Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Friday, September 14, 2007

Here we stand or here we lie

When I get time I am going to post a few articles on Doug Batchelor’s Here We Stand series. It is interesting to see the fundamentalist perspective after listening to Dave Thomas’ Forum lecture. More on that later. For now here is one of the many items that are gross inaccuracies Mr. Batchelor uses. In this case the research has already been done by others so it is easy to show Batchelor’s deception or ignorance.

At about minute 57 in his lecture Messenger for a Movement Doug puts forth a rather old story which just listening to it you sense it is wrong, here is what he says speaking of Ellen White’s book the Desire of Ages:

“Matter of fact the Library of Congress in the United States, where there are probably hundreds of different volumes written on the life of Christ. Stated years ago that of all the this person had read that the Desire of Ages was the most beautiful and most eloquent book and most Biblically accurate demonstration of the life of Christ.”

The way it is presented it has the earmarks of an urban legend, an appeal to authority, the Library of Congress which then degrades into some unknown person. Fortunately there is a website which deals with this Adventist myth. From the website under the heading The Desire of Ages Library of Congress Myth We read the following:

It was often said by SDA pastors, "that the Library of Congress recommended the The Desire of Ages written by Ellen G. White, over other books written on the life of Christ." The conferences had drives for local churches to contact the managers of the major motels in the their city to try to get The Desire of Ages in every motel room. We were to use the Library of Congress statement to promote the book to the motel managers.

It was after leaving the SDA church that I found that it was not the Library of Congress that promoted Desire of Ages, but a former SDA Pastor who went to work for the Library of Congress. His name is, Wells E. Bement, born February 7, 1891 and died December 26, 1977. He was a 1922 graduate of Washington Missionary College and served briefly in India, was dean and Bible teacher at Atlantic Union College and later worked in educational and MV work as director.

Bement's letter was a personal letter in answer Mr. Nicolas Chaij's questions. The letter was not written on the Library of Congress stationary and was not the opinion of the Library of Congress.

[See the website for a copy of the letter]

It was dishonest for the Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders to mislead its members to believe that the The Desire of Ages was held in such high regard as "one of the best books on the life of Christ" or words to that effect in the Library of Congress and not tell them this glowing report was by a former SDA pastor and that it was his personal opinion.

Mr. Bement was no doubt prejudiced in his selection of The Desire of Ages over other books in the library, being a loyal diehard Ellen G. White fan. Most SDAs would also pick The Desire of Ages as their favorite book.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church should have written to the Library of Congress to get their official opinion. This would have been the honest thing to do and then report their findings to the church members instead of misleading them.


Anonymous said...

One really has to wonder about D.B.. Just a good salesman? Willfully ignorant? Just trusting?

The Saints do love him.

Dick Larsen

Anonymous said...

It's also rather dishonest, IMO, to use the title "Here we stand". It is a version of the saying by Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms when asked to recant his writings: "Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against [one's own] conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."

It's my understanding from my own research that Ellen White's writings seriously misrepresent Luther. Furthermore, I'm not sure that Luther would have agreed with SDA theology. Ironic, then, to call an SDA-based show "Here We Stand".

Just one person's opinion...

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't your link show at least a copy of Bement's original letter?

Kevin Morgan said...

These kind of oversights can happen whenever a fact is repeated without sufficient context. Certainly we need to repeat the statement with sufficient background to let people know who it was who said it and what his inclination was. Yet, describing it as "dishonest" means that you KNOW of a certainty that the one who repeated it was fully aware of this context yet intentionally disregarded it to fool someone.

People don't need the testimony of Bement to know how good THE DESIRE OF AGES is. All they have to do is read it.

Bement's statement reveals that he was NOT merely speaking for himself. He ended his statement by saying, "I will say that the Desire of Ages is well thought of in the Library of Congress."

Ellen G. White Estate documents make the context plain:

The inquiry letter is found at:
Bement's original letter is found at:

Kevin Morgan
author of WHITE LIE SOAP

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mr Morgan for clearing up all the foolishness.