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Ellen White's Silence
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Mrs. White was not present at the 1881 General Conference session. She likely read the report of the resolutions in the Review a few weeks later or heard about them from her son W.C. White, but we have no record of her making any comment one way or the other on the matter. This is harder to explain from the position that she favored ordination than from the position that she opposed it. Proponents of ordination today deny that her silence lent approval to the handling of the matter. They say that her silence must at least be viewed as permissive in light of her encouragement to women to participate in the work of the church and her responsibility to warn the church against error.

Ellen White's silence, by itself, neither promotes nor precludes ordination for women. But if she favored it, why didn't she speak out when the church veered away from ordaining women? She may simply have felt that the issue was not important. Or if she felt that the church should not ordain women, she may have made no comment on the resolution simply because none was necessary. No corrective was needed, because the church was not about to begin ordaining women.

She took a similar course at first in relation to the pantheism crisis a few years later. In connection with this crisis, which came to a head with the publication of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg's book Living Temple , she wrote that:

About the time that Living Temple was published, there passed before me, in the night season, representations indicating that some danger was approaching, and that I must prepare for it by writing out the things God had revealed to me regarding the foundation principles of our faith. A copy of Living Temple was sent me, but it remained in my library, unread. From the light given me by the Lord, I knew that some of the sentiments advocated in the book did not bear the endorsement of God, and that they were a snare that the enemy had prepared for the last days. I thought that this would surely be discerned, and that it would not be necessary for me to say anything about it. 37

Had the church leaders discerned the danger of the concepts in Living Temple and moved against it, evidently Mrs. White would have said nothing. Yet her silence would not have been permissive in regard to pantheism. Only when it was clear that the error was gaining ground did she speak out.
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