Some 501c3 Catholic Adventists Charge Prophetess Ellen G. White falsely with Plagiarism

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Inspired Author or Plagiarist?

She has been accused of being a thief, a liar and an exploiter of church members who constituted a captive market for her books. 


Is it true? A resounding "NO!". 

"When you find men questioning the testimonies, finding fault with them, and seeking to draw away the people from their influence, be assured that God is not at work through them. It is another spirit" Selected Messages Book 1, p. 45.1.

Attorney Vincent Ramik’s Lawyer’s Brief: In the autumn of 1981, Attorney Warren L. Johns, then chief legal counsel in the General Conference’s Office of Legal Counsel, using private funds, engaged the services of Attorney Vincent Ramik, senior partner of the Diller, Ramik, and Wight, specialists in patent , trademark, and copyright law. Attorney Ramik was provided for his research: 1) All of the allegations of plagiarism, historically, from first to last; 2) copies of all denominational polemical defenses against these critical charges; 3) the relevant EGW books which were the target of the charges. Ramik spent more than 300 hours in researching more than 1,000 cases in American literary law (1790-1915). He produced a 27-page legal opinion Lawyer’s Brief (17 pages online; see above link) containing 53 source citation footnotes, in which he concluded that EGW was not guilty either of copyright infringement or of literary theft. It should be pointed out that Ramik was not a Seventh-day Adventist.

Was Ellen White a Plaigiarist? (PDF) A reprint of articles published in the Adventist Review, September 17, 1981, featuring an interview with Attorney Vincent L. Ramik, Senior Partner of Diller, Ramik & Wight, Ltd., Washington, D.C.

Below are several notable comments from Ramik (the paragraphs are taken from pages 3-5 in the article, “There is Simply No Case: Interview about Ellen White with Attorney Vincent L. Ramik”):

There is no reason why Ellen White could not use the ideas of others in expressing the thoughts she wished to convey. It’s not even rational to expect someone writing on a theological subject, for example, to write in the abstract without researching what others who have gone before—or even contemporaries— have said on the subject. In the middle of the nineteenth century—just when Ellen White was begining to write for print, 1845—in the legal case of Emerson v. Davies, Massachusetts Circuit Justice Story in effect exonerates a writer who has used other men’s words and ideas and woven them into his own composition. In effect, Judge Story says, Only fools attempt to do that which has been done better in the past; no one really ever builds a language exclusively his own. In other words, the words themselves have been there for years and years. The crucial issue is how you put them together, and the effect you wish to produce from those words. Now, if someone in the past, according to Judge Story, has written something that is splendidly written—something that is historical, something that is a common, everyday human experience or occurrence— why should you break your back trying to say it better than someone else has already said it? For those types of writings, there is absolutely nothing wrong or incongruous. On the contrary, it’s the sensible man, the wise man, who makes use of that which was done in the past, when it was done well. Somewhere in one of our legal archives there is an inscription over the door, “Past Is Prologue.” I believe that applies to writings, too. Ellen White used the writings of others; but in the way she used them, she made them uniquely her own, ethically, as well as legally. And, interestingly, she invariably improved that which she “selected”!

The situation is something like the builder who wishes to build a house. There are certain basic, essential units of building materials that are available to him—windows, doors, bricks, and so on. There are even certain recognizable kinds of textures and styles that have been created by various combinations of these different materials by earlier builders. The builder brings together many of these and uses them. Yet the design of the house, the ultimate appearance, the ultimate shape, the size, the feel, are all unique to the immediate, contemporary builder. He individually puts his own stamp upon the final product—and it is uniquely his. (And he doesn’t say—or need to say—I got this brick here, that door there, this window there, either!) I think it was that way with Ellen White’s use of words, phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs, yes, and even pages, from the writings of those who went before her. She stayed well within the legal boundaries of “fair use,” and all he time created something that was substantially greater (and even more beautiful) than the mere sum of the component parts. And I think the ultimate tragedy is that the critics fail to see this.

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I started out, I think, basically neutral on the literary charges. But, somehow, as I read one particular Adventist-authored defense of Mrs. White, it left me with the feeling that she was not, in fact, very well defended. Well, I came back thinking that Mrs. White was, if I may use the expression that has been used by others, a literary “borrower.” And that she had borrowed a lot and that she had borrowed with something less than candor and honesty! In other words—and this was before I had delved into her works themselves—I became actually biased against her in the sense that I thought she was what some people, such as her latest critic, Walter Rea, had alleged— guilty of plagiarism. REVIEW: Once you got into her writings themselves, was this negative impression reinforced or altered in any way? Ramik: I gradually turned 180 degrees in the other direction. I found that the charges simply were not true. But I had to get that from her writings; I did not get that from either the people who said she was a plagiarist, or the people who said she was not. I simply had to read her writings and then rid my mind of the bias I had already built into it— prejudice. And, in the end, she came out quite favorably. But it took more than 300 hours of reading—including case law histories, of course. REVIEW: So it was reading her writings that changed your mind? Ramik: It was reading her messages in her writings that changed my mind. And I think there’s a distinction—a very salient difference—here. REVIEW: Would you describe the distinction that you see? Ramik: I believe that the critics have missed the boat badly by focusing upon Mrs. White’s writings, instead of focusing upon the messages in Mrs. White’s writings. REVIEW: What did you find in her messages, Mr. Ramik? How did they affect you? Ramik: Mrs. White moved me! In all candor, she moved me. I am a Roman Catholic; but, Catholic, Protestant, whatever— she moved me. And I think her writings should move anyone, unless he is permanently biased and is unswayable.

