The Life of Ellen White by D.M. Canright
Chapter 22 - Conclusion
Mrs. White had much to say about the three messages of Rev. 14:6-10. These, she said, were the foundation of her message and movement.
The first, she held, was fulfilled in William Miller's time-setting movement of 1843-4.
For over sixty-five years she applied the second message, or fall of Babylon, to the Protestant churches, and said it could not apply to the "Romish Church." But, as we have seen, in 1911 she changed her teachings regarding this message, and applied it particularly to the Roman Church. If correct in her later exposition, she was in error, and taught error regarding the second message nearly all her life.
The third message warns against false worship and receiving the mark of the beast. Nearly all her life Mrs. White taught that the mark of the beast is Sunday-keeping; but, as we have seen from the preceding chapter, near the close of her life she changed her views regarding this, and said that to "give Sunday to the Lord" was always acceptable to him.
In other words, she mistook and taught error regarding all three of the very messages which she and her followers have held to be the foundation of their movement. If wrong on the fundamentals, how can she safely be relied upon in other matters?
To summarize briefly some of her more prominent mistakes, the following may be noted:
- She endorsed William Miller's time-setting of 1843-4.
- She endorsed Captain Bates' time-setting for 1851.
- She taught that there was no more salvation for sinners after Oct. 22, 1844.
- She suppressed some of her early visions and writings, and yet, in 1882, issued a book claiming to contain all of her early writings.
- She predicted that the Civil War would be a failure, that the nation would be ruined, and that slavery would not be abolished.
- She characterized Lincoln's proclamations for days of humiliation and prayer as "insults to Jehovah."
- She taught a "reform dress" which made her followers a laughing-stock, and which she herself gave up after attempting to force it upon her church for eight years as a divine revelation and a religious duty.
- She wrote against the eating of both butter and eggs.
- She forbade the eating of meat, and said, "Can we possibly have confidence in ministers who, at tables where flesh is served, join with others in eating it?" (Lake Union Herald, Oct. 4, 1911), and yet secretly she herself ate meat more or less most of her life.
- She taught her followers that they should not apply their tithes as they saw fit, but applied her own and those of others as she chose.
- She denied having been influenced by letters or conversations in the writing of her testimonies, when the opposite was the fact.
- She based many of her rebukes on mere hearsay reports, and, contrary to the Scriptures, upon the testimony of only one witness.
- She claimed to have been divinely commissioned to reveal secret sins, but miserably failed in this. In numerous instances she rebuked the wrong man, and frequently accused individuals of doing things they had not done.
- She seriously erred in her vision regarding the planets and the number of their satellites.
- She plagiarized to such an extent that one of her books had to be suppressed altogether, and another had to be revised at an expense of $3,000.
- In 1905 she promised to explain her mistakes and blunders, and said that God would help her to do it; but in 1906 she said that God had told her not to attempt this.
- One of the worst features of her life and writings is that she was always making God responsible for her mistakes and failures.
- Her worst deception, as that of her followers, was to mistake her unfortunate affliction of epilepsy and epileptic fits as divine revelations and visions from God.
- Mrs. White not only claimed that her writings are the "testimony of Jesus" and the "spirit of prophecy" referred to in Rev. 12:17 and Rev. 19:10, but she firmly held that she and her followers are the 144,000 of Rev. 7:1-4 and Rev. 14:5, although their present adult membership is over 150,000.
The great characteristic of the 144,000 as described in the last named Scripture is that "in their mouth there was found no guile."
Guile is deception. No guile, therefore, means no deception. But, as pointed out in so many instances in this book, Mrs. White's claims to being an inspired prophet of God have been maintained very largely by deception, both on her own part and on the part of her defenders and supporters. Both she and they, therefore, fail to meet the very description and characteristic which Inspiration has seen fit to give of the 144,000.
No genuine gift of God, no true gift of the Spirit, has ever required guile - deception, deceit, fraud, or double-dealing - to defend and sustain it.
That she meant to be a Christian, and that her works contain many things good in themselves, need not be denied. Her motives we may safely leave with God. But her high claims are not defensible. They are disproved by too many patent and incontrovertible facts.