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The Ellen G. White Writings

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    Further W. C. White Statements Bearing on “Mrs. White’s Sources”

    In 1912 as W. C. White writing to a church leader referred to the sources of Ellen White’s information as presented in The Great Controversy, he declared:EGWW 125.1

    Regarding Mother’s writings, I have overwhelming evidence and conviction that they are the description and delineation of what God has revealed to her in vision.—W. C. White to W. W. Eastman, Nov. 4, 1912.EGWW 125.2

    In a letter to Elder L. E. Froom, answering some questions, W. C. White wrote of his personal attitude toward the question of what are said to be “the E. G. White sources.” Perhaps his first hand observation of the operation of inspiration in his mother’s experience led to his attitude. He wrote:EGWW 125.3

    It is a fact that during my 30 or more years of association with Ellen White I had the utmost confidence in her ministry. I know that she received revelations from God which were of untold value to the church and to the world. I did not enter as fully as some of our brethren wish to do in an analysis of the sources of information which enabled her to write her books.—W. C. White to L. E. Froom, Dec. 13, 1934.EGWW 125.4

    Then he explains:EGWW 125.5

    The framework of the great temple of truth sustained by her writings was presented to her clearly in vision. In some features of this work, information was given in detail. Regarding some features of the revelation, such as the features of prophetic chronology, as regards the ministration in the sanctuary and the changes that took place in 1844, the matter was presented to her many times and in detail many times, and this enabled her to speak very clearly and very positively regarding the foundation pillars of our faith.EGWW 125.6

    In some of the historical matters such as are brought out in Patriarchs and Prophets, and in Acts of the Apostles, and in Great Controversy, the main outlines were made very clear and plain to her, and when she came to write up these topics, she was left to study the Bible and history to get dates and geographical relations and to perfect her description of details.—Ibid.EGWW 126.1

    This makes clear that just as Moses watched history in advance so did Ellen White in vision watch history develop, both past and future, and she was commissioned “to trace this history.” This she did, often in the first draft writing much more fully than what the finished chapters might contain.EGWW 126.2

    Through many experiences William White’s mind was made clear on the matter of “Mrs. White’s sources.” One such he recounted to the workers and believers in Takoma Park, Maryland, on Sunday, December 17, 1905:EGWW 126.3

    One Sabbath, at Basel, as I was reading Wylie’s “History of Protestantism,” telling about the experience of the Roman armies coming against the Hungarians [Bohemians], and how a large body of persecutors would see a little body of Protestants, and become frightened, and beat a hasty retreat. As I read it to Mother, she interrupted me, and told me a lot of things in the pages ahead, and told me many things not in the book at all. She said, “I never read about it, but that scene has been presented to me over and over again. I have seen the papal armies, and sometimes before they had come in sight of the Protestants, the angels of God would give them a representation of large armies, that would make them flee.”EGWW 126.4

    I said, “Why did you not put it into your book?” [Spirit of Prophecy, volume 4.] She said, “I did not know where to put it.” W. C. White Talk at Takoma Hall, Takoma Park, Md., Dec. 17, 1905.EGWW 126.5

    In this connection the account in The Great Controversy, 116 , 117, will be read with interest.EGWW 126.6

    Her visit to Zurich, Switzerland, in 1887 provided just one more instance of corroborative evidence. Wrote her son:EGWW 126.7

    I was with Mother when we visited Zurich and I well remember how thoroughly her mind was aroused by seeing the old cathedral and the market place and she spoke of them as they were in the days of Zwingli.EGWW 127.1

    During her two years residence in Basel, she visited many places where events of special importance occurred in the Reformation days. This refreshed her memory as to what she had been shown and this led to important enlargement in those portions of the book dealing with the Reformation days.—W. C. White to L. E. Froom, Dec. 13, 1934.EGWW 127.2

    Regardless of how W. C. White approached the matter of Ellen White’s sources, all statements are in agreement, namely, that the basic concepts came to her in vision. Her reading of history aided her in presenting the matters to others. In early Battle Creek days she was given a corner in the Review and Herald library where she could study and write and at times refer to books on the shelves. The matter of her reading is brought out further in W. C. White’s letter to L. E. Froom:EGWW 127.3

    Ellen White was a rapid reader and had a very retentive memory. The revelations which she had received enabled her to grip subjects regarding which she read in a vigorous way. This enabled her to select and appropriate that which was true and to discard that which was erroneous or doubtful.—Ibid.EGWW 127.4

    It was remarkable that in her reading and scanning of books that her mind was directed to the most helpful books and to the most helpful passages contained in those books. Occasionally, she would mention to father and in my presence, her experience in being led to examine a book which she had never looked into before, and her experience in opening it to certain passages that helped her in describing that which she had seen and wished to present.—Ibid.EGWW 127.5

    W. C. White relates another experience in which reading refreshed her mind as to what she had witnessed in vision:EGWW 127.6

    When we were in Basel, in 1886, we had a very interesting experience with a group of translators. We found that our brethren in Europe were very desirous of having The Great Controversy, IV,EGWW 127.7

    translated in the French and German languages....EGWW 128.1

    When we reached those chapters relating to the Reformation in Germany and France, the translators would comment on the appropriateness of the selection of historical events which Sister White had chosen, and in two instances which I remember, they suggested that there were other events of corresponding importance which she had not mentioned.EGWW 128.2

    When this was brought to her attention, she requested that the histories be brought to her that she might consider the importance of the events which had been mentioned. The reading of the history refreshed to her mind that which she had seen, after which she wrote a description of the event.—Ibid.EGWW 128.3

    Any attempt to come to an accurate appraisal in the matter of what are said to be “Mrs. White’s Sources” must build heavily on the above statements of key witnesses. That there are some “problems” is readily conceded. There are problems in the historical and chronological records of the Old Testament prophets and the inspired apostles. Can it be that we should look to rigid concepts of inspiration or misconceptions of inspiration as being at the root of some of these “problems”?EGWW 128.4

    Thus far we have presented the evidences that the testimony borne by Ellen G. White was based upon the visions God gave to her, and that in the historical field her writings depicted scenes that passed before her, some in quite minute detail, some in symbolic depiction, some in broad sweeps touching the main points in principles involved. It is clear that she depended upon her Bible and reliable histories for the location of the events she saw or their timing and some descriptive details.EGWW 128.5

    There is evidence that she was not shown the names of all of the places and the dates of all the events. The basic conception of the significant events of the controversy story was clearly laid before her in vision. In many cases minor details were not presented. Some of this information could be ascertained from the sacred writings, some from common sources of knowledge, some from reliable historians. Apparently God in His providence did not consider it essential to impart these minutiae through vision. Just how much we are justified in demanding of divine revelation is a significant point that has been discussed in Chapter 1 on “Inspiration,” so it is not repeated here. See pages 13-48.EGWW 128.6

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