D M CANRIGHT

(Investigator 156, 2014 May)



INTRODUCTION


Dudley M Canright (1840–1919) was a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) for 28 years (1860-1888), an ordained minister of theirs for 22 years, and a "foremost leader". He then became their most informed opponent.


FROM DEFENDER TO OPPONENT

In 1887 Canright was still criticizing the critics:
DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS: It is a sad, but well known fact, that during the whole history of this message from the first to the last, there have arisen here and there, now and then, among our own brethren and sisters, those who have taken occasion to murmur and complain, and find fault with various things in the work. Quite generally this murmuring has centered upon Bro. and Sr. White, or their labors in some way… (Review And Herald, March 15, 1887)

The following year he left the SDAs and joined the Baptists. In a tract titled The Truth About Seventh-Day Adventism And Its Founders Canright starts off:
D. M. Canright was one of the foremost leaders of Seventh-Day Adventism in his day – Professor of Theology in their college; Associate Editor of their church periodical; writer of lessons for all their Sabbath Schools; had charge of 18 churches in Michigan. In 1876-77 he was one of the General Conference Committee of Three which had control of all Seventh-Day Adventist work in the world. God delivered him from this cult and he wrote the book, "Seventh-Day Adventism Renounced" (1889)…

Canright's final book, published after his death, is Life of Mrs. E. G. White (1919). It has the following chapters:
1.    Introduction
2.    The Great Denominational Test
3.    Claims Made For Her Writings
4.    Brief Sketch of her Life
5.    Where Now Is Their "Spirit of Prophecy"?
6.    Erroneous Views Concerning The Sanctuary
7.    The Shut Door, Or Probation For Sinners Ended Oct. 22, 1844
8.    Damaging Writings Suppressed
9.    Philosophy Of Her Visions
10.    A Great Plagiarist
11.    Used Her Gift To Get Money
12.    Her High Aims Disproved
13.    First Visions Childish
14.    Editor Smith Rejected Her Testimonies
15.    Her Prophecies Fail
16.    Claimed To Reveal Secret Sins
17.    Influenced To Write Testimonies
18.    Broke The Sabbath Nine Years
19.    The Reform Dress
20.    Her False Vision About The Planets
21.    "Give Sunday To The Lord"
22.    Conclusion

Chapters 15 and 20 and 22 are here reprinted:


Chapter XV

HER PROPHECIES FAIL



MRS. WHITE and her followers claim that she had the "spirit of prophecy" from December, 1844, to the end of her life, August, 1915—seventy one years. During these long years she wrote over twenty volumes. All this time she claimed that the future was being revealed to her, and predicted what would happen. Here her claims can be examined and tested.

God's prophets foretold definite things to occur; named persons and cities, and told what would happen to each, and when. Joseph foretold the seven years of plenty and seven years of famine (Gen. 41); Samuel told Saul that the kingdom would be taken from him and given to another (1 Sam. 15: 28); Isaiah named Cyrus two hundred years before he was born (Isa. 44:28); Jeremiah foretold the fall of Babylon (Jer. 51); Daniel prophesied regarding the rise and fall of Babylon, Medo Persia, Greece and Rome (Dan. 2 and 7); Jesus warned of the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24); Agabus fore¬told what would happen to Paul at Jerusalem (Acts 21:10, 11). Scores of such cases could be given.

But where are the fulfilled predictions of Mrs. White during her seventy one years of prophesying? What definite events did she foretell to occur at definite times and to definite cities? Where are these prophecies? Nowhere in all her numerous volumes.

At first she did venture to foretell a few things definitely, but they all failed. After that she invariably put everything in general terms, not venturing to name definitely any persons or cities or places or time. She predicted numerous floods, storms, earthquakes, wars, etc., all in general terms. Any one could do that safely, without any prophetic gift. If she really had the spirit of prophecy, that should have been the outstanding feature of her books. Instead of this, her "Testimonies" and other books are devoted almost wholly to personal matters, expositions of the Bible, and to practical subjects regarding Christian conduct and duty, the same as any intelligent religious teacher, could write.

Once in her early work she did venture to predict the curse of God upon a definite person, Moses Hull. In 1862 he was about to give up his faith in Adventism. Mrs. White wrote him thus: "If you proceed in the way you have started, misery and woe are before you. God's hand will arrest you in a manner that will not suit you. His wrath will not slumber" ("Testimonies for the Church," Vol. L, pp. 430, 431). Mr. Hull lived on many long years to a ripe old age, and noth¬ing of the kind predicted happened. After this she threatened many, but always in general terms.


PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR.

