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In the Desire of Ages Mrs. White describes the death of Judas:
"Later that same day, on the road from Pilate's hall to Calvary, there came an interruption to the shouts and jeers of the wicked throng who were leading Jesus to the place of crucifixion. As they passed a retired spot, they saw at the foot of a lifeless tree, the body of Judas. It was a most revolting sight. His weight had broken the cord by which he had hanged himself to the tree. In falling his body had been horribly mangled, and dogs were now devouring it. His remains were immediately buried out of sight; but there was less mockery among the throng, and many a pale face revealed the thoughts within." (Desire of Ages, p.772).
NOTE: The Bible says nothing about Judas dying, being eaten by dogs, or being buried: "And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself." (Matthew 27:5).
"Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out." (Acts 1:18).
Outside of the Bible, the most reliable source of information about the fate of Judas is found in the writings of Papias. Papias lived in the period of 70 to 155 AD. He was a bishop in Asia Minor and a disciple of the apostle John. Some scholars believe that John dictated his gospel to Papias who wrote it in what we know today as the gospel of John. Papias later wrote five volumes on Christianity, of which we have fragments today. One of those fragments tells of the fate of Judas:
"Judas was a terrible, walking example of ungodliness in this world, his flesh was bloated. For his eyelids were so swollen that he could not see the light at all, and his eyes could not be seen so far had they sunk below the outer surface. When he relieved himself there passed through it pus and worms from every part of his body, much to his shame. After much agony and punishment he finally died in his own place. And because of the stench the area is deserted and uninhabitable even now; in fact, to this day no one can pass that place unless they hold their nose, so great was the discharge from his body and so far did it spread over the ground." (Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord as quoted in Apollinaris of Laodicaea, The Apostolic Fathers, p.323-324, 1989, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan).
Notice from the above quotation:
Papias' description of the stench which made Judas' home uninhabitable correlates with the Biblical account of the fate of Judas' home:
"For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take." (Acts 1:20).
Mrs. White's description of Judas' death and burial provides no explanation as to why Judas' home would be left desolate and uninhabited. When someone died, their home was taken over by others. If Judas had been eaten by dogs and quickly buried in a field, why would his home have been uninhabitable? Papias' explanation of the disease and death of Judas, with its resulting stench, is far more plausible than Mrs. White's explanation.
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Over and over, Seventh-day Adventists have given Mrs. White the highest possible endorsement. On February 7, 1871, their General Conference passed the following resolution:
"That we reaffirm our abiding confidence in the Testimonies of Sister White to the church, as the teaching of the Spirit of God." (SDA Year Book for 1914, p.253).
"Our position on the Testimonies is like the keystone to the arch. Take that out, and there is no logical stopping place till all the special truths of the message are gone. Nothing is surer than this, that the message and the visions (of Mrs. White) belong together, and stand or fall together." (Review and Herald Supplement, August 14, 1883).
"The Spirit of Prophecy (Mrs. White's writings) is a fundamental part of this message. Since the rise of this message, this denomination has believed in the Spirit of Prophecy. We have preached it as widely as we have the Sabbath and other kindred truths, and believe it as thoroughly. To us it makes a vast difference whether one whom we have regarded from the rise of this message as being endowed with the prophetic gift, is a prophet of God, or whether she is not." (A Statement by the General Conference Committee, May, 1906, pp.10,86).
Notice that this church is built upon Mrs. White and her writings. They liken these writings to the keystone in the arch. The whole structure tumbles if that keystone is left out. Just so, the Seventh-day Adventist Church would fall if Mrs. White's writings were left out, they say, and truly too. By their own confession, that church is not built upon Jesus Christ and the Bible, but upon Mrs. White and her writings. The proper scriptural rule is: "The Bible, and the Bible only, as the rule of faith and practice." Seventh-day Adventists do not abide by this rule, but add to the Bible the writings of Mrs. White, and make them superior to the Bible; the keystone to their whole system, without which it would fall. Hence, according to their own statement, if left with the Bible only, without her writings, their church would fall. On what, then, is their church founded? On Mrs. White's writings, visions and dreams.
