OF RELIGION Field Guide to the



If you are an American, and were not born and raised in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church, your first exposure to an aspect of Seventh-day Adventism was likely in the waiting room of your doctor's or dentist's office. Remember the table in the corner with the stack of Highlights for Children magazines? Remember the Big Sky-Blue Book next to them titled The Bible Story, with all the really pretty, realistic paintings by a variety of artists illustrating it from cover to cover? Remember the little pad of tear-off coupons to send for more information about obtaining the whole set of ten of these books for your own family? These little displays have been a fixture in almost every doctor and dentist office in America for many decades. The Bible Story collection they advertise has 411 stories in ten volumes with 1200 full-color illustrations, most of them full-page.

The casual waiting room browser is usually blissfully unaware that these Bible story books are published by the official publishing arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Review and Herald Publishing. Even if they note the name of the publisher, most non-Adventists would not make the connection. The author of the series, Arthur S. Maxwell (d. 1970) was a devoted member of the SDA Church, and thus the content of the Bible stories, although faithful in many ways to the Bible, also reflected certain of that organization's unique doctrinal perspectives.

If you used one of those coupons and sent for your own set of The Bible Story (current price for the set: $199.95), you would likely have been surprised to receive a free "bonus" with your order … a HUGE, coffee-table-book-size 835-page hardcover book titled Desire of Ages, with a bright, full-color, appealingly-handsome illustration on the cover of the standard concept of what Jesus of Nazareth may have looked like when He lived on the earth.


Again, if you had no particular exposure to the SDA Church prior to this, you would likely not recognize the name of the author: Ellen G. White. Nor would you understand why the publisher was sending you this book. You would have no way to know, even after reading this book, that Ellen G. White was the one and only prophetess of the SDA Church, originator (via her alleged visions and voluminous writings) of almost all the distinctive doctrines of the denomination which set it apart from all other Protestant churches.


Meanwhile, if you turned on your radio any time since 1966, you may have had another unrealized exposure to the SDA Church: The Amazing Facts Broadcast. The speaker was Amazing Facts ministry founder Joe Crews. Crews' energetic, non-sanctimonious style of delivery (a bit like Paul Harvey) made the program popular with a very large radio audience, many of whom likely never realized it was another outlet for the doctrines of the SDA Church.

Crews' voice is still heard on the program, although he died in 1994--his 500 15-minute programs are still broadcast in some areas, as their content is not specifically "dated" in any way. The Amazing Facts broadcast was never an "official" SDA Church production, and the church was not mentioned on the broadcast. It was a production of a "para-church ministry." Only when listeners began sending for printed literature from the ministry might they eventually realize the connection, and find themselves exposed to more specifically Adventist doctrinal positions. Since Crews' death, the ministry has been headed by Doug Batchelor, who makes TV programs and heads up a variety of outreaches of the ministry.


You may also have been exposed to one or more of these outreaches without realizing its SDA connection. The Amazing Facts ministry and other para-church SDA ministries have for many years sponsored traveling "Prophecy Seminars" in local communities, usually advertised by eye-catching full color brochures distributed by mail or door to door. The illustrations on the brochures usually depict the "wild beasts" from the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation and/or horrifying scenes of destruction to come upon the earth.


The Claims

From its official incorporation in 1863 with about 3,500 members, the Seventh-day Adventist organization has grown to over 16,000,000 members throughout the world today. Over ninety percent of those members are outside the USA, in over 200 countries.

The official SDA website indicates that the organization is one of the fastest growing church groups in the world, with over 6 million new members since the year 2000. They are obviously deeply involved in making new converts. So if you would find yourself with direct exposure to aggressive evangelism by members of the SDA Church, what would they claim that you needed to know about their organization? What claims would they make for their organization in an attempt to persuade you to consider potential membership in the SDA Church?

As with most other non-"mainstream" religious groups, they would not expose you immediately to the full range of Adventist belief, particularly the more controversial doctrines believed by Adventists. They would begin with the most appealing aspects of their belief system and practice. If you showed sincere interest in these milder doctrinal issues, and began to seriously consider making a commitment to the organization through baptism and church membership, they would gradually let you know "the rest of the story." That story would include (among many other unusual interpretations of Biblical doctrines and practice) their conviction of the following:

The SDA Church is not just one valid choice among many as a place of Christian worship and fellowship--it is the Only True Church on earth today, the "Remnant Church of the End Times" they believe to be described in prophetic portions of the Bible.

One of the primary "proofs" of this identity as the Remnant Church is that this church and this church alone had a bona-fide manifestation of the "Spirit of Prophecy" foretold in the Book of Revelation. This was the ministry of SDA Prophetess Ellen G. White (EGW) (1827-1915).

Ellen G. White was not just a Bible teacher with Bible study skills and natural teaching ability that she might use to develop Biblically-based inspirational and exhortational writings to encourage the SDA Church. She received her inspiration directly from God Himself via supernatural visions over many decades in which she "saw" and "heard" things she was to communicate to the faithful Remnant.

Failure to adhere to the admonitions of Ellen G. White regarding such matters as clothing styles, jewelry and adornment, food and drink, choice of entertainment and other daily living topics may well affect the ultimate salvation of Church members.

