Yes with some of her most guilty works being Steps to Christ, Desire of Ages, Patriarchs & Prophets, The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, and Prophets & Kings.
In Jeremiah 23:25-32, God says that He is against prophets who steal the words of others. That these individuals speak lies in His name claiming visions and dreams that are not from Him. Deuteronomy 18:22 is also clear that anyone who speaks falsely in the name of God is not to be listened to or feared as a prophet.
Mrs. White did exactly this. She stole the words of others and then tried passing them off as being from God, which is bearing His name falsely—a violation of the third commandment—claiming they were shown to her in vision.
The most thorough documentation of this can be found in defrocked, former Seventh-Day Adventist pastor Walter Rea’s The White Lie which contains a plethora of side-by-side displays showing the word for word plagiarism from numerous books.
Some of the most notable appropriations are from Alfred Edersheim’s Elisha the Prophet, William Hanna’s The Life of Christ, Frederic W. Farrar’s The Life of Christ, John Harris’s The Great Teacher, Henry Melville’s Sermons and C.E. Stowe’s Origin and History of the Books of the Bible, but many others were also stolen from.
In her own words:
Although I am 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.Selected Messages, Book 3, pg. 278
Below are a number of examples proving this is not true:
|Manuscript 16, 1890; SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7 (1957)||The Great Teacher (John Harris—1837)|
|As the lovers of the world make religion subservient to the world, God requires His worshipers to subordinate the world to religion. The things of the world, that perish with the using, are not to be made the first consideration; these are not the golden currency of heaven. God has not stamped upon them His image and superscription.—pg. 949||As the worshippers of mammon make religion subservient to the world, so he requires the worshippers of God to subordinate the world to religion...some of them things that perish in the using, and others of them things that form the gold and currency of heaven, things on which God has stamped his image and superscription…—pg. 40-1|
|The Desire of Ages (Ellen G. White—1898)||The Great Teacher (John Harris—1837)|
|Christ’s name is their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not bear His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom.—pg. 826||His name was to be their watchword, their badge of distinction, the principle of their piety, the bond of their union, the end of their actions, the authority for their conduct, and the source of their success. Nothing was to be recognized or received in his kingdom, which did not bear the superscription of his name…—pg. 66|
|Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6 (Ellen G. White—1900)||The Great Teacher (John Harris—1837)|
|Here are themes worthy of our contemplation, large and comprehensive lessons which all the angelic host are now seeking to communicate…Here is infinite wisdom, infinite love, infinite justice, infinite mercy. Here are depths and heights, lengths and breadths, for our consideration. Numberless pens have been employed in presenting to the world the life, the character, and the mediatorial work of Christ…—pg. 59||Here then, christian reader is a theme worthy of an angel’s pen—yea, of more than an angel’s intellect. Here is the grand radiant point, towards which all the affinities converge: infinite wisdom—infinite love—infinite justice—infinite mercy! Depths, height, length, breadth—all passing knowledge. Innumerable pens have been employed upon the life, character, preaching and mediatorial work of Christ.—pg. 16|
|Selected Messages, Book 1 (Ellen G. White—1886)||Night Scenes in the Bible (Daniel March—1869)|
|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.—pg. 27||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.—pg. 201-2|
|Patriarchs & Prophets (Ellen G. White—1890)||Night Scenes in the Bible (Daniel March—1870)|
|The agony which he endured during the dark days of that fearful trial was permitted that he might understand from his own experience something of the greatness of the sacrifice made by the infinite God for man’s redemption. No other test could have caused Abraham such torture of soul as did the offering of his son. God gave His Son to a death of agony and shame. The angels who witnessed the humiliation and soul anguish of the Son of God were not permitted to interpose, as in the case of Isaac.—pg. 154||All the sorrows that wrung the heart of Abraham during the three days of his dark and dreadful trial were imposed on him to help us understand how real, how deep, how unutterable was the self-denial of the infinite God in giving His own Son to death for our salvation. No trial, no mental torture could possibly have been greater to Abraham than that which he bore in obeying the command to sacrifice his son. God actually surrendered His well-beloved Son to the slow and dreadful agony of crucifixion…Legions of angels were in waiting, but they were not permitted to interpose for His relief.—pg. 61|
|Steps To Christ (Ellen G. White—1892)||The Great Teacher (John Harris—1836)|
