Spiritualism plays a major role in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church’s end times narrative. It is one of the chief forces that will supposedly link arms with apostate Protestantism and the Roman Papacy to form a threefold union to attack Seventh-Day Adventists for going to church on Saturdays.
Something associated with Spiritualism is the practice of communicating with the dead—something scripture clearly forbids (Leviticus 20:5-7, Deuteronomy 18:10-14). The SDA Church vehemently asserts that the belief in the natural immortality of the soul leads one to fall prey to such practices. Ellen White, who the SDA Church believes was divinely inspired and corrects inaccurate interpretations of scripture, claimed that the belief in the immortality of the soul is one of Satan’s best tricks and those that believe it are headed to perdition at lighting speed.
This to say that one of the foremost doctrines that they oppose is the immortality of the soul because—of many reasons—it supposedly leaves the door open for someone to want to communicate with the dead or be open to the idea.
Over the course of her life the SDA Church claims Ellen received more than 2000 visions/dreams. These two terms are used interchangeably in their eyes. What’s interesting about this is that upon the passing of Ellen White’s husband, James, she claimed to be visited by him in one of these dreams/visions where they had a conversation. She documents this in a letter written to her son, Willie White, where she says that she rhetorically asked her dead husband if the Lord had pitied her to allow him to come back to her and if they would work together as they used to.
She then goes on to claim that James warned her that she needed to slow down in life or it would be detrimental to her health like it was his. And that she could do far more with her pen than her voice (speaking about writing versus traveling). He then exhorted her to go to California like they should have done together to devote her energy to writing and asks her if she will do so now that they have discussed—receiving instruction from her deceased husband. To which Ellen obliged and said that James will always stay with her now and they will work together.
The evidence of her yielding to this advice is in the fact that, when she awoke, she no longer had a desire to go to Battle Creek for General Conference duties because the LORD forbade it. Meaning, this dream was supposedly divinely inspired from God.
Very clearly, this would fall under the category of communicating with the dead, no differently than the spiritualism they so loudly decry. But SDA apologists have sought to defend this by dismissing it as merely being a dream/vision, not an actual encounter with James’s departed soul.
Francis Nichol, one of the SDA Church’s mid-century apologists, who most modern SDA apologists are parroting, in his book Ellen G. White and Her Critics, claimed that the terms “dream” and “vision” are used synonymously when it comes to the writings of Mrs. White—using the example of Daniel the prophet to compare her to.
Ellen White claimed that there are three types of dreams:
- Common dreams
- Demonic dreams
- God inspired dreams
But as the SDA Church has recognized before, the question becomes how does one differentiate between the common dream one has while asleep and one supposedly induced by God making it synonymous with having a vision.
According to her, the divine dream contains its own proof of genuineness, taking into account the character of the person having it and the circumstances under which it is given. So this “dream” of her deceased husband was considered to be from God, who was supposedly speaking to her—in a dream—through her deceased husband.
Not only is this false, but it attributes to God that which He forbids in His own Word. God doesn’t speak to people in dreams by using their deceased relatives.