Desire of Ages not inspired

By Robert K. Sanders


The Preface of Desire of Ages, the publishers says this about Ellen G. White (EGW) in glowing terms:

"In the following pages the author, a woman of large and deep and long experience in the things of God, has set forth new beauties from the life of Jesus. She has brought many new gems from the precious casket."

The publishers were no doubt referring to the Bible as the precious casket, where Ellen White found her new gems. Ellen was a jewel thief as she stole her "new gems" not from the Bible, but from books in her 1200 plus book library.

Seventh-day Adventists consider Desire of Ages as one of Ellen White's most biblical books as it deals with the life of Christ. When Bible contradictions from The Desire of Ages are brought forth, Adventists attempt to defend EGW not from the law and the testimony, but from their feelings. They say how blessed they were in reading this book. SDAs condemn the Book of Mormon, Keys to the Scripture, The Watchtower and etc. as not being biblical. However many of the people that have read these books have felt blessed and have joined the LDS church, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Christian Scientist church.

Seventh-day Adventists consider Ellen White's work inspired by God and call it the Spirit of Prophecy. Adventists claim they hold the Bible supreme in their beliefs, yet they deny this by accepting EGW's non-biblical teachings as inspired as the Bible. The Desire of Ages is typical of the many Bible Contradictions in the books of Ellen White.


The Desire of Ages Bible Additions & Contradictions

1. EGW: Jesus had older brothers

“All this displeased his brothers. Being older than Jesus, they felt that He should be under their dictation. They charged Him for setting Himself above their teachers and the priests and rulers of the people. Often they threatened and tried to intimidate Him; but He passed on, making the Scriptures His guide.” DA, p. 87.

Not biblical: The Bible does not tell us Jesus had "older brothers" nor any of the other statements attributed to them as claimed by Ellen G. White.

Matt 12:46-47 (NIV): While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

How do Protestant Christians view Jesus' brothers?

"Nevertheless, some writings in the early centuries raised questions about the brothers to protect their developing doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. One of them, often called the Gospel of James, tells the life story of Mary, using much fanciful material. It claims that Jesus’ brothers were the sons of Joseph by an earlier marriage. This is the view of the Greek Orthodox Church. Later a famous scholar, Jerome, argued that Jesus’ brothers were really his cousins because their mother was Mary of Cleophas and the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus (see John 19:25). This is the view of the Roman Catholic Church, but Protestant scholars prefer the traditional view of the Gospels. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. Mary and Joseph then had four sons in the way all humans normally do." Holman Bible Dictionary, by W. J. Fallis.


2. EGW: Jesus’ brothers sided with the Rabbis

"His brothers, as the sons of Joseph were called, sided with the rabbis. They insisted that the traditions must be heeded, as if they were the requirements of God. They even regarded the precepts of men more highly than the word of God, and they were greatly annoyed at the clear penetration of Jesus in distinguishing between the false and the true. His strict obedience to the law of God they condemned as stubbornness." DA, p. 86.

Not biblical: There is not one word in Holy Scriptures that tells us anything about the brothers of Jesus siding with the rabbis, nor do we ever find the brothers condemning Jesus about anything as charged by Ellen G. White.


3. EGW: Jesus, an irritation to his brothers

"The example of Jesus was to them a continual irritation." DA, p. 88.

Not biblical: Where in the Bible do we find that Jesus was a continual irritation to his brothers?


4. EGW: Jesus charged with cowardice

"Often He was accused of cowardice for refusing to unite with them (his brothers) in some forbidden act;" DA, p. 89.

Not biblical: Did Jesus' brothers really try to get Jesus to commit a forbidden act? Please give the Bible text.


5. EGW: Jesus brothers were spiteful towards Jesus

"Again and again He was asked, why do you submit to such despiteful usage, even from your brothers?" DA, p. 89.

Not biblical: Where does the Bible tell us Jesus' brothers were ever spiteful towards Him?


6. EGW: Priests and teachers wanted Mary to control Jesus

"When the priests and teachers required Mary's aid in controlling Jesus, she was greatly troubled; At times she wavered between Jesus and His brothers," DA, p. 90. "They decided that He must be persuaded or constrained to cease their manner of labor, and they induced Mary to unite with them, thinking that through His love for her they might prevail upon Him to be more prudent." DA, p. 321.

Not biblical: Would someone supply the Bible text where the priests and teachers wanted Mary to control Jesus, where Mary wavered between Jesus and His brothers and uniting with the brothers?


7. EGW: Judas chose himself

"While Jesus was preparing the disciples for their ordination, one who had not been summoned urged his presence among them. It was Judas Iscariot, a man who professed to be a follower of Christ. He now came forward soliciting a place in this inner circle of disciples. ... He hoped to experience this through connecting himself with Jesus" DA, pp. 293, 717.

