Reviving the Original Spirit of Prophecy Writings: PART 5


In 1884, “SPIRIT OF PROPHECY”. VOLUME 4, or “GREAT CONTROVERSY”. VOLUME 4, was published, which completed the “Great Controversy” theme, as found in the four volumes of the “SPIRIT OF PROPHECY” series. From 1884 to 1888, this book went through ten printings, without any changes, and sold #50, 000 copies. Most of these copies would have been sold to Non-SDA’s, which further refutes the assertion that the original books had to be changed, to make them acceptable to the public. Let us establish this point.

R. & H .. book 1. p. 483: – “It is a volume (1884 G. C. – compiler) no person could write without special help from God. Its value is not be measured by dollars and cents. We earnestly advise all our own people to procure it. WE URGE THEM ALSO TO CIRCULATE IT EVERYWHERE. We would gladly have it read by the most intelligent and highly educated in the land. It will exalt the truth and the importance of the work. LET IT BE CIRCULATED EVERYWHERE.” (December 2, 1884; by G. I. Butler – General Conference President; “Volume Four of “The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan.”)

In New Zealand, through the 1880’s, canvassers sold the book to Non-SDA’s.

Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists. p. 104: – “Bro. Edward Hare had been successful in selling the “Great Controversy,” Vol. IV. , having disposed of over four hundred copies in a little more than three months.” (S. N. Haskell.)

The world-wide membership of the SDA church in 1889, was 28, 376. (See the 1889 General Conference Bulletin. p. 153. This figure also included the Non-English speaking members of the SDA organization.) As #50, 000 copies of the book were sold from 1884 to 1888, it is more than likely, that over half the books were sold to Non-SDA’s. So the book was highly suitable for the people of the world. This is confirmed by the following statement from Sr. White herself.

Last Day Events. pp. 65-67: – “Volume Four of the Great Controversy unmasks the deceptions of Satan; and we may expect that the enemy of all righteousness will put forth every effort in his power to keep away from the people that which unveils his arts. … The truths presented in Volume Four are needed by the people, and have been needed for years. The Lord bade me make no delay in bringing out these warnings, and I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. I have done all that I could do. Other agencies must act their part in giving the book the circulation it should have. … In Volume Four the Lord has revealed to us the coming crisis, which is almost upon us. He has warned us of the dangers that beset our way, in order that we may lay hold upon His strength, and get the victory over the beast and his image, and stand at last on the sea of glass to sing the song of everlasting triumph. But the Lord does not intend that we shall keep these warnings to ourselves. The light He has given in Volume Four is for the world. … From this standpoint Volume Four of the Great Controversy presents to our view the past experience of the church, and the great events of the future. In that book God has laid out before us in their true relation the events that are to take place upon our earth. … I testify to the churches that Volume Four should have had just as wide a circulation as any other work we have published.” (1890.)

Two little known facts may be appropriate at this point:

1. The 1888 changed book did not come off the printing press until1889.

2. The original1884 edition was still being advertised and sold in 1889.

Manuscripts and Memories of Minneapolis 1888. p. 134: – “R. & H. are running three presses on Vol. Four and are about 3/5 way through.” (W. C. White letter to C. H. Jones, dated November 30, 1888.)

3rd Volume of Sr. White’s Biography, by Arthur White. p. 442: – “The enlarged edition, which came to be known as the 1888 edition, carried twenty-six full-page illustrations and at the close devoted thirteen pages to general notes and thirteen pages to biographical notes. These notes were prepared by several authors, including J. H. Waggoner, Uriah Smith, and M. C. Wilcox. Marian Davis assisted. The final work progressed slowly; even as late as March 11, 1889, the Signs of the Times was still advertising the older, upgraded 1884 book of five hundred pages. The author’s introduction for the new enlarged book was dated Healdsburg, California, May, 1888, and the copyright date was given as 1888, but not until September 2, 1889, did the Signs of the Times carry an advertisement for it. It was advertised as the “Revised and Enlarged Edition of The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan.” {3810 442.5}

NOTE: – The SDA church leaders claim that Sr. White considered the 1888 & 1911 changed editions of Great Controversy, to be “Volume Four of the Great Controversy”; and thus they claim that the above statement from Last Day Events. is referring to the changed 1888 and 1911 editions of the book. But this is an erroneous assertion. The term “Great Controversy, Volume Four” applies to the original1884 edition, which we shall now establish by two different sources.