We are living in "the End Times," the "Mark of the Beast" spoken of in the Book of Revelation is soon to be imposed on everyone in the world, and only those who reject that "mark" will be saved. And that mark is not a physical mark on the body, but rather the observance of Sunday as the day of weekly worship rather than Saturday. Thus all people who do not keep the seventh day Sabbath will have no opportunity to be part of the Kingdom of God.

Before the beginning of the Great Tribulation, Jesus Christ will withdraw from His role as the Intercessor for Mankind in the Heavenly Sanctuary. It is the job of the Remnant Church to prepare all true Christians to stand before the "investigative judgment" of God that will occur at that point, when those who "qualify" will receive a mark or "seal" of protection. This will allow them to endure the tribulation. From that point on, it will be impossible for any "sinners" to repent during the tribulation, as the Blood of Jesus will no longer be available.

All of these convictions and many more must be accepted by an individual in order to be a loyal member in good standing of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This profile will clarify a number of the most significant aspects of Seventh-day Adventism that the average person may not learn from a superficial exposure to the denomination.

*Please note that the name of Ellen G. White will, of necessity, appear many, many times in this profile. Therefore the abbreviation "EGW" will often be used for convenience.

*This profile contains many quotes from other websites and printed materials. In order to carefully distinguish such quotations from the commentary of this Field Guide, please note that all quoted material is indented.


The Allure

There are a number of logical reasons that individuals might be attracted to the SDA denomination and consider membership.

1.   Those who do their own independent Bible study and come to the conclusion that the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment is relevant to Christians usually want to find others of like mind for fellowship on that Sabbath. Although there are a number of other Sabbatarian denominations, most are quite small, and do not have large numbers of congregations throughout the country and the world. But the SDA denomination does have such congregations, at least one in most small towns and cities, and perhaps several in major metropolitan areas. Thus the SDA Church may be the only viable choice for organized seventh day Sabbath activities for many.

2.   These are troubled times in which we live, and many are searching for spiritual answers and assurance that God is in control of the scary future. The SDA "prophecy seminars" provide just such assurance for some. The SDA denomination is bold and confident in its declarations about just exactly what is going to happen in the future, and in its assurance that only it has the answers to how individuals can prepare for the coming events. Some people find a sense of security when they are part of a group which can be so absolutely certain that they have all the keys to unlock Biblical mysteries such as the details of the End Times and the Second Coming.

3.   There has been a major upheaval in the formerly Sabbatarian Worldwide Church of God (WCG) since the early 1990s, with many people leaving the denomination over the decision of the leadership to abandon seventh day Sabbath worship. The denomination had close to 100,000 in attendance at one time, and thus this turmoil has left many searching for a place to continue their Sabbatarian beliefs. Although a number of smaller denominations have sprung up among these former WCG people, none is large enough to guarantee organized fellowship groups and ministers to serve them in many parts of the country and the world. Thus a number of former WCG members have been inclined to "look into" the SDA denomination as a possible alternative.




In spite of the glowing report given at the beginning of the Claims section above, with such fantastic "growth" in the SDA denomination, there is another side to the same story.

Here is a quote from the same official SDA website some time back. This was from an Adventist pastor, wondering why, in spite of the number of new people coming into the organization, so many others have left. This has included even many people who grew up in the denomination. In the extended family of brothers and sisters of this pastor and his wife, all growing up in the SDA Church, only he and his wife are committed adult members of the Church. And his two children, raised "in the Church," are also not members. He laments what has caused so many defections in recent years, and wonders what can be done to bring the lost sheep back to the fold.

… It is also safe to say that the official figure of "apostasies" is far too low. I would not be surprised if it were 50% or even 100 % higher. Calculations based on the official statistics give a total of close to a million "apostasies" in the last ten years. If we add only a conservative 50% the figure stands at least at 1,500.000. That's quite a number, isn't it. It equals the population of a major city. All of these men and women at one time responded in the affirmative to the baptismal questions; and they all left, some after just a few, others after many years.

… But let's suppose that during the last decade there were one million families with children between the ages of ten and twenty. Let's continue to suppose that each family on the average had three children, and that one out of every three of these children did not join the church. That would mean that over the last ten years one million young people were educated in Adventist homes, but opted out of Adventism. One million! Of course, this estimate is too low. If our estimate of one million families is somewhere near the mark, and our guess regarding the average size of the Adventist family is anywhere near reality, the number of children who have turned their backs on the church is probably closer to 1.5 or 2 million or more.

… Yes, in much of the Western world the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to a significant extent, shares in the negative, zero, or minimal membership growth most Christian churches are experiencing. That is also true for the alarming increase in the number of non-active members or non-attenders, who do not intend to end their membership, but are hardly ever seen in church. And also for the failure to attract a large portion of the younger generation. Everywhere it is, in particular, the young people who drop out of sight. Contrary to what happens in many developing countries, where the bulk of the membership in Christian churches - including the Adventist Church - is under 30-35 years of age, the churches in the West have a disproportionate percentage of greying or balding heads.


It is not possible to account for why all of these people, including young people from Adventist families, have decided to opt out of the organization. But there are a number of very serious issues that can certainly account for a significant number of defections since the late 1970s. The purpose of this profile is to share and document those serious issues.

