A collection of Spirit of Prophecy statements and some thoughts on them.
1. Dear youth, what is the aim and purpose of your life? Are you ambitious for education that you may have a name and position in the world? Have you thoughts that you dare not express, that you may one day stand upon the summit of intellectual greatness; that you may sit in deliberative and legislative councils, and help to enact laws for the nation? There is nothing wrong in these aspirations. MYP 36.
Conclusion: The original source of this quote is Review and Herald. So, when she says, “Dear Youth,” she is undeniably writing to SDA youth. How can it be not wrong for them to sit in deliberative and legislative councils, and help to enact laws for the nation, and yet at the same time she be teaching our people that it is wrong to vote for men? You would therefore have to conclude that these “youth” would be going out trying to get people to do something – vote for them – which they themselves and all SDA’s are forbidden to do. It would be similar to the Jews hiring people to work on the Sabbath because they couldn’t. Surely, if you give this one quote alone some deep consideration, the stand of not voting for men is definitely “flawed,”- “We should examine the truths we have been led to believe until we know they are without a flaw.” CSSW-33.
2. The Lord would have His people bury political questions. On these themes silence is eloquence. Christ calls upon His followers to come into unity on the pure gospel principles which are plainly revealed in the word of God. We cannot with safety vote for political parties; for we do not know whom we are voting for. We cannot with safety take part in any political schemes. We cannot labor to please men who will use their influence to repress religious liberty, and to set in operation oppressive measures to lead or compel their fellow men to keep Sunday as the Sabbath. The first day of the week is not a day to be reverenced. It is a spurious sabbath, and the members of the Lord’s family cannot participate with the men who exalt this day, and violate the law of God by trampling upon His Sabbath. The people of God are not to vote to place such men in office; for when they do this, they are partakers with them of the sins which they commit while in office. FE 475.
Conclusion: “We cannot with safety vote for political parties, for we do not know whom we are voting for.” That says to me, that if you register “Republican”, you cannot just vote straight across the board, “Republican”. That is voting for “political parties.” We cannot labor to please men….The sentence does not stop there. She says what KIND of men not to vote for. “who will use their influence to repress religious liberty”. The obvious deduction would be – the opposite kind would be right to vote for. When she says we are partakers with them of the sins which they commit while in office, she is saying that when we know where candidates stand on issues, important to Christians, like abortion…..and we still vote for them, we are partakers with them of the sins which they commit while in office. A perfect example is Bill Clinton. It was clear, public information before he ever became President the first time where he would stand on the abortion issue. And he proved true to that. He did everything He could to further the abortion agenda and against the pro-life movement. Congress twice passed bills outlawing partial birth abortion. He vetoed both of them, and there wasn’t a two thirds majority to override him. Congress has again passed a bill outlawing partial birth abortion. George Bush signed it immediately.
3. Our work is to watch, and wait, and pray. Search the Scriptures. Christ has given you warning not to mingle with the world. We are to come out from among them and be separate, “and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17, 18). Whatever the opinions you may entertain in regard to casting your vote in political questions, you are not to proclaim it by pen or voice. Our people need to be silent upon questions which have no relation to the third angel’s message. If ever a people needed to draw nigh to God, it is Seventh-day Adventists. There have been wonderful devices and plans made. A burning desire has taken hold of men or women to proclaim something, or bind up with something; they do not know what. But the silence of Christ upon many subjects was true eloquence. . . .
My brethren, will you not remember that none of you have any burden laid upon you by the Lord to publish your political preferences in our papers, or to speak of them in the congregation, when the people assemble to hear the Word of the Lord. . . .We are not as a people to become mixed up with political questions. All would do well to take heed to the Word of God, Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers in political strife, nor bind with them in their attachments. There is no safe ground in which they can stand and work together. The loyal and the disloyal have no equal ground on which to meet.
He who breaks one precept of the commandments of God is a transgressor of the whole law. Keep your voting to yourself. Do not feel it your duty to urge everyone to do as you do.--Letter 4, 1898. 2SM 337.
