Ellen White's Plagiarism in Prophets and Kings

By Dirk Anderson, last updated Sep. 2023

Plagiarism from Daniel March

Ellen White had several of Daniel March's books in her library, including Night Scenes in the Bible.1 She copied from March in many of her books, articles, and personal letters. Below are a few examples from Prophets and Kings.

Ellen G. White,
Prophets and Kings (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1917)
Daniel March,
Night Scenes in the Bible, (Philadelphia, PA: Zeigler and McCurdy, 1868)
Their shrill cries echo and re-echo through the forests and the surrounding heights, as they call on the name of their god, saying, “O Baal, hear us.” The priests gather about their altar, and with leaping and writhing and screaming, with tearing of hair and cutting of flesh, they beseech their god to help them. The morning passes, noon comes, and yet there is no evidence that Baal hears the cries of his deluded followers. There is no voice, no reply to their frantic prayers. The sacrifice remains unconsumed. As they continue their frenzied devotions, the crafty priests are continually trying to devise some means by which they may kindle a fire upon the altar and lead the people to believe that the fire has come direct from Baal. But Elijah watches every movement; and the priests, hoping against hope for some opportunity to deceive, continue to carry on their senseless ceremonies. ...At last, their voices hoarse with shouting, their garments stained with blood from self-inflicted wounds, the priests become desperate. With unabated frenzy they now mingle with their pleading terrible cursings of their sun-god, and Elijah continues to watch intently; for he knows that if by any device the priests should succeed in kindling their altar fire, he would instantly be torn in pieces.
p. 149-150
They surround the altar like a legion of demons, with a whirling and giddy dance, leaping up and down...growing more rapid and furious in their motions and more wild and frantic in their cries as the slow hours of the morning pass on and the sultry noon comes and there is no voice nor any that answers. It is passed midday, and still, hoping to gain time and find some device or sleight of hand by which the fire can be kindled, they continue their cries, cutting their flesh, leaping over the altar, staining their faces and their garments with their blood, howling and foaming with frantic excitement, making the whole mountain resound with the demonic chorus of eight hundred hoarse and screaming voices, mingling curses with their prayers to their pitiless sun-god for the answer of fire, and still it does not come. All the while, Elijah stands alone, waiting and knowing full well that if by any deceit or cunning they should kindle the altar the people will join with them in tearing him in pieces on the spot.
p. 212
Choosing “twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, ... he built an altar in the name of the Lord.” The disappointed priests of Baal, exhausted by their vain efforts, wait to see what Elijah will do. ... The people, fearful also, and almost breathless with expectancy, watch while Elijah continues his preparations. The calm demeanor of the prophet stands out in sharp contrast with the fanatical, senseless frenzy of the followers of Baal.
p. 151
The maddened priests of Baal, reeking with blood, exhausted with their own frenzy, sink in silence on the ground. With calm and solemn deportment, Elijah rebuilds the alter of Jehovah with twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of Israel... The great multitude are pale and breathless with awful expectation while he speaks. His calm and simple prayer and peaceful deportment are more impressive than the foaming fury and the wild cries of a thousand priests of Baal.
p. 212
No sooner is the prayer of Elijah ended than flames of fire, like brilliant flashes of lightning, descend from heaven upon the unprepared altar, consuming the sacrifice, licking up the water in the trench, and consuming even the stones of the altar. The brilliancy of the blaze illumines the mountain and dazzles the eyes of the multitude. In the valleys below, where many are watching in anxious suspense the movements of those above, the descent of fire is clearly seen, and all are amazed at the sight. It resembles the pillar of fire which at the Red Sea separated the children of Israel from the Egyptian host. The people on the mount prostrate themselves in awe before the unseen God. They dare not continue to look upon the Heaven-sent fire. ...they cry out together as with one voice, “The Lord, He is the God; the Lord, He is the God.”
p. 152-153
No sooner has he spoken than the rushing flame descends from the clear heavens like the lightning's flash, and the very stones of the altar are burnt up with the devouring fire. The sudden blaze blinds the eyes of the multitude and illumines the whole slope of the mountain with a light above the brightness of the sun. The people watching afar off, on the housetops in Jezreel and Samaria, and on the hills of Ephraim and Galilee, are startled at the sight. It seems to them as if the pillar of fire that led their fathers in the desert had descended upon Carmel. The multitude on the mountain fall on their faces to the ground, unable to look upon the great light, and they cry out with one voice, "Jehovah is God! Jehovah is God!"
p. 212-213
Elijah, who, as the prophet of God, had that day humiliated Ahab before his subjects and slain his idolatrous priests, still acknowledged him as Israel's king; and now, as an act of homage, and strengthened by the power of God, he ran before the royal chariot, guiding the king to the entrance of the city.
p. 158
The prophet had put the king to shame before his people at Carmel, and he ran before his chariot as an act of homage to show that he still acknowledged him as sovereign.
p. 214

