Adventist Voices: Don McAdams on Ellen White

Gas light 101 - deflection ( point out someone else’s “error” while ignoring the main issue)

I have nowhere implied that EGW was alone in this practice, but to my knowledge no one else was claiming what they had copied was inspired by God.

We are back to the point where you are excusing a person’s bad behaviour “because it was common practice”. I can see how that would work in a Jan 6 trial - “But your honour, everybody was breaking in.”

She was a product of her times. Built in the furnace of Shaking Methodism, honed in Millerism and finished by Adventism…


this is because no-one else was inspired by God - let’s at least give people credit for being honest…but perhaps sadly, at least for egw, she was always constrained to confess that she was inspired by God…anything less would have meant bearing false witness and the loss of her salvation…

understand that egw never claimed verbal inspiration, whether in the case of her own words, or those of others…in this she is in line with bible writers, who were inspired, even when they copied the words of one another and others, forged names in order to gain influence, and ended up getting so many details wrong, possibly through faulty memories, sources, or both, that the same accounts are sometimes believed to be separate accounts…the more important point is that egw was in line with the common writing practice of her day, especially with religious writers…this common practice, which included using the words of others without citing them, is the human component she brought to her writings…

perhaps you should study what inspiration means…it has nothing to do with word choices, but instead has everything to do with the union of human effort and divine power…within the rare phenomenon of inspiration, divine power doesn’t overshadow, sidestep or eliminate human effort, in the way demon possession does…egw’s word choices, which included a free use of the words of others, are merely her human contribution, nothing more…they don’t represent what the HS chose for her, or forced on her, nor did she ever claim such an outlandish thing…and she would be the first to say that her contribution is by no means the pinnacle of what humanity has been known to produce…

i think you, and many others, are confused on this point…you evidently want to have it that inspiration means originality and an error-free result…but this only means you need to throw out your bible because there is documented copying, suspected forgery, and possibly as many as 50,000 actual contradictions and errors in what you are calling your bible…


Just quietly, between you and me, EGW probably wasn’t either.


I think most people, even non-SDA’s, would agree with this statement if the “of her time” part were dropped.

EGW’s knowledge and understanding of 21st century science, philosophy, politics, theology, etc., can be considered as non-nuanced, binary and simplistic as that of an early 19th century elementary school student.

That anyone is still intimidated by, or cowers in the face of her assumed intellect and purported inspiration is like being impressed by a third grader’s finger paintings or the musical stylings of a first year violin player.

Further, and since you seem to think this forum is the place for free, unsolicited, non-professional advice giving, I submit your problem is that you are afraid of EGW and other Biblical prophets because you really believe the part where they imply that to doubt them is a sin and that questioning the essential nature of their claims of magical inspiration will almost certainly result in the loss of your eternal soul, even though none of them have proved that such a thing is possible.

IOW, there is no reason other than fear to believe that any one’s potentially damnable soul even exists in the first place, much less that anything so ethereal can ever be proven to be eternal.

One would have to live an infinite number of “forevers” plus one second in order to verify such a theory and I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time required to undertake that particular experiment.



lol…i don’t think it’s at all a secret that this is what you believe…as it is, millions of people disagree with you, including me, of course… :slightly_smiling_face:

One more helpful-if unheeded-hint.

You do not want to get into a numbers game on this issue.



We would not know that there was a God or how He had worked with humanity for centuries, and examples of Gods love

Yes. They are happy to go with “majority rule” when they get a GC vote, but when it comes to a similar how many agree EGW was “inspired” they want to say you can’t always trust the majority.

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I found may of EGW writing very inspiring. Many of those I quoted quite often: such as “people will never care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”. That was a brilliant saying. However I found out President Teddy Roosevelt first said it. So she stole it from him. Oops I mean borrowed, plagiarized…whatever

Long before I left the SDA church 7 years ago, I had concluded that she did not have a veto proof lock on truth. I enjoyed the things that drew me to Jesus, and ignored the rest. Some of her last days prophecies in Great Controversy are a stretch to say the least. It begs the question, just what would the old guard of Adventism do to keep the “faithful” on the edge of their seats, with wallets open, if they didn’t have this panticia to fall back on.


If that’s what you think, there is no “we”.

Not even close…


homework, as Ramik evidently did, and determine what this meant in the context of egw’s time and place…in retrospect it’s all completely pathetic and laughable…

I don’t think questioning EGW’s claims of inspiration is completely pathetic and laughable at all! Making such a pronouncement is simply disrespectful and an attempt to shame or bully.

Using a report that was commissioned and paid for by those with so much at stake and saying that not only what she did was legal by the standards of the day, but in addition was practiced by most writers back then can hardly be considered the final word on the issue!!! One commenter has already said just because everyone was doing it doesn’t make it right.

It brings into question such claims “I have been shown” and others.

Making carefully nuanced and parsed statements defending the glaring problems won’t make them go away.

It may be just too much to expect the powers that be to admit that the emperor has no clothes.


