The White Lie!
By Walter T. Rea

Chapter 12: Life Has Its Incidents

The incredible story of how the Great Controversy was copied by White from others, and then she claimed it to be inspired!

Experience teaches that truth needs redefining every generation or two. This is not to say that truth changes, but that our perceptions change if our minds are active and growing. Historians know this. Politicians understand it. Economists work on the same assumption. And many common­sense people learn it.

Only administrators in theological systems find this principle hard to accept. The more conservative the religious body and the people who subscribe to the creed, the more difficult it is to make the mental adjustment that is necessary. In the extreme, if the theological administrators and their people have accepted the delusion that their truth, their God, their prophet, or their saint are all equal, or are one and the same, it is next to impossible to effect any change toward advancing enlightenment.

Again, the four techniques essential to the white-lie brand of super salesmanship are:

(a) to play up anything unusual or mysterious about the one to be venerated, so that he or she becomes seen as at a supernatural level;
(b) to exalt the acts and utterances to the virtuous and miraculous level, thus reinforcing the idea of the supernatural connection;
(c) to deny access to information and records of the events and facts of the past; and
(d) to buy time so as to get as far as possible from the point of living knowledge of the beginnings of the legend.
All four of these methods have been used by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and are still being used, in the matter of Ellen White and what has been published under her name.


Incredible as it may seem to an impartial onlooker, the White Estate would have us believe that anything Ellen wrote to whomever on whatever, anything she supervised from whomever on whatever, anything she copied from whomever on whatever, anything offered for sale under her name-even thoughts, words, or inclinations suggested (or written) by her followers-must bear, and do bear, the stamp of God's divine approval. No writer in sacred antiquity ever claimed as much, and no Canon writer ever had to live up to such billing.


Wild horses, we are told, stood still at her command. A heavy Bible was sustained in the air at her arm's length for long periods of time. By her direction, water came into wells that otherwise would have been dry. In her dreams, buildings appeared that never had been and would never become. Letters came in the nick of time for some important or crucial event, despite the known problems of the postal system. Often members that she prayed for arose from their sickbeds--although she herself never really got well and complained of sickness and fainting spells well into her middle age. Neither do we hear great mention made of the deaths of two of her children while still young. Despite her prayers and concern, her husband lived only to his early sixties. Nevertheless, Ellen White's acts and utterances have been impressed on the students of the comprehensive Adventist educational system as certainly some cut above anyone else's--even though she freely copied from those "anyone else's."


Few, if any, who have dealt with the White Estate--the official keeper of the keys of everything that belonged to or is known about Ellen--have ever come away willing to swear that they were allowed access to all materials at all times without direction and/or supervision and oath-taking. Managed news is a part of all church institutions, of course. Adventists are experts at giving out to the church public and the secular public alike only those items that put their best foot forward. As an editor at the Los Angeles Times put it, "Adventists would function better in a country that does not have freedom of the press." Even those who do have some success in obtaining limited access to material must sign a pledge--in exchange for the privilege of seeing what others are not privy to--that they will not copy "sensitive" material or release it to others.

Perhaps all this is understandable. The White Estate cannot release all the material concerning Ellen White's life and writings and yet maintain the white lie. There is no way that the facts will square with the myths. If (as was stated in the January 1980 Glendale meeting) every paragraph in The Great Controversy were to be footnoted to show source material, then every paragraph would have to be footnoted--what would happen to the legend of Ellen and the church members at large who have believed the legend all these years?

What if each of the other four books--Patriarchs and Prophets, Prophets and Kings, The Acts of the Apostles, and The Desire of Ages (of the big five)--were also to be included in that indictment? It is fairly certain that no unbiased, detailed, comprehensive studies of these books can or will be endorsed by the White Estate, no matter by whom or when the studies might be done. Whatever findings might be reported by any independent researcher, the Estate position seems certain to continue to be:

(a) that they have known it all along and
(b) that it does not make any difference, because God had a hand in it anyway and because Ellen was inspired to do whatever she did at his express command.


Buying time is perhaps one of the happiest helpers of the white lie. If only some patience can be exercised by the lay members, to give the supersalesmen the opportunity to buy time, with age the white lie can, and often does, become a reality. After all, myths and legends are not instant creations. Time just covers up the facts. Because the facts of Ellen and her writings were never accurately portrayed to the church and the world, time has helped to cover that deception. Those who tried at various periods to help their church come to terms with the truth would be driven from "The Clan," or would shake the dust from their feet and depart. Thus the white lie has grown until it has become a matter of faith; fact has long since been lost sight of. The advice of one onlooker is to the point:

Let it be.... Don't appeal your dismissal as pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. .. By all means continue your research, but do it in the halls of academia. Don't use as your instrument of destruction the church on which the majority of the members rely for continuance of their faith. The dictionary defines faith as "belief without evidence," and most of the church members are willing to accept it as such. What a pity that most religious institutions cannot also accept this definition and feel they must insist their dogma is the true dogma and based on true evidence! The inherent capacity to separate faith and true knowledge so they won't interfere with each other is a knack that some people have that others lack. It has little to do with intelligence, and we see those with low IQ's who are atheists and some of our best brains as devout Catholics.... Religious faith is usually harmless to society as a whole if kept contained within the religious frame, and it can be beneficial to many at a personal level. But the ability to compartmentalize the mind is always a danger, and it is not restricted to religious areas. 2

