Ellen G. White and Plagiarism
I fully believe that just as there are stumbling blocks in the Bible, for those who are wont to disbelieve, God allowed the stumbling block in the person of Ellen White, for the proud, the skeptical, the doubting; those of little faith, and the haughty who demand greater credential, to stumble over.
How did God choose solve this problem of having only the least to work with, because more "qualified" individuals openly refused and balked from the task? Here is what happened whether or not the infidels choose to believe:
Ellen White would forget large portions of her visions. Her critics mock her for forgetting those visions, but apparently it was God's will. However, when attempting to write out the visions, God would recount them to her memory and she would write them out to the best of her ability, which was less than satisfactory. Then God would lead her to similar accounts of what she had received in vision and written out, and it is then that she would marvel that the substance of what she had written out was exactly as stated by the author she was reading, but the language employed by the other author was superior in describing the same matter she had just tried to describe to the best of her inferior ability. It was then, and only then, according to Ellen White, that she copied and/or paraphrased some of the wording to describe the same event she had already seen.
Here are her words relating an example of this mode of writing:
"After I had written my six articles for How to Live, I then searched the various works on hygiene, and was surprised to find them so nearly in harmony with what the Lord had revealed to me. And o show this harmony and to set before my brethren and sisters the subject as brought out by able writers, I determined to publish How to Live, in which I largely extracted from the works referred to." E.G. White Review and Herald, Oct. 8, 1867; E.G. White, Messenger to the Remnant, p. 16.
It was God's plan that Ellen White would read extant spiritual writings of the day that were admixed with spurious matter, and while reading such matter she would recognize portions which she had already written out which were what she had already seen in vision. This is why she would say she was shown such and such. Her critics choose to disbelieve her and MOCKINGLY JUDGE her in this regard, as having only copied, negating the option that she was BOTH shown and did write first, and did copy and/or paraphrase afterwards. In this regard Ellen White's critics are committing an act strictly forbidden by the Word of God, and that serious act is JUDGING! They are setting themselves up as God; assuming the prerogative of God, and proclaiming to all the world that Ellen White copied and was not shown, instead of being shown first, then being reminded of what she was shown, and then copying or paraphrasing a rendition of what she had already been shown. She would interpolate some of those passages and directly copy some, under the very direction of God Almighty.Thus she is not guilty of plagiarism because she did not steal someone else's ideas, when she had already been shown those concepts in vision! This is her answer to the matter, and any other ruling is PURE "FORBIDDEN BY THE WORD" JUDGMENTALISM.This JUDGMENTALISM is one of the prime indications of the lack of integrity of Ellen White's critics. It is not integral to set yourself up as God, and pronounce judgment on your brother/sister! So, you have a choice friend, you can believe self-appointed judges, character slanderers, unintegral men and women who speak evil of dignities, even heavenly dignities, or you can believe the prophets of God. Choose ye this day. Considering the life history of one Ellen G. White, compared to what I have learned of the history of her critics. I would put my trust and benefit of the doubt in her a thousand-times over!
Prophet: a person who speaks for God. ( Webster's NewWorld Dictionary, Second College Edition, Copyright 1986).Ellen White either spoke for God, or for Satan. Very few of her critics realize this, and they try to excuse her as a deluded irresponsible person. Ellen White was no irresponsible person. She spoke before crowds as large as 15,000-20,000 people, and influenced millions in her lifetime. If person or prophets were to be excluded for making some mistakes, then the disciples of Christ would certainly have been excluded when they told sworn lies at Christ's trial, that they did not know Him. Moses would have been excluded for killing a man, and striking the rock twice. David would have been excluded because of being responsible for Bathsheba's husband's death. Abraham would have been excluded for lying twice about the real identity of his wife Sarah, etc. etc.
The writers whose books Ellen White read were certainly "speaking for God," or acting as representatives of God, even though they had a few things mixed up, just as the reformers of the Great Reformation had a few things mixed up!. Now is just so happens that there are NO COPYRIGHTS TO PROPHETIC UTTERANCES. An Adventist Doctor in California, re-published the 1884 Great Controversy, entitled The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4. The church had quit publishing that book, and the Dr. noticed some important things in that book, which were not in the later versions. For example, pp. 199, 200, are very provocative, and it might be that the leaders did not like the way things were worded on these pages, because they say that the last message was not to be committed to the leaders of "His [God's] people," "His church," because:
"Jesus sends HIS PEOPLE a message of warning to prepare them for his coming. . . .
These pages were incriminating not only to the leaders of "HIS PEOPLE, HIS CHURCH," but the people also! But, the leaders, fearing they would lose the respect of the people, watered down these words so that they do not carry any semblance of the same meaning in the 1911 version of The Great Controversy.
The real point I am making is that a California doctor wanted to republish this volume. He did, and the church took him to court for Copyright violation! The good doctor won. The judgment said that there is no Copyright on prophetic materials. The doctor kept publishing the book. The church was irate because he won, and began to re-publish the book also. It is a rule or ruin system, you see! But the main point is that there is NO COPYRIGHT on prophetic writings. This fact, combined with the fact that Ellen White got it first from God, testifies totally against any charge of plagiarism! God merely led her to sources that recounted what He had already shown Ellen White in vision, to aid her in her lack of writing ability. What a wonderful God! High evidence that God did precisely that is the choices Ellen White made when excerpting portions from the books she copied. She did precisely what she admonished us to do. She took the good and left the spurious! Who led her in this endeavor! God Almighty, that is Who! And that is Whom Ellen White's critics are really condemning!
Friend of mine, the real issue is whether or not what Ellen White copied is truth or not! The devil never presents pure truth. He admixes truth with error, and Ellen White copied pure truth. She was like a digest source inspired of God to garner the best of current writings on Christian values etc. Those who are accusing Ellen White in this regard, are really accusing God, and they will pay a heavy price, the price of eternal life.
I would like to give you Ellen White critics an example of the fruits of what you are doing. I know of a young man who loves dancing and carousing at the local nightclubs. However, he restrained himself from such pursuits until reading the Ellen White criticisms on the Internet, as he is a computer buff. After reading those criticisms, he threw all his restraint to the wind, and he goes about with great freedom to do whatever he desires, because the restraining force in his life, the morals advocated by Ellen White and Scripture, have been discarded. He now reinterprets Scripture in a way to do away with its moral obligations. This is one example of thousands, of how God fearing Christians are being corrupted by the influence of those who would criticize the high morality of the teachings of Ellen White. Make no mistake about it, Ellen White's critics are serving the cause from beneath! As she predicted, those who give up their faith in the Testimonies, come to give up plain Scriptural directives.
This writer would like to go on record as saying that I do not care if Ellen White copied every word she ever wrote! My concern and your concern had better be: Was what she wrote truth or error, and we will deal with this issue more fully in another section of our defense of Ellen White, the voice of the Holy Spirit; yea the Gift of the Holy Spirit to the church and to the world.