Through this volume I, the secretary of the Ellen White
Estate, pass to the readers my rather intimate knowledge of the operation of
inspiration and the writing of the prophetic message as seen in the experience
of Ellen White.
Some of this knowledge I gained from my father, William C.
White, third son of James and Ellen White. I grew up in the environment of
these things and worked with W. C. White in the Elmshaven office of the White
Estate for nine years.
Most of what is presented here stems from a knowledge
acquired in handling the Ellen White documents over a period of four decades.
This volume consists of five formal presentations made to
groups of university and college teachers, administrators, and forum groups. The
topics were assigned. The rather heavily documented papers were built upon the
Ellen White documents themselves and the witness of Ellen White's
contemporaries. Little reference is made to the works of scholars and
theologians in the field of inspiration in general, for it was my intent to
present the picture as I have seen it, working closely with the materials as
found in the White Estate office records.
Seventh-day Adventist ministers and teachers who were
acquainted with these presentations urged their publication in order that they
may serve in a much broader way than in oral rendering and in duplicated copies.
An examination of the five papers as they were being prepared for publication
revealed some overlapping. Repetition has been largely eliminated. Cross
references are introduced to direct the reader to related materials as they
appear here and there through the combined presentations. Some repetition, which
if omitted would have marred the development of the topic presented, remains.
Some additions have been made to round out and strengthen certain areas. Some
sentences and phrases to which particular attention is directed appear in
italics to emphasize the point I wish the reader especially to note.
To say even after these many years that I understand all
phases of Ellen White's experience and work would be to boast. To say that I
have found answers to every question that may have arisen in my mind in the
forty and more years I have been connected with this work would be to go beyond
the facts. I have ever recognized that with our limited experience and with the
possible absence of a knowledge of facts because documents were not available
that would have presented the full story, not to speak of our short-sightedness,
we dare not measure and pass judgment on the work clearly motivated by the Holy
Spirit. All of this notwithstanding, I have found the weight of evidence so
great that, not only can I not doubt, but I hold with the strongest confidence
that Ellen White was what she claimed to bethe messenger of the Lord. She
was indeed a true prophet of God. I am quite willing to hold suspended judgment
on a few points until I find an answer here, and if not here, then when I meet
and talk with Ellen White and our Saviour in the world made new.
My observation is that those who lived and worked most closely with Ellen White had the strongest confidence in her
call and work. This is my experience as I move in the closest contact with her
documentsthe letters, diaries, manuscripts, and published records. To these may
be added the published and unpublished witness of her contemporaries.
That the observations presented here, which have been made in
such close contact with the materials themselves and with William C. White, who
travelled and worked with his mother for more than thirty years, may serve the
church in keeping before it a factual image of the work of Ellen White is my
intent and sincere wish.
Arthur L. White
March 1, 1973