Those who must believe the unbelievable, who must claim to see the unseeable, and who must spend their lives clutching at the unobtainable will always try to give their "vision" of the unreal to others by applying authority and force. One of the divines expresses it well:

Recently many rumors have been coming to me as well as to your fellow elders.... If my memory serves me well, I do not believe you have attended any of my eleven o'clock services since September during which time I have addressed myself to all the controversial subjects that appear to be surfacing in our denomination. The most dangerous result I see from the many divergent discussions in the church today, has to do with what I call the "Cheap Gospel" . . . We must trust in the finished work of Christ; but of equal importance we must, with Christ's help, be ready to obey. This means being willing to give up on ourselves and submit to the authority of Christ's body--the Church. I know this is difficult to do when you are doing so well with your practice and financial investments. 3
Clearly this supersalesmam of the system would like to share a member's success and financial investments and would like to restrict the obvious freedom of spirit of that member--in short, to control him.

Such attitudes are not limited to those who believe in a system of salvation by works. The product of such a system is religious supersalesmen who believe that their conscience should by the guide for the communicants, and they seek this godless control in the name of God. When it is clearly understood that what supersalesmen of the psychic are selling is really their own value system, or their own vision of what others ought or ought not to do, then, and only then, will some of the white lies be harder to sell.

Meanwhile, until the supersalesmen are unmasked, perhaps the best advice on how to deal with them and their "truth" was given by Robert J. Ringer:

Ignore all neurotic remarks and actions of normal people and all remarks and actions of neurotic people. In cases where a neurotic person persists, notwithstanding your lack of attention, take swift and positive action to eliminate him from your life altogether.

You have no obligation to deal with irrational people...

Talking, arguing and/or begging don't work with irrational people. Attempting to persuade them through logical argument will only wear you out. Dealing with an irrational person is a can't win situation. If he's adept at mind games, you often will find yourself boxed into being "damned if you do and damned if you don't." Always go out of your way to avoid can't win situations. When someone surrounds you on all sides with irrational points, don't stand for it. Exit through the top, if necessary, but get out. When every side you turn to leads to trouble, you're in a can't-win situation. 4

In the matter of Ellen White's super salesmanship (in relation to both the church and the public), it is becoming evident that she too wanted to encourage, if not demand, that others accept her value structure and lifestyle. In order to obtain this end, she came to believe and to teach others that what she said and wrote was necessary to do, because God wanted it that way. Others around her who shared those views (and indeed even gave her some of them) were willing to let the faithful believe that what she said and wrote were directly the ideas and ways given her by God. This stance gave her every utterance the authority it needed in order to be believed--despite mounting evidence (and the witness of some others) to the contrary. Those who lived by faith, and likewise by evidence to support that faith, began to discover that the white lie was inconsistent with the evidence. And when they made known that discover for their honest pains they were expelled and discredited by character assassination.

For those who have the courage to place evidence and faith side by side and see if they are in harmony, the following items may provide exercise to thoughtful examination of some of the white lies that have been used to maintain the legend of Ellen and her writings as mostly God-given, God-directed, and God-inspired.

Slow evolution regarding Ellen's reading skills:

A. Secular news media, reporting the Adventist reply to criticism, quote information that 3.5 million members have accepted the 25 million words of Ellen's pen as inspired.5 Many a clergyman would be reluctant to take an oath that his church membership list represents precise accuracy. The statement that Ellen has written 25 million words is inaccurate. How were these figures arrived at? Are they the figment of someone's imagination? Do they, in fact, include all the copied material (not her words) and all the paragraphs and uncounted pages identically duplicated in the several subject matter compilations?

B. Every Adventist has read or heard that Ellen was a poor reader, in part because she had finished only three grades of education. This is made possible a claim to divine leading of a person in literary ignorance.6 Later, these limitations were used to create untruths. Education never need be formal in order for persons to be creative and educated.

C. Later, under pressure, it was discovered that Ellen could read, but that she read very little, the least of that reading being in theology.7 This same argument was used to prove that she was not influenced by others as she lived and wrote.8

D. The progression of this theme was that Ellen could read but that she didn't read in theological matters--until it was discovered that she had.9 Spectrum readers now know that she was reading widely all the time and was using the published works of other religious writers and those writing in other areas.10

E. Although at one time it was argued that God helped Ellen to improve her skills (and her beautiful language was the result of that divine help), new evidence indicates that the improvement was the result of improved help from well informed staff members and associates, and better selection of authors.11

F. Now that proof is available that Ellen did read, read well, and read widely, and that she had some of that reading matter in front of her when she wrote, the new line is that she had a photographic memory.12 "We are not denying Rev. Rea's evidence," said Robert Olson, secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate in Washington, D.C. "I'm satisfied she had some works before her as she wrote. However," Olson added, "the church believes that White possessed a photographic memory and unconsciously used the words of other writers."13 Olson does not specify who is "the church" that may believe as he seems to believe.