|The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but He provided the propitiation because He loves us. Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world.—pg. 13||…the father loves us, not in consequence of the great propitiation, but that he provided the propitiation because he loved us; because he was bent on obtaining a medium through which he could pour out the ocean-fulness of his love upon us.—pg. 105-6|
|Jesus said, “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.” John 10:17. That is, “My Father has so loved you that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you. In becoming your Substitute and Surety, by surrendering My life, by taking your liabilities, your transgressions, I am endeared to My Father…“—pg. 14||“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again because I lay down my life for the sheep;” in other words, ‘My Father loves you with a love so unbounded, that he even loves me the more for dying to redeem you. … by sustaining your liabilities, by surrendering my life as an equivalent for your transgressions…the Father loves me…—pg. 106|
|Steps To Christ (Ellen G. White—1892)||Sermons, Vol. I (Henry Melville—1853)|
|It is true that repentance does precede the forgiveness of sins; for it is only the broken and contrite heart that will feel the need of a Saviour. But must the sinner wait till he has repented before he can come to Jesus? Is repentance to be made an obstacle between the sinner and the Saviour? The Bible does not teach that the sinner must repent before he can heed the invitation of Christ…It is the virtue that goes forth from Christ, that leads to genuine repentance.—pg. 26||We do not, of course, deny that there must be repentance before there can be forgiveness; and that it is only to the broken and contrite heart that Christ extends the fruits of his passion…But the question is, whether a man must wait until he has repented before he applies to Christ…And it is here, as we think, the mistake lies, a mistake which turns repentance into a kind of obstacle between the sinner and Christ. The scriptural doctrine in regard to repentance is not, that a man must repent in order to his being qualified to go to Christ…but there goes forth virtue from the Redeemer himself, strengthening us for that repentance which is alone genuine and acceptable.—pg. 160-1|
|Peter made the matter clear in his statement to the Israelites when he said, “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31. We can no more repent without the Spirit of Christ to awaken the conscience than we can be pardoned without Christ.—pg. 26||St. Peter sufficiently laid down this doctrine, when he said of Christ, to the high priest and Sadducees, “him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and foregiveness of sins.”…we can no more repent without Christ than be pardoned without Christ…—pg. 161|
|Steps To Christ (Ellen G. White—1892)||Sermons (Henry Melville—1844)|
|No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3. The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare…—pg. 100||No calamity can befall the meanest amongst us, no anxiety disquiet him, no joy cheer him, no prayer escape him, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which he takes no immediate concern…We are told…that “he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”…the occupation is just as individual as though there were none other upon the earth to engage the watchfulness of Deity.—pg. 296|
|When men go forth to their daily toil, as when they engage in prayer; when they lie down at night, and when they rise in the morning; when the rich man feasts in his palace, or when the poor man gathers his children about the scanty board, each is tenderly watched by the heavenly Father. No tears are shed that God does not notice. There is no smile that He does not mark. If we would but fully believe this, all undue anxieties would be dismissed. Our lives would not be so filled with disappointment as now; for everything, whether great or small, would be left in the hands of God, who is not perplexed by the multiplicity of cares, or overwhelmed by their weight.—pg. 85||…when he goes to his daily toil or his daily prayers, when he lies down at night, or rises in the morning, or gathers his little ones to the scanty meal, the poor man is tenderly watched by his God; and he cannot weep the tear which God sees not, nor smile the smile which God notes not…Then would all undue anxieties be dismissed…disappointments would be avoided, and hope would never make ashamed; for we should leave every thing, small as well as great, in the hands of Him who cannot be perplexed by multiplicity, nor overpowered by magnitude…—pg. 143-5|
|Steps To Christ (Ellen G. White—1892)||Walks and Homes (Daniel March—1866)|