Now read this from G.A. Irwin who for many years was president of their General Conference. On page 1 of a tract entitled, "The Mark of the Beast," he says:
"It is from the standpoint of the light that has come through the Spirit of Prophecy, (Mrs. White's writings), that the question will be considered, believing as we do that the Spirit of Prophecy is the only infallible interpreter of Bible principles, since it is Christ through this agency giving the real meaning of his words."
Here we have an infallible female endorsed as such by that church. They claim for her exactly the same prerogative which the Catholic Church claims for the Pope; namely, that she is the only infallible interpreter of the Bible. No pope of Rome ever claimed more. The Mormons claim no more for Joseph Smith, nor Christian Scientists for Mrs. Eddy.
Now listen to the claim of inspiration and infallibility for Mrs. Eddy, as voiced in the Christian Science Sentinel, November 4, 1916:
"To grasp the real import of Christian Science, to gain some sense of its infinite scope, to realize its infallibility and render unquestioning obedience thereto, one must perceive it to be a revelation from God, hence unalterable truth. To believe in the inspiration of the Bible, and of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy, is a step in the right direction.
Furthermore, he recognizes the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science as the true and only possible Leader of Christian Scientists."
Here are two women, both living at the same time, teaching exactly opposite religious theories, both claiming to be divinely inspired, and both declared infallible and the only true guide. Which shall we believe?
Editors and ministers of the Adventist Church urge the "testimonies" of Mrs. White upon their people constantly, in their sermons and church papers. They quote her more than they do the Bible, and with the same authority.
Their ministers are required to study her writings with the Bible. Any interpretation she puts on a text, or any statement she makes on a subject, settles it beyond dispute. It is what God says, and that ends it.
Thus Uriah Smith, writing in 1868, defending her visions, says:
"We discard nothing that the visions have ever taught from beginning to end, from first to last." (The Visions of Mrs. E.G. White, p.40).
"As with the ancient prophets, the talking is done by the Holy Spirit through her vocal organs. The prophets spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (Review and Herald, October 5, 1914).
"Think you that he would choose an inferior mouthpiece through whom to instruct the remnant church? On the other hand, as it is the greatest crisis of all ages, we should naturally expect that the mouthpiece God would use for this period would be inferior to none in the past ages." (Review and Herald, August 26, 1915).
Language could not be stronger. Mrs. White was not inferior to any of the prophets of past ages. Hence she is equal to Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, Paul, and John the Revelator. This they teach constantly.
Now read what Mrs. White claims for her own writings. Defining her position, she says:
"In ancient times God spoke through the mouths of prophets and apostles. In these days he speaks to them by the Testimonies of his Spirit." (Testimonies, Volume 4, p.148; Volume 5, p.661).
Here she places herself on a level with all the Bible writers, both prophets and apostles. (See Hebrews 1:1,2.) Anyone who rejects or opposes her writings is branded as a rebel fighting against God. Thus she says:
"If you lessen the confidence of God's people in the testimonies he has sent them, you are rebelling against God as certainly as were Korah, Dathan and Abiram." (Testimonies, Volume 5, p.66).
Here she classes herself in authority with Moses. From this it will be seen that her followers have made no greater claims for her than she made for herself.
She claims that every line she writes, even in a private letter, is directly inspired by God, "the precious rays of light shining from the throne." (Testimonies, Volume 5, p.67). Of her own words she says: "It is God, and not an erring mortal, that has spoken." (Testimonies, Volume 3, p.257). She states over and over that those who doubt or oppose her are fighting against God, sinning against the Holy Ghost, thus "fighting the Spirit of God. Those. . . who would break down our testimony, I saw, are not fighting against us, but against God." (Ibid, p.260).
Again she says:
"When I went to Colorado, I wrote many pages to be read at your camp meeting. God was speaking through clay. You might say this communication was only a letter. Yes, it was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. In these letters which I write, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision - the precious rays of light shining from the throne." (Testimonies, Volume 5, pp.63-67).
Notice that she claims to be simply the mouthpiece for God. They are not her words, but God's words, the same as the Bible-God speaking through clay. All through her writings, designed especially for her own people, may be found expressions of this kind. In her books prepared for the public, however, all these expressions are carefully omitted.
