Section Four

How the Writings Were Prepared - Part 2


In her later years, she employed helpers that assisted in getting out her books. One of the most important of these was Marian Davis. She wrote this about Marians work:

"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 Marians 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, 91-92).

Marian sometimes made suggestions which Ellen White appreciated:

"Tell her [Marian Davis] I have just one minute ago read the letters in which she has specified the improvements to be made in articles for Volume 1 [Patriarchs and Prophets]. I thank her. Tell her that she has a point about Zedekiah having his eyes put out. That needs to be more carefully wordedalso the rock, when the water flowedsomething in reference to this. I think I can make the articles specified more full."Letter 38, 1885.

Marian was very careful with Ellen Whites writings; so much so that, sometimes, she seemed too picky about asking about every detail. Ellen White wrote to her daughter-in-law:

"Mary, Willie [her son, W. C. White] is in meeting early and late, devising, planning for the doing of better and more efficient work in the cause of God. We see him only at the table. Marian will go to him for some little matters that it seems she could settle for herself. She is nervous and hurried and he so worn he has to just shut his teeth together and hold his nerves as best he can.

"I have had a talk with her and told her she must settle many things herself that she has been bringing Willie. Her mind is on every point and the connections, and his mind has been plowing through a variety of difficult subjects until his brain reels and then his mind is in no way prepared to take up these little minutia. She must just carry some of these things that belong to her part of the work, and not bring them before him nor worry his mind with them . . Every little change of a word she wants us to see."Letter 64a, 1889, 1, Manuscript Release No. 728, 22.

Ellen White wrote this about the help of Marian Davis in the preparation of Desire of Ages:

"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.

But that same year, Marian became very ill. Ellen White wrote about the woman who had been "in perfect harmony" with her for a quarter century.

"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. [Marian would not dare to add anything, only correct that which had been written.] I would look it over, and in one moment I could trace the line right out."3 Selected Messages, 93.

"I would have been very glad, could I have felt free to remain another week in Battle Creek. I would have done this, but Marians sickness called me home. Her case was a heavy weight on my mind. We received letters every day telling us of her increasing weakness. The thought that I must part with her was a great trial to me. She had been with me for twenty-five years, and we blended nicely in our work. I knew that if she should die, I could not find another to supply her place. Our ideas in regard to the work were one, and we often talked together. Every word that I spoke to make a point clearer, she would write out at once."9 Manuscript Releases, 271.

It is clear that Ellen White had literary assistants, that she had them because she wanted them, and that they cooperated fully with her wishes.

But what if one of them had secretly tried to make some actual changes in the concepts in her writings? Would she have known about it? Yes, she would. God would immediately instruct her of this fact. For, you see, on one occasion someone tried to do it.



Fannie Bolton was the one helper who did try to change Ellen Whites Writings. And as soon as she did it, and every time she did it, Ellen White was told by the angel what was happening.

Fanny Bolton had earlier been a newspaper writer in the United States. After she became a Seventh-day Adventist, she decided to join Ellen White as one of her literary helpers. So, shortly after her baptism, she accompanied Ellen White to Australia.

But, as soon as Fannie made some changes, even though they might have been smallGod showed Ellen White in vision what was happening. If God did this when Fannie Bolton tried to make changes, we can know He would have done the same thing if anyone else had tried to make changes which were improper.

First, we will quote a couple of Ellen White statements comparing Fannie Bolton with Marian Davis; then we will quote other statements about the Bolton problem, and how Ellen White was very careful to deal with it.

"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.

"Marians work is of a different order altogether. She is my bookmaker. Fanny [Bolton] never was 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 Marians 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. Fanny had none of this work to do. Marian has read chapters to her, and Fanny has sometimes made suggestions as to the arrangement of the matter.

"This is the difference between the workers. As I have stated, Fanny has been strictly forbidden to change my words for her words. As spoken by the heavenly agencies, the words are severe in their simplicity; and I try to put the thoughts into such simple language that a child can understand every word uttered. The words of someone else would not rightly represent me.

"I have written thus fully in order that you may understand the matter. Fanny may claim that she has made my books, but she has not done so. This has been Marians field, and her work is far in advance of any work Fanny has done for me."Letter 61a, 1900.

In Manuscript Release 926, Ellen White wrote this:

"Again I was listening [in vision] to earnest talk between herself [Fannie Bolton] and Marian, and it was of that character that gave me great pain of heart. A voice spoke to me, Beware and do not place your dependence upon Fannie to prepare articles or to make books. She cuts out words that should appear, and places her own ideas and words in their stead, and because she has done this she has become deceived, deluded, and is deceiving and deluding others. She is your Adversary. Additions and subtractions are made that do not represent your simplicity. She is not true to her duty, yet flatters herself that she is doing a very important work.

"I am now brought where I lay down my pen. I cannot write even on the Life of Christ, until I understand whether my writings are to come forth with Fannies ideas and language . . Let this impression be made on the minds of our ministers, and of what value or force will the testimonies be to them?

"Her ardent love for praise and ambition was very similar to that presented to me in regard to the workings of Satan in the heavenly courts to bring disaffection among the angels, and she would repeat the same course she had pursued, and I could not trust her and depend on her. I beg you will come to my help just as soon as possible, but I am not willing Elder Olsen should return to America before these matters have a most thorough, careful investigation. I do not think I can in the future have any copy placed in the hands of Fannie. I would come at once to you but do not think that would be wisdom."Manuscript Release 926, 20.