There are concerns which need to be addressed by anyone considering new membership or continued membership in the SDA denomination. Those include the following:  

1. The SDA Church has claimed for almost 150 years that the writings of Ellen G. White were directly, divinely inspired by God. During her lifetime, she denied that any of her writings were influenced by other teachers or writers, but rather were direct products of dreams and visions she had been given by God. Yet it has been incontrovertibly established by careful documentation that many, if not most, of the writings of EGW were not written under the inspiration of God but rather through blatant plagiarism of the writings of earlier authors.

2. The SDA church is built on a deception--that EGW's writings were the product of direct divine inspiration. The leadership has known for over a century the evidence that the grandiose claims regarding White's writings are false, but they have refused to deal with this reality. And they have engaged at times in blatant attempts to cover up the facts, and keep the membership of the denomination from being exposed to the serious accusations against White's prophetic role.

3. The SDA leadership claims that the doctrines and practices of the denomination are based only on the Bible. And they further claim that EGW's writings are to be tested by the scriptures. But careful examination of the history of those doctrines and practices shows that these are not accurate claims. The reality is that most of the distinctive SDA doctrines and practices are not based on careful Biblical exegesis alone, but on the Bible as interpreted by the writings of EGW. In fact, many of them are based solely on the alleged special revelations of God to White totally separate from any Biblical basis for the beliefs or practices.

4. Those in the ministry of the SDA denomination who have attempted to address openly and honestly the facts of EGW's plagiarism, and other related serious problems in the denomination's history and doctrine, have often been summarily removed from their positions of leadership and kept from communicating their concerns in any official SDA setting. This has included the firing and disfellowshipment of well-respected men from the full-time ministry who had been loyal, life-long Adventists.

5. Lay members who have openly questioned the record of EGW, or who have humbly and honestly expressed concerns about key SDA doctrines and practices related to the problems surrounding the claims of prophetic office for White, have found their questions unwelcome in their local congregations. And if they persisted in seeking answers, they may well have found themselves disfellowshipped and virtually shunned by their former brethren.


From the official SDA website's "history of Adventism" section:

"This small nucleus of "adventists" began to grow -- mainly in the New England states of America, where Miller's movement had begun. Ellen G. White, a mere teenager at the time of the "great Disappointment," grew into a gifted author, speaker and administrator, who would become and remain the trusted spiritual counselor of the Adventist family for more than seventy years until her death in 1915. Early Adventists came to believe -- as have Adventists ever since -- that she enjoyed God's special guidance as she wrote her counsels to the growing body of believers."

 This is an extremely deceptive description. The early Adventists did not just accept that Ellen had "grown into a gifted author." Nor did they just think she "enjoyed God's special guidance as she wrote her counsels." They believed that she went into astonishing trances, sometimes collapsing to the floor and lying there for an hour or more, during which she had elaborate visions in which angels … and sometimes Jesus himself … talked directly to her and showed her specific things that she was ordered to share with the budding Adventist movement.

Nor does this address the reality that her "gifted writing" has been found to be literally burgeoning with plagiarized passages from the writings of authors before her, even in material she claimed to have received directly from God in vision. Yes, she was gifted … gifted in cleverly patching the words and ideas of others into whole cloth to call her own. Extensive documentation of this assertion is available both in this profile and in numerous books and on Internet websites.

These statements of concern are likely shocking to those who have only been exposed to the friendly face of the SDA movement. But this Field Guide profile documents the grounds for these statements, and provides extensive links to other resources which go into much greater detail to establish beyond any reasonable doubt that the SDA movement is built on a corrupt, shattered foundation.


Please Note: This material should not be in any way taken as a bad reflection on the sincerity of the average member of the denomination. Most members are oblivious to the deception that has been perpetrated on them. Nor in many cases should this material be taken to impugn the sincere efforts at ministry of the average SDA local minister. It is rather an indictment of the institutional, corporate organization which rules the SDA denomination, and keeps its members in the dark about the true nature of their "prophetess".

The sincerity of many of the members and many in the ministry of the SDA Church cannot make up for the true nature of the foundation of the institution itself. The institution is built on a foundation of deception and lies, not the pure word of scripture.


Nuggets of Truth

The concerns listed above regarding the foundation of the unique doctrines and practices of the SDA Church do not negate the fact that the average SDA members benefit from some of the distinctive approaches of their church. Other denominations and teachers would do well to imitate their emphasis on the following principles.

1. God cares about every part of our lives, including our physical health. One may disagree with the extreme positions of the SDA denomination on such matters as total abstinence from coffee, tea, and similar "stimulants," and promotion of vegetarianism. But a healthful, balanced diet with less saturated fats really will help maintain a healthy body--which is necessary to take full advantage of every opportunity for service to God.

2. Reaching out with evangelism can be most effectively done when accompanied with concern and care for the physical needs of those to whom one is bringing the gospel. This would include such efforts as medical missionary work, in which doctors and other health personnel are brought to help people in third world countries at the same time that spiritual ministry is offered.

3. While the specific approach to the Biblical issues of "Law and Grace" of the SDA church may be debatable, it is undeniable that everyone would prefer that their neighbors were obedient to the letter of the law of the Ten Commandments! While the true Christian is not "under the condemnation of the Law," the Bible is full of admonitions to the Believer to understand and apply the spiritual principles behind the Biblical laws of both Old and New Testaments to one's life. "Faith without works is dead," as James put it.