The Civil War of 1861 65 placed Seventh-day Adventists in a trying position. They could not engage in war and keep the Sabbath. The draft threatened them. Now, what? I was one of them, twenty years old —the right age to go to war. So I remember it all distinctly.

Something had to be done. We hoped Mrs. White would have a revelation. And she did have — several of them, covering thirty pages of printed matter in Volume I. of "Testimonies for the Church." At the time, we read these revelations with great anxiety, hoping for light ahead. We were disappointed. They simply told just what everybody already knew, reflecting the sentiments of those opposed to the Government and the war.

It was a forced attempt to say something when she had nothing to tell. Read in the light of today, it is seen to be mere guesswork, mostly wrong. She says, "It was necessary that something be said" ("Testimonies," Vol. I., p. 356). It was all directed to us, a little handful of about ten thousand, half women, none of any influence in the Government or in the war. Bible prophets went directly to the king and told him how to conduct the war, and what the end would be.

Our prophet had no such message. She says: "Jan. 4, 1862, I was shown some things in regard to our nation" (p. 253). It is all a bitter denunciation of Lincoln's administration and his management of the war. Every move had been wrong, and only defeat was prophesied. But the verdict of history is that Lincoln was one of the wisest and most successful men who ever led a nation through a crisis. The whole world honors him. With the most tremendous odds against him on the start, he conducted the war to a glorious victory, preserved the union, freed the slaves, and benefited even the South. During the dark hours of that awful struggle, how he needed the encouragement of a prophet of God, if there was one, as Mrs. White claimed to be. But her whole message was one of opposition, faultfinding, condemnation, and a prophecy of defeat and final failure — exactly that of the opponents of Lincoln and his management of the war. Listen to her:

"The rebellion was handled so carefully, so slowly, that many…joined the Southern Confederacy who would not, had prompt and thorough measures been carried out by our Government at an early period… How little has been gained! Thousands have been induced to enlist with the understanding that this war was to exterminate slavery; but now that they are fixed, they find that they have been deceived; that the object of this war is not to abolish slavery, but to preserve it as it is." "The war is not to do away with slavery, but merely to preserve the Union" (pp. 254, 258).

This was only a few months after the war began. Like her, some unwise hotheads urged Lincoln to immediately declare slavery abolished. General Fremont had to be removed from his command because he began that very thing in the West. It was premature. The general sentiment of the nation was not ready for it. Lincoln only waited and watched for the proper time. Then it was a success. Now all see the wisdom of his course.

Mrs. White goes on: "They [the soldiers] inquire, ‘If we succeed in quelling the rebellion, what has been gained?' They can only answer discouragingly, ‘Nothing'" (p. 255) Fine language to encourage Mr. Lincoln, the soldiers and the North in the dark hour of their need!

She continues: "The system of slavery, which has ruined our nation, is left to live and stir up another rebellion" (same page). A plain, false prophecy. No such thing happened, as all now know.

Again: "The prospects before our nation are discouraging" (same page). Yes, as far as humans could see. But she claimed to have divine revelations of the future. Had her claim been true, she would have seen the victory at the end, disproving her words.

Hear her again in the same gloomy tone: "As this war was shown to me, it looked like the most singular and uncertain that has ever occurred… It seems impossible to have the war conducted successfully" (p. 256). Yes, to her it was uncertain, impossible to succeed. But was that all God new about it?—all he could tell her?

Remember, she is writing by God's inspiration; writing the words he tells her! Everything she writes, whether in a private letter or newspaper article, she says, is inspired. Thus: "God was speaking through clay… In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper, expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in visions—the precious rays of light shining from the throne" ("Testimonies," Vol. V., p. 67). There you have it, Simon pure—every word she writes is a ray of light from the throne of God! So, to God it was an uncertain war, impossible to succeed! So the Lord must have been greatly surprised when it did really succeed!

Mr. Lincoln, in his need, asked the prayers of all Christians, and appointed days of fasting and prayer. Of these Mrs. White said: "I saw that these national fasts were an insult to Jehovah… A national fast is proclaimed! Oh, what an insult to Jehovah!" ("Testimonies," Vol. I., p. 257). That was the way she sympathized with Mr. Lincoln and the nation in the hour of need.

A day before the awful battle of Gettysburg, on which the destiny of the nation would turn, Mr. Lincoln spent the night in agonizing prayer to almighty God. So his biographer testifies. But neither Mrs. White nor any of her followers offered a single prayer for him or the nation. I was with her—and with them—and know. During the entire twenty eight years I was an Adventist I never offered one prayer for the President, for Congress, for a Governor, or any one in authority. I never heard Mrs. White, Elder White, or any one of them, do it. I have often attended their large meetings since then, but have never heard a prayer offered for any Government official. Yet one of the plainest commands of the gospel is that we should pray for kings, rulers and all in au¬thority (1 Tim. 2:1, 2). Since Mrs. White died, Adventists have begun to pray for Government officials.

