Ellen G. White

Ellen G. White

; ] In this text Numbers argues that her understanding of health reform was simply plagiarized from other health reformers and therefore did not come from divine revelation. Also, there are parallels between her descriptions of heavenly visions and experiences with those described by Joseph Smith, Jr, who died in 1844 prior tho White's first theophany, as well as the presumption of having prophetic authority, as Smith have done.
* False prophecy: [ [http://www.bible.ca/7-prophecy-blunders.htm "Prophecy Blunders of Ellen G. White"] ] Ellen G. White is believed to have made a number of failed prophecies.

* Denial of the Trinity: Some critics, as well as some non-Trinitarian Adventists, have asserted that in some of her early writings Ellen White denied the Trinity and affirmed a form of Arianism, the view that Jesus is a lesser being than God the Father (a position later adopted officially by the Jehovah's Witnesses). Orthodox Adventists, for their part, credit her with bringing the Seventh-day Adventist church into a progressive awareness of the Trinity during the 1890s. Some critics have characterized her descriptions of the Godhead as Tritheistic. Such anti-trinitarian teaching was common among early Adventist leaders, including White's husband James, Joseph Bates, Uriah Smith, J. N. Loughborough and J. H. Waggoner. [cite web
url = http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/trinity/moon/moon-trinity1.htm
title = Part 1: Historical Overview

* Views on Masturbation: Many critics cite Ellen White's views on masturbation, which she called "self-indulgence" or "a solitary vice" as proof that she is a false prophet. In her now out of print book "A Solemn Appeal" she writes that:

"If the practice [self-indulgence] is continued from the age of fifteen and upward, nature will protest against the abuse she has suffered, and continues to suffer, and will make them pay the penalty for the transgression of her laws, especially from the ages of thirty to forty-five, by numerous pains in the system, and various diseases, such as affection of the liver and lungs, neuralgia, rheumatism, affection of the spine, diseased kidneys, and cancerous humors. Some of nature's fine machinery gives way, leaving a heavier task for the remaining to perform, which disorders nature's fine arrangement, and there is often a sudden breaking down of the constitution; and death is the result." [cite book
title = Solemn Appeal, A
author = Ellen G. White
year = 1870
publisher = The Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association

Females possess less vital force than the other sex, and are deprived very much of the bracing, invigorating air, by their in-door life. The result of self-abuse in them is seen in various diseases, such as catarrh, dropsy, headache, loss of memory and sight, great weakness in the back and loins, affections of the spine, and frequently, inward decay of the head. Cancerous humor, which would lie dormant in the system their lifetime, is inflamed, and commences its eating, destructive work. The mind is often utterly ruined, and insanity supervenes." [cite book
title = Solemn Appeal, A
author = Ellen G. White
year = 1870
publisher = The Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association
Critics cite modern studies which seem to show that not only is masturbation normal and healthy, it even helps protect against certain diseases such as prostate cancer [cite journal
last = Giles
first = G.G.
coauthors =G. Severi, D.R. English, M.R.E. McCredie, R. Borland, P. Boyle, J.L. Hopper
title = Sexual factors and prostate cancer
journal = BJU International
volume = 92
issue = 3
pages = 211–216
publisher =
location =
month= August | year= 2003
doi =
id =
accessdate = 2008-04-29
] and heart disease. [cite journal
last = Smith
first = George Davey
coauthors =Frankel, Stephen and Yarnell, John.
title = Sex and death: are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly cohort study
journal = British Medical Journal
volume = 315
issue = 7123
pages = 1641–1644
publisher =
location =
month= December | year= 1997
url = http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/315/7123/1641
doi =
id =
accessdate = 2008-04-29
pmid = 9448525
* Racism: Many critics believe that Ellen White also wrote extremely racist statements in her book "Spiritual Gifts."
"Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men." [cite book
title = Spirutal Gifts, Volume 4
author = Ellen G. White
year = 1860
publisher = The Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association
This criticism is compounded by a defense published 8 years later by church leader and personal friend of Ellen White Uriah Smith, inferring that this "amalgamation" produced certain lesser races which are difficult to differentiate from animals:
" Now we have ever supposed that anybody that was called a man, was considered a human being. The vision speaks of all these classes as races of men; yet in the face of this plain declaration, they foolishly assert that the visions teach that some men are not human beings! But does any one deny the general statement contained in the extract given above? They do not. If they did, they could easily be silenced by a reference to such cases as the wild Bushmen of Africa, some tribes of the Hottentots, and perhaps the Digger Indians of our own country.. Moreover, naturalists affirm that the line of demarkation between the human and animal races is lost in confusion. It is impossible, as they affirm, to tell just where the human ends and the animal begins. [cite book
title = The Visions of Mrs. E. G. White, A Manifestation of Spiritual gifts According to the Scripture
author = Uriah Smith
year = 1868
publisher = Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association