The message is what is crucial. The critic reads a sentence, and receives no meaning from it—he may, and often does, even take it out of context. But read the entire message. What is the author’s intent? What is the author really saying—where the words come from is really not that important. What is the message of this? If you disregard the message, then even the Bible itself is not worth being read, in that sense of the word.

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The bottom line is: What really counts is the message of Mrs. White, not merely the mechanical writings—words, clauses, sentences—of Mrs. White. Theologians, I am told, distinguish here between verbal inspiration and plenary inspiration. Too many of the critics have missed the boat altogether. And it’s too bad, too! I, personally, have been moved, deeply moved, by those writings. I have been changed by them. I think I am a better man today because of them. And I wish that the critics could discover that!

REVIEW: Attorney Ramik, how would you sum up the legal case against Ellen White as far as charges of plagiarism, piracy, and copyright infringement are concerned? Ramik: If I had to be involved in such a legal case, I would much rather appear as defense counsel than for the prosecution. There simply is no case!


Image result for plagiarism Attorney Ramik picture"One stood by my side and said: ‘God has raised you up and has given you words to speak to the people and to reach hearts as He has given to no other one. He has shaped your testimonies to meet cases that are in need of help. You must be unmoved by scorn, derision, reproach, and censure. In order to be God’s special instrument you should lean to no one, but hang upon Him alone and, like the clinging vine, let your tendrils entwine about Him. He will make you a means through which to communicate His light to the people. You must daily gather strength 

Displaying image.pngfrom God in order to be fortified, that your surroundings may not dim or eclipse the light that He has permitted to shine upon His people through you. It is Satan’s special object to prevent this light from coming to the people of God, who so greatly need it amid the perils of these last days.’ " —2 Testimonies, 607-608.

1958: "The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’ (Proverbs 29:18)" White, Ellen. Selected Messages, Book 1, (1958), page 48.

1890: "There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic. The workings of Satan will be to unsettle 
the faith of the [SDA] churches in them, for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded"-- Letter 40, 1890. 1SM 48.

1958 and 1890 Prediction of Ellen White Fulfilled at the 2015 General Conference Session:

Under the leadership of World President Ted N. C. Wilson of the GENERAL CONFERENCE SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST has changed the ROLE of Ellen G. White at the 2015 General Conference Session in Fundamental Belief #18 just as the Prophetess had warned in 1958 "The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’ (Proverbs 29:18)" White, Ellen. Selected Messages, Book 1, (1958), page 48.


"When men endanger the work and cause of [God] by their own wrong course of action, shall they hear no voice of reproof? If the wrongdoer only were concerned, and the work reached no farther than him, he alone should have the words and warning; but when his course of action is doing positive harm to the cause of truth, and souls are imperiled, [God] requires that the warning be as broad as the injury done" 2SM:153.

"False teachers may appear to be very zealous for the work of God, and may expend means to bring their theories before the world and the church; but as they mingle error with truth, their message is one of deception, and will lead souls into false paths. 
They are to be met and opposed, not because they are bad men, but because they are teachers of falsehood and are endeavoring to put upon falsehood the stamp of truth."  {Testimonies to Ministers, p. 55}

"A long-continued resistance of truth will harden the most impressionable heart. Those who reject the Spirit of truth place themselves under the control of a spirit that is opposed to the word and work of God. For a time they may continue to teach some phases of the truth; but their refusal to accept all the light God sends will after a time place them where they will do the work of a false watchman."  {Paulson Collection of EGW Letters, p. 60} 


Learn more here about the false charge of plagiarism by some of the Messenger of the Lord Ellen G. White.

Click here to learn the Tests of a True Prophet.

Ellen White writes, "All these truths are immortalized in my writings. The Lord never denies His word. Men may get up scheme after scheme, and the enemy will seek to seduce souls from the truth, but all who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in in these last days."  {8MR 320.2} In RH October 8, 1867, she wrote: “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 they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation” (1SM 37; cf. 2SG 293). 