4. Theologians may disagree on the role of the seventh day Sabbath in matters of salvation, but it is an undeniable physical reality that the human body really would function better not working seven days every week. And taking out two hours on a Sunday morning for a "worship service" does not really fulfill the need for rest and refreshment that is implied in the fourth commandment. The extreme legalism that some Sabbatarians, including many SDAs, impose on observance of the weekly Sabbath does not line up with the New Testament teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. But it does seem wise for Christians to consider whether the statement by Jesus that "The Sabbath was made for Man" may include them.



Contrary to a common misperception, not every person who keeps the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week (Saturday) and believes in Jesus Christ as Savior is a Seventh-day Adventist. There are many denominations and individuals who observe a Saturday Sabbath. The specific descriptive term for such a person or group is "Sabbatarian." The SDAs are Sabbatarians, but not all Sabbatarians are SDAs. There are a number of Churches of God denominations, Messianic Jewish and Hebrew Roots and Sacred Name groups, and many others which observe a Saturday Sabbath.

Also contrary to a common misperception, the word "adventist" is not a synonym for a person who belongs to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The word "adventist" is a term that describes a person who promotes the belief that Jesus Christ's "Coming Again" or "Return" (His "advent") will be very soon, probably in their own lifetime, and who makes this belief a central part of their theology. Many individuals and groups totally unrelated to the SDA Church believe and promote the nearness of Christ's return and thus might be technically referred to as "adventists." There are even a number of denominations that use the term "Adventist" as part of the name of their group who are not related to the SDA Church. Thus SDA members are adventists, but not all adventists are SDAs.



The Second Coming of Christ has been a subject of popular interest even among non-religious people for the past few decades--especially since the publication of Hal Lindsey's best-selling book The Late Great Planet Earth hit the bookstores in 1970. This interest increased in the years leading up to the turn of the new millennium in 2000. Christian cable TV networks such as Trinity Broadcasting (TBN), as well as many secular TV channels, have been full of programming for years by such prophecy pundits as Lindsey, Jack Van Impe, the LaLonde brothers, and J.R. Church. Tabloid newspapers at the grocery store checkouts often feature speculation on prophetic events right on their covers. The Left Behind book series made the secular national best-seller lists, and video fiction based on those books and other prophetic novels have become hot items. (For more details on this phenomenon, see the End Times Prophecy Movement profile elsewhere in the Field Guide. For information on some of the prophecy pundits mentioned, see the Who's Who Digest.)

But this fascination with apocalyptic issues has not always been a big feature of either secular or religious interest. From the first century to the 19th, there were occasional local outbreaks of interest in prophecy (especially around years such as 500 and 1000 that seemed to have possible symbolic significance), and speculation about Jesus coming again. But the predominant perspective of mainstream Christianity (both Roman Catholic and later Protestantism) down-played or ignored entirely the issue of Christ coming again. The Book of Revelation was not viewed as a prophetic scenario for the near future by many, but as a symbolic history of events that occurred long ago and/or were to occur aeons in the future.

All of this changed in the early 19th century. A variety of Bible students both in America and abroad began looking at the prophetic sections of the Bible--particularly the Book of Daniel, Matthew 24, and the Book of Revelation--and coming up with speculations on how recent and current world conditions seemed to "line up" with those prophecies. In addition, some of these speculators began playing with some of the specific numerical aspects of some of the Bible prophecies, and the identification of some of the shadowy types and symbolism regarding nations and leaders of nations and their activities. By this time in history, publishing had progressed to the point that the average person with a message to spread could do it relatively inexpensively via tracts and booklets and books. And methods of transportation had become so efficient that such written material could be widely disseminated, both nationally and internationally, in a short amount of time, and speakers could travel to reach wide audiences both in America and abroad.

Into this fertile period of prophetic speculation stepped a man named William Miller.

Click here for a brief overview of the history of the Seventh-day Adventist movement, from its beginnings connected with the ministry of William Miller, through the lifetime of SDA prophetess Ellen G. White, the aftermath of her death, and on up to the present.


Click here for a brief lexicon of SDA lingo … words which have historically taken on a special meaning within the SDA denomination.


In 1994 a new Bible version/translation/paraphrase by an Adventist author was published by the official SDA Review and Herald publishing house. Titled The Clear Word Bible, it has been a cause for concern among both SDAs and non-SDAs for the liberties it takes with the text of the Bible. Click here for details about the debate over The Clear Word Bible.




Ellen G. White's writings are not just the source of major doctrines of the SDA Church regarding the plan of salvation and such. They also are the basis for a number of doctrines and practices and admonitions that have no specific basis in scripture, but that are obviously based on White's own tastes, prejudices, or dislikes. Below are a few samples, taken from the 2000 version of the SDA Manual. Note that the content of the Manual is replete with citations from White's books, at times used even more than citations from the Bible to establish the validity of these admonitions. Please note that, in spite of the "archaic language" (such as the phrase "moving picture theater") in portions of these quotations, this material is indeed from the year 2000.

The wearing of jewelry

 PP. 166-67

"To dress plainly, abstaining from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind, is in keeping with our faith."—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 366. It is clearly taught in the Scriptures that the wearing of jewelry is contrary to the will of God. ". . . not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array" is the admonition of the apostle Paul (1 Tim. 2:9). The wearing of ornaments of jewelry is a bid for attention which is not in keeping with Christian self-forgetfulness.

