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
Wrapping Up the Case
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#201, #202, & #203: " 'Point 3: Each cult uses pressure tactics to coerce members
"Ellen G. White knew how to pressure people into submission. First she
would claim to receive a reproof
from God for the person, which she would air publicly through her testimonies. Usually the
conformed under the pressure. 'I have uttered reproofs... because the Lord has given me
words of reproof...
for the church.' The Remnant Church; Its Organization, Authority, Unity, and Triumph p.
#199: She pressured people into
submission. Remember how she, unlike others, refused to push the reform
dress or not eating
suppers on people (#123, #128,
#132)? Where was the pressure?
Mrs. White set before her readers God's own example of how to treat people we do
not agree with or who are erring:
The government of God is not, as Satan would make it appear, founded upon a blind
submission, an unreasoning control. It appeals to the intellect
and the conscience. "Come now, and let us reason together" is the Creator's invitation to the
beings He has made. Isaiah 1:18. God does not force
the will of His creatures. He cannot accept an homage that is not [p. 131] willingly and intelligently
given. A mere forced submission
would prevent all real
development of mind or character; it would make man a mere automaton. Such is not the
purpose of the Creator. . . . It remains for us to choose
whether we will be set free from the bondage of sin, to share the glorious liberty of the sons
of God.—Steps to Christ, pp. 43, 44.
She advocated the taking of these principles manifested in God's government into the
home and the classroom:
To direct the child's development without hindering it by undue control should be the
study of both parent and teacher. Too much management
is as bad as too little. The effort to "break the will" of a child is a terrible mistake. Minds
are constituted differently; while force may secure outward
submission, the result with many children is a more determined rebellion of the heart. Even
should the parent or teacher succeed in gaining the
control he seeks, the outcome may be no less harmful to the child. The discipline of a human
being who has reached the years of intelligence should
differ from the training of a dumb animal. The beast is taught only submission to its master.
For the beast, the master is mind, judgment, and will.
This method, sometimes employed in the training of children, makes them little more than
automatons. Mind, will, conscience, are under the control
of another. It is not God's purpose that any mind should be thus dominated. Those who
weaken or destroy individuality assume a responsibility that
can result only in evil. While under authority, the children may appear like well-drilled
soldiers; but when the control ceases, the character will be
found to lack strength and steadfastness. Having never learned to govern himself, the youth
recognizes no restraint except the requirement of parents
or teacher. This removed, he knows not how to use his liberty, and often gives himself up to
indulgence that proves his ruin.—Education, p. 288.
Would not the world be a better place if preachers, parents, teachers, and public
officials sought to put into practice these simple principles
Mrs. White advocated?
#200: She publicly aired reproofs. Obviously, Mr.
Cannon must not be too acquainted with her writings. Most of the time, as the
documentation package under "Point 95a" indicates, the person's name was
never used when a personal testimony was made public.
Under "Point 95a" there are three "publicly aired reproofs." Of these, two were
personal letters that were not published until the 1980's or
1990's, so they were never publicly aired.
The third "example" represents a selection from volume 3 of Testimonies for
the Church. It talks about Brother B. Who is Brother B?
Did his name begin with B? Not at all. Brother A is referred to two pages before and
Brother C is referred to four pages after. Letters were
assigned to replace the people's names in the order in which they appeared in the book.
The specific city or town where Brother B was from is stated to be——- on pages 339
and 340, thus protecting the guilty as far as possible.
In other words, even where he lived is kept a secret. Only those acquainted with both the
man and his problem might be able to guess who Mrs.
White was talking about.
Why would she "air publicly" the reproof if she left the name and address out?
I have given some personal communications in several numbers of my testimonies, and
in some cases persons have been offended because I
did not publish all such communications. On account of their number this would be hardly
possible, and it would be improper from the fact that
some of them relate to sins which need not, and should not, be made public.
But I have finally decided that many of these personal testimonies should be published,
as they all contain more or less reproof and instruction
which apply to hundreds or thousands of others in similar condition. These should have the
light which God has seen fit to give which meets their
cases. It is a wrong to shut it away from them by sending it to one person or to one place,
where it is kept as a light under a bushel.—Testimonies
for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 631, 632.
So not all were "aired," for that would have been improper, but many were, with the
names and places usually deleted to protect the guilty.
Usually? Well, there were some exceptions, and one such exception appears in the very same
In this testimony I speak freely of the case of Sister Hannah More, not from a
willingness to grieve the Battle Creek church, but from a sense
of duty. I love that church notwithstanding their faults. I know of no church that in acts of
benevolence and general duty do so well. I present the
frightful facts in this case to arouse our people everywhere to a sense of their
duty.—Ibid., p. 632.
Why this exception? What was the problem? As an unmarried missionary in Africa,
Hannah More accepted the Sabbath truth and was
consequently dropped from employment by her missionary society. She came to Battle
Creek, Michigan, but no Adventist took an interest in
her. Ms. More actively sought employment, for there were quite a few Adventist ministries
there at the time, but no one wanted to [p. 132] hire this
intelligent and devoted lady. She therefore lodged with friends in northern Michigan who
were not of her faith. Unaccustomed to the winters
of northern Michigan, Hannah More died that very winter.