As given in the back part of Life Sketches of Mrs. White, her books comprise a total of 13,351 pages. A regular Teacher's Bible, good-sized print, contains 771 pages. It will be seen, therefore, that Mrs. White's inspired books are seventeen times as large as our Bible.
Their ministers study all these books the same as God's Bible. An editorial in the Lake Union Herald, December 22, 1915, says: "We would urge all our people to study the Testimonies daily. Our workers, especially, should read them over and over again."
Here are alleged inspired writings, seventeen times as large as the Bible, to be read over and over again! To do this the ordinary person could read little else.
Mrs. White claims her testimonies were given because of the fact that Seventh-day Adventists were ignorant of the Bible:
"If you had made God's word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies." (Testimonies, Volume 5, p.605).
In the same paragraph she places her writings on the same par with the writings of Holy Scripture:
"I took the precious Bible and surrounded it with the several Testimonies for the Church, given for the people of God. Here, said I, the cases of nearly all are met. God has been pleased to give you line upon line and precept upon precept." (Testimonies, Volume 5, p.605).
Just as the Mormons add the Book of Mormon to the Scriptures, Mrs. White describes in visual terms how she places her Testimonies side-by-side with the Holy Word of God.
Let us compare the two:
Holy Word of God is:
Ellen White's Writings are:
Infallible (no mistakes)
Fallible (although she claimed inspiration)
A perfect revelation of God's will
(2 Timothy 3:16,17)
An imperfect revelation containing gross errors
Written by men inspired "by the Holy Ghost"
(2 Peter 2:21)
Up to 90%of her works were plagiarized from non-Adventist Christian authors
A perfect harmony throughout
Contains sharply contradictory testimonies
Written by almost 40 authors over thousands of years
Written by one author over 60 years
Prophecies never failed. Prophets never had to go back and delete out parts of their writings when they did not come to pass.
Contains glaring false prophecies. Mrs. White had to delete out portions of her visions regarding the shut door of salvation.
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According to Ellen White, at the return of Christ, the wicked are slain and the righteous are wisked away to heaven:
"Angels gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers' arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God." (Great Controversy, p.645).
The wicked are annihilated and the earth is left empty and desolate for 1,000 years:
"At the coming of Christ the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth, consumed with the spirit of His mouth and destroyed by the brightness of His glory. Christ takes His people to the City of God, and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants." (Great Controversy, p.657).
Satan is left to wander the earth alone for 1,000 years:
"And as the scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth, an uninhabited and dreary wilderness." (Great Controversy, p.657).
At the close of the 1,000 years Christ again returns to the earth. (Great Controversy, p.662)
Is this the picture of the Millennium portrayed in the Bible? Are the saints actually in heaven during the Millennium? Is the earth entirely desolate during the Millennium, inhabited only by Satan? Let us examine the Biblical evidence regarding the Millennium to determine if this is accurate.
mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:4,6-9).
Note: The Bottomless Pit is a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons. It is used nine times in the Bible and never refers to the inhabitable regions of the earth. Revelation 20:1-3 depicts the movement of Satan from his current abode, the earth, to a prison, within the lower regions of the earth, described as a "bottomless pit." From this region Satan is unable to tempt or harass for 1,000 years.
(Revelation 21:1). "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (2 Peter 3:13).
Adventists rely upon one solitary verse in the Bible to prove that Jesus takes the righteous back to heaven during the Millennium:
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:3).
Obviously the righteous will visit heaven and will have access to heaven during the Millennium. The question is whether or not they will live in heaven or live on earth during the Millennium. The weight of Biblical evidence presented above shows:
The Adventist teaching of a Millennium in heaven places them in a very difficult position of having to try and explain away the dozens of obvious references to an earthly Millennium in the Bible.
By the way, there is something more important than the location of the saints during the Millennium. It is whether or not you will be among those saints!
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The number 144,000 represents a problem for Ellen White. In various of her early writings, (Testimonies, Volume 1, p.59; Early Writings, p.14; Word to the Little Flock, p.14, etc), Mrs. White said that there will be literally 144,000 saints that will live until Jesus comes.
"Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus coming. The living Saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice. Then Jesus silver trumpet sounded as he descended. He gazed on the grave of the sleeping Saints and cried, awake, awake, awake. The graves opened and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted alleluia as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them." (Experiences and Views. p.11-13).
When the book that preceded, The Great Controversy, called Spiritual Gifts, was printed in 1860, this phrase was omitted. It does not appear in any later editions of The Great Controversy. Apparently the brethren judged that it could cause a "great controversy" to say that only 144,000 would be saved, when there are many more members in the church!
She taught later that those who die under what they call the third angel's message will be resurrected before Christ comes, and will take their places among the 144,000.
"When the voice of God came, the graves were shaken open, and those who died in faith under the third angel's message, came forth from their dusty beds glorified to hear the covenant of peace."
Following this is the general resurrection. She says:
"The earth mightily shook as the voice of the Son of God called forth the sleeping saints. They responded to the call and came forth clothed with glorious immortality crying victory, victory over death and the grave." (Spiritual Gifts, Volume 1, p.205-208).
Mrs. White was mistaken again for she died in 1915 and therefore the vision was false. She was also wrong in stating that there would be only 144,000 "living saints" at the hour of Jesus coming (p.59). The Bible says they would be without number. "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;" (Revelation7:9).
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These statements are perhaps the most shocking ever penned by Ellen White! They were so shockingly biased, not to mention unscientific, that they were removed when the book was reprinted:
"But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere." (Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 3, p.64).
"Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men." (Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 3, p.75).
But what are we to understand by "certain races of men?" She has not informed us in her writings, but left us to fix the stigma of amalgamation where we see fit. The interpretation has come to light. She told it to her husband, and he made it know to Elder Ingraham, and he divulged the secret that Sister White had seen that God never made the "Darkey" (ie. Negro).
The apostle Paul says, "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." (Acts 17:26).
Which shall we believe, the apostle Paul or E.G. White? One has to believe the Apostle and that the colored man is a creature of God. If he is not, why preach to him and try to save him. Oh shame on such visions! Has not the poor Negro been debased low enough with chains and shackles, without depriving him of the honor of being a creature of God and a human being?
Mrs. White believed the sexual union between man and beast before and after the flood produced different, amalgamated species. This was an old myth that circulated among the uneducated in the 19th century and has no scientific basis. In fact, science has proven that it is impossible for human sperm to impregnate the eggs of non-humans. This statement was so absurd and unscientific that it was removed from later publications.
Mrs. White said the results of amalgamation could be seen "in certain races of men." We have been waiting 140 years for Adventist officials to tell us which human race is the result of amalgamation of man and beast.
Stinging criticism of Ellen White in the 1860's forced church leaders to attempt to defend their prophet. In 1868, four years after the amalgamation statements first appeared in print, Adventist leader Uriah Smith, who at that time still professed belief in Ellen White as a prophet, published his defense of Ellen White. In that book he conjectured that the union of man with beast had created races such as the "wild Bushmen of Africa". (See The Visions of Mrs. E.G. White, p.1030). By the way, you will not find this book in any SDA bookstores today!
James White "carefully" reviewed Smith's book prior to its publication, and then recommended it in glowing terms to the readers of the church's official magazine, the Review and Herald:
"The Association has just published a pamphlet entitled, "The Visions of Mrs. E.G. White, A Manifestation of Spiritual Gifts According to the Scriptures." It is written by the editor of the Review and Herald. While carefully reading the manuscript, I felt grateful to God that our people could have this able defense of those views they so much love and prize, which others despise and oppose." (Review and Herald, August 15, 1868).
Smith did not publish this book without careful review from the prophet's husband, James White. His endorsement of the book indicates his approval of the explanation. In fact, because it established Mrs. White's claims, James and Ellen took 2,000 copies of Smith's book with them to peddle at camp meetings that year! By promoting and selling Smith's book the Whites placed their stamp of approval on his explanation of the amalgamation statement.
While Smith may have limited the amalgamation to the Bushmen, some SDA's have gone further. Sadly, behind closed doors in private conversations some white American SDA's believe this "inspired" statement applies to the entire black race.
