The Life of Ellen White by D.M. Canright

Chapter 8 - Damaging Writings Suppressed

We have shown in the chapter on the "shut door" that Mrs. White, with all other early Seventh-day Adventists, strongly taught that, from Oct. 22, 1844, until the same time in 1851, there was no salvation for sinners. A few months before this seven years ended, Elder White and his wife became convinced that this theory had to be given up. Therefore, at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in August, 1851, Elder White, with his wife, published Experience and Views, a little pamphlet of sixty-four pages. No reference by either of them is made in this to "A Word to the Little Flock," published by James White in 1847, nor to Present Truth, published in 1849 and 1850, although all but seven introductory pages of Experience and Views is copied word for word from these two publications. Why this studied silence regarding these two publications? Because both of these old works were full of the "shut door" theory. Hence it was necessary to have these quietly dropped out of sight and forgotten as soon as possible. This is the explanation of their having been kept out of sight ever since. They will never be seen by the younger generation of Seventh-day Adventists with the consent of the leaders who now know that they once existed. A knowledge of them would absolutely destroy the faith of intelligent and honest believers in Mrs. White, in any of her claims, and this would mean the destruction of the very heart and soul of the denominational life.

In 1882 the office at Battle Creek, Mich., published a small work entitled "Early Writings," by Mrs. White. In the preface the publishers say:

"A widespread interest has arisen in all her works, especially in these early views, and the call for the publication of a second edition has become imperative." "No portion of the work has been omitted. No shadow of change has been made in any idea or sentiment of the original work; and the verbal changes have been made under the author's own eye and with her full approval."

In the Advent Review of Dec. 26, 1882, is an article from the pen of Elder G.I. Butler, under the caption, "A Book Long Desired." In this article he calls the attention of his readers to the importance of purchasing the foregoing-mentioned book. From this article we make the following quotations:

"These were the very first of the published writings of Sister White. . . Many have greatly desired to have in their possession ALL she has written for publication. . . So strong was the interest to have these early writings reproduced that several years ago the General Conference recommended by vote that they be republished. The volume under consideration is the result of this interest. It meets a long felt want. . . There is another interesting feature connected with this matter. The enemies of this cause, who have spared no pains to break down the faith of our people in the testimonies of God's Spirit and the interest felt in the writings of Sister White, have made all the capital possible from the fact that her early writings were not attainable. They have said many things about our 'suppressing' these writings, as if we were ashamed of them. Some have striven to make it appear that there was something objectionable about them, that we feared would come to the light of day, and that we carefully kept them in the background. These lying insinuations have answered their purpose in deceiving some unwary souls. They now appear in their real character, by the publication of several thousand copies of this 'suppressed' book, which our enemies pretended we were very anxious to conceal. They have claimed to be very anxious to obtain these writings to show their supposed error. They now have the opportunity."

Immediately after Early Writings was published, Elder A.C. Long published a tract of sixteen pages entitled "Comparison of the Early Writings of Mrs. White with Later Publications." We here present a quotation from Mr. Long's tract:

"From the above quotations we gather the following points: First, hese 'Early Writings' of Mrs. White were published under her eye and with her full approval. Second, they contain ALL her early visions. Third, those who have claimed that certain portions of her early visions were 'suppressed' are lairs, since they are now all republished."

We now present the evidence to show that the foregoing quotation, in which Elder Butler says that the work he speaks of contains ALL of Mrs. White's "early writings" is absolutely untrue and deceptive. The earliest writings of Mrs. White were published by Elder White in 1847, in a small pamphlet of only twenty-four pages, entitled "A Word to the Little Flock." The work to which Elder Butler refers, as containing all of her early writings, published in 1882, claims to be an exact reprint of all her early visions. Now note carefully, that, commencing at the beginning of her first vision, as published in 1847, we read down thirty-three lines and discover that the late republished work agrees with the old on nearly word for word, only a few slight changes without altering the sense. But at the end of the thirty-third line we find that four lines have been omitted or "suppressed." These read as follows:

"It was just as impossible for them [those who gave up their faith in the 1844 movement] to get on the path again and go to the city, AS ALL THE WICKED WORLD WHICH GOD HAD REJECTED. They fell all along the path, one after another."

