Ellen White's issues with plagiarism
Plagiarism is a serious offence because it is concerned with a person passing off the works of another person as his/her own without giving proper credit to the original author. It is certainly not an offence to use some one else's ideas and thoughts, as long as proper credit is given to the authors concerned. Plagiarism does not necessarily mean that the same sentences are copied, they can also be paraphrased in such a way that they seem like they are "original". However, paraphrasing or borrowing someone else's ideas is also considered plagiarism if proper credit is not given to the original authors. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to plagiarise means to
":to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source
:to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source"
There are several claims that Ellen White had plagiarised material from various authors. However, the SDA church defends her by stating that the amount of plagiarised material is less than 2% and that at the time, she was well within the acceptable level of allowed plagiarised content. They even have the audacity to go as far as to criticise the Bible writers (such as Mark and Luke) in order to support their view that Ellen White did not plagiarise. They seem to forget that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God..." (2 Timothy 3:16), and that there is no way they can charge Bible writers with plagiarism! Considering that Ellen White has indeed "copied" or "borrowed" ideas from other authors, it is safe to say that Ellen White is a plagiarist; even if it is just 2%.
She (Ellen White) claims that everything she has written is by the inspiration of God. If that be the case, then how does she end up copying or borrowing ideas from supposedly uninspired writers (such as John Milton)? Furthermore, if God inspired Ellen White, why would she need to refer to other writers for ideas? If she is indeed guilty of plagiarism, then she cannot truly be inspired.
Read on (click the links on the right) to see startling similarities between the writings of Ellen White and some other writers before her time! Was she a plagiarist? You decide for yourself!