Date of Award

1993

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Adventist Studies PhD

First Advisor

George R. Knight

Second Advisor

C. Mervyn Maxwell

Third Advisor

Daniel Augsburger

Abstract

The topic. William Clarence White (1854-1937), third son of Seventh-day Adventist founders James and Ellen G. White, was for thirty-four years his mother's counselor, editor, and spokesman. He was alleged by some to stand in a manipulative relationship to his mother and her work, a charge she denied.

The purpose. The purpose of the study was to describe, analyze, and evaluate W. C. White's relationship to his mother and her work during her lifetime. This purpose required the development of a partial biographical sketch of W. C. White as a context for understanding his relationship to his mother.

The sources. This was a documentary study based on published and unpublished primary sources. Secondary sources were used for background, context, and perspective. The most heavily used primary sources were the correspondence collections of the Ellen G. White Estate and other Seventh-day Adventist archives.

Conclusions. The relationship between Ellen G. White and W. C. White was a partnership in which her influence on him was prior and predominant. Throughout his life she was his chief mentor. His willingness to be taught by her was why she trusted him so completely during her last years. The limit of her influence over him was her insistence that his ultimate accountability was not to her, but to God. She expected him to voice his convictions, even if they disagreed with hers. Though he sometimes persuaded her to a change of course, investigation of instances in which he was alleged to have manipulated her reveals no conclusive evidence that he did so. He appears to have consistently acted within the parameters of her expectations of him.

Subject Area

White, W. C. (William Clarence), 1854-1937, White, Ellen Gould Harmon, 1827-1915

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