G. The idea that Ellen did not know what she was doing when she failed to credit authors she read--but stopped when told what she was doing--has been dealt with in earlier chapters. A casual review of authors used by her would show that they gave credit, but that she never gave credit, even when paraphrasing what they were often quoting

H. Perhaps one of the hardest charges to meet and refute is that Ellen wrote what she had seen first in vision, and that she used the words, thoughts, and arrangement of others only because they said what she wanted to say and did not have the ability to say. This argument, while admitting that she did copy, whenever and wherever necessary according to her desires, in fact contradicts most of the arguments that have gone before. It does run into difficulty, however, when one comes to the book Life Incidents.

Plagiarism of the Great Controversy

One of the unwritten stories in Adventist history is the influence that James White had in forming the ideas and sentences that came out under Ellen's name and pen. Although not noted as a literary writer or as a theologian, James did produce four published books. Two of these were Life Incidents in Connection with the Great Advent Movement, as Illustrated by the Three Angels of Revelation XIV, published in 1868, and in 1875 Sketches of the Christian Life and Public Labors of William Miller: Gathered from his Memoirs by the Late Sylvester Bliss, and from Other Sources. Both books were almost totally copied from others. The one on William Miller was taken from Sylvester Bliss (who in 1853 had written Memoirs of William Miller). The theology of Life Incidents was copied substantially from Uriah Smith and J. N. Andrews.14 Neither of these books was ever printed again under the name of James White as far as is known.

But they were indeed reprinted under another name, that of Ellen G. White, his wife, a few years after his death in 1881--but under the title The Great Controversy (1884). And this production was sold to the believers and the world as the work of Ellen and the angels. Although it had been doctored and padded with other material in the usual manner, clearly it was material that had been published earlier under the name of James. What the people were not told was that the heart of this new revelation had been printed sixteen years before, and that the theme and thesis had been copied over literally and liberally into Ellen's new Great Controversy.

One reason is now clear why much of the information in the 1884 edition of The Great Controversy could not have been included in the earlier works of Ellen on the same subject (Spiritual Gifts, published 1858-64). James had not yet gotten around to copying it from J. N Andrews; so it was not available to Ellen at the time. The 1888 and 1911 editions of The Great Controversy went back to James White's compilation of doctrines and events and picked up even more of his findings and ideas. But never once was it suggested that the heart of Adventist doctrine--such as the three angels' worldwide message that the church had applied exclusively to the Adventists, the shut door that left everyone else out in the cold, the 2300 days, the seventy weeks, the sanctuary doctrine, the United States in prophecy, the "mark of the beast," the image to that beast--had all come out earlier in James White's Life Incidents.

So striking was the copying done under the name of Ellen--and so sensitive is the information that the heart of Adventist theology and eschatology came, not from the visions of or revelations to Ellen, but from the pen of James sixteen years before Ellen wrote them out--that time should be spent examining the evidence in Life Incidents.

Here it should be recalled that the four small volumes of Ellen's Spiritual Gifts (1858-64) were amplified to the four volumes of Ellen's The Spirit of Prophecy (1870-84) and then expanded to Ellen's The Great Controversy (1888) of the five-volume Conflict of the Ages Series. Inasmuch as the earlier eight volumes are now again available in facsimile editions, anyone can examine all the books and note the progressive copy work through the years. Meanwhile, during those same years, the legend grew and grew and was "sold" and accepted that God had given Ellen exclusive and firsthand knowledge of his plans for the future events of the church and the world.

Comparison shows that words, sentences, quotations, thoughts, ideas, structures, paragraphs, and even total pages were taken from James White's book to Ellen's book under a new title--with no blush of shame, no mention of her husband, no thanks to Uriah Smith and J. N. Andrews, for the hard work and theological insights of anyone.

Unfortunately for James, he did not have the personal advantage of angels checking in and out on schedule with the firsthand information Ellen purported to have. Without any intermediary, he had to get his material from human sources. But he was equal to the task. Much of his material in Life Incidents was taken primarily from J. N. Andrews, whose book published in 1860, interestingly enough, was entitled The Three Messages of Revelation XIV, 6-12, and particularly The Third Angel's Message and The Two-Horned Beast. James, unlike his wife Ellen, did not even bother to paraphrase--he just took the material from Andrews wholesale into his work.