These lines are found on page 14 of the edition of 1847. They are not to be found in the later editions of the visions published in 1851 and in 1882. We have all three editions in our possession. Why were these few lines left out? Because at the 1847 date Mrs. White believed in the "shut door" theory, and claimed that by divine revelation God had shown her that "all the wicked world which God had rejected" was lost forever. In the autumn of 1851 and in 1882 she no longer believed that theory; hence these lines had to be omitted. Here God's professed prophetic messenger dared to tamper with an alleged divine revelation.

Now, reading on seventy-two lines farther in this vision, we discover twenty-two more lines to have been omitted. Here are a few of them:

"In a moment we were winging our way upwards; and, entering in, here we saw good old father Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Daniel and many like them."

[Editor's Note: To Mrs. White's credit, the context of this vision is after the resurrection of the righteous. Therefore, the presence of Abraham and other saints does not support Mr. Canright's contention that Ellen White believed in consciousness after death at this point in time. This is the only error our research has uncovered in this book.]

At that early date Mrs. White still believed in the conscious state of the dead; so she sees all these patriarchs in heaven. Later she discarded that idea for the theory that the dead are unconscious in the sleep of death. It therefore becomes plain why these lines were omitted. She had changed her views on the state of the dead, and therefore this "revelation" of God to her must go.

A little further on two lines are omitted; still farther on eight lines are left out; and nine lines yet farther on in the vision.

A vision which Mrs. White had at Camden, N.Y., June 29, 1851, is entirely missing from this volume which professes to include ALL of Mrs. White's early writings. Here is a quotations from this suppressed vision:

"Then I saw that Jesus prayed for his enemies; but that should not cause US or lead US to pray for THE WICKED WORLD, WHOM GOD HAD REJECTED. When he prayed for his enemies, there was hope for them, and they COULD BE BENEFITED AND SAVED BY HIS PRAYERS, and also after he was a mediator, in the outer apartment for the whole world; BUT NOW HIS SPIRIT AND SYMPATHY WERE WITHDRAWN FROM THE WORLD; AND OUR SYMPATHY MUST BE WITH JESUS, AND MUST BE WITHDRAWN FROM THE UNGODLY."

[Editor's Note: The White Estate claims Ellen White's itinerary shows she was not in Camden, N.Y. on June 29, 1851. They claim the authenticity of the Camden vision is doubtful. To Mr. Canright's credit, both J.N. Andrews and Uriah Smith attempted to defend the Camden vision as an authentic vision.]

The reason why this vision was suppressed is plain. It taught the shut-door doctrine in the plainest terms.

Why, then, should Elder Butler accuse those who had called the attention of a deluded people to the fact that some of Mrs. White's writings and visions had been suppressed, of making "lying insinuations" against her and her colaborers? Here are the facts. They have never been, nor can they be, successfully refuted.

It is clearly manifest why all these "inspired" statements and visions were suppressed. They taught the shut-door doctrine, and said that the Adventist people were not to "pray for the wicked world which God had rejected"; that their sympathy "must be withdrawn from the ungodly." After 1844 they were to have no sympathy for the ungodly, nor must the pray for them!

The most important work published by the Seventh-day Adventists during the years in which they believed and taught that probation had closed for sinners in 1844, was a paper called Present Truth. There were eleven numbers of this printed. They were issued from various places in the East, covering the period from July, 1849, to November, 1850.

In the number for August, 1849, pages 21 to 24, is a long vision by Mrs. White. This vision is reproduced in "Early Writings," edition 1882, pages 34 to 37, except eight lines from page 22, relating to reformations since 1844, which are omitted. These lines are as follows:

"But from bad to worse; for those who professed a change of heart had only wrapped about them a religious garb which covered up the iniquity of a wicked heart. Some appeared to have been fully converted, so as to deceive God's people; but if their hearts could be seen, they would appear as black as ever."

