Ellen G. White -- the Myth and the Truth

by Å. Kaspersen


9 -Health Reform

In spite of what most Seventh-Day Adventists believe, Ellen White has been given unmerited honor for being a pioneer in the area of health reform.

"Ellen G. White's keen 'foreknowledge' of now-accepted scientific information has provided a strong reason why large numbers of people have developed an enthusiastic faith and confidence in her messages." (Ellen G. White Estate, Medical Science and the Spirit of Prophecy, p. 3. Review and Herald Publishing Assn. 1971. Emphasis added.)

This is a grossly exaggerated statement. We have previously been looking at "her" statements on the evils of masturbation, wigs, the lungs in the throat, narrow waists and other strange things. For obvious reasons, these oddities have not been accepted by today's medical science.

And for still more obvious reasons, Ellen White's statements where she supports these odd superstitions from an bygone era, are being bypassed in silence. They are to be found in her writings no longer in general circulation. But nevertheless, they are "the Spirit of Prophecy".

Of course there are many good and true counsels in her writings on health-related subjects - "now-accepted scientific information", but from where did she get her information? Research done by Dr. Ronald Numbers show that she almost completely got her information from well known health advocates in the early 1800's. This is very well documented in Dr. Numbers' bookProphetess of Health. Most of Ellen White's information on health matters has been borrowed from people like James Caleb Jackson, Russell T. Trall, Larkin B. Coles and Sylvester Graham - she often quoted verbatim from their works. What is more significant, is the fact that she also quoted their errors, which of course were common superstitions at that time. However, these men were right in a number of things which Ellen White "borrowed", and which today has been substantiated by modern science.

The problems arose when she got "visions" on health reform, in which nothing was new under the sun. Other people had written on this before her. These health reformers from the 1800's are almost completely forgotten today, while Ellen White, who had borrowed their material, and by "visions" made them a "thus saith the Lord", got all the credit. This because she had a strong and growing organization behind her which could promote her writings.

When James and Ellen White travelled around in the 1860's, promoting health reform, quite a few people noted the similarities between their teachings and those of Dr. James Caleb Jackson, of Dansville, N.Y. He also had a sanitarium there. In fact, Ellen White's visions on health reform were so strikingly similar to the health principles advocated by Dr. Jackson, that Ellen White was obliged to give an "explanation,. "Question,- Did you receive your vision on health reform before you visited Dr. Jackson's health resort in Dansville, N.Y., or before you had read any books on the subject?

'- I did not visit Dansville till August, 1864, fourteen months after I had the view. I did not read any works upon health until I had written Spiritual Gifts, Vols. iii and iv, Appeal to Mothers, and had sketched out most of my six articles in the six numbers of 'How to Live.'

'I did not know that such a paper existed as the Laws of Life, published at Dansville, N.Y. I had not heard of the several works upon health, written by Dr. J. C. Jackson, and other publications at Dansville, at the time I had the view named above. I did not know that such works existed until September, 1863, when in Boston, Mass., my husband saw them advertised in a periodical called the Voice of the Prophets, published by Eld. J.V. Himes. My husband ordered the works from Dansville and received them at Topsham Maine. His business gave him no time to peruse them, and as I determined not to read them until I had written out my views, and books remained in their wrappers.

'As I introduced the subject of health to friends where I labored in Michigan, New England, and in the State of New York, and spoke against drugs and flesh meats, and in favor of water, pure air, and a proper diet, the reply was often made, "You speak very nearly the opinions taught in the Laws of Life, and other publications, by Drs. Trall, Jackson, and others. Have you read that paper and those works?

'My reply was that I had not, neither should I read them till I had fully written out my views, lest it should be said that I had received my light upon the subject of health from physicians, and not from the Lord.

'And after I had written my six articles for How to Live, I then searched the various works on hygiene and was surprised to find them so nearly in harmony with what the Lord had revealed to me. And to show this harmony, and to set before my brethren and sisters the subject as brought out by able writers, I determined to publish How to Live, in which I largely extracted from the works referred to." (Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 8, 1867. Emphasis supplied.)

