Messenger of the Lord


Non-Adventist Audiences

Non-Adventist audiences listened to her messages, often lasting more than an hour, in rapt and grateful appreciation. A newspaper reporter covered a lecture that she gave in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1887: MOL 128.4

“There was a good attendance including a large number of our most prominent people, at the lecture of Mrs. Ellen G. White, at the Tabernacle, last evening. This lady gave her audience a most eloquent discourse, which was listened to with marked interest and attention. Her talk was interspersed with instructive facts which she had gathered in her recent visit to foreign lands, and demonstrated that this gifted lady has, in addition to her many other rare qualifications, a great faculty for attentive careful observation and a remarkable memory of details; this together with her fine delivery and her faculty of clothing her ideas in choice, beautiful and appropriate language, made her lecture one of the best that has ever been delivered by any lady in our city. That she may soon favor our community with another address, is the earnest wish of all who attended last evening, and should she do so, there will be a large attendance.” 25 MOL 128.5

At times some have asserted that the beauty, force, and power of Ellen White’s writings are due to her editorial assistants. But who were the editorial assistants who interposed between her and her audiences? No literary assistant stood by her side, “polishing up” her grammar, “correcting” her details, etc., as she used “choice, beautiful and appropriate language.” MOL 128.6

This “gifted lady” with a “remarkable memory of details” demonstrated, as is true for many other public persons, that speaking skills are often different from one’s writing techniques. Writing habits often reveal that the author’s mind is racing faster than the pen can write; regardless, the author knows that the end product is what really matters, not the hasty techniques the author uses to get thought on paper. MOL 128.7

Clifton L. Taylor, a long-time college Bible teacher, reflected on an occasion when he heard Ellen White for the first time: “All my life I had heard of this woman, and had wished to hear and see for myself.... I had heard her critics declare that her writings were largely the work of her secretaries. Now I observed that in her extemporaneous speech her statements were filled with expressions exactly like those I had read so many times in her writings.... As she related her various experiences ... she impressed me as one who was glad to share with others the richness and blessing she had received.” 26 MOL 128.8

Comments by the journalistic world were not limited to Ellen White’s “gifted” platform skills. They also included her straightforward message: “I would that all other religious beliefs in Battle Creek were as true to morality as Mrs. White and her adherents. Then we would have no infamous dens of vice, no grog shops, no tobacco stores, no gambling hells, no air polluted with the fumes of rum and that fell destroyer of man, tobacco.” 27 MOL 129.1

Mrs. White enjoyed responding to invitations from non-Adventist churches. In 1880, after she had spoken at the Salem, Oregon, camp meeting (which was held in the town square), some Methodists were impressed. Church leaders requested that she speak to them on the following Sunday. In a letter to James, she described the event: “Sunday evening the Methodist church, a grand building, was well filled. I spoke to about seven hundred people who listened with deep interest. The Methodist minister thanked me for the discourse. The Methodist minister’s wife and all seemed much pleased.” 28 MOL 129.2

In that remarkable wagon-train trail ride in 1879, James and Ellen White preached most every evening to those “on the ride” and to those along the way. Writing of one experience, she said: “Last night I spoke to one hundred people assembled in a respectable meetinghouse. We find here an excellent class of people.... I had great freedom in presenting before them the love of God evidenced to man in the gift of His Son. All listened with the deepest interest. The Baptist minister arose and said we had heard the gospel that night and he hoped all would heed the words spoken.” 29 MOL 129.3

Adventist leaders realized the unique contribution of the Whites to their various meetings. Uriah Smith reported on the Sparta, Wisconsin, camp meeting in 1876: “Here, as in Iowa, the presence of Brother and Sister White constituted, in a large measure, the life of the meeting, their counsel and labors giving tone to the exercises and progress of the work. Sister White, especially, was at times called out in powerful appeals, and most forcible descriptions of scenes in the life of Christ from which lessons can be drawn applicable to everyday Christian experience. These were of absorbing interest to all the congregation. These servants of the church, though now of so long and large experience, and notwithstanding all their wearing labors, are still growing in mental and spiritual strength.” 30 MOL 129.4