Did Ellen White always enclose in marks of quotation what the angel told her?
“As I have before stated, the length was not given me in inches, and I was not shown a lady’s boot. And here I would state that although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation. As I wrote upon the subject of dress the view of those three companies revived in my mind as plain as when I was viewing them in vision; but I was left to describe the length of the proper dress in my own language the best I could, which I have done by stating that the bottom of the dress should reach near the top of a lady’s boot, which would be necessary in order to clear the filth of the streets under the circumstances before named.” Review and Herald 1867-10-08.
Many people, in trying to show me where I’m wrong in believing God gave the words for the Bible writers and Ellen White to write, often quote this. It is pretty powerful, actually definitive if true, so lets check it out.
Checking Broadsides and her first two books “Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White”, and “Supplement” we see that it is true that everywhere it says an angel said something, that what he says in in quotation marks.
But when we get to her third book: “The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels, and Satan and His Angels”, we see soon, in chapter 3: [Said my accompanying angel, He is in close converse with his Father.] No quotation marks there at all. But if this is just once or twice, we might need to admit that it is possibly an editing or printing mistake. However, in the same chapter it says: [Said the angel, Think ye that the Father yielded up his dearly beloved Son without a struggle?] without quotation marks. Maybe it’s just in chapter 3? No. Here is something from chapter 19: [I heard an angel ask, Who of the family of Adam have passed that flaming sword, and have partaken of the tree of life?]
So in checking this statement, we find that it is not true as written. Words are spoken to her by an angel, and they are not enclosed in quotation marks.
What are the possibile reasons for its untruthfulness?
1. Perhaps Ellen White wrote the quotation marks in the original, but the editors or somebody removed them.
2. Perhaps Ellen White forgot what she did, and is stating an untruthful thing unwittingly.
3. Perhaps Ellen White is stating an untruthful thing.
Whatever the case, we are left with very unpleasant choices.
This exercise shows that we must be good Bereans, and not just take one witness in a dispute, but take two or three witnesses, just as the Bible says to do. And yes, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”