Manuscript Releases, vol. 9 [Nos. 664-770]


MR No. 666—Phrenology or the Power of God?

A certain minister in California was tampering with phrenology, while carrying on the ministry, as a means of making money. He falsified in many respects, and discouraged souls by his course. He even said to some married couples that they were unfitted for each other. God never gave him such a commission. 9MR 3.1

What I want to know is what kind of a heart have you. The devil had a splendid head, but he had an envious heart. There is no excuse for the rebellious heart that came in Satan, and that iniquity is unexplainable. 9MR 3.2

This minister said, “I shall have to use phrenology in order to get out of debt,” and he was receiving from $15 to $18 per week. I said to him, “I rebuke your spirit in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” He thought he could do such wonderful things, and he made a young man think the same, and he went home and lived upon the earnings of his poor mother, and has never done that wonderful thing yet. He was going to tell them of themselves. Those who practice this work do a hundred times more harm than good. 9MR 3.3

Ministers are granted credentials that they may instruct people in the Word of God. And they can overcome their hereditary and cultivated tendencies. The phrenologist would tell them about marriages, etc., and confessions were made by women as they would confess to a Catholic priest. 9MR 3.4

These things have been opened before my mind, and I can assure you that I have not one particle of faith in phrenology as it is now handled. [Phrenology, in its early development, made important contributions to the emerging sciences of the mind. It was phrenology that gave American reformers in the early nineteenth century their first hope that criminals, the insane, and other mental defectives might not be beyond help. See John D. Davies, Phrenology, Fad and Science : A 19th-Century American Crusade (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955). In Australia, Mrs. White found phrenology being advocated by certain Adventist ministers as a virtual substitute for the power of God in character transformation, as well as a basis for marriage counseling. She and many other religious leaders protested against this.] It has become a fraud. We have a higher work than this. It certainly cannot be said of those who practiced these things, “And thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward” (Isaiah 58:8). They do not know what the glory of the Lord is.... 9MR 3.5

Christ is soon to come. We must preach the third angel's message. Use the Bible, which will transform character. 9MR 4.1

The wife of the minister who used phrenology as a means to bring in more money, said, “My husband is capable of standing in the highest positions.” It was astonishing the influence that he had over human minds. But he did not walk in the light as God would have him, and today he is selling brushes as a means of making a living. 9MR 4.2

I said to a Brother Butler [not the minister-phrenologist aforementioned], “God desires that you should preach His truth.” But said he, “Look at my head, I have no power of faith, and I can never go and preach, and I am just as full of infidelity as I can be.” 9MR 4.3

But I told him that God had shown me that he should go and proclaim the message. He did go, and after he had labored some years he said, “Sister White the hollow in my head is all filled up.” It was because he had been cultivating faith, and working in God's lines. 9MR 4.4

You may say it was due to phrenology, but it was due to the transforming grace and power of God. Those who engage in this work of reading character by the head practice all kinds of deception under [the] profession of knowledge. [They] may try to reform character, but they never do it. Preach Christ, and present the pattern, and work in His lines.... 9MR 4.5

In the early days of the first angel's message, one poor man that was foolish was impressed with the truth, and he went to a learned Elder and repeated the following words, “Elder G_____, behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.” [Elder G_____ said] “Give us your reasons, Brother,” but he presented no reasons, and kept on repeating these words, instead of trying to give proof for the soon coming of the Lord, for he of himself was unable to give any reason. But he repeated the words, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.” And the Spirit of God rested upon them, and Elder G_____ fell on his knees and confessed his pomp and pride before the Lord. 9MR 5.1

God sent this poor man and brought the learned man to his knees and his position before God. 9MR 5.2

“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20. See also verses 21-25, and 1 Corinthians 2:1). The apostle Paul could meet oratory with oratory, philosophy with philosophy. He could meet people on their own ground. Now he said, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2. See also verses 3-10). 9MR 5.3

God alone can transform character. Jesus Christ came into our world to bring back through the mighty power of the cross of Calvary that which was lost. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:12, 13. See also verses 14-16.) 9MR 5.4

We want you to sense these things. We want you to understand the working of the Spirit of God.—Manuscript 12, 1893, pp. 4-7. (“A Sermon at Camp Meeting in New Zealand,” March 28, 1893.) 9MR 6.1

White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

November 2, 1978.