Updated February, 2021
Yes, it's true. First i'll show a few early instances where people admitted to changing the prophet's words - by honest-in-heart additions or mistakes in printing, and then by those who sought to "remove the imperfections". Also, a few instances will be given to show you that it has been done, and then some results of this satanic work. The strong word "satanic" is used because Satan is behind all these movements to change God's word by having it 'interpreted' for us - like in most new Bible versions and of course in the Spirit of Prophecy books being printed today.
Additions and an honest mistake
The first booklet written and published by those who were the nucleus of what was to become the Seventh-Day Adventists, was dated in the front - May 30, 1847, signed by James White. This booklet was titled "A Word to the Little Flock". Three articles/letters signed by Ellen White, along with one by Joseph Bates are included.
In both of the Ellen White articles there are superscripts in parentheses referencing a Bible or Apocrypha verse. When she mentions: "I saw that the number of the Image Beast was made up..." It appears that the editor, her husband James White, inserted after the word number: "(666)". Now from all appearances, it sure looks like she was talking about that number - 666. But she didn't actually use that. It was added along with the Scriptural references. I'm not saying that James White was wrong, just that something was added to the prophet's words here. But at least James had the decency to put the additions within parentheses to clearly point out that they weren't in the original.
James also admits to making a mistake in the printing: "Those who have received the little sheet will see by referring to Ex. 26:35, that there is a mistake in the 10th and 11th lines from the top of the first column. This mistake is not in the original copy now in my possession, written by the author. I have therefore, corrected this mistake, that I made in hastily copying the vision to send to brother Bates." James is open about making the mistake, and very careful to put the blame for it squarely on himself. All-in-all, James' dealing with the Spirit of Prophecy writings are what we could expect from almost anyone who was honest-in-heart and trying to do the best they could with the light they had. I personally may have made a mistake or two in typing up the SOP books and putting them on the internet.
Removing the "imperfections"
The following is a word-for-word copy of something put in Selected Messages Book 3, page 96. Whoever the compilers were, i'm not sure, but probably the Battle Creek Press Publishing Editor - Uriah Smith - gave his final approval to this. I'll put more on Uriah Smith and his attitude toward the Testimonies on this page in the future. Suffice for now, that Uriah Smith was openly rejecting the Testimonies here in the early 1880's.
Editing the Published Testimonies in 1884.
Dear Brother Smith: I have today mailed you a letter,
but information has been received from Battle Creek that
the work upon Testimonies is not accepted.[* REFERENCE
IS TO THE WORK BEING DONE IN RESPONSE TO THE GENERAL
CONFERENCE SESSION ACTION OF NOVEMBER 16, WHICH READS:
"32. WHEREAS, SOME OF THE BOUND VOLUMES OF THE TESTIMONIES TO THE CHURCH, ARE OUT OF PRINT, SO THAT FULL SETS CANNOT BE OBTAINED AT THE OFFICE; AND,
"WHEREAS, THERE IS A CONSTANT AND URGENT CALL FOR THE REPRINTING OF THESE VOLUMES; THEREFORE,
"RESOLVED, THAT WE RECOMMEND THEIR REPUBLICATION IN SUCH A FORM AS TO MAKE FOUR VOLUMES OF SEVEN OR EIGHT HUNDRED PAGES EACH.
