Ellen White Supremacist
By Brother Anderson
Ellen White, like many in the Northern United States in the mid-1800s, was opposed to the institution of slavery, calling is sinful. After the Civil War, Mrs. White encouraged gospel outreach for African Americans in the South, and even contributed her own money towards that work. While this is admirable, she also made statements which were racially-charged. For example, Mrs. White assurred her white followers that heaven would be free of dark-skinned people:
"In heaven there will be no color line; for all will be as white as Christ himself. Let us thank God that we can be members of the royal family."1
Had racist books in her library
While Mrs. White forbid the reading of the anti-slavery book Uncle Tom's Cabin, she had author Thomas Dixon's white supremacist books The Clansman and The Leopard's Spots in her private library. Dixon's father and uncle were at one time members of the white supremacy group Klu Klux Klan. The Clansman book portrays the Klan in a relatively positive light. Both these books portray negroes as inferior to whites.
Mrs. White also had John Campbell's book Negro-Mania.2 This entire book was an argument that Blacks should not be considered equal with Whites. Campbell argued:
"Why, then, all this rant about negro equality, seeing that neither nature or nature's God ever established any such equality. ...all attempts at establishing an equality of races is silly; nay more, it is wicked. ... The more this question is discussed, the more certain is to be decided against Negro equality."3
Eyewitness account of Elders B.F. Snook and W.H. Brinkerhoff
Ellen White's amalgamation statements, published in 1864, raised questions as to whether she thought negroes were an amalgamation of man and beast. Uriah Smith attempted to clarify the matter when he published his defense of her in 1868. He identified the amalgamated species as certain African and Indian tribes.4
Not everyone bought Smith's explanation. Elders Snook and Brinkerhoff were Seventh-day Adventist leaders in Iowa, who were ordained by James White in 1862. In 1866, they published a book unveiling not only the errors in Mrs. White's visions, but also the racist views she held at that time:
"These visions teach that the Negro race is not human. This charge they deny, but we will let the reader decide for himself. Here is what she says; 'Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species, and in certain races of men.'—Sp. Gifts. Vol. 3, p. 75. But what are we to understand by certain races of men? She has not informed us in her writings, but left us to fix the stigma of amalgamation where we may see fit. But the interpretation has come to light. She told it to her husband, and he made it known to Eld. Ingraham, and he divulged the secret to the writer, that Sister White had seen that God never made the Darkey."5
Blacks are to be led by Whites
Mrs. White permitted African American gospel workers in the SDA ministry, but she felt that white men should lead up the work for Blacks in the Southern USA:
"Opportunities are continually presenting themselves in the Southern States, and many wise, Christian colored men will be called to the work. But for several reasons white men must be chosen as leaders."6
Not to push for equality with Whites
Like John Campbell, Mrs. White saw little value in agitating for racial justice. She encouraged Blacks not to strive for equality with Whites:
"The Colored People should not urge that they be placed on an equality with White People."7
While other Christian denominations in the South after the Civil War were looking at integrating blacks into their congregations and uplifting them to a position of equality with whites, Ellen White was advocating they be kept in a subservient role. Kenneth Bailey explains how forward-thinking Christians churches, without a prophet guiding them, were advocating for equality between Whites and Blacks in the church:
"In the autumn of 1865, the Reverend Isaac T. Tichenor emphasized that the criterion of skin color for church membership was contrary 'to all our past history and in violation of the first principles of our faith' ... and the Southern Presbyterian General Assembly, persuaded as to the 'advantage of the colored people and white being united together in the worship of God.'"10
It is amazing that Christian denominations with no prophet were pushing for racial equality, which was the just and equitable course of action, while God's "prophet" was saying Blacks should not push for a position of equality with Whites. To this day, there are still separate SDA Black churches in the United States of America. When will the time ever come for SDA corporate leaders to "adust the position of the Negro race?"
