Three - Further
This chapter is a reprint of a tract study by the present writer (The
Secret Writers ChargePart 1-5 [WM337-341]),
which was prepared in 1991; and later it was reprinted in our book, The
Editions of Great Controversy, pp. 291-345.
After completing Sections One and Two in January
2000, the present writer decided to go back and find this earlier study.
Although there is some overlap, it contains enough
very useful information that it is included in the present booklet.
The "secret writers charge" has been one of Satans most
effective tools in destroying confidence in Great
Controversy and other Spirit of Prophecy writings. The charge itself
is simple enough: Others secretly added words, sentences, paragraphs to
Ellen Whites writings; and they even wrote entire books under her
Because we were not alive back then and there is at
times a suspicion of the motives of leadership, the charge is accepted
But, when this theory is accepted, doubt begins to
fill the mind in regard to the truthfulness of the vast majority of her
But, of course, the charge requires that Ellen White
either meekly went along with the ghost writers or was kept in total
ignorance of what was taking place. By accepting this accusation, not
only are the books destroyed but she is also!
But both possibilities are ridiculous. Ellen White
was not one to meekly step aside while evil was being done; both the
angels of God and many friends in the church would have told her what
The charge is never stated in much
detail. The reason for that, as we will learn below, is simple enough:
If the details were filled in, the whole thing would be so ludicrous the
hearers would laugh at the allegation.
The charge goes something like this:
"Did you know that church leaders changed Ellen Whites writings?
Somebody told me so. In fact, he says they wrote whole books and printed
them under her name! He says he read it somewhere, so it must be true.
The writer said he could prove it."
We are going to learn in this study that we have here
a masterpiece of deception. First, it has no factual basis. Second, it
has only the shallowest of evidence in support of it. Third, it ignores
a variety of powerful facts. Fourth, on the surface it can appear very
believable to so many who see apostasy and compromise on every side.
Fifth, accepting it as true can bring such terrible results.
In our time, this charge was primarily developed by
one man, Herman Hoehn. In recent years, the charge has been voiced by
several others who want to gain an audience and financial support. The
fundamental errors underlying the concept, and the reasons why it is so
dangerous, should be carefully considered.
"Satan is constantly pressing in the spuriousto lead away from
the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none
effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. Where there is no vision,
the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in
different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the
confidence of Gods remnant people in the true testimony."Letter
12, 1890 (1 Selected Messages, 48).
Ellen White must have been a genuine prophet.
begin with, what was Ellen White? She was either a deceived fool; an
evil, crafty schemer; or an inspired prophet of God. There are no
The first cannot be true, for her writings reveal too
much depth of intelligence. The present writer has never found any
writing, outside of the Bible, which had the clear insights; overall
accuracy; and broad, close-fitting principles that her writings have.
The second cannot be true because pride, deception,
and false teachings would have been blatantly revealed.
Was she a prophet of God? Her personal life and her
writings perfectly match the description. She meets all the tests.
God protects the writings of His prophets.
If she was an inspired prophet, then we are
faced with an entirely new aspect to this matter. The writings of Gods
prophets are guarded by Heaven, both in production and afterward. God
would not allow other people to dilute her writingsat the time of
writing or laterwith additions, subtractions, or changes. To say it
could, or would, happen is to insult the Creator!
The most attacked writings in these last days.
You can know for a fact that no writings produced in the 1,900 years
since John finished his last book will be attacked as thoroughly as the
writings of Ellen White. Her character will be assailed, her life
smeared, her writings discredited. Every possible doubt and suggestion
regarding the print on the pages of those books will be offered.
You can, and should, expect it to occur. It
is certain to have happened in earlier decades, and is sure to happen
even more in the future. When others come to you with a tale about why
you should doubt the validity or genuineness of certain portions of
Ellen Whites writings, recognize that this is exactly the route of
attack which Satan will bring to Gods people in the last days.
The devil has something planned for everyone. To
some, he whispers that her writings were too stilted, and they need to
set them aside. Those standards need to be relaxed and life enjoyed
more. For others, he tells them that the writings are not reliable, for
they were written by other people.
Predicted that the greatest attack would come at the
Divine prophecy foretold that the writings of Ellen White would
receive the special attack of Satan, that this attack would culminate at
the very end, and that it would occur within our church. So the
scurrilous statements and vicious thrusts, to cause doubt in the
integrity of her writings, is to be expected.
A charge against her character.
It is being said that Ellen White was a
shallow, weak-willed woman who let others do her writing for her. The
implication of these charges is that Ellen White was such a wishy-washy
person that anyone could influence her and write her letters, articles,
and whole chapters in her books,and she would quietly sit back and
let them do it!
Such a thing would not have been allowed; she would
not have permitted it, and it did not happen! The men and women that God
appoints to the prophetic role are not weak-kneed, lily-livered lackeys
that can be bribed or compromised! Not one prophet in Bible times was
that way, and neither was Ellen White.
A charge against God.
But what if she did not know that it was
being done? According to this charge, others penned some of her
writings, and she either permitted it to happenor did not know that
it was taking place. This is patently not true either! To say it is so
is an insult to the God of heaven!
Ellen White, who was shown the smallest sins in the
lives of others as well as larger apostasies that affected entire
districts of the work, surely would have been told of such a terrible
thing as this. If other people were writing, adding to, or changing her
writings, then God would have told her this was happening; and she
immediately would have put a stop to it!
A charge against the inspiration process.
that God would allow it to happen, is to utter a most terrible charge.