"When I take the position which I am sorry, very sorry, to take, that I cannot consistently continue the connection with Fannie by entrusting her with my writings as I have done, some will misjudge me because they think she has sincerely repented; but the fact that she has not had respect for the writings, will endanger the work I am called of the Lord to do. The fact that her mind could be tampered with so often again and again by the enemy, that she could be led to regard the writings as she has regarded them, will be a temptation to place them at disadvantage.

"This past experience has given a mold to the thoughts, and has fashioned the mind and judgment. I can see no safety in trusting the matter the Lord shall give me in the hands of one of such unstable, unreliable developments of character that a balance wheel is needed constantly, else she will be running off on a side track where Satan may choose to lead the way.

"Fannie is so wrapped up in her own exalted estimation of herself that any contrary influence that has been brought to bear upon her mind meets with a resistance that is according to the attributes of the enemy. The surroundings, the impulses, give tone and character to the whole life. There are too large and important interests at stake in this matter to be lightly imperiled. Should I consent that Fannie remain in connection with the work, there would be a constant burden of foreboding upon me, for these elements of character are not easily changed. The work which she has handled, she does not always appreciate as necessary or essential, and if she dared, would mold them all over."Manuscript Release, 926, 26-27.

About a visit that Fannie made to the Prescotts, Ellen White wrote:

"She had underscored some words in a book, Christian Education. Beautiful words, she called them, and said that she had put in those words, they were hers. If this were the truth, I ask, Who told her to put in her words in my writings? She has, if her own statement is correct, been unfaithful to me.

"Sister Prescott however says that, in the providence of God that very article came to them (Brother and Sister Prescott) uncopied and in my own handwriting, and that these very words were in that letter. So Fannies statement regarding these words is proved to be untrue.

"She [Fannie] becomes at times as verily possessed by demons as were human beings in the days of Christ. And when these paroxysms are upon her, many think she is inspired of God. She is fluent, her words come thick and fast, and she is under the control of demons. Then she claims that she has done the very things in my service I have told her in no case to do, that she has substituted her words for my words. This is bad enough. But when she takes the position that she has made my books, my articles and is responsible for the beautiful language, it is evident that Satan can through her do me any amount of harm. She can do more to implant doubts and sow seeds of evil than any person I know. She is a dangerous helper to me. She shall never have a chance again of mingling Fannie Boltons wonderful talent with my work."Manuscript Release, 926, 43-44.

"She appears in great distress and grief, weeping. Sister Prescott, while in Cooranbong, asked her what was the matter. She held back apparently reluctant to speak, and finally she did just exactly that which she calculated to domake her statement and complained of the little attention poor little Marian and she received for all the talent they gave to Sister Whites work.

"Well, Sister Prescott met her decidedly, also Brother Prescott. They told her this was all the work of the devil. They knew Sister Whites work and writings before she touched it, and they received letters from her just as they came from her pen and that the very words she claimed to put into the writings were her own imagination. All the ideas, all the material, was furnished her to prepare into articles, etc., etc.

"When I called back all the writings placed in her hands, then she began to think I was in earnest. I told her decidedly she must have no connection with me and my work. She could [pretend to] represent me and my work as her originating, that this beautiful expression was hers, and that was hers, and [by that fiction] make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God."Manuscript Release, 926, 54-55.

Notice that, when Fannie Bolton claimed to have changed the words, she was "making of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God." She was destroying the power of the Spirit of Prophecy in the minds of anyone who believed her. What would Ellen White say today to those who claim that various people did that to Ellen Whites writings back then? She would say that they are destroying the souls of precious Advent believers willing to believe those lies.

"Well, I cannot write all the suffering of mind I endured. I could not possibly relate the suffering of mind while attending the camp meeting at Melbourne. I told Fannie I could not connect her with the work. No one could determine when the demon would take possession of her and cost me my life. I told her she never loved to work, and her moods, her fickle temperament, had been to me the greatest grief of my life. I was as a cart pressed beneath sheaves, and no longer would I venture this."Manuscript Release, 926, 55.

"I told Fannie Bolton that it had nearly cost me my life to connect with her, and if I had another one united with her and the two to handle, I should soon be buried. No, I am entirely separated from Fannie. Never while time lasts will another article of mine pass into her hands. She has sought to betray me, to turn traitor, to say things that leave untrue impressions upon minds. She has educated herself in theatrical methods, and can act out to life in apparent sincerity a thing that is false."Manuscript Release, 926, 60-61.

There are men today who are spreading the similar falsehoods. Like Fannie, they do it to gain attention, fame, and financial support. By detaching men and women from the Spirit of Prophecy, they attach them to themselves. They pretend to be the wise ones who alone are able to tell which Spirit of Prophecy books and passages are still inspired.

Ellen White wrote this to Fannie Bolton:

"Your words regarding me and my writings are false, and I must say that you know them to be false. Nevertheless, those unacquainted with you take your words as being the words of one who knows. Because you have been acquainted with me, and connected with me, you can state what you please, and you think that your tracks are so covered that they will never be discovered. But my writings have not stopped. They go out as I have written them. No words of my copyists are put in the place of my own words. This is a testimony that cannot be controverted. My articles speak for themselves.

"When I heard that McCullagh had apostatized, I said, I am glad that all my connection with him has been of the tenderest character. I thought that there was nothing they could have to say against me. But both he and his wife bore the same report that Sister Malcolm bore to me. McCullagh stated in a large congregation that it was reported by one who knew that I picked up things written in books, and sent them out as something the Lord had shown me. At the Bible Institute in Cooranbong, McCullagh told me that you had made a statement to him and his wife similar to the statement made to Sr. Malcolm. Your sowing is producing its harvest. Many in Melbourne have been repeating the same things, things which you have told them, and which they thought must be true."Manuscript Release, 926, 77-78.

