GSEM 534
Lecture Outline

Ellen G. White as a Writer
Part III - The Issue of Literary Borrowing

Roger W. Coon

(This lecture outline is adapted from the GSEM534 Lecture Outline of  "Ellen G. White and the So-Called "Plagiarism" Charge: An Examination of Five Issues," April 12, 1995.)


A. Significance of the Topic:

    1. Of all of the so-called "problem" issues, two, perhaps, have been more successful in destroying confidence in, and the credibility of, Ellen G. White, as a true, authentic prophet of the Lord, than any others.

        a. Certain statements she made in the realm of the scientific, which at first hearing often engender mirth-and doubts-because, superficially, they appear so improbable, and "off-the-wall," as to make true believers not a little uncomfortable, if not downright embarrassed.

        b. The so-called "Plagiarism" charge.

    2. With regard to the latter, a former SDA minster in Southern California has been the foremost exponent of this serious criticism in the 1980's:

        a. In the Los Angeles Times of Oct. 23, 1980, he made three allegations:

            (1) Mrs. White is a thief: she stole the literary productions of other authors, and replaced their name with her own.

            (2) She is, furthermore, a liar: for she repeatedly denied that she did this thing.

            (3) She and her husband were shameless exploiters of their church members: for they constituted a "captive" merchandise market upon which they forced her writings-requiring members to buy these many volumes-thus making an enormous personal fortune at the expense of their poorer followers.

    3. Now, while all three charges are demonstrably false, some of the documentation amassed by this critic superficially appears to lend a certain credibility to his allegations.

        a. The charge, which, ultimately, goes to the very heart of the question of personal integrity (and, therefore, of believability), is a most serious one-especially for a prophet!

    4. A little historical perspective may be helpful a this point:

        a. This former minister was not the first to make these charges of alleged plagiarism (not will he be the last); they have been raised before.

        b. And the charge raises a number of fundamental questions which the church must address.

            (1) Let us first examine some of the implications.

B. Five Issues Identified:

    1. The Definitional Issues:

        a. What is "Plagiarism?"

        b. What is "Literary Borrowing?"

        c. What is the crucial distinction between the two?

    2. The Biblical Issue:

        a. Is originality of composition a valid test of a true prophet?

        b. Is there a Biblical precedent for the phenomenon of "literary borrowing?"

            (1) If so, to what extent is it observable?

            (2) Where?

        c. What is the significance of Solomon's declaration (in Eccl. 12:9, 10) concerning his own literary practice in the production of the Book of Proverbs?

        d. Is percentage of borrowing a legitimate issue?

    3. The Legal Issue:

        a. What aspects of plagiarism are actionable in literary law?

        b. Was EGW (or her Estate) ever sued in a court of law for criminal violation of the law?

            (1) Was she (or her Estate) ever even threatened with a lawsuit?

        c. What definitive contribution did commercial-law specialist Vincent Ramik make in 1981?

    4. The Ethical/Moral Issue:

        a. Did EGW ever deny her literary borrowing?

        b. Contrarily, in what specific categories of materials did she publicly acknowledge utilizing prior literary materials of other authors?

        c. Was her church leadership (then, or now) guilty of a conspiratorial "cover-up," in an attempt to protect her-and themselves?

        d. How have plagiarism charges surfaced, almost cyclically, throughout SDA denominational history?

            (1) Where they met?

            (2) How, and by whom?

        e. What major underlying problem faced church leadership at the 1919 Bible conference and Bible/History Teachers Conference?

        f. Was James White guilty of overstatement in his defense of his wife's literary practices?

            (1) Did church leadership deal with that problem? How? When?

    5. The Practical Issue:

        a. How does an omniscient God effectively communicate truth to-and through-a comparatively uneducated prophet?

        b. What testimony did W. C. White provide concerning the Angel Gabriel's assurance to his mother of divine aid, vis-a-vis her physical and educational limitations?

        c. What was EGW's philosophy of sacred composition?

        d. Why did she borrow? What did she borrow?

        e. What did she leave unborrowed?

        f. What helpful insights are provided by:

            (1) Syndicated columnist James J. Kilpatrick, Jr.?

            (2) 19th-Century Amherst College President Heman Humphrey?

C. Acknowledgments

    1. Four SDA scholars in particular have done exceptionally helpful research in this area, to whom I own a significant debt in this presentation:

        a. Dr. Robert W. Olson, now retired (1990) Secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate.

        b. Dr. Ronald D. Graybill, recent Chair of the Department of History and Political Science, La Sierra University, and formerly an Associate Secretary of the White Estate.

        c. White Estate Archivist Timothy L. Poirier

        d. Dr. Fred Veltman, then chair of the Pacific Union College Religion Department, whose monumental study of literary borrowing in The Desire of Ages provides the most exhaustive study of its kind ever undertaken in SDA scholarly circles.

I. The Definitional Issue

    1. The late Dr. Charles E. Weniger, Dean of the SDA Theological Seminary and teacher of one its courses in research methodology, often told his students:

        a. "All research begins with the dictionary."

    2. And, at the outset, it is crucially important to distinguish between two separate, but related, terms:

        a. "Plagiarism," concerning which we shall demonstrate the EGW was not guilty; and

        b. "Literary Borrowing," a practice in which not only she, but many of the writers of the Bible, engaged.

A. "Plagiarism"

    1. Basically, the term itself comes from the Latin plagiarium, which means, literally, "kidnapper"! (Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, 1959).

        a. (Incidentally, the word immediately following "plagiarism" in many dictionaries is "plague"-a most appropriate, if purely coincidental, association!)

    2. And all authorities agree that the term generally applies to the intentionally deliberate and unauthorized-appropriation by one writer of the words of another, in the process passing them off as if they were his own-a sort of literary embezzlement.

    3. The literary thief's motivation may be simply fame, or financial benefit, or both.

    4. In American literary law, plagiarism, per se, is not a crime by statute definition; but two crimes are associated with it:

        a. Copyright infringement.

        b. Literary theft.

    5. In short, plagiarism, then, is a literary masquerade as to the identity of the true author-one's attempt to pretend that he is the original author, when he is not.

        a. Plagiarism, however, is not necessarily the borrowing of another writer's ideas or words, and employing them in one's own material, for one's own literary ends.

            (1) And this, precisely, is where the rub most often comes.

B. "Literary Borrowing"

    1. "Literary Borrowing," on the other hand, occurs when one writer utilizes and employs-"borrows"-the ideas, or words, of another, for his own personal ends, for the purpose of making a particular point.

        a. Analogy: Hyperbole is not mere exaggeration, but exaggeration for the purpose of making a particular point.

    2. The question of the identity of the original author is not, here, the germane issue (as it is in plagiarism).

        a. And the practice of literary borrowing does not, ipso facto, constitute plagiarism.

        b. Literary law recognizes what it defines as the "fair use" by one writer, of the ideas and even of the words of another, and of converting them to serve the particular purpose of the second writer (apart, of course, from pretending to be the original author-that's plagiarism!).

        c. And literary law specifically exempts such "fair use" practice from the arena of plagiarism.