It brings into question the entire matter of inspiration. ALL
the inspired writings thus come open to question. If the Spirit of
Prophecy writings are in this way unreliable, then none of them can be
considered as reliable. Any of them could thus have been partly written
by uninspired men who had an ax to grind.
If God does not protect His inspired Writings, then
we have no hope of salvation! Our pathway to heaven traverses the bridge
of Scripture. If the integrity of that bridge be questioned, then we are
lost, hopelessly lost. We have nothing reliable to go by other than our
own fickle, everchangable theories, feelings, and
"experience." If such be true, we surely cannot trust the
words of the prophets because God is supposed to have permitted men to
radically change them.
Scripture is our tried foundation,
all else is but deceiving;
we take our stand on the Word of God,
nought else is worth believing.
It is impossible to point to the Bible and Spirit of
Prophecy as the "Word of God," without also declaring that
both have been especially protected by God at the time of writing and
afterward. If they were not protected at the time of writing and
afterward, then we cannot trust them and we need not obey them.
A most serious charge. Some may say I am speaking
in the extreme. I am not! The charge is that ALL
books written by Ellen White after 1884 may have changed, and probably
were partly written, rewritten, or added to by "others." Many
of her writings before 1884 are also questioned. There are some who
have gone so far as to accept nothing she wrote, except "Word to
the Little Flock"!
The underlying reason offered, as to why "it
just has to be true," is that "our leaders are so bad."
Well, Ahab, Jezebel, Saul, Jereboam, and dozens of leaders in Bible
times were even worse! If God cannot protect Ellen Whites writings
from Adventist Church workers, what defense would the writings of Moses,
Daniel, and John have had? None, absolutely none.
(Throughout this study, we will assume that it is
possible that, at the time Ellen White was alive, some of our church
leaders may not have been good people. Of course, many of our leaders
have been and continue to be good, conscientious people. But good
leaders would not have tried to change her writings; only the other
kind. So we will focus our attention on those who opposed her, and would
like to have controlled Ellen White and her writings, and we will assume
that they really wanted to change or add to her books.)
The Word of God has been protected.
The Word of
God has received divine protection. We can be assured that such
protection was given to the Bible, and that it was given to the Spirit
of Prophecy. An example of this was the marvelous care the Bible
manuscripts received down through the ages. Our present Bible is almost
exactly the same as that which the prophets wrote down. The very
earliest manuscripts we have, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, read almost
exactly like our Bible today.
Inspired men wrote inspired writings.
The Word of
God is accurate, just as it reads. That Word includes both the Bible and
the Spirit of Prophecy. If it is accurate and reliable, then how could
uninspired men have written part of it? It could be neither accurate nor
reliable if they did so. Yet it is both accurate and reliable!
We must trust God to protect it.
"Oh," someone says, "I dont think so. I think the critics
must be right. Probably part of the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy is neither
accurate nor reliable."
Well, that is your decision; you will have to live with it, and it will
affect your eternal future. As for the present writerand many others
with him,they accept the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy as fully
accurate and reliable. Because it is, we submit my lives to it and obey
it, in the strength of Christ. If it were a matter of putting our own
uninspired, erring minds to the task of deciding which parts of
Scripture are inspired and which are not, we might as well give up; for
we well-know we are not qualified for the task. And if we cannot know
which part is inspired, then we cannot know which part to trust and
obey. The Lord knows this, and He has taken care of His Word so we would
have Sacred Writings we could trust.
We must trust God to protect His sacred writings! He
knows that we are but clay, and He does not ask that we go through the
Bible and Spirit of Prophecy and try to pick and choose which part we
think we should obey. Instead, in His Word, He always tells us that we
are to totally trust and obey it.
There are no significant errors in Scripture.
Our kind, heavenly Father protected His Wordfrom Genesis to the Spirit of
Prophecy. But does not Ellen White tell us that there is error in the Bible?
No, she does not. She said there were some errors in transmission, but not in
the writing of the books. The Bible writings were correctly written. However,
small, insignificant typographical mistakes were later made as the copyists
made copies. They tried to do the best they could, but inconsequential
"typos" were made. Ellen White never says that there are errors in
the Bible, but she does say that a few errors were later made in transmission
down through the ages. Yet those alterations were insignificant enough that we
essentially have the Bible today as it was written. God protected His Word, and
He has protected the Spirit of Prophecy.
A good example of the kind of "errors" in the Bible would be
this: When you read an article written by the present writer, you will
read exactly what he wrote,but there will be typographical errors in
it. The writer did not intend that they be there, yet there they are
anyway. They are not so much errors of thought nor of content, but of
transmission. In the process of typing out the thoughts, the hands
slipped sometimes on the keys and, not content
errors, but typographical errors occurred. Do those errors
affect the reading of the material? No. Can you still understand it?
Yes. The errors are of the type that you can still clearly grasp the
meaning of the sentences,jusst as the typographical errors in this
snetence do not hinder yu from understanding itts meening.
We go by the whole, not by the part.
about those instances in which a word was inadvertently changed
in transmission? Sometimes a word change occurred, but there were enough
other passages of Scripture to clarify the meaning. The point here is
that neither inspiration nor salvation is a matter of a word here and
there; it is the whole broad message of Scripture. Here a little and
there a little. We put it all together and the message is strong and
clear. Even though a sentence here or there may not be clear (which may
occasionally happen), the surrounding sentences and the many repetitions
of that thought elsewhere in Scripture are decisive.
A change here or there in Scripture would not be
enough to damage its meaning. This is because we go by all of Scripture,
not a sentence or two here and there.
For example, what if we found one sentence in the
Spirit of Prophecy that did not agree with the others? No problem; we
would simply go by all of Scripture, and that would explain the less
understood portion. What if one portion totally disagreed with all the
rest? Then we would go by the whole and not the part.