"My writings . . go out as I have written them. No words of my copyists are put in the place of my own words. This is a testimony that cannot be controverted," is what Ellen White said in the above statement.

How could she be so certain? She could be certain because the angel assured her it was so; and, when any effort was made by another to change them, she would immediately be warned so she could put a stop to it.

Can her statement be controverted? No, it cannot, because she said it cannot. So when people say otherwise, they are telling an untruth. But more, knowing that Ellen White has said that her writings have never been changed,yet claiming that they have,those critics are directly attacking Ellen White and her writings, and are committing the sin against the Holy Spirit.

"I have told you these things that you may understand about the matter. We had the affair between Fannie and Caldwell all through the Armadale camp meeting. I talked with them both separately, and told them that the Lord had a controversy with them both. They denied that there was anything like particular attachment between them. I knew better; but the Lord helped me to work through the meeting. Just before the meeting closed, Fannie came to me, and said, Oh Sr. White, I have come to you as to a mother. I do love Bro. Caldwell with all my heart, and my heart is just broken. Three times has this cup of bliss been presented to me, and then been snatched away. Then the girl said, I prayed that if it was right for us to get married, his wife might get a divorce from him, and it was not many weeks before she did get a divorce. Now dont you think the Lord heard my prayer? I dared not talk with her; for I had to speak that day before a large congregation. If Sr. Prescott is in Battle Creek, she will be able to tell you the particulars.

"Well, from that time I cut loose from Fannie, never, as I thought, to connect with her again. But a little while after this, Fannie was in Sydney, and wrote me another confession. I thought that I could not take her back, but the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and said, Give her another trial. So I decided that I would see Fannie, and tell her that I would take her back. This I did, and she remained with me several weeks, but was not able to do any work; and then she decided that she wanted to go home to her mother, and I told her that she might feel free to do so. And now after all the suffering and distress that I have passed through because of the actions of these two, and the downright lies they told, to have Fannie Bolton put these articles in the paper, exalting her poor, miserable, blind, poverty-stricken soul, Miss Ashbury is a little too large a mouthful for me to swallow. It tastes strong of the dish. If I can find them, I will send you copies of letters written to both Fannie and Caldwell . .

"In the past she has expressed wonderful sorrow for her wicked course of action, but she does not stay penitent. She does not continue to be contrite in heart. She flashes forth, thinking she is inspired by God. While she was praying to the Lord that if it was right for her to marry Caldwell, his wife might get a divorce from her husband, she told me that as she talked and gave Bible readings, the people turned pale to hear her talk, and she thought she was inspired by God. Her imagination is very strong, and she makes such exaggerated statements that her words are not trustworthy."Manuscript Release, 926, 80.

"You may reason with others on this line: Wherein do my articles in the papers now differ from what they were when Fannie was with me? Who is it that now puts in words to supply the deficiencies of my language, my deplorable ignorance? How was this done before Fannie Bolton had anything to do with my writings? Cannot people who have reason see this? If Fannie supplied my great deficiency, how is it that I can now send articles to the papers? What Fannie says in regard to this is all a sham. Does she not know it? Or does Satan work on her imagination in such a way that she thinks what she says is true? I tell you that there is not a semblance of truth in her statements . .

"This is the difference between the workers. As I have stated, Fannie has been strictly forbidden to change my words for her words. As spoken by the heavenly agencies, the words are severe in their simplicity; and I try to put the thoughts into such simple language that a child can understand every word uttered. The words of someone else would not rightly represent me. I have written thus fully in order that you may understand the matter. Fannie Bolton may claim that she has made my books, but she has not done so. This has been Marians field, and her work is far in advance of any work Fannie has done for me.

"I have written this letter between half past twelve and four oclock a.m. I must now leave it to write other letters. But I wish to ask, if Fannie is converted and is used by the Lord, why is not her vision clear in reference to her past representation of the work she has done for me? I think the first work the Holy Spirit would do for her would be to lead her to confess that by false statements she has misrepresented me to others. The Lord would clear away the mist and fog from her mind, leading her to see the great injury she has done me by saying that she made over all my writings.

"When the Lord teaches her and reveals to her how she has unsettled and undermined the faith of many in the testimonies of the Spirit of God, as she has unsettled and undermined the faith of Brother Bartholf in the work the Lord has given me to do, by making the statement that she was directed to write a testimony to A. R. Henry, she will see where she is standing. The statement in regard to the testimony for A. R. Henry is an absolute falsehood.

"Those who receive such statements are without excuse. By their fruits ye shall know them. 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 if my way is not blocked by such influences as the influence exerted by Fannie Bolton. Such a work as hers calls for my pen and voice to contradict her statements, in order to save poor souls from being entirely swamped by her assertion that she has received the Holy Ghost. This is another phase of her desire to exalt herself as ordained by the Lord to bear a message to His people. The Lord did not send her, yet she ran. She will not honor the cause of God, but will mislead others.

"Some may ask, Why was Sr. Bolton allowed to be so long connected with the work, if this desire for praise, this tendency to self-exaltation was manifested? At different times I labored with her faithfully, pointing out her danger, and endeavoring to help her to understand the character of the work and the relations of the human agent to it. Many times she acknowledged the mistakes that her approbativeness had led her to make, and confessed her weakness and love of praise. She would declare that the lesson had now been thoroughly learned, and that thereafter she would guard against self-exaltation. And she was always anxious to retain her connection with the work, sometimes begging with tears not to be disconnected from it."Manuscript Release, 926, 93-95.

