Ellen G. White Takes Advice From Her Dead Husband
By Robert K. Sanders
Seventh-day Adventists do not believe in communicating with the dead and believe such practice is consorting with Satan. They use these texts as an example.
Isa. 8:19–20 (NIV) When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
Deut. 18:10–13 (NIV) Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
Seventh-day Adventists hold the mistaken belief that God communicated with Ellen White in dreams as well as visions. What most Adventists are not aware of is that Ellen communicated with her dead husband and took his advice believing that this dream was from God. Ellen was so impressed with this divinely inspired dream she wrote it out in a letter to her son Willie White. I will make comments in bold type throughout the letter.
Note: After a few days she has a dream and believes this an answer from God. Ellen acknowledges that James was dead and buried. James had died on August 6, 1881. In this dream Ellen is having a conversation with her dead husband James and James is claiming that "the Lord" is telling them what is best. When Ellen speaks of "Father" she is referring to her husband James.
"A few days since I was pleading with the Lord for light in regard to my duty. In the night I dreamed I was in the carriage, driving, sitting at the right hand. Father was in the carriage, seated at my left hand. He was very pale, but calm and composed. "Why Father," I exclaimed, "I am so happy to have you by my side once more! I have felt that half of me was gone. Father, I saw you die; I saw you buried. Has the Lord pitied me and let you come back to me again, and we work together as we used to?" He looked very sad. He said, "The Lord knows what is best for you and for me."
"My work was very dear to me. We have made a mistake. We have responded to urgent invitations of our brethren to attend important meetings. We had not the heart to refuse. These meetings have worn us both more than we were aware. Our good brethren were gratified, but they did not realize that in these meetings we took upon us greater burdens than at our age we could safely carry. They will never know the result of this long-continued strain upon us.
God would have had them bear the burdens we have carried for years. Our nervous energies have been continuously taxed, and then our brethren misjudging our motives and not realizing our burdens have weakened the action of the heart. I have made mistakes, the greatest of which was in allowing my sympathies for the people of God to lead me to take work upon me which others should have borne. "Now, Ellen, calls will be made as they have been, desiring you to attend important meetings, as has been the case in the past.
But lay this matter before God and make no response to the most earnest invitations. Your life hangs as it were upon a thread. You must have quiet rest, freedom from all excitement and from all disagreeable cares. We might have done a great deal for years with our pens, on subjects the people need that we have had light upon and can present before them, which others do not have. Thus you can work when your strength returns, as it will, and you can do far more with your pen than with your voice."
"He looked at me appealingly and said, "You will not neglect these cautions, will you, Ellen? Our people will never know under what infirmities we have labored to serve them because our lives were interwoven with the progress of the work, but God knows it all. I regret that I have felt so deeply and labored unreasonably in emergencies, regardless of the laws of life and health."
"The Lord did not require us to carry so heavy burdens and many of our brethren so few. We ought to have gone to the Pacific Coast before, and devoted our time and energies to writing. Will you do this now?
"Will you, as your strength returns, take your pen and write out these things we have so long anticipated, and make haste slowly? There is important matter which the people need. Make this your first business. You will have to speak some to the people, but shun the responsibilities which have borne us down."
"Well," said I, "James, you are always to stay with me now and we will work together. "Said he, "I stayed in Battle Creek too long. I ought to have gone to California more than one year ago. But I wanted to help the work and institutions at Battle Creek. I have made a mistake. Your heart is tender. You will be inclined to make the same mistakes I have made. Your life can be of use to the cause of God. Oh, those precious subjects the Lord would have had me bring before the people, precious jewels of light!"
ELLEN AWAKES FROM HER DREAM AND ACCEPTS DEAD JAMES' COUNSEL NOT TO GO TO BATTLE CREEK. ELLEN ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THIS WAS NOT JUST A COMMON DREAM AS YOU AND I MAY HAVE, BUT SHE SAYS "THE LORD FORBIDS ME."
I awoke. But this dream seemed so real. Now you can see and understand why I feel no duty to go to Battle Creek for the purpose of shouldering the responsibilities in General Conference. I have no duty to stand in General Conference. The Lord forbids me. That is enough. —Letter 17, 1881, pp. 2-4. (To W. C. White, September 12, 1881.) White Estate Washington, D. C. March 25, 1980. The Retirement Years, page 163, paragraph 2, Chapter Title: The Hour of Bereavement.
There is no doubt that Ellen practiced both necromancy and oneiromancy by believing she received a message from her dead husband James, as a divine communication from God. God forbids this.
Deut 18:10–11 (NIV) Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000: Some, such as the oracle at Delphi, passed into a trance and, in this condition, uttered divine messages. Others practiced oneiromancy, or divination by dreams, and necromancy, the art of conjuring up revelations from the souls of the dead. The direct method of divination is closely approximated in much of modern spiritualism.
- Ellen White prayed to God specifically asking Him to direct her in her duty.
- Ellen White received a “dream” in which she believed the Lord communicated her duty to her through her dead husband James.
- This dream is similar to many of her “divinely-inspired” dreams and visions over her lifetime where she gives non biblical advice.
- Ellen communicated with and took the advice from her dead husband, James White – even though God said communicating with the dead is “detestable” to Him, and worthy of being stoned to death. She flat out disobeyed God.
- Most Christians would have rejected the “advice” given by a dead person in a dream and acknowledge it was not real but a dream! But not so with Ellen White as she made a common dream a message from God. Thus she disobeyed God.
- Also in this dream Ellen White instructed her dead husband to stay and work with her. Notice she wanted this dead man’s influence to continue throughout her life. In other words, she hoped James would continue to communicate with her. Is this not what God condemned that we call spiritualism?
- When Ellen awoke from this dream she followed the advice her dead husband had given her and claimed the “LORD” had spoken to her. She told her Son Willie "I have no duty to stand in General Conference. The Lord forbids me." She refused to go to Battle Creek.
- Don’t you think Ellen White should have instantly known that any communication with the dead is prohibited in Scripture especially her claims to be "the LORD'S MESSENGER?" If Ellen White was actually inspired by God, why would she take advice from a dead person, thinking it came from the Lord? And why would she want to continue working with that dead person for the rest of her life?
Ellen called her dreams and visions "the lesser light" leading people to the greater light, meaning the Bible. Why would anyone want a flashlight to find the Sun? There is no light in the false teachings of Ellen White. Why do you want to trust a religious fanatic to guide your life? Sure Ellen wrote some things that were biblical so did most all other false prophets. I do not know of any true prophet that communicates with the dead.
Look to Jesus and his word for truth and your duty as Christians have done the last 2000 years and not to a false prophet that gets their directions from the dead.