How God Protected Ellen White’s Writings 

Part 2


Some of Ellen’s most dynamic and hard-hitting testimonies were sent to the Review for publication as a small Testimony book. Severe rebukes were in the letters it contained. Yet the brethren printed it. This was Testimony 31. Read it for yourself; it is powerful (now in 5 Testimonies 9-248).

It is charged that a name was omitted from one of the testimonies. But names were routinely omitted from all printed testimonies. It is also said that the title of one testimony was later changed from “Testimonies Rejected” to “Testimonies Slighted.” But two facts should be kept in mind:

First, Ellen generally did not write the titles for the testimonies she sent out. That was generally done at the press. So the press changed the title it had earlier assigned to that printed letter.

Second, “slighted” and “rejected” mean essentially the same thing. If I give you a message and you slight it, you have ignored and rejected it. That is what the word, “slight,” means.

“Slight, verb, 1. To treat with disrespect or indifference or with a marked lack of consideration. 2. To treat as unimportant.”—Macmillan Dictionary.

If they had wanted to change the meaning, they would have entitled it, “Another Testimony,” “An Interesting Testimony,” or something similar.

Our current edition of Early Writings was also printed in 1882. Church leaders, in attendance at the 1879 General Conference Session, had requested that the book be printed.

This new Early Writings was a reprint of James White’s earlier printing of three publications: Experience and Views; Supplement; and Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1. Several copies of those earlier booklets had been made, and copies were scarce. When James had earlier reprinted Experience and Views, several sentences had been inadvertently omitted. The Review, in 1882, did not realize this and reprinted James’ earlier edition.


The Lord communicated continually with Ellen; and, in making the changeover in her writing work after James’ death, He told her two things:

(1) She could trust her son, William C. White (W.C. White). She would be able to give him assignments which he could capably handle. He would be entirely trustworthy, and would be a good counselor and helper.

“While my husband lived, he acted as a helper and counselor in the sending out of the messages that were given to me. We traveled extensively. Sometimes light would be given to me in the night season, sometimes in the daytime before large congregations. The instruction I received in vision was faithfully written out by me, as I had time and strength for the work. Afterward we examined the matter together, my husband correcting grammatical errors and eliminating needless repetition. Then it was carefully copied for the persons addressed, or for the printer.

“As the work grew, others assisted me in the preparation of matter for publication. After my husband’s death, faithful helpers joined me, who labored untiringly in the work of copying the testimonies and preparing articles for publication.

“But the reports that are circulated, that any of my helpers are permitted to add matter or change the meaning of the messages I write out, are not true.

“While we were in Australia the Lord instructed me that W.C. White should be relieved from the many burdens his brethren would lay upon him, that he might be more free to assist me in the work the Lord has laid upon me. The promise had been given, ‘I will put My Spirit upon him, and give him wisdom.’ Since my return to America I have several times received instruction that the Lord has given me W.C. White to be my helper, and that in this work the Lord will give him of His Spirit.”—1 Selected Messages, 50.


(2) The Lord also revealed to Ellen that she should get all her earlier testimonies reprinted in larger volumes; and, before publication, they should be carefully checked for typographical errors. This work should be entrusted to Marian Davis; William; and his wife, Mary.

By this date, 31 Testimony pamphlets had been published, each totaling 16 to 240 pages. In the latter part of 1881, the three helpers set to work reading through that material and correcting it.

The critics charge that it was terrible that they did this. Yet if they had done anything wrong, God would immediately have told Ellen.

This whole business of doubting the veracity of the Spirit of Prophecy books is based on an underlying contempt for God’s protecting care of His Word.

The false assumption is that God would surely tell Ellen about something being done wrong across the ocean, but He would not tell her about something others were doing wrong with her writings! That charge is an insult to God!

When corrections were made on part of the Testimonies, one of the three helpers would go down to the Pacific Press, in Oakland, and oversee the setting of it in type, checking of the galley proofs, and the preparation of printing plates. (It is for this reason that Pacific Press now prints most of her books; Ellen was living in California, at that time, and had her helpers see each book through to printing.)

“In late 1881 Marian Davis and Willie and Mary White began giving attention to what might be needed in the way of revising the wording, correcting imperfect grammar, or making clear the meaning intended by Ellen White. As the work was done, type was set and printing plates were made.”—A.L. White, 3 E.G. White Biography, 217.

