As I began to bring up questions about Ellen White in church discussions with Adventists, many tactics were used to try to keep me quiet. Adventists generally cannot tolerate anyone questioning the validity of their prophet. Their most forceful weapon for stifling questions was the use of guilt. So many times I was chided for trying to cause division in the church and I was frequently reminded that I was committing the sin against the Holy Spirit in not accepting Ellen White as a true prophet. It seemed the more persuasive the evidence I produced, the more the devout followers would tune me out.
It appears that Mrs. White was somewhat prepared for the possibility of some questioning souls. She wrote, "Not by discussion and controversy is the soul enlightened". (Desire of Ages, p. 145) However she completely contradicted herself in another 'inspired' passage: "God means that the testing of truth shall be brought to the front and become a subject of examination and discussion. Every controversy, every reproach, every slander will be God's means of provoking inquiry and awakening minds that otherwise would slumber". (Thoughts From the mount of Blessing, p. 33) Of course the greatest master of controversy and discussion was Jesus. He was not very popular with the respected establishment because of this and the controversy finally led to His crucifixion.
In discussing tithing in the Review andHerald, November 10th, 1896, Mrs. White said:
"Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe to use according to their own judgment. They are not to apply it as they see fit ... A minister should not feel that he can apply it according to his own judgment."Ten years later in a letter written to Elder George Watson in January, 1906, Mrs. White wrote,
"it has been presented to me for years that my tithe is to be appropriated by myself It is a matter that should not be commented upon; for it will necessitate my making known these matters which I do not desire to do ... For years there have been persons who have lost confidence in appropriation of the tithe but have placed their tithe in my hands ... I write this to you so that you shall keep cool and not become stirred up, lest more shall follow their example". Again we see her contradicting her own counsel while supposedly under the guidance of God.
Concerning this contradiction, one of her sons, W. C. White, wrote
"The letter was written by my mother and duplicated and a copy was sent, very unwisely I believe, to my brother. I am very sorry that the letter was written."It seems that one of the sons was not very impressed with his mother's inspirations and that there was somewhat of a feud between these brothers. The point is, that you and I, and even the ministers, may not appropriate our donations, but Mrs. White has the privilege of deciding where her tithe goes.
Ellen White even admitted to contradicting herself at times:
"What appeared in testimony 11 concerning the health institute should not have been given ... I yielded my judgment to that of others in this I did wrong."The question immediately comes up, how could she yield her judgment to that of others when God has indicated to her what she should write? Her original testimony began with "I was shown"! Obviously, one of the testimonials has to be an error. But they were both supposedly written under the guise of divine inspiration.
There are many other examples of Ellen White contradicting her statements. These two are gleaned from the book, The Truth About Seventh Day Adventism by Walter R. Martin (Zondervan Publishing House 1960)
This book was given to me by a patient of mine. I was very biased against this book when I first saw it. On looking back on it now it is obvious that it sowed the seeds for my eventual liberation from Seventh-day Adventism. This friend is now gone: I did not have a chance to thank him in person. However I do believe that at that day I will be able to communicate my thanks to him face to face.