Joseph Bates
1792 - 1872
was an American seaman and revivalist minister.
He was the founder and developer of Sabbatarian Adventism,
a strain of religious thinking that evolved into the SDA Church.
Bates is also credited with convincing James White and Ellen G. White
of the validity of the seventh-day Sabbath.*

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bates_(Adventist)

Joseph Bates was early pushing observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. He had considerable difficulty in convincing Mrs. White about this and she did not start keeping the seventh day until 1846 - two years after her first vision.

Joseph Bates had considerable reservations concerning Mrs. White's inspiration for quite some time as she was rather slow to accept the seventh-day Sabbath doctrine.** However he was finally convinced of her claims when he observed her having a vision about planets. During this she mistakenly describes the wrong number of moons for Jupiter... Her husband James White was also present and the three of them must have discussed the vision later. Mrs. White did not give any hint that the planet she saw might not be Jupiter. Adventists try to excuse this blatant error by saying that Mrs. White didn't call it Jupiter but Joseph Bates did. Joseph Bates was a sea captain and an astronomer, obviously he was very impressed by this vision.

When Ellen White said, "I see four moons," Joseph Bates excitedly said, "She is viewing Jupiter."*** It has long been known that Jupiter has many more moons than four, but in those days it was believed that Jupiter did have only four moons. Certainly God hasn't added extra moons since that time. Nor does it seem reasonable that God would give someone an erroneous vision to convince one man of a prophet's integrity. God would realize that many people later would examine the evidence and use this in part as a basis for their decision. I do not believe that God would use a lie to convince one man that she was truly having visions only to have that lie used later to convince many others that she is a false prophet.****

*** see: Ellen G. White: Volume 1 - The Early Years: 1827-1862
by Arthur L. White

**** From the book, "Beware This Cult"
by Gregory G. P. Hunt, MD, BSc, FRCP

** Here is what Ellen White says about meeting Joseph Bates: "While on a visit to New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1846, I became acquainted with Elder Joseph Bates... The first time he heard me speak, he manifested deep interest. After I had ceased speaking he arose and said, 'I am a doubting Thomas. I do not believe in visions. But if I could believe the testimony the sister has related tonight was indeed the voice of God to us, I should be the happiest man alive. My heart is deeply moved. I believe the speaker to be sincere, but cannot explain in regard to her being shown the wonderful things she has related to us.'"

1880 - Life Sketches of
James White and Ellen G. White, page 236

If Ellen White had truly seen a vision of Jupiter,
how much more astounding would it have been to say,
"I see four LARGE moons and many other smaller moons
that are not visible with our present telescopes."

This would have impressed Joseph Bates even more,
and would still have rung true in 1892
when the 5th moon Amalthea was discovered.
It would still ring true in 2014 when over 60 moons are known,
and it would still be true in the future if even more moons are discovered.

Before Ellen died in 1915, Jupiter was known to have 9 moons.

Here is the actual quote regarding the "Astronomy" vision
written in 1846 or 1847, from 1 BIO chapter 7, pages 113-114:

Actually, during the vision, wholly unbeknown to her, she spoke of what was passing before her. J.N. Loughborough recounted in print the description of the meeting as Bates told it to him:

Mrs. White, while in vision, began to talk about the stars, giving a glowing description of rosy-tinted belts which she saw across the surface of some planet, and added, "I see four moons."

"Oh," said Elder Bates, "she is viewing Jupiter!" Then having made motions as though traveling through space, she began giving a description of belts and rings in their ever-varying beauty, and said, "I see seven moons."

Elder Bates exclaimed, "She is describing Saturn."

Next came the description of Uranus, with its six moons; then a wonderful description of the "opening heavens," with its glory, calling it an opening into a region more enlightened. Elder Bates said that her desription far surpassed any account of the opening heavens he had ever read from any author...

Ellen White reported of this experience in the Curtis home:

After I came out of vision I related what I had seen. Elder Bates then asked if I had studied astronomy. I told him I had no recollection of ever looking into an astronomy. (sic)

Said he, "This is of the Lord."

I never saw him as free and happy before. His countenance shone with the light of heaven, and he exhorted the church with power.

A few months later James White wrote:

At our conference in Topsham, Maine, last November, Ellen had a vision of the handiworks of God. She was guided to the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and I think one more...

Note: The eighth moon of Saturn was discovered in 1848.
The ninth moon was discovered in 1899.
Both during Ellen White's lifetime.

[Written by Clifford Scott. For more info see: www.SDAproblems.aardpiggy.com]