C. Drawing the Distinction: Illustrations

    1. Glen Baker, one of my former Seminary students, wrote an article for the Adventist Review on EGW's use of humor, after listening to my lecture on that subject.
        a. In it he offered 16 example so of her humor, only two of which he gleaned from my presentation.

    2. On the other hand, a respected fellow SDA Bible teacher from another school, took the outline of lecture I had given at PUC on conditional immortality, and incorporated it-almost completely, with my ideas, research data, and organizational plan, with its sequential order-into an article he wrote for one of our evangelistic periodicals, and then he put his name on the article as author.     3. Again, another former student, form a different college, took 15 pages from one of my lecture outlines on the subject of Sunday legislation, and incorporated it, en toto, without any additions or deletions, into a document in which he identified himself as the original author.     4. It is absolutely imperative that we make the proper distinction between plagiarism and literary borrowing, even if by so doing critics level the charge at us of attempting "to make the worse appear the better reason."     5. Plagiarism is just plain wrong, and nothing good can be said about it.

        a. It is unjustifiable and morally reprehensible.

        b. And, in certain manifestations, it may also involve a criminal act.

    6. But EGW did not engage in plagiarism, though she-as well as Bible writers-did engage in the practice of literary borrowing, and often on an extensive basis-as we shall note next.

        a. But in doing that, none were guilty of plagiarism-and that which they did was not wrong.

II. The Biblical Issue

    1. Originality of composition is not a valid Biblical test of a true prophet-because the Bible writers themselves not only borrowed from each other, but they also borrowed from still other-non-inspired-writers, in the preparation of their respective books.

        a. And, as a result, the Bible is chock-a-book full of such literary borrowing, from beginning to end.

        b. Now, today, no one makes a big issue over that (perhaps because many if not most Christians are blissfully unaware of that salient fact!

        c. But let EGW follow squarely in this well-marked-out Biblical tradition and precedent, and the critics instantly make a hue-and-cry.

            (1) Interesting, isn't it!

            (2) In fact, it almost makes one wonder why-what is the underlying motivation of the critic?

    2. The Bible is replete with literary borrowing, from the Pentateuch (where Moses copied a law of Hammurabi, a Babylonian king and law-giver, who lived at least 250 years earlier) to the final book of Revelation (where John repeatedly incorporated large segments from a work entitled The Book of Enock, written probably 150 years before John's feet ever touched the soil of Patmos).

        a. Now the prophet Enoch did not write this particular volume which bears his name as author.

        b. It was composed several millennia after Enoch's translation to heaven.

            (1) It was written about 150 B.C. by an obscure, unknown author, who appended Enoch's name, probably thinking that this would increase readership.

            (2) Such works were quite popular at that time-and were known as pseudepigryphal writings.

    3. Jesus was a literary borrower:

        a. He used the language and ideas of others in publicly presenting His:

            (1) "Golden rule."

            (2) The Lord's Prayer.

    4. And the apostle Paul borrowed a line from the 6th Century B.C. philosopher Epimenedes-and never took the trouble to identify the original author to Titus, with whom he shared it.

        a. (For more examples of literary borrowing in the Bible, see Appendix A.)

    5. Many all surprised to learn (from Solomon's own words) that he is not the author of all of the Proverbs included in His Biblical book.

        a. In Eccl. 12:9, 10, Solomon candidly declares that he borrowed wise saying of different sages, which he incorporated into this Book of Proverbs.

        b. He openly states that he "sought out" (KJV, Amp.), or "searched out" (NIV, NASB-even "amended" (Jer.)-many proverbs originally authored by another.

        c. Then, he goes on: I methodically "arranged" (RSV, NASB), or "set in order" (KJV, Amp., NIV) these gems from another's pen, to suit my own literary purposes.

        d. And, finally, he avers: that which I collected and set down were "words of truth" (KJV, RSV, NASB)-even though their original author was an uninspired writer!

        e. And all of this was done, mind you, under the sovereign superintendence of the Holy Spirit-who, unquestionably, also guided Solomon away from other proverbs which were not truth!

            (1) Solomon's statement in Eccl. 12:9, 10, manifestly, could not be true if Solomon were the sole, original author of all of those Proverbs!

        f. In the production of that book, Solomon probably acted more in the role of an anthologist, or editor, rather than in the role of original author.

            (1) (For various renderings of this passage in contemporary translations, see Appendix B. )

    6. The late General conference Vice President Willis J. Hackett, in a 1980 sermon on the mechanics of inspiration/revelation, at the Potomac Camp meeting, put it in this helpful fashion:

        a. "A prophet's words or ideas are not true because the prophet says them; but, the prophet says them because they are true."

        b. Originality of composition is not a legitimate test of a true prophet; it cannot be, because of the widespread practice of literary borrowing by writers of the Bible!

    7. Another non-issue is the question of the percentage or volume of borrowed materials by one author of another.

        a. For if one allows for the legitimacy of literary borrowing at all (and one must, because the Bible writers did it with such regularity), then the question of percentage of borrowed material (which some critics blow up into a major issue) is really an irrelevance.

        b. One prominent critic has loudly alleged that between 80% and 90% of EGW's writings were borrowed from the works of others.

            (1) We have just noted, however, that this is a non-issue.

            (2) But it is of interest to note that his "guesstimates" were, nonetheless, wildly inflated.

                (a) Tim Poirier's "Project Surprise" (1981-86) reveals that, with the exception of five books, the known documented borrowed material in her writings amounted to less than three percent per book!

                (b) And in The Great Controversy, the work in which the largest volume of borrowed material is to be found, only 5% of borrowed material was uncredited!

    8. Literary borrowing, on a very substantial scale, is found throughout the entire Bible, in both Old Testament and New.

        a. And EGW's practice merely follows in the well-trod footsteps of the inspired Biblical writers, who established the practice as a legitimate precedent millennia before her day!

III. The Legal Issue

    1. Certain aspects of plagiarism are defined as criminal acts under the statutes of American literary law.

        a. Interestingly, neither aggrieved authors nor publishers have ever been noticeably reticent tot hale suspected offenders into court, particularly if they even suspected that monetary damages might thereby be recovered.

        b. Critics, from earliest days, have hinted darkly that EGW was sued-or at least threatened with a suit-for engaging in plagiaristic activities.

            (1) But such allegations are totally without foundation in fact.

    2. Although inquiries about similarities between Mrs. White's writings and those of other authors have surfaced in public as early as 1867, formal accusations of plagiarism seem to have been first raised in 1889, by a disgruntled ex-SDA minster, Dudley M. Canright; and, interestingly, they have continued to reappear with almost cyclical regularity ever since.

