The Framework and usage of EGW Materials


“During her lifetime, Ellen White was a prolific author. Before her death she wrote over 40 books, more than 5000 articles and pamphlets, in addition to many thousands of unpublished letters, manuscripts and diaries. As well as this, she frequently preached sermons at Church services and at Conferences, a good deal of which were transcribed and preserved. These documents, typed by persons other than Ellen White, are often treated no differently to what she penned with her own hand. THERE IS HOWEVER A DISTINCTION BETWEEN WHAT WAS WRITTEN BY ELLEN WHITE HERSELF AND THE SECONDHAND RECORDED TRANSCRIPTIONS OF HER TALKS AND SERMONS. Ellen White had literary assistants who transcribed her sermons and talks during deliveries. These transcribers are called stenographers. Stenography is the art of shorthand for rapid and succinct note‐taking. Shorthand was usually used to make a temporary record with a transcription or longhand copy to be made soon after.


Because of the inevitable human error effect that result from a stenographer work, Ellen Whites would often make handwritten notations on some manuscripts to say that she had read and approved them or offered adjustments before they were published. That was how those stenographer reports were processed for publishing (before her death).


However, there are lots of these stenographer’s reports that have remained as they were written by these stenographers but there are no evidence that Ellen White ever read and approved them. These reports exist largely under the section “Sermons and Talks” in the White Estate. The presence of a signature, unless it can be proved to be an original handwritten signature, is not conclusive, as her staff had a rubber stamp of her signature made for filed manuscripts. Without an original hand signed copy, it is impossible to prove that she personally sighted and approved of a transcript. Some of the transcripts may have come into her archives after her death. The only certain way to authenticate that Ellen White signed off on an account is if she made notations upon the transcribed manuscript or personally handsigned the document. Without these evidences to authenticate these stenographic reports (sermons and talks), We can only have an idea of what she might have said. These reports need to be treated as unauthentic and cannot be used to establish what Ellen White stood for or believed.


An example to show the unreliablenes to these stenographers’ reports is the case of Talk in the Battle Creek College Library, 2:30pm, April 1, 1901. This single talk given by Ellen G. White has five manuscripts written by five different stenographers. At mid‐afternoon on Monday the first of April (the day before the 1901 General Conference session began) Ellen White addressed many delegates in the Library of the Battle Creek College. The content of this address is preserved in Manuscripts 43, 43a, 43b, 43c and 43d of 1901. Being able to compare these five manuscripts allows us to explore the room for variation in stenography and/or the subsequent transcribing for a specific talk.


What MS 43 records as “new power”, the MS 43b (in agreement with the other manuscripts) reads “new blood”. Another example is where 43a manuscript says “He wants every living soul to deal with His machinery as God’s machinery” and MS 43d says “He wants every living soul to deal with his machinery as good [God’s?] machinery”. At one point Manuscripts 43 and 43b say “God wants you to make straight paths for your feet” while Manuscripts 43a and 43d say “He wants you to make straight paths for your feet” and MS 43c says “I want you to make straight paths for your feet”.


One last example (though these variations are numerous) is MS 43a and MS 43d say He wants the Holy Ghost to come in”, MS 43c manuscript says “He wants the Holy Ghost king”.


By these examples, it is clear that stenographers were not 100% accurate and could not be trusted fully to have reported with precision what Ellen White had presented, unless where Ellen White herself read and approved them. Our only safety therefore, is to confirm these unauthenticated reports with the authentic writings. There is a principle that Ellen White gives concerning her writings. She said:


“And now to all who have a desire for truth I would say: DO NOT GIVE CREDENCE TO UNAUTHENTICATED REPORTS AS TO WHAT SISTER WHITE HAS DONE OR SAID OR WRITTEN. IF YOU DESIRE TO KNOW WHAT THE LORD HAS REVEALED THROUGH HER, READ HER PUBLISHED WORKS. Are there any points of interest concerning which she has not written, do not eagerly catch up and report rumors as to what she has said.” (Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, p. 696)


Where there is uncertainty or question with a report of a verbal presentation, the safest place to go, based on Ellen White’s principle above, would be to her personally written works or writings she approved.


Ellen White writings may be categorized into two groups: Authentic and Unauthentic. This is not a question of published and unpublished. Most of the difficulties that arises in the truth about the Godhead may be perfectly settled when one understands this basic principle of reading her writings. If it was published when she was alive, it’s authentic. If it was published after her death, we may trust it as far as her son was the trustee. If it was published posthumously, look at the source. If the source is from her own pen, it is authentic. If the source is not what she penned herself but a report, if there is evidence of her annotation, it is authentic. If the source is from her literary assistants, and those source are extant as they were written, but there is no evidence of her interaction with the reports, it is not authentic. If it is what she wrote herself but unpublished, it is authentic. So, it is very wise to use authentic sources to establish what she meant whenever you come to statements that seem to contradict the general tenor of her belief of a certain topic.


