Visions and Revisions: A Textual History of Ellen G. White’s Writings — Book Review

In recent years a number of studies have greatly added to our knowledge of important aspects of the person and ministry of Ellen G. White. In 2014 Oxford University Press published Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet. This book offered a valuable collection of essays by Adventist and non-Adventist authors about important aspects of Ellen White’s ministry. Two books by Gilbert Valentine also deserve special mention. Firstly, his book that describes Ellen White’s relationship with three of the General Conference presidents, The Prophet and the Presidents (Pacific Press, 2011) and, secondly, his very informative book about the controversies surrounding the handling of Ellen White’s literary inheritance, The Struggle for the Prophetic Heritage (republished by Oak and Acorn, 2018). An important publication about the history of the relationship between the SDA Church and the writings of Ellen White, after her death in 1915, came from the pen of George R. Knight: Ellen White’s Afterlife (Pacific Press, 2019). The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia, edited by Andrews University professors Jerry Moon and Denis Fortin, also proved to be a rich and reliable source of information (Review and Herald, 2014).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Eventually–after we are all long gone–the whole truth about about EGW will be fully acknowledged by our church. But only after the overwhelming majority of members have sadly said, “Who cares?”


Thank you Reinder,

for a most informative and elegant review of Ronald Graybilll’s book, among an astonishing recent plethora of publications on EGW.

With EGW’s waning / withering / wilting influence / acceptance in Adventism, one wonders about the profitability of these new publications. Who even bothers to buy them ?

In my childhood and adolescent years, the forties and fifties, every conservative, devout Adventist household, prominently and proudly displayed a shelf of her “ red books “.

They were revered and also extensively quoted from.

The toxic revelations of EGW’S prolific and plenteous plagiarism did much to taint and tarnish her image. Also the increasing information about the literary input of a multiplicity of “assistants “ raised credibility issues.

The casual reader of White’s writings cannot know which phrase / paragraph / page. / portion is her original output or is borrowed / purloined / stolen / or plagiarized… Her affirmations that “ she was shown” leads one to believe that God chose a most circuitous route via contemporary writers of her era, to pass his messages to her.

As a result, in most current Adventist households there is nary a sign of a “ red book “.

Regrettably, our GC leader has endeavored to put the best propaganda SPIN on the unsavory revelations about our prophet.

He still extensively quotes form her writings, sometimes more so than from the Bible.

He has doubled down on demanding that every true Adventist give her obeisance…

Just as the Catholics revere and venerate the VIRGIN MARY, while every other woman, even Mother Teresa, enjoys second rate status, so TW places EGW on a pedestal, while allowing misogyny to flourish in Adventism and denying our clergywomen equality in the workplace.


It sounds interesting if I can find the time.

When Ronald Graybill was a student at the Seminary in the late '60s he was already a distinguished member of a cohort who included Richard Rice, Charles Scriven, Ron Walden, John Brunt, Alden Thompson, Jonathan Butler, Roy Adams, Jon Dybdhal. Walter Douglas, etc. He exhibited impressive intellectual gifts and research interests. Through the years he has sharpened this tools and I am very pleased to see that he is crowning his achievements with this most needed and helpful book.


The Bible is definitely given very limited time in his speeches/sermons. The talks that I’ve heard him give (probably 20 or so), are almost nothing but Ellen White. Have you read his doctoral thesis? It’s all Ellen’s writings regarding mission to the cities. It’s the blueprint for his Mission to the Cities program from a few years ago.

I don’t know what the man would talk about if he had to give a sermon that didn’t include reams of EGW quotes.

Speaking about the red books. My husband had a set from his grandparents. I looked at them once or twice, but that’s about it. After leaving the SDA church, I actually read quite a bit of them, out of curiosity at first. Then I kept reading because it was so bizarre. Two things that I remember was how much she talked about Satan, and how critical and condemning she was of everybody and everything. And all the early stuff regarding angels with gold cards, the green cord, people on other planets…:scream:


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