    3. In the autumn of 1981, Attorney Warren L. Johns, then chief legal counsel in the General Conference's Office of Legal Counsel, upon reading the latest salvo in the Oct. 23, 1980 Los Angeles Times, decided he would try to get to the bottom of the legal issues once and for all, to determine, if possible, their veracity in a summary fashion.

        a. Using private funds, he engaged the services of Attorney Vincent Ramik, senior partner in the then-Washington, DC law offices of Diller, Ramik, and Wight, specialists in patent, trademark, and copyright law.

            (1) (Their offices are now located in Annandale, VA.)

    4. Attorney Ramik was provided for his research:

        a. All of the allegations of plagiarism, historically, from first to last.

        b. Copies of all denominational polemical defenses against these critical charges.

        c. The relevant EGW books which were the target of the charges.

    5. He later reported that his initial reaction was more in favor of the validity of the critical charges.

        a. But as his research progressed, and deepened, his verdict began to shift in favor of the defendant.

        b. He spent more than 300 hours, in researching more than 1,000 cases in American literary law (1970-1915); and he produced a 27-page legal opinion ("lawyer's brief"), containing 53 source-citation footnotes, in which he concluded flatly that EGW was not guilty either of copyright infringement or of literary theft.

            (1) In fact, were she alive today, and the subject of litigation, he added, he would volunteer to defend her in court-because "there simply is no case" for the prosecution.

        c. The critics, he declared in a subsequent two-hour interview in which I participated, had mistakenly focused upon mere words, while ignoring altogether (and totally missing) her message, and the way in which she used those words.

        d. Her writings were all, he declared, well within the established boundaries of the legal doctrine of "fair use" in literary law, as regards the permitted use on one writer of another's literary materials.

        e. And then he offered an unsolicited personal testimony concerning the effect upon himself in the course of reading The Great Controversy, and several other EGW books in the course of his legal research:

            (1) "I am a changed man; i will never again be the same Vince Ramik that I was," he declared with some vigor.

    6. As a postscript to the interview, after its findings were published, the chief critic in Los Angeles, upon hearing that Ramik had exonerated EGW of all charges of plagiarism, sneered, "Of course he came down on her side; look at that enormous amount of money he was paid for his work!"

        a. Ramik retorted by saying that the total income from his work in this case represented a mere one-tenth of one percent of his law firm's gross earnings for 1981!

        b. He then followed up with the ominous observation "Lawyers who tell their clients only that which they think their clients want to hear, soon have no clients!"

            (1) "A layer's job," he added, "is to protect his client, by presenting the worst possible scenario in every instance."

                (a) (For more information on the Ramik Report, see the eight-page Adventist Review reprint of three articles by RWC and editorial by Kenneth H. Wood, which originally appeared in it s Sept. 17, 1981 edition.)

    7. Finally, neither Mrs. White (nor her Estate, since her death) have ever been sued in a court of law, or even threatened with legal remedies, as a result of suspected plagiarism.

        a. And a highly-respected attorney-specialist in copyright law, after more than 300 hours of research, in more than 1,000 cases in American literary law (1790-1915), totally exonerated EGW of all charges of plagiarism!

IV. The Moral/Ethical Issue

    1. "Well," the critic may concede at this point, "perhaps Mrs. White was not technically guilty of breaking the law against plagiarism; but, certainly, going around and denying her literary borrowing-when the evidence clearly demonstrates that she did borrow the literary materials of other writers-that's hardly and honest thing to do."

        a. And so we address, next, the Moral/Ethical Issue.

        b. Because-no doubt about it-a prophet's credibility would certainly be impaired by such gross behavior, if what the critic alleges actually happened.

    2. And I, in turn, inquire of the critic: "Did she really claim that every word she ever wrote came directly from God, and was thus original with her? You see, the burden of proof rests squarely upon the critic.

        a. And I, for myself, have not yet seen any conclusive evidence that such was the case.

        b. Oh, yes, I've seen of that broadside containing a dozen or 15 statements from her pen, circulated in Australia and America in the early 1980's by her then-chief critic, artfully contrived to make it look like that's what she claimed, that all words were original with her.

        c. But a careful examination of those selected quotations reveals that every single one of them was cleverly, adroitly, taken out of context, and then compiled in such a way as to create a false "reality!"

A. "The Words . . . Are My Own"

    1. Let me offer a typical example form this misleading document which received such wide circulation, and show you what she said, the context in which she said it, and then you decide for yourself if the ethical problem here is not, rather, with the compiler:

        a. In the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald of Oct. 8, 1867, EGW did, indeed, write:

            (1) 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 thy be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation-1SM 37.

    2. But she was not-as this sentence, torn from its original context, seems superficially to suggest-declaring that every word she ever wrote was thus original with her. Far form it!

        a. In this RH column, this out-of-context sentence actually appeared in response to a very specific inquiry from a reader in "Question and Answer No. 2"!

        b. By way of background, EGW had, earlier, written variously concerning the ideal length of a woman's skirt in that Victorian age. And she had recommended, successively, that:

            (1) It should clear the filth of the street by an inch or two (Testimony No. 10).

            (2) It should come somewhere below the top of a lady's gaiter boot (Testimony No. 11).

            (3) It should be nine inches above the floor (Testimony No. 12).

        c. And the reader was inquiring, in effect: That expression-"nine inches"-were those your words, or were they the angel's words" (It apparently was important hat the reader know!)

    3. Now note Mrs. White's very first words of reply:

        a. "The proper distance . . . was not given to me in inches.'

        b. Then, a few lines below, she explained the background circumstances: she had seen, in vision, three groups of women, with varying hem lines, one of which the angel had declared to be the ideal.

            (1) Then, she went on, I took an especially good look at the group designated as ideal, and estimated the approximate length to be about nine inches from the floor.

        c. So, you see, when Mrs. White said, "Nine inches," she was responding to a specific question (Your words, or the angle's words?) When she declared, "the words . . . are my own."

            (1) (For the complete text of "Question and Answer No. 2," see Appendix C.).

    4. So, you see, to lift that single sentence ("the word . . . are my own") totally out of its original context, to make it appear that EGW was thus declaring that all of the words that she ever wrote were her own (unless designated in this fashion), itself creates a moral/ethical problem upon the part of those who would seek to mislead you by such stratagem!

B. Her Ideas: From Contemporary Writers, or From God?

    1. But the question remains-and demands an honest answer: Did EGW attempt to hide the fact of her literary borrowing, and thus to mislead her followers?

        a. Again, we respond with an emphatic: No!

        b. For on that same page of the 1867 RH, in "Question and Answer No. One," EGW responded to another reader who was apparently suspicious of the source of some of her health reform writings-did they come from certain contemporary writers (as the reader implied), or did they come directly from God in a vision?

    2. And in the last two sentences of her reply, EGW declared that while the information originated with God, yet she did-somewhat later-share with her readers some items from the writings of certain contemporary health reformers.

        a. And she tells us further, why she did it: to show that some (though not all) of the things which they wrote were in agreement with God's ideas!

            (1) (For the complete text of "Question and Answer No. 1," see Appendix D).

        b. But let us at least be honest enough, at this point, to note that:

            (1) She did not deny literary borrowing-she, in fact, declared it.

