Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years: 1905-1915 (vol. 6)


Who Manipulated Her Writings?

The questions raised concerning the manipulation of her writings, and the influence of W. C. White on the testimonies, distressed Ellen White, particularly such charges as were traced to careless statements made by James Edson White. As referred to earlier, the two sons of James and Ellen White were much unlike in personality and character. The younger, William C., was steady, calm, loyal to the testimonies, dependable, and endued with leadership qualifications. 6BIO 99.9

The older, James Edson, while talented, creative, and a good author, was unsteady, a poor manager of finances, and, because his brother and church leaders could not and did not endorse all his ventures, very critical. The testimonies of his mother addressed to him from early years carried at times little weight; yet when fully consecrated to God he did a remarkable work, particularly among the neglected blacks in the South. [Note: See Ron Graybill, Mission to Black America, and A. W. Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, Volume 2, chapter 18, “American Negro Evangelism.”] 6BIO 100.1

Because he was the son of James and Ellen White, James Edson was able to borrow, mainly from Adventists, to support his various enterprises, many of which failed. Again and again his mother and his brother came to his personal financial aid as various enterprises he had been warned against collapsed. 6BIO 100.2

As Ellen White found she could not endlessly support him in these ventures, his brother attempted to counsel him. He in turn took the position that W. C. was influencing his mother. Among his personal friends in and around Battle Creek were a number who were voicing Dr. Kellogg's insinuations that Ellen White was being influenced by her son William and others. It was easy for James Edson to join in. He said some most unfortunate things that were quickly picked up and, coming from Ellen White's son, were capitalized on. 6BIO 100.3

Finally, painful as it was, Ellen White had to step in and set the record straight. To James Edson she wrote: 6BIO 100.4

What kind of a move was it that you made in rushing to Battle Creek and saying to those there that W. C. White, your own brother, for whom you should have respect, manipulated my writings? This is just what they needed to use in their councils to confirm them in their position that the testimonies the Lord gives your mother are no longer reliable.... 6BIO 100.5

Must I have such an impression go out? It is false, and I am sorry that you stand as you do.... You have regarded your brother in a strange, false light, and persist in doing this. 6BIO 100.6

This has been the grief of my life. Your stubborn persistence forces me to speak now. I will not keep silent.... Your sentiments are the prevailing sentiments of a deceived mind. 6BIO 101.1

As she brought the six-page, cutting reproof and censure to a close, she declared: 6BIO 101.2

Your position is a grievous thing to your mother and wears upon the life of your brother.... I shall have to speak. I cannot and will not suffer reproach to come upon the cause of God, and my work that God has given me to do, by your saying he manipulates my writings. It is falsehood—but what a charge is this! Not one soul manipulates my writings.—Letter 391, 1906. 6BIO 101.3

In another letter to Edson, written May 21, 1906, covering somewhat the same ground, she stated: 6BIO 101.4

The position you have taken, the words you have said, are not a secret. Everywhere they are handled by those who would uproot confidence in the testimonies, and they have influence because you are WCW's brother and the son of Ellen G. White.... W. C. White is true as steel to the cause of God, and no lie which is in circulation is of the truth.—Letter 143, 1906. 6BIO 101.5

Earlier in the year she had written: 6BIO 101.6

There are those who say, “Someone manipulates her writings.” I acknowledge the charge. It is One who is mighty in counsel, One who presents before me the condition of things in Battle Creek.—Letter 52, 1906.

As to W. C. White, she wrote later in the year to Elder G. I. Butler, president of the Southern Union Conference. She referred to her experience following upon the death of her husband, the nights of deep sorrow and then of her healing at Healdsburg, and she recounts the messages that came to her concerning her work and the work of W. C. White: 6BIO 101.7

I was instructed that the Lord had mercifully raised me up because He had a special work for me to do, and I was assured that I should have the special protection and care of God. The Lord had spared my life, and had saved me from that which was surely sapping my life forces. 6BIO 101.8

The Mighty Healer said, “Live. I have put My Spirit upon your son, W. C. White, that he may be your counselor. 6BIO 102.1

“I have given him the spirit of wisdom, and a discerning, perceptive mind. He will have wisdom and counsel, and if he walks in My way, and works out My will, he will be kept, and will be enabled to help you bring before My people the light I will give you for them. 6BIO 102.2

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see and understand in a special manner that the Lord has given a message to meet the emergencies that will arise. As you speak the words I give you, angels of heaven will be with you, to make impressions on the minds of those who hear. 6BIO 102.3

“I will be with your son, and will be his counselor. He will respect the truth that comes through you to the people. He will have wisdom to defend the truth; for I will take charge of his mind, and will give him sound judgment in the councils that he attends in connection with the work. 6BIO 102.4

“The world in its wisdom knows not God. It does not behold the beauty and harmony of the special work that I have given you. Your son will be perplexed over many matters that are to come before My people, but he is to wait and watch and pray, and let the words of God come to the people, even though he cannot always immediately discern the purpose of God. 6BIO 102.5

“If you watch and wait and pray, Providence and revelation will guide you through all the perplexities that you will meet, so that you will not fail nor become discouraged.”—Letter 348, 1906. 6BIO 102.6