Dear Brother ___________,
Thank you for contacting the Ellen G. White Estate. I assume you are thinking of the account of Will Ross of a supposed conversation with Mrs. White and several others at a railroad depot in Loma Linda. I can share with you a couple of documents, one of them by Arthur L. White, and the other by D. E. Robinson, who is said to have been among the group at the railway station. Here are those documents:
Ellen G. White Publications
Subject: Will Ross Report of Interview with Ellen White on Coming
Prepared by: Arthur L. White
You have made inquiry concerning a report which has come to your
attention relative to a coming storm of persecution as reported by a
Will Ross. One of our brethren who knew Brother Ross has added some
details of the conversation and seeming confirmation.
I would point out that in the first place we are dealing with a
statement based entirely upon the memory of one man. We have recounted
to us from time to time what individuals are quite certain they have
heard Sister White say. We must judge these statements in the light of
what we have from the pen of Ellen White, rather than purely upon the
memory of the individual who makes them. This is especially so if it
comes to us from only one witness. We must say, in a general way, that
we believe that through the years as Mr. Ross ponders the conversation
with Sister White some of these matters have developed in his mind,
bringing in details that were most likely not a part of the
conversation. We say this kindly and without questioning the Christian
experience or the integrity of Brother Ross. But we make the statement
purely on the basis of our knowledge of the frailty of the human memory
and of the particular problems that arise in this given instance.
But before I go into that, let me tell you that for years we have
had to contend with what is the memory of one of our older ministers of
what Sister White is supposed to have said concerning a series of
articles that was written. She is reported as having said to the author
of these articles certain things about the position taken which the
author of the articles denies entirely, and tells us that Sister White
said something entirely different. This does not call in question the
integrity of the men, but it does lead us to be guarded as to that which
is based upon memory.
It is stated in the document you sent to us that Mr. Ross lived
near Ellen White and often walked with her, and the year is given as
1908. This incident was supposed to have taken place at Loma Linda.
According to our records Ellen White was in Loma Linda in the year 1908
from August 27 to September 5, a period of ten days. In 1907 she was at
Loma Linda for a few days in April, two or three weeks in October, and
just a few days in December. These were hurried trips made by Ellen
White. She was residing at her home at Elmshaven. So it could hardly
be said that Mr. Ross lived near Ellen White. Also, these were in the
later years of her life and Ellen White did not do much walking from the
standpoint of walking as exercise at this time. She often went out in a
carriage drive. At this particular time she was 80 years of age.
The point I am endeavoring to make is that as time goes on matters
of this kind tend to blur in the memory. Some things stand out in great
boldness and other things rather disappear. Copies of the statement
from Mr. Ross which we have indicate that this was written out 36 years
after the event which he reports. If this is so, it adds to our problem
of lapse of time and unreliability of memory.
Let's come now to the statement itself and examine it more
carefully. It is stated that in 13 D. E. Robinson, in visiting
Colorado, was contacted by Brother Ross and he was asked if he
remembered "when he and Elder Robinson and Sister McEnterfer were
standing on the depot platform visiting with Sister White, and she
related to them about the terrible windstorm of persecution that was
coming upon the SDA church. Elder Robinson replied, 'Yes, Brother Ross,
I remember it.'" Now, we do not question Elder Robinson's memory of
having a conversation with the people who are named, at the time which
is indicated. But as to the details, we have no witness from Elder
Robinson. Elder Robinson was connected with this office for many years,
and he ever understood the experience of the church in its latter days
to be different from that which is described here.
For these reasons, and for reasons which we shall state, I must
point out that we in this office cannot accept this report as being a
correct representation of what Mrs. White may have said. It is said in
this report that two of Mrs. White's secretaries were present, Sister
McEnterfer and Brother Robinson. Neither of these individuals, in the
years following, said anything about this conversation. I was closely
associated with Elder Robinson, who worked in our office for many years
subsequent to Mrs. White's death, and he did not understand Mrs. White's
teachings at all as they are set forth in this statement which has come
to us based upon memory many years after a conversation.
I am sure that you will understand that we must confine ourselves
to statements Sister White has made in such a form that we know they
have come to us in an authentic manner. She withheld nothing from the
church that the church should have and we need not depend upon someone's
memory for some startling account of that which is to take place,
especially when that account is so at variance with Mrs. White's
Sister White, of course, has written of the storm which is coming.
You will find reference to this in Selected Messages, Book 2, in Chapter
48, under the title "A Work of Purification Needed," beginning on page
376. On page 380, we read these words:
"Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his
power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it
does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be
sifted out--the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a
terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but
those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the
word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true,
without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths."
Selected Messages, Book 2, p. 380.
You are of course familiar with her statement which appears in
Early Writings concerning the shaking time. This begins on page 269.
There is no place in Sister White's writings where she indicates that
the church will be broken up into independent atoms or that its
organization will be destroyed.