Conclusion: There is a lot in this quote. First, it says, “Keep your voting to yourself. Do not feel it your duty to urge everyone to do as you do.” It does not say, DO NOT VOTE, rather, KEEP YOUR VOTING TO YOURSELF. In regards to things that do not relate to the 3rd Angels message, such as raising taxes, etc…those things we need to keep to ourselves…but in a later quote, she says how we need to URGE our brethren to do all within their power, including voting, when it comes to temperance issues. Back then, the issue was alcohol – prohibition. Today, the issue, at least one of them, is Abortion.
4. Our Pioneers Reach an Important Decision.–[A page from Ellen G. White’s 1859 diary.] “Attended meeting in the eve. Had quite a free, interesting meeting. After it was time to close, the subject of voting was considered and dwelt upon. James first talked, then Brother Andrews talked, and it was thought by them best to give their influence in favor of right and against wrong. They think it right to vote in favor of temperance men being in office in our city instead of by their silence running the risk of having intemperance men put in office. Brother Hewett tells his experience of a few days [since] and is settled that [it] is right to cast his vote. Brother Hart talks well. Brother Lyon opposes. No others object to voting, but Brother Kellogg begins to feel that it is right. Pleasant feelings exist among all the brethren. O that they may all act in the fear of God. Te 255.… “I dressed and found I was to speak to the point of whether our people should vote for prohibition. I told them ‘Yes,’ and spoke twenty minutes.”–
“Men of intemperance have been in the office today in a flattering manner expressing their approbation of the course of the Sabbathkeepers not voting and expressed hopes that they will stick to their course and like the Quakers, not cast their vote. Satan and his evil angels are busy at this time, and he has workers upon the earth. May Satan be disappointed, is my prayer.”–E.G. White diary, Sunday, Mar. 6, 1859. Te 256.
Conclusion: There is much in this quote, also. The first point is that many times people say, “It is right to vote for issues….but not for men.” I think this quote clarifies that objection well. “They think it right to vote in favor of temperance men being in office in our city instead of by their silence running the risk of having intemperance men put in office.” They were not voting on issues here…they were voting on men….men who represented certain issues, such as temperance. Today, we vote on men who represent Pro-Life. The second point: It seems clear that it is the evil men and Satan who are hoping people will not vote. It is a deception of Satan to think you are doing the right thing, by not voting.
5. There are speculations as to woman’s rights and duties in regard to voting. Many are in no way disciplined to understand the bearing of important questions. They have lived lives of present gratification because it was the fashion. Women who might develop good intellects and have true moral worth are now mere slaves to fashion. They have not breadth of thought nor cultivated intellect. They can talk understandingly of the latest fashion, the styles of dress, this or that party or delightful ball. Such women are not prepared to intelligently take a prominent position in political matters. They are mere creatures of fashion and circumstance. Let this order of things be changed. Let woman realize the sacredness of her work and, in the strength and fear of God, take up her life mission. Let her educate her children for usefulness in this world and for a fitness for the better world. 3T 565.
Conclusion: It does not say that women should not be politically active….it says that women who have not been educated to understand what is going on are not PREPARED to make intelligent decisions…and then it says, “Let this order of things be changed.” What should be changed? The fact that women are not prepared to make intelligent decisions in regards to political decisions. Well, if it was wrong to vote, what need would there be of changing anything?
Voting Against the License Law6. While we are in no wise to become involved in political questions, yet it is our privilege to take our stand decidedly on all questions relating to temperance reform. Concerning this I have often borne a plain testimony. In an article published in the Review of Nov. 8, 1881, I wrote:–“Our Creator has bestowed his bounties upon man with a liberal hand. Were all these gifts of Providence wisely and temperately employed, poverty, sickness, and distress would be well-nigh banished from the earth. But, alas! we see on every hand the blessings of God changed to a curse by the wickedness of men.