Plagiarism from Krummacher

In 1835, Friedrich Wilhelm Krummacher wrote a truly inspiring book about Elijah. Mrs. White had this book in her personal library.2 It appears she referred to this book in her chapters on Elijah. Below are a few examples of plagiarism:

Ellen G. White,
Prophets and Kings (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1917)
Friedrich Wilhelm Krummacher,
Elijah the Tishbite (NY: American Tract Society, 1835)
Among the mountains of Gilead, east of the Jordan... The word of faith and power was upon his lips... His was the voice of one crying in the wilderness... And while he came to the people as a reprover of sin, his message offered the balm of Gilead to the sin-sick souls of all who desired to be healed.
p. 119, paragraph 1
...among the mountains of Gilead, on the other side Jordan... Hence it was that he thus prepared, in Gilead, the balm which should recover the health of the daughter of Zion. ... Elijah enters upon the stage of history with a word of faith and power... Here surely is "the voice of one crying in the wilderness"...
p. 6
The earth is parched as if with fire. The scorching heat of the sun destroys what little vegetation has survived. Streams dry up, and lowing herds and bleating flocks wander hither and thither in distress. Once-flourishing fields have become like burning desert sands, a desolate waste. The groves dedicated to idol worship are leafless; the forest trees, gaunt skeletons of nature, afford no shade. The air is dry and suffocating; dust storms blind the eyes and nearly stop the breath. Once-prosperous cities and villages have become places of mourning.... Famine, with all its horror, comes closer and still closer.
...the sultry winds dried up with their burning gusts every rivulet from its bed and every fountain from its source; the plants and trees dropped their leaves, and withered away; the lowing herds and bleating flocks explored every spot upon the parched fields; ...the famine...turned every habitation into a place of mourning and woe.
pp. 14-15
Standing in conscious innocence before Ahab, Elijah makes no attempt to excuse himself or to flatter the king. Nor does he seek to evade the king's wrath by the good news that the drought is almost over.
p. 140
The prophet stands before a mortal enemy... Does he excuse himself and cry for mercy? Does he have recourse to flattery or artifice? ... Does he even endeavour to moderate the king's displeasure by announcing to him the good news of the approaching rain? p. 66
As divinely appointed messengers, ministers are in a position of awful responsibility. They are to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering.” ... They are to go forward in faith, remembering that they are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. They are not to speak their own words, but words which One greater than the potentates of earth has bidden them speak. Their message is to be, “Thus saith the Lord.” God calls for men like Elijah, Nathan, and John the Baptist...
p. 142
...ministers...an awful and most responsible trust, "to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine." ... We speak not from ourselves, but what which One who is greater than all commands us to speak. We go forward surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, as the ambassadors of the King of kings, and have the right to announce our message to sinners in the name of God, with "Thus saith the Lord!" Oh that it more thoroughly pervaded us, and that we were more like Elijah, or Nathan, or John the Baptist...
p. 67
They would still remain the prophets of Baal. Thus they showed themselves ripe for destruction. ... They seize the priests, and take them to the brook Kishon, and there, before the close of the day that marked the beginning of decided reform, the ministers of Baal are slain.
p. 152
...remaining still the prophets of Baal, they were ripe for destruction. ... They fall upon them, drag them down, at Elijah's command, to the brook Kishon, and assist the man of God in destroying them.
p. 88
Hard by the palace of the king was a vineyard belonging to Naboth, a Jezreelite. Ahab set his heart on possessing this vineyard, and he proposed to buy it or else to give in exchange for it another piece of land.
p. 204
Adjoining the latter [the palace of the king] was a vineyard, which belonged to the paternal inheritance of Naboth the Jezreelite. Ahab having thought his land would be much improved by the addition of this piece of land, set his heart on obtaining it.
p. 174

Following is one quote from Krummacher that Mrs. White did not copy:

As a counterpart to the oracle at Ekron and Endor, we have, in the present day, visionaries...we have pretended prophets... p. 198

Little did Krummacher realize how true his prophetic words would be.

