It has been since October 22, 1844
Home >> 240 Amazing Facts >> Prophet or Profit?
Another Amazing Fact

Exposing Adventism - Prophet or Profit?

As James White commented to her in one of his letters, there was wealth in their pens.

"Our financial matters stand well, and there is wealth yet in our pens." (James White, Letter to Ellen White, Feb. 18, 1881)

She also jealously guarded her book royalties:

With reference to my book, I desire to say that I am not complaining because I think the office has been receiving too much for publishing it, but because I am not satisfied with the income it brings to me. Some plan should have been devised whereby more than fifteen cents royalty per copy would come to me. I do not remember that I was ever consulted regarding this matter. I thought that my brethren would guard my interests as sacredly as they would their own interests or the interests of the office. I know where to apply means to help the cause fully as well as my brethren know where to apply my means for me. (Manuscript Releases, Vol 20, p. 48)

Hereafter I cannot put implicit confidence in all the plans you devise and execute, so far as my work is concerned. I will keep on the lookout for a manager, and when I find one who is suitable, I will employ him. I will not trust my book interests with my good brethren who plan in such a way that a certain portion of the profit is taken off by this one and by that one, and only a very small portion is left for me. (Manuscript Releases, Vol 20, p. 49)

Mrs. White received a salary that was larger than was paid to most ministers in the denomination. In addition, she received pay for all the articles she wrote for denominational papers. (Interestingly enough, most other authors contributed their articles gratuitously). The Whites peddled various other merchandise, such as religious pictures. When the "Reform Dress" was being pushed by the Whites in the early 1860s, Mrs. White went to the various churches and sold paper dress patterns for a dollar apiece. This was during the civil war when money was in extremely short supply. In year 2005 dollars that is approximately $20 a pattern!

Mrs. White had patterns of the dress, coat and pants cut out of paper. These she advertised in the Review, took with her wherever she went, and sold for one dollar each! She thus pocketed quite a nice sum of easy money. She strongly urged that these paper patterns of hers be obtained by all. She says:

"I shall have patterns prepared to take with me as we travel, ready to hand out to our sisters whom we shall meet, or to send by mail to all who may order them. Our address will be given in the Review. . . Old garments may be cut over after a correct pattern. . . I beg of you, sisters, not to form your patterns after your own particular ideas" (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 522)
The only correct pattern was hers, the one she advertised in the church paper, carried with her everywhere she went, made out of cheap paper, and handed out to the sisters at only one dollar each! Many a poor sister who could ill afford it paid the dollar.

We must remember that Mrs. White lived in an era before the United States' government invented the Personal Income Tax and the Social Security Tax! Therefore, the Whites were able to keep the vast majority of their income.

Unlike Jesus, the apostles, and many of the Biblical prophets who were often poor and desolate, Mrs. White lived a life reserved for the wealthiest of her day:
Our Observation


See Also
Public Comments


Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this ExposingAdventism.com website is 2007-2008 by Gilbert Jorgensen. Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.