Shut Door Statements not Included in Early Writings

By Brother Anderson

In 1882, the SDA Church published a book called Early Writings which purported to have the earliest writings of Ellen White. For years critics had complained that the earliest writings of Ellen White contained grave errors regarding the "shut door" doctrine. The General Conference president, George Butler, desiring to silence the critics, decided to publish all of Mrs. White's earliest writings. In 1882 the book Early Writings came off the press.

Shortly thereafter, the real early writings of Ellen White surfaced when one of Ellen White's critics, A.C. Long, published a tract named "Comparison of the Early Writings of Mrs. White with Later Publications." It showed line by line which material had been deleted from her earliest writings. It was a terrible embarrassment for George Butler! Many lost faith in Mrs. White.

One example

Here is an example from page 14 of Early Writings, with the deleted line highlighted in RED:

"While I was praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell upon me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world...I raised my eyes, and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the city, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the beginning of the path, which an angel told me was the midnight cry. This light shone all along the path and gave light for their feet so that they might not stumble. If they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the city, they were safe. But soon some...rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below. [It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected.] Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters..."

The Deception Recognized by Others

A.C. Long was not the first to expose the suppression of writings by Adventist leaders. Isaac Wellcome, an Adventist minister baptized by James White recognized that fraud that was being perpetrated:

Eld. White had published several of Ellen's visions on small sheets for general distribution; but as time passed on the theology of her later visions was materially different from former ones, and they were suppressed... these visions as published now are greatly in conflict with those which acquaintances and witnesses in New England were accustomed to hear from her lips, after recovering from her clairvoyant state, or to read on sheets as published at first, by Eld. White."
--Isaac Wellcome, History of the Second Advent Message, (1874).

The Deception Continues Today

The author bought his copy of Early Writings in the early 1990s--a full 110 years after the SDA leaders "discovered" that critical material had been suppressed and deleted from the book. I thought what I had purchased was the very earliest writings of Ellen White. Even the preface of the book led me to believe that:

"Footnotes giving dates and explanations, and an appendix giving two very interesting dreams, which were mentioned but not related to the original work, will add to the value of this edition. Aside from these, no changes from the original work have been made in the present edition, except the occasional employment of a new word, or a change in the construction of a sentence, to better express the idea, and no portion of the work has been omitted. No shadow of change has been made in any idea or sentiment of the original work, and the verbal changes have been made under the author's own eye, and with her full approval."

What the authors of the preface do not disclose is that by "original work" they mean the book published in 1851 named Christian Experience and Views. However, this is not the original writings of Ellen White. The originals were written between 1846 and 1851. They appear as articles in the Present Truth and Day Star magazines, and they contain statements which were not included in Experience and Views. It appears deceptive for the work named Early Writings to contain writings that are an edited version of the earliest writings, while at the same time stating in the introduction that "no changes from the original work have been made."

Category: Shut Door
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