The Ellen G. White Writings


Chapter 3—The Integrity of the Prophetic Message, 9 or “Who Told Sister White?”

It is sometimes suggested that in certain positions taken by Ellen G. White she was influenced by the thinking of the times, that her statements reflected the ideas of those about her, and that we must take this into account when we evaluate her writings and use them today. Akin to this was the early-day suggestion that the visions resulted from natural causes, mesmerism, spiritism, or physical injury. In later years the shift was to the suggestion that most likely she was influenced by her associates. EGWW 79.1

Early in her experience, hypnosis was much in the public eye and it was suggested to Ellen Harmon that, when the visions were given to her she was mesmerized. Some asserted, “She is a weak woman, easily influenced and therefore a good subject for mesmerism.” This troubled her and she went into the woods to pray, and while alone in the woods, visions would be given to her. When she told the people of this, they declared, “You mesmerize yourself.” EGWW 79.2

Ellen pondered, has it come to this? The next time she discerned that a vision was about to be given to her, she resisted it. “I’ll not have it,” she said to herself. “It is mesmerism!” Like Zacharias of old, who was stricken dumb for his doubts, she was stricken dumb because she doubted. She was taken off in vision, and in the vision she was shown that never again should she question, never again should she doubt, and that in less than twenty-four hours she again would be able to speak. She reached for a slate and wrote concerning her experience and her condition. The next day she was able again to speak, but never again did she question or doubt her experience. See Early Writings, pages 22-24. EGWW 80.1