Ellen White the Blaspheming Prophetess

By Dirk Anderson, Feb., 2024

What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Ellen White quoted Jesus' words about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and explained the meaning to her followers in several passages:

To ignore the Spirit of God, to charge it with being the Spirit of the devil, placed them in a position where God had no power to reach their souls.1

To speak against Christ, charging His work to Satanic agencies, and attributing the manifestations of the Spirit to fanaticism, is not of itself a damning sin, but the spirit that leads men to make these assertions places them in a position of stubborn resistance, where they cannot see spiritual light. ... They are following in the path of guilt for which there can be no forgiveness, in this life or in the life to come.2

By rejecting the light that was shining upon them, by refusing to examine the evidence to see whether the messages were from heaven, the Pharisees sinned against the Holy Ghost.3

To summarize, Ellen White taught the Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost was:

  • Charging the Spirit of God with being the spirit of the devil
  • Charging God's work to Satanic agencies
  • Refusing to examine the evidence if the messages were from heaven

Below, evidence will be presented from Mrs. White's writings that she fit her own definition of a blasphemer of the Holy Ghost.

Blasphemed Adventists Who Rejected the Shut Door

On October 22, 1844, the Millerites were disappointed that Jesus did not come as predicted by William Miller. For a while, many of them believed they were in a brief "tarrying time" and the Lord would soon come. They believed they had spiritually entered with the Lord to the wedding on October 22, and the door of salvation was shut on the rest of the world which was lost (Matt. 25:10). However, by early 1845, it was obvious to most Adventists that Jesus was not returning anytime soon, so they abandoned this teaching and began working again for the salvation of souls. However, a small group of Adventists called shut door Adventists, led by Ellen and James White and Joseph Bates, believed the tarrying period was seven years, and that Christ would return in 1851. They continued to teach the door of salvation was shut against all who rejected William Miller's false message. In 1850, Ellen had a vision of the "Laodiceans" which was a label the shut-door Adventists applied to the open-door Adventists (the shut-door Adventists believed themselves to be the Philadelphian church). Notice what Ellen White says in this vision:

Then I saw Laodiceans. ... 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

Mrs. White is accusing open-door Adventists of blasphemy of the Holy Ghost because they were saying the shut-door doctrine was of the devil. However, the open-door Adventists were Biblically correct. The door of salvation did not close in 1844. There was much gospel work to do. As evidence of this, Jesus said He would not return until the gospel went to every nation:

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Matt. 24:14).

The Gospel Commission is to remain active until the gospel has reached every nation, or as it says in Revelation 14:6, "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." This was not the case in 1850. Many nations in Africa had never even had a missionary enter their borders. The gospel had only been preached in a small minority of the "tongues" of the earth. Therefore, any teaching that the gospel work had ceased for the world in 1844 was certainly "of the devil." The open-door Adventists were correct, and yet Mrs. White accused them of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit for rejecting a false doctrine!

Meanwhile, Mrs. White taught her followers that their work was done for the wicked world. Otis Nichols, a supporter of Ellen White, wrote in 1846 that Ellen White's message was "that our work was done for the nominal church and the world, and what remains to be done was for the household of faith [other Adventists]."5 The shut-door Adventists spent all their efforts trying to convince other Adventists to accept the Sabbath and the shut-door doctrine. According to Ellen White, the work for the salvation of the lost was over:

My accompanying angel bade me look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it; for the time for their salvation is past.6

When the seven-year tarrying period drew to a close, it became obvious that Christ was not returning in 1851. Therefore, in 1851 the Whites abandoned the idea that the door of salvation was shut on the world. How ironic that Ellen White, while in vision, accused open-door Adventists of blasphemy of the Holy Ghost for rejecting the shut-door when she and James now admitted the door was open. She said open-door Adventists would "die the death," referring to eternal damnation. To claim that Christians would "die the death" simply because they refused to believe a false shut-door teaching—a doctrine which she and James later repudiated themselves—is slander and blasphemy of the worst kind.

