishing houses for the cost of typesetting, plate-making, and illustrating her books.

When she died, she was, according to the court’s probate appraisal, $21,201.83 “in debt.” In the last years of her life she devoted an enormous amount of office time to preparing new books and translating many of her previously published works. When these books were sold, the royalties paid off the liabilities with interest.29

Often related to charges that the Whites profited from their publications is James’s letter to his wife about six months before his death: “We must get out certain books. . . . Our financial matters stand well, and there is wealth in our pens, if we will keep away from bustle and care and work, and use our pens. In this way we can leave something that will tell when we may be gone.”30 Usually when reference is made to “wealth in our pens,” the last sentence is not quoted.

The Whites were generous, not selfish. In addition to his masterful literary skills and administrative abilities, James was an astute businessman. From his early years, long before he received wages, he provided for his growing family and acquired funds to establish periodicals and new church institutions with generous seed money. How? By selling Bibles, concordances, and other items wherever he went, and also buying and selling real estate. He did this for the same reason the apostle Paul made tents in Corinth (Acts 18:3).

Reflecting in 1888, Ellen White wrote: “I do not begrudge a cent that I have put into the cause, and I have kept on until my husband and myself have about $30,000 invested in the cause of God. We did this a little at a time and the Lord saw that He could trust us with His means, and that we would not bestow it on ourselves. He kept pouring it in and we kept letting it out.”31

Epilepsy and other physical trauma. The charge that Ellen White’s visions were caused by temporal lobe epilepsy or psychomotor seizures was reviewed on pages 62, 63.

Oysters. The charges that Ellen White ate oysters were placed in context on pages 315, 316.

Ambivalent on meat-eating for most of her life. Mrs. White’s health principles were explained on pages 310-317. After her health visions, she made it a policy to avoid flesh foods whenever possible. She gave freedom of choice to others, including members of her household.32


Israel Dammon’s Trial

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On Monday, February 17, 1845, Israel Dammon, one of the ex-Millerite leaders, was in court in Dover, Maine, for disturbing the peace.33 The immediate occasion was a Saturday evening (February 15) gathering of approximately fifty people in the nearby town of Atkinson. Visitors had come from Exeter, Garland, and Orrington, all seeking some solace and meaning to their recent disappointment only four months past. The apparent leader for that evening was Israel Dammon from Exeter, a former sea captain.

Seventh-day Adventists are interested in this seemingly insignificant trial because, in the Saturday evening gathering, were young James White (23) and Ellen Harmon (17). Neither James nor Ellen was on trial, nor were they at the trial. They were incidentally mentioned by name, but they were not accused of any of the excesses that prevailed that Saturday evening.

What were James White and Ellen Harmon doing at that Atkinson gathering where crawling, rolling on the floor, “holy” kissing between sexes, emphasis on no-work, shouting, etc., were part of the events in that long evening?34

Shortly after her first vision in December, 1844, she was instructed to relate her vision to others, especially to disappointed ex-Millerites.35 Her health was exceedingly poor; she was ravaged by tuberculosis, hardly able to walk, and “marked for the grave.”36 Not only was she timid by nature, she shrank from the bidding to relate her vision at a time when other visionaries were adding to the fanaticism of early 1845.37

But go she did—first to Poland, Maine, then to Orrington (where later she remembered first meeting James White), on to Garland, Exeter, Atkinson, and then home through Palmyra and Topsham. At Exeter, in Israel Dammon’s home, Ellen had her next significant vision “of Jesus rising from His mediatorial throne and going to the holiest as Bridegroom to receive His kingdom.”38 This vision was most timely in that it helped certain ex-Millerites see beyond their “spiritualizing” of the October 22, 1844 event—that is, the Second Coming was not Jesus coming into their hearts and, thus, their religious experiences (fanaticisms) were not the validating witness of the Second Coming. These small groups were told not to allegorize or spiritualize away great Biblical truths—that God and heaven were indeed real, that the “holiest of all” was not in their hearts but in heaven where Jesus now functioned as High Priest and from which He would return with His angels in the real Second Coming.

Hearing all this from a very sick teenager, the “weakest of the weak,” was not, at first, very compelling to many of those who thrived on their various interpretations of Scripture and their emotional experiences. Ellen White recalled that “a heavy burden rested upon me, from which I could not be free until I had related what had been shown me in regard to some fanatical persons who were present. I declared that they were deceived in thinking that they were actuated by the Spirit of God. My testimony was very displeasing to these persons and their sympathizers.”39

Those Maine gatherings were specifically the places where God had sent Ellen Harmon, chiefly because “these shut-door advocates were the only ones who would listen to her.”40 She knew the commitment and devotion of these disappointed Millerites that had marked their fervor only a short time before, in 1843 and 1844. She wrote later: “These persons were our beloved brethren, and we were longing to help them. I went into their meetings. There was much excitement, with noise and confusion. . . . Some appeared to be in vision, and fell to the floor. Others were jumping, dancing, and shouting. They declared that as their flesh was purified, they were ready for translation. This they repeated again and again. . . . They had carried their strong ideas so far that they became a reproach to the precious cause of God. These sorely repented, and some were afterward among our most reliable men and women. But there were others who ever after walked in sadness.”41

Such was the background for this Atkinson gathering where Ellen Harmon was bidden by God to relate her first vision of December 1844, (perhaps to relate also her second vision that came only days before the Atkinson meeting). Evidences of fanaticism were all around her. But her presence was in response to duty, not an endorsement of the group’s behavior.