Not biblical: The Bible truth is that JESUS CHOSE JUDAS.

"When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them ... Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. ... Then Jesus replied, 'Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? ... You did not chose me, but I chose you" Luke 6:13-16; John 6:70; 15:16 (NIV).


8. EGW: Judas had a conviction to confess his sin

"When the Saviour’s hands were bathing those soiled feet, and wiping them with the towel, the heart of Judas thrilled through and through with the impulse then and there to confess his sin." DA, p. 645.

Not biblical: There is no Bible record of Judas having an impulse to confess his sin at the foot-washing.


9. EGW: Judas did not have a conviction to confess

"As Christ celebrated this ordinance with His disciples, conviction came to the hearts of all save Judas." Evangelism p. 275.

Note: Did Judas have a conviction to confess his sin, or did he not have this conviction? Which EGW statement came from God? Ellen's inspired writings are very difficult to keep up with as she often contradicts herself as well as God.


10. EGW: Dogs eat Judas' body

His weight had broken the cord by which he had hanged himself to the tree. In falling, his body had been horribly mangled, and dogs were now devouring it. His remains were immediately buried out of sight;" DA, p. 722.

Not biblical:There is no Bible record of dogs eating Judas. Acts 1:18 (NIV) With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.


11. EGW: Jesus' bones broken during His crucifixion

"The mother of Jesus was agonized, almost beyond endurance, and as they stretched Jesus upon the cross, and were about to fasten his hands with the cruel nails to the wooden arms, the disciples bore the mother of Jesus from the scene, that she might not hear the crashing of the nails as they were driven through the bone and muscle of his tender hands and feet" Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, p. 58.

Not biblical: The Bible tells us, John 19:25, 36 (NIV) These things happened so that the scriptures would be fulfilled: 'Not one of his bones will be broken'


12. EGW: Omits broken bones mistake 40 years later

"His hands stretched upon the cross; the hammer and the nails were brought, and as the spikes were driven through the tender flesh, ..." DA, p. 744.

Note: EGW compiled the Desire of Ages, 40 years after she first wrote that as the nails were driven through his "bone and muscle," she changed her account to read: the nails were driven through the tender flesh.


13. EGW: Jesus could not see through the portals of the tomb

"The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice" DA, p. 753.

Not biblical: Jesus told his followers what would happen after his death; He would rise up after three days. Jesus also told Caiaphas, "In the future" he would return. Who is telling the truth, Jesus or EGW? The Bible tells us that Jesus could see through the portals of the tomb from the following texts:

Luke 24:7 (NIV) 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’

John 2:19 (NIV) 19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

John 10:17 - 18 (NIV) 17The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Matt 26:64 (NIV) 64“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”


14. EGW: The sister of Martha and Lazarus, was Mary Magdalen—she was led into sin by Simon

The Feast At Simons’ House. "Simon had led into sin the woman he now despised. "It was Mary who poured upon His head the precious anointing oil, and bathed His feet with her tears. Mary was first at the tomb after the resurrection." DA, p. 566,568.

Not biblical: The Bible never identifies Mary, LAZARUS' sister as Mary Magdalene, nor is it ever suggested from the Bible that Simon led Mary into sin and despised her. EGW in the DA does not say this Mary was Mary Magdalene, but does identify Mary as "was first at the tomb". The Bible tells us it was Mary Magdalene who was first at the tomb:

Mark 16:9 (NIV) When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.


15. EGW: Man healed on the Sabbath, forgot it was Sabbath

"In his joy the man had forgotten that it was the Sabbath; yet he felt no condemnation for obeying the command of One who had such power from God." DA, p.203.

Not biblical: There is no mention in John 5 that the man forgot that it was the Sabbath or that he felt no condemnation for obeying Christ.


16. EGW: The disciples fled from men possessed by demons

"Their eyes glared out from their long and matted hair, the very likeness of humanity seemed to have been blotted out by the demons that possessed them, and they looked more like wild beasts than like men. The disciples and their companions fled in terror;" DA, p. 337.

Not biblical: There is no Bible record of the disciples fleeing from these men before Jesus healed them.


17. EGW: Lazarus, leads the donkey at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The healed dumb shouted the loudest, healed blind led the way and the healed cripples broke the most branches.

"The blind whom He had restored to sight were leading the way. The dumb whose tongues He had loosed shouted the loudest hosannas. The cripples whom He had healed bounded with joy, and were the most active in breaking the palm branches…Lazarus, whose body had seen corruption in the grave, but who now rejoiced in the strength of glorious manhood, led the beast on which the Savior rode." DA, p. 572.