While Ellen White and the shut-door Adventists spent their evangelistic efforts bickering with open-door over the shut door, and while shut-door Adventists obeyed Ellen White's visions and refused to share the gospel with the world for nearly seven years, true Christians were carrying out amazing revivals throughout America and sending missionaries throughout the world:

  • Second Great Awakening (1790s–1840s): While the Second Great Awakening had peaked in the early to mid-19th century, its influence continued into the late 1840s. This revival movement emphasized personal conversion experiences, powerful preaching, and social reform. It led to the growth of various Protestant denominations and played a significant role in shaping American society and culture.
  • Holiness Movement: The Holiness Movement emerged as a distinct revival movement within Methodism in the mid-19th century. It emphasized the doctrine of Christian perfection or holiness, advocating for a deeper spiritual life marked by sanctification and a commitment to holy living. Prominent figures associated with this movement include Phoebe Palmer and Charles G. Finney.
  • Camp Meeting Revivals: Camp meetings, which had been a hallmark of the Second Great Awakening, continued to be held across the United States in the late 1840s. These outdoor religious gatherings provided opportunities for preaching, prayer, singing, and spiritual renewal. They were often characterized by fervent emotional experiences and large-scale conversions.
  • Revivalism in the West: The mid-19th century witnessed a significant expansion of Christianity into the western frontier regions of the United States. Revival meetings and evangelistic campaigns were common occurrences as settlers moved westward, bringing their faith with them and seeking to spread Christianity among indigenous populations and new settlers alike.
  • Missions Movement: The 19th century saw a growing emphasis on foreign missions, with many American Christians becoming involved in missionary endeavors around the world. Organizations such as the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) and the Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society were active in sending missionaries to various parts of the globe.

Consider that all this activity was happening while shut-door Adventists, led by the prophet Ellen White, were claiming the work was finished. Consider the Missions Movement for a moment. While the prophet Ellen White was telling Adventists the door of salvation was shut and discouraging any work other than for the "household of faith," other Christian groups were obeying Jesus and taking the gospel into all the world. Nothing could be more definitive proof that Ellen White was a false prophet.

Blasphemed Non-Adventist Revivals

By 1852, James White was writing “The Open Door we teach, and invite those who have an ear to hear, to come to it and find salvation through Jesus Christ.”7 The Whites could not entirely abandon their false shut-door teaching since Ellen White saw it in vision. So, they reinvented it to only bar the salvation of those who rejected William Miller's false teaching. They continued to insist that all non-Adventist churches in America were Babylon and that true believers should leave those churches and join the Adventists. Ellen White claimed that the Christian revivals in America were false. She questioned the "signs and wonders" witnessed in these revivals as if they were not from God. She blasphemed those who were converted in these revivals by claiming they were not really converted:

I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders, and false reformations would increase, and spread. The reformations that were shown me, were not reformations from error to truth; but from bad to worse; for those who professed a change of heart, had only wrapt about them a religious garb, which covered up the iniquity of a wicked heart. Some appeared to have been really converted, so as to deceive God's people; but if their hearts could be seen, they would appear as black as ever.8

During these Christian revivals there were numerous reports of physical healings. People claimed to have been cured of various ailments, disabilities, and illnesses after receiving prayer. Mrs. White casts dispersion on this, claiming these miracles were "mysterious" as if they had a Satanic origin. She claims the conversions were not real although all the evidence suggests otherwise. Finally, she claims these revivals were "false." But what if God was working in these revivals? What if the conversions to Christ were real? What if the healings and other miracles were real? Would not Ellen White be guilty of the very sin she claimed led to the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit: "charging His work to Satanic agencies"?

Why such denunciations against non-SDA churches? It all started in the 1840s when churches in America rejected the false time-setting message of the delusional William Miller:

They spurned the gracious messenger [Miller] that would have corrected the evils which separated them from God, and with greater eagerness they turned to seek the friendship of the world. Here was the cause of that fearful condition of worldliness, backsliding, and spiritual death which existed in the churches in 1844.9

Mrs. White claimed that the Protestant churches in America died spiritually in 1844. Mrs. White wrote: "When the churches spurned the counsel of God by rejecting the advent message, the Lord rejected them."10 Did God really reject all non-Adventist churches in 1844? To begin, Ellen White's entire premise is based on a falsehood. She claims God rejected them because they rejected the advent message. That is patently false. The churches in America originally opened their doors to Miller. It was only after he started preaching definite time based on his false interpretations of Scripture that churches began closing their door to him. Some of his most gifted opponents clearly stated that they looked forward eagerly to the advent of Christ, but rejected the setting of a definite date for Christ's return because that was diabolically opposed to the very words of Christ (Matt. 24:36, Mark 13:32). Secondly, the Protestant churches in America were correct in rejecting Miller's false "advent message" about Christ's return in October of 1844. Christians are supposed to reject falsehood, which is exactly what they did. Eventually, all Adventists, including Miller himself, admitted it was false. Therefore, Mrs. White logic is that the Lord rejected Protestant churches because they rejected a false teaching! If that is not blasphemous, what is?