Yes, there were small "typographical
errors," and some small changes in words or phrases, but not one of
them was of such importance as to interfere with any basic doctrinal
belief. God protected His Word through all past ages, and He has
protected the Spirit of Prophecy writings also.
If you doubt that, then you are questioning God. He
can only save us through our acceptance and obedience to what Scripture
tells us! If Scripture is unreliable, then we are without chart and
compass. Without Scripture, there are no norms, no standards, no basic
beliefs. Without the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, we know not the past,
present, nor future. Without His inspired Word, there is no origin,
road, nor destination.
Over seven-eighths of all the Spirit of Prophecy was written after 1885,
yet the charge is that all that later bulk of material is unreliable;
and why? because a few critics, anxious to unsettle faith in Gods
holy Word, imagine it is so.
Powerful internal evidence of inspiration.
there passages in the Spirit of Prophecy that do not agree with the
rest? Hardly any are to be found. No one EVER
writes with such perfect consistency as we find in the Spirit of
Prophecy! This is yet another proof, not only of its inspiration, but
also that it was not tampered with by anyone!
The Spirit of Prophecy writings wonderfully agree among themselves. How
can this be? For one person to write over a period of 70 years (from
1845 to 1915), and all of it to agree with itselfis astounding. It is
miraculous. It is more than humanly possible. It is inspiration at work!
The fact and nature of progressive revelation.
Are there exceptions to consistency, and where would they be found? They
would primarily be in the very earliest writings, from 1845 to about
1852. During that time there was an ever-growing progressive revelation.
Ellen White was not told everything all at once. It came little by
little through visions and dreams, as the angel explained more and more
to her. You will find that her very first public lectures were
descriptions of her experience and what she saw in heaven. Soon the
errors of certain fanatics was shown her, and she exposed them. Then she
was shown the Sanctuary in heaven. Gradually, more and more was
revealed. For example, she never used the phrase "investigative
judgment" in the 1840s, nor did she urge dietetic reform prior to
about 1855. The full health reform vision did not come until 1863.
But notice two factors here. First, that which was
missing in her earlier writings, she added in her later ones. We see
here a maturing of the understanding of the message from God, not
changes in that message.
Second, there was, indeed, "new light,"but it always came
through inspiration to the prophet, not through uninspired men.
Does "progressive revelation" exist in our
church? It is found in new insights discovered in the plainly stated
words of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Do not look for it in the
uninspired opinions and theories of men and women, now or later.
The pathway to heaven is written in the Word of God,
and we need not go to any uninspired man into order to trace any part of
that crucially important road map.
Inconsistent men do not write consistent writings.
If all the Spirit of Prophecy agrees with itself, part of it could NOT
have been written by uninspired men! I am repeating part of the above
section, but it needs to be repeated. If the Spirit of Prophecy agrees
with itself, part of it could not have been written by "other
people"! Some may imagine that it could be, but their thinking is
jumbled; they are not facing facts. It would not be possible for
Ellen Whites writings to be so exactly self-consistent, if more than
one person wrote them. Yet the charge is that several people
wrote, rewrote, and added to large portions of her writings! They snuck
in, wrote a little when no one was looking, dodged out, and came back in
and wrote some more. What a hodgepodge way to produce Desire of Ages,
Ministry of Healing, Education, and a majority of those other
wonderful books! Yet we are told that is how they were written. And all
the while, the prophet is said to have stood back and said and did
nothing to stop it.
On which side will you stand?
Stop and think a minute. How should you relate yourself to this controversy?
What would God have you decide about this matter? He would want you to
implicitly trust your life to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy!
What would Satan want you to do about this matter? He
would want you to distrust as many pages, books, and writings of the
inspired prophets as possible!
Whose side are you on? Who will you bow down to and
The purpose would be to change.
Why would you
want to add to or rewrite anything that I have ever written? Why that
would be simple enough: to change it! You would not want to tamper with
my writings, merely to substitute one synonym for another. You would
want to change some of my concepts which you consider to be erroneous.
Why would anyone want to add to or rewrite any part
of the Spirit of Prophecy writings? Simple enough: to change some of her
concepts to something else!
But that was never done! We know this to be a fact,
because we have the books before us and they all agree with one another.
The only exception would be a few of the earliest statements.
The classic exception is her "pork" statement, given in 1 Testimonies, pages 206-207. When
she wrote that, she did not yet have the light that Gods people
should not eat swines flesh. But that statement was never removed or
changed. That in itself is most revealing, for it shows that no one
tampered with her writings. Even the problems were permitted to remain
in the books.
Except for a few early exceptions, her writings fully
If they agree, how can anyone say that changes were made? If
changes were made, then we would have disagreements within the Spirit of
Prophecy; it would be in conflict with itself. But such is not the case.
"Oh," but someone will reply, "the changes were very
slight; that is why the Spirit of Prophecy still agrees with
itself." Such an argument is begging the question. It is will-o-the-wisp
thinking, and goes something like this:
"The writings were changed, but so little that
we can hardly notice what the changes were; because almost nothing was
really changed. Yet it is of vital importance that you know that changes
were made, so you can search them out. Otherwise you may be deceived by
all the errors and be lost!"
That is utterly ridiculous. If the changes are so
small, how could small, hardly noticeable changes be of any vital
consequence? If the changes are large, how could changes of vital
importance have been made, when all the writings so wonderfully agree
with one another? It just does not add up.
Everything remains the same.