Not biblical: There is no Bible record of the Lazarus or anyone else leading the donkey that Christ rode, or the blind, dumb and cripples that Jesus healed participating in the manner as described by EGW. There is no Bible record of Lazarus even being present when Christ was riding the donkey.


18. EGW: Little Children fell asleep on Jesus' breast

"The children were foremost in the rejoicing. Jesus had healed their maladies; He had clasped them in His arms, received their kisses of grateful affection, and some of them had fallen asleep upon His breast as He was teaching the people." DA, p. 592.

Not biblical: There is no Bible record of children kissing Jesus or sleeping on Jesus' breast.

This is just a sampling of the false Bible teachings of Ellen G. White in The Desire of Ages, no doubt there are many more. Seventh-day Adventists, who accept these Bible contradictions and additions as being from God, have been misled and deceived by their prophet. It is time to make the Bible alone your source of faith and not the writings of a false prophet. Will God be asking you, "did you accept Ellen White as gospel with her false teachings, or did you accept my Word as truth?"


The Desire of Ages Library of Congress Myth

It was often said by Adventist pastors, "that the Library of Congress recommended The Desire of Ages written by Ellen G. White, over other books written on the life of Christ." The conferences had drives for local churches to contact the managers of the major motels in the their city to try to get The Desire of Ages in every motel room. We were to use the Library of Congress statement to promote the book to the motel managers.

It was after leaving Adventism that I found that it was not the Library of Congress that promoted The Desire of Ages, but a former SDA Pastor who went to work for the Library of Congress. His name is, Wells E. Bement, born February 7, 1891 and died December 26, 1977. He was a 1922 graduate of Washington Missionary College and served briefly in India, was dean and Bible teacher at Atlantic Union College and later worked in educational and MV work as director.

Bement's letter was a personal letter in answer Mr. Nicolas Chaij's questions. The letter was not written on the Library of Congress stationary and was not the opinion of the Library of Congress:

December 11, 1946

Mr. Nicolas Chaij
Apartado 50, General Peraze
Havana, Cuba

Dear Mr. Chaij:

I regret that absence and illness have kept me from answering your letter sooner. Now I shall do so briefly.

To select five of six books on the on the life of Christ from the more than 10,000 written in English in the last 300 years, to say nothing of those in other languages, and say that they are unqualifiedly the best is no small task. Happily you have eased the task by asking me to make my personal selection.

My preference or choice would be guided by what I wished to get from the book or books to be read. Let me put it this way: I would put Desire of Ages by Ellen G. White first for spiritual discernment and practical application. Second, I would name Dr. Alfred Edersheim's 2 volumes on the Life of Jesus the Messiah for connection with type and ceremonial rites, and contemporary Hebrew literature. Third would come Samuel J. Andrews' Life of Our Lord Upon the Earth Considered in Its Historical, Chronological and Geographical Relations for chronological sequence, geographical settings and authoritative references. Fourth, I would take Dean Farrar's Life of Christ for scholarship and elegance of expression. We might list as fifth, the 4—volumes treatise of John Feter Lange, The Life and Times of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the electorate and exhaustive treatment. Beyond this point there come rushing to my mind so many authors commanding attention that I would be presumptuous to try to put them in sequence. One will receive something from every one, and the subject is exhaustive.

In answer to another of your inquires, I will say that the Desire of Ages is well thought of in the Library of Congress. Please pardon this late reply to your good letter.



It was dishonest for the Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders to mislead its members to believe that the The Desire of Ages was held in such high regard as "one of the best books on the life of Christ" or words to that effect in the Library of Congress and not tell them this glowing report was by a former Adventist pastor and that it was his personal opinion.

Mr. Bement was no doubt prejudiced in his selection of The Desire of Ages over other books in the library, being a loyal diehard Ellen G. White fan. Most Adventists would also pick The Desire of Ages as their favorite book.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church should have written to the Library of Congress to get their official opinion. This would have been the honest thing to do and then report their findings to the church members instead of misleading them.


Desire of Ages Plagiarism

Before Walter Rae wrote The White Lie and The Desire of Ages Project that was headed by Fred Veltman, chairman of the Religion Department of Pacific Union College, the majority of Seventh-day Adventist knew very little or nothing of Ellen White filling her books with material from uninspired authors. Most Adventists believed God was the source of Ellen's book and little Ellen was just a messenger to write it all out from her visions when she always used the terms, "I saw" or "I was shown". Little did the church members realize that what she saw was in copyrighted books of other authors.

Now that Ellen's hands were caught in the books of other authors, the church has do defend this practice. Just how are they doing this? It is by comparing Ellen with the Bible writers as they often quoted other Bible writers or non-inspired writers without giving them credit. Is this a valid way of defending Ellen's copying?

