"We Discovered Ellen White Failed the Biblical Tests of a Prophet"

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A Question of Integrity

Compiled by D. Anderson

Several people, who were at one time friends and close associates of Ellen White, have provided eyewitness accounts that call into question her divine inspiration. Over the years, this has always presented a problem to the defenders of Ellen White. Realizing they cannot overcome the first-hand accounts of eyewitnesses, the only course of action left for them to pursue is a smear campaign of character assassination. They deride the eyewitnesses as "unreliable," "prejudiced," and "someone with an axe to grind." They dig up testimonies penned by Ellen White that smear the character of these eyewitnesses and question their motives.

Interestingly enough, when Ellen White's critics point out her flaws, these same defenders cry out in protest saying, "she was only human" and "she never claimed to be perfect." It is almost as if they are saying, if someone disagrees with Ellen White then it is okay to question their motives and character, but you must never question Ellen White's character! Is this double-standard fair?

Jesus said:

"Your verdict on others will be the verdict passed on you.
The measure with which you measure will be used to measure you."  

Matthew 7:2 NAB
If Ellen White and her defenders defame people for being dishonest, then the same measure of honesty and integrity must be used to evaluate Ellen White to see if she is dishonest.

The Lucinda Burdick Case

Lucinda Burdick was the wife of a pastor. She was a close friend of Ellen Harmon during the mid-1840s, and was an eyewitness to some of Ellen's failed predictions. The two parted company when Mrs. Burdick realized Ellen's visions were not inspired by God. When Mrs. Burdick published her testimony of her experience with Ellen Harmon, Mrs. White, of course, denied everything, and denounced Mrs. Burdick as a liar:

"Mrs. Burdick has made statements which are glaring falsehoods. There is not a shade of truth in her statements. Can it be that she has repeated these false statements till she sincerely believes them to be truth?

"I have never seen any persons crowned in the kingdom of God, only on conditions that if they were faithful they would receive the crown of immortal life in the kingdom of glory. I have never stated that this one or that one was doomed or damned. I never had a testimony of this kind for anyone. I have ever been shown that God's people should shun these strong expressions which are peculiar to the first-day Adventists. These very expressions have been used unsparingly by John Howell, the first husband of Mrs. Burdick. But I never uttered them myself to any living mortal."1

Now, let us examine this statement a little closer to determine who has a problem with honesty. First, Sister White said she never saw any persons crowned in the kingdom of God except on conditions they were faithful. We do not have every word that Mrs. White spoke, so we cannot evaluate whether or not this is true. There are certainly witnesses who claim she made such statements. However, we do have a couple statements where she saw various people in heaven:

Claim made by Ellen White Was she honest? You decide.
"I have never seen any persons crowned in the kingdom of God, only on conditions that if they were faithful they would receive the crown of immortal life in the kingdom of glory." "We all went under the tree [of life], and sat down to look at the glory of the place, when brothers Fitch and Stockman, who had preached the gospel of the kingdom, and whom God had laid in the grave to save them, came up to us and asked us what we had passed through while they were sleeping."

"I saw that she [Mrs. Hastings] was sealed and would come up at the voice of God and stand upon the earth, and would be with the 144,000. I saw we need not mourn for her; she would rest in the time of trouble."3

Now, what about the "doomed" or the "damned?"

Claim made by Ellen White Was she honest? You decide.
"I have never stated that this oneor that one was doomed or damned. I never had a testimony of this kind for anyone. I have ever been shown that God's people should shun these strong expressions...I never uttered them myself to any living mortal." "Then I saw the Laodiceans [first-day Adventists].... Dare they admit that the door is shut? The sin against the Holy Ghost was to ascribe to Satan what belongs to God or what the Holy Ghost has done. They said the shut door was of the devil and now admit it is against their own lives. They shall die the death."4

"Thomas Paine, whose body has now moldered to dust and who is to be called forth at the end of the one thousand years, at the second resurrection, to receive his reward and suffer the second death, is represented by Satan as being in heaven, and highly exalted there."5

"[At the resurrection of the wicked] there was the proud, ambitious Napoleon, whose approach had caused kingdoms to tremble."6

"I saw that the slave master will have to answer for the soul of his slave whom he has kept in ignorance; and the sins of the slave will be visited upon the master. ...the master must endure the seven last plagues and then come up in the second resurrection and suffer the second, most awful death."7

Integrity problems

Throughout her career Mrs. White was plagued with questions about her integrity. Most of the questions involved her habit of taking the writings of other authors and publishing them under her name. In recent years abundant evidence has surfaced showing Mrs. White plagiarized extensively (to review that evidence CLICK HERE). However, she claimed the words she wrote were her own:

The words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation.8
Seventh-day Adventist theologian Dr. Fred Veltman spent eight years, at church expense, examining the charges of plagiarism in the book Desire of Ages. At the conclusion of his study he said this of her copying the writings of others:
"It strikes at the heart of her honesty, her integrity, and therefore her trustworthiness." 9

Credibility problems

Mrs. White's credibility is further shaken by what she wrote of the story of the arrest and trial of Israel Dammon (click here to read). Mrs. White's account of the event differs sharply from the sworn testimony given under oath by eyewitnesses, both friend and foe, in a court of law. The difference between her story and the eyewitness testimony is so profound that one is left wondering whether Mrs. White stretched the truth.

Even in her personal life, her private life denied the mystique she portrayed in her public life. For example,

  • She wore jewelry in private, while telling others in public it was wrong.
  • She ate meat in private, while telling others in public it was wrong.
  • She used vinegar in private, while telling others in public it was wrong.
  • She spent money on photography in private, while telling others to devote that money to God's service.
  • She told others that phrenology was satanic but privately took her children for readings.

Can you trust Sister White?

When the same measure of judgment is applied to Mrs. White as she used upon others, it can be seen that Mrs. White is the one who suffered problems with honesty, integrity, and credibility. The question you need to ask yourself is this: Can I really trust that what Sister White said is the truth?

For Further Research:

NOTES

1. Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, p. 239.

2. Ellen White, Word to the Little Flock, p. 16.

3. Ellen White, Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 263.

4. Ellen White, Manuscript Releases Vol. 5, p. 204; Ms 11, 1850, pp. 3, 4.

5. Ellen White, Supplement to the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White, p. 8.

6. Ellen White, Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, p. 215.

7. Ellen White, Early Writings, p. 276.

8. Ellen White, Review and Herald, Oct. 8, 1867.

9. See the Veltman Report.


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