Volume Overload in Following
Ellen G White's Counsels
is the name of magazine published by Seventh-day Adventists, many of them highly educated, who believe it is time to move beyond the 19th century and question some of these beliefs and practices, and indeed if it is deemed necessary improve on them. On their web page is a BLOG, a modern web-site feature that allows write-in comments from viewers, and if deemed thought-provoking and appropriate, SPECTRUM publishes some of them and elicits comments from viewers.
"Many an Adventist throughout the world read and heard things that made them wonder, but they remained silent because the questions could potentially lead to alienation or apostasy. Amazingly, even biblical prophets like Abraham, Moses, David, Jonah, Peter and Paul’s very human faults and inconsistencies were highlighted in Adventist pulpits and literature, but those of Ellen White were deemed too sacrosanct.
"Yet to the surprise of many, the new scholarship bears out that the things modern and postmodern Adventists have increasingly wondered about also perplexed our pioneers. So this new trend exposes and humanizes everyone involved: Ellen White, the pioneers, and us, the postmodern Adventists. This new realm may be uncomfortable, but it is a relieving discomfort.
"Wheeler’s work brings out an aspect of the White marriage that I immediately noticed as one of those perplexing questions that has rarely been brought up but that has dominated Adventism ever since most of Ellen White’s thousands of pages of writing were made available. James and Ellen White had separated in the late 1870s because of temporarily irreconcilable differences. James thought Ellen was trying to control him; Ellen thought James was trying to control her. Without taking sides, Wheeler does a good job of simply quoting the two."
"Obviously James found the entire communication from Ellen White too burdensome to follow and he made a distinction between what God told her and her mere opinions. I want to suggest that more than control issues were at stake here; the sheer volume of Ellen’s suggestions was just too overwhelming for James."
"This issue has resurfaced again and again in Adventism, especially when the White Estate began releasing more and more of Ellen White’s unpublished writings (think of the Manuscript Releases onslaught from 1981-1993 and the advent of the Ellen G. White CD ROM which now contains 75,000 pages of text). Just when good and faithful Adventists were mastering the principles in the challenging compilations Counsels on Diets and Foods and Messages to Young People, thousands of new pages, many hundreds containing lifestyle counsel (opinions?) were heaped on the faithful."
"It got so bad that a popular notion sprung up in Adventism that one only had to adhere to Ellen White’s counsel when it was prefaced with “I was shown…” This was a tacit and not so subtle acknowledgment that there was simply too much stuff in her writings for one person to follow wholeheartedly. In fact, I did a study of the things Ellen White says one should do everyday, and there is simply not enough time in one day to do them all.
"Without over-spiritualizing my point, I want to suggest that it is providential that the new scholarship has aired gripes like James'. We have long established that Ellen White was inspired by God to guide the denomination through the turbulent last days with her writings. But, as one recently converted prisoner told me after he gave up reading all 21 Manuscript Releases through, “I just can’t do it all. There’s just too much.” Zealous to know his duty, he soon figured out that he’d probably never read Ellen White’s entire corpus. It's just too much."
"Perhaps it is providential that the issues of the White’s separation have come into the open so that we ourselves can honestly explore some of the same reasons that we too have separated from Ellen White." ---"Jeremy Brandeis."
ADDED NOTE by Dr. Bob Holt, MD -- I have no problem with not having the time nor energy to read everything EG White wrote, nor even with the idea that she had trouble separating her own opinions from her genuine paranormal conversations with divine beings. Once I became acquainted with the Essenes and Bible Codes I discovered that her first visions were indeed genuine and predicted actual historical events that took place 40 - 100 years later. When Adventists strayed from the "path" Jesus had laid out for them to follow, Jesus, through her, led them down paths of their own choosing. See Isaiah 66:4 "I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not."
If you missed the link on James and Ellen White's separation and want to read it, click: "The Marital Separation of James and Ellen White."