Ellen’s helpers were extremely careful not to make a mistake. By May 1883, Mary was carefully preparing an index to Volume 1 of Testimonies for the Church.

The critics will tell you not to use the indexes at the back of Ellen’s books, because they are not inspired!

Earlier, at James’ request, the 1878 General Conference Session had voted that the Testimonies should be reprinted in larger volumes. Likewise, now in November 1883, while he and Ellen were attending that year’s Session, William White asked the leaders to issue a resolution which would clearly explain to the believers what Ellen and her helpers had been doing for two years (since the fall of 1881).

“When W.C. White and his mother went to the General Conference session in Battle Creek in November 1883, he took with him a report of the work in preparing the Testimonies for publication in convenient permanent form. He called for a resolution of explanation and General Conference support.”—A.L. White, 3 E.G. White Biography, 218.

The action taken was done in approval of what Ellen and her three helpers were already doing, and would continue to do until completion. It has been charged that the men appointed to a special committee changed the Testimonies. That is not true. Ellen’s own helpers (Marian Davis and William and Mary White) made all the corrections under her direction, in California, and checked the galley proofs prior to printing. Most of the men on that committee were at Battle Creek, busy with other activities. It was just a figurehead committee. The five members of that committee were: W.C. White, S.N. Haskell, J.H. Waggoner, Uriah Smith, and G.I. Butler. Three of the five committee members (W.C. White, Haskell, and Waggoner) were solid defenders of the Spirit of Prophecy. Smith and Butler, in later years (especially as a result of the Minneapolis crisis), become more tepid.

Here is the official resolution, made by the 1883 Session, at W.C. White’s request:

 “Whereas, Some of the bound volumes of the Testimonies for the Church are out of print, so that full sets cannot be obtained at the office; and—

“Whereas, There is a constant and urgent call for the reprinting of these volumes; therefore—

“Resolved, That we recommend their republication in such a form as to make four volumes of seven or eight hundred pages each.

“Whereas, Many of these testimonies were written under the most unfavorable circumstances, the writer being too heavily pressed with anxiety and labor to devote critical thought to the grammatical perfection of the writings, and they were printed in such haste as to allow these imperfections to pass uncorrected; and—

“Whereas, We believe the light given by God to His servants is by the enlightenment of the mind, thus imparting the thoughts, and not (except in rare cases) the very words in which the ideas should be expressed; therefore—

“Resolved, That in the republication of these volumes such verbal changes be made as to remove the above-named imperfections, as far as possible, without in any measure changing the thought; and further

“Resolved, That this body appoint a committee of five to take charge of the republication of these volumes according to the above preambles and resolutions.”—3 Selected Messages, 96.

It is charged that the above resolution entitled men to change all Ellen White’s future books. That is not true; the resolution only lists the first four volumes of the Testimonies.

It is charged that the resolution entitled men in Battle Creek to make those changes. That is not true either. We have seen that the changes were all made in California, at Ellen White’s home (at that time in Healdsburg). One of the workers would then take them to the press and oversee the proper typesetting of the new larger-volume editions of the Testimonies.

It is charged that none of those changes should have been made because God dictates the words and they cannot afterward be changed. That is not true either.

Two errors are inherent here:


(1) The error of word inspiration:

Ellen White has carefully explained the truth of this matter. The holy Scriptures—both the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy—were given by thought inspiration, not word inspiration. God guides the thoughts and concepts of the prophet, who then selects the actual words to be written down. None of God’s creatures are puppets. Look about you at all of God’s creatures. We are all given free will. A classic example of this is to be found in comparing the four Gospels. Each writer saw the situation a little differently.

“The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. Different meanings are expressed by the same word; there is not one word for each distinct idea. The Bible was given for practical purposes.”—1 Selected Messages, 20.

“The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers.

“It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the Word of God.”—Manuscript 24, 1886; 1 Selected Messages, 21.

“There is variety in a tree, there are scarcely two leaves just alike. Yet this variety adds to the perfection of the tree as a whole.

“In our Bible, we might ask, Why need Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Gospels, why need the Acts of the Apostles, and the variety of writers in the Epistles, go over the same thing?

“The Lord gave His Word in just the way He wanted it to come. He gave it through different writers, each having his own individuality, though going over the same history. Their testimonies are brought together in one Book, and are like the testimonies in a social meeting. They do not represent things in just the same style. Each has an experience of his own, and this diversity broadens and deepens the knowledge that is brought out to meet the necessities of varied minds. The thoughts expressed have no uniformity, as if cast in an iron mold, making the very hearing monotonous. In such uniformity there would be a loss of grace and distinctive beauty . .