There are no changed
doctrines. The standards are all the same. What sense would there be to
try to change the books, if the books were never changed? They all
remain, uniformly, the same general Spirit of Prophecy concepts.
The book especially under attack.
Since the book,
Great Controversy, in one or more of its editions is especially
attacked, and since this is her most important book, throughout the
remainder of this report, we will frequently discuss that book.
Mysterious errors that cannot be identified.
classic example is Great Controversy. We are told "The 1884
edition is safe and reliable, but that the 1888 and 1911 editions are
dangerous; for they contain error. They are not good, for they have had
so many changes made in them, so are not safe to read or distribute to
WHAT is wrong with them? WHY are they not safe? The
answer would have to be that they contain errors which are not found in
the 1884 edition.
Now that we have pinned down the attack, let us
examine it: What are these great "errors" in the 1888/1911
editions of that book? No one knows; no one can tell you. It is all very
"They contain error, and you should take our
word for it! You need to study for yourself and find it."
That is how the attack goes. I must say: THAT
is a sneaky attack, if I have ever seen one! (1) The error is there. (2)
No one knows where. (3) You need to figure it out for yourself. And the
obvious conclusion: "I give up; I just wont go near the book in
the 1888 or 1911 edition. How am I supposed to be able to know what the
error is, if no one else can tell me?"
One hundred dollars reward.
What is this great error in the 1888 and/or 1911 edition? The present writer
has studied those three editions for decades,and there is no error in any of
them! They are all fully inspired and trustworthy.
I hereby offer $100 for each clear-cut doctrinal
error that anyone can show me in any edition of Great Controversy.
Send it to me. I first made this offer in the 1987 tract edition of this
chapter. It is now the year 2000, and no one has come forward and said
he has such evidence, much less actually showing me anything.
Someone will ask, "But who is to decide whether it is a doctrinal
error?" I will! It does not require great brilliance to
recognize doctrinal error. Yet in the past 13 years, no one has even
said he could find anything worth submitting.
Is God concerned with little things?
Would our heavenly Father warn Ellen White that others were adding to or
changing her writings? Would He even care? Of course He would care! He who
watches the sparrow is concerned with the smallest affairs of life,and
changing and adding to the Spirit of Prophecy would be no little matter!
While living at Elmshaven, California, Ellen White
received her shortest vision, and it was about a little thing. Ellen had
inquired about a missing hair net, not knowing that one of her helpers
had stolen it. The girl thought to herself, "Sr. White probably has
lots of them, and she will never know I took it." After inquiring
about the matter several days, in an extremely brief vision one day,
Ellen White was shown the incident and how the girl had destroyed the
evidence by burning it in a lamp flame. She afterward confronted the
girl, who admitted the theft.
If God would tell the prophet about a theft of a hair
net, would He not warn her about tampering with her writings? Of course
He would. God would do more; He would tell her what to do to totally
Ellen White feared no one.
Our leaders feared
Ellen White; for, if necessary, she would take the problems to the
church members. On one occasion, the angel told her to go to the
California Conference constituency meeting. Her helpers were surprised
that she asked to be taken there. Arriving, she entered the auditorium,
walked up to the platform, and asked to speak. No one had expected her
that day. The startled officer in charge said Yes. She then told the
assembled conference leaders, workers, and membership delegates that the
conference president needed to be replaced. They immediately did it.
Do not underrate Ellen White. In private life she was
as gentle as a lamb. But when the Lord told her to do something she did
it, regardless of the amount of pain or difficulty it might bring.
Study it all you want; you will never reach the
bottom of the perfection found in the Spirit of Prophecy.
present writer has worked closely with Great Controversy for 45
years, and very closely for the past 30 years. He prepared an entire
series of Great Controversy radio broadcasts in 1962-1964. He
prepared written analyses of it over the years (studies we still have
not found time to reprint). Another series of Great Controversy radio
broadcasts was prepared in 1977-1979. He typeset sections of the book
and placed them in tract form (our GC tract series) in 1979-1980; then
retypeset part of that (our FC series) in 1980. In addition to
supervising the later typesetting of three retypings of that book (1884,
1888, and 1911), he then carefully went through the 1884 and 1888
editions, comparing them with one another; and a couple years later went
through the 1888 and 1911 editions, closely comparing those two. On the
basis of all that, he stands ready to tell anyone: Great Controversy is
a most wonderful book in each and every edition, 1884, 1888, and 1911!
Difference between the three editions.
Are all three editions uniformly good? No, the appendices in the back vary in
quality. But that is no reflection on Ellen White, because she did not write
the appendices in the back! (The 1884 and 1888 appendices are far better than
the 1911, and the 1888 is the best of all.)
Are there any other major changes in the three books? There is only one
which is of special interest: The 3-page "Satan monologue" at
the beginning of the Snares of Satan chapter in the 1884 edition
is not in the later editions. It is the longest direct quotation from
Satan to be found anywhere in the Spirit of Prophecy. In it, he is
telling his plans to destroy the Adventist Church. But keep in mind that
she wrote the 1884 edition for the church, not the world. She was then
told to prepare a larger edition, which should go to the world. So she
left out the Satan monologue when she prepared the 1888 edition. The
concept of widespread evangelism was one of those later concepts given
to Ellen White. Still later, she was told that this evangelism must
include the entire worldoutside of North America. She just had not
been giving her attention to that earlierand no one else had either.
But when she told the brethren to start sending missionaries overseas,
they began doing it. The 1888 edition was written for a distinctly wider
audience than the 1884. The two primary differences between the 1884 and
1888 editions are these: the second was written for those in and out of
the church, and it was enlarged and more complete. The primary advantage
of the 1884 edition is that it is shorter so, for some, more easily
What about all the other "changes" in the
changeover from one Great Controversy edition to another? There
was nothing of importance; surely, no doctrinal changes. The above
examples involves no doctrinal change.