The following letter was sent Brother and Sister Haskell and Brother G. A. Irwin:

"Something is being sent to you in regard to Fannie Bolton. You need to say to all our people that she is not the Lords messenger, and she should in no way be encouraged. She would mingle the theatrical with her spiritual actions, that would not elevate, but degrade the cause of God. She is a farce. I have several copies of letters in her own handwriting, confessions, which I cannot possibly get copied. They must not go out of my hands until they are copied. Caldwell took a testimony from her hands that related to them both, and burned it up, and then told her she need not worry any more about [it]; she nor Sister White would ever see it again. Then he was pressed by me for the testimony. Caldwell said he would bring it to me, and then said he could not find it; and then when I told him I knew what he had done with it, he said he must have burned it with some of his letters he did not care to keep; and then afterward he confessed his falsehoods, and said he burnt it designedly. Well, I have quite a large amount of letters concerning this matter between Fannie and me. If it needs to be all exposed before the people will be undeceived, I will send these letters after they are copied. But tell our people I do not want to expose Fannie, unless I am obliged to do this to save the cause of God from being corrupted."Letter 166, 1900 (April 25, 1900), 1-2.

The Fannie Bolton episode was, indeed, a sad one. Yet, for us today, it is invaluable. We have here an actual incident in which someone tried to change the wording of Ellen Whites manuscripts. From this experience, we can know of a certainty that (1) as soon as it occurred, the angel told her exactly what was happening; (2) Ellen White immediately set to work to keep it from happening anymore; and (3) she warned others to beware of the individual who was doing it.


Some of the secret writers critics declare that Ellen Whites son, William C. White made changes in her writings,and even wrote entire books under her name. This is ludicrous, for Ellen White would have been warned by the angel and protested if he had done it. In addition, with his extremely busy schedule, where would he have had the time, and been able to exercise the secrecy, to do all that writing?

But liars will lie; and the secret writers critics are liars who enjoy astonishing believers with their reports, that most of the Spirit of Prophecy writings are unreliable.

On October 23, 1907, Ellen White wrote the following letter to Elder F. M. Wilcox. It reveals a lot about her literary helpers. We will quote it in full. This letter provides background information on how her son, William C. White, was selected by the Lord to be a special helper to her in her work.

"About a year after the death of my husband [he died in 1881], I was very feeble, and it was feared that I might live but a short time. At the Healdsburg camp meeting, I was taken into the tent where there was a large gathering of our people. I asked to be raised up from the lounge on which I was lying, and assisted to the speakers platform, that I might say a few words of farewell to the people. As I tried to speak, the power of God came upon me, and thrilled me through and through. Many in the congregation observed that I was weak, and that my face and hands seemed bloodless; but as I began speaking they saw the color coming into my lips and face, and knew that a miracle was being wrought in my behalf. I stood before the people healed, and spoke with freedom.

"After this experience, light was given me that the Lord had raised me up to bear testimony for Him in many countries, and that He would give me grace and strength for the work. It was also shown me that my son, W. C. White, should be my helper and counselor, and that the Lord would place on him the spirit of wisdom and of a sound mind. I was shown that the Lord would guide him, and that he would not be led away, because he would recognize the leadings and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

"The assurance was given me: You are not alone in the work the Lord has chosen you to do. You will be taught of God how to bring the truth in its simplicity before the people. The God of truth will sustain you, and convincing proof will be given that He is leading you. God will give you of His Holy Spirit, and His grace and wisdom and keeping power will be with you . .

" The Lord will be your Instructor. You will meet with deceptive influences; they will come in many forms, in pantheism and other forms of infidelity; but follow where I shall guide you, and you will be safe. I will put My Spirit upon your son, and will strengthen him to do his work. He has the grace of humility. The Lord has selected him to act an important part in His work. For this purpose was he born.

"This word was given me in 1882, and since that time I have been assured that the grace of wisdom was given to him. More recently, in a time of perplexity, the Lord said: I have given you My servant, W. C. White, and I will give him judgment to be your helper. I will give him skill and understanding to manage wisely. ""The Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies to the Church."

Here is another statement on this same subject:

"He [God] had chosen my sons to be my helpers. My son Willie especially was assigned the work of ministry with me to advise and counsel how to prepare the communications that were to come to the people. I will be his wisdom, I will be his judgment, and he shall work out in connection with his mother the important matter to come before the people. Select helpers must be given, for a great work is to be done. I will be your wisdom, I will be your judgment, for your son to carry out understandingly the matters I shall reveal to you; that which is for the churches must be brought out distinctly in print that the churches may have it.

" I will appoint both your children that they shall strengthen your hands in sound judgment. But your youngest son shall carry the work with you, and I have appointed the eldest his work to do. They must be united firmly in harmony, and in no way fail or be discouraged. They are to aid one another to stand firmly, unitedly, in heart and mind. But the youngest will I endow with special wisdom to work intelligently for a special performance of this responsibility.

" Both will be your helpers, in perfect agreement, conducting different lines in missionary work, standing firmly, unitedly, for great battles are to be fought. Your sons are of different temperaments. Your youngest will be your dependence, but the eldest shall be my minister to open the Word to very many people and to organize the work in various lines.

" Temptations will come to the eldest that preference in judgment shall be given him above the youngest. But this cannot be. Both are to be guided by the light given their mother and stand in perfect harmony. Trials will come, but unitedly victories will be gained.