E.G. Whites Visions teach doctrines that are
absurd, inconsistent and contradictory to the Bible
Giants existed from the beginning of creation
"Those who lived before the flood came forth with their giant-like stature, more than twice as tall as men now living. The generations after the flood, were less in stature. There was a continual decrease through successive generations down to the last that lived upon the earth." (Spiritual Gifts, Volume 3, p.84).
According to the American Tract Societies Bible Dictionary, in an article on Giants, it states: "If we judge from the mummies of Egypt and from arms and implements of the earliest antiquity found in ancient tombs, in bogs, and in buried cities, we should conclude that mankind (as a whole) never exceeded in the average, their present stature."
Enters non-existent temple
"I saw an angel swiftly flying to me. He carried me from the earth to the Holy City. In the city I saw a temple which I entered." (Experience and Views, p.16).
The Bible says in Revelation 21:22, "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."
Sin against the Holy Spirit
She has taught in a suppressed vision that to speak against her visions is to sin against the Holy Ghost:
"I saw the state of some who stood on the present truth, but disregarded the visions, the way God had chosen to teach in some cases those who erred from Bible truth. I saw that in striking against the visions they did not strike against the worm the feeble instrument that God spake through, but against the Holy Ghost. I saw that it was a small thing to speak against the instrument, but it was dangerous to fight the words of God. I saw that if they were in error and God chose to show them their errors through visions, they would be left to take their own way and run in the way of error, and think they were right until they would find it out too late. Then in the time of trouble I heard them cry to God in agony. Why didst thou not show us our wrong that we might have got right and been ready for this time. Then an angel pointed to them and said, My Father taught but you would not be taught. He spoke through visions but you disregarded his voice and he gave you up to your own ways, to be filled with your own doings." (Visions published at Topsham, by James White Jan. 31, 1849).
Why was this awful penalty for rejecting these visions not published with the rest of the vision in Experience and Views? Is it because it is not as great a sin to reject them now as then? Why was it suppressed if it was the word of God?
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"I have received letters questioning me in regard to the proper attitude to be taken by a person offering prayer to the Sovereign of the universe. Where have our brethren obtained the idea that they should stand upon their feet when praying to God? One who has been educated for about five years in Battle Creek was asked to lead in prayer before Sister White should speak to the people. But as I beheld him standing upright upon his feet while his lips were about to open in prayer to God, my soul was stirred within me to give him an open rebuke. Calling him by name, I said, "Get down upon your knees. This is the proper position always." (Selected Messages, Volume 2, p.311).
"Both in public and private worship, it is our duty to bow down before God when we offer our petitions to Him." (Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p.311).
"To bow down when in prayer to God is the proper attitude to occupy." (Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p.312).
"We must pray constantly, with a humble mind and a meek and lowly spirit. We need not wait for an opportunity to kneel before God. We can pray and talk with the Lord wherever we may be." (Selected Messages, Volume 3, p.266).
"It is not always necessary to bow upon your knees in order to pray. Cultivate the habit of talking with the Saviour when you are alone, when you are walking, and when you are busy with your daily labor." (The Ministry of Healing, pp.510, 511).
Elder D. E. Robinson, one of Ellen White's secretaries from 1902 to 1915, reported:
"I HAVE BEEN PRESENT REPEATEDLY AT CAMP MEETINGS AND GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSIONS IN WHICH SISTER WHITE HERSELF HAS OFFERED PRAYER WITH THE CONGREGATION STANDING, AND SHE HERSELF STANDING." (D. E. Robinson letter, March 4, 1934).
The Bible says in Luke 18:13, "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." And in Mark 11:25, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." Once again, Mrs. White contradicted herself and the Bible.
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One popular Adventist legend tells of Mrs. White performing a feat of supernatural strength. She purportedly held up a 40 POUND Bible above her head for over 30 minutes, turned the pages, and without looking, quoted the verses she was pointing at with her finger. J.N. Loughborough describes the incident as follows:
"I will here state some facts respecting her third vision...related to me by Mrs. White's father and mother, by her sister, Mrs. Sarah Belden, and others. In the room where the vision was given, there was lying on the bureau a very large family Bible...and weighs a little over 18 pounds. While in vision, she arose, and took this heavy Bible on her left arm, the book lying open, and held it out at right angles with her body; and then for over half an hour, with her right hand, turned from place to place, and pointed to different texts of Scripture, which she repeated while her eyes were looking upward...in every instance she was repeating the Scripture upon which her finger was resting." (Great Second Advent Movement, pp.236-37).