The reason why these lines were suppressed is plain. They teach in the strongest language possible that there were no real conversions after 1844. In 1882 they no longer believed this; so these lines had to be suppressed.

On pages 31 and 32 of Present Truth is another long vision by Mrs. White. This vision is quoted on pages 37 to 39 of Early Writings. Here, again, thirty-five lines are suppressed. The omission is so lengthy we quote only a part of it simply to show why the omission was made. In this she says the messengers sent out of God "would be safe from the prevailing pestilence. But if any went that were not sent of God, they would be in danger of being cut down by the pestilence. . . What we have seen and heard of the pestilence is but the beginning of what we shall see and hear. Soon the dead and dying will be all around us."

The pestilence here referred to was local, brief, and soon checked. No such thing happened as she predicted. She simply expressed the fears common to frighten persons at the time. That is all. The vision absolutely failed, and therefore these lines had to be suppressed!

Continuing on to page 64 of Present Truth, we there find another vision which has been entirely omitted from her "Early Writings." The motive for the omission will be apparent to all. A portion of the vision runs as follows:

"The excitements and false reformations of this day do not move us, for we know that the Master of the house rose up in 1844, and shut the door of the first apartment of the heavenly tabernacle; and now we certainly expect that they will go with their flocks to seek the Lord; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself (within the second veil) from them. The Lord has shown me that the power that is with them is a mere human influence and not the power of God."

Mrs. White here quotes Hos. 5:6,7 to prove that there were no genuine conversions after 1844. This, all their ministers did at this time, as has been seen already. She "saw" just what all the others saw.

Again, in Present Truth, November, 1850, pages 86 and 87, there are nearly three columns in fine print, recording another of Mrs. White's visions. Almost two whole columns of this vision are omitted from "Early Writings." (See pp. 63-65.)

All of the omitted passages here quoted or referred to are in the very first writings of Mrs. White.

Early Writings, published in 1882, claims to contain all the early writings of Mrs. White, with "NOT A WORD OMITTED." If this claim were true, all of the omitted passages here quoted and referred to would be included. But they are not. Why were they suppressed? The answer has already been given. What, then, shall we say of the publishers' statement? Is it not a deliberate misrepresentation of fact, made to hide some of Mrs. White's "inspired" erroneous teachings?

In Early Writings, edition of 1882, we read: "Preface to the FIRST edition. James White, August, 1851." Was the first edition that of 1851? No, indeed! The FIRST edition of her early writings was issued in 1847.

Then, again, in this 1882 edition, we read: "This SECOND edition," etc. This statement is also untrue, because that was the THIRD edition of her early writings. This was done by Elder and Mrs. White, to keep out of sight the dangerous first edition of 1847.

As this was all done with Mrs. White's approval, and as it was copyrighted by her, did she not know that these statements were not true? Surely she did. But Elder Butler was not aware of it. Up to 1882, the edition of 1851 was the only one of which he knew, and so, of course, he copied from that edition, word for word, just as he said.

As soon, however, as the edition of 1882 was published, Elder A.C. Long issued his pamphlet, giving all the passages omitted from the edition of 1847. Butler read this. Mrs. White also knew of it. Honesty in either, or both of them, required that an apology be made, and that the omitted passages immediately be printed as addenda to be sent with the remaining copies, or at least be printed in the next edition.

But what has occurred? Thirty-five years have gone by, eleven editions have been printed, thousands of copies are still being sold to the uninformed people, and yet no reference has been made to these known suppressed passages, nor has a line of any of them been inserted in later editions. Every copy sent out states what the publishers now know to be false. All this justifies our charge that there is a streak of deception in the whole work of Seventh-day Adventists, from first to last.

The Review and Herald, Aug. 17, 1916, says: "No religious body has ever come upon the stage of action but needed to carefully consider its rise and progress." The two very earliest publications of Seventh-day Adventists - namely, "A Word to the Little Flock," 1847, and Present Truth, 1849-1850 - are withheld by their leaders from their people. Why are they withheld? To suppress the false teachings of Mrs. White contained in them, which prove her writings uninspired. That is why.

