The Mistakes of Ellen G White

by Mark Swarbrick

Who Was Ellen G White?

Ellen G White was an uneducated woman who lived 1827 to 1915 and was a self-proclaimed prophetess and the founder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Similar to many cult organizers, she became quite wealthy by claiming to have visions and dreams that revealed new doctrines for her followers. Her home is kept by the church as a sort of shrine. Tours are offered to her disciples, wherein she is spoken of with great reverence and devotion. (Mormons do a similar thing with Joseph Smith.)

A number of early church leaders who had worked closely with Mrs. White, claimed that she was lacking in the fruit of the Spirit, being domineering, controlling, and often hard to get along with. She tended toward emotional instability and often suffered from depression, doubt, and despair.  Her husband said that she would often wake up in the night and shake him awake, saying she was terrified that she would become an infidel.

Adventists consider White’s writings to be inspired, just like the Bible. She and her husband were originally part of the fanatical Millerite Movement, wherein people quit their jobs, sold all their possessions, and went and sat on hilltops waiting for Christ’s return on the day specified by William Miller. When that didn’t happen, she claimed Miller’s prediction was correct, but was only wrong in one point: That Christ entered a sanctuary in heaven (as opposed to earth) in 1844. By “correcting” Miller’s error, she was able to induce many Millerites to follow her and thus was born the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Mrs. White, suffered a severe brain injury when she was nine years old. The severe blow to the head from a rock put her in a coma for three weeks. Her brain injury caused Temporal Lobe Epilepsy with Hysterical Dissociative Episodes wherein she would hear voices in her head and see hallucinatory visions. She told her disciples that she had been given over 2,000 visions which she at various times claimed came from her spirit guide, or an angel, or Jesus Christ himself.  See Ellen White’s Medical Diagnoses.

Ellen G White’s Errors

Ellen White espoused many errors, such as:

  1. She believed Christ was returning in 1843.
  2. Then she believed Christ was returning in 1844.
  3. She wrote that that God put wings on her so her body could fly through outer space. She claimed to have done this, visiting other planets and observed the inhabitants. She did not want to come back to planet earth, but she claims an angel told her if she was faithful and stayed saved, she could fly back there someday – her and the other 144,000 members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. She did not explain how wings are any benefit in outer space where there is no air. Apparently, she was unaware of that scientific fact. (Early Writings, pp. 39, 40)
  4. She wrote that only 144,000 Seventh Day Adventists will be saved, saying that when Christ returns, only 144,000 Seventh Day Adventists will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. (Great Controversy, page 452, 1884 Version, by Ellen G White) All the rest of mankind, Baptists, Methodists, Assembly of God, Independent churches, indeed, all other churches, and all who believe in Christ, will be destroyed, along with all unbelievers. Think about that – only 144,000 Adventists are going to be saved. What absurdity! Adventists might have been deceived by that back in Ellen White’s time in the 1800s, for there were less than 90,000 Adventists worldwide then. Now there are nearly twenty-two million. So only 144,000 Adventists out of twenty-two million will be saved? That means only one person out of every one-hundred-fifty-two Adventists are going to make it to heaven. That is supposed to be God’s Church? If you are SDA, look around you next Saturday and count the people in church. If less than 152, most likely neither you nor anyone else in the service is going to be saved. If there are over 300 people, maybe two of you will make it. That is according to Ellen G White. All the rest will be destroyed. This is the one and only true church? That is what Adventists believe. Why is God’s one and only true church so full of lost people?
  5. She said the Sanctuary was on Earth. Later she changed her mind and said it was in Heaven.
  6. She said the door of mercy was shut in 1844 and no one else could get saved. Later she changed her mind.
  7. She claimed to have had a vision that all women must where pants under their dresses. Later she abandoned the idea.

Ellen G. White taught that her church was the one and only true church on earth. All others were doomed, especially people who went to other churches, saying they all had the mark of the beast because they worshipped God on Sunday. She exercised absolute strict control over the cult that she founded, going so far as to tell people where they could work or live and who they could marry and what they should believe or not believe. Many of Ellen G White’s early writings have been altered because some of what she said is now disproven or considered to be utterly ridiculous. In later years she suffered from dementia and lost her mind.

Adventists are very keen on keeping the law and obeying every point of Scripture. Yet, there is one teaching by the Apostle Paul which they completely ignore…

“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” (1 Timothy 2:11-14)

“As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission…If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” (1 Corinthians 14:33-35)

Because of these commands, most churches for the past 2,000 years have not allowed a senior pastor to be other than a man. Not even Seventh Day Adventist churches will ordain a female. Yet for some reason, they have allowed a prophetess to instruct them in doctrine and organize their church. They considering her writings as inspired by God, quoting her the way Christians quote the Apostle Paul.

In spite of these orders from the apostle, Adventists have let this woman who calls herself a prophetess run their church and run their lives. Even today, after she is long dead, Adventist men surrender their manhood and allow this woman to dictate doctrine to them from the grave.

Ellen G White was wrong many times about many things. So why believe anything she said now?

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