Ellen G. White and Her Critics


An Eyewitness Sees Too Much

A writer in the Review in 1887 gives, in retrospect, his eyewitness account of the falling of the stars in 1833, when he was seven years old. Childhood memories are generally considered to be the sharpest. But his account of the falling of the stars includes descriptive statements that obviously belong to the account of the darkening of the sun, which occurred in 1780, or 46 years before he was born. (See The Review and Herald, February 22, 1887, p. 115.) In a case like this the explanation is evident. Not only had he seen the falling of the stars; he had also read and heard much of the darkening of the sun, for Adventists often discuss the two phenomena together. Through the years the two incidents had become intermingled in his mind. Those who knew no facts regarding either heavenly event would probably have had little reason to question his story. Why should they? Was he not giving an eyewitness account? EGWC 433.2

Such confusing of two historically recorded incidents is not uncommon. And it is because of this fact that a grave suspicion is cast on the dependability of memory, especially when a historical incident must be recalled through a fog of distorting stories. If we might be permitted, we would like to refer once more to that most sensational exhibit of groundless stories that quickly gained credence among honest people throughout America—the ascension robe story! In the light of the fact that good people, with no desire to deceive or defame, recalled in books of reminiscences that Millerites had worn such robes, though the documentary evidence of 1844 is overwhelmingly against it, we have no trouble in understanding how Amadon might have confused some facts with current fiction to produce the statement he made. EGWC 433.3

His article in the Battle Greek Journal seems to be the foundation on which the forbidding-looking edifice of a lawsuit threat is reared. The onlooker is permitted, or encouraged, to believe that underneath is a subfoundation of hard, flinty facts that support the lawsuit charge. Would the book really have been withdrawn from circulation unless there was a lawsuit threat? EGWC 434.1

This much can reasonably be assumed regarding the scurrilous article to which Amadon replied: If Mrs. White and the Review and Herald publishing house had really been threatened with a lawsuit, the fact would be known to the leaders of the dissident group—one of them had until a short time before been a member of the Review and Herald board of trustees. His connections with the publishing house extended back through the years. And would those who openly sought to defame Mrs. White, along with other leaders, have failed to capitalize on the sensational possibilities in a lawsuit threat? The answer to this question is so evident that the failure of the scurrilous article to present the lawsuit story would rightly provide the strongest evidence that the story was a myth. EGWC 434.2