Ellen White
Ellen White Answers
Ellen White Answers
Ellen White
Answering the questions and critics on Ellen G. White
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Lucinda Burdick

Lucinda S. Burdick (fl. 1845-1908) was a contemporary of Ellen White who stated in writing that during 1845  the young Ellen engaged in fanaticism, predicted Christ would come that year, and taught the extreme version of the Shut Door, among other things. Miles Grant (1819-1911), noted Seventh-day Adventist critic and editor of The World’s Crisis, first published Burdick’s statement in the Crisis, July 1, 1874, and in his tract, True Sabbath: Which Day Shall We Keep? An Examination of Mrs. Ellen White’s Visions (1874, 71-74; 2nd ed. 1877). The aging Burdick also wrote a notarized statement in 1908 that repeats the basic information of the 1874 statement with a few added details. Burdick’s first husband was John Howell, an antagonist of Ellen Harmon during 1845 who later became an Advent minister.

Both the 1874 and 1908 statements circulate on the various anti-Ellen White websites as testimonial evidence that God was not leading Ellen White during her early ministry in 1845.

The Lucinda Burdick testimony is usually presented as if no rebuttals existed. The fact is: Lucinda was rebutted shortly after publishing her 1874 statement. Notice the following:

  1. Ellen White’s rebuttal within two months: Within two months Ellen White responded privately to Grant’s July 1, 1874 Crisis in a letter to J. N. Loughborough declaring, “I hereby testify in the fear of God that the charges of Miles Grant, of Mrs. Burdick and others published in the “Crisis” are not true” (Lt. 2, 1874; 8MR 228). She added:“Now the very ones who were deepest in fanaticism cruelly charge upon me that delusion which I had not the slightest sympathy with, but from which my soul recoiled. And I bore a straightforward testimony to condemn these fanatical movements from first to last. Mrs. Burdick has made statements which are glaring falsehoods. There is not a shade of truth in her statements. Can it be that she has repeated these false statements till she sincerely believes them to be truth?” (Lt. 2, 1874; 8MR, 238). Throughout the letter, Mrs. White refutes various statements by Mrs. Burdick, something she rarely did.
  2. 1875 Truesdail rebuttal: In 1875 Marion C. S. Truesdail (later Crawford), who was acquainted with the young Ellen Harmon in 1845, specifically responded to Burdick’s charges in a public statement signed by herself and five others that corroborated Ellen White’s private letter to Loughborough. Click here to read: “A Statement Regarding the Charges of Mrs. L.S. Burdick by Marion C. S. Truesdail.”
  3. 1860 public statement: In 1860 Marion’s maiden name, Marion C. Stowell, appears in a public statement with 28 other signatures (26 signatures are different from the ones in the Truesdale statement–three appear on both lists) testifying that James and Ellen White were never “the least infected with the spirit or works of fanaticism” (2SG 301). The focus of these witnesses was on the general charge of “fanaticism.” They were not responding specifically to Lucinda Burdick. But their witness statement does apply to Lucinda’s charges. To read the entire statement, click here.
  4. 1858 public statement: While not addressing Lucinda directly, this public statement did address the same kind of charges, such as the one that James and Ellen were in a “wild fanaticism,” creeping “on the floor like little children” (Grant 1874, 72f). The significance of this public statement was in the nature of its eight signatures (not all of them were Seventh-day Adventists), and the fact that it addressed various documents in circulation against James and Ellen. The content of these documents would resurface over the years, such as in the charges of Lucinda Burdick. To read this public statement, click here.

In conclusion:

  • Ellen White’s private letter to Loughborough was corroborated by the public statements of other witnesses to the same events.
  • The 1875 Truesdail rebuttal was signed by 6 witnesses who knew Ellen Harmon in 1845.
  • The earlier 1860 statement contained the signatures of 26 witnesses different from the later Truesdail statement, who knew Ellen Harmon in 1845.
  • The earlier 1858 statement contained the signatures of 8 witnesses who knew Ellen Harmon in 1845, some of which were not Seventh-day Adventists. Of these 8 signitures, 3 were different from the 1860 list.
  • The witnesses who testified that Ellen White rejected all forms of fanaticism in 1845 have put themselves on public record: a total of 35 to 1–the one public testimony of Lucinda Burdick. There are three other public testimonies against Ellen White’s activities in 1845 cited by Miles Grant that I hope to address in another article (that’s still 35 to 4).

Thus, based on the weight of testimonial evidence, the Lucinda Burdick statements of 1874 and 1908 must be seriously called into question.

Jud Lake, Th.D., D.Min.