The Big Front Door 

"Knock, Knock, Who's There?" 

Page 2 of the "Front Door" Series

Soon after she had her first vision in the late fall or early winter of 1844, Ellen Harmon married James White, an Adventist minister, and for about seven years they both preached a SHUT DOOR theology.

A group still very critical of Ellen White's dreams and visions are now proclaiming loudly on the Internet that this changing of this original SHUT DOOR teaching to now an OPEN DOOR teaching shows that Ellen White's visions were not from God, and she was a FALSE PROPHET.  Here is an illustration from their web site.


I am presenting my common-sense explanation for why Ellen and James White at first taught a SHUT DOOR then later began teaching an OPEN DOOR on these pages.   Let me point out FIRST that the Bible teaches both concepts, that of a SHUT DOOR and that of an OPEN DOOR.

      The charge that both Ellen White and the Seventh-day Adventist Church have covered up this early teaching of a SHUT DOOR after 1951 can be easily refuted by reading such statements in "Early Writings" [published in 1951] as the following [page 42 onward].

    "Sabbath, March 24, 1849, we had a sweet and very interesting meeting with the brethren at Topsham, Maine.  The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us, and I was taken off in the Spirit to the city of the living God.  Then I was shown that the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ relating to the shut door could not be separated, and that the time for the  commandments of God to shine out with all their importance, and for God's people to be tried on the Sabbath truth, was when the door was opened in the heavenly sanctuary, where the ark is, in which are contained the ten commandments.   This door was not opened until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the holy place of the sanctuary in 1844.   Then Jesus rose up and shut the door of the holy place, and opened the door into the most holy place, and passed within the second veil, where he now stands by the ark, and where the faith of Israel now reaches."

      "I saw that Jesus had shut the door of the holy place, and no man can open it; and that he had opened the door into the most holy, and no man can shut it (Rev. 3:7, 8);  and since Jesus has opened the door into the most holy place, which contains the ark, the commandments have been shining out to God's people, and they are being tested on the Sabbath question."

      Nowadays, I think we might be better able to say what Ellen White is here making quite clear (at least to me) is this door is sort of like a revolving door.   Here Jesus is shown standing in a revolving door.   He wanted (and still wants) Seventh-day Adventists to go ONE WAY through this door -- from being Sunday-keepers to 7th day Sabbath-keepers, and never to go back to being Sunday-keepers.   However, it follows that other things they learned early in Adventism should not have been abandoned -- even though unpopular with the majority of so-called "Christians".

      Other Christians and indeed even "New Age People" prefer to believe that God has never "shut a door" to anyone, even those who continuously break his commandments, so this picture will be one they prefer to believe presents the true picture.

    However, it's obvious from reading the chapter in Ellen White's book "Early Writings" titled "The Open and the Shut Door" that Ellen White herself was never authorized to preach and teach a policy of God so liberal as is pictured in the above picture.   As we read on page 42 bottom of page Ellen White continues: 

    "I saw that the present test on the Sabbath could not come until the mediation of Jesus in the holy place was finished and He had passed within the second veil; therefore Christians who fell asleep before the door was opened into the most holy, when the midnight cry was finished, at the seventh month, 1844, and who had not kept the true sabbath, now rest in hope; for they had not the light and the test on the Sabbath which we now have since that door opened.  I saw that Satan was tempting some of God's people on this point.   Because so many good Christians have fallen asleep in the triumphs of faith and have not kept the true Sabbath, they are doubting about it being a test for us now."

     "The enemies of the present truth have been trying to open the door of the holy place, that Jesus has shut, and to close the door of the most holy place, which he opened in 1844, where the ark is, containing the two tables of stone on which are written the ten commandments by the finger of Jehovah."

     "Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God's people from the present truth and to cause them to waver.  I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them from the time of trouble; and that every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty."