" There will be the character in the youngest that he will be counselor in large degree, and receive the words I shall give you and act upon them. Let no jealousy come in because of the position I have appointed the youngest. I have put My Spirit upon him, and if the eldest will respect the position given the youngest, both shall become strong to build up the work in different lines. The eldest must be standing as ready to be counseled by the youngest, for I have made him My counselor. And because I have given him from his birth special traits of character which the eldest has not, there is to be no contention, no strife, no division, but [they are to be] sanctified in the same work to bring about the desired end.

"Much more was definitely explained in the words I may hereafter write, but I would not pen them now.

"The Lord said, I will prove them both, but both must stand distinct and separate from influences which will be brought to bear to break up the plans I have marked out. But the youngest is fitted for a work that will make him counselor, receiving the words from his mother. Both must carefully consider matters that I shall give, for there are times and places for the subjects to be taken up and certain times and certain places for the subjects to be left.

" The Lord will be your guide if you work obedient to all that I shall command you. This matter is not to be opened to your children, for both are to be proved. The time will come when you may have to speak all that I shall give you, but both sons are to be workmen and are to be at perfect agreement if they accomplish the work. They are to [be] faithful in performing [it]. They are to stand distinct and not bound up with men, to be influenced by them. I am your Counselor and theirs. "21 Manuscript Release, 141-142.

If you will do a search on William C. White ("Willie," his nickname), you will find 835 references in the Spirit of Prophecy. That is a large number; yet not a single reproof was directed at him, nor one complaint made about his workmanship.

"Sands, Va., Sabbath, Nov. 8, 1890. We have beautiful weather. Willie White spoke in the morning with great freedom and his discourse made a favorable impression on all who heard him. This is the very work the Lord would have him to do. His work will be more in this line as he will necessarily have to accompany me from place to place as I journey among the people of God. I have had neither of my sons to accompany me. I have been alone with Sara McEnterfer as my companion. It is time this order of things changed. Willie is correspondent of foreign missions and I need him, and he must be prepared to preach the gospel to the people wherever he goes."2 Manuscript Release, 326.

But criticism of W. C. White did occur. The conflict at Minneapolis in 1888 was severe, and those who sided with Ellen White, Alonzo T. Jones, and Ellet J. Waggoner were afterward attacked by voice and pen. Unprincipled men, who were unwilling to submit to counsel by Ellen White, decided to spread a smear campaign against both her and her son, W. C. White. In order to make her writings of none effect, they charged that she was just a tool in the hands of others, and her son told her what to write.

These attacks culminated, after the turn of the century, in wholesale lies spread by Dr. J. H. Kellogg and his associates, during and after their fight to gain control of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

Some of those written slurs are quoted today by secret writers critics, in an attempt to prove they are right.

Here is the account of a vision Ellen White had, shortly after the meetings at Minneapolis, which revealed the attitude of those men:

"I listened to words uttered that ought to make every one of those ashamed who uttered them. Sarcastic remarks were passed from one to another, ridiculing their brethren A. T. Jones, E. J. Waggoner, and Willie C. White, and myself. My position and my work were freely commented upon by those who ought to have been engaged in the work of humbling their souls before God and setting their own hearts in order. There was seemingly a fascination in brooding over imaginary wrongs and expressions of imagination of their brethren and their work, which had no foundation in truth, and in doubting and speaking and writing bitter things as the result of skepticism and question and unbelief."Ellen White 1888 Materials, 277.


Some of the secret writers critics think that perhaps Uriah Smith wrote some of her writings. But, if that had occurred, Ellen White would surely have written very plain-spoken words to him. But such letters were never written.

Although she wrote a number of letters giving him advice, and warning him that he must make certain changes, yet she never said he was changing her words or writing articles or books over her name. No such letters were ever written. If Uriah Smith changed her writings, she would have protested; immediately, directly, repeatedly, strongly,until he stopped doing it. Remember that she was careful to keep in her files a copy of every letter sent out.

The following letter was written about some of the men who, in bitterness of soul, fought Ellen White and her associates who were defending the righteousness by faith concept during and after Minneapolis:

"Responsibilities are borne by men who have had no living experience in the rise and progress of the work. Brother Amadon and Elder Smith have had this experience, but Elder Smith is ensnared by the enemy and cannot in his present state give the trumpet a certain sound. Elder Butler is in the same condition. They are both unable to help just where the help is needed. They have by their course made of none effect, with a large number of others, the messages of communication which the Lord has been giving His people the last forty-five years. The displeasure of God is upon them both, yet Elder Smith is placed in position as teacher to mold and fashion the minds of students when it is a well known fact that he is not standing in the light; he is not working in Gods order. He is sowing seeds of unbelief that spring up and bear fruit for some souls to harvest."Ellen White 1888 Materials, 714.


There are those who love to attack the book, Great Controversy, in one or more of its inspired editions. They are like the proverbial dog, mentioned in the Bible, who loves to eat vomit. The possibility they might be able to destroy its influence in the minds of the people fascinates them. They are under a satanic delusion.

Yet the great book stands, and how thankful the faithful are that it was written!

It is a book mercifully given to mankind by the God of heaven, to explain the past, teach basic principles needed now, and forewarn of a terrible coming crisis. (For much more on this, see the present writers book, The Editions of Great Controversy, 504 pp., $12.95 + $3.00. It is filled with facts and data on the several editions of that book, plus a rather complete history of its writing.)