Again Mrs. White said: "This nation will yet be humbled into the dust… When England does declare war, all nations will have an interest of their own to serve, and there will be general war" (p. 259). For awhile this is what seemed probable, and what was feared; but it never came. Here, again, her prophecy was a complete failure. Our nation was not humbled into the dust. England did not declare war. All along it is clear that Mrs. White simply saw things just as circumstances at the time seemed to indicate, and wrote as those around her talked. If it had been true, as she claimed, that she was not writing any of this out of her own mind, but was simply recording what God told her, would he have told her that way? Did not the Lord know that England would not declare war? Surely. If her predictions were not reliable then, they are not now. If she was not God's prophet then, she never was at any time.

Here is another blunder: "Had our nation remained united, it would have had strength; but divided, it must fall" (p. 260). No such thing happened. It was not divided, nor did it fall. Did not the Lord know better than that? Yes. But she did not.

Mrs. White interpreted the Civil War as a sign of the end of the world, just as Adventists have been interpreting the European war. She says: "The scenes of earth's history are fast closing" (p. 260). Under the heading, "The Rebellion," she says: "The one all important inquiry which should now engross the mind of every one is, Am I pre¬pared for the day of God? Time will last a little longer" (p. 363).

Since then a generation has gone.  Mrs. White, Elder White, and nearly all who then preached and heard that warning, are laid away. They needed no such warning, for they did not live to see that day, as she then predicted. Failure, failure, failure is marked by ineradicable letters against all her predictions.

Notice now how she forbade her followers taking any part in sustaining the Government in the struggle to save the Union and free the slaves. "I was shown [that is, the Lord showed her] that God's people, who are his peculiar treasure, can not engage in this perplexing war, for it is opposed to every principle of their faith" (p. 361). Hence not a single Seventh day Adventist took any part in the effort to save the Union and free the slaves—not so much as to go as nurses. Had all the people done that way, the nation would have been divided, and slavery would be with us now.

During those dark days of the Civil War, Mrs. White privately warned our married people not to have any more children. Time was so short, and the seven last plagues were so soon to fall, that children born then would never grow to maturity, she said, and would be liable to perish. But children born since then are now grandparents!

The horrors of the great Civil War, she, in her vivid imagination, interpreted as proof that the end of the world was right at hand, as already stated. In the same manner she interpreted the great war and revolution in Europe in 1848. It will be remembered that in that year there was quite a general war in Europe, in which several nations were engaged. In January, 1849, Elder Bates pub¬lished a pamphlet entitled "Seal of the Living God." He interpreted that war as the beginning of Daniel's time of trouble. (Dan. 12: 1), and as fulfilling Rev. 11:18: "The nations were angry, and thy wrath is come." On page 48 of his pamphlet he says: "The time of trouble, such as never was (Dan. 12: 1), has begun." In proof of this he names several of the powers at war, thus: "Prussia, Hanover, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples, Venice, Lombardy, Tuscany, Rome, Austria," etc. On page 15 he says: "And now the trouble has began, what is our duty?" On pages 24 and 26 he relates how, while he and others were discussing this question, Mrs. White had a vision in which she saw the same thing! She said: "The time of trouble has commenced, it is begun. The trouble will never end until the earth is rid of the wicked."

Elder Bates then says: "The above was copied word for word as she spoke in vision, therefore it is unadulterated."

Notice here, again, how she is influenced by Bates to see in vision just what he was arguing in her presence. Both were wrong.

Aug. 3, 1861, Mrs. White had a vision in which she was shown the Civil War, then just fairly begun. She says:

"I was shown the inhabitants of earth in the utmost confusion. War, bloodshed, privation, want, famine and pestilence were abroad in the land ("Testimonies," Vol. I., p, 268).

This was exactly what all faultfinders at that date predicted—famine and pestilence. But nothing of the kind happened. There was no famine, no pestilence. Her predictions utterly failed. Where, then, did she get that "vision"? Not from God, surely, but from the ideas of those around her, the same as she got all her "visions." The event proved this.



