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A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church

by Bob Pickle

Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and
Others

Discern Fact from Fiction


The Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment

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#168 & #169: "Far from the convenient vision establishing the matter, the Adventists continued to ask questions. Why could they not believe Mrs. White's original visions concerning the 6 pm Sabbath?"—Mark Martin.

#168: Adventists continued to ask questions. Yet the book that the narrator just quoted from plainly says that those asking such questions were enemies of Seventh-day Adventism, not friends:

"But there are persons who seek to injure us as a people—and this class we hope to help by this article—who report and publish to the world that Mrs. White did profess to be shown that the time to commence the Sabbath was six o'clock, and that at a later period she was shown that sunset was the true time."—Smith, p. 89.

And who might these critics have been? Such persons and the publications they produced fell into two different groups. The publishers of Messenger of Truth, Hope of Israel, and The Advent and Sabbath Advocate were individuals who left the Seventh-day Adventist movement, while the publishers of Voice of the West and the World's Crisis were never Seventh-day [p. 113] Adventists. Both groups grasped at anything they could find, whether factual or not, to criticize Seventh-day Adventists about.

One short-time writer for the Messenger was E. R. Seaman. This is what he had to say less than one year after the vision of November 20, 1855:

In the aggregate, I consider all my writing for the late "Messenger" to have been actuated by a false and wrong spirit, notwithstanding some truths might have been stated. My first retrograde from the true remnant was caused by taking the simple truth concerning the commencement of the Sabbath at sunset, which I was informed (erroneously) was established by a vision to be at 6 o'clock, independent of sun time. This error caused me to write what I did; having also, imbibed some of the war spirit. I am satisfied that this has done much injury. I am fully persuaded also that I have sympathized with those that were crooked and wrong at heart, to my hurt, and I cannot conceive why I have been permitted to go thus far, unless it be peradventure to fully open my eyes, and I hope, the eyes of others also that have likewise been deceived.

There are those spoken of in the Scriptures of truth, that walk disorderly, self-willed, having not the Spirit, who despise government: with such I desire not to walk.

As some exceptions have been taken to my last letter [in the Review of July 24, 1856], I would say I did not then fully regard the counsel and the testimony of the one the Lord has seen fit to reveal himself to, as I do now; and I can say for the help of any, that as far as myself and family are concerned, nothing has been given us but good, sound and kind instruction. I think I never said to the contrary. But I supposed one permanent discrepancy enough to cause doubts of the whole. But it is human to err, and better to exchange error for truth, let it be never so late.—Review and Herald, Oct. 30, 1856, p. 207.

#169: Mrs. White's original visions said to keep the Sabbath from 6 pm to 6 pm. They never did. In fact, none of the visions under discussion ever said when to keep the Sabbath, other than from "even to even." As the book from which the narrator quoted says:

Here the objector finds another contradiction in the visions, by asserting that they once taught that the Sabbath should commence at six o'clock p.m.; and that the time was subsequently changed by vision to sunset. This we meet with an unqualified denial. The visions never taught that the Sabbath should commence at six o'clock . . . .

"1. Mrs. White has in two visions been shown something in regard to the time of the commencement of the Sabbath. The first was as early as 1847, at Topsham, Me. In the vision she was shown that to commence the Sabbath at sunrise was wrong. She then heard an angel repeat these words, 'From even unto even shall ye celebrate your Sabbaths.' Bro [Bates] was present and succeeded in satisfying all present that 'even' was six o'clock. Mark this: The vision at Topsham did not teach the six o'clock time. It only corrected sunrise time. I never received the idea that the six o'clock time was sustained by the visions . . . .

"Some have the impression that six o'clock time has been taught among us by the direct manifestation of the Holy Spirit. This is a mistake; 'From even unto even' was the teaching from which six o'clock time has been inferred."—Smith, pp. 88-90.

The documentation package gives no evidence to prove that any of Mrs. White's visions taught to keep the Sabbath from 6 pm to 6 pm. It does, however, make reference to an incident involving speaking in tongues and a clock face that made many believe that the Sabbath should be kept from 6 pm to 6 pm ("Point 82" and "Point 82a"). Smith's book dealt with this too:

"It is also stated that in vision she saw the dial-plate of a clock with one hand pointing to the 6, and other to 12, showing that six o'clock was the commencement and close of the Sabbath. . . .

"2. In regard to the clock-face, twenty competent witnesses are ready to testify that neither Mrs. W. nor her visions had anything to do with it whatever."—Ibid., pp. 89-91.

The documentation package provides copies of two paragraphs from pages 199 and 200 of Ellen G. White: The Early Years. If one gets this book and reads the three short paragraphs between these two, one finds that it was E. L. H. Chamberlain, not Mrs. White, who spoke in tongues and drew the clock face on the floor with the chalk.

How did the compiler of the documentation package miss seeing this discrepancy?

A Response to the Video

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