“How can the Lord bless those who manifest a spirit of “I don’t care,” a spirit which leads them to walk contrary to the light which the Lord has given them? But I do not ask you to take my words. Lay Sister White to one side. Do not quote my words again as long as you live until you can obey the Bible. When you make the Bible your food, your meat, and your drink, when you make its principles the elements of your character, you will know better how to receive counsel from God, and will be partakers of His divine nature. Let us all search the Scriptures, for in them you will find our Saviour a present help in every time of need. I exalt the precious Word before you today. Do not repeat what I have said, saying, “Sister White said this,” and “Sister White said that.” Find out what the Lord God of Israel says, and then do what He commands. Christ said, “I must work the works of him that sent Me.” The Father and the Son are united. Will you [during this] morning address consecrate yourselves to God?

"When you find men questioning the testimonies, finding fault with them, and seeking to draw away the people from their influence, be assured that God is not at work through them. It is another spirit."  Selected Messages Book 1, p. 45.1

We are to follow the principles God has laid down in His Word in dealing with one another; for we are the purchase of the blood of Christ. Think of it!—the purchase of the blood of Christ, God’s dear Son!” Manuscript Releases Vol 13 pg 248

“Tell them to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. Place His work before them. There will be those who will misinterpret and misrepresent. Their eyes have been blinded, and they set forth the figures and interpretations that Satan has worked out for them, and an entirely wrong meaning will be placed upon the words that Sister White has spoken. Satan is just as verily claiming to be Christ’s child as did Judas, who was on the accusing side. They have educated themselves in Satan’s school of misstating. A description of them is given in the third chapter of Zechariah. Nothing in the world is so dear to God as His church. Satan has worked upon human minds, and will continue to betray sacred trust in a spurious way.” The writing and Sending out of the testimonies to the church, pg 25A

“Many from among our own people are writing to me, asking with earnest determination the privilege of using my writings to give force to certain subjects that they wish to present to the people in such a way as to leave a deep impression upon them. It is true that there is a reason why some of their matters should be presented; but I would not venture to give my approval in using the testimonies in this way, or to sanction the placing of matter which is good in itself in the way which they propose. The persons who make these propositions, for aught I know, may be able to conduct the enterprise of which they write in a wise manner; but nevertheless, I dare not give the least license for using my writings in the manner which they propose. In taking account of such an enterprise, there are many things that must come into consideration, for in using the testimonies to bolster up some subject which may impress the mind of the author,
the extracts may give a different impression than that which they would were they read in their original connection.”—Letter 49, 1894.
In 1902 she explained, “While I am writing out important matter, He [God] is beside me, helping me. He lays out my work before me, and when I am puzzled for a fit word with which to express my thought, He brings it clearly and distinctly to my mind. I feel that every time I ask, even while I am still speaking, He responds, ‘Here am I’” (Lt 127, 1902, in 2MR 156-157). “When, as I write, a new thought comes into my mind, I reverentially thank God for the appropriate word or sentence brought to my mind” (Lt 260, 1903, in 5MR 142). Her classic statement on inspiration was written in 1886: “It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration 2 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. But the words receive the impress of the individual [human] mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God” (1SM 21). 
God gave concepts; but the words used to express them were her own words. God assisted her in choosing those words, especially when she was consciously “puzzled” about a word choice, “yet,” as she explained above, “the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own.” 
“For the last forty-five years the Lord has been revealing to me the needs of His cause and the cases of individuals in every phase of experience, showing where and how they have failed to perfect Christian character. The history of hundreds of cases has been presented to me, and that which God approves, and that which He condemns, has been plainly set before me. God has shown me that a certain course, if followed, or certain traits of character, if indulged, would produce certain results. He has thus been training and disciplining me in order that I might see the dangers which threaten souls, and instruct and warn His people. . . .” 

"When you find men questioning the testimonies, finding fault with them, and seeking to draw away the people from their influence, be assured that God is not at work through them. It is another spirit." 1 Selected Messages, p. 45


"Those who refuse the testimonies God has sent them are not eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. The character developed tells its history to the end. Through the refusal to receive correct principles, and the corruption of human nature, Satan works by his sophistry to deceive if possible the very elect. Through subtlety he steals away the influence of the words of life, and truth, precious truth, is not of half as much consequence to men as their ambitious purposes." Manuscript Releases Volume Thirteen [Nos. 1000-1080], p. 382.3

Gabriel telling John in Revelation 19:10 "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." 1 Corinthians 13:2 "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." Why was it necessary for her to put the message in her own words? Because she was a “scholar” in “Christ’s school” (5T 686) and putting the revealed material into her own words was part of the educational process. The process of articulating revealed concepts in her own words required her to wrestle with, digest, understand, and integrate those concepts into her own thinking. As she wrote regarding education: “Students should be led to think for themselves, to see the force of truth for themselves, and to speak every word from a heart full of love and tenderness. Urge upon their minds the vital truths of the Bible. Let them repeat these truths in their own language, that you may be sure that they clearly comprehend them. Be sure that every point is fastened upon the mind. This may be a slow process, but it is of ten times more value than rushing over important subjects without giving them due consideration. It is not enough that the student believe the truth for himself. He must be drawn out to state this truth clearly in his own words, that it may be evident that he sees the force of the lesson and makes its application” (CT 434).  

