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... a detailed look into the writings of Ellen White, and an investigation of the charges of plagiarism ...
Disclaimer:  This site is not associated with the White Estate, or the Seventh-day Adventist ® Church, and does not evaluate religious doctrines but only investigates literary sources.

Our approach:

scholarship
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historical evidence
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original sources
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sarcasm & bitterness
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insults & mockery
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accusations
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Do these names sound familiar?

  • Rev. John Cumming
  • L.B. Coles, M.D.
  • Rev. Daniel March
  • Rev. John Harris


(You probably do not recognize the names.)

Do these quotes sound familiar?

  • “In the matchless gift of His Son, God has encircled the whole world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air which circulates around the globe.”
  • “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.”
  • “It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break the ten commandments.”
  • “The mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries.”
  • “Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song.”
  • “It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ.”

If you have read Ellen White, then you probably recognize these quotes. You may not remember exactly where you read them, but you associate these quotes with her books. But were they originally written by her, or by those other authors listed above, who published before her?

The answer may surprise you:

Quote from E.G. White: Quote from author who published previously:
In the matchless gift of His Son, God has encircled the whole world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air which circulates around the globe. All who choose to breathe this life-giving atmosphere will live and grow up to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus.

"Steps to Christ", p 68, (1892, E.G. White)
He gave him, to encircle the world with an atmosphere of grace, as real and universal, as the elemental air which encompasses and circulates around the globe itself; and whoever chooses to inhale it, hath eternal life.

"The Great Teacher", p 112-113 (1835, Rev. John Harris)
It will do you good, and our ministers generally, to frequently review the closing scenes in the life of our Redeemer. Here, beset with temptations as He was, we may all learn lessons of the utmost importance to us. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life. By thus contemplating His teachings and sufferings, and the infinite sacrifice made by Him for the redemption of the race we may strengthen our faith, quicken our love, and become more deeply imbued with the spirit which sustained our Saviour. If we would be saved at last we must all learn the lesson of penitence and faith at the foot of the cross.

"Testimonies for the Church", vol 4, p 374 (1876-1881, E.G. White) (Note: A shorter version of this appears in "The Desire of Ages", p 83, but this quote is earlier in time.)
Nevertheless it will do us all good, frequently and solemnly to review the closing scenes in the Saviour's earthly life. Amid the material and worldly passions, by which we are beset and tempted, we shall learn many salutary lessons, by going back in memory, and spending a thoughtful hour, in the endeavor to strengthen our faith and quicken our love at the foot of the cross.

"Walks and Homes of Jesus", p 313 (1866, Daniel March)
In Him is life that is original, - unborrowed, underived life. In us there is a streamlet from the fountain of life. In Him is the fountain of life. Our life is something that we receive, something that the Giver takes back again to Himself.

"Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 19", p. 23, (E.G. White, 1905)

Still seeking to give a true direction to her faith, Jesus declared, "I am the resurrection, and the life." In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.

"The Desire of Ages", p 530 (1898, E.G. White)
He at once begins by asserting the Deity of Christ as God and Lord of all; and he states, " In him was life," - that is, original, unborrowed, underived. In us there is a streamlet from the Fountain of Life; in him was the Fountain of Life. Our life is something we receive, something that the Giver takes back again to himself, - over which we have no control, and for which we must give God the account and the praise. But in Jesus was life underived, unborrowed ; he was the Life; and that Life, it is said, " was the light of men."

"Sabbath Evening Readings on the New Testament, St. John", p. 5 (1856, Rev. John Cumming)
It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break the ten commandments. To do either is to break God's laws. Those who transgress the law of God in their physical organism, will be inclined to violate the law of God spoken from Sinai.

"Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene", p 53, (1890, E.G. White)
To do that which will injure our constitution or health, is sinful in the sight of Heaven. To transgress physical law is transgressing God's law; for he is as truly the Author of physical law, as he is the Author of the moral law. Whoever, therefore, violates the laws of life and health, sins against God as truly as though he break the ten commandments. Every man is therefore under moral obligation to obey those laws; and whoever dares violate them will find "The way of transgressors is hard."

"The Philosophy of Health", p 95, (1848, L.B. Coles, M.D.)
The mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries. In the light that streams from Calvary the attributes of God which had filled us with fear and awe appear beautiful and attractive. Mercy, tenderness, and parental love are seen to blend with holiness, justice, and power. While we behold the majesty of His throne, high and lifted up, we see His character in its gracious manifestations, and comprehend, as never before, the significance of that endearing title, "Our Father."

"Spirit of Prophecy" vol 4, p 469 (E.G. White, 1884), "The Great Controversy", 1888 edition and also 1911 edition, p 652

God's wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which "angels desire to look," and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song.

"Desire of Ages", p 19 (1898, E.G. White)
This great mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries, and is itself dark to our vision only from the excess of light. ... If, then, we would see the character of God in its most complete and gracious manifestation; if we would find out that meaning of that great and precious name, OUR FATHER; if we would know the exceeding greatness of the inheritance which the Father freely bestows upon his redeemed and adopted children we must look in faith upon the cross and so begin the study which shall be "the science and song of all eternity". ... that his sacrificial death is the great revelation which God makes of himself to the understanding and the heart ... (note: quote marks are in the original)

"Walks and Homes of Jesus", p 326-328 (1866, Daniel March)

Can you tell?

Example A: Which column is Daniel March, and which is E.G. White?