    "Satan knew this, and he was at work in mighty power to keep the minds of as many people as he possibly could wavering and unsettled on the truth.  I saw that the mysterious knocking in New York and other places was the power of Satan, and that such things would be more and more common, clothed in a religious garb so as to lull the DECEIVED to a greater SECURITY and to draw the minds of God's people, if possible, to THOSE THINGS and cause them to DOUBT the teachings and power of the HOLY GHOST."

The Fox Sisters and 


     "A family who moved to a homestead in Hydesville, New York State, USA were disturbed by noises, knockings, movements of objects and other unusual phenomena.

The two children Catherine and Margaretta discovered that if they spoke out then the mysterious noises seemed to respond and it became clear that the phenomena were not just random manifestations of energy but were under the control of some invisible intelligence. In a world where such happenings were feared and where religion labeled them as evil, these happenings soon gained the attention of neighbors and family friends. The news of these happenings spread far and wide, at times many bystanders came to marvel at the unexplained knockings and noises.

On March 31, 1848, the two sisters, Margaretta and Catherine Fox, established intelligent, two way  communication with a spirit person who was responsible for producing the phenomena.

A committee of investigation was formed and communicated with the spirit who had been harassing the Fox family. The committee listened out for the response signal knocks and they established that the communicator was Charles Rosna, who had been murdered and buried beneath the cellar of the homestead. An excavation of the cellar later proved that there was indeed the remains of a body buried there.

The publicity which these events aroused and the investigations carried out at the time led to mediumship being discussed openly. The Fox family suffered scorn, ridicule, and persecution but because of them advice came from spirit people as to how to encourage spirit communication. The printing press, cheaper newspapers and books, the improved literacy amongst the people, the rail road and improved postal service meant that many learned about this new spiritual phenomena and how it could be achieved. In many homes, groups of people met and, following the advice, were successful in obtaining spirit communication for themselves. And, once communication was established, the spirit people could direct the process and give specific guidance to further help the process.

It became clear that certain people were naturally mediumistic and the new forms of communication enabled strikingly accurate and detailed information to be communicated. Spiritual phenomena flowed from the many Spiritualist groups which provided, time after time, personal joyful evidence confirming the existence of a spirit world that could communicate with those still on earth. In just a few years many groups of Spiritualists formed in America to seek psychic phenomena and to consider the religious implications which lay behind the teaching received from spirit.

In time, both the phenomena and the teachings attracted the attention of eminent scientists and intellectuals in America and Britain. A Mrs Hayden brought the new knowledge to England and openly demonstrated mediumship here. She was persecuted and insulted by the press and by some in the established Christian church, however her mediumship was defended by public figures, such as Robert Owen, who embraced Spiritualism after witnessing successful spirit communications with her.

In 1853 the first Spiritualist Church was established in the Britain at Keighley in Yorkshire, and the first Spiritualist newspaper, The Yorkshire Spiritual Telegraph, was published in 1855. By the 1870s there were numerous Spiritualist societies and churches throughout the country.

Today, Spiritualism allows all people to witness, and learn for themselves, communication with the spirit world. Before, information about such practices was banned and considered dangerous and evil. However, by the events at Hydesville, ignorance and fear concerning the spirit world is passing away and all people can benefit from the love, guidance, and wisdom from those who have gone before who are now progressing in the spirit world."

The idea that Jesus, or any "entity" connected with Jesus, was at all connected with the Rochester, NY, KNOCKINGS, or with the SPIRITUALISM that followed, was to be totally rejected by Adventists according to Ellen White's understanding in 1851.  Which we are reading here on pages 42 and 43 of her book "Early Writings".  We'll read further on our next web page in this series.

 To those who wish to watch a short (10-15 minute) Power Point Lecture by me on the subject of "The Open Door", you may do so by clicking on the following link -- (you will get the routine Explorer-generated message about opening up ".exe" files, but I can only assure you that I am not a "hacker" trying to put a virus into your computer -- and you can safely ignore this warning) There are two versions of this lecture, one a slide show opendoor1.exe and the other a complete Power Point show narrated by me, Dr. Bob Holt, MD opendoor11.exe

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