|You are not to wait for great occasions or to expect extraordinary abilities before you go to work for God. You need not have a thought of what the world will think of you. If your daily life is a testimony to the purity and sincerity of your faith, and others are convinced that you desire to benefit them, your efforts will not be wholly lost. The humblest and poorest of the disciples of Jesus can be a blessing to others. They may not realize that they are doing any special good, but by their unconscious influence they may start waves of blessing that will widen and deepen, and the blessed results they may never know until the day of final reward. They do not feel or know that they are doing anything great. They are not required to weary themselves with anxiety about success. They have only to go forward quietly, doing faithfully the work that God’s providence assigns…—pg. 83||The humblest and poorest of the disciples of Jesus can start waves of blessings that shall deepen and widen and flow forever. You need now know, you need not suspect that you are doing anything great; you need not worry yourself with busy anxieties about success. You have only to go on quietly, faithfully, doing the work which God’s providence assigns…You need not wait for great occasions, you need not ask for extraordinary abilities, you need not have a thought what the world will think of you; only let your daily walk be a living testimony unto Jesus, and God will keep that testimony in the world, widening and deepening and intensifying in power, long as the Gospel shall be preached for the salvation of men.—pg. 222-3|
|Steps To Christ (Ellen G. White—1892)||Important Questions (James Smith—1859)|
|Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Of whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are Christ’s, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. All we have and are is consecrated to Him. We long to bear His image, breathe His spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things.—pg. 58||Who has the heart? With whom are our sweetest and warmest thoughts? Who has our best energies?…If we are on the Lord’s side, our thoughts are with him, and our sweetest thoughts are of him. If we are on the Lord’s side, we have consecrated ourselves and all we have to his service…We desire to bear his image, breathe his spirit, do his will, and please him in all things.—25-6|
|Manuscript 24; Selected Messages, Book 1 (Ellen G. White—1886)||Origin and History of the Books of the Bible (C. E. Stowe—1867)|
|Human minds vary. The minds of different education and thought receive different impressions of the same words, and it is difficult for one mind to give to one of a different temperament, education, and habits of thought by language exactly the same idea as that which is clear and distinct in his own mind. Yet to honest men, right-minded men, he can be so simple and plain as to convey his meaning for all practical purposes.—pg. 19-21||Moreover, human minds are unlike in the impressions which they receive from the same word; and it is certain that one man seldom gives to another, of different temperament, education, and habits of thought, by language, exactly the same idea, with the same shape and color, as that which lies in his own mind; yet, if men are honest and right-minded they can come near enough to each other’s meaning for all purposes of practical utility.—pg. 17|
|They declare that the Bible can prove anything and everything, that every sect proves their doctrines right, and that the most diverse doctrines are proven from the Bible.—pg. 19-21||Here comes in the objection that the Bible can be made to mean everything and anything, all sects build upon it, the most diverse doctrines are derived from it.—pg. 17|
|The Scriptures were given to men, not in a continuous chain of unbroken utterances, but piece by piece through successive generations, as God in His providences saw a fitting opportunity to impress man at sundry times and divers places. Men wrote as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost. There is “first the bud, then the blossom, and next the fruit,” “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” [Mark 4:28.] This is exactly what the Bible utterances are to us.—pg. 19-21||The Scriptures were given to men piecemeal, throughout many ages, as God saw the right opportunities at sundry times and in divers manners—this is what the Bible says of itself; and not all at once, as if you must have bud, blossom and fruit, all in the same hour. The analogy here between nature and the word, as in everything else, holds perfectly. ‘First the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear,’ this is what the Bible says of itself, and this is just what we find it to be.—pg. 13|
|The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. Different meanings are expressed by the same word; there is not one word for each distinct idea.—pg. 19-21||The Bible is not given to us in any celestial or superhuman language. If it had been it would have been of no use to us, for every book intended for men must be given to them in the language of men. But every human language is of necessity, and from the very nature of the case, an imperfect language. No human language has exactly one word and only one for each distinct idea.—pg. 17|
|It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions, but on the man himself, who under the influence of the Holy Ghost is imbued with thoughts. But the words and thoughts receive the impress of the individual mind.—pg. 19-21||It is not the words of the Bible that were inspired, it is not the thoughts of the Bible that were inspired; it is the men who wrote the Bible that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words, not on the man’s thoughts, but on the man himself; so that he, by his own spontaneity, under the impulse of the Holy Ghost, conceives certain thoughts and gives utterance to them in certain words, both the words and the thoughts receiving the peculiar impress of the mind…—pg. 19|
|Sketches From the Life of Paul (Ellen G. White—1883)||The Life and Epistles of St. Paul (Conybeare and Howson—1864)|