1.) We will reproduce the “TITLE” pages of the 1884 original edition, and the 1888 changed edition, which clearly establishes which edition bears the title “Great Controversy. Volume Four”. It is the 1884 original edition.

Arthur White put forward the belief that 50, 000 copies of the volume were printed and sold in the four years from 1884 to 1888. But there is a question mark against that being the correct number of books that were sold during those years. The first advertisement for the changed 1888 edition appeared in the Signs of the Times. September 2, 1889. It indicated that this was the “REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION“, it was the “ELEVENTH EDITION“, and most importantly states that “OVER 65, 00 COPIES SOLD!” That would indicate that over 65, 000 copies of the original 1884 edition were actually sold, not the 50, 000 figure Arthur White put forward.

NOTE: – It can be readily seen by the reader that the 1884 original edition, bears the Title – THE GREAT CONTROVERSY – VOLUME FOUR; whereas, the 1888 changed or revised edition, completely deletes the phrase “Volume Four” from the Title. It should also be noted that the 1888 book bears the words “REVISED AND ENLARGED” on its TITLE PAGE. A revised edition can never be the original edition of a book! So the phrase “Volume Four of the Great Controversy”, does indeed apply to the 1884 original edition. The 1884 original edition, was to be widely distributed to the world, and contains the correct relation of future end-time events, which are to transpire, upon the earth.

2.) The following statement leaves us in no doubt, that Sr. White when using the phrase – “GREAT CONTROVERSY. VOLUME IV’, after 1888, was actually referring to “SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. VOLUME IV”, when she used that phrase.

Manuscript Releases, Volume 19, pp. 239. 240:

Circulation of “Great Controversy,” Vol. IV

January 1, 1891, Battle Creek, Michigan

I have many perplexing thoughts, and bear a heavy burden. Why do not our men of responsibility in the Review and Herald Office feel the burden of circulating Volume IV of the Spirit of Prophecy more thoroughly among our own people and among the people of the world? In the preparation of this book, competent workers were employed and much money was invested in order that the volume might come before the world in the best style possible.”

“How could the men who have been managing the sale of our books neglect for two years to do anything to push the sale of Volume IV? The Lord impressed me to write this book in order that without delay it might be circulated in every part of the world, because the warnings it contains are necessary for preparing a people to stand in the day of the Lord. But men of trust have allowed this book to fall ‘dead” from the press. Nothing that I have said or written to them, nothing that I have spoken in public, has changed the order of things. My soul is still burdened with the importance of circulating this book. A grievous wrong has been done. Although nothing special has been openly spoken against Volume IV of the Spirit of Prophecy, this book has to a great degree been displaced by another book, which has kept from the world the light God has given. Volume IV was dropped, and the book entitled Bible Readings was recommended by those in charge of the circulation of our literature. Bible Readings has been constantly kept before the minds of our people, by illustrations and notices in our papers and by commendations in public gatherings. Every incident that could be used in favor of Bible Readings has been presented to our people.”

NOTE: – Twice Sr. White plainly uses the term “Volume IV of the Spirit of Prophecy”. and twice she uses the term “Volume IV”. Sr. White after 1888, referred to the original 1884 Edition – “Volume IV of the Spirit of Prophecy, as “GREAT CONTROVERSY. VOLUME IV”. The Ellen G. White Estate has inserted the tiUe of this reading themselves.

1888: – The 1888 “Revised” or changed edition of “The Great Controversy” was copyrighted. This book contained close to 200 extra pages of text, than the 1884 edition; 20 odd pages from the 1884 edition, were completely deleted; many of the chapter headings were changed; a large portion of the text was re-worked and re-worded. The end result being, a vastly different book, which was the first volume of the “Conflict of the Ages” series.

As it was, the 1884 G. C. was larger than was originally intended.

G. C. Volume 4. p. 4. (1884 edition): – “As it is, this book is larger than was intended.” (Publishers.)

NOTE: – Then four years later in 1888, the book had to be expanded almost 200 extra pages, when the 1884 edition was larger than originally intended!

The SDA church leaders have also put forward the claim that the book had to be changed to make it saleable to European readers. This is not correct.