Mrs. White claims all non-SDA churches are operating under the power of Satan:

I saw that as the Jews crucified Jesus, so the nominal churches had crucified these messages, and therefore they have no knowledge of the way into the most holy, and they cannot be benefited by the intercession of Jesus there. Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, they offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character, and leads the minds of these professed Christians to himself, working with his power, his signs and lying wonders, to fasten them in his snare. ... He also comes as an angel of light and spreads his influence over the land by means of false reformations. The churches are elated, and consider that God is working marvelously for them, when it is the work of another spirit.11

Mrs. White took a dim view of any Christian evangelistic activity happening outside of the SDA sect. While admitting that Christian evangelistic efforts had netted “large accessions to the churches,” she assures her readers that what is really happening is that Satan is extending “his influence over the Christian world,” and there is a “lack of the Spirit and power of God in the revivals of our time.” In words hinting of blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, she adds that “it is evident that these movements are not the work of the Spirit of God.”12

Thus, all non-SDA revivals of the nineteenth century, including the crusades of Charles G. Finney and Dwight Moody, were merely false reformations that were either the work of man, or worse yet, of Satan. In 1885, Mrs. White made it clear that non-SDA Christians are worse than heathen. However, for the sake of winning these non-SDAs over to the SDA sect it was best for SDAs to publicly pretend that non-SDAs were not heathens:

We can do nothing that would close up the way before us in this country like taking a position of superiority and putting before the people that we consider them heathen. In truth they are worse than heathen, but this we are not to tell them.13

Mrs. White claims the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from non-SDA churches after they rejected Miller's false teaching:

Since the rejection of the first message, a sad change has taken place in the churches. As truth is spurned, error is received and cherished. Love for God and faith in His Word have grown cold. The churches have grieved the Spirit of the Lord, and it has been in a great measure withdrawn.14

The evidence above indicates Ellen White blasphemed any non-SDA evangelistic activity by claiming it was taking place without the Holy Spirit. If she was wrong in even one instance, then by her own definition, she was guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Blasphemed Non-Adventist Ministers

Mrs. White blasts ministers of God who faithfully and correctly tried to warn others of the deception of Miller's false time-setting message by quoting the words of Jesus:

“No man knoweth the day nor the hour” continued to be echoed by the bold scoffer and even by the professed minister of Christ. As the people were roused, and began to inquire the way of salvation, religious teachers stepped in between them and the truth, seeking to quiet their fears by falsely interpreting the word of God. Unfaithful watchmen united in the work of the great deceiver15

Here Mrs. White is talking about Protestant ministers, who, unlike her, were called by God to be leaders of their flock. Some of these men had spent decades, even lifetimes studying the Word of God. Some knew the original Biblical languages and obtained advanced degrees in theology. Many had spent decades in the ministry, facing down many a deluded fanatic spouting false doctrines and setting dates. It was the duty of these men to protect their flocks from false teachings like those of the date-setting Miller. Mrs. White denounced these servants of God for stepping in between the people and the false time-setting message of Millerisim. However, this is exactly what any good shepherd would and should do. Their efforts should have been applauded not criticized.

Furthermore, she mislabels Miller’s false message as “the truth.” The reality is, it was not the truth! If it was “the truth” then Jesus would have returned to earth on October 22, 1844! Therefore, it was not the truth. It was a falsehood, and the leaders of the Millerite movement later admitted it was false. Mrs. White claims these Protestant ministers falsely interpreted the word of God. How so? By quoting Matthew 24:36 against Miller. And yet, in this case, that was exactly the correct course of action for these ministers to take. When a fanatic walks into a sheepfold like a wolf proclaiming definite time, a faithful shepherd will point out his error and quote the words of Jesus on the subject. Thus, the ministers did exactly what they should have done. Their course of action was correct. The Protestant ministers were not the ones falsely interpreting the Bible; rather, it was Miller and 17-year-old Ellen Harmon. She claims these ministers were united with the "great deceiver" because they were trying to stop Miller's deception. Why would Satan fight against deception? How can a kingdom divided stand? The evidence indicates Ellen White was the one who united with the deceiver. The deceiver in this case was Miller, who set a false date for the return of Christ. The Protestant ministers were not the ones who were deceiving people. They were telling people the truth. Miller was the deceiver, and it was the young Ellen Harmon who followed Miller and was thus “united in the work of the great deceiver.” It is blasphemy to claim these ministers were united with Satan.