Three Holiest Beings in Heaven

“You are born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of the three holiest beings in heaven, who are able to keep you from falling. You are to reveal that you are dead to sin; your life is hid with Christ in God. Hidden “with Christ in God,”—wonderful transformation.” 7 MR 267.2 (Manuscript 95, 1906)


The phrase “three holiest beings” is the report of a sermon preached in Oakland California on the 20th of October, 1906. This is the only manuscript where Ellen White, seemingly, uses the expression “three beings”. It is the only instance she is reported to have referred to the Holy Spirit as a being. Tim Poirier has released scanned copies of the relevant pages of this manuscript from Ellen White’s 1905‐1906 letter book (Ellen White’s Trinitarian Statements: What Did She Actually Write? pp. 23‐ 25). These contain no annotation or any other evidence that Ellen White interacted with this transcript. We are therefore left with her authentic writings to establish what she believed as she advises. “…Do not give credence to unauthenticated reports as to what Sister White has done or said or written. If you desire to know what the Lord has revealed through her, read her published works…” {5T 696.1}


Following this counsel, she had stated in her authentic writings the following statements:


  1. “Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father—one in nature, in character, in purpose—THE ONLY BEING THAT COULD ENTER INTO ALL THE COUNSELS AND PURPOSES OF GOD.” — Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34


  1. “Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that NONE BUT CHRIST, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF GOD, COULD FULLY ENTER INTO HIS PURPOSES, and to Him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of His will.” — ibid p. 36


  1. “Christ the Word, the only-begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father,—one in nature, in character, and in purpose,—THE ONLY BEING IN ALL THE UNIVERSE THAT COULD ENTER INTO ALL THE COUNSELS AND PURPOSES OF GOD.” — The Great Controversy, 493


  1. “In order that the human family might have no excuse because of temptation, Christ became one with them. THE ONLY BEING WHO WAS ONE WITH GOD LIVED THE LAW IN HUMANITY…” — ST October 14, 1897, par. 3


From authentic testimonies, there is only one being in the whole universe that could enter the full counsel and purposes of the Father, that is, the Son of God. That leaves us with two options: Either the Holy Spirit is a Being who could not enter into full counsel and purposes of the Father or the unauthentic stenographer report is inaccurate.


Testimonies Garbled by Eli Curtis


There is another fact that should be stated here. I am not responsible for all that has been printed as coming from me. About the time that my earliest visions were first published, several articles did appear purporting to have been written by me, and to relate what the Lord had shown me, but sanctioning doctrines which I did not believe. These were published in a paper edited by a Mr. Curtis. Of the name of the paper I am not certain. In the years of care and labor that have passed since then, some of these less important particulars have been forgotten, but the main points are still distinct in my mind.  {1SM 60.4}


This man took articles that came from my pen, and wholly transformed and distorted them, picking out a sentence here and there, without giving the connection, and then, after inserting his own ideas, he attached my name to them as if they came direct from me.  {1SM 61.1}


On seeing these articles, we wrote to him, expressing our surprise and disapprobation, and forbidding him thus to misconstrue my testimonies. He answered that he should publish what he pleased, that he knew the visions ought to say what he had published, and that if I had written them as the Lord gave them to me, they would have said these things. He asserted that if the visions have been given for the benefit of the church, he had a right to use them as he pleased.  {1SM 61.2}


Some of these sheets may still be in existence, and may be brought forward as coming from me, but I am not responsible for them. The articles given in Early Writings did pass under my eye; and as the edition of Experience and Views published in 1851 was the earliest which we possessed, and as we had no knowledge of anything additional in papers or pamphlets of earlier date, I am not responsible for the omissions which are said to exist.  {1SM 61.3}



The Publishing of Compilations


I can see plainly that should every one who thinks he is qualified to write books, follow his imagination and have his productions published, insisting that they be recommended by our publishing houses, there would be plenty of tares sown broadcast in our world. Many from among our own people are writing to me, asking with earnest determination the privilege of using my writings to give force to certain subjects which they wish to present to the people in such a way as to leave a deep impression upon them.  {1SM 58.1}


It is true that there is a reason why some of these matters should be presented: but I would not venture to give my approval in using the testimonies in this way, or to sanction the placing of matter which is good in itself in the way which they propose.  {1SM 58.2}


The persons who make these propositions, for aught I know, may be able to conduct the enterprise of which they write in a wise manner; but nevertheless I dare not give the least license for using my writings in the manner which they propose. In taking account of such an enterprise, there are many things that must come into consideration; for in using the testimonies to bolster up some subject which may impress the mind of the author, the extracts may give a different impression than that which they would were they read in their original connection.– The Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies to the Church, pp. 25, 26.  {1SM 58.3}


Private compilations.–There are some who, upon accepting erroneous theories, strive to establish them by collecting from my writings statements of truth, which they use separated from their proper connection, and perverted by association with error. Thus seeds of heresy, springing up and growing rapidly into strong plants, are surrounded by many precious plants of truth; and in this way a mighty effort is made to vindicate the genuineness of the spurious plants.–Letter 136, 1906, pp. 3, 4. (To Brethren Butler, Daniells, and Irwin, April 27, 1906.)  {5MR 154.1}


They come to me, those that are copying my writings, and say, “Now here is the better revised words, and I think I will put that in.” Don’t you change one word, not a word. The revised edition we do not need at all. We have got the word that Christ has spoken Himself and given us. And don’t you in my writings change a word for any revised edition. There will be revised editions, plenty of them, just before the close of this earth’s history, and I want all my workers to understand, and I have got quite a number of them. I want them to understand that they are never to take the revised word, and put it in the place of the plain, simple words just as they are. They think they are improving them, but how do they know but that they may switch off on an idea, and give it less importance than Christ means them to have. {Ms188-1907}


And now to all who have a desire for truth I would say: Do not give credence to unauthenticated reports as to what Sister White has done or said or written. If you desire to know what the Lord has revealed through her, read her published works. Are there any points of interest concerning which she has not written, do not eagerly catch up and report rumors as to what she has said.   {5T 696.1}


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The Framework and usage of EGW Materials



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