"33. WHEREAS, MANY OF THESE TESTIMONIES WERE WRITTEN UNDER THE MOST UNFAVORABLE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE WRITER BEING TOO HEAVILY PRESSED WITH ANXIETY AND LABOR TO DEVOTE CRITICAL THOUGHT TO THE GRAMMATICAL PERFECTION OF THE WRITINGS, AND THEY WERE PRINTED IN SUCH HASTE AS TO ALLOW THESE IMPERFECTIONS TO PASS UNCORRECTED; AND,
"WHEREAS, WE BELIEVE THE LIGHT GIVEN BY GOD TO HIS SERVANTS IS BY THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE MIND, THUS IMPARTING THE THOUGHTS, AND NOT (EXCEPT IN RARE CASES) THE VERY WORDS IN WHICH THE IDEAS SHOULD BE EXPRESSED; THEREFORE,
"RESOLVED, THAT IN THE REPUBLICATION OF THESE VOLUMES, SUCH VERBAL CHANGES BE MADE AS TO REMOVE THE ABOVE-NAMED IMPERFECTIONS, AS FAR AS POSSIBLE, WITHOUT IN ANY MEASURE CHANGING THE THOUGHT; AND FURTHER,
"34. RESOLVED, THAT THIS BODY APPOINT A COMMITTEE OF FIVE TO TAKE CHARGE OF THE REPUBLICATION OF THESE VOLUMES ACCORDING TO THE ABOVE PREAMBLES AND RESOLUTIONS."--REVIEW AND HERALD, NOV. 27, 1883. "THE COMMITTEE OF FIVE TO TAKE CHARGE OF THE REPUBLICATION OF THE TESTIMONIES PROVIDED FOR IN THE THIRTY-FOURTH RESOLUTION WAS ANNOUNCED AS FOLLOWS, THE CHAIR HAVING BEEN EMPOWERED TO SELECT FOUR PERSONS BESIDES HIMSELF FOR THIS PURPOSE: W. C. WHITE, URIAH SMITH, J. H. WAGGONER, S. N. HASKELL, GEORGE I. BUTLER."-- IBID . THE WORK WAS SUBMITTED TO ELLEN WHITE AND WAS APPROVED BY HER. THE LETTER TO ELDER SMITH INTIMATES THAT SHE WAS MORE READY TO ACCEPT THE IMPROVEMENTS THAN SOME IN BATTLE CREEK. THE PRODUCT WAS OUR PRESENT TESTIMONIES, VOLS. 1-4, PUBLISHED IN 1885.--COMPILERS.]
Especially pay attention to what number 33 is saying. It reads almost the same as the introduction i read to a New International Version so-called "Holy Bible" recently. Of course, a 100 years of refining words has made it sound even nicer. They say in the NIV that they added words where necessary to make it more understandable to the modern English reader. They don't mention the thousands they deleted or changed, or that they used a corrupted source to translate from. Essentially the same thing happened with the SOP starting around 1883. They say the words themselves aren't given by God, just the main ideas. With this mind-set, everyone is free to interpret God's words to suit their own cultural background, education, philosophy, whims, fancies, etc.
When Jesus met the Devil "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God", it gave us a perfect example to follow. No, you've probably already figured out i'm not a "older-is-better" Bible man. From the studying i've been able to do, not knowing Hebrew or Greek, there are only 5 versions in English that profess to translate the "words" and not the "ideas" from the uncorrupted manuscripts. They are the KJV, NKJV, LITV, ALT, & the MKJV. But i DO know English (my academy English teacher may want to disagree:), and we still have the actual original Spirit of Prophecy books available!! Wow! What a merciful God! And why did he choose me? I don't have to spend agonizing years studying some foreign language to get the meaning. Why should i want it pre-digested by someone else and imbibe their ideas? I want the straight truth, pure and unadulterated. It WILL cause a shaking in the Laodicean church.
Leaving out words
I have spent probably around 1,600 hours with the original 1858 Great Controversy. Translating it into Japanese helped teach me the importance of each and every word. I've known for quite a while that the original GC is totally different from the 1884 edition, and the 1884 one is totally different from the 1888 one. The 1888 one is very similar to the current 1911 edition. What i didn't know tho, was how close are the words in the original 1858 edition to the account in Early Writings. One day i checked each word in chapter 18, "Mystery of Iniquity". Probably around 95% of the words are exactly the same, with the usual change in tenses etc., but this one glaring omission struck me right between the eyes. Perhaps i'm taking it more seriously than warranted?
1882(?) Early Writings p. 213: "The Mystery of Iniquity--It has ever been the design of Satan to draw the minds of the people from Jesus to man, and to destroy individual accountability. Satan failed in his design when he tempted the Son of God; but he succeeded better when he came to fallen man. Christianity became corrupted. Popes and priests presumed to take an exalted position, and taught the people to look to them for the pardon of their sins, instead of looking to Christ for themselves."