In some countries the custom of wearing the wedding ring is considered imperative, having become, in the minds of the people, a criterion of virtue, and hence it is not regarded as an ornament. Under such circumstances we have no disposition to condemn the practice.


Reading fictional books

P. 168

"Those who indulge the habit of racing through an exciting story are simply crippling their mental strength, and disqualifying their minds for vigorous thought and research."—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 135. Along with other evil results from the habit of reading fiction, we are told that "it unfits the soul to contemplate the great problems of duty and destiny," and "creates a distaste for life’s practical duties."—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 383.


Various types of public entertainment

PP. 168-169

"Many of the amusements popular in the world today, even with those who claim to be Christians, tend to the same end as did those of the heathen. There are indeed few among them that Satan does not turn to account in destroying souls. Through the drama he has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify vice. The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan employs to break down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual indulgence. In every gathering for pleasure where pride is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the soul."—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 459, 460.

We earnestly warn against the subtle and sinister influence of the moving-picture theater, which is no place for the Christian. Dramatized films that graphically present by portrayal and by suggestion the sins and crimes of humanity—murder, adultery, robbery, and kindred evils—are in no small degree responsible for the present breakdown of morality. We appeal to parents, children, and youth to shun those places of amusement and those theatrical films that glorify professional acting and actors. If we will find delight in God’s great world of nature and in the romance of human agencies and divine workings, we shall not be attracted by the puerile portrayals of the theater.

Another form of amusement that has an evil influence is social dancing. "The amusement of dancing, as conducted at the present day, is a school of depravity, a fearful curse to society."—Messages to Young People, p. 399. (See 2 Cor. 6:15-18; 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4; 2 Tim. 2:19-22; Eph. 5:8-11; Col. 3:5-10.)

Let us not patronize the commercialized amusements, joining with the worldly, careless, pleasure-loving multitudes who are "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God."


Acceptable forms of music:

PP. 169-170

"Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble, and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God."—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 594. Jesus "held communion with heaven in song."—The Desire of Ages, p. 73.

Music is one of the highest arts. Good music not only gives pleasure but elevates the mind and cultivates the finest qualities. Spiritual songs have often been used of God to touch the hearts of sinners and lead to repentance. Debased music, on the contrary, destroys the rhythm of the soul and breaks down morality.

Great care should be exercised in the choice of music. Any melody partaking of the nature of jazz, rock, or related hybrid forms, or any language expressing foolish or trivial sentiments, will be shunned by persons of true culture. Let us use only good music in the home, in the social gathering, in the school, and in the church.

(Regarding music, popular SDA writer Samuelle Bacchiocchi even insisted in his book on the role of music in Christianity that virtually any contemporary Christian music should have no place in the worship of SDA members.)




Just how important is Ellen G White to the SDA denomination?

How great is her current influence?

Are SDA members and ministers free to pick and choose which of her writings are authoritative?

Can they ignore any of them with impunity and teach something different?


The SDA Statement of Beliefs asserts that the Bible is the final authority, not Ellen's writings. But do they really mean that? It would appear from the evidence that what they really mean is that the Bible as seen through the filter of Ellen's writings is the final authority.

Click here to read details on the official position of the current SDA leadership on the importance of the role of EGW in the denomination

And below are some examples that indicate just how central EGW's personal teachings--rather than merely study of the Bible--are to the doctrinal distinctives of the denomination.


SDA Position on wearing of jewelry

1 Tim 2:8-10 (NIV)

8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,

10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Most Bible students would not take this passage to mean that a woman could never wear any kind of jewelry, or braid her hair. They would take it to mean that she should have her chief identity in spiritual matters, not as a "fashion plate."

But Ellen taught that this did, indeed, forbid all jewelry of any kind, including a simple gold wedding band. Strangely, she didn't apply the section about "broided hair," as she wore her own hair braided at times.

And to this day, most dedicated SDA women do not wear any kind of jewelry. Click this link for an overview of SDA Position on the wearing of Jewelry.


Eating Meat

Rom 14:2-3 (NIV)

2 One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

Although it is obvious from this passage that one ought not to condemn a vegetarian for his choice, vegetarianism certainly isn't "recommended" here. It is, instead, spoken of as the diet of someone whose "faith is weak."

Why, then, do faithful SDAs adhere strictly to a totally vegetarian diet? Although there is some talk in SDA circles in recent decades of this being merely a sensible health choice based on modern contamination of meat, examination of the history of the doctrine in the SDA denomination will show that this was not the reason given at all for Ellen's original teachings on the matter. Nor do most SDAs approach the topic this way … they consider their diet to be an integral part of their spiritual faith walk. Although it is possible that some might sneak some meat once in a while, they would consider this "giving in to a weakness," rather than that, as the Bible states, their fundamental vegetarianism is based on weak faith. No, once again they do not get their "guidance system" directly from the Bible, but rather from the teachings of Ellen G White. Click here for the amazing revelation on just what Ellen actually did give as the reason for SDA vegetarianism. 


Ellen G White's Claims for Herself

There are many, many more extremely strange teachings that EGW imposed upon the SDA Church in her lifetime. Some of these are no longer promoted in the denomination. But the historical records of those that are not are carefully hidden from the average member. For the whole point was that EGW was supposed to be getting all of her teachings through direct revelation. If it is admitted that she was clearly in error on some of those teachings, it would threaten the credibility of all of her teachings.

