Ellen G. White and Her Critics


Chapter 24—Did Mrs. White Break a Promise?

Charge: “About 1904, Dr. J. H. Kellogg and his [Battle Creek] Sanitarium associates, it was learned, were not accepting as from God all of Mrs. White’s writings. They found numerous contradictions in them, and believed that many of them were inspired by the officials, and were calling attention to some of these things. EGWC 345.1

“Mrs. White thereupon wrote them a ‘testimony,’ asking that they write out their difficulties regarding her writings, and send them to her. In this communication, dated March 30, 1905 [correct date, 1906], she not only promised to clear up these difficulties, but said that God would help her to do this. She said: EGWC 345.2

“‘Recently in the visions of the night I stood in a large company of people.... I was directed by the Lord to request them, and any others who have perplexities and grievous things in the minds regarding the testimonies that I have borne, to specify what their objections and criticisms are. The Lord will help me to answer these objections, and make plain that which seems to be intricate.... Let it all be written out, and submitted to those who desire to remove the perplexities.... They should certainly do this, if they are loyal to the directions God has given.’ EGWC 345.3

“Dr. ——*, one of the Battle Creek Sanitarium physicians, took her at her word, and wrote out a large number of ‘perplexities’ which he and others had found in her writings, and sent them to her. EGWC 345.4

“What did Mrs. White do? Instead of fulfilling her promise and attempting an explanation, she had another ‘vision,’ in which she was instructed by ‘a messenger from heaven’ not to do so. Here are her words, written under date of June 3, 1906: EGWC 345.5

“‘I had a vision, in which I was speaking before a large company, where many questions were asked concerning my work and writings. I was directed by a messenger from heaven not to take the burden of picking up and answering all the sayings and doubts that are being put in many minds.’... EGWC 345.6

“She could not clear up these difficulties, nor answer these objections.... She had made a promise which she could not fulfill.” EGWC 345.7

We have reproduced as much of the quotations from Mrs. White as the critic gives. Her words of March 30, 1906, as here quoted, convey the impression that she is promising, in advance, to answer any and every kind of question that might be raised. We shall quote more fully from the letter, beginning immediately after the sentence: “The Lord will help me to answer these objections, and to make plain that which seems to be intricate.” EGWC 345.8

“Let those who are troubled now place upon paper a statement of the difficulties that perplex their minds, and let us see if we can not throw some light upon the matter that will relieve their perplexities. The time has come for the leaders to state to us the perplexities of which they have spoken to the nurses and to their associate physicians. Let us now have their reasons for talking with the students in a way that would destroy their faith in the messages that God sends His people. Let it all be written out, and submitted to those who desire to remove the perplexities. EGWC 346.1

“If statements have been made that there are contradictions in the testimonies, should I not be acquainted with the charges and accusations? Should I not know the reasons of this sowing tares of unbelief? ... EGWC 346.2

“I am praying for you all, and praying for our youth. It is time that we understood who is on the Lord’s side. I ask that the leaders in the medical work at Battle Creek, and those who have been associated with them in gathering together criticisms and objections to the testimonies that I have borne, shall open to me the things that they have been opening to others. They should certainly do this, if they are loyal to the directions God has given. We should also have a clear statement of facts from those with whom physicians and ministers have been at work, to undermine their confidence in the Bible, the Messages, and the Testimonies. If there is in your minds the thought that Sister White’s work can no longer be trusted, we would be glad to know when and why you came to this decision. It may be that some matters that seem to you very objectionable can be explained. This will be better than to leave these matters until the great future investigation, when every man’s work will appear as it is, with the reasons that underlie their course of action.... EGWC 346.3

“I present this before you all. I am still praying for the physicians, the ministers, and the church in Battle Creek. If any are framing excuses that have deceived their own minds, I plead with them to put these excuses away before the final judgment.”—Letter 120, 1906. EGWC 346.4