Because of neglect, someone died! Do you think this might be reason enough to get
more specific about people and places? Would you call
this an unwarranted, cultic pressure tactic?
As the result of Mrs. White confronting this issue, the denomination started an
association which had the primary responsibility of aiding
widows and orphans. Praise the Lord! The possibility of future neglect causing such
problems was therefore lessened.
Here is what she wrote about the public exposure of naughty students. The principles
expressed in this quote would be applicable in other
settings as well.
Great care should be shown in regard to making public the errors of students. To make
public exposure of wrong is harmful in every respect to
the wrongdoer and has no beneficial influence upon the school. It never helps a student to
humiliate him before his fellow students. This heals
nothing, cures nothing, but makes a wound that mortifies.—Counsels to Parents,
Teachers, and Students, p. 267.
Wise counsel, wouldn't you say? And she did her best to practice what she
#201: Usually the person conformed. Since this matter
has been quite oversimplified, let's add a few details regarding a problem Mrs.
White had to address, and how she addressed it.
One of the "publicly aired reproofs" under "Point 95a" in the documentation
package, the one not published until 1991, is a letter written
in 1886. It was addressed to a very prominent Seventh-day Adventist leader named J. H.
Waggoner who apparently did "conform." Yes, Mrs.
White comes down pretty hard on this minister who was guilty of adultery:
Had you, Elder Waggoner, an elder of the church, looked up, you would have seen
yourself a spectacle to God and to the pure angels who veil
their faces and turn away from your pollution of soul and body. My words seem tame as I
pen them when I think of the wonderful truths we profess
and the great light that shines upon us from the Word of God. The Judge of all the earth is
standing before the door, and every case must pass in
solemn review before Him. I inquire, How can anyone with this light shining upon them dare
in thought or word to deny the Lord God who hath
bought them? Make haste, my brother, to cleanse your hands. Jesus is still pleading as your
Intercessor. Commence the work of forsaking your sins
without delay. Do not rest till you find pardon, for no soul can enter the paradise of God
who has a single spot or stain in his character. Make
thorough work for eternity.—Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 387.
Now that we actually read it, it doesn't sound like she came down all that hard. After
all, this gray-haired man wasn't just having an
adulterous affair in secret. He had gotten to the point where he was even putting his head in
his mistress's lap at public church gatherings (Letter
10, 1885, as quoted in Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and
Divorce, p. 182, and Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, pp. 243, 245).
Such grievous sins must be dealt with firmly. What else should the prophetess have said
That incident at the public church gathering probably occurred on New Year's eve in
1882, though it may have occurred two years later
(Arthur White, vol. 3, pp. 209, 288; cf. Evangelism, p. 315). On
November 4 of 1885, she wrote a letter to Waggoner about that incident. Still
he did not repent of his grievous conduct. So ten months later, she wrote the letter quoted
above to plead with him further to cease his affair with
another man's wife. This man, in the sunset of his life, was allowing too much time to go by
before he made his peace with God. Yes, he finally
did "conform," but he should have "conformed" much sooner.
#202: This was because of the pressure. Actually, Mrs.
White was present at the gathering where J. H. Waggoner had his head in
the lap of his mistress:
The very things that transpired at the Piedmont Sabbath school reunion, I would not
have [had] occur for thousands of dollars. You, a gray-haired
man, lying at full length with your head in the lap of Georgie S. Had I done my
duty, I would have rebuked you there. Many saw this and
made remarks about it.—Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and
Divorce, p. 182, italics added.
So she later felt that she had not rebuked Waggoner as duty required. At the time, at
this public religious gathering, she didn't say anything.
While Waggoner finally did "conform" under the "pressure" of Mrs. White's earnest
entreaties, along with the entreaties of his brethren, she
never made his case known to the general Adventist public. Most today still don't know that
this man had such a severe problem.
It is apparent from both this situation and others like it that Mrs. White didn't just
write about the character of Christ. She ever sought to
emulate His lovely character:
Christ Himself did not suppress one word of truth, but He spoke it always in love. He
exercised the [p. 133] greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention
in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe
word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did
not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but
tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing
rebukes.—Desire of Ages, p. 353.
#203: This type of pressure is one of the marks of a cult.
If such an idea be true, then the prophets of the Bible were just as cultic
as Mrs. White. Consider what Nathan told David when he had committed adultery and
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I
anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of
the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy
bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and
if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the
LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast
taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the
sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine
house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the
wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil
against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy
wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in
the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I
will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have
sinned against the LORD. (2 Sam. 12:7-13)
Looks like David "conformed" under the "pressure." And let's not forget Elijah:
And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the
LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there
shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. (2 Kings
That was only the beginning of Elijah's "pressure tactics." In the New Testament we
have more of the same from Peter:
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and
to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it
remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why
hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast
not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up
the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard
these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
And it was about the space of three hours after, when
his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me
whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea,
for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the
Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have
buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway
at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men
came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And
great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as
heard these things. (Acts 5:1-12)
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that
the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast
neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent
therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps
the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of
bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered
Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken
come upon me. (Acts 8:20-24)
To cite every example in the Bible of prophets and apostles using the same kind of
"pressure tactics" that Mrs. White used, we would
certainly have to reprint a large portion of the Scriptures.
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