Here are sample statements by Ellen White about the inspiration and value of each of the four editions of Great Controversy:

"Great Controversy should be very widely circulated. It contains the story of the past, the present, and the future. In its outline of the closing scenes of this earths history, it bears a powerful testimony in behalf of the truth. I am more anxious to see a wide circulation for this book than for any others I have written; for in The Great Controversy, the last message of warning to the world is given more distinctly than in any of my other books."Letter 281, 1905 (Colporteur Ministry, 127).


"In this vision at Lovetts Grove, much of the material of the great controversy which I had seen ten years before was repeated, and I was shown that I must write it out; that I should have to contend with the powers of darkness, for Satan would make strong efforts to hinder me, but angels of God would not leave me in the conflict, that in God must I put my trust."2 Spiritual Gifts, 272 (Life Sketches, 162 is almost identical. For the full story, read 162-163).

"In the sudden attack at Jackson [Michigan], Satan designed to take my life to hinder the work I was about to write; but angels of God were sent to raise me above the effect of Satans attack."2 Spiritual Gifts, 272 (Life Sketches, 163 is almost identical).


"I was shown . . that I should devote myself to writing out the important matters for Volume Four [Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4 was the 1884 Edition of Great Controversy]; and that the warning must go where the living messenger could not go, and that it would call the attention of many to the important events to occur in the closing scenes of the worlds history."Letter 1, 1890 (Colporteur Ministry, 128).

"I was moved by the Spirit of God to write that book, and while working upon it I felt a great burden upon my soul. I knew that time was short, that the scenes which are soon to crowd upon us would at the last come very suddenly and swiftly."Letter 1, 1890 (Colporteur Ministry, 127).

"I write from fifteen to twenty pages each day. It is now eleven oclock, and I have written 14 pages of manuscript for Volume Four . . As I write upon my book, I feel intensely moved. I want to get it out as soon as possible, for our people need it so much. I shall complete it next month if the Lord gives me health as He has done. I have been unable to sleep nights, for thinking of the important things to take place. Three hours and sometimes five is the most sleep I get. My mind is stirred so deeply I cannot rest. Write, write, write, I feel that I must, and not delay."Letter 11, 1884 (February 19, 1984).


"About this time when the new [second] edition of Volume Four [the 1888 Great Controversy] came from the press, the new book, Bible Readings, was introduced. This book had a great sale, and has been permitted to swallow up every other interest. Canvassers found it an easy book to handle, and Volume Four was kept out of the field. I felt that this was not right. I knew that it was not right, because it was not in harmony with the light which God had given me."B. L., 1890.

"I do not demerit Bible Readings. It is a book which will do a great amount of good, but it can never take the place the Lord designed that Volume Four should have in the world and among our people. I have spread before them the light of heaven in that book."E-25a, 1889.

"The keeping of Great Controversy from the field has done a work that men will have to answer for in the judgment."Manuscript 64, 1894.

"For nearly two years the book [Great Controversy] containing warnings and instructions from the Lord, given especially for this time, has been lying in our publishing houses, and no one feels the necessity or the importance of bringing it to the people. Brethren, how long am I to wait for you to get the burden? Now Volume One, or Patriarchs and Prophets, is ready for circulation, but even for this book I would not allow Volume Four to remain longer as a light under a bushel. I am in sore distress of mind, but who of my brethren cares for this?

"Has the Lord moved upon my mind to prepare this work to be sent everywhere, and is He moving upon my brethren to devise plans which shall bar the way so that the light which He has given me shall be hid in our publishing houses instead of shining forth to all who will receive it? . . If the Lord has light for His people, who shall put up barriers so that the light shall not reach them?"B. L., 1890.

"Light was in that book which came from Heaven; but what account will those men have to give to God for the little faith and confidence manifested in that book that the warnings should not come to the people when they should have had them."O-55, 1894.


"A few day ago I received a copy of the new edition of the book, Great Controversy, recently printed at Mountain View, and also a similar copy printed at Washington. The book pleases me. I have spent many hours looking through its pages, and I see that the publishers have done good work."3 Selected Messages, 123.

"The book, Great Controversy, I appreciate above silver or gold, and I greatly desire that it shall come before the people. While writing the manuscript of The Great Controversy, I was often conscious of the presence of the angels of God. And many times the scenes about which I was writing were presented to me anew in visions of the night, so that they were fresh and vivid in my mind."W-55, 1911 (Letter 56, 1911, the second of the above two paragraphs is in Colporteur Ministry, 128).

"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 . .

"When I learned that Great Controversy must be reset, I determined that we would have everything closely examined, to see if the truths it contained were stated in the very best manner, to convince those not of our faith that the Lord had guided and sustained me in the writing of its pages.

"As a result of the thorough examination by our most experienced workers, some changing in the wording has been proposed. These changes I have carefully examined, and approved. I am thankful that my life has been spared, and that I have strength and clearness of mind for this and other literary work."W-56, 1911 (Letter 56, 1911). July 25, 1911 (3 Selected Messages, 123-124.


"The results of the circulation of this book [Great Controversy] are not to be judged by what now appears. By reading it some souls will be aroused and will have courage to unite themselves at once with those who keep the commandments of God. But a much larger number of those who read it will not take their position until they see the very events taking place that are foretold in it. The fulfillment of some of the predictions will inspire faith that others will also come to pass, and when the earth is lightened with the glory of the Lord in the closing work, many souls will take their position on the commandments of God as the result of this agency."Manuscript 31, 1890 (Colporteur Ministry, 128-129).