Responses to Criticism

Seventh-day Adventists have long responded to critics with arguments and assertions of their own. Typical responses to these criticisms include:

* Mental illness: Seventh-day Adventists reject the charge that Ellen White suffered mental illness or that she had seizures. There are several main lines of argument Adventists use to respond to this charge:
** They point out that there is nothing on record of Ellen White ever having a seizure or showing signs of mental illness. They assert instead that these charges were trumped up by critics many years after her first vision as a way of discrediting her.
** The same charges have been made against Biblical prophets. [Did Ezekiel have temporal lobe epilepsy?Archives of General Psychiatry,.] [A. W. Beard. (1963).]
** Many times Ellen White had visions in the company of large groups of people. These visions were sometimes accompanied by unusual physical phenomena that all were able to witness. One such story relates how on several occasions witnesses recorded her holding a large family Bible for extended periods of time (in one case 20-25 minutes) at arms length just above her head while quoting Scriptural passages out loud; she would trace the verses in the Bible with her free hand as she spoke the words, and was apparently unaware of other people in the room. During such incidents, Adventists claim, several skeptics attempted to pull her arm down, as well as double-check the verses she was speaking aloud against the verses she traced with her finger. The story concludes that these unbelievers could not pull her arm down, and the verses were verbatim quotations from the Bible.
** Adventist also point to "the overall ministry of her life" as evidence of her inspiration.

* Plagiarism: Adventists argue that her use of sources was typical for a 19th-century writer; they generally believe that "she was in control of her sources and that her sources did not control her." Adventists assert that it became increasingly normative to cite sources during her lifetime, and that Ellen G. White subsequently revised her books, changed passages to include quotations from authoritative writers, and at times deleted passages when an author could not be found. When the plagiarism charge ignited a significant debate within the Adventist church during the late 1970s and early 1980s, the General Conference commissioned a major study by Dr. Fred Veltman. The ensuing project became known as the "'Life of Christ' Research Project." The results are available at the General Conference Archives. [ [http://www.adventistarchives.org/documents.asp?CatID=13&ShowDateOrder=True&SortBy=1 General Conference Archives] of the Seventh Day Adventist Church] Dr. Roger W. Coon, [ [http://www.andrews.edu/~fortind/EGWPlagiarism-Coon-98.htm "Ellen G. White as a Writer: Part III - The Issue of Literary Borrowing"] ] David J. Conklin, [ [http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/David/index.html "An Analysis of the Literary Dependency of Ellen White"] ] Dr. Denis Fortin [ [http://www.andrews.edu/~fortind/EGWWhite-Conybeare.htm "Ellen G. White as a Writer: Case Studies in the Issue of Literary Borrowing"] ] [ [http://www.andrews.edu/~fortind/EGWPlagiarism-Encyclopedia.htm "The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia"] ] , among others, undertook the refutation of the accusations of plagiarism.

