|"We Discovered Ellen White Failed the Biblical Tests of a Prophet"|
for Real People
A Denominational Embarrassment
By Dirk Anderson
Many Adventists agree the following statements are the most absurd ever penned by Ellen White:
"But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere."1
A Summary of Mrs. White's main points about Amalgamation
At the time Mrs. White penned this "inspired" section, it was believed by some...
"...that crosses between men and animals had created a no-man's-land between man and beast, populated by gorillas, chimpanzees, wild bushmen of Africa, Patagonians, and Hottentots."4Unfortunately for Mrs. White, this fanciful story of part-animal, part-human beasts roaming the earth is nothing less than a fairy tale. For nearly a century, science has known that it is impossible for humans and animals to inter-breed or produce offspring.
Got her ideas from a fictional book?
It is obvious Ellen White did not get these ideas about amalgamation from God. So, where did she get them from? Many of Mrs. White's statements about the pre-flood era appear astonishingly similar to statements in the Book of Jasher, a fictional account of earth's early history published in 1840 (click here to examine the evidence). In that book we find that the pre-flood humans experimenting with amalgamation...
"... the sons of men in those days took from the cattle of the earth, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other."5
Which race is a product of amalgamation?Mrs. White said the results of amalgamation could be seen "in certain races of men." The question that has haunted the SDA Church for more than 140 years is, which races are the result of amalgamation of man and beast?
Ellen White's statement provoked instant controversy and stinging criticism of her in the 1860s. This forced church leaders to perform damage-control to restore the image of their prophet. In 1866, two years after the amalgamation statements first appeared in print, Adventist leader Uriah Smith6 published his defense of Ellen White, in which he tried to make sense of some of Ellen White's more outlandish statements. In a series of articles appearing in the Adventist Review we find the first official Seventh-day Adventist explanation of the amalgamation statement. Smith conjectured that the union of man with beast had created "such cases as the wild Bushmen of Africa, some tribes of the Hottentots, and perhaps the Digger Indians of our own country, &c".7
To assure the SDA brethren that Smith's explanations had the approval of SDA authorities, the General Conference reviewed his manuscript prior to publication in the Review and provided a "hearty approval" for his explanations in the June 12, 1866, edition of the Review.
Two years later, Smith re-printed the articles in a book. James White "carefully" reviewed Smith's book prior to its publication, and then recommended it in glowing terms to the readers of the church's official magazine, the Review and Herald:
"The Association has just published a pamphlet entitled, 'The Visions of Mrs. E.G. White, A Manifestation of Spiritual Gifts According to the Scriptures.' It is written by the editor of the Review. While carefully reading the manuscript, I felt grateful to God that our people could have this able defense of those views they so much love and prize, which others despise and oppose."8
And just who are these races that are so unfortunate as to be labeled by Seventh-day Adventist leaders as amalgamations of man with beast? As indicated in the table to the right, they are some of the most truly authentic human beings on the planet!
How unfortunate that the SDA prophet and SDA leaders failed to realize that the very "Bushmen" they labeled as part-man, part-beast, carry the genetic markers indicating they are the ancestors of the entire human race, and are genetically as fully human as white people! How could their inspired prophet be so dreadfully wrong?
SDA Scholars Perform Mental Gymnastics
While the "Bushmen of Africa" explanation was good enough for the Whites, Smith, and the 1866 General Conference, it eventually fell out of favor with later generations of SDA leaders. It became increasingly difficult to explain these statements to an increasingly educated and racially diverse denomination.
Despite the controversy, both the critics and supporters of Ellen White agreed that Mrs. White was talking about the union of man with beast. However, by 1947 an Adventist biologist named Dr. Frank Marsh convinced an SDA panel to interpret Mrs. White's statement to mean the interbreeding among species, not interbreeding between man and beast. Dr. Marsh argued convincingly that the union of man and beast is impossible. Despite the fact that James White, Uriah Smith, W.C. White (her son), and D.D. Robinson (her secretary) all indicate Mrs. White believed her statement to refer to the interbreeding of man with beasts, the mounting scientific evidence made it impossible for Adventists to continue to defend her statement based upon its intended meaning.13 Thus, they developed a new meaning for the statement, a meaning which was unknown to Ellen White, a meaning which was at variance with Smith's defense of her statement, and a meaning which is extremely difficult to extract from the text of the amalgamation quotes themselves.
Recent generations of Adventists have performed all types of mental gymnastics to twist and turn her statements into something she never meant nor intended. For example, one recent Adventist scholar, Francis D. Nichol, in his book Ellen G. White and Her Critics, informs us that the word "amalgamation" was used commonly in the 19th century to refer to intermarriage between the black and white races. He also notes that Ellen White used the word "amalgamation" to refer to the intermarriage between those of different faiths. Nichol argues that Mrs. White's statement was referring to amalgamation between "man and "man", namely, the interbreeding between humans of different races or different religions.
Intermarriage between the races?