Instead of respecting these Protestant ministers of God who had given their lives to His service, what did she do? In tones echoing of haughty blasphemy, she derides these servants of God in the most hateful and degrading manner:

Many shepherds of the flock, who professed to love Jesus, said that they had no opposition to the preaching of Christ's coming, but they objected to the definite time. God's all-seeing eye read their hearts. They did not love Jesus near. They knew that their unchristian lives would not stand the test, for they were not walking in the humble path laid out by Him.16

It is a fallacious assumption for Mrs. White to claim these Christians “rejected and despised” Christ’s return. Just because they rejected Miller’s time-setting falsehood does not mean they rejected the return of Christ. There is no evidence ever presented by Ellen White that Christians who rejected Miller also despised Christ’s return. In fact, many who rejected Miller also pronounced their love for Christ and their desire for His return. What they despised and rejected was the false time-setting. One minister writes in December of 1844:

Many of the leaders [of the Millerite movement] infused an uncharitable and denunciatory spirit into their disciples, and insisted on a separation from their brethren, who did not agree with them in relation to the period of Christ's coming. ... To us the fact that Christ will come is in the sunshine; but the period and manner of his coming are "in the clouds of heaven." If I can be assured that I do his will and am preparing for a mansion in my Father's house, I shall be satisfied.17

If this minister is correct, then perhaps Miller's disciple, Ellen White, was infused with this same "denunciatory spirit."

Stubborn Resistance to Light

Mrs. White taught that people who expressed stubborn resistance to spiritual light were guilty of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. After the failure of Millerite predictions about Christ's return in 1844, Ellen White had ample opportunity to repent of her error in preaching this false doctrine. However, she continued to set dates and time periods for the return of Christ for the remainder of her life. She continued to believe Miller's date-setting was approved by God and those who rejected it were eternally lost. In spite of this, she acknowledged that date setting was a faith-destroying device:

Different times were set for the Lord to come, and were urged upon the brethren. But the Lord showed me that they would pass by, for the time of trouble must take place before the coming of Christ; and that every time a date was set, and passed, it would weaken the faith of God's people. For this I was charged with being the evil servant...18

Mrs. White admits date-setting weakens the faith of God's people. Therefore, it is not of God, because God does not weaken the faith of His people. It is of Satan. Even though she had to eat her own bitter pill of having people charge her with "evil" for rejecting date-setting, even though she admitted it weakens faith, for the remainder of her life she stubbornly insisted that Miller was right to preach definite time in 1844. Despite this, she later complained:

Time-setters have pronounced the curse of the Lord upon me as an unbeliever who said, My Lord delayeth His coming. But I have told them that the books of heaven would not make my record thus, for the Lord knows that I loved and longed for the appearing of Christ. But their oft-repeated message of definite time was exactly what the enemy wanted...18

She personally experienced the denunciatory spirit of time-setters who derided her for not longing for the appearing of Christ—the same denunciatory behavior she imposed on others in her writings between 1844 and 1850. She admitted the message of "definite time" was exactly what the enemy wanted, but she continually insisted that the definite time of 1844 was from heaven. Thus, by her own definition, she stubbornly refused the light, thus placing herself in a position of blaspheming the Holy Ghost.


To conclude, when one compares Mrs. White's definition of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit to her words and actions, there is little doubt that she fit her own definition:

  • Ellen White charged non-SDA revivals with being "the work of another spirit." According to her, it is blasphemy to charge the Spirit of God with being the spirit of the devil.
  • Ellen White charged the miracles taking place in Christian revivals as "mysterious" as if they had a Satanic origin. According to her, it is blasphemy to charge God's work to Satanic agencies.
  • Ellen White refused to consider the evidence that Miller's message of "definite time" was inspired by the devil even though she later admitted that "definite time" was what Satan wanted. According to her, those who stubbornly resist spiritual light are guilty of blasphemy.

Did she blaspheme the Holy Spirit? You decide.

See also


1. Ellen White, The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, (Washington, D.C.: Ellen G. White Estate, 1987), 911.

2. Ellen White, Manuscript 30, 1890.

3. Ellen White, Review and Herald, July 27, 1897.

4. Ellen White, Manuscript 11, 1850.

5. Otis Nichols letter to William Miller, April 20, 1846.

6. White, Present Truth Aug. 1, 1849.

7. James White, "Call at the Harbinger Office," Review and Herald, Feb. 17, 1852, 94-95.

8. White, Present Truth Aug. 1, 1849.

9. Ellen White, Great Controversy, (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1911), 380.

10. Ellen White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4 (1884), 232.

11. Ellen White, Early Writings (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1882), 260.

12. White, Great Controversy, 463-465.

13. Ellen White, Manuscript 28, 1885.

14. White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 237.

15. White, Great Controversy, 372.

16. White, Early Writings, 232.

17. E. Thomson, The Ladies' Repository, and Gatherings of the West, vol. 4 (Cincinnati, R.P. Thomson, December, 1844), 378,379.

18. Ellen White, Life Sketches of Ellen G. White (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1915), 89.

19. Ellen White, Letter 38, 1888.

Category: Shut Door
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