"As the spirit of God has opened to my mind the great truths of His Word, and the scenes of the past and the future, I have been bidden to make known to others that which has thus been revealedto trace the history of the controversy in past ages, and especially so to present it as to shed a light on the fast-approaching struggle of the future."Great Controversy, xi.

Three facts stand out: (1) Great Controversy is the most important book for these last days. (2) Satan hates it more than any other book. (3) It has been the most reviled and slandered of any of the Spirit of Prophecy books. Why?

Here are three more facts: (1) All editions of Great Controversy are equally inspired. (2) Give the book to the people, in whichever edition you preferbut give it to them. (3) The book provides the reader with the issues and warnings he needs just now. The deceptions and events of the future are unveiled; andbefore he lays down the book at its last pagethese bring him personally to the brink of eternity, to make his own life decision.

Here are additional comments, many of them about the 1888 or 1911 editions (which the critics frequently declare to be especially worthless):

"Scenes of such thrilling, solemn interest passed before me as no language is adequate to describe. It was all a living reality to me, for close upon this scene appeared the great white cloud, upon which was seated the Son of man."Letter 38, 1888 (1 Selected Messages, 76).

"The Lord has set before me matters which are of urgent importance for the present time, and which reach into the future. The words have been spoken in a charge to me, Write in a book the things which thou hast seen and heard, and let it go to all the people; for the time is at hand when past history will be repeated. I have been aroused at one, two, or three oclock in the morning with some point forcibly impressed upon my mind, as if spoken by the voice of God."Letter 1, 1890 (Colporteur Ministry, 128).

"Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her lifework God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given His servant to be given to the world."Colporteur Ministry, 125.

"While writing the manuscript of The Great Controversy, I was often conscious of the presence of the angels of God. And many times the scenes about which I was writing were presented to me anew in visions of the night, so that they were fresh and vivid in my mind."Letter 56, 1911 (Colporteur Ministry, 128).


Ellen White did not believe her editors were changing her words. She knew what was taking place at all times.

"I have a large amount of matter which I desire to have come before the people, but I have no one to consider these matters with me. If I could have Sister Peck and Willie, I could get off many important things much more perfectly. I ought to have someone to whom I can read every article before sending it to the mail. This always helps the writer; for the writer, after reading the matter before one who is interested, often discerns more clearly what is wanted, and the slight changes that should be made. It is an important matter to keep in its simplicity all that matter which I write. I am sure my editors endeavor to preserve my words, not supplying their own in the place of them."Letter 76, 1897, 1-2 (to George A. Irwin, July 22, 1897).

The One who manipulated her writings:

"There are those who say, Someone manipulates her writings. I acknowledge the charge. It is One who is mighty in counsel, One who presents before me the condition of things."Letter 52, 1906.


This devastating secret writers charge leads people to feel they can pick and choose what are the words of the prophet and what are not. This makes the deception all the more deadly. It destroys the ability of the Spirit of Prophecy to rescue the person, who believes the secret writers charge, from any error. If someone gives them a statement which contradicts this theory, or anything else they believe, they just say, "That must be one of those statements that people changed."

But what did she say about picking and choosing which statement is true and which is not?

"I have my work to do, to meet the misconceptions of those who suppose themselves able to say what is testimony from God and what is human production. If those who have done this work continue in this course, satanic agencies will choose for them."3 Selected Messages, 70.

When men pass the boundary, there is nothing more that God can do for them.

"What reserve power has the Lord with which to reach those who have cast aside His warnings and reproofs, and have accredited the testimonies of the Spirit of God to no higher source than human wisdom? In the judgment, what can you who have done this, offer to God as an excuse for turning from the evidences He has given you that God was in the work?"Testimonies to Ministers, 465-466.

"There is One back of me which is the Lord, who has prompted the message which you now reject and disregard and dishonor. By tempting God you have unnerved yourselves, and confusion and blindness of mind has been the result."Letter 16, 1888 (3 Selected Messages, 69).

"When Professor I [letter "I"] came, I put to him a few pointed questions, more to learn how he regarded the condition of things than to obtain information. I felt that the crisis had come. Had Elder H, and those united with him, been standing in the light, they would have recognized the voice of warning and reproof; but he calls it a human work, and casts it aside. The work he is doing he will wish undone ere long. He is weaving a net around himself that he cannot easily break. This is not my opinion.

"What voice will you acknowledge as the voice of God? What power has the Lord in reserve to correct your errors and show you your course as it is? What power to work in the church? You have, by your own course, closed every avenue whereby the Lord would reach you. Will He raise one from the dead to speak to you?

"In the testimonies sent to Battle Creek, I have given you the light God has given to me."Testimony for the Battle Creek Church, 50-58 (1882) (3 Selected Messages, 69-70).


We quoted part of this passage earlier; but now, in view of all we have considered, it becomes all the more meaningful. In the introduction to Great Controversy, we are told how Inspiration works:

"The Bible points to God as its author; yet it was written by human hands; and in the varied style of its different books it presents the characteristics of the several writers."Great Controversy, Introduction, v.

This is an important point. If God gave the writers of the Bible the very words that they were to say, then why did they each write in their own style? God gave them the thoughts, the ideas, the visions, and they put the truths God had taught them into their own words.

"The truths revealed are all given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16); yet they are expressed in the words of men."Ibid.

How could that be clearer?

"The Infinite One by His Holy Spirit has shed light into the minds and hearts of His servants. He has given dreams and visions, symbols and figures; and those to whom the truth was thus revealed, have themselves embodied the thought in human language."Ibid.

"Have themselves embodied the thought in human language."