Chapter XX

HER FALSE VISION ABOUT THE PLANETS



AS previously stated, Elder Joseph Bates first met Elder White and his wife in 1846. He was keeping the Sabbath, and urged it upon them. Neither saw any great importance in it at first, but nominally accepted it to please Bates, as it was important to gain his influence. Mrs. White was having visions which Bates did not believe were of God; but they were anxious to convince him that they were genuine. Bates had been a sea captain, and had consequently studied the stars; had, in fact, become enthusiastic about astronomy. In the presence of Mrs. White and others he had often talked about the different planets, their positions, moons, and the "opening heavens." In his book, "The Great Second Advent Movement," page 260, Elder J. N. Loughborough, Mrs. White's great exponent and apologist, quotes a Mrs. Truesdale thus:

"We all knew that Captain Bates was a great lover of astronomy, as he would often locate many of the heavenly bodies for our instruction."

Mrs. White seemed to pay no attention to the subject, or to have any interest in it. But soon she had a vision about the various planets, which is thus told by Loughborough on page 258 of his book just quoted:

"One evening at the conference above mentioned [Topsham, Maine, 1846], in the house of Mr. Curtis, and in the presence of Elder (Captain) Bates, who was yet undecided in regard to these manifestations, Mrs. White, while in vision, began to talk about the stars, giving a glow¬ing description of the rosy tinted belts which she saw across the surface of some planet, and added, ‘I see four moons.' ‘Oh,' said Elder Bates, I she is viewing Jupiter.' Then, having made motions as though traveling through space, she began giving descriptions of belts and rings in their ever-varying beauty, and said, ‘I see eight moons.' ‘She is describing Saturn.' Next came a description of Uranus with his six moons, then a wonderful description of the ‘opening heavens.' "  

This was sufficient, and accomplished its purpose. Elder Bates was convinced, and became a firm believer in the visions.

But what are the facts? Mrs. White simply saw what her companions at the time generally believed and talked about. Had God given her that view about the planets and the number of moons to each he would have given her the correct number in each case, and thus she would have revealed what astronomers at the time did not know, but later discovered. This would have proved her vision to be of God. But, blundering as she did, proves that the Lord was not in it.

This vision was like all the rest of her revelations; she simply saw what others at the time had studied out and believed and talked about. Whether she pretended to see all this to win Elder Bates, or whether she really imagined she saw it, the fact remains that her statement of the number of moons to each planet was incorrect, and not in harmony with what we now know to be the truth about them. Here cold facts which can not be denied prove her revelations to be wholly unreliable. Here are the facts as compiled by E. E. Frank, of New York City:

Jupiter has nine moons instead of four; Saturn has ten moons instead of eight; and Uranus has only four moons instead of six.

These discoveries were made as follows:

Jupiter. In 1892, Bernard, at Lick Observatory, discovered the fifth moon of Jupiter; in 1905, Perrine, at the same observatory, discovered the sixth and seventh; in 1908, Melotte discovered the eighth at Greenwich; and in 1914, Nickolson, at the Lick Observatory, discovered the ninth.

Saturn. In 1899, Prof. W. H. Pickering discovered the ninth moon of Saturn, and in 1905, the tenth.

Uranus. Sir Wm. Herschel discovered the two largest moons of Uranus, and supposed he had seen four others, which was be¬lieved up to 1851, five years after Mrs. White's vision. In 1851, Lassell positively proved that Uranus has only four moons.

For these facts and the names of all these satellites see "Manual of Astronomy," by Charles Young, Ph.D., LL.D., late professor of astronomy at Princeton University.

The conclusion is self evident—Mrs. White's claim was false. She did not see Jupiter, for Jupiter has nine moons instead of four, as she said. She did not see Saturn, for Saturn has ten moons instead of eight (seven), as she claimed to see. She did not see Uranus, for Uranus has only four moons instead of six, as she claimed. And yet she represents that the Lord showed her all these things in vision.

This vision of the moons, corresponding exactly with what Elder Bates believed, convinced him the visions were of God. He asked her if she had ever studied astronomy, and she replied by saying that she did not remember ever having looked in a book on astronomy. That settled it with him. But she could easily have learned all this from his own previous conversations. Later discoveries have now shown that both Jupiter and Saturn have more moons than she said.

Elder Loughborough is obliged to confess this. In a foot note on page 258 of his book already quoted he says: "More moons to both Jupiter and Saturn have since been discovered."

As a matter of fact, Mrs. White herself, relating this vision, described Saturn as having only seven moons, the number then assigned to that planet by astronomers. Here are her own words in "Early Writings," page 32: "Then I was taken to a world which had seven moons." But by the time Elder Loughborough had written his book, "Rise and Progress of Seventh day Adventists," another moon had been discovered, and the publishers had the audacity to change her words to read, "I see eight moons." (See page 126 of that work.) This was in 1892. When Elder Loughborough revised this book in 1905, and issued it under another title, still more moons had been discovered to this planet, hence his admission.