The closing chapters.
What are the most important
parts of Great Controversy? It would be the final chapters. Yet
they are nearly identical in all three editions!
What are these great "changes" that "others" made in
those chapters? They are not to be found. The critics tell us that the
1884 edition is "pure"written by Ellen White,and the
later two editions are "corrupt" because they were heavily
written by others, who inserted their whims and notions.
Yet you can carefully read through the closing
chapters in all three editions, and you will find that they are all very
similar! Where are those marvelous changes? Where are the whims and
notions? Where are the "dangerous doctrines?" They do not
exist. They are not there.
The first part of the book.
What about the first
part of the book: the historical sections? Those were the chapters that
were sizably enlarged between the 1884 and 1888 edition. Probably the
biggest single change is this: The chapter on the Scandinavian
Reformation is not in the 1884 edition. What does that matter!
Because it is in the 1888 and not in the 1884, therefore it constitutes
There is no "error" or "dangerous
doctrine" in the 1888 or 1911 editions. It never has been there; it
continues not to be there. If you find any, let me know so I can send
you that $100.
Quoting historians is not plagiarism.
Walter Rae said that all of Ellen Whites books were largely copied from
other writers. But, when you pinned him down, he said, "Well, the book of
hers which, far more than any other, that she copied from other authors was Great Controversy." Then
when you pinned him down still more, he admitted that the main parts of that
book "which were copied" were the historical quotations from
historians! Quoting historians is not plagiarism!
May our heavenly Father have mercy on these critics
who are trying to convince our people that the Spirit of Prophecy
writings cannot be trusted.
"Documents" against Ellen Whites veracity.
Then there are the "documents."
First, there are written statements, by Adventist
leaders, with which they hoped to "influence Sister White";
they feared that perhaps their opponents had "influenced her."
Just as leaders do in every age, the men and their associates back at
Battle Creek were continually struggling for the ascendancy. A good way
to gain power was to attack the one person in Battle Creek, Ellen White,
who was consistently moving straight forward doing what principle and
the voice of God told her she should do.
Second, some of the statements consist of complaints to her or others
about her calls for higher standards, no meat eating, strict dietary,
and her urging of the people to look to God and His Word for guidancerather
than to men.
Another source of strong dissatisfaction among a
number of our leaders back then were her statements in support of Jones
and Waggoner (rather than Smith, Butler, and the Battle Creek leaders)
at the Minneapolis General Conference Session and afterward.
Later still, they expressed dislike for her many statements urging
Kellogg and his associatesas well as his opponents, the General
Conference leadership in Battle Creekto all repent! Her positive
positions on a variety of issues aroused dissatisfaction and grumbling.
The leaders wanted to lead and not have that woman around telling them
what to do. The best way to reduce her influence was to spread lies
which would embarrass her in the eyes of the church members.
Third, there is a statement in 1883 which mentions
setting up a committee to proof her initial testimonies, prior to
reprinting them in Volumes 1 to 4. We have discussed this elsewhere in
this book. What the critics do not mention is that the committee was set
up to correct grammatical and typographical flaws, and that it was
appointed at the urging of Ellen White herself. And the critics do not
mention that Ellen White carefully reviewed all changes, prior to
That is the background for most of the "document" statements
attacking the veracity of Ellen Whites writings. They consist of
grumblings and ill-founded charges.
What she would have done.
All those "documents" amount to little more than allusions, opinions,
and irrelevant gripes. Would Ellen White have permitted others to change her
writings, add to them, or write entirely new paragraphs, sections, or volumes?
No! She would never have allowed that to happen. She was gentle among friends
and Christians, but tenacious in defense of the honor of God, and quick to do
His will when He instructed her. And that is why He called her to be a
prophet, because she would do what He told her to do! Out of the millions of
people on planet earth in the mid-1800s, God selected the one person who would
humbly do as He asked.
If they had dared to tamper with her writings: (1)
She would have been told in a vision or dream that it was happening. (2)
She would not have been left to herself to decide what action to take,
but would have been told exactly what to do to solve the problem.
You can have no doubt that, if necessary, she would have pulled all her
books out of the Review, published no more through them, and would have
had an independent press set up to print them. (She did something close
to that in the mid-1890s when the Battle Creek leaders were so disgusted
with her continual advice and general obstructions to their plans,that
they threatened not to publish one of her latest books, Steps to Christ. That
did not disturb her for a minute; she immediately had it printed by a
non-Adventist publishing house (Fleming Revell, in New York City).
The books do not agree with the charge.
Ellen White wrote strong statements about our leaders. You will find many of
them in the Testimonies. Those statements are still there! They have not
been changed or erased. Open the Testimonies, some of the best books you
can read,and read them for yourself. They are full of such remarks. The
books do not agree with the charge.
Volumes 7, 8, and 9.
One set of books that the "theyve been changed" charge has been
leveled against is the nine volumes of the Testimonies. It has been said
that Ellen White did not write the last several volumes (Volumes 7-9) of
them. (The dates for these were 1902 for Volume 7, 1904 for Volume
8, and 1909 for Volume 9.) Whole books of hundreds of pages
not written by Ellen White! That is the charge.
Who then wrote those books? "Oh, the leaders
did," is the elusive reply. When did they do it? How did they do
it? How could they have gotten away with it, without Ellen White
stepping in and putting a stop to it? Have no fears that she would not
have exposed the whole scandal to the entire church, if necessary, to
stop it. She would have done so! Pacific Press was under the control of
friends; she could have appointed them as her new publisher, sent out a
testimony through them to all the church members exposing the faked
books sent out in her name, and henceforth had Pacific Press print them.
