Adventist-Truth.org

The Truth about the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Ellen White

Welcome Seventh-day Adventists!

There are a lot of good things to say about the people in the Seventh-day Adventist church. They build hospitals and send missionaries out to over 200 countries around the world. They are, by and large, very nice and friendly people. They seem to live a long time and are often very healthy. They tend to do pretty well financially.

But that's not the whole story.

This site was created specifically for members of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Perhaps you have had some questions about your faith that you never have been able to get satisfactory answers to. Or perhaps you are totally convinced that you have the truth, and are already looking for the e-mail link to send me some Bible verses that prove your point.

Seeing things from a different perspective

Following the words of a prophet will ultimately affect every aspect of your life. From how you dress, to how you conduct yourself, to which foods you eat, to who your friends are, to where you attend school, to how you raise your children, to what you do with your money, and of course how you choose to worship. Therefore, it is vitally important to be absolutely sure that the claims being made by a prophet or any religious leader are accurate. David Koresh was very convincing to every single one of his followers, but if they had exercised critical thinking skills they would have avoided moving to the Waco compound entirely.

What I'm asking is for you to put your faith to the test. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you still believe, after careful analysis and thoughtful consideration, that Ellen White really was a prophet, then you can be stronger than ever in your convictions. Or instead you may find that the SDA church had a few surprises that you only found out about now. Or maybe you've heard this all before. In any case, I encourage you to apply the tools of logic and critical thinking to the subject at hand and form your own conclusion.

If you have grown up as a Seventh-day Adventist your entire life, it may be difficult for you to put yourself in the shoes of an outsider. Perhaps you were enrolled in Cradle Roll as an infant, have gone to church every Sabbath, been enrolled in an SDA kindergarten, elementary school, junior high, high school, college, graduate school, medical school, or some continuous combination of those. You might have gone to an Adventist summer camp as a child. Perhaps you work for an Adventist institution of some kind, maybe an SDA hospital, school, or the ADRA relief organization. Maybe as a child you were enrolled in Pathfinders, the SDA equivalent of the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Perhaps you or your parents have served as missionaries at one time or another.

The point is, it is a common experience for people raised in the Seventh-day Adventist church to believe these teachings at a fundamental level since birth, and to be almost constantly surrounded by a community that believes exactly the same things. In an environment where everybody believes a certain thing, the easiest thing to do is always to go with the flow. If someone brings up a subject of controversy, you have probably heard someone from the SDA church or school system explain both sides of the issue (from their perspective) and you walked away with their chosen summary as your take-away point.

What I'm asking you to do is to put aside, just for a moment, everything you have learned from the church. Try to imagine what it would be like to see it as an outsider, with fresh eyes. For this exercise, all we'll need are the tools of logic, reason, and the desire to ask questions.

Evaluating extraordinary claims

Perhaps no other claim can ever be as extraordinary as the statement that God Himself has spoken to a human being in a vision.

There is something in formal logic called Occam's Razor. In a nutshell, this principle states that when explaining something, the simplest solution is the most likely solution.

For example, suppose someone claiming to have psychic powers correctly guessed the month in which you were born. There are some who might take this as evidence of the psychic's supernatural powers. The more skeptical observer, however, should realize that this was no more impressive than rolling the number 12 on some dice, and demand further evidence before ascribing supernatural abilities to the self-proclaimed psychic.

Many times people want to believe something so badly that they count the hits and ignore the misses. They went out looking for something, they found it, it looked good to them, and that is all the evidence they needed. There are those who passionately believe that they have seen Bigfoot, UFO's, Elvis (after he died), and many other such things. What they all lack, though, is evidence. Maybe they saw a blurry videotape of what might have been Bigfoot. Or maybe they saw a strange light in the sky and concluded that it must have been an alien spaceship. Perhaps they saw an Elvis impersonator or a man with a similar haircut at the grocery store and became convinced that he was the real thing.

Consider the legal system in any developed country. Look at all the evidence required to put an alleged criminal in jail for only a few years. Even if the defendant looks like a total scumbag and has been convicted of other things before, we still require proof that this specific crime was committed by this person. The stakes are just too high.

But aren't the stakes in religion even higher? What if you pick the wrong religion, or the wrong god?

In the same way that a fair court of law presumes the accused to be innocent until proven guilty, we must also assume that any supernatural claims actually have a simpler, more prosaic explanation, unless presented with evidence that can be explained in no other way. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and the burden of proof is on the one making the claims, not the one being asked to believe them.