Nothing has been released from the White Estate as to how Andrews or Uriah Smith felt about all this "taking" in the name of God. Perhaps the fact that they were brothers-in-law, both assisting in the editorial work of the Review, both personal friends of the Whites--and thus able to sit around the same table to finalize their views--might have softened the pain of Ellen's copy work. One might be tempted to think that Ellen set the pattern and James may not have given much thought to doing the same thing. Of course, there was in fact no excuse for anyone not to give thought--especially in view of the statement published in an 1864 issue of the Review under the heading "Plagiarism":

This is a word that is used to signify "literary theft," or taking the productions or another and passing them off as one's own.... We are perfectly willing that pieces from the Review, or any of our books should be published to any extent, and all we ask is, that simple justice be done us, by due credit being given.15
Examination reveals that the 1860 book of J. N. Andrews was an exact replay of his own 1851-55 articles in the Review. Thus James and Ellen had available for their perusal and use after 1855 the content and form of Andrew's work for incorporation in their own work: Spiritual Gifts (1858-64); Life Incidents (1868); The Spirit of Prophecy (1870-84); Sketches of. . . William Miller (1875); The Great Controversy (1888).

This information may or may not disturb those who now say that the group of pioneers sat around the table and worked out in conjunction with Ellen their ideas and theology. But it does indeed disturb those who were taught that such ideas and theology originated with greater authority and mystique than the common ideas of human endeavor seem to command.

Appendix Chapter 8 Exhibit

The Great Controversy E. G. White 1884 (1911 ed.) Night Scenes in the Bible Daniel March 1868-1870
[631] Celestial beings have taken an active part in the affairs of men. They have appeared clothed in garments that shone as the lightning; they have come as men in the garb of wayfarers. Angels have appeared in human form to men of God. They have rested, as if weary, under the oaks at noon. They have accepted the hospitalities of human homes. They have acted as guides to benighted travelers. They nave, with their own hands, kindled the fires at the altar. They have opened prison doors and set free the servants of the Lord. Clothed with the panoply of heaven, they came to roll away the stone from the Saviour’s tomb.

In the form of men, angels are often in the assemblies of the righteous. ...

[453]  These high and mighty ones

...have borne an active part both in the common and in the great events of this world. ... They have taken the form of men, and shown themselves to human eyes, and spoken aloud in the languages of earth...  

And these celestial visitants have come from their far distant homes to take part in the affairs of men. ...


[454]  They have rested under the shadow of oaks at noon as if weary...they have received hospitality in human homes at evening... they have guided and protected travelers on their way...they have rolled away the stone from the tomb...they have kindled the fire of the altar...they have clothed themselves in garments that shone like the lightning, and they have appeared in so common a garb as to be taken for wayfaring men.

[632] In the council hall and the court of justice these heavenly messengers nave shown an intimate acquaintance with human history; they have proved themselves better able to plead the cause of the oppressed than were their ablest and most eloquent defenders. They have defeated purposes and arrested evils that would have greatly retarded the work of God. [452]  There are more listeners in the public assembly than can be seen by the speaker’s eye. ...


[453]  They have shown themselves better acquainted with the human history and better able to do our work than we ourselves. They have defeated great armies.

The Great Controversy (cont'd.) Walks and Homes of Jesus Daniel March 1856
[651] With our finite comprehension we may consider most earnestly the shame and the glory, the life and the death, the justice and the mercy, that meet in the cross. [318] We must consider more earnestly the shame and the glory, the life and the death, the justice and the mercy that so meet and harmonize in the cross.
[651] The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. [323] This is the revelation of the cross...the Maker of all worlds and the absolute Arbiter of all destinies.
[651] As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and behold the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance. ... [322] But when we see the glory of the eternal Father shining in the face of divine and co-eternal Son. ...
[651] As they behold His throne, which is from everlasting to everlasting, and know that His kingdom is to have no end. ... [319] This is he whose throne is from everlasting, and whose kingdom shall have no end.
[652] The mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries. [326] This great mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries.
[652] The attributes of God which had filled us with fear and awe appear beautiful and attractive. [324] The throne that was high and terrible to us in our unbelief, becomes beautiful and wondrously attractive.
[652] Mercy, tenderness, and parental love are seen to blend with holiness, justice, and power. [324] When we study the divine character in the light of the cross, we see mercy, tenderness and forgiveness blending harmoniously with the awful attributes of holiness, justice and power.
[652] We see His character in its gracious manifestations, and comprehend, as never before, the significance of that endearing title, “Our Father.” [327] We would see the character of God in its most complete and gracious manifestation; if we would find out the meaning of that great and precious name, Our Father.
[652] The compensation for this sacrifice is the joy of peopling the earth with ransomed beings, holy, happy, and immortal. The result of the Saviour’s conflict with the powers of darkness is joy to the redeemed, rebounding to the glory of God throughout eternity. And such is the value of the soul that the Father is satisfied with the price paid; and Christ Himself, beholding the fruits of His great sacrifice, is satisfied. [328]  We must look to the cross to learn the worth of the human soul, the true value and greatness of man.


[329]  This...sacrifice...could be offered only for the redemption of a soul that was infinitely precious. This great ransom could be paid only for deliverance. ... The Redeemer himself could not be satisfied with the travail of his soul in suffering for sinners, unless the fruits of his conflict...should be glory and joy forever and ever. ...

Such is the value of one human soul, that the almighty Father is satisfied with the infinite price which he pays for our salvation in the death of his own Son. ... And we may be sure that infinite love itself would not have submitted to such a sacrifice...had it not fill the universe of holy beings with gratitude and praise.