A Roman Catholic lawyer, Vincent L. Ramik, undertook a study of Ellen G. White's writings during the early 1980s, and concluded that they were "conclusively unplagiaristic." [http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/ramik.html Also appears in "Review" article] Of course, Ramik's study of the charge of plagiarism focused almost solely on the legal question of plagiarism and copyright infringement--not on the moral or theological problems which might be implied in what White did. For opponents, the larger question is how White could claim to have received divine revelations when she had clearly taken some of her material from other (namely, human) sources, a concern that may not factor into consideration issues in textual criticism (see following subsection). At the conclusion of Ramik's report, he states:

"It is impossible to imagine that the intention of Ellen G. White, as reflected in her writings and the unquestionably prodigious efforts involved therein, was anything other than a sincerely motivated and unselfish effort to place the understandings of Biblical truths in a coherent form for all to see and comprehend. Most certainly, the nature and content of her writings had but one hope and intent, namely, the furthering of mankind's understanding of the word of God." [http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/ramik.html Also appears in "Review" article]

** Textual CriticismIt is also noteworthy that Biblical books whose authors are understood to have been inspired also appear to at least share similar "source material" which remains uncredited. Examples include but are not limited to:
*** the entire discipline called textual criticism, a field that includes discourse on the synoptic gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke and finds that some unknown source Q may in fact have formed the basis for the similarities among the three books;
*** it has been found that roughly 40% of the material in the book of Revelation bears similarities up to large tracts of verbatim reflection of material found in the Apocrypha, generally regarded by Christians as non-inspired;
*** writings of Paul also bear remarkable similarities with Apocryphal material.
*** Additionally, all the 'Proverbs of Solomon' did not originate with Solomon. In Ecclesiastes 12, Solomon, referring to himself as 'the preacher', records that he "sought out and set in order many proverbs". Ecclesiastes 12:9, 10 "And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. "

As such, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the "modern" conception of plagiarism may not be applicable to ancient or even the pre-modern society in which White wrote. Any efforts to find her works plagiaristic "without factoring the issues of textual criticism that impose upon the Bible itself" are not objective.

* Failed prophecy: Adventists state that some prophecy, including Bible prophecy, can be conditional. Some, for instance, have suggested that a passage in "Testimonies" which refers to the destruction of buildings at the end of time, refers to the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2001. However, the Ellen G. White Estate has rejected this interpretation. Recently a number of apologetic books have been published by the church arguing for the validity of her prophetic gift. Two examples include Don McMahon's book examining the accuracy of Ellen White's medical statements and Graeme Bradford's book "Prophets are Human." Opponents would respond, however, that the Bible clearly states that, if someone claims to be a prophet speaking on behalf of God and that prophet's statements do not come to pass, then the prophecy was not from God (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). A simplistic application of that principle would, however, exclude Jonah as a prophet of God. The main difference being that the prophecies of Jonah are explicitly conditional, while Ellen White made no such "if...then" type statements in her prophecies.
* Denial of the Trinity: Many Adventists argue that, while she never used the terms "Trinity" or "Triune" in her published writings, Ellen White did use the term "trio" (as in "Evangelism" pp. 613-617) and many Adventists believe that she was, in fact, Trinitarian in her views despite doctrinal affirmations consistent with Arianism (a view held by a number of early Adventist leaders). [ [http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/trinity/moon/moon-trinity2.htm The Role of Ellen G. White in The Adventist Trinity Debate] ] [ [http://www.atsjats.org/publication_file.php?pub_id=241&journal=1&type=pdf The Quest for a Biblical Trinity: Ellen White’s “Heavenly Trio” Compared to the Traditional Doctrine] by Jerry Moon, published in "Journal of the Adventist Theological Society"]

See also

* Inspiration of Ellen White
* List of Ellen White writings
* Ellen G. White Estate
* Prophecy in the Seventh-day Adventist Church
* James Springer White


* "Prophecy, Gender, and Culture: Ellen Gould Harmon [White] and the Roots of Seventh-day Adventism" by Jonathan M. Butler. "Religion and American Culture" 1:1 (Winter, 1991), p3–29

External links

Official Ellen G. White Estate

* [http://www.whiteestate.org/ Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.]
* [http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/issues.asp Issues and Answers Regarding Ellen White and Her Writings]
* [http://lluweb2.llu.edu/heritage/WhitePhotos.htm Ellen G. White Photographs]
* [http://heritage.llu.edu Loma Linda University Ellen G. White Estate Branch Office]
* [http://www.andrews.edu/library/car Andrews University Ellen G. White Estate Branch Office]
* [http://www.whiteestate.org/about/egwbio.asp Biography] by Arthur White
* [http://www.ellengwhitetruth.com The Truth of Ellen G. White] by Amazing Facts
* [http://www.andrews.edu/library/car/egwresources.htm Center for Adventist Research: Ellen G. White Resources] , listing unpublished materials, list of books in White's library, etc.


