The (Missing) Chicago Building Vision

By Robert K. Sanders


"The Chicago Building Vision" will show Ellen G. White's (EGW) failure to predict the future and that her testimonies were not from God. In this vision she committed a grievous sin by bearing false witness against Dr. John H. Kellogg. And instead of asking his forgiveness for sinning against him, she excused herself by reinterpreting her vision two years later. What Bible prophet ever had to reinterpret a message from God? Also, God does not give a vision to bear false witness against any person.


The Vision Explained (Written at Sanitarium, California, March 20, 1906)

EGW: Shortly after the meetings closed, Judge Arthur and his wife spent part of a day at my home. We had much pleasant and profitable conversation. Among other things discussed was the matter of the representation that had been given me of an expensive building in the city of Chicago, used for various lines of medical missionary work. I related how that when I was in Australia, I was shown a large building in Chicago, which, in its erection and equipment, cost a large amount of money. And I was shown the error of investing means in any such buildings in our cities.

Note: Ellen admits she saw a building erected in Chicago costing a large amount of money.

EGW: Sometime after this, I was shown that the vision of buildings in Chicago, and the draft upon the means of our people to erect them, and their destruction, was an object lesson for our people, warning them not to invest largely of their means in property in Chicago, or any city….

Note: Ellen explains the vision was a warning not to invest large amounts of money in buildings in Chicago or any large city.

EGW: In a letter that I wrote to Dr. Kellogg, dated Oct. 28, 1903, I spoke of this matter as follows—

Note: Ellen writes a letter to Kellogg in 1903 to tell him the meaning of the vision. The vision that she condemned him while she was in Australia was written in 1900. It took Ellen two years to figure out how to cover up her mistake.

EGW: "Repeatedly it has been shown me that in many cases you have worded upon minds to undermine confidence in the Testimonies. …They must not be left to retain impressions that have been made on their minds, as, after receiving a Testimony of reproof from me, you have said, 'somebody has told her these things, but they are not so.'

Note: Ellen condemns Kellogg in a letter, for undermining the Testimonies.

EGW: "Over and over again you have told others how I once sent you a testimony reproving you for erecting a large building in Chicago, before any such building had been erected there. In the visions of the night a view of a large building was presented to me. I thought that it had been erected, and wrote you immediately in regard to the matter. I learned afterward that the building which I saw had not been put up.

Note: Ellen does not contradict what Kellogg had been saying and agreed that she had thought the building had been erected.

EGW: "When you received my letter, you were perplexed, and you said, 'Someone has misinformed Sister White regarding our work.' But no mortal man had ever written to me or told me that this building had been put up. It was presented to me in vision. If this view had not been given me, and if I had not written to you about the matter, an effort would have been made to erect such a building in Chicago, a place in which the Lord has said that we are not to put up large buildings. At the time when the vision was given, influences were working for the erection of such a building. The message was received in time to prevent the development of the plans and the carrying out of the project.

Note: Ellen claims no mortal man has ever written to her or told her that the buildings have been put up. Does reading about Kellogg's work in the newspaper count? The New York newspaper had an article about Kellogg's work in Chicago that was not true, but Ellen thought it was a fact and then had a vision to denounce Kellogg. Merritt Kellogg was in Australia and was an eyewitness to Ellen G. White's false visions.

EGW: "You should have had discernment to see that the Lord worked in this matter. The very feature of the message that perplexed you should have been received as an evidence that my information came from a higher source than human lips. But instead, you have over and over again related your version of the matter, saying that some one must have told me a falsehood." —The Chicago Work, by Ellen G. White, April 2, 1906, MS 33, 1906 (copied from Dr. Steward's MSS June 5, '06).


An Adventist Apologist Weighs In

"The allegation that Mrs. White, on returning to America, asked to be shown the buildings during a visit to Chicago is apparently based only on Stewart's assertion that this took place. By way of evidence that this charge of Stewart's is not well founded, we need only mention that Mrs. White did not concede at this or any other time that perhaps a slight mistake had been made. She did explain that she indeed thought buildings had been erected, but this was not until 1903." (See EGW Letter 135, 1903 to S. N. Haskell, March 6, 1903.) Even then, in 1903, she said: "I understand that someone said that the testimony that I bore in regard to this was not true,—that no such building was erected in Chicago. But the testimony was true. The Lord showed me what men were planning to do."—Letter 135, 1903, p. 2.

Note: The Adventist apologist's statement that there was no basis for Stewart's assertion is just not true. Dr. Stewart and Dr. Kellogg were close friends and no doubt he received this information from Kellogg. In a letter that J. Kellogg wrote to Butler, dated March 16, 1906 Kellogg stated:

"Six weeks before the General Conference of 1901 I had a frank talk with Eld. Danielle, W. C. White and with Sister White herself, with relation to the things she had written me. I told her plainly that the things she had written me were not the truth; that she had been misinformed; and I asked her to furnish me evidence of the truth of some of the things she had written. I have never retracted one word of what I said to her, and I can not, because I said nothing but the truth. I did not accuse her of misrepresentation, but that she had based her statements on wrong information. She said to me, "You have taken money from the Sanitarium to erect buildings in Chicago to harbor the unworthy poor." I asked her to show me the buildings. What would you say my friend, if a charge of that sort were brought against you?"


In Conclusion

The question that begs asking is why did God give Ellen a vision that she could not get straight in her head? It seems all God had to do is to tell her that Battle Creek Sanitarium funds should not be spent for a large costly building. Instead of God giving her vision of a building already erected by Kellogg, costing thousands of dollars and accusing Kellogg of using Sanitarium funds, none that was true. This false testimony forced Kellogg to deny the testimony and then he was accused of rejecting the Testimonies.

Name a Bible prophet that bore false witness against an individual by vision? Bearing false witness is a sin. Instead of EGW repenting of her sin against Doctor Kellogg, she blamed God for not understanding the vision he gave her. Wow!

Robert K. Sanders, Founder and Editor of Truth or Fables, 1997–2012
Life Assurance Ministries assumed ownership of Truth or Fables in 2012
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