The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4 Ellen G. White 1884 The Sanctuary Uriah Smith 1877
[265] On the day of atonement the high priest, having taken an offering from the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood of this general offering, and sprinkled it upon the mercy-seat, directly over the law, to make satisfaction for its claims. Then, in his character of mediator, he took the sins upon himself, and bore them from the sanctuary. Placing his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, he confessed over him all these sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and they were regarded as forever separated from the people. [212] On the day of atonement, the priest, taking an offering from the people, appeared with the blood of this general offering for the people, and sprinkled it upon the mercy-seat directly over the law, to make full satisfaction for its claims. ... Then the high priest, if we may so express it, gathered the sins all upon himself and bore them from the sanctuary. Placing his hands upon the head of the scape-goat, he confessed over him all these sins, thus transferring them from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and with him they perished.
{[265] Such was the service per-formed “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” And what was done in type in the ministration of the earthly, is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly. [213] This was performed, says Paul, unto the example and shadow of heavenly things. From this service, we are therefore, to reason concerning the ministration and cleansing of the sanctuary in Heaven.
[260] God placed his Spirit upon the builders of the early sanctuary. The artistic skill displayed in its construction was a manifestation of divine wisdom. The walls had the appearance of massive gold, reflecting in every direction the light of the seven lamps of the golden candlestick. The table of snow-bread and the altar of incense glittered like burnished gold. The gorgeous curtain, which formed the ceiling, inwrought with figures of angels in blue and purple and scarlet, added to the beauty of the scene. And beyond the second vail was the holy shekinah, the visible manifestation of God’s glory, before which none but the high priest could enter and live. [127] For the construction of all this wonderful work God called certain ones, and qualified them by putting his Spirit upon them. The sanctuary was not therefore merely the work of men; it was the inspiration of Heaven manifested in works of art. ...

There were its walls, having all the appearance of massive and solid gold, and reflecting in a thousand directions the light of the seven lamps of the golden candlestick; there were the table of show-bread and the altar of incense, glittering in its light like burnished gold; and there was the curtain that formed the gorgeous ceiling, with its mystic figures of cherubim in blue, and purple, and scarlet, adding its beauty to the brilliant scene. While in, beyond the second vail, was the glorious shekinah, or visible manifestation of God’s glory, into the awful presence of which, except the high priest’s entrance once every year, no man could venture and live.

[263] To obtain a further knowledge of the cleansing to which the prophecy points, it was necessary to understand the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary. This could be learned only from the ministration of earthly sanctuary; for Paul says that the priests who here the earthly sanctuary; for Paul declares that the priests who officiated there served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” [202] To learn this, we must acquire an understanding of the ministration of that heavenly sanctuary; but we can learn of this only from the ministration of the earthly sanctuary; for Paul says that the priests who here ministered, served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.”
The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4 (cont’d.) Sketches of the Christian Life and and Public Labors of William Miller James White 1875
[204] He now publicly professed his faith in the religion which he had despised. But his infidel associates were not slow to bring forward all those arguments which he himself had often urged against the divine authority of the Scriptures. ... He reasoned, that if the Bible is a revelation from God, it must be consistent with itself; and that as it was given for man’s instruction, it must be adapted to his understanding. ... [13] His biographer says:—


[44] ‘‘Mr. Miller immediately erected the family altar; publicly professed his faith in that religion which had been food for his mirth. ...

[45] “They were not disposed to yield the ground without a struggle, and began their attack on him by using the weapons and assailing the points which characterized his own former attacks on Christianity...

[46] “His Christian friends, also, turned his former taunts upon him-self...

[46] “He considered that if the Bible is a revelation of God, it must be consistent with itself; all its parts must harmonize, must have been given for man’s instruction, and, consequently, must be adapted to his understanding. ...

[204] Endeavoring to lay aside all preconceived opinions, and dispensing with commentaries, he compared scripture with scripture by the aid of the marginal references and the concordance. He pursued his study in a regular and methodical manner; beginning with Genesis, and reading verse by verse, he proceeded no faster than the meaning of the several passages so unfolded as to leave him free from all embarrassment. When he found anything obscure, it was his custom to compare it with every other text which seemed to have any reference to the matter under consideration. Every word was permitted to have its proper bearing upon the subject of the test, and if his view of it harmonized with every collateral passage, it ceased to be a difficulty. Thus whenever he met with a passage hard to be understood, he found an explanation in some other portion of the Scriptures. [46]    “He laid aside all commentaries, and used the marginal references and his concordance as his only helps. ... [47] He resolved to lay aside all preconceived opinions. ...


[47]    ‘“I thoroughly compare scripture with scripture, and to pursue its study in a regular and methodical manner. I commenced with Genesis, and read verse by verse, proceeding no faster than the meaning of the several passages should be so unfolded as to leave me free from embarrassment. — Whenever I found anything obscure my practice was to compare it with all collateral passages. ... Then...if my view of it harmonized with every collateral passage in the Bible, it ceased to be a difficulty. ...