1 2
The command to "go forward" is the Christian watchword of duty and of safety in all ages. It is only because some have faith and fortitude to advance in the face of difficulties, dangers and uncertainties that the life of the world does not stagnate and every good cause die. To stand still, when the voice of God's providence cries go forward, quenches the light of hope in the heart and opens every avenue of the soul for the incoming of the powers of darkness. The divine command was: "Go forward." They were not to wait until the way was made plain, and they could comprehend the entire plan of their deliverance. God's cause is onward, and He will open a path before His people. To hesitate and murmur is to manifest distrust in the Holy One of Israel. God in His providence brought the Hebrews into the mountain fastnesses, with the Red Sea before them, that He might work out their deliverance and forever rid them of their enemies. He might have saved them in any other way, but He chose this method in order to test their faith and strengthen their trust in Him. .... "Go forward" should be the Christian's watchword.

The first is from "Night Scenes in the Bible", p 140 (1868, Daniel March), the second is from "Testimonies for the Church, Volume 4", p 25, 27 (1876-1881, E.G. White)

Example B: On the same subject, which is Daniel March, and which is E.G. White?

1 2
The Hebrews were weary and terrified; yet if they had held back when Moses bade them advance, if they had refused to move nearer to the Red Sea, God would never have opened the path for them. In marching down to the very water, they showed that they had faith in the word of God as spoken by Moses. They did all that it was in their power to do, and then the Mighty One of Israel performed His part, and divided the waters to make a path for their feet. If the Hebrews had not advanced - weary, terrified, afflicted as they were - when Moses gave the word to go forward, we have no reason to suppose that the waters would have divided, or that they would have escaped a return to worse bondage than they had ever suffered before in Egypt. And the difficulties that hinder the discharge of duty, the clouds that darken the path of faith, do not disappear before the halting and the doubting just because they stand still and refuse to go forward when commanded to do so in the name of the Lord.

The first is from "Testimonies for the Church, Volume 4", p 26 (1876-1881, E.G. White), the second is from "Night Scenes in the Bible", p 141-142 (1868, Daniel March)

Example C: Which is J.R. Miller, and which is E.G. White?

1 2
A true appreciation of the story of the teachings of the gospel will reveal the fact that our Lord himself exercised the most beautiful and thoughtful tact in all his mingling among the people. He was utterly incapable of rudeness. He never needlessly spoke a harsh word. He never gave needless pain to a sensitive heart. He was most considerate of human weakness. He was most gentle toward all human sorrow. He never suppressed the truth, but he uttered it always in love. .... His whole life tells of most considerate thoughtfulness. He had a wondrous reverence for human life. Every scrap of humanity was sacred and precious in his eyes. He bore himself always in the attitude of tenderest regard for every one. Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love. He denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity; but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, which refused to receive Him, the way, the truth, and the life. They had rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God.

The first is from "Week-Day Religion", Chapter XIX, "Thoughtfulness and Tact", p 187-188, (J.R. Miller, 1880). The second is "Steps to Christ", p 12, (1892, E.G. White).

My Story

In the last two weeks of December 2010, I was trying to reconcile some historical issues concerning the life of Yahushua ("Jesus") with the account in “The Desire of Ages”. Someone suggested that I look into some of the source material used in the preparation of that book.

I was already aware of the fact that EGW had made use of historical material, namely, on the Reformation in the writing of “The Great Controversy”. I also knew that there were rumors of similar issues in “The Desire of Ages”. Since most of these were presented by people who are antagonistic towards the Sabbath and SDAs in particular, I didn't pay much attention to them. I was also aware that some years ago a study was made [the Veltman study] by the SDA church and my impression was that there wasn't much substance to any of these rumors. Anyway, what would be the big deal if historical sources were used, after all, isn't that how Luke wrote his gospel?

I was particularly interested in a quote about the Passover:

"The Desire of Ages", p 652 (1898, E.G. White)
He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages.

I was interested in knowing what exactly was to “pass away forever”? This text is used by several anti-feast SDAs, for example, Vance Ferrel on p 80 of his book "The Feast Days". After presenting the quote, he asks "What could be clearer than the above quotation?" There are several interpretations which feast keepers could use in defense of their position in the light of that text. One would be that it was the "national" aspects - the pilgrimage to Jerusalem - which would pass away. But perhaps there was completely different way to view this text, in reference to its actual authorship.

I obtained the “Full Report of the Life of Christ Research Project” by Dr Fred Veltman and assistants, Nov, 1988 which is available at this official site: http://www.adventistarchives.org/DocArchives.asp

I found enough material there to warrant doing a study of my own, so I purchased a book entitled "Walks and Homes of Jesus" from a rare book dealer. It is written by Rev Daniel March, DD, and shows an entry into the Clerk's Office (like a copyright) date of 1866. It is not a photocopy but the actual book, well over 100 years old. You can also download a digital photograph PDF file here, but I have the real book: http://www.archive.org/download/walkshomesofjesu00marcrich/walkshomesofjesu00marcrich.pdf

On page 307 of "Walks and Homes of Jesus" I read from the actual antique book in front of me:

"Walks and Homes of Jesus", p 307 (1866, Daniel March)
Just about to offer himself, the pure and spotless Lamb of God, in the great and only efficacious sacrifice for sin, he finishes the sacrifices of four thousand years by eating the Passover with his disciples. In place of the national festival which the Jewish people had observed since the days of Moses, he institutes a memorial service, to be kept by his followers of every nation to the end of time.

We compare this to the text in "The Desire of Ages":

"The Desire of Ages", p 652 (1898, E.G. White)
He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages.

So I saw that the source of the Passover quote is Daniel March, who wrote it 30 years earlier. ...

To read the full article ...

download the free pdf file, (78 pages, 500 KBytes): AnUnexpectedRevelation.pdf