Plagiarism from John Russ Macduff

Ellen White had nine of J.R. Macduff's books in her libraries, including Memories of Olivet.3 It appears she referred to this book in her writings about Solomon. Below are some examples of plagiarism:

Ellen G. White,
Prophets and Kings (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1917)
John Ross Macduff,
Memories of Olivet (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1868)
But after a morning of great promise his life was darkened by apostasy. History records the melancholy fact that he who had been called Jedidiah,—“Beloved of the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:25, margin)...
p. 51
...his name, "Jedidiah," "the beloved of God;"...after a morning, but a manhood, of promise—was a history of deterioration. ... "Melancholy marked him for her own."
pp. 73-74
On the southern eminence of the Mount of Olives, opposite Mount Moriah, where stood the beautiful temple of Jehovah, Solomon erected an imposing pile of buildings to be used as idolatrous shrines. To please his wives, he placed huge idols, unshapely images of wood and stone, amidst the groves of myrtle and olive. There, before the altars of heathen deities, “Chemosh, the abomination of Moab,” and “Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon,” were practiced the most degrading rites of heathenism.
p. 57
In the days of King Josiah, a pile of imposing buildings of Tyrian architecture, crowned the southern eminence of the Mount of Olives. Gigantic idols,—some, unshapely blocks of wood, others of stone, all strange to look upon in that site,—peered above the groves of myrtle, olive, and terebinth which encircled them. The images of Ashtoreth and Chemosh and Molech were borken in fragments...
pp. 71
His fine sensibilities became blunted, his conscience seared. ... He who at the dedication of the temple had said to his people, “Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God” (1 Kings 8:61), became himself an offender, in heart and life denying his own words. He mistook license for liberty. He tried—but at what cost!—to unite light with darkness, good with evil, purity with impurity, Christ with Belial.

From being one of the greatest kings that ever wielded a scepter, Solomon became a profligate, the tool and slave of others. His character, once noble and manly, became enervated and effeminate. His faith in the living God was supplanted by atheistic doubts. Unbelief marred his happiness, weakened his principles, and degraded his life. The justice and magnanimity of his early reign were changed to despotism and tyranny.
pp. 57-58

A character, originally bold and independent, became enervated and effeminate,—the slave and tool of others. His fine sensibilities were blunted,—his conscience seared. The lauded justice and magnanimity of his early reign was changed into tyranny. Once the idol of his people: by profligate expenditure on self and sin, he became the despot. ... He who had prayed for his people at the dedication of the temple, 'Let your hearts be undividedly given to the Lord,' (1 Kings 8:61), now himself began to divide his heart. The mind that could dictate the everlasting truths of his own Book of Proverbs, had lapsed, by all these evil influences, into moral imbecility, mistaking wild license for liberality and tolerance. ... He tried to unite light with darkness, Christ with Belial, purity with impurity, good with evil.
pp. 73-74
Not only to the youth, but to those of mature years, and to those who are descending the hill of life and facing the western sun, the life of Solomon is full of warning. We see and hear of unsteadiness in youth, the young wavering between right and wrong, and the current of evil passions proving too strong for them. In those of maturer years, we do not look for this unsteadiness and unfaithfulness; we expect the character to be established, the principles firmly rooted. But this is not always so. When Solomon should have been in character as a sturdy oak, he fell from his steadfastness under the power of temptation.
p. 82
The life and example of Solomon has a special moral and warning also to the AGED:—to those—not who are climbing the mountain—but who are descending, and are facing the westering sun. We often hear of the unsteadiness of giddy youth,—vacillating between fixed principles; and alas! the current of evil too often proving the fatal one. But we seldom think of unsteadiness and vacillation in connection with maturer years: we generally suppose that on the turn of manhood or womanhood, character is stereotyped, principles rooted, and that once the ship has cleared the bar, there is no more fear of foundering. Generally, it is so: but not always. And in the case of Solomon...a sturdy oak of Bashan bent before the blast of temptation.
pp. 81-82

See Also

Category: Plagiarism


1. Warren Johns, Tim Poirer, and Ron Graybill, A Bibliography of Ellen White's Private and Office Libraries (Ellen G. White Estate, 1993), 44.

2. Ibid., 40.

3. Ibid., 43.

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