How the Seventh-Day Adventists’ Spirit of Prophecy was Born

From The White Lie by Walter T. Rea, p.222, 223 

Published in Jesus People Newsletter, Editor Thomas Adcock, 4338 Third Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95817, Phone: (916) 456-9085, Email:, Website:

During the mid seventies, I, along with many others, was doing work concerning the writings of Ellen G. White, the Seventh-day Adventist prophet. What we were all finding was disturbing, to say the least. It was not that others before us had not known about the copy work from other authors, that was done in the writing of the materials under Ellen's name. It was not even the amount. If we who were doing the research had made any contribution to Adventist thinking and scholarship, it was the extent of copy work that was not known before by the members of the church as a whole, which we all uncovered. That amount was so overwhelming that it prompted the 1980 Glendale Committee to review the evidence to state that (1) that we recognize that Ellen White, in her writings, used various sources more extensively than we had previously believed. (2) That, as soon as possible, a plan be developed for thoroughly informing our church administrators concerning the nature and extent of Ellen White's use of sources. Because others within the church had from the earliest beginnings of Adventism discovered that Mrs. White had plagiarized and they had said so, the fact of her doing so was never seriously challenged by the church authorities. 

The defense for her actions that was used up until our time was that the amount was the important issue and that that amount varied from 8% to 10%, depending upon which apologist one read or wanted to believe. It was not until the church hired Dr. Fred Veltman to study the book Desire of Ages that the figure was raised to 30% or more depending upon the chapters chosen in the book one was using. After great expense and almost eight years, Veltman confirmed what other studies showed, that depending upon the material used from Ellen White's writing, the copy work could be as much as 90%. In fact, Dr. Don McAdams, an Adventist scholar, had stated in the 1980 Glendale meeting that “If every paragraph in the book Great Controversy, written by Ellen White, was properly footnoted, then every paragraph would have to be footnoted.” That statement has never been seriously challenged by any member of the church. 

It is clear to any reasonable scholar that the church has not dealt with the real issues that the many studies have raised, nor have they followed through with their first commitment that they would keep in touch with me and inform the church as a whole what the real issues are. Instead, they have continued to cloud the issues of copying and plagiarizing with other less important issues, such as what is the proper interpretation of inspiration? The interpretation or even the thought of inspiration is a word and concept that theologians have argued and debated and even killed each other over for almost two thousand years. Administrators or scholars of the Adventist church still have not answered their own hired scholar, Dr. Fred Veltman, when after finishing his study, he asked, Why did Ellen G. White deny that she ever copied? Another false issue that is often raised is that she only did what all the Bible writers did. To raise this reasoning is hardly worth refuting, in as much as Adventists have always made it clear to the general public, if not the membership at large that they did not consider Ellen White equal to, or similar to the Bible writers and their works. 

The real issue, of course, is one that the church will not or dare not debate or discuss in public debate with me or any scholar who has studied her writings. But that real issue is greatly discussed and debated by scholars of the church and honest thinkers and layman who want to know the truth concerning the church and it's writings and it's ‘spirit of prophecy.' The real issue is, of course, how much was the copy work in all of her writings of human function and origin and how much of it, if any, was of divine origin or a supernatural gift from God.? How reliable is the information contained in the books under Ellen White's name? A related issue, depending upon how one answers the first issue, is what kind of a god does the Seventh-Day Adventist Church worship? Is it one who is above deceit and lying and one who does not need the words of others to deliver ideas and thoughts in the mouth or mind of another who has been copied, or is he a God who would play tricks and clever games on His creation? 

This study, which I call How the Thoughts and Suppositions of Other Writers Became God's Absolutes Through Ellen G. White, will show that each time Ellen White said “I was shown” to give the impression that God was speaking through her, she was in reality copying other peoples thoughts and impressions, often word for word, without giving credit to her human sources. The study will also show that as she copied, starting at the very beginning of her writings to the very end, that even in her most serious and some think ‘sacred testimonies', she was turning the suppositions and fantasies of those writers she was copying, into her absolutes from God, as if she was getting her ‘insights' and ‘inspiration' from a higher source.

No reasonable person after checking the references given and the copy work presented could seriously argue in public or private that “God” had anything to do with such deception. If any other group or denomination on earth presented such information and writings and they were exposed as the following study shows. Seventh-Day Adventists would be the first to condemn that material as false and seriously flawed as far as having anything to do with a reasonable God. Indeed, they have done just that in the book The Great Controversy, supposedly communicated by God to the world through Ellen White. The book attacks almost every religious system in the civilized world but yet makes it clear that God only approves of those Adventists who believe, live and practice what Ellen White, their prophet, has said God told them to believe. If Adventists would confess that they have been in error in their assessment of Mrs. White and her writings, they could then go on to a more sensible approach by using what she wrote as instruction for her time, by men and woman of their time, reaching as they and all of us are, for a better understanding of God and how he instructs men and woman of our time. This is what I hope this study will accomplish for those that read it without anger or prejudice.

As a former minister of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church who was relieved of my Church credentials because I allowed the church and public to know of my findings. What I discovered does not shake my faith in God or his plan of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ. In fact, it was my desire to move Adventism away from many of it's fanatical views given through the “insights” of Ellen White. Recognizing the Adventist mind set, there will be those that will call down heavens wrath upon me and this study, as has always been the case when some one past or present attempts to change men's thinking in any age about anything.

One of the unwritten stores in Adventist history is the influence that James White had in forming the ideas and sentences that came out under Ellen's name and pen. Although not noted as a literary writer or as a theologian, James did produce four published books. Two of these were Life Incidents in Connection with the Great Advent Movement, as Illustrated by the Three Angels of Revelation XIV, published in 1868, and in 1875 Sketches of the Christian Life and Public Labors of William Miller: Gathered from his memoirs by the Late Sylvester Bliss, and from Other Sources. Both books were almost totally copied from others. The one on William Miller was taken from Sylvester Bliss (who in 1853 had written Memoirs of William Miller). The theology of Life Incidents was copied substantially from Uriah Smith and J.N. Andrews.[1] Neither of these books was ever printed again under the name of James White as far as is known.

But they were indeed reprinted under another name, that of Ellen G. White, his wife, a few years after his death in 1881—but under the title The Great Controversy (1884). And this production was sold to the believers and the world as the work of Ellen and the angels. Although it had been doctored and padded with other material in the usual manner, clearly it was material that had been published earlier under the name of James. What the people were not told was that the heart of this new revelation had been printed sixteen years before, and that the theme and thesis had been carried over literally and liberally into Ellen's new Great Controversy.

Book Offer: The exposing of Ellen G. White as an absolute fraud! The White Lie” by Walter Rea (409 pages) Send a $25 donation to Jesus People Information Center. 4338 Third Ave, Sacramento. CA 95817

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