[205]  After two years of careful investigation, he was fully satisfied, that the Bible is its own interpreter; that it is a system of revealed truths so clearly and simply given that the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. [48]    ‘“In this way I pursued the my first perusal of it, for about two years — I was thus satisfied that the Bible is a system of revealed truths, so clearly and simply given that the “wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein.”
[206]  Deeply impressed by these momentous truths, ne felt that it was his duty to give the warning to the world. He expected to encounter opposition from the ungodly, but was confident that all Christians would rejoice in the hope of meeting the Saviour whom they professed to love. His only fear was, that in their great joy at the prospect of glorious deliverance, so soon to be consummated, many would receive the doctrine without sufficiently examining the Scriptures. [65] “‘With the solemn conviction...the question came home to me with mighty power regarding my duty to the world. ... I supposed that it would call forth the opposition of the ungodly; but it never came into my mind that any Christian would oppose it. I supposed that all such would be so rejoiced, in view of the glorious prospect. ... My great fear was that in their joy at the hope of a glorious inheritance so soon to be revealed they would receive the doctrine without sufficiently examining the Scriptures in demonstration of its truth. ...
[207]  He began to present his views in private as he had opportunity, praying that some minister might feel their force and devote himself to their promulgation. But he could not banish the conviction that he had a personal duty to perform in giving the warning. The words were ever recurring to his mind, “Go and tell it to the world; their blood will I require at thy hand.” For nine years he waited, the burden still pressing upon his soul, until in 1831 he for the first time publicly gave the reasons of his faith. [68] “‘I then began to speak more clearly my opinions to my neighbors, to ministers, and others. ... I was, therefore, disappointed in finding any who would declare this doctrine. ... ‘ “


[72] “‘When I was about my business, it was continually ringing in my ears, Go and tell the world of their danger. This text was constantly occurring to me; “...but his blood will I require at thy hand.” ... “’I prayed that some minister might see the truth, and devote himself to its promulgation; but still it was impressed upon me, Go. ...’”



[79] “The public labors of Mr. Miller ... date from the autumn of 1831.”

The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4 (cont’d.) History of the Waldenses James Aitken Wylie
[75]    Some of them were sent to complete their education in the great cities, where they could have a wider range for thought and observation than in their secluded homes. [20] It was not uncommon for the Waldensian proceed to the seminaries in the great cities. ... There they saw other customs...and had a wider horizon around them than in the seclusion of their native valleys.
[76]    It was a law among them that all who entered the ministry should, before taking charge of a church at home, serve three years in the missionary field. ... The missionaries began their labors in the plains and valleys at the foot of their own mountains, going forth two and two.


[76] To make known the nature of their mission would have insured its defeat; therefore they concealed their real character under the guise of some secular profession, most commonly that of merchants and peddlers. They offered for sale silks, jewelry, and other valuable articles, and were received as merchants where they would have been repulsed as missionaries. ...

[20] It was an old law among them that all who took orders in their church should, before being eligible to a home charge, serve three years in the mission field. ...


[22]    Their mission field was the realms that lay outspread at the foot of their own mountains. They went forth two and two, concealing their real character under the guise of a secular profession, most commonly that of merchants or peddlers. They carried silks, jewelry, and other articles...not easily purchasable...and they were welcomed as merchants where they would have been spurned as missionaries. ...

[76] They carried about with them portions of the Holy Scriptures concealed in their clothing or merchandise, and whenever they could do so with safety, they called the attention of the inmates of the dwelling to these manuscripts. When they saw that an interest was awakened, they left some portion with them as a gift. ... [22] They took care to carry with them, concealed among their wares or about their persons, portions of the Word of God...and to this they would draw the attention of the inmates. When they saw a desire to possess it, they would freely make a gift of it. ...
[77]    With naked feet and in coarse garments, these missionaries passed through great cities, and traversed provinces far removed from their native valleys. ... Veiled and silent, the word of God was making its way through Christendom. [23]    Their naked feet and coarse woolen garments made them somewhat marked figures in the streets of a city. ...

Thus did the Bible in those ages, veiling its majesty and its mission, travel silently through Christendom.

[82] Again and again were their fertile lands laid waste, their dwellings and chapels swept away, so that where once were flourishing fields and the homes of an innocent, industrious people, there remained only a Desert. ... Many of these witnesses for a pure faith were pursued across the mountains, and hunted down in the valleys where they were hidden, shut in by mighty forests, and pinnacles of rock. [26] Soon the fertility and the beauty of the region were swept away...and the plains...were converted into a desert. ...

[It was resolved] to pursue these confessors...across the mountains, and attack them in those grand valleys...where they lay intrenched, as it were, amid dense chestnut forests and mighty pinnacles of rock.