            (2) And she went further, to explain the reason for it.

        c. This is hardly the blanket denial alleged by the critic!

    3. Let us offer yet another evidence that she publicly proclaimed her use of the writings of other writers-far from attempting to evade, and hide it:

        a. In the Introduction to The Great controversy-right at the very outset-she informs the reader that, at times, she incorporated into her manuscript certain writings of other authors, particularly in the fields of both history and theology:

            (1) In some cases where a historian has so grouped together events as to afford, in brief, a comprehensive view of the subject, or has summarized details in a convenient manner, his words have been quoted; but in some instances no specific credit has been given, since the quotations are not given for the purpose of citing that writer as authority, but because the statement affords a ready and forcible presentation of the subject. [Also] I narrating the experiences and views of those carrying forward the work of reform in our own time, similar use has been made of their published works.- GC xiii, emphasis supplied.

        b. Please note, again: far from denying the use of materials from other authors, EGW here makes two points:

            (1) She did engage in literary borrowing.

            (2) And she tells why she did it!

        c. And one can only speculate as to the motivation of the critics, for, in the face of such obvious evidence to the contrary, they continue to attempt to mislead and declare dishonest practices upon the part of the prophet!

C. A "Cover-Up" by Church Leaders?

    1. Another favorite issue raised by critics is the question of whether or not SDA church leaders-in her day, or in ours-have been guilty of a conspiratorial "cover-up" of EGW's literary borrowing, in an attempt to protect her-and themselves, as well.

        a. In response, let us note, first, the rather cyclical nature of the repeated charges of plagiarism, and then examine-in detail-the nature of the official response by church leaders.

    2. As already noted, perhaps the first public inquiry (in contradistinction with accusation) concerning alleged literary borrowing appeared in that 1867 RH column of "Questions and Answers."

    3. Critical Charges:

        a. 1889: By contrast, the first accusation of wrong-doing seems to have been made in ex-SDA preacher Dudley M. Canright's first of two books against his former church and its prophet (Seventh-day Adventism Renounced).

        b. 1907: Battle Creek Sanitarium staff physician Dr. Charles E. Stewart (and confidant of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who harbored similar views) brought out his famous "Blue Book" (so identified because of the color of its cover, if not the nature of its torrid allegations of plagiarism), in which he rehashes various then-contemporary charges of literary misuse.

        c. 1930's: E. S. Ballenger (brother of Albion Fox B., and son of John Fox B.-all three of them defrocked dissident ex-SDA ministers!) replayed the same repetitious charges in his anti-SDA periodical, The Gathering Call (see SDA Encyclopedia [1976]: 121).

        d. 1976: Dr. Ronald L. Numbers viciously attacked the prophet in his Ellen G. White: Prophetess of Health. In four enumerated assumptions held generally by SDAs (Preface: 1976 ed., pp. xi, xii; 1992 ed., pp. xv. xvi), Numbers dissociates-and distances-himself from the idea that EGW was ever in possession of inspired material. Rather, he alleges she simply copied ideas of contemporary health reformers, palming them off as her own.

        e. 1982: In 1980, now ex-SDA minister Walter T. Rea began to fulminate against EGW by resurrecting earlier charges of plagiarism (which had been answered earlier-see below), culminating in the private publication of a cynical, sarcastic, innuendo-laced tirade, The White Lie.

        f. Well, those are the principal players throughout the cyclical, rather repetitious past century of repeated accusations of plagiarism against EGW. Did the church respond? And, if so, what manner?

    4. The Church Responds:

        a. 1867: We have already noted in detail the concerned inquiries of RH readers to perceived literary misuse in the Oct. 8 issue; and EGW herself personally--and promptly--responded in her own vigorous, spirited, forthright defense.

        b. 1888: We, also, have noted the publication of the Introduction to The Great Controversy, in which-far from denying literary borrowing, EGW publicly proclaimed the fact, indicating the different categories employed in this particular work, and explaining in detail her personal reasons for so doing (which hardly qualifies as a legitimate effort at "cover-up"!).

[NOTE: In that same year the same publisher brought out the 2nd ed. Of James White's Life Sketches-not to be confused with his wife's work of an identical title-in which they deleted certain overstatements made by Elder White, which had appeared in the 1st ed., 1880, before his death the year following. We will consider James White's somewhat exaggerated and-today-difficult-to-understand declarations in detail, below.]
        c. 1933: In August, William C. White and Dores E. Robinson of the White Estate jointly authored a 16-pp. document entitled Brief Statements Regarding the Writings of Ellen G. White, in which the church, again-officially-met the plagiarism charges then circulating in a forthright-head-on manner. (This document, incidentally, was reprinted in full, and published as an insert in the Adventist Review of June 4, 1981, in response to the old charges now faced by a new audience.)

        d. 1951: Francis D. Nichol, then editor of the RH and prolific author of SDA polemical books, wrote an encyclopedic reference work, Ellen G. White and Her Critics, which sought to gather, organize, and analyze every criticism ever made of EGW. He devoted three entire chapters (28, 29 and 30) to an attempt to settle once-for-all persistently recurring charges in the area of plagiarism.

        e. 1976: The White Estate voluntarily reviewed the manuscript for Dr. Number's proposed book, and pointed out countless examples of egregious-and explainable-distortions there found. Wisely, he deleted these from the final draft before publication; but when the book finally appeared (published by the prestigious house of Harper & Row), the entire staff of the White Estate dropped all other activities, and devoted six full months to producing a 128-page response, in an almost line-for-line refutation of misleading, inaccurate, and cleverly-contrived criticisms found in the final published version.

        f. 1980: Dr. Robert W. Olson, White Estate Secretary, issued the first (in what, eventually, would become a torrent of "reality-check") in a new series of White Estate monograph position-papers in response to Walter Rea's loudly-and widely-broadcast critical attacks (chiefly in the area of plagiarism): "Ellen White's Use of Inspired Sources."

        g. 1981: It was quickly followed by three documents the next year:

            (1) Dr. Ron Graybill's 45-pp. significant, landmark monograph, "Ellen G. White's Literary Work-An Update."

            (2) Dr. Olson's 112-pp. book, One Hundred and One Questions on the Sanctuary and on Ellen White., in which plagiarism received major detailed treatment.

            (3) Roger W. Coon's three articles, and Kenneth H. Wood's editorial, published in the Sept. 17 edition of the Adventist Review, were subsequently reprinted as an 8-pp. document.

        h. 1982: Two additional significant contributions followed:

            (1) Warren H. Johns 14-pp. article, "Prophet or Plagiarist?" was published in the June edition of Ministry.