What should we make of the observation that Ellen Harmon encouraged some to be baptized that night or they would “go to hell”? We do not know if this was the interpretation made by hearers of what she actually said, or whether she used these words. At this time Ellen did not believe in hell as a place of “eternal fire.”42 If she said that unbelievers would be “lost,” most Christians in that group would have interpreted that to mean that they were “going to hell—to eternally burning hell.” From this record it seems apparent Ellen Harmon was a young soul-winner, reaching out for conversions after October 22, 1844.

What happened to Israel Dammon? The record indicates that Ellen White met Dammon at Garland, Maine, sometime later. In a letter to J. N. Loughborough in 1874, she mentioned Dammon and referred to the fanaticism in Maine as “a fearful stain . . . brought upon the cause of God which would cleave to the name of Adventist like the leprosy.” She described how she bore a “testimony decidedly against it wherever we met it.” Then she referred to Dammon and his group as being “in error and delusion.” Dammon, she wrote, “had the most positive evidences that the visions were of God. He became my enemy only because I bore a testimony reproving his wrongs and his fanatical course which wounded the cause of God.”43


No Sabbath Keepers at Atkinson

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Did the Seventh-day Adventist Church begin amidst shouting, crawling, hugging, allegorizers of the Second Advent? Definitely not. No one at Atkinson was a Sabbath keeper, not even Ellen Harmon. No one that night understood the role of Jesus as High Priest. No one in Dammon’s circle had the slightest concept of the Great Controversy Theme and its implications for them. The Dammon gathering was made up of disappointed Millerites who had not abandoned the Biblical doctrine of the Advent, even though they were groping their way through theological fog. The only person at that Saturday night meeting who had any light regarding God’s plan for the future was Ellen Harmon.

Using the plan He had followed since our first parents left the Garden of Eden, God had to start somewhere after the disappointment of October 22, 1844. He chose to work through the “weakest of the weak” to reach people where they were. Out of those experiences early in 1845 emerged a nucleus of Bible students who soon saw the dangers of emotion-dominated religion.

God gently started with the few who had not discarded their 1844 experience. Ever so patiently He led the few who would listen away from their many errors, such as Sunday sacredness, the extreme shut-door, “no-work” conviction, and emotional excesses in worship. Without the teaching, guiding intervention of the Spirit of prophecy working through Ellen White, clearly the Adventist witness of the 1840s would have been far different.


Endnotes

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1. Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 708.

2. W. C. White to A. G. Daniells, Dec. 31, 1913, as cited in Moon, W. C. White and E. G. White, p. 412.

3. See p. 144.

4. Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 326-329. “If persons are not settled in regard to the visions, they should not be crowded off. . . . Those who were, comparatively, strangers to the visions, have been dealt with in the same manner as those who have had much light and experience in the visions. Some have been required to indorse the visions when they could not conscientiously do so, and in this way some honest souls have been driven to take positions against the visions and against the body, which they never would have taken had their cases been managed with discretion and mercy.”—Ibid., p. 382. J. N. Andrews wrote in 1870 that all that was asked of prospective church members was that “they believe the Bible doctrine of spiritual gifts . . . [and] that they will candidly acquaint themselves with the visions of Sister White. . . . And those who occupy the ground are never denied all the time they desire to decide in this matter . . . [however, those who] have had opportunity to ascertain that fact, and to know it for themselves . . . spiritual gifts are manifestly a test that cannot be disregarded except at the peril of eternal ruin.”—Review and Herald, Feb. 15, 1870.

5. Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 36-39.

6. Letter 43, 1901, cited in MR, vol. 20, p. 307.

7. Ms 29, 1901, cited in Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, p. 151.

8. Manuscript 46, 1904, cited in Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, p. 348.

9. Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 29, 30.

10. See pp. 16, 120, 173, 375, 376, 421.

11. See p. 412. Matthew (in 27:9) mistakenly ascribed a quotation from Zechariah to Jeremiah; Luke (in 3:36) added a second Cainan to the list of the first twenty patriarchs, conflicting with Gen. 10:24; Stephen in Acts 7:14 said that Jacob’s family numbered seventy-five at the time they entered Egypt, while Gen. 46:7 recorded seventy.

12. Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 158.

13. See p. 376.

14. Bio., vol. 2, p. 284.

15. Review and Herald, Nov. 9, 1869. Unlike Ellen White’s contemporaries, we do not have the privilege of going directly to the prophet for answers. In 1869 she wrote: “The lies of sheer malice and enmity, the pure fabrications of iniquity uttered and circulated to defeat the proclamation of truth, were powerless to affect the minds of those who were really desirous to know what is truth. I did not doubt for a moment but the Lord had sent me that the honest souls who had been deceived might have an opportunity to see and hear for themselves what manner of spirit the woman possessed who had been presented to the public in such a false light in order to make the truth of God of none effect.”—Letter 12, 1869, as cited in Bio., vol. 2, p. 276.

16. Everett Dick, “The Millerite Movement 1830-1845; Land ed., Adventism in America, pp. 22, 32. See Appendix A.

17. Selected Messages, book 3, pp. 370, 371.

18. Life Sketches, p. 86.

19. See Appendix K.

20. Letter 2, 1874, cited in MR, vol. 8, pp. 229, 230.

21. Ms 11, 1850, cited in MR, vol. 13, pp. 299, 300.

22. Letter 6, 1869, cited in MR, vol. 5, p. 393; Bio., vol. 2, p. 72.

23. See p. 137.

24. See pp. 125-130.

25. Letter 9, 1881, cited in MR, vol. 6, p. 307; Bio., vol. 3, p. 172 .

26. Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 110.

27. Uriah Smith’s editorial, Review and Herald, Aug. 23, 1881.

28. See pp. 80, 81 for examples of her frugality and generosity.

29. See Nichol, Critics, pp. 516-530.

30. Letter from James to Ellen White, Feb. 7, 1881.

31. Letter 3, 1888, cited in Arthur White, Messenger to the Remnant, p. 123. Writing from Australia in 1897, Ellen White said: “I see so many things that must be done in order to make even a beginning, to raise the standard in these new fields. From every direction I hear the Macedonian cry for help, ‘Come over and help us.’ I also have calls to assist young people to attend school, and also to open primary schools in different locations, where the children may be educated. This is work that must be done. I wish to make some additions to Christian Education, and then if the Review and Herald wish to carry it, they can do so if they will pay me a small sum of royalty, to be invested in the education of many who cannot attend school and pay their own expenses. In Melbourne I bore the expenses of no less than fourteen. During the first term of the school in Cooranbong, I carried several through school, paying their board and school expenses.”—Letter 7a, 1897, cited in The Publishing Ministry, p. 235.

32. Forgoing flesh food was a struggle for Ellen White. Understanding this struggle and the circumstances that made her resolves more difficult to achieve helps everyone understand the process of Christian growth in themselves and others. See pp. 311-317.

33. Edited by Frederick Hoyt, a report of the trial, published first in the Piscataquis Farmer, March 7, 1845, appeared in Spectrum, August 1987.

34. The no-work belief was not necessarily prompted by laziness. For many, it was the logical consequence of believing that Christ had come to them personally on October 22, 1844, and that the millennium of rest had begun; thus, to plan for the future was a denial of their faith.

35. Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, p. 35; Life Sketches, pp. 69-73. See Appendix K.

36. Bio., vol. 1, p. 63.

37. Five women plus William Foy were known to be visionaries at that time and were mentioned as such in newspapers. See Spectrum, August 1987, p. 39.

38. Letter 3, 1847, cited in Bio., vol. 1, p. 78.

39. Life Sketches, p. 73.

40. See Appendix K.

41. Selected Messages, book 2, p. 34. See Appendix A for examples of similar practices in various churches during the first half of the nineteenth century.

42. Life Sketches, pp. 48, 49.

43. Letter 2, 1874, cited in MR, vol. 8, pp. 236, 237. A signed statement by R. S. Webber, Feb. 9, 1891, said: “Israel Damon [sic] died October 27, 1886. For some time before his death he was in despair, or in a state of despondency, feeling that he was a lost man, as I was told by some of his brethren; and he would often say, ‘I am a lost man.’”—Loughborough, RPSDA, p. 131.


Study Questions

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1. In what seven general areas can almost all charges against, and criticisms of, Ellen White be placed?

2. What consequences often result when the process of revelation and inspiration is misunderstood?

3. What kind of mistakes do prophets occasionally make?

4. Why did Ellen Harmon go to gatherings where people were “jumping, dancing, and shouting” as part of their religious worship?

5. List some areas in church work as well as in personal matters in which Ellen White’s counsel to use arguments that will “bear the closest and most searching scrutiny” is applicable.

6. Discuss the charge that the Whites profited financially from their church leadership.

7. Explain why you deny the charge that early Seventh-day Adventists belonged to groups that were known for crawling, shouting, hugging, etc., in their religious services.

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