EGW herself pulled no punches on how she believed others were to view all of her writings:

"My work for the past thirty years bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter. The testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil." (Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 230, written in 1876.)

The following collection of claims of EGW regarding her own writings is excerpted from the section on "Ellen White's Claims" at


 (Emphasis by bolding was evidently added by the egwhite.org webpage's author. The phrase "the testimonies" refers to EGW's writings of admonition which were specifically aimed at Church members or leaders.)

"The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from His word and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 217)

"If you lessen the confidence of God's people in the testimonies he has sent them, you are rebelling against God as certainly as were Korah, Dathan and Abirum" (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 66).

"These books contain clear, straight, unalterable truth and they should certainly be appreciated. The instruction they contain is not of human production." (Letter H-339, Dec. 26, 1904)

"These books, giving the instruction that the Lord has given me during the last sixty years, contain light from heaven, and will bear the test of investigation." (Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 35, 1906)

"When I went to Colorado, I wrote many pages to be read at your camp meeting. . . God was speaking through clay. You might say this communication was only a letter. Yes, it was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. In these letters which I write, . . . I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision - the precious rays of light shining from the throne" (Testimonies, Vol. 5, pp. 63-67).

"Early in my youth I was asked several times, Are you a prophet? I have ever responded, I am the Lord's messenger. I know that many have called me a prophet, but I have made no claim to this title. My Saviour declared me to be his messenger. 'Your work,' he instructed me, 'is to bear my word. ... It is not you that speaketh: it is the Lord that giveth the messages of warning and reproof. Never deviate from the truth under any circumstances . Give the light I shall give you. The messages for these last days shall be written in books, and shall stand immortalized, to testify against those who have once rejoiced in the light, but who have been led to give it up because of the seductive influences of evil.' Why have I not claimed to be a prophet?--Because in these days many who boldly claim that they are prophets are a reproach to the cause of Christ; and because my work includes much more than the word 'prophet' signifies." (Review and Herald, July 26, 1907)

Given these claims for her writings, the reader is invited to consider the material on the following Field Guide pages, along with the material cited earlier in this profile, and come to a conclusion: Was Ellen G. White truly "more than a prophet," and is the denomination founded on her teachings truly the "Remnant Church of the End Time"?

Plagiarism in the writings of EGW

Biblical errors in the teachings of EGW

EGW's teachings on "Amalgamation"

Strange Science and Health teachings of EGW

 EGW on "The Reform Dress"

 EGW on the Evils of Photography


Web Documentation    


WEBSITES Regarding Adventism


The Ellen G. White Website: Bringing you the latest research on Ellen White

This is a massive website of documentation and commentary produced by a former dedicated SDA apologist who is still a Sabbatarian. It includes a number of full books and booklets, along with articles documenting almost every major issue in evaluating the ministry of Ellen G. White and the claims of the SDA Church.


The Top 7

  Ellen White's Top 7 Science-defying Statements  

  The Top 7 Myths About Ellen White

  Ellen White's Top 7 Contradictions

  7 Times Mrs. White contradicts the Bible

  The Top 7 Excuses

  Mrs. White's 7 most shocking and embarrassing statements


The Reason Why, an online book in progress by Gary Gent

In this material, Gent in particular compares Ellen G. White's writings to Night Scenes in the Bible by Daniel March, a book published in 1869. Gent notes:

Her first use of it [March's Night Scenes book] seems to have been in Letter 22, 1872. As March's book was published in 1869, we see that Ellen's use of it started early.

… Ellen White is known to have owned and used these books by Daniel March:

  Walks and Homes of Jesus (1866)

  Our Father's House (1870)

  Night Scenes in the Bible (1872)

  Home Life in the Bible (1873)

In addition to these, she may also (by the White Estate's own admission) have owned and used:

  From Dark to Dawn (1879)

  Days of the Son of Man (1885)

…Fred Veltman, studying 15 chapters in Desire of Ages, found that Daniel March had been used 129 times.


And Gent's most amazing find may be the following: Plagiarism right in a document in which she was avowing her material all came from vision

Here is Ellen's material:

Ellen G. White,
Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 27

In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper, expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision -- the precious rays of light shining from the throne.

… [from the same page] If you refuse to believe until every shadow of uncertainty and every possibility of doubt is removed, you will never believe. The doubt that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to faith. Faith rests upon evidence, not demonstration. The Lord requires us to obey the voice of duty, when there are other voices all around us urging us to pursue an opposite course. It requires earnest attention from us to distinguish the voice which speaks from God. 

And here is the obvious source of many of her words:

Daniel March,
Night Scenes in the Bible, 1869

We must not defer our obedience till every shadow of uncertainty and every possibility of mistake is removed. The doubt that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to faith, for faith rests upon probability, not demonstration. . . We must obey the voice of duty when there are many other voices crying against it, and it requires earnest heed to distinguish the one which speaks for God.


The official website of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination



A Search engine of EGW writings




The following books, among many others books, articles, websites, and other sources of information, were consulted for information regarding the history, activities, and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventists. All are in the Webauthor's private collection. Those wishing to do more extensive research on any of the topics covered may find this list useful as a starting point. Most of these books include extensive bibliographies of other books related to their specific topic.