“The Creator of all ideas may impress different minds with the same thought, but each may express it in a different way, yet without contradiction. The fact that this difference exists should not perplex or confuse us. It is seldom that two persons will view and express truth in the very same way. Each dwells on particular points which his constitution and education have fitted him to appreciate. The sunlight falling upon the different objects gives those objects a different hue.

“Through the inspiration of His Spirit the Lord gave His apostles truth, to be expressed according to the development of their minds by the Holy Spirit. But the mind is not cramped, as if forced into a certain mold.”—1 Selected Messages, 21-22.

See Great Controversy, pp. vi-viii for more on thought inspiration. If Scripture is only word inspired, then no translation of an inspired book is of any value! That would render all our copies of the Bible useless!

It is an intriguing fact that word inspiration is the basis of the Muslim Koran. The story, devised by Satan, goes that God dictated each word to Mohammed, who wrote each word as spoken, even though he could not read or write. We would expect coercion and force from the devil. God does not operate that way.



(2) The error that God only writes once on a given subject:

Vern Bates claims that once a prophet writes on a topic, anything he may later write on that topic will not be inspired. Therefore, Ellen’s later writings on a given subject are worthless. This theory involves two errors: first, the error mentioned above, that of word inspiration—the idea that God directly dictates each word and it cannot later be altered. (The truth is thought inspiration; God guides the thoughts and the prophet provides the phrasing.) Bates’ second error is that God only writes once on a given event or topic.

But we are told, in Desire of Ages, that Christ later repeated His earlier lessons to His disciples. We know that Paul told his conversion story several times, and Luke wrote it several times in the book of Acts. Yet, according to Bates’ theory, only the first narration was inspired.

According to Bates, Ellen wrote a smidgen about the great controversy story in 1858; therefore the 1884, 1888, and 1911 editions are uninspired and not worth reading. I would not wish to be Vern Bates in the Judgment. He has turned so many believers against her later books.

Not only is there an immense amount of duplication in the four Gospels, there is a massive amount in 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, and 1-2 Chronicles! According to Bates’ theory, a lot of that must be discarded.


By the fall of 1882, Ellen was deeply involved in her work on Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, which is our 1884 Great Controversy. It is of highest significance that this, the great controversy story, was her first major book.

The complete story of the writing of Great Controversy spans several decades, and is told in great detail in my 504-page Editions of Great Controversy ($12.95 + $2.50), the most complete analysis of the book in all its editions ever published.

Here is a brief (very brief) overview of part of that story:

Ellen had received a small portion of the great controversy vision in 1848. Ten years later, at Lovett’s Grove, Michigan, she received the more complete vision. Immediately afterward, as she was headed home to Battle Creek, she was struck with paralysis on part of her body. It was later revealed to her that Satan wanted to kill her, so Great Controversy could not be written.

Why did the Lord permit Satan to attack her? Obviously, so we would all realize the importance of Great Controversy! However, Satan afterward resorted to other means in order to keep her from writing out the full story. Years passed and troubles piled on top of troubles for poor Ellen.

But, after James’ death and her departure from Battle Creek, she was finally able to complete the first edition of the book. It was Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4. We refer to it as the 1884 Great Controversy. This is the first real edition of that book, the fruition of her 1858 vision.

The 1858 book (Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1) was little more than a brief story of the Old and New Testaments; it was not a Great Controversy. Yet Vern Bates claims that the 1858 book is the only genuine Great Controversy, and we should discard the later ones! May God have mercy on his soul, for the many folk he has misled into rejecting that book and a great majority of her other writings.

Bates claims that only certain Spirit of Prophecy books are inspired (primarily those written before 1878) while the rest are almost useless. What does the prophet of the Lord say about this?

“Those who think to make the supposed difficulties of Scripture plain, in measuring by their finite rule that which is inspired and that which is not inspired, had better cover their faces, as Elijah when the still small voice spoke to him; for they are in the presence of God and holy angels, who for ages have communicated to men light and knowledge, telling them what to do and what not to do, unfolding before them scenes of thrilling interest, waymark by waymark in symbols and signs and illustrations.