First of all, Mrs. White dealt with the issue of intermarriage between races in her writings, and she discouraged the practice, but she never called it a "base crime" or even a sin. The "intermarriage" theory raises questions than cannot possibly be answered, and Nichol makes no attempt to explain how this could possibly make sense:
Intermarriage between godly and ungodly?
Another theory proposed by those wrestling to come up with a way to explain away this statement is that Ellen White meant the intermarriage between the righteous sons of Seth and the wicked. However, this interpretation seems to contradict the context of the statement. Gordon Shigley explains:
"It was difficult to read the statements within their context without seeing a series of sins, of which the last sin--the 'one sin above another'--was obviously the climax. It was not likely that Ellen White was talking about intermarriage since she already had described that sin in an earlier paragraph. ...it is impossible to make the amalgamation of beast with beast or man with man the one sin greater than idolatry, adultery, polygamy, theft, or murder."14Again, this interpretation raises far more questions than it answers:
"Base Crime" proves White Estate and Nichol wrongMrs. White describes amalgamation as a base crime. Why? What is a base crime? What does the dictionary say? First, let us look at Webster's 1828 dictionary:
Base - Mean; vile; worthless; that is, low in value or estimation; used of things.15Webster's 1913 dictionary:
Base - Morally low. Hence: Low-minded; unworthy; without dignity of sentiment; ignoble; mean; illiberal; menial; as, a base fellow; base motives; base occupations. A cruel act of a base and a cowardish mind.16Here are the synonyms to the word "base" from Webster's 1999 dictionary:
Synonyms: BASE, LOW, VILE mean deserving of contempt because of the absence of higher values.If the amalgamation was "human with human, and beast with beast," then how could these relationships be described as base crimes? How could sexual relations between married human partners be described as base crimes? Doesn't God honor marriage, whether or not both partners are of the same race or religion? How could union between different species of animals be a base crime? Animals have no such moral capacity to commit a base crime!
If the union of human with human is not a base crime, and if the union of animal with animal is not a base crime, then what is a base crime?
A base crime is an act of vile immorality. Mrs. White uses the phrase base crime only one other time in her writings. She used the phrase to describe Potiphar's wife's vile and adulterous sexual advances upon the youthful Joseph.18
The Bible is very clear that sexual relations between humans and animals is a vile, base crime. It is condemned in the Bible as an abomination worthy of the death penalty.19 Notice carefully that the crimes of adultery and bestiality are in close context with one another in the Levitical law:
Lev. 18:20 - "Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her."To reiterate, Mrs. White uses the term "base crime" only two times in her entire writings. One, the sexual assault upon Joseph, refers to a violation of Lev. 18:20. The second, the amalgamation statement, refers to a violation of Lev. 18:23. Furthermore, Mrs. White says the amalgamation "caused confusion everywhere", clearly linking it to Lev. 18:23 which states that bestiality "is confusion". Mrs. White's choice of the words "base crime" and her allusion to the resulting "confusion" is irrefutable evidence she was describing bestiality, not intermarriage between humans with racial or religious differences.
Is Amalgamation the greatest reason for the flood?If Ellen White is correct, that the "one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race" was amalgamation, why was that sin never mentioned in Genesis? Moses mentions the sins of corruption and violence in Genesis 6:11-13, but never amalgamation. One would think that if amalgamation was the "one sin above another" that caused the flood, Moses would have at least mentioned it! How could such a grievous sin pass by Moses without mention?
Why were these "inspired" statements removed?If the amalgamation statements were true, then why remove them from Mrs. White's later book Patriarchs and Prophets? Many questions are raised by this deletion:
We are not the first to ask these questions. People have been asking those questions for over 100 years. The removal of the amalgamation statements created such a controversy that the White Estate decided it was important for them to provide an explanation for the omissions. Her son W.C. White writes:
"Regarding the two paragraphs which are to be found in Spiritual Gifts and also in The Spirit of Prophecy regarding amalgamation and the reason why they were left out of the later books, and the question as to who took the responsibility of leaving them out, I can speak with perfect clearness and assurance. They were left out by Ellen G. White. No one connected with her work had any authority over such a question, and I never heard of anyone offering to her counsel regarding this matter.That settles it. Now we know the reason.
Why didn't the angel instruct her to omit the lines before they were published?
1. Ellen White, Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 3, p. 64.
2. Ibid., p. 75.
3. The 1913 Webster's Dictionary gives a good definition of how "base" relates to immorality: Base, Vile, Mean. These words, as expressing moral qualities, are here arranged in the order of their strength, the strongest being placed first. Base marks a high degree of moral turpitude; vile and mean denote, in different degrees, the want of what is valuable or worthy of esteem. What is base excites our abhorrence; what is vile provokes our disgust or indignation; what is mean awakens contempt.
4. Gordon Shigley, "Amalgamation of Man and Beast: What Did Ellen White Mean?", Spectrum, vol. 12, no. 4, p. 13. Gordon Shigley wrote this article while a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin.
5. Jasher 4:18.
6. In 1868 Uriah Smith still professed belief in Ellen White as a prophet. By 1883 he did not hold the same degree of conviction: "It seems to me that the testimonies, practically, have come into that shape, that it is not of any use to try to defend the erroneous claims that are now put forth for them." (Smith to Canright, March 22, 1883).
