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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    The Question of the Immortality of the Soul

    About this time Ellen's mother and a sister attended a meeting at which was presented the mortal state of man. It was explained that at his death man did not go to heaven or hell, but back to the dust from whence he came. As the subject was talked over in the home, Ellen was deeply concerned. She wrote:1BIO 45.2

    I listened to these new ideas with an intense and painful interest. When alone with my mother, I inquired if she really believed that the soul was not immortal. Her reply was she feared we had been in error on that subject as well as upon some others.1BIO 45.3

    “But Mother,” said I, “do you really believe that the soul sleeps in the grave until the resurrection? Do you think that the Christian, when he dies, does not go immediately to heaven, nor the sinner to hell?”1BIO 45.4

    She answered: “The Bible gives us no proof that there is an eternally burning hell. If there is such a place, it should be mentioned in the Sacred Book.”1BIO 45.5

    “Why, Mother!” cried I, in astonishment. “This is strange talk for you! If you believe this strange theory, do not let anyone know of it, for I fear that sinners would gather security from this belief and never desire to seek the Lord.”1BIO 46.1

    “If this is sound Bible truth,” she replied, “instead of preventing the salvation of sinners, it will be the means of winning them to Christ. If the love of God will not induce the rebel to yield, the terrors of an eternal hell will not drive him to repentance.”—Life Sketches of James White and Ellen G. White (1880), 170, 171.1BIO 46.2

    Some months later when she herself heard a sermon on the sleep of the dead, she believed it to be the truth. Of this she wrote:1BIO 46.3

    From the time that light in regard to the sleep of the dead dawned upon my mind, the mystery that had enshrouded the resurrection vanished, and the great event itself assumed a new and sublime importance.—Ibid., 171.1BIO 46.4

    Step by step Ellen was being led into an understanding of Bible truths, truths that would become the foundation stones of Seventh-day Adventism.1BIO 46.5

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