            (2) Dr. Graybill edited a 16-pp. supplement to the August edition of Ministry, which surveyed-and briefly responded to-a dozen or so of the principal accusations of Walter Rea, and provided an exhaustively-detailed bibliography where more data could be found.

        i. 1981-88: Dr. Fred Veltman, meanwhile, under direct assignment by the General Conference President, devoted eight years in the preparation of an exceedingly detailed analysis of 15 chapters of The Desire of Ages. Within that time-frame he spent the equivalent of five full years to the task of producing a 2,561-pp. report (958 pp. of text, the balance, exhibits). In the 15 selected chapters of his survey, Dr. Veltman discovered that while EGW had used materials from 23 other literary works, "she was not slavishly dependent upon her sources, and the way she incorporated their content clearly shows that . . . she knew how to separate the wheat from the chaff"!

        j. 1986: Two significant publications followed:

            (1) Dr. Olson's 9-pp. monograph. "The Literary Borrowing Issue," was released (and subsequently revised and enlarged on Feb. 8, 1989).

            (2) On Oct. 14, Tim Poirier's three-page summary report on "Project Surprise" documented all known literary parallels (research was begun in 1981) and proved conclusively that estimates ranging from 80%-90% of borrowed materials were grossly inflated:

                (a) GC had 15.1% quoted, with source indicated, and an additional 5.1% uncredited, for a total of 20.5% overall.

                (b) Sketches from the Life of Paul had 12.23% borrowed material.

                (c) Steps to Christ's total was 6.2%.

                (d) All other books-excluding DA, which Dr. Veltman studied came in at 3% or less of borrowed material.

        k. 1990 Dr. Olson prepared a new 5-pp. statement on "Plagiarism" for an EGW Estate Research Center Directors Workshop, in which he recapitulated the main lines of previous research findings.

        l. From all of the foregoing, it must be patently obvious that church leadership-at the highest levels-did not seek to ignore, sweep under the carpet, or "cover-up" challenges to EGW's literary practices. On the contrary, they met the issues forthrightly, head-on, with honest facts carefully stated (and spent a lot of money in the process!). The result of this mammoth effort was, for most in the church, to put the issue of plagiarism to rest (until a new generation arises, and the whole thing must be replayed all over again!). But to seriously suggest a "cover-up," in the face of this Niagara of official church response, is so absurd as hardly to deserve a serious response.

D. Problems Facing Leadership at the 1919 Bible Conference

    1. The discovery of along-forgotten verbatim transcript of the July/August 1919 SDA Bible Conference and Bible/History Teachers Conference which immediately followed (with its subsequent publication in Spectrum's May, 1979 issue) has raised questions about the degree to which church leadership was willing publicly to deal forthrightly-and to be forthcoming-in meeting certain questions concerning EGW's literary practices-chiefly in the area of plagiarism.

        a. A certain amount of disingenuousness appears to have been evidenced by some leaders.

        b. But those convocations-with the corresponding attitudes and actions of leadership-must be viewed in the light of the historical context of the decade which preceded these meetings.

    2. By 1910, major skeptical inroads were being made in USA religious scholarship against Biblical teaching and authority within Protestantism.

        a. "Modernism," a new-and growing-religious phenomenon, denied:

            (1) The divine inspiration of the Bible.

            (2) The virgin birth of Christ.

            (3) Christ's substitutionary atonement at Calvary.

            (4) His literal resurrection from the grave.

            (5) The objective reality of miracles as recorded in Scripture.

        b. Various theologians began to rise to defend "the faith once delivered to the saints."

            (1) Between 1910-15, a series of 12 small books, containing 94 articles and essays, written by some 64 authors, were published, known collectively as The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth.

            (2) Some 27 essays specifically dealt with the new menace of Higher (Biblical) Criticism.

    3. One of the two benchmark issues for "fundamentalist" was the divine inspiration of the Bible, which Modernists unabashedly denied altogether.

        a. Virtually all of the defenders of Biblical inspiration/revelation were themselves believers in a strict verbal mechanical view of inspiration-the idea the Bible writers were merely "stenographers," taking down verbatim dictation from God Himself.

        b. And in one of the public relations victories of the decade, these Fundamentalists succeeded, to an almost unbelievable degree, in equating belief in the inspiration of the Bible with the verbal/mechanical view in the popular, public mind.

        c. The inevitable result? There were really only two positions: one either believable the inspiration of the Bible on their terms (verbal dictation, literal inerrancy-no mistakes of any kind in the Bible); or one was a Modernist who denied Biblical inspiration altogether.

    4. Meanwhile, in May, 1918, the first major Fundamentalist conference-the Philadelphia Prophetic Convention-was held. Some 5,000 thronged the 12 sessions; and it, too was a public relations success, with the press playing up the meetings on Page One. Everyone was talking about the Fundamentalists, and their views.

    5. Then, exactly one year later, in the Spring of 1919 (and just one month before the SDA Bible Conference and bible/History Teachers Conference was set to convene), a second Fundamentalist conference was called, this time in Chicago on the campus of the Moody Bible Institute.

        a. It, too, was an almost instant media success.

        b. A new organization was created: the "World's Christian Fundamentals Association."

        c. And, inevitably, their position on the inspiration of the Bible came into prominent view.

    6. This placed the SDA leaders on the horns of a very nasty dilemma:

        a. For they could not subscribe to either the rigid view of the Fundamentalists, nor the Modernist view which denied inspiration altogether.

        b. EGW had held to a third view-that of thought (plenary) inspiration-a concept largely unknown then, in the wildly polemical climate of theological debate.

    7. Adventist leaders took seriously their responsibility to the church and the world; and, quite frankly, they were not at all clear as to the best approach to take, to avoid misunderstanding in the camps of the Fundamentalist, the Modernists, and the Adventists.

        a. And, as so often happens yet today, fearful of doing the wrong thing, they pretty much wound up doing no thing.

        b. Leadership was probably more cautious than timorous-but, in the end, the result was probably the same.

        c. And today's readers of the transcript of that meeting of 75 years ago often come-unwittingly-to wrong conclusions, not knowing the background of events.

E. James White's Curious References to His Wife's Work

    1. In the first edition of James White's Life Sketches (not to be confused with his wife's book of the same title), published by the church in 1880 (the year before JW died), this -co-founder of the SDA Church overstated the case of his wife's originality of composition vis-a-vis the charges of plagiarism.

        a. In a word, James, while not flatly, outright denying that his wife had taken any of her literary gems of thought from other writers, yet did use some admittedly exaggerated language in making his case of the defense, which did not reflect accurately the reality that others, later, would observe.

            (1) (For the text of his remarks, see Appendix E.).

    2. When the church got around to issuing the 2nd edition of James' Life Sketches in 1888, they revised portions of the text-and deleted the inaccurate references James had made in the 1st edition (But, though the critics know this, they won't admit it until pressed by defenders of EGW!-which raises it's own moral/ethical issue.).