The progressive discoveries of astronomy since Mrs. White had that vision have proved her revelation to be false. But it was a master stroke to win an influential convert to her cause. And it succeeded, fraudulent as it was.

Were Elder Bates alive to day he would be compelled to reject her alleged vision of the planets as spurious, in view of her contradictions of known facts discovered since his death.

Revelations and visions which can be produced on demand or made to order to suit an occasion, may safely be questioned and distrusted, as well as may the peepings and mutterings of familiar spirits which come at a call.

 

XXII

CONCLUSION



MRS. WHITE had much to say about the three messages of Rev. 14:6-10. These, she said, were the foundation of her message and movement.

The first, she held, was fulfilled in William Miller's time-setting movement of 1843-4.

For over sixty-five years she applied the second message, or fall of Babylon, to the Protestant churches, and said it could not, apply to the "Romish Church." But, as we have seen, in 1911 she changed her teachings regarding this message, and applied it particularly to the Roman Church. If correct in her later exposition, she was in error, and taught error, regarding the second message nearly all her life. See pages 218, 219.

The third message warns against false worship and receiving the, mark of the beast. Nearly all her life Mrs. White taught that the mark of the beast is Sunday-keeping; but, as we have seen from the preceding chapter, near the close of her life she changed her views regarding this, and said that to "give Sunday to the Lord" was always acceptable to him.

In other words, she mistook and taught error regarding all three of the very messages which she and her followers have held to be the foundation of their movement. If wrong on the fundamentals, how can she safely be relied upon in other matters?

To summarize briefly some of her more prominent mistakes, the following may be noted:

She endorsed William Miller's time-setting of 1843-4.

She endorsed Captain Bates' time-setting for 185l.

She taught that there was no more salvation for sinners after Oct. 22, 1844.

She suppressed some of her early visions and writings, and yet, in 1882, issued a book claiming to contain all of her early writings.

She predicted that the Civil War would be a failure, that the nation would be ruined, and that slavery would not be abolished.

She characterized Lincoln's proclamations for days of humiliation and prayer as "insults to Jehovah."

She taught a "reform dress" which made her followers a laughing-stock, and which she herself gave up after attempting to force it upon her church for eight years as a divine revelation and a religious duty.

She wrote against the eating of both butter and eggs.

She forbade the eating of meat, and said, "Can we possibly have confidence in minis¬ters who, at tables where flesh is served, join with others in eating it?" (Lake Union Herald, Oct. 4, 1911), and yet secretly she herself ate meat more or less most of her life.

She taught her followers that they should not apply their tithes as they saw fit, but applied her own and those of others as she chose.

She denied having been influenced by letters or conversations in the writing of her testimonies, when the opposite was the fact.

She based many of her alleged inspired testimonies and rebukes on mere hearsay reports, and, contrary to the Scriptures, upon the testimony of only one witness.

She claimed to have been divinely commissioned to reveal secret sins, but miserably failed in this.

In numerous instances she rebuked the wrong man, and frequently accused individuals of doing things they had not done.
 
She seriously erred in her vision regarding the planets and the number of their satellites.

She plagiarized to such an extent that one of her books had to be suppressed altogether, and another had to be revised at an expense of $3,000.

In 1905 she promised to explain her mistakes and blunders, and said that God would help her to do it; but in 1906 she said that God had told her not to attempt this.

One of the worst features of her life and writings is that she was always making God responsible for her mistakes and failures.

Her worst deception, as that of her followers, was to mistake her unfortunate affliction of epilepsy and epileptic fits as divine revelations and visions from God.

Mrs. White not only claimed that her writings are the "testimony of Jesus" and the "spirit of prophecy" referred to in Rev. 12:17 and Rev. 19:10, but she firmly held that she and her followers are the 144,000 of Rev. 7:1-4 and Rev. 14:5, although their present adult membership is over 150,000.

The great characteristic of the 144,000 as described in the last named Scripture is that "in their mouth there was found no guile."

Guile is deception. No guile, therefore, means no deception.

But, as pointed out in so many instances in this book, Mrs. White's claims to being an inspired prophet of God have been main¬tained very largely by deception, both on her own part and on the part of her defend¬ers and supporters.  Both she and they, therefore, fail to meet the very description and characteristic which Inspiration has seen fit to give of the 144,000.

No genuine gift of God, no true gift of the Spirit, has ever required guile—deception, deceit, fraud, or double-dealing—to defend and sustain it.

That she meant to be a Christian, and that her works contain many things good in themselves, need not be denied. Her motives we may safely leave with God. But her high claims are not defensible. They are disproved by too many patent and incontrovertible facts.



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