“And He [God] has not, while presenting the perils clustering about the last days, qualified any finite man to unravel hidden mysteries or inspired one man or any class of men to pronounce judgment as to that which is inspired or is not. When men, in their finite judgment, find it necessary to go into an examination of scriptures to define that which is inspired and that which is not, they have stepped before Jesus to show Him a better way than He has led us.”—1 Selected Messages, 17.

“When men venture to criticize the Word of God, they venture on sacred, holy ground, and had better fear and tremble and hide their wisdom as foolishness. God sets no man to pronounce judgment on His Word, selecting some things as inspired and discrediting others as uninspired. The testimonies have been treated in the same way; but God is not in this.”—Letter 22, 1889; 1 Selected Messages, 23.

As mentioned earlier, Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4 (our 1884 Great Controversy) was Ellen’s first major book. Aside from her many personal letters (collected in the Testimonies), prior to 1884, she had not written much else. Ellen planned to next work on the other books in, what would eventually be called, the Conflict Series. But, during the 1880s, the Lord instructed her that she must enlarge that initial book! The great controversy story was so important, it needed to be said again in an even larger book. With this in mind, from 1885 to 1887, Ellen toured through Europe, encouraging our believers there, counseling the brethren, and visiting key Waldensian and German and Swiss Reformation locations.

But something else also happened during the decade of the 1880s. Some of the leaders in Battle Creek had previously been very antagonist toward James White. They did not like his strong-minded attitude, and they sus­picioned that Ellen’s vigorous written rebukes were really dictated by James. They thought he told her what to write and, as an obedient wife, she did so.

But, after James’ death in 1881, those leaders made the shocking discovery that Ellen’s letters were just as unflinching as before. The terrible truth began to dawn: that Ellen White was the author of her writings, not James!

Satan was at work, as usual, on Planet Earth. He could not stop Ellen and he could not corrupt her writings; for, if any of her helpers acted out of line, God immediately told her.

Satan could try to stop publication of her books at the Review. And that is what he set out to do next. When the revised second edition of Great Controversy was completed and Ellen White sent it to the Review, they refused to print it. Their first excuse was that they had other books which needed attention, and they did not want to print Great Controversy until the canvassers in the field had an opportunity to first sell the newly released Bible Readings for a time. Ellen vigorously objected.

Then they complained that the many authors of Bible Readings had agreed to not receive any royalties, and Ellen should also relinquinsh them. To this, she strongly objected. Doing so would eliminate her ability to carry on her work separate from church financing and control.

After a year of stalling, she mailed them Patriarchs and Prophets, which had just been completed. But now they whined because, in their opinion, it would sell better if they printed and sold Patriarchs and Prophets before printing the newly enlarged Great Controversy. This battle continued for two full years, from late 1887 through late 1890.

Amazingly, a similar stalling tactic was used at Pacific Press.

“When the Great Controversy should have been circulated everywhere, it was lying dead in the Review and Herald Office and the Pacific Press.”—Letter 35, 1899.

As if that were not enough, when Great Controversy was finally printed—the Review refused, for a couple years, to publicize the book and tell the public they had it in stock!

Satan was in an utter frenzy to keep Great Controversy from the people! Remember that fact. He was using half-converted men as his agents, to get rid of the most important book in modern history. (How must he appreciate Vern Bates who, today, says the 1884, 1888, and 1911 editions of that book should be tossed out!)

It is common knowledge that the 1884 edition of Great Controversy was printed that year. But did you know that the “1888 edition” was not printed by the Review until 1890? We speak of it as the “1888 edition” because that is the common designation for it. But the men in charge of the Review did not print it until two full years later. Pacific Press did not print it until 1899.

Yet even that crisis tells us something very important: Those men who refused to do what was right—received prompt and repeated sharp replies by Ellen. She was not an ignorant and timid rabbit, as she is caricatured by her critics. Ellen did not compromise. She did not weaken or crawl in a hole. Ellen White vigorously defended her writings! Just so surely, she took action each and every time one of her helpers started veering from the straight line.

You can trust the Spirit of Prophecy writings. God’s concern, to protect His Word, led Him to warn Ellen when things were not being done properly. Ellen’s concern to do what was right caused her to unflinchingly confront every crisis without hesitation.

For a rather complete report on the 1888 Great Controversy crisis, read the A.L. White exposé, The Circulation of Great Controversy [CE–30]. It is REPRINTED at the back of this present study. For a much larger account, read my 504-page Editions of Great Controversy ($12.95 + $2.50). Both are filled with Spirit of Prophecy statements about the three editions.