1858 GC ch. 18: "It has ever been the design of Satan to draw the minds of the people from JESUS to man, and to destroy individual accountability. Satan failed in his design when he tempted the SON OF GOD. He succeeded better as he came to fallen man. The doctrine of Christianity was corrupted. Popes and priests presumed to take an exalted position, and taught the people to look to them to pardon their sins, instead of looking to CHRIST for themselves. The Bible was kept from them, in order to conceal the truths which would condemn them."
Nobody worked harder and longer, more devotedly to the building up of God's people after the 1844 Great Disappointment, than James and Ellen White. They sacrificed tremendously for the cause, to the point of leaving their precious infants in the hands of friends so they could go give the message where God directed.
There is a poignant story in My Christian Experience...1860 (SG vol.2) p. 89: "We were resolved to suffer rather than get into debt. I allowed myself and child one pint of milk each day. In the morning before my husband went to his work, he left me nine cents to buy milk for three mornings. It was quite a study with me whether to deny myself and child of milk, or get an apron for him. I gave up the milk, and purchased the cloth for an apron to cover the bare arms of my child."
They poured their hearts in the publishing work, starting the Review and Herald from scratch. Workers and helpers came on board, and the truth prospered. But along the way an aversion to the straight, pointed Testimonies arose among even the workers, and we see fewer original Ellen White books being published. After the chief editor, James White, died in 1881, we can see no more entirely original Ellen White books. What i mean, is that later books were compiled from articles written first for the R&H or ST etc. Since Steps to Christ is porbably the most famous book of Ellen White's, let's research it's origins a bit.
Here are all the things i know about this. Ellen White wrote this book at the request of some youth society in the SDA church. She went to Australia at the end of 1891. The book was NOT printed by a SDA press altho there were several in operation at that time. It was printed by religious book publishers Fleming H. Revell in 1892. The Review and Herald bought the rights to the book sometime between 1892 and 1896, and published their first version in 1896.
Here's a woman obviously led of God, who has sacrificed many years of her life to build up the cause of God, and yet her own church won't print a book she wrote!!! Something is fishy here. I've carefully checked each and every word between an original 1892 Fleming H. Revell edition, and the current edition of Steps to Christ. Except for one thing, they match up better than 99%. What is the one big difference? The entire first chapter in the current edition was NOT in the original edition at all! Of course it's possible that Ellen White did write an extra chapter to be inserted at a later date. But considering that the Review and Herald did not print it first, and then paid money to get the rights for it from an outside printer, and then an extra chapter (first chapter!) got inserted, the caution flag should go up.
UPDATE February, 2021: I directly asked someone standing at the E.G.White Estate booth at the 2010 General Conference Session in Atlanta in 2010 about this. He told me they wanted to print it in England (probably at Stanborough Press) and because of copyright concerns in England, they asked for and received permission to add the first chapter. What is still mysterious to me tho, is why didn't R&H print it in the first place? I've read in Ellen White's Letters and Manuscripts where she was very happy with Fleming Revell's work, and wanted to give them more of her writings to publish. Now it would be interesting to determine exactly when they did first print this book in England.
Regarding the background in that time-frame (1890's), it's important to remember that there had just been a big ruckus over Christ's Righteousness and nearly all the leaders were against Ellen White. Also, Dr. Kellogg was slowly steeping himself in pantheism, to eventually go completely away from the truth. The Battle Creek Sanitarium and Review and Herald offices burned down just a few years later for printing and upholding error. So there is justifiable cause for concern.
When i asked a friend who is on the North America Division Publishing Committee about what he knew about the first chapter of Steps to Christ (this man has been responsible for publishing more copies of this book in the last 20 years than any man alive), he told me that there have been lawsuits over changes to the books, and the church has paid out money. He wouldn't reveal more. If anyone has any information on the writing of the first chapter of Steps to Christ, please email me.
A change of degree in the books
SOP Volume 1 p.18: "Satan was envious and jealous of Jesus Christ. Yet when all the angels bowed to Jesus to acknowledge his supremacy and high authority and rightful rule, Satan bowed with them; but his heart was filled with envy and hatred."
Patriarchs and Prophets, pp.36,37: "The angels joyfully acknowledged the supremacy of Christ, and prostrating themselves before Him, poured out their love and adoration. Lucifer bowed with them, but in his heart there was a strange, fierce conflict. Truth, justice, and loyalty were struggling against envy and jealousy."