In the providence of God the author happens to know the inside facts regarding the publication of "Early Writings" in 1882. For years he had been closely connected with Elder White and his wife, Elders Butler, Smith and others. At that time Butler was president of the General Conference, president of the Publishing Association, etc. One day in 1880 he came into the office where Elder Smith and myself were. In high glee he said: "Those Western rebels say we have suppressed some of Sister White's earliest visions. I will stop their mouths, for I am going to republish all she ever wrote in those early visions." Elder White leaned forward, dropped his voice low, and said: "Butler, you better go a little slow." That was all. I did not understand what his warning meant, nor did Butler.

Soon Elder White died - in August, 1881. Butler then went ahead, and in 1882 issued the present edition of "Early Writings." In the preface he said not a word of her early writings had been omitted. The book, he said, contained all she had written. Then, as already stated, came Elder Long's exposure of that untrue statement, in which he gave numerous passages from "A Word to the Little Flock," which had been suppressed. This put Butler in a bad light.

At that time Elder U. Smith and myself were on the most intimate terms. We both agreed in having little confidence in Mrs. White's inspiration. So it pleased Smith to have Butler pricked on that point, and have the visions put in doubt. Under date of March 22, 1883, Elder Smith, formerly a staunch defender of Mrs. White, wrote me thus:

"I was interested in your queries to Uncle George [Butler] on the omissions in 'Early Writings.' We have the Marion paper in exchange, and I noticed the article. Under the circumstances, I think it must have come down on him like an avalanche. . . I have no doubt the quotations are correct. I remember coming across the tract, 'A Word to the Little Flock,' when we were in Rochester, but I have not seen a copy since, and did not know but 'Experience and Views' [1851] contained the full text of the early visions. . . After the unjust treatment I have received [from Mrs. White] the past year, I feel no burden in that direction [that is, to defend the visions]."

Notice: Smith began work in the Review office at Rochester, N.Y., in 1855. There he saw a copy of "A Word to the Little Flock." In 1883 he had not seen one since; that is, in twenty-eight years. And this in face of the fact that he was in the Review office, their leading publishing-house, as editor-in-chief, all those years. The second edition of Mrs. White's "Early Writings" was published by Elder and Mrs. White in 1851. Smith supposed, as all others did, that this contained all she had written in 1847. But it did not.

If Elder Smith had not seen that book in twenty-eight years, what opportunity had Butler and others to see it? I was closely associated with that work for twenty-five years. I collected every book, pamphlet and tract they had ever published that could be found. I had the unbound works bound into volumes, and now have five of these, including the very earliest publications I could find. But I never saw a copy of "A Word to the Little Flock" or Present Truth, their very first publications, until later - did not know that either existed.

As shown in the chapter on "The Shut Door," Elder Bates led Elder White and his wife to believe that Jesus would end his work in the sanctuary above in seven years from Oct. 22, 1844. This period would end in 1851. Near the close of that period, it appears that Elder White and his wife saw that this theory must be abandoned. But what of their two early publications, both full of the doctrine? A study of the situation shows that they must have agreed to leave out of her writings all passages that strongly upheld that view, publish the rest of her writings under a new name, and drop their first two publications, "A Word to the Little Flock," and Present Truth, out of sight as soon as they could. A new paper was started with a new name, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. In August, 1851, two months before the end of the seven years, Mrs. White herself revised what she had before written in "A Word to the Little Flock" in 1847, and in Present Truth in 1849-50, and left out the objectionable passages and visions already mentioned.

Here are her own words about the affair: "Here I will give the view that was first published in 1846. In this view I saw only a very few of the events of the future. More recent views have been more full. I shall, therefore, LEAVE OUT A PORTION and prevent repetition" (Experience and Views, August, 1851, p. 9). This reveals who did the "leaving out." It was Mrs. White herself. Then Elder White attended to the printing, as shown in the preface. Both of them, therefore, knew about and agreed to the suppressions. Any reference to the edition of 1847, or Present Truth, published in 1849 and 1850, is studiously avoided.