It is an intriguing fact that Herman Hoehn claimed that Ellen only wrote the 1884 edition and that Uriah Smith wrote the 1888 edition. Yet it was Ellen who fought to get the 1888 published and Smith did not want it printed! As mentioned earlier, after claiming that Bible Readings must be printed and distributed first, Smith then tried to stall still longer and say that Patriarchs and Prophets must be printed prior to the enlarged edition of Great Controversy. You will find an extensive collection of statements, by Ellen, about that crisis at the back of this present study.

What is the truth about the three editions of Great Controversy?

The 1884 edition is excellent and fully inspired. It is shorter than the others, and many people like to read shorter books. The cost is also less.

The 1888 edition is a completely new rewriting of the book, and more complete (an important point). She wrote it, so it is also fully inspired. But most of the added material is in the first, historical half of the book (more on Huss and Wycliff; more on the German, Swiss, French, Scandinavian, and English Reformation; all very helpful material). The second, last-days’ section is almost identical in both. Chapter 29 in the 1888 is better than the equivalent chapter in the 1884 (because there is more emphasis on the fact that the great controversy between Christ and Satan is fought over the law of God; read the two chapters together and see for yourself). The 1884 edition was written for our own people; God instructed her to write the enlarged edition for the world. Therefore, she omitted the three-page Satan monologue from it. (You will find it in the back of our 1888 edition.)

The 1911 edition is identical to the 1888, with the exception of the quotations from historians. In order to add source references, in some instances different quotations had to be used when the original statements could not be found. The largest number of quotations were from Merle D’ Aubigné’s History of the Reformation; and, in the interim between 1888 and 1911, D’ Aubigné had authorized a different English translation of his book than had been quoted in the 1888 edition. So every one of those quotations had to be changed. Other than that, the 1888 and 1911 editions are essentially identical. The 1911 revision was done by Ellen’s faithful helpers, with her full approval. She afterward gave it her endorsement. Indeed, the publishing houses made her pay all the expenses of having the new edition prepared!

“Recently it was necessary for the book to be reset because the electrotype plates were badly worn. It has cost me much to have this done, but I do not complain; for whatever the cost may be, I regard the edition with great satisfaction.”—3 Selected Messages, 123.

There are a number of Spirit of Prophecy quotations recommending each of those three editions of the book. All three editions are fully inspired of God. You will find those quotations at the back of the study you now have in hand.


In 1891, Ellen moved to Australia and set up housekeeping there with her helpers. Soon after, she began work on Steps to Christ. But she was so incensed at the delaying tactics on Great Controversy, that, in 1892, she printed Steps to Christ through Fleming H. Revell Co., a non-Adventist publishing house.

That decision produced something of an earthquake at the offices of the Review! It was a terrific embarrassment to them. Ellen White was willing to print her books outside the denomination, if that is what it took to get them printed on time. From that time forward, the publishing brethren never again gave her any more stalling tactics. She had won that battle. From then on, her books were printed, without delay, on denominational presses. The distribution of the Word of God was more important to Ellen than a denominational imprimatur on the books. And that is something worth thinking about too.


Desire of Ages was also written while she was in Australia. It is an interesting fact that Ellen was so crippled during part of that time that only her right hand functioned properly. Her helpers would set her in a chair in her small country home, which she called Sunnyside, and she would spend the day writing pages for Desire of Ages. —Yet her critics charge that Ellen was busily working before some kind of imaginary giant desk, stacked with other people’s books, as she busily turned pages here and there and copied it all into Desire of Ages! I am happy to tell you that a six-year study of Desire of Ages, done in the 1980s, established the fact that there is no essential copying anywhere in that book. (For much more on this, see my 84-page book, Ellen White Did not Plagiarize, $8.00 + $2.00.)

The book that the critics charge was “plagiarized” from other authors more than any others is Great Controversy. Yet, upon examination, we find that the so-called “plagiarisms” consist of her quotations from historians! When do quotations count as plagiarisms? I have quoted 1 Selected Messages in this present study, yet no one would say that doing so is plagiarism.

In 1896, Mount of Blessing was printed. Four years later, in 1900, Ellen returned to the United States and made her home in Elmshaven. It was located in Pratt Valley, close to St. Helena, California. Her faithful assistants continued helping her. Christ’s Object Lessons was printed in 1900 and Education in 1903.