A number of these books are still available new from Amazon.com, and some that are temporarily or even permanently out of print are still available through Amazon.com's used book services.

Also, many of these, both new and old, may be available to borrow through your local library via the "Inter-library Exchange."   Libraries in this network throughout the country regularly swap books from their collections upon specific request. Ask your local librarian for assistance.


The Disappointed—Millerism and Millenarianism in the Nineteenth Century

Numbers, Ronald L. and Butler, Jonathan M. , editors
Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis IN, © 1987

A scholarly historical overview of the whole Millerite movement. The book is a collection of essays written by Adventist and Non-Adventist scholars who specialize in the Millenarian movement of the 1800s.


The Edges of Seventh-Day Adventism

Tarling, Lowell
Galilee Publications, Barragga Bay, ,Bermagui South, NSW Australia, © 1981

 A compilation of information on a large number of groups with the same roots in the Millerite movement as the SDAs. This includes the Davidian and Branch Davidians, the Worldwide Church of God and its offshoots, and the various Churches of God, Seventh-day.


End Time Visions—The Road to Armageddon?

Abanes, Richard
Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville TN, © 1998

An overview of the history of groups through history who have predicted the End to come in their own lifetimes.  


Rise and Progress of the Seventh-day Adventists

Loughborough, J.N.
General Conference Association of the Seventh-Day Adventists, Battle Creek MI © 1892

An early "official" history of the SDA denomination  


When Time Shall Be No More—Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture

Boyer, Paul
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, © 1992

 An overview of many groups, including the SDAs, which emphasize a belief in the imminent advent of Jesus


The White Lie

Rea, Walter
M & R Publications, Turlock CA 95381, © 1982

Nine chapters of this classic book can be read on-line on the Web.

This book by a former life-long Adventist and long-time SDA pastor is the classic that broke open to the public the mounting evidence of EGW's career of plagiarism. The book chronicles his painful discoveries that shook his faith in EGW, his fruitless attempts to get the denomination's leadership to honestly address the mounting crisis of the reality of her deceptions, and his eventual ouster from the organization. It also provides extensive documentation of some of the plagiarism he and others discovered… including photo-reproductions of some of the actual EGW publications and the books from which she was plagiarizing.


White Washed

Cleveland, Sydney
Available directly from the author, 172 Suncrest Dr., Greenwood, IN 46143

Phone 317-885-8122 email scleveland@prodigy.net

© 2000

This is one of the most detailed recent compilations of the mounting evidence regarding EGW's plagiarism and other deceptions. Like The White Lie of twenty years earlier, it was written by a former life-long SDA and long-time SDA pastor. And it is loaded with hard-hitting documentation including photographs.  



The following books and booklets relevant to an investigation of the claims of the SDA Church are available on-line on the Internet for free download at the links shown.


Beware This Cult!: An insider exposes Seventh-day Adventism and their false Prophet, Ellen G. White.

Hunt, Gregory, M.D., B.Sc., F.R.C.P. © 1981

Chapters 6-18 of this book, sections specifically dealing with Ellen G. White, are available on the web. This book particularly deals in detail with the origin of the "health reform" teachings of Ellen G. White.


The Case of D.M. Canright

Douty, Norman, 1964
Baker Book House, 1964

Online version of the book.

From the Introduction by the author:

Mr. Canright was in Seventh-day Adventism for 28 years, rose to prominence therein, and then left it (in 1887). He subsequently wrote several books and pamphlets that have proved very damaging to the cause he had formerly espoused. Elder D. A. Delafield, Associate Secretary of the Ellen G. White Publications, told me on July 15, 1962, that Canright has been the most potent adversary Adventism has had during the past eight decades.

Ever since Canright left them, the Adventists have been doing all in their power to undermine his testimony against their movement. It is true, he was carried to his grave over forty years ago, but since some of his writings continue to be published, his critics keep active. I have recently been told by some Adventists that their church plans to prepare a ‘Life of Canright." The object, naturally enough, will be to discredit him so thoroughly, that none will ever again venture to quote him as a witness against Adventism.

…Since Canright’s death a number of articles have been published in his defense, but they have been rather limited in scope. In view of all the relevant facts, it seems that the time is long overdue for a thoroughgoing account of him to be written, so that everyone may see for himself that his testimony deserves serious consideration

…Having now accumulated a mass of information concerning Canright--such as no other, to my knowledge, possesses--I consider it a sacred duty to share it with the public, especially because it serves to demonstrate the character of the Adventist movement. Before I begin, however, I wish to make a few things plain:

1. I make no use whatever of rumor or hearsay; when I refer to false assertions, I refer either to statements which Adventists have made in conversation with me (or in letters to me), or to materials emanating from them which are in my possession (including photostats).

2. I do not necessarily subscribe to all of Canright’s views, but any minor dissent from them involves no reflection on either his sincerity or his ability as a teacher of God’s Word.

3. I bear no ill will toward the person of any Adventist. However, this will not prevent me from speaking plainly of those who are manifestly guilty of evading, suppressing or distorting facts. In such cases, I shall only consider my duty to God and to His people.