How effectually those first two publications were dropped out of sight is proven by the fact that Elder Smith had not seen the first one in twenty-eight years, and had no copy of the second as late as 1868.

In that year (1868) Elder Smith wrote a book a 144 pages, in which he attempted to defend Mrs. White's visions. It is entitled: "The Visions of Mrs. E.G. White." Referring to these old publications, he says: "Is there any law compelling us to keep on hand an edition of every vision that has ever been published? We certainly wish that we had them, and could put them on sale at this office" (p. 123).

This shows that at that date they were not in the office, nor did the editor know where to get them. He says that they would gladly put them on sale if they had them. Well, for fifty years past they have had that opportunity, but have refused to publish and sell them. Elder Smith here also confesses that they had not republished all of Mrs. White's visions, as the law did not compel them to do it!! Here Smith and Butler flatly contradict each other.

Again, on page 125, referring to the suppressed passages, he says: "As we have not proof to the contrary, we will take it for granted, as the objector claims, that these statements were published in Present Truth, August, 1849." Here, again, he confesses that the Review office had no copy of that important first volume of their first paper ever published. This is significant. How carefully editors keep on file every number of their papers. Why was that most valuable first volume allowed to become so completely lost? Yes, why?

Those old documents of 1847 to 1850 ought to be invaluable to Seventh-day Adventists, because they contain a history of the earliest days of the church, the first writings of Mrs. White and all their pioneers. How eagerly their people would buy and read them if they had the opportunity! But their eyes will never behold them if it depends upon their leaders to supply them.

Recently Elder Butler reported that at one meeting he sold about fifty full sets, of nine volumes each, of Mrs. White's "Testimonies." They sell at about two dollars per volume, best binding - eighteen dollars per set to each family. This shows how readily her writings are purchased by her followers. Why are they not given an opportunity to purchase and read her very first writings just as they were written and published? The reason has already been stated. The leaders know that to reproduce them would place in the hands of their people matter which would at once discredit Mrs. White's claims to inspiration. They would discover that not only had she taught error, but that she claimed divine inspiration for it.

But so effectually have all these writings been suppressed, that only a few of their leading men even know of their existence. The body of their people are in absolute ignorance of them.

On Aug. 12, 1915, the author wrote to Elder F.M. Wilcox, editor of the Review and Herald, their leading denominational paper, urging him to republish these old works, offering to loan him copies for the purpose. Here is his answer:

"Washington, D.C., Aug. 17, 1915.

"Mr. D.M. Canright, Grand Rapids, Mich.

"Dear Brother: I desire to acknowledge receipt of your letter of August 12. Most of our brethren are away attending camp-meeting. It will be two or three weeks before they will be in. As soon as we can have a meeting of our board I will call up your letter and will write you further about the matter.

Yours sincerely,

(signed) Francis M. Wilcox."

I have never heard from him since. Evidently the board decided that the wise course was to permit these old documents to rest in silence. I knew very well that they would dare do nothing else.

After waiting several months, I wrote to Elder Wilcox again, but have never received a reply. Evidently the officials decided to consign these early publications to "outer darkness," so far as Seventh-day Adventists are concerned. Their refusal to bring these early writings to the light is the best evidence that they fear them. The chapter on "The Shut Door," in this work, explains why.

A Deliberate Deception

Elder J.N. Loughborough, in his book, "The Great Second Advent Movement," page 263, edition 1905, desired to give Elder Joseph Bates' testimony concerning Mrs. White's work, as given on page 21 of "A Word to the Little Flock," printed in 1847. The following illustrates the manner in which he uses the material from this early publication. He quotes:

"I believe the work [of Mrs. White] is of God, and is given to comfort and strengthen his scattered, torn and peeled people, since the closing up of our work. . . in October, 1844."

Note those three little dots? They mean that something was left out of the passage quoted. What was it? Just THREE SHORT WORDS. We will insert those words omitted from the lines quoted and indicate them [in uppercase letters]. Here they are:

"since the closing up of our work FOR THE WORLD in October, 1844." These three words reveal the fact that Bates and Elder White, who published the tract in 1847, believed that their work for the world closed up in October, 1844.