This would have been easy to do.
An attack on Gods character.
accusations underestimate the power and justice of God, to defend His
inspired Writings, and the strength of will of Ellen White, to hear and
obey what He told her to do.
By doing so, we destroy ourselves.
The truth is
that when we listen to and entertain these doubts, we are headed down
the wrong road. When we start accepting these charges against Ellen
White, we are placing ourselves in a position of distrusting the power
of God and the veracity of His Word. In doing so, we separate ourselves
from God; and, separated from Him, fear grips our hearts instead of
peace and assurance. Many of our people have had their confidence in the
larger portion of the writings of Ellen White destroyed by stopping to
consider these false charges that others wrote her writings.
"So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief"
(Hebrews 3:19). Israel could not enter the promised land because of
unbelief. There will be those today who will not enter the heavenly
Canaan because they listened to the whispered doubts of othersuntil
they made those doubts their own.
It is a serious matter to question the keeping power
of God or His Word.
Why do they not want the Testimonies translated?
If the leaders wrote much of the Testimonies, why do the Testimonies
have such strong things to say against the men who wrote them?
If large portions of the Testimonies were
written by the leaders, why then have the leaders consistently refused
to permit the Testimonies to be printed in foreign language
editions? The answer is simple enough: The Testimonies never were
changed by the leaders; they continue to tell too much. Strong
statements are scattered all through them.
In fact, the Testimonies are so powerful, so
revealing, that our leaders have consistently refused to permit them to
be translated into any other language!
Following a lead given him by an important church
worker, back in 1985 the present writer spoke by telephone with the
brother of a man who accepted $10,000 from the General Conference
several years ago, NOT to translate the Testimonies into Spanish!
Believe it or not, it happened, and in recent times. That phone call
verified the fact. Indeed, the bribe had been given and accepted. As a
result, he terminated his translation work, and moved out of Texas into
If "the leaders" wrote large sectionsindeed, whole books!of
the Testimonies, then why do they not want them translated so our
people in overseas nations can read them?
The fight to keep the 1888 edition from being
Then there is the charge that Ellen White did not write
large sections of the 1888 edition of Great Controversy.
Who did it? The charge is stated in clear-cut terms: "Uriah Smith
wrote it." If Uriah Smith, the recognized power at the Review in
those days, wrote the 1888 edition of that book,why then did he and
his cronies at the General Conference in the late 1880s so vigorously
try to keep the 1888 edition from being published? Why would he not want
to print what he wrote?
We have an entire tract on this subject. Much of that
tract, about the history of the writing of Great Controversy, is
focused on the battle of the leaders not to print the 1888 edition.
The secret writers critics today claim that the 1884
edition is pure and the 1888 was written by other people.
Yet it was not the 1884 edition the leaders tried to
keep from the people, but the 1888 edition! First, they refused to print
it unless Ellen White relinquished royalties on it. Then they stalled on
it for months on end. Then they said they must get out Bible Readings
first. Then they said that Patriarchs and Prophets was ready
for the press and that book should go ahead of Great Controversy. Then,
when the 1888 edition was printed, they left it on the shelves and
refused to advertise it or send it out to the people. All this is
discussed in our full-length tract, The Circulation of Great
Controversy, which is reprinted at the back of this book. It
is filled with statements by Ellen White.
The entire story, plus much, much more is told in our
book, The Editions of Great Controversy, 504 pp., $12.95 + $3.00.
The fight against that edition started and was
carried on for some time before the Minneapolis crisis.
Hints, allusions, and complaints.
Then there is the charge that church leaders not only wrote major sections of
the 1888 edition of Great Controversy and also the Testimonies,but
that they also wrote most of her other writings after 1884! So none of them can
be trusted. The implication here is that, because the leaders were busily
writing sections to her various books all through those years from about 1885
onward, we really cannot trust any book authored by her after that time.
It is said that all these changes can be proven from
"documents." So we investigate the "documents," and
find they are just hints, allusions, and wishes. Little more. Much of it
consists of statements by people who disliked Ellen White and wanted to
vent their disgust a little. Other "documents" are just as
weak, and are just misinterpretations of statements made by people. I
have just been reading through a quantity of it, and find it consists of
unfounded charges and little more. All these "documents" are
used as proof that "others" must have rewritten the Spirit of
Now let us get to the heart of
this matter of "documents." They are just vague statements
that can be read one way or another.
One such statement was made by W. W. Prescott. It was made in one of his
typical grumbling letters. The present writer has a number of statements
made by Prescott. He characteristically saw the gloomy side of life, and
questioned our historic teachings as well as Ellen Whites
inspiration. He was a Canright that never went into full-blown apostasy.
Looking over his literary remarks, a faithful Adventist would hesitate
to accept anything Prescott had to say in regard to our teachings or the
Spirit of Prophecy.
The second, and primary, "document" is
found in two paragraphs printed in the Review in 1883. Here it
"Whereas, many of these testimonies were written
under the most unfavorable circumstances, the writer being too heavily
pressed with anxiety and labor to devote critical thought to the
grammatical perfection of the writings, and they were printed in such
haste as to allow these imperfections to pass uncorrected . . and
resolved such verbal changes be made as to remove the above-named
imperfections as far as possible . .
"Resolved, that this body appoint a committee of five to take
charge of the republication of these volumes."Statement,
Review and Herald, November 27, 1883.