Unfortunately, while on a trip to Oakland to see one of her books (Ministry of Healing; printed in 1905) through Pacific Press, Marian Davis caught cold and died several weeks later. Fortunately, Ellen White had other helpers who continued to assist her. The years passed, and Ellen grew older. Eventually, on July 16, 1915, she passed to her rest.


For several years before her death, Ellen was deeply concerned that the protection God had given her writings, during her lifetime, might continue after she was gone.

It is an intriguing fact that the plan God gave her for the later preservation of the books was essentially the same as that used during her lifetime. And what was that?—an independent ministry conducted by Seventh-day Ad­vent­ists! While she was alive, she carried on her work separate from the church, in the sense that no congregation, conference, union, or other church entity had control over her work. Only in that way could the production of her writings be safeguarded from undue influence by outside sources. In order to strengthen this safeguard, she arranged that her office expenses and the salaries of her workers would be paid from the royalties of her bookwork.

(At one point, the brethren tried to get her to cancel her reception of royalties, as the authors of Bible Readings had agreed to; but she resolutely refused to yield. Not once in her life did Ellen ever compromise on any point!)

So we see that Ellen operated a self-supporting institution. It was not in subservience to church authority. As an added factor in this independence, she held no church office from which she could be fired.

Yet this is quite understandable when we recall that this is exactly the way the Bible prophets carried on their work. Not one of them was submissive to any earthly organization. They wrote their inspired writings independent of church and civil leaders.


The Lord guided Ellen to devise a special plan for the safeguarding of her bookwork, after her death, which was parallel to that which had been so successful while she was alive.

In her last will and testament, she provided for the appointment of five seasoned workers to form an independent committee: W.C. White, F.M. Wilcox, C.H. Jones, C.C. Crisler, and A.G. Daniells. They were to manage the work, with their expenses paid from royalties from her books. When one of their number retired or died, the remaining members would appoint a new member. You can see that this is the best possible way to manage an organization! At no time could denominational leaders fire any of the members, transfer them to other positions, or vote its own men into their group.

The result is known as the Ellen White Estate. It continues to this day as an independent body, theoretically within the church structure. Church leaders do not have a majority control of their board.

It was for this reason that Ellen could die in peace, knowing that her books would be safeguarded in the future.

“I am to trace this testimony on paper, that should I fall asleep in Jesus, the witness to the truth might still be borne.”—Letter 116, 1905; 3 Selected Messages, 76.

“Abundant light has been given to our people in these last days. Whether or not my life is spared, my writings will constantly speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last. My writings are kept on file in the office; and, even though I should not live, these words that have been given to me by the Lord will still have life and will speak to the people.”—Letter 371, 1907; 1 Selected Messages, 55.

“Physically, I have always been as a broken vessel; and yet, in my old age, the Lord continues to move upon me by His Holy Spirit to write the most important books that have ever come before the churches and the world. The Lord is evidencing what He can do through weak vessels. The life that He spares I will use to His glory. And, when He may see fit to let me rest, His messages shall be of even more vital force than when the frail instrumentality through whom they were delivered was living.”—Manuscript 122, 1903; 3 Selected Messages, 76-77.


As we overview all that we have learned in this study, it is with awe that we have beheld how God has protected His holy writings!

I would urge you to share copies of this study with friends who need their faith strengthened or who might be in danger of being misled by radicals claiming that Ellen White was little more than a dumb dog who feared to bark at the terrible things being done to her books.


Here are additional quotations on Ellen White’s use of helpers; the friends who made spelling and grammatical corrections and prepared her materials for publication. Please remember that Ellen White only had three grades of education. God uses us where we are and helps us in our work. Ellen needed helpers, and the Lord provided them. She, at first, had James as a helper. In later years, God sent her other helpers.

“This morning I take into candid consideration my writings. My husband is too feeble to help me prepare them for the printer, therefore I shall do no more with them at present. I am not a scholar. I cannot prepare my own writings for the press. Until I can do this I shall write no more. It is not my duty to tax others with my manuscript.”—Manuscript 3, 1873 (Diary January 10, 1873); 3 Selected Messages, 90.

“While my husband lived, he acted as a helper and counselor in the sending out of the messages that were given to me. We traveled extensively. Sometimes light would be given to me in the night season, sometimes in the daytime before large congregations. The instruction I received in vision was faithfully written out by me, as I had time and strength for the work. Afterward we examined the matter together, my husband correcting grammatical errors and eliminating needless repetition. Then it was carefully copied for the persons addressed or for the printer.