Elder Loughborough wished to use these lines and yet hide this fact regarding the belief of these early leaders. To accomplish it he omitted - suppressed - just three words, and placed three dots in their place in his quotation! He did not do this to save space in a large work of six hundred pages. He did it to hide, conceal and suppress a doctrine which he well knew Bates and Elder and Mrs. White all believed and taught in 1847. It is a deliberate deception, too plain to be denied. It shows how willing he was to falsify in order to shield Mrs. White and the pioneers in this movement who adhered to her and proclaimed her a prophet.

Here is another case in which the same writer, Elder Loughborough, deliberately suppressed several lines from Mrs. White's first vision, published in 1847. Again, he did it to shield her, and to hide the fact that she then taught that probation for the world ended in 1844. We will give this quotation, found on page 204 in his work, and enclose [in uppercase letters] the lines he left out. Concerning those Adventists who became backsliders after 1844, Loughborough quotes Mrs. White as writing thus: They "fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below. IT WAS JUST AS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO GET ON THE PATH AGAIN AND GO TO THE CITY AS ALL THE WICKED WORLD WHICH GOD HAD REJECTED. Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters," etc.

Was it honest to suppress these lines? Most certainly not. Following in the footsteps of Elder Loughborough, Elder G.I. Butler, writing in the Review and Herald, Aug. 17, 1916, suppressed the same passage. He gave the same quotation, suppressed the same lines, and for the same purpose. Butler knew that he was deceiving, for only a few years previously he had this very matter laid before him. He well knew the entire passage as it appeared in Mrs. White's early vision.

In view of all the exposures that had been made of these suppressions, how could he plead ignorance? How much reliance can be placed upon the statements of Mrs. White and these men when they undertake to defend the past history of Seventh-day Adventism? Absolutely none at all. We are personally well acquainted with both of these men just mentioned. In ordinary business matters we would consider them perfectly truthful and absolutely reliable. We would trust either of them with any amount of money simply on their word of honor. But they furnish a sad example of a not uncommon experience; namely, that sometimes men, reliable in everything else, will quibble, dodge and often squarely deny the plainest facts of their history in order to save a cause that has become dear to them. Mrs. White's numerous deceptions come under the same head.

Do Baptists, Methodists, Disciples, or any other evangelical church, have to practice such methods to cover up past mistakes? Not one of them. All are proud of their past. But Seventh-day Adventists are ashamed of theirs, and well they may be.

In attempting to defend Mrs. White's visions as divine revelations, and in permitting her and her writings to occupy so prominent a place in their work, they have simply invited difficulties from which it is impossible for them to extricate themselves without exposing her mistakes and the falsity of her claims. In order to cover up her mistakes, they stultify themselves and harden their own consciences. They become practical Jesuits.

Still At It

In the General Conference vault in the office at their headquarters at Washington, D.C., are many thousands of pages of Mrs. White's unpublished writing. These are carefully guarded from their own people. It is claimed, however, that every line of these writings was inspired by the Holy Ghost to guide that people now. Yet they are withheld from them by the officials. Why do they do this? What right have they to withhold all these writings if they are God's inspired words?

Recently some of their workers in their printing-office were given access to this vault. They discovered these hidden writings, copied hundreds of pages of them. When the officials learned of this, they demanded that the copies that had been made be given up, with the threat that these brethren would lose their jobs if they refused. Three of them yielded; but two - Claude E. Holmes and Frank Hayes - refused to do so. Holmes, an expert linotypist, was promptly dismissed from the office, and Hayes, an electrical engineer, is threatened with the same thing if he does not yield.

This illustrates how the officials still manipulate and suppress Mrs. White's "inspired" writings to suit their purpose. And still they make faith in the inspiration of these writings a test of fellowship in the church!

Lastly, what prophet of God ever suppressed his own inspired writings? This one test alone is sufficient to disprove Mrs. White's claims to divine inspiration.

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