|As Paul was brought in direct contact with the idolatrous inhabitants of Ephesus, the power of God was strikingly displayed through him. The apostles were not always able to work miracles at will. The Lord granted his servants this special power as the progress of his cause or the honor of his name required. Like Moses and Aaron at the court of Pharaoh, the apostle had now to maintain the truth against the lying wonders of the magicians; hence the miracles he wrought were of a different character from those which he had heretofore performed. As the hem of Christ’s garment had communicated healing power to her who sought relief by the touch of faith, so on this occasion, garments were made the means of cure to all that believed; “diseases departed from them, and evil spirits went out of them.” Yet these miracles gave no encouragement to blind superstition. When Jesus felt the touch of the suffering woman, he exclaimed, “Virtue is gone out of me.” So the scripture declares that the Lord wrought miracles by the hand of Paul, and that the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, and not the name of Paul.—pg. 135||This statement throws some light on the peculiar character of the miracles wrought by Paul at Ephesus. We are not to suppose that the apostles were always able to work miracles at will. An influx of supernatural power was given to them at the time and according to the circumstances that required it. And the character of the miracles was not always the same. They were accommodated to the peculiar forms of sin, superstition, and ignorance they were required to oppose. Here, at Ephesus, Paul was in the face of magicians, like Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh; and it is distinctly said that his miracles were ‘not ordinary wonders,’ from which we may infer that they were different from those which he usually performed …A miracle which has a closer reference to our present subject is that in which the hem of Christ’s garment was made effectual to the healing of a poor sufferer and the conviction of the bystanders. So on this occasion garments were made the means of communicating a healing power to those who were at a distance, whether they were possessed with evil spirits or afflicted with ordinary diseases. Yet was this no encouragement to blind superstition. When the suffering woman was healed by touching the hem of the garment, the Saviour turned round and said, ‘Virtue is gone out of me.’ And here at Ephesus we are reminded that it was God who ‘wrought miracles by the hands of Paul’ (v.11), and that ‘the name,’ not of Paul, but ‘of the Lord Jesus, was magnified’ (v.17).—pg. 393|
|It had long been customary among heathen nations to make use of small images or shrines to represent their favorite objects of worship. Portable statues were modeled after the great image of Diana, and were widely circulated in the countries along the shores of the Mediterranean. Models of the temple which enshrined the idol were also eagerly sought. Both were regarded as objects of worship, and were carried at the head of processions, and on journeys and military expeditions. An extensive and profitable business had grown up at Ephesus from the manufacture and sale of these shrines and images. —pg. 142||One of the idolatrous customs of the ancient world was the use of portable images or shrines, which were little models of the more celebrated objects of devotion. They were carried in processions, on journeys and military expeditions, and sometimes set up as household gods in private houses…From the expression used by Luke, it is evident that an extensive and lucrative trade grew up at Ephesus from the manufacture and sale of these shrines. Few of those who came to Ephesus would willingly go away without a memorial of the goddess and a model of her temple; and from the wide circulation of these works of art over the shores of the Mediterranean and far into the interior it might be said, with little exaggeration, that her worship was recognized by the ‘whole world’.—pg. 431-2|
|Prophets & Kings (Ellen G. White—1916)||Night Scenes in the Bible (Daniel March—1868)|
|Choosing “twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, … he built an altar in the name of the Lord.” The disappointed priests of Baal, exhausted by their vain efforts, wait to see what Elijah will do. … The people, fearful also, and almost breathless with expectancy, watch while Elijah continues his preparations. The calm demeanor of the prophet stands out in sharp contrast with the fanatical, senseless frenzy of the followers of Baal.—pg. 151||The maddened priests of Baal, reeking with blood, exhausted with their own frenzy, sink in silence on the ground. With calm and solemn deportment, Elijah rebuilds the alter of Jehovah with twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of Israel…The great multitude are pale and breathless with awful expectation while he speaks. His calm and simple prayer and peaceful deportment are more impressive than the foaming fury and the wild cries of a thousand priests of Baal.—pg. 212|
