The Racism of Ellen White


I have already covered in an older post Ellen White’s teachings on non-white races being part animal in her eyes.  For more on that click HERE.  In addition to that there are some other curious statements that she makes which I think should be considered.

Take a close look at the quotations I have assembled below, they don’t really need much analysis, make up your own mind as you read them.


“You are the children of God. He has adopted you, and He desires you to form characters here that will give you entrance into the heavenly family. Remembering this, you will be able to bear the trials which you meet here. In heaven there will be no color line; for all will be as white as Christ himself. Let us thank God that we can be members of the royal family.”. Gospel Herald March 1, 1901, par. 20.  Mrs. E.G. White in a talk given to the Vicksburg church for the colored, Sabbath, March 16, 1901, Gospel Herald


Since we don’t know what Jesus looked like, pictures of him irrespective of skin color are simply a confession of the incarnation.  The picture itself is not to be taken literally.




Ellen White however seems to believe that Christ is literally white skinned and that black people can aspire to also having white skin one day when they get to heaven.  I don’t even have the words for how dumb and offensive this is.


 That’s just the tip of the iceberg though keep reading….


“The cities of the South are to be worked, and for this work the best talent is to be secured, and that without delay. Let white workers labor for the white people, proclaiming the message of present truth in its simplicity. They will find openings through which they may reach the higher class. Every opportunity for reaching this class is to be improved.

Let colored laborers do what they can to keep abreast, working earnestly for their own people. I thank God that among the colored believers there are men of talent who can work efficiently for their own people, presenting the truth in clear lines. There are many colored people of precious talent who will be converted to the truth if our colored ministers are wise in devising ways of training teachers for the schools and other laborers for the field.

The colored people should not urge that they be placed on an equality with white people. The relation of the two races has been a matter hard to deal with, and I fear that it will ever remain a most perplexing problem. So far as possible, everything that would stir up the race prejudice of the white people should be avoided. There is danger of closing the door so that our white laborers will not be able to work in some places in the South.

I know that if we attempt to meet the ideas and preferences of some of the colored people, we shall find our way blocked completely. The work of proclaiming the truth for this time is not to be hindered by an effort to adjust the position of the Negro race. Should we attempt to do this we should find that barriers like mountains would be raised to hinder the work that God desires to have done.” – Ellen White, Testimonies, Vol 9, Pg 214

“Where demanded by custom or where greater efficiency is to be gained, let the white believers and the colored believers assemble in separate places of worship.” Ellen White, Testimonies, Vol 9, Pg 208

“Opportunities are continually presenting themselves in the Southern States, and many wise, Christian colored men will be called to the work. But for several reasons white men must be chosen as leaders.” – Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 202

“No one is capable of clearly defining the proper position of the colored people.” – Ellen White, Testimonies Vol. 9, page 213 paragraph 4

“God cannot take to heaven the slave who has been kept in ignorance and degradation, knowing nothing of God or the bible, learning  nothing but his master’s lash, and holding a lower position than the brutes, but He does the best thing for him that a compassionate God can do.  He permits him to be as though he had never been.”  Ellen G. White Early Writings, pg. 276.  VS. the bible “All shall stand before the Judgement seat of God”!  Who is lying here?  Ellen G. White or John the Revelator?
“But there is an objection to the marriage of the white race with the black. All should consider that they have no right to entail upon their offspring that which will place them at a disadvantage; they have no right to give them as a birthright a condition which would subject them to a life of humiliation. The children of these mixed marriages have a feeling of bitterness toward the parents who have given them this lifelong inheritance. For this reason, if there were no other, there should be no intermarriage between the white and the colored race.” – Ellen White, Manuscript 7, 1896. Selected Messages Book 2, page 343, paragraph 2

“In reply to inquiries regarding the advisability of intermarriage between Christian young people of the white and black races, I will say that in my earlier experience this question was brought before me, and the light given me of the Lord was that this step should not be taken; for it is sure to create controversy and confusion. I have always had the same counsel to give. No encouragement to marriages of this character should be given among our people. Let the colored brother enter into marriage with a colored sister who is worthy, one who loves God, and keeps His commandments. Let the white sister who contemplates uniting in marriage with the colored brother refuse to take this step, for the Lord is not leading in this direction. Time is too precious to be lost in controversy that will arise over this matter. Let not questions of this kind be permitted to call our ministers from their work. The taking of such a step will create confusion and hindrance. It will not be for the advancement of the work or for the glory of God”. – Ellen White, Letter 36, 1912. Selected Messages, Book 2, page 344, paragraphs 1,2.