Ellen G White -- The Myth and the Truth

Kaspersen, Asmund, circa 1999

Online version

This excellent short online book was written by a former SDA member who became disillusioned with EGW and has done extensive research into the various aspects of her ministry. For some reason, the chapters/sections of the book are posted on a website completely separately, with no links between them nor a link to a central table of contents.


Life of Mrs. E.G. White--Her Claims Refuted

Canright, D.M. , 1919

Online version

"Mr. Canright was in Seventh-day Adventism for 28 years, rose to prominence therein, and then left it (in 1887). He subsequently wrote several books and pamphlets that have proved very damaging to the cause he had formerly espoused. Elder D. A. Delafield, Associate Secretary of the Ellen G. White Publications, told me on July 15, 1962, that Canright has been the most potent adversary Adventism has had during the past eight decades." (Norman Douty in the Introduction to his book The Case of D.M. Canright. See biblio above.)


National Sunday Law--Fact or Fiction?

Anderson, D.


Online version

A book is currently making the rounds, spread by zealous SDA members to their friends, family, neighbors, door to door and on the Internet, titled National Sunday Law by SDA Pastor A. Jan Marcussen. It insists that citizens in the US are in immediate threat in the near future of being restrained from worshipping on any day but Sunday. What most readers do not realize is that Marcussen is only the most recent in a long line of Adventist teachers who have insisted that this threat is imminent. The earliest to widely disseminate this teaching was Ellen G White. Here is a short excerpt from Anderson's book describing the development of the "National Sunday Law" teaching among SDAs. Anderson first documents the earliest teachings (clear back in the 1840s by Joseph Bates, an early EGW supporter) regarding the issue of Sabbath observance as relevant to the prophesied persecution of the Saints in the book of Revelation. He follows the development of the doctrine in EGW's own writings of the 1840s-1880s. He then notes:

In 1884, she [EGW] introduces the fact that there will be a gradual increase in the severity of laws enforcing Sunday observance:

In the last conflict the Sabbath will be the special point of controversy throughout all Christendom. Secular rulers and religious leaders will unite to enforce the observance of the Sunday; and as milder measures fail, the most oppressive laws will be enacted. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the land ought not to be tolerated, and a decree will finally be issued denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment, and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death. (Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4 p. 444)

By the late 1880's the end appeared imminent to Adventists. The reason they believed the end was imminent was because a law was being considered before the United States Congress in the late 1880's which would have made Sunday a nationally recognized holiday. In 1886, Mrs. White warned of the soon-coming end:

The end of all things is at hand. The time of trouble is about to come upon the people of God. Then it is that the decree will go forth forbidding those who keep the Sabbath of the Lord to buy or sell, and threatening them with punishment, and even death, if they do not observe the first day of the week as the Sabbath. (Historical Sketches, p. 156)

Then the unexpected happened. The Sunday law was defeated by Congress. While there may have been more than one reason the law was rejected, it was apparent that some in Congress felt the law would violate the separation between church and state. Besides, if the law was enacted, it would have likely been struck down by the Supreme Court. After this event, the Sunday Law movement lost steam and gradually turned its attention to other issues. By the early 1900's it was beginning to appear unlikely that a Sunday law was going to be passed any time in the near future. Adventists now had a dilemma on their hands. They needed to come up with an explanation as to how a Sunday law could possibly be passed given the current circumstances. The prophet Ellen White finally came up with an explanation in 1904:

When the Sabbath becomes the special point of controversy throughout Christendom, the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the state, ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness. This argument will appear conclusive; and against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment will finally be issued a decree, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment, and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death. (Youth Instructor, 7-12-1904)

By 1904, the scenario of an organized movement of religious leaders pushing Sunday legislation through Congress seemed unrealistic. Since a Sunday law now appeared extremely unlikely to occur under ordinary circumstances, there must be some extraordinary external event that triggers it. Thus, Ellen White concocts a new scenario in which the United States is faced with a sudden, terrible crisis. If the United States does not act to kill the Sabbath-keepers, there will be a terrible national catastrophe. During this horrific crisis the Sunday law will be justified by politicians who would, under normal circumstances, reject the law. However, in a crisis situation, they are convinced to pass a Sunday law in order to prevent the whole nation from being "thrown into confusion and lawlessness."


The Shaking of Adventism—A documented account of the crisis among Adventists over the doctrine of justification by faith

Paxton, Geoffrey J.
Baker Book House, Grand Rapids MI, © 1977

Online version

 A book by a non-Adventist evaluating the doctrinal shake-ups in the 1960s and 1970s within the SDA Church. It does not address the issue of Ellen G White's role in the church at all, as the emphasis is singly on the doctrine of justification by faith.


The Visions of E.G. White Not of God

Snook and Brinkerhoff, 1866

Online version

An early pamphlet investigating and refuting the claims of the SDA's for Ellen G. White's visions


The White Lie

Rea, Walter

M&R Publications, 1982

The Introduction and Chapters 1-6 and 11-12 are available on-line

Walter Rea was a life-long SDA member and an SDA pastor for decades. After he discovered irrefutable proof of Ellen White's vast amount of plagiarism, and began sharing his findings, he was cast out of the organization. This scathing book documents his findings and his attempt to get the organization to honestly deal with those findings.


Ellen G White books on-line

A set of links to a variety of the works of Ellen G White available on-line for free download



Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this Field Guide website
is © 2001-2011 by Pamela Starr Dewey.

Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.

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