Most apparent problems are based on a small number of fallacies. While this section demonstrates the most important principles to employ to arrive at a proper understanding of Ellen White’s writings, the following sections will apply them on real examples. More answers can be found in the Library.
1. Read the Sources and Don’t Rely on Eyewitness Accounts
Nobody has a perfect memory and is safe from misunderstandings. As a consequence, we don’t always properly quote others or understand them correctly. So whether we’re quoting Ellen White from memory today, or whether pioneers told a story they experienced, there is no way of knowing whether or not all the fact are accurate. This is why we always have to go to the source – the Bible and the writings of Ellen White – which we believe to be inspired by God. This will resolve many apparent discrepancies. Unless this is possible, we should be wary of accepting a claim as plain truth.
2. Collect All the Information
We all know very well that there can be many different perspectives on one and the same issue. People also tend to present matters in ways favorable to their own understanding by leaving out or adding important facts. Oftentimes there is nothing wrong with this, but it can lead to truth being twisted. It is therefore important not only to verify, but also to gather additional information that might shed light on the issue at hand.
3. Study the Context and Keep the Big Picture in Mind
The statement “There’s the door” has an entirely different meaning depending on whether it’s said to the painter that came to your house or to a coworker after a heated discussion. It is therefore not surprising that many statements from Ellen White seem ambiguous or troubling when stripped from their context. On the other hand, many strange quotes make perfect sense as soon as we heed the context.