Let's say for a moment that the SDA church really does have all the answers, and is the one true religion. Let's also say that you had been raised in a different part of the world as, say, a Hindu, a Moslem, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Pagan, or under any other religious belief system. Remember that, for the moment, we believe that the Adventist religion is the correct one. What if everyone around you believed in an incorrect religion? What if everyone in your entire country believed the wrong thing? Assuming for the moment that you were taught the wrong thing by your parents, teachers, and the society in which you lived, how could you find out the truth?

Some things to consider

There are many things that Adventists claim as proof of the divine inspiration of Ellen G. White. I would like to invite you to consider the possibility that there are more mundane explanations for all of her supposed supernatural claims.

William Miller, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist church, made a testable prediction. He said that Jesus Christ would return to the Earth on October 22, 1844. Obviously this did not happen. This non-event became known as the Great Disappointment. In response to this event, several Millerite factions immediately formed, each with different explanations as to what happened. The branch that went on to become the Adventist church changed his testable prediction (which had already failed) into an untestable prediction. Like all untestable predictions, this one was safe from ever being proven or disproven. After a while, the fledgling Seventh-day Adventists decided that October 22, 1844 was a red letter date in religious history after all, but that it instead signified the beginning of a new theological doctrine they made up for the occasion called the Investigative Judgment. All aspects of the Investigative Judgment are said to be taking place in Heaven even as we speak. Of course, this theory can not be put to the test (until Jesus comes, so you had better believe it), making it completely impossible to prove that it is true or false. Or to put it another way, there is absolutely no evidence that it is true at all, and the most logical explanation is that William Miller didn't want to abandon his pet theory about the end times, even in the face of indisputable evidence that it was incorrect.

Ellen White claimed to have received multiple visions from God. When Ellen White was a little girl, she was hit directly in the head with a rock. Hard. She was in a coma for several weeks, and the injury was severe enough that she never again returned to school. It seems very likely that she had complex partial seizures, which are caused by severe head injuries. There is even a very new type of diagnosis associated with seizures and head injuries called Geschwind syndrome. Symptoms may include hypergraphia (an overwhelming urge to write), hyposexuality (a partial or complete loss of interest in sex), an intensified mental life (deepened cognitive and emotional responses), and possibly also guilt and paranoia. Both types of seizures can sometimes increase religious feelings in the person suffering from them as well. Since Ellen White never made any specific testable predictions in her visions which have come true, the evidence for the supernatural origins of her visions appears to be insufficient. She did however, make multiple testable predictions about fairly specific times when Jesus would come back to Earth that have been proven false. We have clinical evidence that these things do happen in seizure patients, but we don't have any credible evidence that proves Ellen White was a prophet. Or to put it another way, the most logical explanation is that Ellen White did not receive any special visions from God, and suffered from seizures induced by her serious head injury as a child.

Conclusion

Much has been said about Ellen White, William Miller, the Seventh-day Adventist church, the Bible, and their roles in contemporary religious experience. I have attempted to avoid any debate on scripture, the writings of Ellen White, the personal lives of anyone involved, or anything else of that nature. I personally think that the supernatural claims of the Seventh-day Adventist church are entirely without merit, based on the fact that we have absolutely zero evidence to back them up. It doesn't matter if the writings of Ellen White are harmonious with the scripture of the Bible. All you would have to do to write something in harmony with the Bible is to write anything at all that did not contradict a book that is available for everyone to study. You could even add new unverifiable "insights", as long as they didn't directly contradict parts of the Bible.

Links

On this site I have focused on the simple premise that there is insufficient evidence for the claims being brought forth by the Seventh-day Adventist church. If you are interested in further reading, investigate the research others have done into the origins of the Seventh-day Adventist church in the links below. I think that you will find their research much more shocking than anything on this page. Whatever you decide, all I ask is that you truly keep an open mind and think about this subject logically, without letting your emotions or upbringing cloud your judgment.

BBC - God on the Brain

Ellen White may have received her visions from seizures resulting from her serious head injury

The significance of Ellen White's head injury

Did God inspire Ellen White's Visions?

Ellen White contradicts science

Ellen White does not pass the biblical tests of a prophet

Ellen White claims to have seen "tall people" on Jupiter in a vision

Ellen White was the only prophet to profit from their ministry

Paying tithe is not Biblical

Take the tithe test

Ellen White says the darndest things

Seventh-day Adventism - why are so many leaving?

What happens when you leave the Seventh-day Adventist church?

Ellen White Exposed

nonsda.org

Truth or Fables - exposing Seventh-day Adventist fables