Forbids interracial marriage
Mrs. White took a hard line against interracial marriage:
"But there is an objection to the marriage of the white race with the black. All should consider that they have no right to entail upon their offspring that which will place them at a disadvantage; they have no right to give them as a birthright a condition which would subject them to a life of humiliation. The children of these mixed marriages have a feeling of bitterness toward the parents who have given them this lifelong inheritance. For this reason, if there were no other, there should be no intermarriagebetween the white and the colored race."11
"You have no license from God to exclude the colored people from places of worship. Treat them as Christ's property, which they are, just as much as yourselves. They should hold membership in the church with the white brethren. Every effort should be made to wipe out the terrible wrong [slavery] which has been done them. At the same time we must not carry things to extremes and run into fanaticism on this question. Some would think it right to throw down every partition wall and intermarry with the colored people, but this is not the right thing to teach or practice."13
"Let the colored brother enter into marriage with a colored sister who is worthy, one who loves God, and keeps His commandments. Let the white sister who contemplates uniting in marriage with the colored brother refuse to take this step, for the Lord is not leading in this direction. ... The taking of such a step will create confusion and hindrance."14
Interestingly, many Adventists today in the United States, Europe, and South Africa engage in interracial marriages. Apparently they do not regard Ellen White's counsels as "light" given to her by the Lord. Following is a letter of counsel, written January 8, 1901, to a young man who entertained plans that would have resulted in an interracial marriage. Its counsels are similar to those of other communications on this matter, but Ellen White adds words that call for thoughtful contemplation:
"Do not unite yourself in marriage with a girl who will have cause to regret the step forever after. . . . O what covetous, selfish, short-sighted creatures human beings are. Distrust your own judgment, and depend on the judgment of God. Distinguish between what is pleasing and what is profitable. Do God's will submissively. . . . Following your own way and your own will, you will only find thorns and thistles."15
Contrast the results of the SDA "prophet-led" church with the Quakers:
"The Quakers...pushed aggressively for integration of schools in the South, fought against employment discrimination, and in 1947 won the Nobel Peace Prize for their significant peacemaking and reconciliation efforts around the world."16
Amazingly, this small group of Quakers, which no prophet leading it, had the wisdom to fight for the equality of the races. Meanwhile, when the Quakers won their Nobel prize, the Adventists still had segregation in the General Conference cafeteria.17
It should be noted that Mrs. White was opposed to slavery and encouraged the SDA sect to engage in gospel work for "Colored people" in the South. However, many of her statements regarding the position of Blacks and interracial marriage appear to a modern audience to be short-sighted and racially-charged. It is obvious these statements were not inspired in any way, but were merely opinions reflecting common attitudes of that era. This being the case, one must ask which other of her "inspired" statements were also merely reflecting common attitudes of her era?
1. Ellen White, The Gospel Herald, March 1, 1901, para. 20.
2. Ronald Numbers, "Science and Medicine," Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet (NY: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 216.
3. Negro-Mania: An Examination of the Falsely Assumed Equality of the Various Races of Men (Philadelphia: Campbell & Power, 1851), pp. 545, 547-548.
4. Uriah Smith, The Visions of Mrs. E. G. White, A Manifestation of Spiritual gifts According to the Scripture, p. 103, (Steam Press, Battle Creek Michigan, 1868).
5. Snook and Brinkerhoff, The Visions of E.G. White Not of God, Chapter 2.
6. Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 202.
7. Ellen White, Testimonies Vol. 9, page 214, paragraph 3.
8. Ellen White, Testimonies Vol. 9, page 213 paragraph 4.
9. Ellen White, Testimonies Vol. 9, page 214, paragraph 4.
10. Kenneth K. Bailey, "The Post Civil War Racial Separations in Southern Protestantism: Another Look," Church History vol. 46, no. 4 (Dec., 1977), p. 455.
11. Ellen White, Manuscript 7, 1896. Selected Messages Book 2, page 343, paragraph 2.
12. Ellen White, Letter 36, 1912. Selected Messages, Book 2, page 344, paragraphs 1,2.
13. Ellen White, The Southern Work, p. 15.
14. Ellen White, Selected Messages, Book Two (Hagerstown, Maryland: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), p. 344.
15. Ellen White, Letter 4, 1901.
16. Ronald Osborn, "True Blood: Race, Science, and Early Adventist Amalgamation Theory Revisited," Spectrum Magazine, Vol.38, No.4, Fall 2010, page 13 of the article.
17. Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart, Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007), p. 281.
Category: Shocking Statements
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