* [http://www.ellengwhitetruth.com/ EllenGWhiteTruth.com]
* [http://www.ellengwhite.info/ Answers for the Critics]
* [http://ellen-white.com/ Examines the Critics Allegations]
* [http://www.sabbathpulpit.com/adventist_books_in_pdf_format Free Ebook - Was Ellen White a Plagiarist?]
* [http://www.sabbathpulpit.com/podcast_episode_12__was_ellen_white_a_plagairist Audio Interview - Was Ellen White a Plagiarist?]
* [http://www.sabbathschoollessons.com/egw.php What About Ellen G. White?]
* [http://personal.southern.edu/~jslake/Ad%20Apologetics%20First%20Link.htm Jud Lake's Personal Web Site]
* [http://www.ellenwhiteanswers.org/ The Ellen White Answers Web Site by Jud Lake]
* [http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/David/index.html David Conklin's Evaluation of Ellen White]


The individuals behind these web sites are all :
* [http://www.ellenwhite.org/index.html The Ellen White Research Project] A comprehensive site founded by Dirk Anderson, and now edited by Dale Ratzlaff and others.
* [http://www.exAdventist.com exAdventist Outreach] (formerly SDAOutreach.org) A ministry of J. Mark Martin, senior pastor of Calvary Community Church [http://www.calvaryphx.com/] in Phoenix.
* [http://www.truthorfables.com/ Truth or Fables]

Writings Online

* [http://www.whiteestate.org/books/books.asp Major books] (from the White Estate page)
* [http://egwdatabase.whiteestate.org/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates$fn=default.htm$vid=default The Complete Published Writings of Ellen G. White]
* [http://jewel.andrews.edu:82/search/a?White+Ellen Articles by White] in the Seventh-day Adventist Periodical Index (SDAPI)
* [http://www.truthfortheendtime.com/ Truth for the End of Time] , audio recordings of major Ellen White books in mp3 format
* [http://www.adventistarchives.org/DocArchives.asp Adventist Archives] Contains many articles written by Ellen White
* [http://www.stepstochrist.us/ Ellen G. White's book: Steps to Christ] Audio & Document


* "The Christology of Ellen Gould White", chapter 2 in cite book
last = Webster
first = Eric Claude
authorlink = Eric Claude Webster
title = Crosscurrents in Adventist Christology
publisher = Peter Lang Publishing
year = 1984
location = New York
pages =
url = http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/books/webster/index.htm
doi =
id =
isbn = 0-8204-0157-9
Reprinted with permission by Andrews University Press. Berrien Springs, MI (February 1992)
* [http://www.presenttruthmag.com/7dayadventist/EGWhite_theology/index.html The Theology of Ellen G. White] from "Present Truth" magazine (Robert Brinsmead), which claims to be systematic and neutral
* [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A120520b.htm "Australian Dictionary of Biography" entry]

Offline Resources

* "The World of Ellen G. White" edited by Gary Land, a historical background to White's writings without critically comparing the two
* Forthcoming review of White's correspondence by a Newbold College scholar

NAME= White, Ellen Gould
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Author and co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
DATE OF BIRTH= November 26, 1827
PLACE OF BIRTH= Gorham, Maine
DATE OF DEATH= July 16,1915 (age Age|1827|12|26|1915|07|16)
PLACE OF DEATH= Elmshaven, California

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  • Ellen G. White Estate — The Ellen G. White Estate, Incorporated, or simply the (Ellen) White Estate, is the official organization created by Ellen G. White to act as the custodian of her writings. Based at the General Conference in Silver Spring, Maryland, with which it …   Wikipedia

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