    3. But how may we account for Elder White's seeming hypocrisy in potentially, at least, misleading his fellow church members? Three possible explanations occur to me as I ponder the issue of Elder White's intellectual integrity-and this admittedly embarrassing literary lapse on his part:

        a. It may have been caused simply by ignorance on his part: he himself may not have fully realized the extent to which his wife was utilizing the writings of others, and incorporating them into her own works.

        b. His mental state at the time of writing could easily have affected his judgement for by the time he wrote these lines he had already suffered five strokes. And his post-stroke physical condition may well have altered, seriously, his mental balance (we do know it markedly affected his personality). Thus, these medical mishaps may well have contributed substantially to his unfortunate error in judgment.

        c. Or changing realities may well have entered into the equation. While JW's 1st edition was published in 1880, it was obviously written at a still earlier date. And, at the time James White wrote the offending words (in contradistinction to when they were subsequently published), his wife, indeed, may well not have been going into literary borrowing as heavily as we know she did in the 1880's and onward.

    4. I have yet seen no evidence that EGW ever denied-or tried to hide-her literary borrowing-a practice fully entered into by many of the writers of the Bible.

        a. On the contrary, we have noted that she herself declared-in print, in different places, and upon different occasions-that she had used the literary materials of other writers-particulary in the categories of health, history, and theology.

        b. And her church leadership, far from covering up these activities, historically and consistently sought to meet the false charges of plagiarism up-front, with extensively detailed explanations.

V. The Practical Issue

    1. Heaven was confronted with a practical problem: How does an omniscient God communicate truth-to and through-a comparatively uneducated prophet?

        a. Now this is not a problem to God.

            (1) In Bible times, while some prophets were well-educated, others were virtually unschooled.

        b. And so it was with Ellen White, whose total formal education did not see the completion of the first four years of elementary (primary) classroom training.

    2. And EGW herself, repeatedly, publicly, mourned her own lack of formal education.

        a. Indeed, this was one of the principal reasons why she also needed, over the years, a corps of literary helpers, to assist in editing (but not authoring) procedures.

        b. (But the question of the role of her literary helpers is a topic that must await further, full-scale treatment in another lecture.)

    3. The Lord had a solution for Ellen's problem-for He always does; was it not Paul who declared, "My God shall supply all your needs"? (Phil. 4:19)

        a. And God sent His angel Gabriel to open His solution to Ellen's understanding.

        b. Speaking of the event years later, Willie White (her son who, after the passing of his father in 1881, became her traveling companion, confidant, and counselor) reported:

            (1) In her early experience, when she was sorely distressed over the difficulty of putting into human language the revelations of truths that had been imparted to her, she was reminded of the fact that all wisdom and knowledge comes form God; and she was assured that God would bestow grace and guidance. She was told that, in the reading of religious books and journals, she would find precious gems of truth, expressed in acceptable language; and that she would be given help from heaven to recognize these, and to separate them from the rubbish of error with which she would sometimes find them associated.-Brief Statements, p.5.

    4. Many, out of curiosity (and probably others, out of cynicism) have sometimes inquired: "Why did EGW have to borrow the literary materials of others? Wouldn't it have been much easier for God simply to dictate to her, as a sort of cosmic stenographer, the messages He wished to communicate to His people?"

        a. And, unhesitatingly, I answer, yes, it probably would have been easier certainly, more efficient. But, you see, God doesn't operate in that fashion.

            (1) He didn't in bible times; and He doesn't now.

        b. As Ellen herself explained:

            (1) It isn't the words of the Bible that are inspired, bu the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions, but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts.-1SM 21.

A. Ellen White's Philosophy of Sacred Composition

    1. Central to the arriving at any adequate understanding of Mrs. White's literary borrowing must be an understanding of her philosophy of sacred composition, which, I believe, may be summed up in the following four points:

        a. First: There is no basis for human pre-eminence, because, ultimately, there is nothing totally original in this world. Solomon said it best: "there is no new thing under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9).

        b. Second: Christ, as the Creator, is the Originator of all true ideas, (as well as of everything else that is good).

        c. Third: Because Christ is the Originator of all true ideas, He is also the Owner of those ideas, as well.

        d. Fourth: EGW saw herself, ultimately, as the special agent, chosen of God, to convey ancient truths in modern garb to her generation-and ours. And it is this truth-not the vehicle in which it is carried-that ultimately is the only really important issue.

            (1) (For an amplification of EGW's Philosophy of Sacred Composition, see Appendix F.).

B. Why EGW Borrowed Materials From Other Authors

    1. Dr. Robert Olson has suggested four reasons, to which I will add a possible fifth:

        a. First: to help her express well the ideas and truths revealed to her in vision.

            (1) She not only had to face the limitations of her formal schooling, but she had another limitation with which to deal: the limitation of time-the amount of time in her daily schedule available to the writing tasks, a factor with which she had constantly to deal.

            (2) So, if other writers had said essentially the same thing that she wished to say, there would be a definite economy in time if she could simply employ their words, instead of having to take the time and effort merely to compose parallel prose.

                (a) In short, EGW saw no necessity to have constantly to "reinvent the wheel," so to speak.

        b. Second: to supplement details not given in vision.

            (1) EGW was often obliged to do post-vision research, to round out for print the account of an incident seen in vision-details of history, geography, chronology, etc.

            (2) But it should also ever be remembered that EGW used historical materials to illustrate, but never to prove-and that distinction is crucial.

        c. Third: to embellish the literary elements with beautiful gems of thought, for purposes of literary adornment:

            (1) Reasons of aesthetics: EGW was a lover of the beautiful-including beautifully-phrased prose.

            (2) Reverent reasons: she wanted her work to bring honor and glory to God and His truth.

            (3) Psychological reasons: EGW well understood the pedagogical values in repetition and restatement as a device to impress human memory.

        d. Fourth: To explain Adequately and meaningfully, Adventist doctrinal positions to her fellow church members.

            (1) Again, if others had phrased an idea felicitously, why not use it-and get as much mileage out of it as possible. (See Robert W. Olson, One Hundred and One Questions, pp. 71-73.).

        e. Fifth: EGW's literary borrowing just may have been a subconscious exercise of a possible photographic memory.

            (1) During the week, for example, she would often read materials from various authors.

            (2) Then, upon the Sabbath, speaking extemporaneously in some church pulpit, without notes (as she often did), the Holy Spirit might well have suddenly brought to her mind something she had read earlier in the week-truths beautifully expressed by some other-uninspired-author.

            (3) She, of course, would not "footnote" her sermon at this point-indeed, she may even have been totally unaware that she was mirroring something from another writer read earlier in the week.

                (a) But, of course, her stenographers were present, to record in shorthand every word she uttered in public.

                (b) And, later, the typewritten manuscript of that sermon would often find its way into various periodical articles and book chapters.

            (4) It is, of course, impossible to "prove" conclusively that EGW had a photographic memory; but it is equally difficult to prove that she did not!

                (a) But if she indeed did happen to be so blessed, it is easy for me to see how some of this "borrowing" might, all unconsciously, have found its way into her manuscripts.