“As the work grew, others assisted me in the preparation of matter for publication. After my husband’s death, faithful helpers joined me, who labored untiringly in the work of copying the testimonies and preparing articles for publication.

“But the reports that are circulated, that any of my helpers are permitted to add matter or change the meaning of the messages I write out, are not true.”—Letter 225, 1906; 1 Selected Messages, 50.

“My copyists you have seen. They do not change my language. It stands as I write it . . My work has been in the field since 1845. Ever since then I have labored with pen and voice. Increased light has come to me as I have imparted the light given me. I have very much more light on the Old and New Testament Scriptures, which I shall present to our people.”—Letter 61a, 1900; 3 Selected Messages, 90.

“I am still as active as ever. I am not in the least decrepit. I am able to do much work, writing and speaking as I did years ago.

“I read over all that is copied, to see that everything is as it should be. I read all the book manuscript before it is sent to the printer. So you can see that my time must be fully occupied. Besides writing, I am called upon to speak to the different churches and to attend important meetings. I could not do this work unless the Lord helped me.”—Letter 133, 1902; 3 Selected Messages, 90-91.


 Marian Davis, who untiringly helped Ellen from December 31, 1878, until her death in October 25, 1904, carried on a special work. She would locate everything Ellen had earlier written on a subject and prepare small notebooks with the material. Then Ellen would use that material in writing her later books. That is how PP, DA, MH, COL, AA, and PK were produced. Here are several statements about Marian’s work:

“Marian’s work is of a different order altogether. She is my bookmaker . . How are my books made? Marian does not put in her claim for recognition.

“She does her work in this way: She takes my articles which are published in the papers, and pastes them in blank books. She also has a copy of all the letters I write. In preparing a chapter for a book, Marian remembers that I have written something on that special point, which may make the matter more forcible. She begins to search for this, and if when she finds it, she sees that it will make the chapter more clear, she adds it.

“The books are not Marian’s productions, but my own, gathered from all my writings. Marian has a large field from which to draw, and her ability to arrange the matter is of great value to me. It saves my poring over a mass of matter, which I have no time to do.

“So you understand that Marian is a most valuable help to me in bringing out my books.”—Letter 61a, 1900; 3 Selected Messages, 91.

“I feel very thankful for the help of Sister Marian Davis in getting out my books. She gathers materials from my diaries, from my letters, and from the articles published in the papers. I greatly prize her faithful service. She has been with me for twenty-five years, and has constantly been gaining increasing ability for the work of classifying and grouping my writings.”—Letter 9, 1903; 3 Selected Messages, 93.

While on a trip from Elmshaven to Oakland in September 1904, Marian became chilled one evening while helping see through to production the printing of a new Spirit of Prophecy book at Pacific Press. Marian died on October 25. You will meet her in heaven. Instead of criticizing the Spirit of Prophecy writings, as some today are doing, Marian did her part to help circulate them. “She hath chosen the better part.” God will bless all who, like her, choose the better part.

“Marian, my helper, faithful and true as the compass to the pole in her work, is dying . .

“I am leaving tomorrow for Battle Creek. Yet my soul is drawn to the dying girl who has served me for the last twenty-five years. We have stood side by side in the work, and in perfect harmony in that work. And when she would be gathering up the precious jots and tittles that had come in papers and books and present it to me, ‘Now,’ she would say, ‘there is something wanted [needed]. I cannot supply it [from your earlier writings].’ I would look it over, and in one moment I could trace the line right out.

“We worked together, just worked together in perfect harmony all the time. She is dying. And it is devotion to the work. She takes the intensity of it as though it were a reality, and we both have entered into it with an intensity to have every paragraph that shall stand in its right place, and show its right work.”—Manuscript 95, 1904, dated September 24, 1904; 3 Selected Messages, 93.

“Marian had been with me about twenty-five years. She was my chief worker in arranging the matter for my books. She ever appreciated the writings as sacred matter placed in her hands, and would often relate to me what comfort and blessing she received in performing this work, that it was her health and her life to do this work. She ever handled the matters placed in her hands as sacred. I shall miss her so much. Who will fill her place?”—Manuscript 146, 1904; 3 Selected Messages, 91.


When I was in college, I heard about the liberals in the religion departments of Har­vard, Yale, the University of Chicago, and Prince­ton Theological Seminary, who were destroying their students.