[83] When Rome at one time determined to exterminate the hated sect, a bull was issued by the pope condemning them as heretics, and delivering them to slaughter. They were not accused as idlers, or dishonest, or disorderly; but it was declared that they had an appearance of piety and sanctity that seduced “the sheep of the true fold.” Therefore the pope ordered “that the malicious and abominable sect of malignants,” if they refuse to abjure, “be crushed like venomous snakes. [32] The first step of the Pope was to issue a bull, denouncing as heretical those whom he delivered over to slaughter. ... It brings no charge against these men as lawless, idle, dishonest, or disorderly; their fault was...they practiced a “simulated sanctity,” which had the effect of seducing the sheep of the true fold, therefore, he orders “that malicious and abominable sect of malignants,” if they “refuse to abjure, to be crushed like venomous snakes.”
[83] This bull invited all Catholics to take up the cross against the heretics. In order to stimulate them in this cruel work, it absolved them from all ecclesiastical pains and penalties, it released all who joined the crusade from any oaths they might have taken; it legalized their title to any property which they might have illegally acquired, and promised remission of all their sins to such as should kill any heretic. [32] The bull invited all Catholics to take up the cross against the heretics; and to stimulate them in this pious work it “absolved from all ecclesiastical pains and penalties, general and particular; it released all who joined the crusade from any oaths they might have taken; it legitimatized their title to any property they might have illegally acquired; and promised remission of all their sins to such as should kill any heretic.”
The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4 (cont’d.) History of the Reformation, Vol. 3, Bk. 9 J. H. Merle d’Aubigne 1841
[144]  Luther’s mysterious disappearance excited consternation throughout all Germany. ... Even his enemies were more agitated by his absence than they could have been by his presence. The wildest rumors were circulated. ... Many bound themselves by a solemn oath to avenge his death. ...


[144]  Though at first exultant at the supposed death of Luther, they now desired to hide from the wrath of the people. Those who were enraged against him when he was at large, were filled with fear now that he was in captivity.

[24]    Germany was moved at Luther’s captivity. The most contradictory rumours circulated       The reformer’s absence excited men’s minds more than his presence could have done... [25] Luther’s friends... swore to avenge his death. ... The priests and monks, who at first had not been able to conceal their exultation...would now have fled far from the threatening anger of the people. These men, who, while Luther was free, had given the reins to their fury, trembled now that he was a captive. ...
[145]  As there were false christs in the first century of the Christian church, so there arose false prophets in the sixteenth century. [68] [There were] many false messiahs in the time of Christ. ... The Reformation of the sixteenth century could not be accomplished without...a similar phenomenon. ...
[145]  A few men, deeply affected by the excitement in the religious world, imagined themselves to have received special revelations from Heaven, and claimed to have been divinely commissioned to carry forward to its completion the Reformation. ... [68] There lived a few men... [who] aspired at direct revelations. ... They were called to complete the Reformation.
[145] They rejected the fundamental principle of the Reformation, — the word of God as the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice; and...substituted the changeable, uncertain standard of their own feelings and impressions. [68] “What is the use,” said they, “of clinging so closely to the Bible? — It is by the Spirit alone that we can be enlightened. God himself speaks to us.”
[146]  One of these prophets claimed to have been instructed by the angel Gabriel. A student who united with him abandoned his studies, declaring that he had received from God himself the ability to explain the Scriptures. Others who were naturally inclined to fanaticism united with them. [69] A simple clothier...announced that the angel Gabriel had appeared to him during the night. ... A former student of Wittenberg...forsook his studies...he had received direct from God...the gift of interpreting the holy scriptures...a man of fanatical character.
[146] The leaders of the movement repaired to Wittenberg, and urged their claims upon Melancthon and his co-laborers. Said they: “We are sent by God to teach the people.” [70] Thomas, and Stubner repaired to Wittenberg. ... “We are sent y God to instruct the people,” said they.
[146] The fruit of the new teaching soon became apparent. The minds of the people were diverted from the word of God, or decidedly prejudiced against it. The schools were thrown into confusion. Students spurning all restraint, abandoned their studies. [74] The results of these strange discourses soon showed themselves. Men’s minds were prejudiced, agitated, diverted from the gospel; the university became disorganized; the demoralized students broke the bonds of discipline, and dispersed.
[147] From the professed friends of the Reformation had risen its worst enemies. ... [75] It is from the very midst of the Reformation that its enemies have gone forth. ...
[149] He knew them to be men of hasty and violent temper, who, while claiming to be especially illuminated from Heaven, would not endure the slightest contradiction, or even the kindest admonition. Arrogating to themselves supreme authority, they required every one, without a question, to acknowledge their claims. [95] Luther...knew them to be of violent, impatient, and haughty disposition, who could not endure even kind admonition, and who required that every one should submit at the first word as to a supreme authority.
[149] Thomas Munzer, the most active of the fanatics, was a man of considerable ability, which, rightly directed, would have enabled him to do good; but he had not learned the first principles of true religion. He imagined himself ordained of God to reform the world, forgetting, like many other enthusiasts, that the reform should begin with himself. [217] Thomas Munzer...not devoid of talent, had read his Bible, was zealous, and might have done good, if he had been able to collect his agitated thoughts and find peace of heart. ...

He was possessed with a desire of reforming the world, and forgot, as all enthusiasts do, that the reformation should begin with himself.