If Ellen had given credit to the people she was copying from, there would have not been an issue. Ellen went far beyond what any Bible writer has claimed.

EGW: "Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation" (Review and Herald, Oct. 8, 1867, quoted in Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 37).

Note: Ellen is telling us the words she employs describing what she has seen (visions) are her own. Yet she deceives us by coping her words from other authors and telling us these are her words or God's words.

EGW: "When writing these precious books, if I hesitated, the very word I wanted to express the idea was given to me" (Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 51, 52).

Note: Ellen is telling us when she hesitated "the very word" she wanted was given to her. If this was true, she would not have been copying from other authors. This is positive proof Ellen White, the Adventist prophet was a liar and a thief.


What books did Ellen White use in writing The Desire of Ages?
From Adventism's Ministry Magazine, Dr. Fred Veltman, The Desire of Ages Project: the data

What major works were used by Ellen White in writing the DA text?

"We found 10 books from which Ellen White drew 10 or more literary parallels per Desire of Ages chapter. The Life of Christ, by William Hanna, heads the list with 321 source parallels. Night Scenes of the Bible and Walks and Homes of Jesus, both by Daniel March, come in second with 129 parallel sentences." The Desire of Ages Project: the data, Part 1, Ministry October 1990, p. 6.

"The other major sources are: John Harris, The Great Teacher; Fredrick Farrar, The Life of Christ; George Jones, Life-Science From the Four Gospels; Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah; J. H. Ingraham, The Prince in the House of David; Francis Wayland, Salvation by Christ; and John Cumming, Sabbath Evening Reading on the New Testament; St. John." The Desire of Ages Project: the data, Part 1, Ministry, October 1990, p. 7.

What additional sources contributed to the DA text?

"In addition to the major sources, we found that 21 works written by 20 authors had a minor impact on the 15 chapters. Two authors had works in both the major influence and minor influence categories." The Desire of Ages Project: the data, Part 1, Ministry, October 1990, p. 6.

Note: Ellen and her Secretary helpers used 33 books to make up The Desire of Ages. Ellen had a 1200 plus library to copy from. All Adventists ought to be indebted to these authors in helping their prophet to succeed in her role as having the "Spirit of Prophecy." Seeing these other authors had the information first that Ellen used, shouldn't they get equal billing with EGW as having the Spirit of Prophecy also?

See Dr. Fred Veltman's Desire of Ages Project: the data This is a two part series.


Marian Davis Writes Part of The Desire of Ages

A letter by H C Lacey to L E Froom indicates that Marian Davis not only used Ellen White’s writings she had a free hand in making use of other sources also. The letter reads,

In this connection, of course you know that Sr. Marian Davis was entrusted with the preparation of The Desire of Ages and that she gathered her material from every available source—from Sr. White’s books already in print, from unpublished manuscripts, from private letters, stenographical reports of her talks etc.—but perhaps you may not know that she (Sr. Davis) was greatly worried about finding material for the first chapter (and other chapters too for that matter) and I did what I could to help her; I have good reason to believe that she also appealed to Professor Prescott for similar aid, and got it too in far richer and more abundant measure than I could render. (H C Lacey letter to L E Froom Aug. 30, 1945)


The Desire of Ages Rewritten Many Times

"In Australia I saw The Desire of Ages being made up, and I saw the rewriting of chapters, some of them written over and over and over again. I saw that, and when I talked with Sister Davis about it, I tell you I had to square up to this thing and begin to settle things about the spirit of prophecy. If these false positions had never been taken, the thing would be much plainer than it is today. What was charged as plagiarism would all have been simplified, and I believe men would have been saved to the cause if from the start we had understood this thing as it should have been. With those false views held, we face difficulties in straightening up. We will not meet those difficulties by resorting to a false claim." E. G. Daniells, 1919 Bible Conference, Spectrum, May 1979, p. 51.


Note: Adventist apologists like to compare Ellen with the Bible prophets. Compare this:

  1. How many Bible prophets had to rewrite their visions and admonitions many times? Ellen just could not get it right the first time and The Desire of Ages was re-written over and over and over again.
  2. How many Bible prophets sold their visions and admonitions and made a living off of them and then leave them to their offspring to make a living?
  3. How many Bible prophets copyrighted their visions?
  4. How many prophets that had visions, went to the library in order to find words to describe their vision and then had to re-write them over and over and over again?
  5. Veltman brings out the fact that in his research of "fifteen chapters" from the DA he found Ellen to be 31% dependent on other authors. I would like to see the SDA church come up with one Bible prophet that was 31% dependent on other authors.