Young men who wanted to dedicate their lives as ministers would enter the classes of those men. Although their parents had raised them to love God’s holy Word and trust everything they read in its pages, vultures picked their brains to pieces.

The young men were taught that the Bible could not be trusted. Oh, the liberal professors did not say it was all garbage, just some of it. “You see,” they would say, “after the initial authors wrote it, it was later changed, edited, and added to. So you really cannot be sure what the original passages were.”

Upon learning that the Bible was no longer trustworthy, the young men should have immediately fled from the place—and left the school. But, instead, they lingered to hear serpents speak.

Their willingness to keep listening to emissaries of the devil was their undoing. The liberals formed them in their own image; and soon the young men, conceited to imagine that they knew advanced light which their parents did not know, began teaching the same falsehoods.

Those so-called learned men in the universities of the world were using higher criticism to destroy souls. You surely do not want to attend the religion departments in those institutions!

“Higher criticism” is the teaching initiated by German atheist “theologians” in the nineteenth century, that the Bible writers did not write their own books!

But, then, gradually our own colleges and universities were infiltrated by graduates of those universities. And now our own young men are being taught similar errors. They are told that our historic teachings are unreliable and that the Spirit of Prophecy writings are not divinely inspired. Well, you do not want to attend those schools either, even though they are owned and subsidized by the tithes and offerings of our church members.

But Satan was not satisfied to stop there. He had his eye on the little flock who, so far, had resisted his devices. The devil wanted to destroy the faithful who had stood true to our historic teachings, defended our virtuous standards, and deeply loved and obeyed both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

What was the best way to undermine their faith, confuse their minds, and gradually separate them from God?

At last, he hit on the best technique of all: Satan decided to use the very same method which worked so well in the worldly colleges and universities under his control, the same teaching preached from week to week in the most sophisticated churches of the land. Satan would use higher criticism to destroy confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy—that part of God’s Word which Heaven had appointed as a guardian of the faith of the remnant in these last days. It would be claimed that Ellen White did not write her own books either!

And it is succeeding. In group after group, tapes are being circulated, itinerate preachers are holding meetings, newsletters are being circulated, books are offered for sale. The vicious falsehoods subtly attack Ellen White, her character, her writings, and God’s very power to protect His Written Word!

That is what makes the attacks so insidious. For when you buy the package of lies which says that men have changed the Spirit of Prophecy writings, you have bought with it a package which says that God is unreliable,—He does not safeguard His holy books.

The implication is that, if God has not protected the Spirit of Prophecy, which was written only within the past 150 years, then you can have no certainty that the Old and New Testaments are not as corrupt. The temptation is to not stop with rejecting part of it; throw it all out, and go on out and enjoy the world. You might as well; for you have willingly permitted Satan’s agents to whisper doubts in your mind about the very nature of divine Inspiration. The door to your mind has been opened to the tempter’s devices.

Rejecting part of what you have known to be Scripture, you have stripped yourself of the angelic wall of defense which was formerly about you. Subtle temptations to let down your standards and think and do things you formerly avoided will inevitably pull you down further.

Amid a raging ocean of worldliness, you once clung to the rock of God’s Word and were safe. But, having abandoned part of it, your hold on the remainder has been weakened. Erelong, you are fighting the waves in your own strength and are gradually drawn toward the final whirlpool.

What was it that destroyed the young men at the universities? They were taught that much of God’s Scriptures are unreliable and that they must learn to pick and choose those parts which are still safe.

This reasoning, of course, placed their brains—instead of God’s Word—as the final authority. It may seem to be a subtle difference, yet it involved a bedrock decision: If the wisdom that leads to salvation rests with me, then I can sit in judgment on all Scripture.

Soon I start thinking I can sit in judgment on the very nature and existence of the Godhead! Nothing becomes sacred to me. Because I am my own authority, I am now a law unto myself. I have become my own god.

Get it settled in your mind: You dare not question certain things. You dare not question the Bible. You dare not question the Spirit of Prophecy. You dare not question whether obedience to God’s law is necessary.

For, I assure you, when you soon stand before the Judgment, you will not question that. It is coming. What will be your life record? Will you, in that day, have to admit that you spent your time voicing the words of demons—that the Spirit of Prophecy could not be trusted? It is a serious matter. You have only one life to live. You had better pass through it with your hand in God’s hand (which is done through implicit confidence in, and obedience through faith in Christ, to His Word) rather than clinging to the hand of some vagabond inventor of lies.