The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4 (cont’d.) History of the Sabbath J. N. Andrews 1862
[55] Satan...essayed to set aside the ancient Sabbath...and in its stead to exalt the festival observed by the heathen as “the venerable day of the sun.” ... [252] This was nothing less than an edict from the throne of the Roman empire in behalf of “the venerable day of the sun.” It was issued by the emperor Constantine in A.D. 321. ...
[55] Constantine, while still a heathen, issued a decree enjoining the general observance of Sunday as a public festival throughout the Roman empire. After his conversion, he remained a staunch advocate of Sunday, and his pagan edict was then enforced by him in the interests of his new faith. ... A few years after the issue of Constantine’s decree, the bishop of Rome conferred on the Sunday the title of the Lord’s day.


[56]    Vast councils were held from time to time, in which the dignitaries of the church were convened from all the world. In nearly every council the Sabbath which God had instituted was pressed down a little lower, while the Sunday was correspondingly exalted.

[257] That Constantine himself was a heathen at the shown.

[259] Sylvester was the bishop of Rome while Constantine was emperor. ... He changed the name of the day, giving it the imposing title of Lord’s day.


[262] After his professed conversion to Christianity, Constantine still further exerted his power in behalf of the venerable day of the sun. ...


[264] The council of Laodicea struck a heavy blow at this Sabbath-keeping. ...

But the Laodicean council not only forbade the observance of the Sabbath, they even pronounced a curse on those who should obey the fourth commandment!

[57]    In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the papacy. The dragon had given to the beast “his power, and his seat, and great authority.” And now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and John. (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5-7.) [271] The opening of the sixth century witnessed the development of the great apostasy to such an extent that the man of sin might be plainly seen sitting in the temple of God—In the early part of this century, the bishop of Rome was made head over the entire church by the emperor of the east. ... The dragon gave unto the beast his power, and his seat, and great authority. From this accession to supremacy by the Roman pontiff, date the “time, times and dividing of time,” or twelve hundred and sixty years of the prophecies of Daniel and John.
[57] Thus says the prophet: “The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” [272] The true people of God now retired for safety into places of obscurity and seclusion, as represented by the prophecy: “The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days.”
The Great Controversy E. G. White 1884 (1911 ed.) History of the Sabbath (cont’d.)
[61] The history of God’s people during the ages of darkness that followed upon Rome’s supremacy is written in heaven, but they have little place in human records. Few traces of their existence can be found, except in the accusations of their persecutors. It was the policy of Rome to obliterate every trace of dissent from her doctrines or decrees. Everything heretical, whether persons or writings, she sought to destroy. ... Papal councils decreed that books and writings containing such records should be committed to the flames. Before the invention of printing, books were few in number, and in a form not favorable for preservation; therefore there was little to prevent the Romanists from carrying out their purpose. [295] “As scarcely any fragment of their history remains, all we know of them is from accounts of their enemies, which were always uttered in a style of censure and complaint; and without which we should not have known that millions of them ever existed. It was the settled policy of Rome to obliterate every vestige of opposition to her doctrines and decrees; everything heretical, whether persons or writings, by which the faithful would be liable to be contaminated and led astray. In conformity to this their fixed determination all books and records of their opposers were hunted up, and committed to the flames. Before the art of printing was discovered in the fifteenth century, all books were made with the pen; the copies, of course, were so few that their concealment was much more difficult than it would be now.” [Quoted from Benedict’s History of the Baptist Denomination (1849 ed.), p. 50.]

References and Notes

l. John Dart, taped conversation with Irene Cole. Dart, who is religious editor of the Los Angeles Times, wrote the article "Plagiarism Found in Prophet Books," 23 October 1980, p. l.

2. Richard P. Hines, "Knowledge and Faith Can't Be Mixed," letters to the editor (Long Beach, CA: Press-Telegram), 11 November 1980.

3. SDA [Florida] minister to John LeBaron, December 1980.

4. Robert J Ringer, Looking Out for #1 (New York: Fawcett Crest Book Co.)

5. Hines, in Long Beach Press-Telegram, 25 November 1980. Part in Los Angeles Times, 23 October 1980.

6. Ellen G. White, Life Sketches (Mountain View: PPPA, 1915), pp. 3-19.

7. Arthur L. White, in Supplement to facsimile reprint of The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, pp. 535-36.

8. The Ellen G. White Estate does not concede that Ellen White was influenced by what she read or by those around her.

9. [Healdsburg] Pastor's Union, "Is Mrs. E. G. White a Plagiarist?" [Healdsburg, CA] Enterprise, 20 March 1889.

10. Donald R. McAdams and Douglas Hackleman in their articles in Spectrum 10, no. 4, pp.27-41 and 9-15.

11. See Appendix, Comparison Exhibits for chapters five to nine.

12. Chicago Tribune, 23 November 1980.

13. Ibid.

14. James White, Life Incidents in Connection with the Great Advent Movement Battle Creek: Steam Press of the SDA Publishing Association, 1868). See early Reviews from 1851-1856 for Articles by J. N. Andrews and Uriah Smith.

15. [Uriah Smith, ed.], "Plagiarism," Review 24 (6 September 1864)

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