"My Saviour declared me to be His messenger. “Your work,” He instructed me, “is to bear My word. Strange things will arise, and in your youth I set you apart to bear the message to the erring ones, to carry the word before unbelievers, and with pen and voice to reprove from the Word actions that are not right. Exhort from the Word. I will make My Word open to you. It shall not be as a strange language. In the true eloquence of simplicity, with voice and pen, the messages that I give shall be heard from one who has never learned in the schools. My Spirit and My power shall be with you."  {1SM 32.2}
By every word of God we are to live. Nothing that God has spoken is to be lost. Not one word that concerns our eternal salvation are we to neglect. Not one word is to fall useless to the ground. {MH 48.1}

We believe the Ten Commandments are important to obey if we plan to be in Heaven, because the Bible says so. What God commands us to do, he also enables us to do, if we ask Him. The Bible says in Revelation 12:17 "And the dragon (the devil) was wroth with the woman (God's Spirit Filled People), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony (prophesyings) of Jesus Christ.

What Ellen White says about the ten commandments: "In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of stone, which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the Ten Commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table were Four and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of God's holy name. The holy Sabbath looked glorious, a halo of glory was all around it. I saw that the Sabbath commandment was not nailed to the cross. If it was, the other nine commandments were; and we are at liberty to break them all as well as to break the fourth. I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for he never changes. But the pope had changed it from the seventh day to the first day of the week; for he was to change times and laws." ("Early Writings of Ellen G. White," page 33.) Again on page 65 of the same book Mrs. White says, "The pope has changed the day of rest from the seventh to the first day."

The Bible Says We Are To Be:
Holy—1 Peter 1:15, 16
Harmless—Philippians 2:15
Undefiled—Psalm 119:1
Separate from sinners—2 Corinthian


When You Become As A Little Child
"Those who have an opportunity to hear the truth and yet take no pains to hear or understand it, thinking that if they do not hear they will not be accountable, will be judged guilty before God the same as if they had heard and rejected. There will be no excuse for those who choose to go in error when they might understand what is truth. In His sufferings and death Jesus has made atonement for all sins of ignorance, but there is no provision made for willful blindness."Review and Herald, April 25, 1893

"When you become as a little child, willing to be led, and when your understanding is sanctified and your will and prejudice surrendered, such a light will be shed abroad in your heart as will illumine the Scriptures and show you present truth in its beautiful harmony. It will appear like a golden chain, link joined to link in a perfect whole." 3 Testimonies, p. 448

"Christ will not undertake to teach the self-righteous, self-conceited, and self-willed. If such come to Him with the inquiry, What is truth? He gives them no answer. It is only the meek that He will guide in judgment; the meek will He teach His way. Solomon was naturally endowed with good judgment and large reasoning powers, but he acknowledged himself before God as a little child… If you are searching the Scriptures and different authors that you may find doctrines which will coincide with your own preconceived opinions, and if you have already settled your faith, then you will be boastful, self-confident, and unyielding." 3 Test. p. 449

"No amount of evidence will convince men of the truth so long as they are unwilling to yield their pride, subdue their carnal nature, and become learners in the school of Christ. Self-will and pride of opinion lead many to reject the light of heaven. They cling to pet ideas, fanciful interpretations of Scripture, and dangerous heresies; and if a testimony is borne to correct these errors, they will, like many in Christ's day, go away displeased." 1 Selected Messages, p. 72

"We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said." TM, p. 105

"When you find men questioning the testimonies, finding fault with them, and seeking to draw away the people from their influence, be assured that God is not at work through them. It is another spirit." 1 Selected Messages, p. 45

"Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true--in harmony with God's word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices." Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 105,106

"But beware of rejecting that which is truth. The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men and accept the decisions they make; and thus will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them." Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 106,107

"Now, it has been Satan's determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus and lead men to look to man, and trust to man, and be educated to expect help from man. For years the church has been looking to man and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message, in clear, distinct lines." TM, p. 93

"The Jews perished as a nation because they were drawn from the truth of the Bible by their rulers, priests, and elders. Had they heeded the lessons of Jesus, and searched the Scriptures for themselves, they would not have perished. TM, p. 109

"God wants us to depend upon Him, and not upon man. He desires us to have a new heart; He would give us revealings of light from the throne of God." Testimonies to Ministers, p. 111 (RH, Feb. 18, 1890)


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