Such feats of supernatural strength should have been enough to convince the most hardened skeptic. Among those present at this event were Mrs. White's father, mother, and sister. Strangely enough, her own family were not convinced by this awesome display of strength. None of her close family members ever became a believer in her visions or joined the Adventist church.
The fact that those witnessing the event were not convinced is cause for concern. It calls into question whether or not anything supernatural actually occurred. One would have expected that if Mrs. White had indeed received supernatural strength, then her own family would have been convinced that her visions were from God and would have joined the Advent movement.
Perhaps one of the best people to assess whether or not anything supernatural happened is SDA General Conference president A.G. Daniels, who knew Mrs. White for over forty years. Listen to what he said on July 30, 1919, at the Conference on the Use of the Spirit of Prophecy:
"Now with reference to the evidences: I differ with some of the brethren who have put together proofs or evidences of the genuineness of this gift. In this respect, I believe that the strongest proof is found in the fruits of this gift to the church, not in physical and outward demonstrations. For instance, I have heard some ministers preach, and have seen it in writing, that Sister White once carried a heavy Bible, I believe they said it weighed 40 pounds and on her out-stretched hand, and looking up toward the heavens quoted texts and turned the leaves over and pointed to the texts, with her eyes toward the heavens. I do not know whether that was ever done or not. I am not sure. I did not see it, and I do not know that I ever talked with anybody that did see it. But, brethren, I do not count that sort of thing as a very great proof. I do not think that is the best kind of evidence. If I were a stranger in an audience, and heard a preacher enlarging on that, I would have my doubts. That is, I would want to know if he saw it. He would have to say, No, he never did. Then I would ask, Did you ever see the man that did see it? And he would have to answer, No, I never did. Well, just how much of that is genuine, and how much has crawled into the story - I do not know. But I do not think that is the kind of proof we want to use."
Mrs. Lunt, a witness to the event, wrote:
"The Teale Family Bible, weighing 18 pounds was...taken from the bureau...it was held on her open hand at an angle of 45 degrees...for several minutes..." (Great Second Advent Movement, p.238).
Please note that it is much easier to hold a weight at a 45-degree angle to the body rather than a 90-degree angle. Let us separate the myths from the facts:
Bible weighed 40 pounds
Bible weighed 18 pounds
Bible held with arm straight out (90-degrees to body)
Bible held up at a 45-degree angle
Bible was held up for over 30 minutes
Bible was held up for several minutes
Mrs. White pointed and quoted verses without looking
It is physically impossible for the right hand to point to verses while holding an open Bible, 11 by 27 inches in size, up at an angle of 45 degrees with the left hand. Try it.
Visitors to the White Estate in Takoma Park, Maryland, can view the 40 pound Bible that Mrs. White purportedly held up in vision. Former SDA, Wallace D. Slattery writes of an experience:
"My aide in my last SDA teaching position in Pennsylvania was a great-granddaughter of Sister White. I discussed this supposed event with her, and she agreed that undoubtedly it never happened. She telephoned her mother, who worked at the White Estate in Washington, D.C., and asked her, "Why do you still show that big Bible to people who come in, when you know that the event never took place?" Her mother answered, "But you should see their faces when they see it!" (Are Seventh-day Adventists False Prophets? A Former Insider Speaks Out, p.5).
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Elder Joseph Bates first met Elder White and his wife in 1846. He was keeping the Sabbath, and urged it upon them. Neither saw any great importance in it at first, but nominally accepted it to please Bates, as it was important to gain his influence. Mrs. White was having visions which Bates did not believe were of God; but they were anxious to convince him that they were genuine. Bates had been a sea captain, and had consequently studied the stars; had, in fact, become enthusiastic about astronomy, which Mrs. White assured him she had no prior knowledge of.
