Adventist Historical Documents: Real and Fictional
by Ervin Taylor
It has been alleged there are a number of historical documents in various places (e.g., attics, basements, Double Z file at the EGW Estate) that could shed a great deal of additional light on past and present Adventism.
Currently, I hold the view that many of these purported documents are either forgeries or represent fictitious or fabricated stories about documents that do not exist. But in the hope that some might actually exist, here is the first six currently on a list that just came into my hands.
This is a request for anyone interested in a better understanding of the history of Adventism to look in their attics and basements for the following documents which are alleged to exist:
- The receipt James White received for paying the Federal Army so he wouldn't be conscripted to fight in the Civil war
- An 1836 Portland, Maine, High School Annual, with a handwritten note from Joseph Smith to Ellen Harmon, asking her to consider becoming his 'first wife' and to journey with him to Nauvoo, Illinois
- The famous 'Secret Scrap Book' which contains notes and rough drafts of both the original Great Controversy and the Book of Mormon, both written in the same hand
- A 'Textbook of Phrenology' used by Ellen White in evaluating the character of her husband, with marginal notes in her handwriting
- A collection of autographs in the form of handwritten correspondence and first drafts describing several visions of Ellen White which was supposed to have been destroyed after being typed, along with comparisons of the autograph texts with what is purported to have been the exact typed copy of what had been originally handwritten, with marginal comments noting the discrepancies
- A copy of a secret honorary degree received by Cliff Goldstein from the Pontifical University of Rome for, "defense of the Mother Church as a brother in arms of the Society of Jesus"
I would be happy to discuss with anyone who holds such documents an appropriate reward for placing these documents at the disposal of disinterested historians.
If anyone knows of other documents that we should attempt to locate, please let me know. As do all Adventists, all we wish to do is to determine the Truth.