There come to my mind such statements as these, found in Selected
Messages, Book 2, pp. 68-69. Speaking of the church, she says,
"I know that the Lord loves His church. It is not to be
disorganized or broken up into independent atoms. There is not
the least consistency in this; there is not the least evidence
that such a thing will be." 2SM, p. 68-9
These words were penned in 1893. In 1907 Ellen White wrote:
"While there have been fierce contentions in the effort to
maintain our distinctive character, yet we have as Bible
Christians ever been on gaining ground." 2SM, pp. 396-7.
In this same book, writing in 1893, Sister White describes several
situations which she was called upon to meet where individuals were
advocating that the church would go to pieces. You will find these on
pages 64-66, but I call attention to one statement in particular. She
"One, Garmire, advocated and published a message in regard to
the loud cry of the third angel; he accused the church in a
similar manner to what you are now doing. He said the leaders in
the church would all fall through self- exaltation, and another
class of humble men would come to the front, who would do
wonderful things. This man had daughters who claimed to have
"This delusion was opened to me. . . .The word of God came
from God to me, 'Believe them not, I have not sent them!"
Then Sister White, in her last message to the General Conference
in session in 1-3, expressed many times her confidence in the triumph
of the church. She made no reference to a situation like that which has
been reported to you in the statement from Brother Ross. Her last
message to the General Conference in session carried the title "Courage
in the Lord." You will find it recorded in Selected Messages, Book 2,
pp. 402-408. But I think particularly of this statement in this
"When in the night season I am unable to sleep, I lift my
heart in prayer to God, and He strengthens me and gives me the
assurance that He is with His ministering servants in the home
field and in distant lands. I am encouraged and blessed as I
realize that the God of Israel is still guiding His people, and
that He will continue to be with them, even to the end." 2SM, p.
I would like to direct your attention, too, to the entire chapter
appearing in Selected Messages, Book 1, beginning on page 176, entitled
"The Peril of Extreme Views." This was written to a Seventh-day
Adventist minister, and she says,
"You will take passages in the Testimonies that speak of the
close of probation, of the shaking among God's people, and you
will talk of a coming out from this people of a purer, holier
people that will arise. Now all this pleases the enemy." 1SM, p.
But turn and read the entire message and you will find that the
whole spirit of this and the other messages from Sister White's pen do
not give support to this report which has come to you as written by Mr.
I am glad that you have written to us about this matter. We ask
that you do not use this letter as a message from Ellen White indicating
the experience which is before the church. We would urge you to turn to
her counsels as we find them in her books. She has not withheld that
which is essential for our welfare or our knowledge of events which are
Arthur L. White
Washington, D. C.
November 22, 1971
Box 664, Loma Linda, Calif.,
October 26, 1955.
Mrs. Leland H. Parker
Walla Walla College,
P. O. Box 412
College Place, Wash.
Dear Sister Parker:
Yesterday I received your letter of inquiry regarding
an alleged statement made by Mrs. White by a Mr. Ross, of
Boulder, Colorado. Am glad that you sought to verify the
statement before accepting it as true in all details. This is in
harmony with her own counsel as set forth in the Chapter in Vol.
5, "Unfounded Reports," the last paragraph of which reads:
"And now to all who have a desire for truth I would
say: Do not give credence to unauthenticated reports as to
what Sister White has done or said or written. If you
desire to know what the Lord has revealed through her, read
her published works. Are there any points of interest
concerning which she has not written, do not eagerly catch
up and report rumors as to what she has said." 5T. p. 696.
Again we read in the same volume: "The worst enemies we
have are those who are trying to destroy the influence of the
watchmen upon the walls of Zion." Id. p. 294.
"False reports will be circulated, and some will be
taken in this snare. They will believe these rumors, and in
their turn will repeat them, and thus a link will be formed
connecting them with the arch-deceiver." Id. p. 295.
I can say unqualifiedly not only that I do not remember
any such statement ever having been made in my presence, or found
in the manuscripts which as one of Mrs. White's secretaries it
was my privilege to copy on the typewriter or to edit, or to
index. You will notice that this statement is all in quotation
marks, as though it is a verbatim report. If so it must have
been taken down in shorthand. It is unthinkable that I could
have reported this and would not remember it, or would not have
copied it, in which case it would be found among the manuscripts,
all of which were preserved and indexed.
I would suggest that instead, however, of telling your
friend who reported this to you what I have written, that he ask
Mr. Ross for more details of the incident. Were Miss McEnterfer
and I the only ones present at the interview? If others who were
they? Where were the words allegedly spoken? In her home? If
so in what room, etc.? If he would give more particulars, it
might be possible for me to write more specifically than this.
Not only do I feel certain that she did not make such a
prediction, but I know that it is not in harmony with her own
attitude toward the work, nor in her confidence in the leaders of
the church up until the time of her death. Elder Daniells was
named specifically by her as one in whom she had confidence, and
whom she appointed as one of five to act as a board of trustees
of her writings after her death.
This is only one of many reported utterances of
startling import which Mrs. White is alleged to have said, but it
is one of the most malignant.
Yours very truly,
(Signed) D. E. Robinson
I hope this will be helpful to you. Thank you for writing, and God bless!
Ellen G. White Estate
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600 U.S.A.
Phone: 301 680-6550
FAX: 301 680-6559