|No sooner is the prayer of Elijah ended than flames of fire, like brilliant flashes of lightning, descend from heaven upon the upreared altar, consuming the sacrifice, licking up the water in the trench, and consuming even the stones of the altar. The brilliancy of the blaze illumines the mountain and dazzles the eyes of the multitude. In the valleys below, where many are watching in anxious suspense the movements of those above, the descent of fire is clearly seen, and all are amazed at the sight. It resembles the pillar of fire which at the Red Sea separated the children of Israel from the Egyptian host. The people on the mount prostrate themselves in awe before the unseen God. They dare not continue to look upon the Heaven-sent fire…they cry out together as with one voice, “The Lord, He is the God; the Lord, He is the God.”—pg. 152-3||No sooner has he spoken than the rushing flame descends from the clear heavens like the lightning’s flash, and the very stones of the altar are burnt up with the devouring fire. The sudden blaze blinds the eyes of the multitude and illumines the whole slope of the mountain with a light above the brightness of the sun. The people watching afar off, on the housetops in Jezreel and Samaria, and on the hills of Ephraim and Galilee, are startled at the sight. It seems to them as if the pillar of fire that led their fathers in the desert had descended upon Carmel. The multitude on the mountain fall on their faces to the ground, unable to look upon the great light, and they cry out with one voice, “Jehovah is God! Jehovah is God!”—pg. 212-3|
|Prophets & Kings (Ellen G. White—1916)||Elijah the Tishbite (Friedrich Wilhelm Krummacher—1835)|
|Among the mountains of Gilead, east of the Jordan…The word of faith and power was upon his lips…His was the voice of one crying in the wilderness… And while he came to the people as a reprover of sin, his message offered the balm of Gilead to the sin-sick souls of all who desired to be healed.—pg. 119||…among the mountains of Gilead, on the other side Jordan…Hence it was that he thus prepared, in Gilead, the balm which should recover the health of the daughter of Zion…Elijah enters upon the stage of history with a word of faith and power…Here surely is “the voice of one crying in the wilderness”…—pg. 6|
|As divinely appointed messengers, ministers are in a position of awful responsibility. They are to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering.” … They are to go forward in faith, remembering that they are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. They are not to speak their own words, but words which One greater than the potentates of earth has bidden them speak. Their message is to be, “Thus saith the Lord.” God calls for men like Elijah, Nathan, and John the Baptist…—pg. 142||…ministers…an awful and most responsible trust, “to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.”…We speak not from ourselves, but what which One who is greater than all commands us to speak. We go forward surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, as the ambassadors of the King of kings, and have the right to announce our message to sinners in the name of God, with “Thus saith the Lord!” Oh that it more thoroughly pervaded us, and that we were more like Elijah, or Nathan, or John the Baptist…—pg. 67|
As Walter Rea rightly pointed out in The White Lie, the four techniques essential to protecting Ellen White include:
- Playing up anything unusual or mysterious about the one to be venerated, so that he or she becomes seen as at a supernatural level (ie: the “Big Bible” legend);
- To exalt the acts and utterances to the virtuous and miraculous level, thus reinforcing the idea of the supernatural connection;
- To deny access to information and records of the events and facts of the past;
- To buy time so as to get as far as possible from the point of living knowledge of the beginnings of the legend
All four of these methods have been used by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and are still being used, in the matter of Ellen White and what has been published under her name.
The defense of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and her apologists has long been that literary borrowing was common place in Mrs. White’s day and people are unfairly picking on her out of everyone. This is not true, though, and the SDA Church even recognized it in the December 25, 1917 issue of The Youth’s Instructor (two years after her death) where they assert that plagiarism is just as wrong as stealing someone’s horse. This was decades prior to Ellen’s plagiarism being found out.
Furthermore, it was not common place for someone to steal someone else’s writings, assert that they came from God, and then copywriting said works to sell them. Stealing is one of the 10 Commandments that the SDA Church so vehemently claims to uphold which means it should not require government sanction or prohibition for stealing to be wrong, regardless of if it were to have been commonplace.
This isn’t even scratching the surface regarding the extent of plagiarism. Mrs. White claimed that her mind was never prejudiced by anyone else and, if it had, then she was unfit for her role as God’s messenger. Her mind was not only influenced by others, but she very clearly was taking other authors works and trying to pass them off as “thus saith the Lord” statements from God himself—violating the third commandment in the gravest sense.
If the Adventist Church doesn’t want the canonical prophetic standard given in scripture used to judge Ellen White’s validity then they shouldn’t utilize her as though she is a canonical prophet over and against a local prophet for a specific time period that ends when the person passes.