OK, this is a change in degree of what was in his heart, but a similiar meaning is presented.
Now here's one that gives a totally different meaning.
SOP Volume 1, p.29: ""Satan trembled as he viewed his work. He was alone in meditation upon the past, the present, and his future plans. His mighty frame shook as with a tempest. An angel from heaven was passing. He called him, and entreated an interview with Christ. This was granted him. He then related to the Son of God that he repented of his rebellion, and wished again the favor of God."
Patriarchs and Prophets, p.39: "The time had come for a final decision; he (Lucifer) must fully yield to the divine sovereignty or place himself in open rebellion. He nearly reached the decision to return, but pride forbade him. It was too great a sacrifice for one who had been so highly honored to confess that he had been in error, that his imaginings were false, and to yield to the authority which he had been working to prove unjust."
Either Lucifer repented or he didn't. Which is it? This one DOES make a difference in how you believe about God. Will he forgive anyone anytime? No. When the judgment is finished and "it is done" is proclaimed, then there is no more mercy for any sinners. Lucifer had been the covering cherub, the closest to the Father and Son. There was no plan to save him from his sin. Sure, he could have been re-instated before it became open rebellion, and the Son pleaded with him to come back to purity, but when the door was open - he refused it. After being thrown out of heaven he repented, but his judgment was over, he rejected mercy.
Recently i had someone tell me that Ellen White was a good lady, but wasn't inspired, as they believed that God could forgive anyone anytime. If asked if that included Satan, and they said "sure". The implications of that thinking astounded me, as it would mean that perhaps Jesus dying on the cross wasn't really necessary at all. No, no, Satan's time of probation is over, closed, forever. And at the end-time, when Jesus throws down the censer, all the wicked will be eternally lost even if they beg to be forgiven after that time.
Did the Egyptians chase the Israelites at night, or in broad daylight?
SOP Volume 1, p.209: "The Egyptian host was triumphing through that night that the children of Israel were again in their power. They thought there was no possibility of their escape; for before them stretched the Red Sea, and their large armies were close behind them. In the morning, as they came up to the sea......They decided to follow them."
Patriarchs and Prophets, p.287 "The Egyptians could no longer discern the camp of the Hebrews, and were forced to halt. But as the darkness of night deepened, the wall of cloud became a great light to the Hebrews, flooding the entire encampment with the radiance of day..... As morning broke it revealed to the multitudes of Israel all that remained of their mighty foes - the mail-clad bodies cast upon the shore. From the most terrible peril, one night had brought complete deliverance."
Doctrinal errors in that beloved book - Desire of Ages
DA p.568: "Christ might commission the angels of heaven to pour out the vials of His wrath on our world, to destroy those who are filled with hatred of God. He might wipe this dark spot from His universe. But He does not do this. He is today standing at the altar of incense, presenting before God the prayers of those who desire His help."
This is a quote from A Word to the Little Flock: "In the city I saw a temple, which I entered. I passed through a door before I came to the first vail. This vail was raised, and I passed into the Holy Place. Here I saw the Altar of Incense, the candlestick with seven lamps, and the table on which was the showbread, etc. After viewing the glory of the Holy, Jesus raised the second veil, and I passed into the Holy of Holies."
Where is the altar of incense? Of course it's in the Holy Place, not the Most Holy Place. See Exodus 30:7-8 and Exodus 40:26-27. Also we know that since 1844 Jesus has been in the Most Holy Place: SOP Volume 4 (1884) p.269: "At the termination of the 2300 prophetic days in 1844, Christ changed his ministration from the holy to the most holy place. When, in the ministration of the earthly sanctuary, the high priest on the day of atonement entered the most holy place, the door of the holy place was closed, and the door of the most holy was opened. So, when Christ passed from the holy to the most holy of the heavenly sanctuary, the door, or ministration, of the former apartment was closed, and the door, or ministration, of the latter was opened."
This quote in Desire of Ages has been used by some people to show that Jesus is in the Holy Place now, or that he moves back and forth between the Most Holy and Holy etc. All these errors are because of not treating the words themselves as being from God.
An astounding error!