“There is no class guilty of greater perversion and abuse of his precious gifts than are those who employ the products of the soil in the manufacture of intoxicating liquors. The nutritive grains, the healthful, delicious fruits, are converted into beverages that pervert the senses and madden the brain. As a result of the use of these poisons, thousand of families are deprived of the comforts and even the necessities of life, acts of violence and crime are multiplied, and disease and death hurry myriads of victims to a drunkard’s grave.
“This work of destruction is carried on under the protection of the laws of the land. For a paltry sum, men are licensed to deal out to their fellow men the potion that shall rob them of all that makes this life desirable and of all hope of the life to come. Neither the lawmaker nor the liquor seller is ignorant of the result of his work. At the hotel bar, in the beer garden, at the saloon, the slave of appetite expends his means for that which is destructive to reason, health, and happiness. The liquor seller fills his till with the money that should provide food and clothing for the family of the poor drunkard.
“This is the worst kind of robbery. Yet men in high position in society and in the church lend their influence in favor of license laws. . . . Thus society is corrupted, workhouses and prisons are crowded with paupers and criminals, and the gallows is supplied with victims. The evil ends not with the drunkard and his unhappy family. The burdens of taxation are increased, the morals of the young are imperiled, the property, and even the life, of every member of society is endangered. But the picture may be presented never so vividly, and yet it falls short of the reality. No human pen or pencil can fully delineate the horrors of intemperance. . . .
“How can Christian men and women tolerate this evil? . . . There is a cause for the moral paralysis upon society. Our laws sustain an evil which is sapping their very foundations. Many deplore the wrongs which they know exist, but consider themselves free from all responsibility in the matter. This cannot be. Every individual exerts an influence in society. In our favored land, every voter has some voice in determining what laws shall control the nation. Should not that influence and that vote be cast on the side of temperance and virtue? . . .
“We may call upon the friends of the temperance cause to rally to the conflict and seek to press back the tide of evil that is demoralizing the world; but of what avail are all our efforts while liquor selling is sustained by law? Must the curse of intemperance forever rest like a blight upon our land? Must it every year sweep like a devouring fire over thousands of happy homes? We talk of the results, tremble at the results, and wonder what we can do with the terrible results, while too often we tolerate and even sanction the cause. The advocates of temperance fail to do their whole duty unless they exert their influence by precept and example — by voice and pen and vote — in favor of prohibition and total abstinence. We need not expect that God will work a miracle to bring about this reform, and thus remove the necessity for our exertion. We ourselves must grapple with this giant foe, our motto, No compromise and no cessation of our efforts till the victory is gained. . . .“What can be done to press back the inflowing tide of evil? Let laws be enacted and rigidly enforced prohibiting the sale and the use of ardent spirits as a beverage. Let every effort be made to encourage the inebriate’s return to temperance and virtue. But even more than this is needed to banish the curse of inebriety from our land. Let the appetite for intoxicating liquors be removed, and their use and sale are at an end. This work must to a great degree devolve upon parents. Let them, by observing strict temperance themselves, give the right stamp of character to their children, and then educate and train these children, in the fear of God, to habits of self-denial and self-control. Youth who have been thus trained will have moral stamina to resist temptation, and to control appetite and passion. They will stand unmoved by the folly and dissipation that are corrupting society.
“The prosperity of a nation is dependent upon the virtue and intelligence of its citizens. To secure these blessings, habits of strict temperance are indispensable. The history of ancient kingdoms is replete with lessons of warning for us. Luxury, self-indulgence, and dissipation prepare the way for their downfall. It remains to be seen whether our own republic will be admonished by their example and avoid their fate.” RH, October 15, 1914.