“You have no license from God to exclude the colored people from places of worship. Treat them as Christ’s property, which they are, just as much as yourselves. They should hold membership in the church with the white brethren. Every effort should be made to wipe out the terrible wrong [slavery] which has been done them. At the same time we must not carry things to extremes and run into fanaticism on this question. Some would think it right to throw down every partition wall and intermarry with the colored people, but this is not the right thing to teach or practice.” – Ellen White, The Southern Work, p. 15


The teachings that she presents in the above quotations are repugnant in our day and age, but it would be fair to say she was middle of the road in her time.  She was taking a stand against slavery but supporting Jim Crow esque separation and forbidding inter-racial marriage.

The problem is that she ascribes these revelations as given to her by God.  The very God who teaches that all are equal.


There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:28 ESV 


Would we not expect a little more prophetic insight and objectivity if her revelations were truly from God?  Would we not expect her teachings to be in line with scripture?  Instead she seeks to put “colored” people in a place that is convenient for her in the time she lived.  It’s very sad and should be condemned as the garbage that it is.





About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
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19 Responses to The Racism of Ellen White

  1. Isaac Lemuel says:

    This is not right at all.Racism is highly condemned .Christ died for the whole world and when he did that he knew that there are also black people.Thats why salvation includes both greeks and gentiles,the slaves and the free men

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, there lies the root of the racist attitudes of most white Adventists. believe me most are Blacks hating Donald Trump supporters.


    • ACTheologian says:

      I think they hide most of these quotes. I had to go digging to find them. Not saying SDA don’t struggle with racism, I don’t think anyone is untouched by it.

      That said, this shows that Ellen White wasn’t special.


  3. R D Stockdale says:

    I’m not a SDA but your prejudice against them has harden your heart. You’re putting words in Miss E. White mouth that she didn’t say, by not saying what she meant, you’ll be accountable for every word from your mouth. I’m trying to find the truth about her and all I get from non-SDA’s is a pack of misinterpretations and misrepresentations of Ellen G White because of people’s prejudice against the Seventh Day Adventist. We are talking about the children of God, that’s no minor offense, you better speak the truth and nothing but the truth. We seem to go with the majority of the people and justify ourselves because they agree with what ever we are trying to prove, remember those are the religious people who put a Christ on the cross. I know that the SDA’s don’t teach that you are saved because of your works but through Jesus Christ, but we need to keep the law: and we know the Law we’ll never change; Christ was The sacrifice and only sacrifice we need to be saved. Do a deep study on the The fourth commandment and ask your self why would it change and why didn’t the church mention it in bible “that would’ve steered up an outbreak, would’ve been whole chapters about it”. It didn’t change, it’s important to not change God’ word.


  4. B.s. says:

    “All are equal.” As for me, this means that all are equal to the gift of salvation and precious to God. He sent His Son to die for all. I won’t read too much further into it.


    • ACTheologian says:

      I would not understand “equal” in an ethnic sense to mean “the same in all things”. I just mean it as equal in the sense of equal value to God. I think that Ellen White’s comments reflect a view of different races being of different value.

      For example, the notion that black people become white when they go to heaven to me conveys an ontological distinction between the two that requires rectification when we are glorified on the last day. I think that in this statement (and others) she is not presenting black people and white people as equal in God’s eyes. Fair enough?


  5. I just read today EGW daily devotional -it was on marriage. One of the points EGW makes is that marriage preserves the purity iof the race. Seema to me her racism is inherent.


  6. Duana P Williams says:

    See this is where All who place humans above Christ lands; in a sea of confusion hate, bitterness depression, and despondency. judgemental, and illicit the same emotional despair from all who would let go of that sure anchor in Christ Jesus, to ride along to destruction. Ellen G. White spoke the truth in her day. When I read her writings I remember the times in which she wrote and the issues she faced in the same, and I understand without prejudice. I ask the question, ” What would you have done differently in those times to get the message of the gospel to every nation and tongue? How would you have handled the different classes of people in educating them, preparing them to be “fishers of men?
    We have come a long way as Black people, people of color, Christians, SDA’s. We still have a message to put out and we have a stronger more beautiful foundation to stand on from the sufferings and struggles of those pioneers, who sacrificed so much of their lives for this day. The only way to win souls to Christ is to make sure our election and calling is sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ACTheologian says:

      You don’t expect a prophet to speak outside of their time with some kind of prophetic authority?