7. Uriah Smith, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 31, 1866. A similar statement is found in the book Smith later published called The Visions of Mrs. E. G. White, A Manifestation of Spiritual gifts According to the Scripture, p. 103, (Steam Press, Battle Creek Michigan, 1868). NOTE: This book is not available in any SDA bookstores today. Here is the full quotation from pages 103-104:
"Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men." This view was given for the purpose of illustrating the deep corruption and crime into which the race fell, even within a few years after the flood that signal manifestation of God's wrath against human wickedness. There was amalgamation; and the effect is still visible in certain races of men." Mark, those excepting the animals upon whom the effects of this work are visible, are called by the vision, "men." Now we have ever supposed that anybody that was called a man, was considered a human being. The vision speaks of all these classes as races of men; yet in the face of this plain declaration, they foolishly assert that the visions teach that some men are not human beings! But does any one deny the general statement contained in the extract given above? They do not. If they did, they could easily be silenced by a reference to such cases as the wild Bushmen of Africa, some tribes of the Hottentots, and perhaps the Digger Indians of our own country, &c. Moreover, naturalists affirm that the line of demarkation between the human and animal races is lost in confusion. It is impossible, as they affirm, to tell just where the human ends and the animal begins. Can we suppose that this was so ordained of God in the beginning? Rather has not sin marred the boundaries of these two kingdoms?
Smith's manuscript was reviewed prior to publication by both the Michigan and General Conferences who published the following statement in the June 12, 1866, edition of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald: "Resolved, That we, the members of the General and Mich. State Conference, haveing heard a portion of the manuscript read, which has been prepared by Bro. U. Smith, in answer to certian objections recently brought against the visions of Sister White, do hereby express our hearty approval of the same. Resolvd, That we tender our thanks to Bro. Smith for his able defense of the visions against the attacks of their opponents."
8. James White, Review, Aug. 15, 1868.
9. Shigley, p. 18, footnote #11: "This information appears as a handwritten note at the bottom of a copy of Uriah Smith's 'Objection 39: The Negro Race Not Human,' provided by [Professor] Frank Marsh." It is a good thing that Smith provided this explanation, because some were apparently applying Ellen White's statement to the Negra race. The author is saddened to say, that as an SDA for 33 years, I know for a fact that behind closed doors in private conversations a few white American SDA's still believe this "inspired" statement applies to the entire negro race. One person claimed to have seen an unpublished manuscript in the White Estate vault indicating such, but proof is lacking. In a statement received from a former SDA via e-mail, October 2004: "I found the testimony from the guy that was in the vault and Dr. B showed him where EGW wrote about women being with apes. Well, I wanted to tell you back in the early 1980s my husband had a good friend that went to Andrews. He told my husband about seeing this writing while doing research in the vault. We wondered all these years about it. I was pleased to confirm it with that part of your site. We suspect he was kicked out of school, as bearing that statement he began preaching to kids on campus about what he had found, referring to black people as monkeys."
10. "Bushmen", Wikipedia, extracted June 19, 2009.
11. "Khoikhoi", Wikipedia, extracted June 19, 2009.
12. "Paiute", Wikipedia, extracted June 19, 2009.
13. See Shigley, pp. 11-18.
14. Shigley, p. 11.
17. Merriam-Webster Dictionary © 1999 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.
18. See article written by Ellen White, Signs of the Times, Jan. 8, 1880.
19. Leviticus 18:23, 20:16.
20. W.C. White, Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 452.
21. See www.whiteestate.org web site, "Comments Regarding Unusual Statements Found In Ellen G. White's Writings".
22. For example, in a review of the book Blood of the Wolf, the reviewer makes this statement: "This has nothing to do with Tribes or Auspices, just the physical and psychological aspects of being spirit, flesh, human and wolf all rolled up into a single disturbing amalgamation." (reference found on http://www.nocturnis.net/reviews/268 on the date Nov. 26, 2006). A second example is the Sphinx: "Some scholars believe that the famous Sphinx, with its lion's body and human head, was an amalgamation of Leo and the nearby constellation of Virgo, the Maiden." ("Leo the Lion may have inspired the Great Sphinx", Feb. 19, 2006, http://archive.recordonline.com/archive/2006/02/19/features_buzzandsundayextra-19bzcosmic-02-19.html). For an example of the word "amalgamation" used to describe human-alien union, see Christ Links forum posting #25114, March 14, 2006: "There are people in hiding, underground citys and such, who are amalgamating man and beast. ... The grays appear to be a human/animal amalgamation of some kind." (http://www.christianlinks.com/forums/showthread.php?p=25114#post25114)
23. Merriam-Webster Dictionary © 1999 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.
26. See www.whiteestate.org web site, "Comments Regarding Unusual Statements Found In Ellen G. White's Writings". White Estate quoting F.D. Nichol, Ellen G. White and Her Critics, p. 308.
27. Ellen White, Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 288.
28. Ellen White, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, August 23, 1892.
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