After starting to read the Testimonies over 10 years ago, doubts arose in my mind concerning EGW’s prophetic gift. Reading Steve Gaily’s psychobiography (and immediately afterwards, Herb Douglass’s “Messenger of the Lord”, to see the other side, too) only strengthened my conviction concerning this matter.
First, through her many “I saw…” statements, I see a picture of God which is not compatible with the Father Jesus showed us. A God who on the one hand creates dozens of different butterflies und lavishly dresses the lilies on the field, but on the other hand condems variety in dress ("In a vision given me at Battle Creek, January 3, 1875, I was shown the state of things which I have here represented, and that the wide diversity in dress was an injury to the cause of truth. (4T 637) ), and for whom hoops are an abomination (Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 4, p. 66), a God who gives testimonies against joking and laughing (…these public testimonies focused on „the sin of hasty speaking, jesting, joking and laughing.“ Letter 6 1868, Bio , vol 2, p 228, 229), a God who strongly condems playing cricket and tennis ( Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, p. 350) - that does not really make any sense to me in the light of the powerful but compassionate God pictured in the Bible. Given the fact that EGW grew in her knowledge of God, still for me “I saw…” means there was some divine contribution to the things she wrote (and that’s precisely the way she described her work “My work… bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in that matter. The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil”. Testimonies Vol. 5, p. 671
Second, some of EGW’s predictions failed, not only the well-known food for worms vision in Michigan 1856, but also many others ("I saw that the time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly finished and that time can last but a very little longer. … The sealing time is very short, and will soon be over (Early writings 55-56, ca. 1850)), messages against bringing children into the world ("The time has come when, in one sense, they that have wives be as though they had none. God wants us to be consistent people, our works corresponding with our faith. *Letters and Manuscripts Volume 4, Ms 34a, 1885).
Third, even if you may argue that prophtets are surely not perfect, they are mere human beings, there are such striking inconsistencies between EGW’s message and her way of life, that I cannot reconcile the two of them. On the one hand, she states that “A faithful shepherd will not study his own ease and convenience, but will labor for the interest of the sheep. In this great work he will forget self; in his search for the lost sheep he will not realize that he himself is weary, cold, and hungry. He has but one object in view; to save the lost and wandering sheep, at whatever expense it may be to himself. His wages will not influence him in his labor, nor turn him from his duty. He has received his commission from the Majesty of heaven, and he expects his reward when the work entrusted to him is done.—Testimonies for the Church 2:341”, on the other hand she bitterly complains about the income the book “Spirit of Prophecy Vol 4” has brought to her and threatens to hire a manager: “I will not trust my book interests with my good brethren who plan in such a way that a certain portion of the profit is taken off by this one and by that one, and only a very small portion is left for me. *Manuscript Releases 20: 48-50”.
When returning from Australia, she travels first class in the most comfortable room the ship has to offer, while the rest of the party travels second class.
It is true that I have also felt Gaily’s tone was somewhat harsh at times, but I can fully understand the disappointed someone feels who has believed most of his life that he was a member of God’s church, co-founded by His prophet, followed rules which restricted his well-being without really making sense, and later finds out things are not quite like that. I have gone through this disappointed myself, but I am much comforted by the thought that now, not consisting of only Adventists anymore, my circle of world-wide brothers and sisters has greatly enlarged, and I have found a great, loving Father, not just a petty rule-maker.