A Question of Integrity
Complied by Brother 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 deny the first-hand accounts of eyewitnesses they seek to counteract it in the following ways:
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 provided her notarized 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?
A closer examination will reveal 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:
Secondly, Mrs. White claimed she never said anyone was "doomed" or the "damned." The following written evidence contradicts that:
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). 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
Mrs. White's credibility is further shaken by what she wrote of the story of the arrest and trial of Israel Dammon. 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 was even at the same event!
Even in her personal life, her private life denied the mystique she portrayed in her public life. For example,
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?
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.
Category: Tests of a Prophet
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