The above statement is one which you would normally
expect of any publishing house. Yet in the earlier years of
denominational publishing work, they only had a few employees; and it
was with difficulty that they could keep up with all that needed to be
done. Publishing is not an easy task; it involves many and varied
responsibilities. In the above statement, the Review was telling
its readers that they were going to try to do better proofreading, as
well as watch for grammatical problems.
There is nothing sinister in the above statement. (1) If a sinister
motive had been involved, they would not have publicly declared their
objective. (2) If their motive had been sinister, such a statement would
only have made the readers more alert to what they were going to do. (3)
The Spirit of Prophecy publications themselves belie the possibility of
editorial change. This is because if sinister changes had been intended
and then carried out, we could tell from Ellen Whites published
writings that this had occurred. More on this later in this study.
An example of a "typographical error"
occurs when one letter of the alphabet is accidently written for
another. (Suchh tings our tipegrafical errers.)
An example of a "grammatical error" would
be when certain grammatical problems accidently occur. (Such things is
an grammatical errors.)
(3) The actual meaning of the writer is unchanged by
typographical and grammatical corrections; rather it is enhanced. Do you
know of a viable publishing house that does NOT have such a manuscript
(4) No publishing house dares change the actual meaning of an authors
manuscripts, submitted for book or magazine article publication over
their name. If this is done, the writers are in a position to publicly
complain and this will damage the reputation of the publishing house.
(5) Then there is the fact that it was only Volumes
1-4 of the Testimonies which were discussed in the above 1883
statement; it was only by repeated urging of Ellen White that the
proofing was done.
Which is valid: her writings or the gripes?
considering this matter, what we are actually doing is placing her life
and her writings on one scale of the balances and the vague statements
of these men in the other. And then we are trying to "weigh"
it and see which is more believable! Is God really true or those men!
Sorry, we are not interested in the vague mutterings
of men. Others can place their trust in them. The writings of Ellen
White far outweigh them. Her words, her life, her writings prove she was
a fully inspired prophet; she was a commanding figure in defending God
and His Word as any prophet of earlier ages. On the other scale are
assumed possibilities, half-quoted men, and allusions to statements not
given. Such is the "evidence" offered us, that she was a
compromising woman who let others overpower her will and corrupt her
Accepting the charges of the doubters and thereby removing our
confidence in Gods sustaining, protecting power and our trust in His
Word is to start on a journey of leaving God and His Word and moving
over to the doubters camp of those who thoroughly distrust her books
penned after 1885. And what is the result? Men and women either avoid
most of the Spirit of Prophecy books or search them for evidence that
they are of human origin.
Accepting the doubters charges gradually leads us away from Gods
Word. God appointed Ellen White as His prophet for these last days. Her
life, her physical manifestations while in vision (no breathing for an
hour or so, etc.), and her writings prove that she was just that: an
inspired Prophet of God for the end-time! How thankful we ought to be
for that fact!
Shall we take their word against Gods Word?
The heart of the matter is this: Shall we take the word of fallible,
erring men as more valid than the Word of God? Ellen White was an
inspired prophet of God, and her writings provide abundant evidence of
the fact. Even if the charges were clear and to the pointwhich they
are not, shall we take the grumblings of frail, erring human beings
as evidence against her? Shall we take their word against Gods Word?
Do not let uninspired men sit in judgment on the Words of God! This is
wrong! Instead, we should throw away the writings of the criticsand
go directly to the Spirit of Prophecy and read them. That is where the
evidence is to be found; she should be permitted to rise or fall on the
basis of what she wrote, not on what her critics said.
If her writings agree with the prophets of God before
her time, then we can know that they are of God. And as we read, we find
that they do!
We all know that if you come to the Bible as a
doubter, you are going to find much to cavil at. There are men trained
in atheistic universities who have obtained Ph.D.s in the study of the
Bible. They were atheists when they began and they remained so
throughout their lives. How can this be? Easy; they came to the Word as
doubters, determined to search in the Word for that which would feed
Some of those who read this are already in the doubters camp. They
have accepted the "secret writers" charge and they have been
looking for evidence in the 1888 and 1911 Great
Controversy and her later books, that the charge is indeed true. I
am certain that those individuals have found what they are looking for.
Because they are searching for it, Satan will whisper shallow arguments
and inadequate evidence. Now they read this and they think to
themselves, "Ah, but I have seen the evidence with my own
eyes!" Poor souls, they are being caught in the net, and only
eternity will reveal what they have lost.
Come back to trust in Gods caring power over His Word before it is
too late! The present writer first found the following statement over 35
years ago, and was deeply impressed with it. Dear doubting friend, read
this and consider where you are headed:
"Many wander in the mazes of philosophy, in search of reasons and
evidence which they will never find, while they reject the evidence
which God has been pleased to give. They refuse to walk in the light of
the Sun of Righteousness, until the reason of its shining shall be
explained. All who persist in this course will fail to come to a
knowledge of the truth. God will never remove every occasion for doubt.
He gives sufficient evidence on which to base faith, and if this is not
accepted, the mind is left in darkness. If those who were bitten by the
serpents had stopped to doubt and question before they would consent to
look, they would have perished. It is our duty, first, to took; and the
look of faith will give us life."Patriarchs and Prophets,
God has given us abundant evidence that the Spirit of Prophecy is
genuinely whole, genuinely sound, genuinely inspired! Those who have
known this, and then have turned from it to feed on the husks of bitter
mens skepticisms, are choosing a most terrible future. Unless they
repent and return, they will be gradually led away from the path
followed by the remnant. They will be attracted to sins they earlier
spurned; and, gradually more and more captivated, they will be led away
by the evil one.
