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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

Discern Fact from Fiction

The Investigative Judgment and Shut Door, and Their Ramifications

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#52: "Years later, when her first vision was reprinted, even though the preface stated that no changes were made in idea or sentiment, the portion of her vision which taught the shut door to salvation was just left out. [Picture of the July 21, 1851, issue of Review and Herald shown.]"—Dale Ratzlaff.

#52: The preface said there was no change. The entire preface to the reprinted vision can be read, and one will fail to find any such statement saying that there were no changes in idea or sentiment. Instead, one will read:

Here I will give the view that was first published in 1846. In this view I saw only a very few of the events of the future. More recent views have been more full. I shall therefore leave out a portion and prevent repetition.

We leave it with the reader to determine whether a statement saying that a portion was left out should be used to prove that there were no changes in idea or sentiment.

Under "Point 28" in the documentation package, the only evidence for this charge is a secondary source which quotes the last two sentences of the paragraph quoted above. Thus the documentation package substantiates that the preface said "a portion" was left out. It also substantiates that it is the 1851 reprinting the video is referring to, not a later one.

On January 4, 2000, Dale Ratzlaff emailed the present writer a few answers to his questions regarding parts of the video. He began by saying, "A few quick answers but first a note or two: I was not the one to edit this video. I would have done it much differently. I feel that some of the material would have been better left out or changed."

Would Mr. Ratzlaff have left out his own referral to a statement that does not exist?

The vision in question was first published in the January 24, 1846, issue of Day-Star. Then it was printed in a broadside on April 6 of that year. In May 1847 it was printed in A Word to the Little Flock. These printings all contained the sentence that Mr. Ratzlaff under #51 found so objectionable, though each did contain other sorts of minor editorial changes.

The next printing in the Girdle of Truth, and Advent Review, Extra, of January 20, 1848, indeed left the sentence out. This printing was done by Eli Curtis, not James or Ellen White.

In the July 1851 Review Extra the vision was reprinted once again, with a "portion" left out that included the sentence in question. Why was the sentence left out? Did the version of the vision being reprinted already have the sentence deleted? Such is possible. Or, were the Whites trying to avoid folk giving the sentence a meaning it was never intended to have? This too is possible.

One month later, Sketches of the Christian Experience and Views of Mrs. E. G. White was published. It included the version of the vision printed in the Review the month before. "Years later," in 1882, Early Writings was published, which reprinted Experience and Views along with two other works. The "publisher's preface" of this 1882 reprinting stated:

"Aside from [footnotes and an appendix], no changes from the original work have been made in the present edition, except the occasional employment of a new word, or a change in the construction of a sentence, to better express the idea, and no portion of the work has been omitted. No shadow of change has been made in any idea or sentiment of the original [p. 46] work, and the verbal changes have been made under the author's own eye, and with her full approval."—Early Writings, 1945 ed., III, IV.

Of course that's true. There were no changes in "idea or sentiment" in Early Writings, for Experience and Views already contained the deletion in question! The "change" appeared by 1851, and the 1882 reprinting was an authentic copy of the one of 1851.

Thus in the end we succeed in finding the elusive words that Mr. Ratzlaff used, words written thirty-one years later than what the video alleges, words that do not help the video's case at all.

A Response to the Video

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