"The ten commandments were spoken by God Himself, and were written by His own hand. They are of divine, and not human composition. But the Bible, with its God-given truths expressed in the language of men, presents a union of the divine and the human. Such a union existed in the nature of Christ, who was the Son of God and the Son of man. Thus it is true of the Bible, as it was of Christ, that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. John 1:14."Op. cit., v-vi.

There is "a wide contrast in style" because men did the writing; in most instances, the Scriptures were not dictated. (The "Thus saith the Lord" passages would be an obvious exception.)

"Written in different ages, by men who differed widely in rank and occupation, and in mental and spiritual endowments, the books of the Bible present a wide contrast in style, as well as a diversity in the nature of the subjects unfolded. Different forms of expression are employed by different writers; often the same truth is more strikingly presented by one than by another. And as several writers present a subject under varied aspects and relations, there may appear, to the superficial, careless, or prejudiced reader, to be discrepancy or contradiction, where the thoughtful, reverent student, with clearer insight, discerns the underlying harmony.

"As presented through different individuals, the truth is brought out in its varied aspects. One writer is more strongly impressed with one phase of a subject; he grasps those points that harmonize with his experience or with his power of perception and appreciation; another seizes upon a different phase; and each, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, presents what is most forcibly impressed upon his own minda different aspect of the truth in each, but a perfect harmony through all. And the truths thus revealed unite to form a perfect whole, adapted to meet the wants of men in all the circumstances and experiences of life.

"God has been pleased to communicate His truth to the world by human agencies, and He Himself, by His Holy Spirit, qualified men and enabled them to do this work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, none the less, from Heaven. The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language; yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth."Great Controversy, Introduction, vi-vii.




The charges made against the Spirit of Prophecy are equally applicable to the Bible.

Those who promote the secret writers charge in the Spirit of Prophecy do so by pointing out words have been changed in the later books, from what they were in the earlier ones. The inference is that someone has changed the writings.

Ellen White was a living writer. She would take materials, written in earlier years, and rework them later on. Every writer who turns out voluminous quantities of material does that.

In addition, at different times she would write material on the same subject from various standpoints, with different audiences and purposes in mind.

The same method of attack, which searches for varied words,could also be used against the Bible. If so done, it would show similar changes:

Which temptation of Jesus came last? being carried to a pinnacle of the temple and challenged to jump off (Luke 4:9-13) or being tempted by all the kingdoms of the world (Matt 4:8-10)?

What did the devil say to Jesus in this temptation?" All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me" (Matt 4:9) or "All this power will I give thee and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine" (Luke 4:6-7)? What really happened? Did someone change the words and the order of what was written? Or did the two authors tell the story in their own words?

When Jesus healed Peters wifes mother, how did He do it? Did He take her by the hand and lift her up, and the fever left her (Mark 1:31) or did He touch her hand and the fever left her (Matt 8:15)? Or did He stand over her and rebuke the fever and it left her (Luke 4:39)?

The next morning when He refused to go back to Capernaum, did He say: "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also; for therefore came I forth" (Mark 1:38) or "I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also; for therefore am I sent" (Luke 4:43)? Did someone change the words? Or does the inspired writer state things in his own words?

When Christ, in the synagogue, healed the man with the withered hand, did He say: "Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days or to do evil, to save life or to kill" (Mark 3:4)? Or did He say, "What man shall there be among you that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it and lift it out? How much, then, is a man better than a sheep! Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days" (Matt 12:11-12). Or did He say, "I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath days to do good or to do evil? to save a life or to destroy it" (Luke 6:9)? Who changed what? Or were part of His words left out? Who had the right to do that?

In the sermon on the mount did Jesus say, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matt 5:48) or "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:36)"? The whole sermon on the mount sounds different in the two versions, but if you read the whole thing, it is obvious it is the same sermon. Who changed the words? Whole sections are left out. Who had the right to do that? Did someone change the Bible? Did one of the authors change the words of Christ?

Again, in Mark 4 and Matthew 13, we have two accounts of another sermon. Once again, some of the words vary. For example, in Matthew 13 we have a quote, from Isaiah, in the sermon that is missing in Marks account. Who could have changed the words of Jesus or left out some of them?

The morning after Jesus stilled the sea, He healed the Gadarene demoniacor was it demoniacs? In Mark and Luke, there is one of them. But Matthew says there were two. (See Mark 5:1-3 and Luke 8:26-27, compared with Matthew 8:28.) Did someone change the Bible? Or did God allow the apostles to tell the story as they remembered it?

Such things are found all the way through the Gospels. If some changes of wording in the Spirit of Prophecy are a sign that the later books are not trustworthy, then what are you going to do with the Gospels? You might as well throw them out too.

Would it not be better to recognize that Ellen White is correct in what she says: Human authors were given dreams and visions, and then allowed to express them in their own words. Sometimes they were just given experiences and, then, told by the Holy Spirit to share their memories. They obviously varied in the presentation of a few details.

Can we trust the Holy Spirit to make sure the essentials are clear and accurate? Of course we can.

Was it even possible and proper for them to tell the whole thing, under some circumstances, and leave out part under others? Was it proper for them to use some words at one time and change the words at another time. If the words were their own, then why not? Either we accept what Ellen White says about Inspiration or the Bible is a real problem too.

Once we understand how Inspiration works, then none of these things are problems. All of the writings are inspired and profitable. And anything that breaks down faith in them is causing harm to people

"Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her lifework God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given His servant to be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women, leading them to the Saviour."Colporteur Evangelist, 36.