DA pp.829,830: "Thence Jesus, weary and heart-burdened, had gone forth to find rest in the Mount of Olives. The holy Shekinah, in departing from the first temple, had stood upon the eastern mountain, as if loath to forsake the chosen city; so Christ stood upon Olivet, with yearning heart overlooking Jerusalem. The groves and glens of the mountain had been consecrated by His prayers and tears. Its steeps had echoed the triumphant shouts of the multitude that proclaimed Him king. On its sloping descent he had found a home with Lazarus at Bethany. In the garden of Gethsemane at its foot He had prayed and agonized alone. From this mountain He was to ascend to heaven. Upon its summit His feet will rest when He shall come again. Not as a man of sorrows, but as a gloriouis and triumphant king, He will stand upon Olivet, while Hebrew hallelujahs mingle with Gentile hosannas, and the voices of the redeemed as a mighty host shall swell the acclamation, Crown Him Lord of all!"
Wow! It plainly teaches something directly contradicting the Bible that: 1 Thessalonians 4:17 "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." This seems to be conditioning people to accept Satan's personation of Christ's second coming.
Jesus' ministry in the Sanctuary not finished until after the Second Coming?!
1911GC ch. 41 "Desolation of the Earth" p.658: "Now the event takes place foreshadowed in the last solemn service of the Day of Atonement. When the ministration in the holy of holies had been completed, and the sins of Israel had been removed from the sanctuary by virtue of the blood of the sin offering, then the scapegoat was presented alive before the Lord; and in the presence of the congregation the high priest confessed over him "all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat." Leviticus 16:21. In like manner, when the work of atonement in the heavenly sanctuary has been completed, then in the presence of God and heavenly angels and the hosts of the redeemed the sins of God's people will be placed upon Satan; he will be declared guilty of all the evil which he has caused them to commit. And as the scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth, an uninhabited and dreary wilderness."
1858GC ch.35 "The Third Message Closed": "As Jesus moved out of the Most Holy place, I heard the tinkling of the bells upon his garment, and as he left, a cloud of darkness covered the inhabitants of the earth. There was then no mediator between guilty man, and an offended God. While Jesus had been standing between God and guilty man, a restraint was upon the people; but when Jesus stepped out from between man and the Father, the restraint was removed, and Satan had the control of man. It was impossible for the plagues to be poured out while Jesus officiated in the Sanctuary; but as his work there is finished, as his intercession closes, there is nothing to stay the wrath of God, and it breaks with fury upon the shelterless head of the guilty sinner, who has slighted salvation, and hated reproof. The saints in that fearful time, after the close of Jesus' mediation, were living in the sight of a holy God, without an intercessor. Every case was decided, every jewel numbered. Jesus tarried a moment in the outer apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary, and the sins which had been confessed while he was in the Most Holy place, he placed back upon the originator of sin, the Devil. He must suffer the punishment of these sins."
Which is it? In the current 1911 Great Controversy is has the sins being put on the scapegoat AFTER the 2nd coming. In the original 1858 Great Controversy, it has the sins being placed on the scapegoat BEFORE the 2nd coming. This one doesn't really seem so important perhaps, but one brother who was adamant about there being NO changes to the SOP suddenly stopped writing to me after i showed him this discrepancy...
What should we do with the SOP?
We should read and study and digest it, make it part of ourselves just as we do the Bible. God saw that Satan's trickiness and lies would get smoother and harder to detect as we got down close to the end of the world, so in his mercy he gave us more detailed instructions thru his messenger - Ellen White. Just because later people who handled her books changed them does not mean that they were originally wrong. What we should do is go back to reading the original books. We should stop reading the adulterated and compiled ones, and excerpts from her unpublished personal writings (or at least we should stop using them as infallible truth). The original books are infallible truth, and will be a testing stone for those of us getting ready to go thru the time of trouble.
Ellen White wrote herself in Testimonies For the Church Volume 11 regarding wearing hoops: "I protest against the perversions of my private conversations on this subject, and ask that what I have written and published be regarded as my settled position."
So we see that her private letters etc. and NOT to be used to decide truth. We are to take only her "Published" writings as being her settled position. Also, as mentioned above, after the editorial committee got busy around 1883, we should be extremely careful with any books purported to be from the pen of Ellen White after that date.