Exchanging the books for an opportunity to fight.
A basic problem here is that it is easy to get into a dangerous rut. Our
first work should be to uphold our teachings and standards; and, along
with this, we should protest when they are being lowered. These are
God-given duties. But we dare not exchange defending God and His Wordfor
"fighting men for fightings sake"! When we do this, we can
be tempted by Satan to turn against Gods Word in our attempt to find
more ammunition with which to carry on our fight against those men!
When a person has come to that frame of mind, all it takes is for
someone to come along and say, "Did you know that the church
leaders changed Ellen Whites books, and even wrote some of
them?" Quickly comes the response, "Oh, I can believe
that!" Only the shallowest of evidence is offered, but the lie is
acceptedbecause the hearer is emotionally ready to receive it. Yet he
does not realize what he is exchanging for it. He is selling the Word of
God in a cheap market.
Seriously, now, isnt that a masterpiece of deception? While the new
theology catches the liberals in the church, the secret writers charge
is attractive to conservatives who have had their share of woes at the
hands of unfaithful church officers.
There are those among us who, first and foremost, want to fight church
leaders, and they will believe anything that is said against such men.
Yet the great issue in life and salvation is coming to God, trusting Him
and His Word, obeying it by faith in Jesus Christ our Saviour, and
winning souls to God and His Word. The issue is not a matter of just
fighting menwhether they be Communists, Catholics, or Adventist
Cutting out the pages.
When I was a teenager, I
first learned about the modernist churches, such as the Presbyterian, in
which the pastors tell their parishioners they should cut various pages
out of their Bibles because they are not inspired. I also heard about
the liberal theological seminaries, such as Princeton, where the
students are told about the several writers of Moses writings, the two
Isaiahs, and the late date for Daniel.
At that time I determined that I was not going to cut pages out of my
Bible to please any man! Years later, I was shocked to discover that men
in our own church are now telling us we should cut pagesand whole
chapters and booksout of the Spirit of Prophecy!
We cannot, we dare not do this! The writings are
unified; the Spirit of Prophecy agrees fully with the Bible, and it
stands as a whole. No one will begin cutting out part of the Spirit of
Prophecy, without soon having little left but a lot of mournful blanks
in his books and in his Christian experience.
If we did not need those books in these last days,
God would not have given them to us. Ellen White went through a life of
grief and hardship, so those writings could be made available to us.
I guarantee, if you will remain faithful to the
inspired Books and let God work through you to fulfill their teachings,
He will guard and care for you in the days ahead.
You and I know too much to be walking out on Gods Word.
Woe be to that man.
Woe be to that man who
teaches others that portions of the Spirit of Prophecy have been written
by others, are unreliable, and contain error.
That man will bear a responsibility for the souls
that have been lost to the kingdom. He will have to answer for it in the
Make sure you are not such an individual. If you have
been, go alone, fall on your knees, plead for forgiveness, and settle it
with your heavenly Father that you will never do it again; in every way
that you can, go to those to whom you have spoken such words and explain
this matter from the correct standpoint. And then publicly try to pull
others back from the fire which you were trying to send them toward.
Repudiate your error and work to strengthen the brethren in their
confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy.
What some of us are doing.
What some of us
are doing here is to take the weaknesses of menand
call it the weakness of Gods Word! But this must not be done!
Just because men are weak does not mean that Gods prophets are! Just because
men may be crooked and scheming, does not mean they were given permission by
the God of heaven to overpower His writings and change them! Friends, we dare
not, we must not give up our faith in the integrity of the Spirit of Prophecy
for an opportunity to find fault with leadership!
What the charge actually is.
We have seen that
what this charge actually amounts to is that, because church leaders are
corrupt, therefore the Spirit of Prophecy is also! No, no! It cannot be
true; it is not true!
If there is doctrinal error or lowered standards in
the Spirit of Prophecy, then we should find it in the Spirit of Prophecy
books themselves, not in the accusations and attacks of men against
For over six months in the early
1980s, Walter Rea pocketed over a thousand dollars a weekend in lecture
fees. He was traveling around America, telling eager Adventist audiences
that Ellen White was a charlatan. He was well-paid in blood money, and
he will answer in the Judgment for it someday.
When Walter Rea completed a major lecture in the Walla Walla, Washington
area, he started to leave the microphone, but then turned back and said, "Dont
you do to the Bible what I have just done to the Spirit of
It is as simple as that. Whatever charge, whatever condemnation you give
to Ellen Whites writings, you have to give it to the Bible also. They
all equally fit both. Ellen White and the Bible writers are solidly
together. They received visions and dreams in the same pattern; they put
their books together in the same way. They stand or fall together. Let
none imagine that he can pick off Ellen White while leaving the Bible
still standing on the field of battle.
Do you want to call her a plagiarist? No, she clearly
was no plagiarist. (For more on that, see our very complete book, Ellen
White Did Not Plagiarize, 84 pp., $8.00 + $1.50. It powerfully
disproves that attack.)
Any attack on Ellen White can be made against the
Inspiration operated in them the same as it did in her. Is anyone suggesting
that her writings were changed by her enemies? Then he will have to say it
about the Bible writings also. "That cannot be!" you will reply,
"there is no evidence that others changed the Bible writings!" That
is true, but there is no evidence that others changed her writings either. So,
if you accept that "others" did it anyway to the Spirit of Prophecy
while God abandoned those writings and did not guard and protect them from
their hands, then you have to accept that the writings of the ancient prophets
must have all been changed also. The enemies of God and His Word were alive
just as much back then as they have been in these last days.
to part 3-B