In the presence of Mrs. White and others he had often talked about the different planets, their positions, moons, and the "opening heavens." Mrs. White seemed to pay no attention to the subject, or to have any interest in it. But soon she had a vision about the various planets, which is thus told by Elder Loughborough on page 258 of his book, The Great Second Advent Movement:
"One evening at a conference in Topsham, Maine, in 1846, in the house of Mr. Curtis, and in the presence of Elder (Captain) Bates, who was yet undecided in regard to these manifestations, Mrs. White, while in vision, began to talk about the stars, giving a glowing description of the rosy-tinted belts which she saw across the surface of some planet, and added, I see four moons. Oh, said Elder Bates, she is viewing Jupiter. Then, having made motions as though traveling through space, she began giving descriptions of belts and rings in their ever-varying beauty, and said, I see eight moons. She is describing Saturn. Next came a description of Uranus with its six moons, then a wonderful description of the opening heavens."
This was sufficient, and accomplished its purpose. Elder Bates was convinced, and became a firm believer in the visions.
Here is a letter written by Mrs. Truesdale, who was present when Mrs. White received her "solar system" vision:
"Sister White was in very feeble health, and while prayers were offered in her behalf, the Spirit of God rested upon us. We soon noticed that she was insensible to earthly things. This was her first view of the planetary world. After counting aloud the moons of Jupiter, and soon after those of Saturn, she gave a beautiful description of the rings of the latter. She then said, The inhabitants are a tall, majestic people, so unlike the inhabitants of earth. Sin has never entered here."
"It was evident from Brother Bates' smiling face that his past doubts in regard to the source of her visions were fast leaving him. We all knew that Captain Bates was a great lover of astronomy, as he would often locate many of the heavenly bodies for our instruction. When Sister White replied to his questions, after the vision, saying that she had never studied or otherwise received knowledge in this direction, he was filled with joy and happiness. He praised God, and expressed his belief that this vision concerning the planets was given that he might never again doubt." (Taken from Mrs. Truesdales letter dated January 27, 1891).
But what are the facts? Mrs. White simply saw what her companions at the time generally believed and talked about. Had God given her that view about the planets and the number of moons to each he would have given her the correct number in each case, and thus she would have revealed what astronomers at the time did not know, but later discovered. This would have proved her vision to be of God. But, blundering as she did, proves that the Lord was not in it. Whether she pretended to see all this to win Elder Bates, or whether she really imagined she saw it, the fact remains that her statement of the number of moons to each planet was
incorrect, and not in harmony with what we know to be the truth about them. Here are the cold facts, which cannot be denied that prove her revelations to be wholly unreliable.
(The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, Copyright 1995 by Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.) (E.E. Frank of New York City.)
The conclusion is obvious - Mrs. Whites claim was false. She did not see Jupiter, Saturn or Uranus as she said. Yet she said that the Lord showed her all these things in a vision.
This vision of the moons, corresponding exactly with what Elder Bates believed, convinced him that her visions were of God. He asked her if she had ever studied astronomy, and she replied by saying that she did not remember ever having looked in a book on astronomy. That settled it with him. But she could easily have learned all this from his own previous conversations. Later discoveries have now shown that both Jupiter and Saturn have more moons than she said. Elder Loughborough is obliged to confess this. In a footnote on page 258 of his book already quoted he says: "More moons to both Jupiter and Saturn have since been discovered."
As a matter of fact, Mrs. White herself, relating this vision, described Saturn as having only seven moons, the number then assigned to that planet by astronomers. Here are her own words in, "Early Writings," page 32: "Then I was taken to a world which had seven moons." But by the time Elder Loughborough had written his book, "Rise and Progress of Seventh-day Adventists," another moon had been discovered, and the publishers had the audacity to change her words to read, "I see eight moons." (See page 126 of that work.) This was in 1892. When Elder Loughborough revised this book in 1905, and issued it under another title, still more moons had been discovered to this planet, hence his admission.
The progressive discoveries of astronomy since Mrs. White had that vision have proved her revelation to be false. But it was a masterstroke to win an influential convert to her cause. And it succeeded, fraudulent as it was.
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