Ellen G. White and Her Critics


Good Men and Bad Memories

We give these facts regarding the primary errors in Amadon’s statement, not to indict his honesty—we think he was a most honorable man—but simply to show the undependability of his memory. That part of his reminiscence which is capable of verification is proved inaccurate, a fact that will be doubly evident as this chapter progresses. We may therefore rightly raise a question concerning the rest of it. And again we say, we may question without impugning his honesty or the high motives that prompted him to reminisce. He was an old man when he wrote this, in his seventy-sixth year, and was recalling from memory an alleged incident of twenty-four years before. Memory plays strange tricks with all of us. At best our memory of happenings twenty-four years before is highly undependable, and if an event of a quarter century ago becomes entangled with a current rumor, the whole memory of the incident may become hopelessly distorted, and thus worthless. EGWC 432.2

The reader will recall that in an earlier chapter we took note of a letter that Uriah Smith, editor of the Review, was said to have written to Canright in the 1880’s, concerning certain past events, including a statement that he had not seen the pamphlet, A Word to the “Little Flock” since the early 1850’s. We then quoted from an editorial by Smith in the Review and Herald of 1866 in which he discussed that leaflet and quoted from it by page number. The best of people may have the worst of memories. EGWC 433.1