      Consider Jeremiah. In his day he spoke the truth in spite of its lack of popularity. He warned of the captivity even though false prophets have a happier message that was more popular at the time. Because his message was from God it rings true today in hindsight.

      Does Ellen Whites message ring true in hindsight on this racist stuff?

      If you believe teaching black people become white when they get to heaven is necessary to proclaim the gospel to a racist generation then your view of the gospel is very weak.

      The scripture says that preaching the word gives faith to the hearer (Rom 10:17) and that faith is a gift (eph 2:8)

      When the gospel is preached (1 Cor 15:1-4) we can expect faith to be given by God to the hearer. We don’t have to sugar coat it our couch it in their terms or culture. You toss the seed and Matt 13 happens. Simple as that.

      By the way, gospel has nothing to do with teaching people the health message or the sabbath. The gospel is that Jesus died and rose three days later to forgive you for your sins. How many examples can you give me of Ellen White preaching that? It’s not even a main theme let’s be honest. And even when its mentioned it comes packaged with caveats and exceptions.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Keith Kennard says:

    This is truly sad. Hebrew is an African language and the middle east was ancient Africa and Shem passed as Ham, the progenitor of the black race. She uses the same language as the curse of ham, yet black people have bloodline to the ancients who wrote the bible, but her racism sees us no more than brutes. Slavery dehumanized African people and many came to this country with a belief in an Abrahamic faith either Judaism or Islam, but to her the racism of the time we had no value and needed to be Christianized due to racial inferiority. Satan has deceived the whole world and the Catholic church along with Protestants were implicit in the slave trade to increase their wealth. Papal Bull 1452 called for enslaving African people.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. sala says:

    Ellen G. White’s writings are based on what she saw in the visions from God. Be careful God will judge the words and the thoughts you have for His prophet EGW.


  9. oceanblueamz says:

    My wife is half Mescalero Apache, and half Mexican. She has been SDA all of her life, as is her entire family and extended family (except for me). She identifies culturally as white, kept a 4.0+ high school GPA to get scholarships to white universities, and if you only knew her on the phone you’d think she’s white. But obviously, she isn’t white. Over the years, I’ve come to learn probably everything there is to know about her and her history. So much of it has to do with her parents and grandparents pushing the idea that you have to “beat them [the white people] at their game,” and how the whole non-white world must suffer the trials of fitting in. Ha – I’m a German-born white dude, and I always have trouble fitting in.
    The idea (that Ellen was white) is ridiculous. I mean, it is good to excel at every undertaking, but there are plenty of nonwhites who did throughout history, and the 200 years of the black slave trade was a fairly short stint compared to the 700 year Moorish subjection of Europe (711 AD – 1492 AD), but you don’t hear any Europeans looking for reparations.
    Anyway, sorry about the tangent, but Ellen was a light-skinned negro. She was so embarrassed of being black that she even made up that ridiculous story about the rock to her nose. And by the way, nothing that she ever said was prophetic. All of her books are basically summaries, reviews, and essays that pretty much repeat what she read, but in her words, and she writes about her stroke like it was some sort of a divine experience. It’s typical to start being very wordy upon recovery, especially if the stroke damage the left hemisphere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ACTheologian says:

      I think if you put her in her day she was actually quite the moderate on this stuff. That said, shouldn’t we expect her to speak with prophetic authority with an out of time perspective if she’s supposed to be a prophet? And that’s basically what I’m getting at here. She’s not teaching God’s Word on these issues. She’s expressing a human opinion at best.


  10. Kunda says:

    “As Adam came forth from the hand of his Creator he was of noble height and of beautiful symmetry. He was more than twice as tall as men now living upon the earth, and was well proportioned. His features were perfect and beautiful. His COMPLEXION was NEITHER WHITE nor SALLOW, but RUDDY, glowing with the rich tint of health. Eve was not quite as tall as Adam. Her head reached a little above his shoulders. She, too, was noble, perfect in symmetry, and very beautiful.
    This sinless pair wore no artificial garments. They were clothed with a covering of light and glory, such as the angels wear. While they lived in obedience to God, this circle of light enshrouded them STORY OF REDEMPTION, SR 20.2 – SR 21.1


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