C. "How" More Important than "What"?

    1. Dr. Ron Graybill, in discoursing upon EGW's literary borrowing, has often pointed out that: How she borrowed may well be a more important consideration than what she borrowed--though the critics have been almost universally silent upon that question! And he proposes these significant avenues of research:

        a. How did she use that which she borrowed? How did she often adapt, or even change, much of what she borrowed?

        b. How did she know what to borrow, and what to leave unborrowed?

        c. How did she go beyond the material she borrowed from other authors, to add new information not found elsewhere-even in the Bible?

        d. And what was the role of the Holy Spirit in the entire literary operation, involving as it did principles of divine inspiration and revelation?

    2. Because in much of her literary borrowing, EGW would turn a phrase to suit her own personal ends, not the ends of the original author. (And this is an important facet in the application of the legal literary doctrine of "fair use," by the way.)

        a. For sometimes she would borrow only a part of a sentence, turning the remainder 180-degrees in the opposite direction.

            (1) For example, in his book, Origin and History of the Books of the Bible, Calvin E. Stowe wrote:

                (a) It is not the words of the Bible that were inspired, ; it is not the thoughts of the Bible that were inspired; it is the men who wrote the Bible that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man's words, not on the man's thoughts, but on the man himself; so that he, by his own spontaneity, under the impulse of the Holy ghost, conceives certain thought.-p. 20; emphasis supplied.

            (2) Now, please notice how Mrs. White agreed with--and copied--a portion of Stowe's statement; but how she changed another part of it 180 degrees, because Stowe's original statement actually contained error. She modified it:

                (a) It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, bu the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions, but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Spirit is imbued with thought.-1SM 21; emphasis supplied.

D. Helpful Insights From Various Writers-Inside and Outside the Church

    1. Seminary Professor Edward Heppenstall [1901-94]:

        a. In "The Inspired Witness of Ellen White" (Andventist Review, May 8, 1987, p. 17), Dr. Heppenstall concluded his article:

Use of Other Sources

Does her inclusion of material from other Christian sources, often without giving credit, call into question Ellen White's claim to inspiration and genuineness as a messenger of the Lord?

Ellen White sought to deceive no one. Thoughts, facts, and truths written by one person may be used by another without plagiarism. She made original applications of older material, while furnishing herself with thoughts and words of other books. She can hardly be reproached as a plagiarist, any more than the architect or sculptor can be censored as a copier of Christopher Wren or Michelangelo because he digs his marble from the same quarry, squares his stones by the same art, and unites them in columns of the same order. The freedom to adopt and adapt form the common property of scholars the world over. To use the arguments and follow the truths of other writers is by no means incompatible with originality. In fact, absolute originality is almost impossible.

No valid objection can be bought against Ellen White when she enlarges and clarifies her own ideas in the light of other men's works. To establish the charge of plagiarism, one must prove a deliberate attempt to use another's work to exalt oneself rather than the glory of God. Her whole purpose was the communication of truth, believing that

whatever the source, the truth must be exalted and God glorified.

As finite beings, the full knowledge of what is involved in God's method of communication can easily escape us. God chose Ellen White and spoke to and through her in a way that He does not speak to us. Belief

in all such supernatural communication of God's truth requires faith on our part. Love "thinketh no evil." There is too much denigration of the church and its doctrines; to much disapproval and rejection among us because others do not think exactly as we do.

The issue is this: Is her witness to Jesus and to the Scriptures true? Is her claoken and still is speaking to us; that the truths we hold came from God Himself; and that they will lead us to triumph and life everlasting through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    2. Syndicated Columnist James J. Kilpatrick, Jr.:

        a. Earlier, we suggested the possibility that one explanation for EGW's literary borrowing was the exercise of a photographic memory-a writer reads something, it lays dormant for a time in the subconscious memory, only later to be resurrected, at the subconscious-or even unconscious-level.

        b. In 1987, James J. Kilpatrick, Jr., wrote a column, published in the Washington, (DC) Post, in which he relates an experience that was equally embarrassing and revealing.

            (1) He had-years before-read something in one of Mark Twains' books, and then it had slipped from his conscious memory.

            (2) After the passage of time, while one day writing one of his regular columns, this item had surfaced, and sneaked right into this essay.

            (3) He thought this new piece to be his own composition-and a cleverly-contrived one at that.

            (4) But a reader wrote to him, to chastise him for using something from Mark Twain, and claiming it as his own.

            (5) Which experience, in turn, was grist for yet another column: "I, Too, Have Committed Plagiarism," published in one of America's leading daily newspapers, on Oct. 11, 1987-quite possibly a mirror-image of that which happened (possibly repeatedly) in the experience of Ellen White.

                (a) (For the complete text, see Appendix G.).

    3. Amherst College President Heman Humphrey:

        a. When John Harris wrote his memorable biography of Jesus, The Great Teacher, which was subsequently published in 1835 (when EGW was but eight years of age), he asked his friend, Amherst College President Heman Humphrey, to write the Preface.

        b. The book became widely acclaimed; and, in adult years, it came to the attention of EGW, who not only personally treasured it, but also incorporated portions of it into her own work on Christ, The Desire of Ages.

        c. In his Preface, Humphrey hypothesized about what might will be the plight should a truly authentic, genuine prophet arise in modern times-when just about everything that could be said upon a given subject had already been written by some other author. Just what, he mused, would be the role of this new prophet?

        d. In the light of what, subsequently, was, indeed, about to happen, Humphrey's piece today appears almost prescient!

        e. And the parallel with the experience of EGW is nothing less than stunning! Wrote Humphrey:

(1) Suppose, for example, an inspired prophet were now to appear in the church, to add a supplement to the canonical books-what a Babel of opinions would he find on almost every theological subject! And how highly probable it is that his ministry would consist, or seem to consist, in a mere selection and ratification of such of these opinions as accorded with he mind of God. Absolute originality would seem to be almost impossible. The inventive mind of man has already bodied forth speculative opinions in almost every conceivable form, forestalling and robbing the future of its proportion of novelties, and leaving little more,-even to a divine messenger,-than the office of taking some of these opinions and impressing them with the seal of heaven.-Cited by Arthur L. White in 4 Bio 63.

    1. Well, in the words of Solomon, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter!"

    2. It is, first of all, vitally necessary that we properly make the important, valid distinction between.

        (a) "Plagiarism"- vitally morally reprehensible, deliberately-intentionally, and legally unauthorized appropriation by one writer of the words of another-with the intent to pass them off as one's own words, literary embezzlement, if you please, on the one hand, and

        (b) Literary borrowing" on the other hand-the totally-legitimate use by one writer of another's words or ideas, for the second writer's own particular literary ends.

    3. Originality of composition cannot be a Biblical test of a true prophet, because so many of the Bible writers themselves engaged in literary borrowing to an almost staggering, unbelievable degree, from the first book to the last.

        a. Thus, EGW's uses of the same literary practice is clearly in harmony with this respected tradition and legitimate precedent.