Conclusion: “This work of destruction is carried on under the protection of the laws of the land.” Is that not also the case with abortion today. Thank God, we have a President who is doing what he can to change those laws! He would not be our President, if it were not that many Christians voted for him. Is he perfect? No…but he is much better than the others who could have gotten in. Compare him to Clinton and his record on the abortion issue alone. “But the picture may be presented never so vividly, and yet it falls short of the reality. No human pen or pencil can fully delineate the horrors of intemperance.” Can the horrors of abortion be any less than the horrors of intemperance? In our favored land, every voter has some voice in determining what laws shall control the nation. Should not that influence and that vote be cast on the side of temperance and virtue? By not casting your vote with the men who will uphold what is right and fight abortion…you are lending your influence for abortion. ; but of what avail are all our efforts while liquor selling is sustained by law? We can preach all we want against abortion…but if the law sustains it, our preaching will avail little. Therefore it is necessary that the laws be changed through men who we vote into office who have the authority to change the laws. The advocates of temperance fail to do their whole duty unless they exert their influence by precept and example — by voice and pen and vote — in favor of prohibition and total abstinence. We are clearly told that we FAIL to do our duty, if we do not VOTE. Let laws be enacted and rigidly enforced prohibiting the sale and the use of ardent spirits as a beverage. Who enacts laws? It is the men we vote in. Think again of abortion. When was the last time you had the opportunity to vote against abortion? We haven’t had that opportunity. But, the men we vote in, they do. We can go and check their stands on these issues, before we vote, and see who is Pro-Life and who is Pro-Choice. Then, it is up to us to vote in the Pro-Life men. Sadly, the fact is…many, many innocent children have been murdered because many Christians think it is not their duty, or that it is actually WRONG to vote for men!
7. The act of voting, when exercised in behalf of justice, humanity, and right, is in itself blameless, and may be at some times highly proper. 2BIO 115.
Conclusion: I think this quote speaks for itself.
8. Republicanism and Protestantism became the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity. GC-441. She says “Republicanism” …is the secret of this Country’s power and prosperity. What is “Republicanism”? “A state in which the exercise of the sovereign power is lodged in representatives elected by the people. In modern (1828) usage, it differs from a democracy or democratic state in which the people exercise the powers of sovereignty in person.” Noah Websters 1828 Dictionary. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that Ellen White didn’t know what a “Republic” was or how it worked. That is why she said, “Intemperate men should not by vote of the people be placed in positions of trust.” TE-254.
Conclusion: She does not say “men should not by vote of the people be placed in positions of trust”…she says, “INTEMPERATE men…” Another perfect example of that is Ted Kennedy. It is a known fact that he is a heavy drinker. If we vote for a man who is a known drinker, again, “we are partakers with them of the sins they commit while in office.”
9. How many forfeit their prerogative as citizens of a republic,–bribed with a glass of whisky to cast their vote for some villainous candidate. Review and Herald, Nov. 8, 1881. Te 254.
Conclusion: Clearly here, she is not talking about voting for “issues”, rather she is talking about voting for candidates. Our prerogative as citizens of a republic is to have a voice in who represents us – in making laws. The vast majority of laws in this Country are not voted on by the people….they are voted on by the legislators….that is their role in government. It is critical that we vote in legislators who believe in the Constitution, because it is the Constitution that guarantees our freedom of religion. She says, “Such action would be directly contrary to the principles of this government, to the genius of its free institutions, to the direct and solemn avowals of the Declaration of Independence, and to the Constitution. The founders of the nation wisely sought to guard against the employment of secular power on the part of the church, with its inevitable result–intolerance and persecution. The Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office of public trust under the United States.” Only in flagrant violation of these safeguards to the nation’s liberty, can any religious observance be enforced by civil authority.” GC-442.
Let us, as Christians, not stand in “neutrality in a time of crisis” any longer. How many babies have died, because Seventh Day Adventists have not taken a stand? We need to be active and show the world where we stand on these important issues. Do not vote for “parties”. Vote for individuals…those you have researched to your best ability to know where they stand. And don’t fall into the trap that you shouldn’t vote because you might vote in someone who will “bring in the Sunday law.” You can be sure, our Pioneers were not voting for SDA’s.
One last quote: “‘Shall we vote for prohibition?’ she asked. ‘Yes, to a man, everywhere,’ she replied, ‘and perhaps I shall shock some of you if I say, If necessary, vote on the Sabbath day for prohibition if you cannot at any other time.”‘– Ellen G. White Volume 3 The Lonely Years 1876-1891, 160