A God? Which God do you mean? Do you mean Yahweh the sky/thunder god, one of the 70 sons of El? Yahweh, who lived in the temple in the most holy place, sat on a winged throne and rested his feet on a footstool (the ark), just as the other gods in the area occupied their very similar temples and sat resting their feet on their footstools?

Or, do you mean one of the other gods the ancient Israelites worshiped? Or one of the gods of the other peoples in the ancient Mediterranean cultures?

Here he is, stamped on an ancient coin from Jerusalem, a silver drachm, from about 400 BCE. He’s sitting on his winged/flying chariot throne, holding a bird in his hand, his arm outstretched as a symbol of power. You can see the letters y-h-d around his head. Other versions of the coin included the letters ‘y-h-d-h’ or ‘y-h-w-d-h’.

If you are actually interested in learning about Yahweh, from the time when he - along with all the other gods - had a name and wasn’t just referred to as “god”, this is a good book:


Ok thanks for the imfo, normally when i mention God, i mean the creator God, the one who gives us life, and i acknowledge that many societies call the creator by different names

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OK, well then in the most ancient of beliefs of those that wrote the bible, that would be El, Yahweh’s father. El is featured in the second creation story - the older one - in Genesis 2.

Then in later later teachings Yahweh began to usurp El, and their features were combined, so that Yahweh was both the creator god and the god of the Israelites. Yahweh is featured in the first creation story - the newer one - in Genesis 1.

And in some cases there were multiple creators, and multiple creation events. This is represented in the bible by the creation stories in Genesis, both at the beginning and then the re-creation after the destruction of the flood.

The book isn’t available on Kindle unfortunately, and, where I live, on the other side of the planet, posting via Amazon is generally problematic.

It’s extremely annoying for me when someone in Sabbath School class only quotes Ellen White and doesn’t reference the Bible. Don’t get me wrong, Ellen White is an important part of Adventist history and theology, but as Christians, the Bible should be our go-to source for guidance.

If we put too much focus on Ellen White’s writings and don’t interpret them correctly and ‘cherry-pick’, it can make our beliefs and practices really rigid and narrow-minded. Obviously a recipe for disaster…disagreements, unnecessary conflicts…

I note much cherry-picking of her quotes and bible verses to support a particular agenda, i.e. revenue gathering, in the last few weeks’ Sabbath School lessons. No attempt to consider the plight of church members in the ‘vulnerable’ category. e.g. an elderly person who can’t afford to heat their home in order to return a faithful tithe. This common example highlights the potential dangers of using religious teachings to extract money from the vulnerable. If an elderly person were to catch pneumonia, and die as a result of feeling pressured to pay a certain amount to their church, it would be a serious concern… elder abuse, financial exploitation…


I have often wondered why the 1st Commandment says “Thou shalt have no other gods be Me…” or how Jacobs wife could be held in such high regard when she had in her possession the family gods (idols) and still be favored by God. The notion of other gods is a foreign one to most of us and the perspective of the people of the past is an important one.

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“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” suggests two things - One, there are other gods. Western thought tends to reject this notion, believing that there is only one God. Two, we are free to worship other gods but not to the exclusion of the Jewish God. Put God first, but other gods are ok after that.

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Can anyone say “Shiva”, the Hindu god who creates with one of his four hands while destroying with another, all while the third and fourth hands seem to say, “Relax, this is all ‘Circle of Life” stuff!”


But then again as mentioned previously, Hinduism estimates the actual number of gods to be in the hundreds of millions, so maybe this was what Jesus was talking about when he told the people who were about to stone him that they were gods?!?!

Or like when Willie Wonka quoted Arthur O’Shaughnessy poem “Ode”:

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.[2]

what’s laughable and pathetic is that scholars would allow themselves to come to the knee-jerk conclusion that the use of similar words and phrases in egw’s writings and books known to be in her library must represent something sinister…what was stopping them from investigating what inspiration actually means…what was stopping them from understanding the conventions used by religious writers in egw’s time…

it’s quite clear from egw’s writings, themselves, that inspiration isn’t verbal dictation…while her mind was inspired with thoughts and ideas, she was left to express them in words of her own choosing…she was tasked with the enormous responsibility of framing inspired thoughts, ideas and impressions into words that could be understood…in her mind, this obviously meant writing in a way that reflects her time, which included helping herself to what she was able to find in the writings of those around her…it’s only when it’s assumed that inspiration must mean originality, and a conformance to modern ideas of intellectual property - that egw must demonstrate an approach foreign to her time and place - that the discovery of uncited words and phrases in the books in egw’s library in her own writings becomes suspicious…

i do agree that to lay persons unfamiliar with the nature of inspiration, or the conventions of religious writers of egw’s time, similar or even identical words and phrases in egw’s writings and the books of others could be a source of concern and dismay…but scholars on these topics should have been able to see all of this in the way Ramik has obviously seen it, even if they didn’t have his understanding of copyright history…

Ministry Magazine has published a three-part series on this issue worth reading (the concept of cryptomnesia is particularly interesting):

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