R. & H .. book 2. pp. 343. 344: – “Some have thought that you must labor for the Germans in a different way from the way in which you work for the French or English; but the Germans need to learn at the foot of the cross the same lessons that the French must learn there. We have but one Saviour, and but one cross of Calvary. We have but one school in which to learn the lesson of humility. … The idea that there must be a difference in the manner of presenting and carrying forward the work in different nations, must be dispelled from our minds. There must be no separate interest. Distinctions must be broken down, that we may all meet together as brethren of the same house-hold.” (1889.)

Where did a lot of these extra pages and changes come from? Through the work of the book compilers. A large share of the historical quotations in the 1888 edition (the 1911 edition is built upon the 1888 edition), came from Uriah Smith’s books written previously word for word!

In CHAPTER 4. PAGE 26. A. G. Daniells and W. W. Prescott, in the 1919 Bible Conference notes, stated plainly, that Sr. White was NOT responsible for the historical quotations placed in the changed editions of “Great Controversy.”

Spectrum. Summer. 1972. pp. 50, 51: – “If one takes an 1884 edition of Smith’s classic work (or even a current edition) and compares his exposition of Daniel 11:36-39 with Ellen White’s treatment of the French Revolution, one quickly discovers clear evidence that Mrs. White did not quote Scott, Gleig, Thiers, or Alison directly. She drew the quotations entirely from Uriah Smith’s work. … If one compares The Great Controversy, pages 269-270 and 273-276, with the 1873 edition of Thoughts on Daniel, pages 314-325, or the 1884 edition of Daniel and Revelation, pages 270-279 (either of which Ellen White could have used in her 1888 revision), one discovers that she used nothing from Scott, Gleig, Thiers, or Alison that Smith did not have. Every time Smith deleted material, she deleted the same material, although occasionally she deleted more. She even used the quotations in exactly the same order on pages 275 and 276. There can be no doubt that she drew the historical quotations from Smith, not from the original works.” (By Ronald Graybill.)

NOTE: – Having already established in CHAPTER THREE. PAGES 23 & 24[1], that Sr. White was NOT authorized by God to change her writings, Graybill’s claim that Mrs. White drew the historical quotations from Smith’s book, is not true. But, we can now understand why “Sr. White’s” books (so-called) teach in harmony with Uriah Smith’s interpretation of prophecy. Uriah Smith and the book compilers, revised (i. e. changed) “Great Controversy- Volume Four.” to fit in with Uriah Smith’s prophetic works, while leaving Sr. White’s name on the front cover.

Would Uriah Smith be capable of changing someone else’s writings and then put forward the idea, that the article or book, is that person’s own work? Yes. We have evidence of this.

Manuscripts and Memories of Minneapolis 1888. pp. 202. 203: – “But another little matter recently came to light, which would indicate that our brethren in the field were not going to be allowed to express their convictions upon this matter through the “Review.” Elder J. W. Bagby, of Illinois, a brother who boarded with me during the ministerial institute held here last fall, wrote in a report, in which he said: “The work is onward in southern Illinois. I praise God that while the image may be erected, and only waits to have life to be able to speak with great power, yet God has greater power, and will overrule all for the good of his people.” This it seems got into page form before Elder Smith noticed it, whereupon, to save making over the page, which an expunging of this would require, he changed it to read as follows: – “The work is onward in southern Illinois. I praise God that while events are rapidly occurring to fulfill Rev. 13:11-18, and bring the long-looked for crisis upon us” etc. Although this at first glance might appear to be a very slight change, it virtually placed Brother Bagby on the opposite side of the question from that which he evidently intended to be placed.” (Letter from W. A. Colcord to Sr. White; July 12, 1892.)

The “brethren” also changed some of Elder James White’s Bible studies, and then published them under his name. Letter to A. G. Daniells. April 21. 1921. p. 5: – “They took my father’s pamphlet, “Matthew Twenty-four”, revised it a little, added a little to it, put in a few stock cuts from the Review & Herald cabinet, and issued it as “His Glorious Appearing”, …” (By James Edson White. If the “brethren” can tamper with the “HOUSEBAND’S” writings, they can certainly change Sr. White’s writings, and yet leave her name on the front cover.)

And so the reader should be able to see clearly, the value of “SPIRIT OF PROPHECY”. VOLUME 4 – THE ORIGINAL 1884 EDITION, as outlined in this chapter, which we shall now bring to a close. As we have just broached the subject of document tampering, we shall examine this point, in more detail. in our next chapter.

[1]should this be removed or should i add page numbers?