    4. After her writings were examined in 1981 by a specialist in copyright law, who-after 300 hours of research, in more than 1,000 cases in American literary law (1790-1915)-concluded that she was well within the established boundaries of the legal doctrine of "fair use."

        a. And if she (or her Estate, today) were ever to be haled into court to be tried on charges of plagiarism, Attorney Vincent Ramik said that he would volunteer to defend her, because the prosecution clearly would have "no case."

        b. In EGW's lifetime she was never sued in a court of law-nor even threatened with such a suit-by any author or publisher suspecting literary piracy or copyright infringement (the two legal issues in plagiarism), nor has her Estate been thus threatened since her passing in 1915.

    5. Not only did Ellen White never steal the writings of others, she never lied about her practices, whether in her written or oral communications with her church.

        a. She never tried to hide her literary borrowing.

        b. On the contrary, she declared in print that she had utilized the writings of other authors-particularly citing in the categories of health, history, and theology.

        c. And then she went still further to explain carefully why she had done this thing.

        d. And critics have yet failed to produce one scintilla of evidence that church leadership-in her day or in ours-have ever engaged in a conspiracy of either silence or "cover-up" to hide the fact of this literary borrowing.

        e. On the contrary, from earliest days, church officials consistently-and repeatedly-have gone out of their way to confront false allegations of plagiaristic wrongdoing, in an up-front manner, with extensively-detailed and documented explanations for all who cared to listen.

    6. EGW was early told by her angel that precisely because of her limited formal educational background, the Holy Spirit would lead her to beautiful gems of thought, expressed in suitable language, that she might appropriately employ in conveying truths supernaturally revealed to her.

        a. And, in the process, she was assured that the Holy Spirit would also guard her from perpetuating any error which might have accompanied such gems in their original literary context.

    7. To understand adequately her practice of literary borrowing, one must first consider her philosophy of sacred composition.

        a. Five reasons have been adduced as possible explanations for her literary borrowing.

        b. But an even more important consideration is the issue of how she treated-and often changed-the materials that she did borrow (as well as why she didn't borrow other materials readily available at hand), to accomplish her own literary ends.

    8. That which Peter wrote so many years ago is still true today: for we, also, "have not followed cunningly devised fables.

        a. And, with Peter-we, too, "have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day Star arise in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:16, 19).

        b. It is as true today as it was in Old Testament time, that if you "believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper" (2 Chron. 20:20).

List of Appendixes

[Sorry, not available on this web site.  Contact the Ellen G. White Research Center at Andrews University.]

Appendix A: Examples of Literary borrowing in the Bible.

Appendix B: Various Renderings of Ecclesiastes 12:9, 10 in Contemporary Translations.

Appendix C: Ellen G. White and the Issue of Appropriate Skirt Length.

Appendix D: Ellen G. White's Use of Writings of Contemporary Health Reformers.

Appendix E: James White's Overstatements Concerning His Wife's Literary Borrowing.

Appendix F: Ellen G. White's Philosophy of Sacred Composition.

Appendix G: James J. Kilpatrick, Jr.'s Newspaper Column on Plagiarism.

Selected Bibliography

[Coon, Roger W., and Wood, Kenneth H.] Was Ellen G. White a Plagiarist? Ellen G. White Estate reprint of three articles with an editorial, originally published in the Adventist Review, September 17, 1981, 8 pp.

Graybill, Ronald D. (Ed.). The Truth About the White Lie, 16-page insert, published in Ministry, August, 1981; reprinted in document form by the White Estate.

__________. "Did Mrs. White 'Borrow' in Reporting a Vision?", Adventist Review, April 2, 1981, p.7.

__________. "E. G. White's Literary Work: An Update." Unpublished edited and annotated transcript of presentations made in the morning devotionals at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, Washington, D.C., November 15-19, 1981.

__________. "Ellen White as a Reader and A Writer," Insight, May 1981, pp. 3-7.

__________. "The 'I Say' Parallels in Ellen Whit's Writings," Adventist Review, July 29, 1982, pp. 4-6.

__________. "Update," Adventist Review, April 30, 1981, p.2.

Heppenstall, Edward. "The Inspired Witness of Ellen White," Adventist Review, May 8, 1987, pp. 16, 17.

John, Donald. "The Footprints of God," Insight, May 19, 1981, pp. 3-7.

Johns, Warren H. "Ellen G. White: Prophet or Plagiarist?," Ministry, June, 1982, pp. 5-19.

Johnson, Delmar A. "The Sources of Inspired Writings," Adventist Review, December 30, 1982, pp. 4, 5.

Kilpatrick, James J., Jr. "I Too Have Committed Plagiarism," The Washington Post, October 11, 1987.

Morrow, Lance. "Kidnaping the Brainchildren." Time, December 3, 1990, p. 126.

Olson, Robert W. "Ellen G. 'White's Use of Historical Sources," Adventist Review, February 23, 1984, pp. 3-5.

__________. "Ellen White's Use of Uninspired Sources," unpublished monograph, White Estate, April 10, 1980, 19 pp.

__________. "Ellen White's Denials," Ministry, February, 1991, pp. 15-18.

__________. "The Literary Borrowing Issue," Unpublished White Estate monograph, February 8, 1989, 10 pp.

__________. Olson Discusses the Veltman Study, "December, 1990, pp. 16-18.

__________. One Hundred and One Questions on the Sanctuary and on Ellen white. Washington, DC: Ellen G. White Estate, March, 1981, 112 pages. (See, especially, pp. 64-109).

__________. "Plagiarism," White Estate unpublished monograph #22, prepared for Research Center Directors Workshop, Silver Spring, MD, June 20-28, 1990, 5 pp.

__________, and Graybill, Ronald D. How the Desire of Ages Was Written. Silver Spring, MD: Ellen G. White Estate, 47 pp.

Poirier, Tim. "Did James White Attempt a 'Cover Up' of Ellen White's Literary Borrowing?," unpublished White Estate monograph, August 15, 1985, 8 pp.

__________. "Ellen White's Literary Sources: How Much Borrowing is There?", White Estate unpublished monograph, October 14, 1986, 3 pp.

Ramik, Vincent L. "Memorandum, of Law, Literary Property Rights, 1790-1915," unpublished legal opinion, Diller, Ramik & Wight, Ltd., Washington, D.C., August 14, 1981, 27 pp.

Thompson, Alden: Ellen White: Guilty or Not?' The Signs of the Times, May, 1983, pp. 7-8.

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__________."The Desire os Ages Project; the Conclusion," Ministry, December, 1990, pp. 11-15. (For reader response, see ibid., April, 1991, pp. 2, 28.)

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White, Ellen G. "Christ Revealed the Father, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 7, 1890, pp. 1, 2.

__________. "Questions and Answers," Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 8, 1867, p. 260.

White, James. Life Sketches. Ancestry, Early Life, Christian Experience, and Extensive Labors, of Elder James White and His Wife, Mrs. Ellen G. White. Battle Creek: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association. 1880 (1st ed.); 1888 (2nd and rev. ed.).

White, W. C., and Robinson, D.E. Brief Statements Regarding the Writings of Ellen G. White. Washington, D. C.: Ellen G. White Estate, August, 1933, 16 pp. Reprinted as a document insert in Adventist Review, June 4, 1981.