Ellen G. White and Her Critics
What If She Had Forgotten Her Children?
There seems clearly implied in the charge before us that Mrs. White did wrong in giving any money to her children. But what if she had not given anything to them? Then we would hear another kind of charge. Some one would piously quote Paul: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Timothy 5:8. No matter which way Mrs. White moved in this matter she could not hope to escape criticism. We are glad she moved to remember her children. EGWC 529.2
But the critic reminds us that she remembered them with royalty money she received by exercising her gift as a prophet. Indeed! And why should a prophet be penalized? How did she pay her grocery bill and coal bill and any other kind of material bill? Was it not from money she received through exercising her gift as a prophet of the Lord? Paul says, concerning the gifts of the Spirit: “God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:28. Now, no one would think it wrong for an apostle to remember one of his children with a small fraction of any earthly goods he might have, or for a teacher to do so, or for conference administrators, who have the gift of “government.” Then why should it be considered amiss for a prophet to do the same? EGWC 529.3
However, Mrs. White’s children, in return for an equitable cash gift, signed a quitclaim to any continuing interest in the estate—of which the royalty was the chief part. Thus all the royalty money, for many years, has been going directly and exclusively to the church, and will continue to do so. EGWC 530.1
It is an interesting fact that a present-day critic offers to the public copies of her will—for a price. * Thus, actually, the only private individual who receives any continuing income as a result of Mrs. White’s will is the critic who publishes and sells it at so much per copy! EGWC 530.2
We agree with the earlier critic who opened his chapter on Mrs. White’s finances with the words: “There is no example in the Bible where a prophet took advantage of his inspiration to enrich himself. The prophets of the Bible generally worked hard, had little and died poor.” Mrs. White worked hard; even her critics admit that. She had little, for all the money that came in flowed out immediately to good causes. She died poor; the critics emphasize that fact. Thus by their own admissions and by the undebatable evidence Mrs. White compares very favorably in financial as well as in other matters with the prophets of the Bible. EGWC 530.3