In this explanation, we are to take note of a few things.

James and Ellen White visited Dr. Jackson's sanitarium in August 1864. Fourteen months earlier, Ellen White received her so-called "Otsego vision" on health reform (June 6, 1863). This vision lasted 45 minutes. In her explanation, she says that she did not know of any writings by Dr. Jackson until September 1863, one or two months after the vision. But in his book The Early Years, Arthur White reveals that James and Ellen in fact did know of Dr. Jackson's writings in February 1863, four months BEFORE the vision. James and Ellen's two boys had become ill by diphteria in the beginning of February 1863,

"And then it happened! In the first week of February two of James and Ellen White's three boys complained of severe sore throats and high fever, and they could hardly utter a word - undeniable, frightening symptoms. They had diphtheria. Fortunately - in the providence of God, no doubt - there had come into their hands, probably through an 'exchange' of papers at the Review office, either the Yates County Chronicle, of Penn Yan, New York, or some journal quoting from it, an extended article entitled 'Diphtheria, Its Causes, Treatment and Cure.' It was written by Dr. James C. Jackson, of Dansville, New York. How eagerly James and Ellen White read it." (A.L. White, Ellen G. White, Vol. 2, The Progressive Years, p. 13. Emphasis supplied.)

It becomes therefore obvious that Ellen White in fact was familiar with Dr. Jackson's writings at least four months before she received her "health reform vision" at Otsego.

Because Ellen White gave misleading information about this in her "explanation" in the Review, we are then forced to ask questions about other details in the explanation: Did she in fact unwrap and read Dr. Jackson's articles before she got her "vision?" A person caught in a lie, may be suspect of other lies.

In addition, James White wrote a series of health related articles in the Review six months before the Otsego-vision in June 1863. In his articles, James emphazised healthy living, and in a Review(February 10, 1863) he mentioned fresh air, clean water and light as "God's great remedies, which are preferable instead of physicians and their medicines." The following week, James put into the Review Dr. Jackson's article on diphteria and its cure.

Consequently, there's not a shadow of doubt that Ellen White both knew, and had been reading health related matter before her vision. Her statement that she did not knew any health related matter neither from Dr. Jackson or from others until spetember 1863, is simply not true.

Because the information given in her "visions" on health reform were strikingly similar to the teachings of Dr. Jackson and others, the suspicion is strengthened.

She says that she did not read other writings on hygiene until she had finished Spiritual Gifts, vols. 3-4, Appeal to Mothers and sketched the material for How to Live - information gathered almost totally from others. Appeal to Mothers was published in 1864. This book is so bizarre, that its contents certainly did not come from heavenly visions, but from other authors who were strongly colored from contemporary myths and superstitions on the subject of masturbation - in particular Sylvester Graham. These peculiarities did not originate with Ellen White, neither did she receive them from heavenly visions. From were did she get them, then? From other authors who believed these oddities. Ellen White just echoed the superstitions of others. This is the only reasonable conclusion. Ellen White must have read other health related material before she wroteAppeal to Mothers and the other works mentioned, which also contain strange things. The matter contained in Appeal to Mothers stands as a mighty witness against Ellen White's explanation in the Review. She did in fact read other writings on hygiene before her vision, and before she wrote the books she mentioned, and in these books she parrotted a motley-collection of truth and superstition. When it comes to Appeal to Mothers, mostly superstition. No wonder that this book went into a quiet death and a secluded grave. Why, one would ask, inasmuch it was based upon "heavenly visions"?

"Animal organs"

We have previously mentioned phrenology. This pseudo-science claimed that the brain was divided into as many "organs" as there were traits of character etc. The "animal organs" were at the base of the brain, at the rear. These "organs" controlled the base or "animal passions". Ellen White touched on this when she wrote a testimony to a money-greedy brother, telling him that the problem was caused by "satanic excitation of the organ of aquisitiveness" (letter to Br. and Str. Lockwood, Sept. 1864).

But Ellen White had other things to say about the "animal organs".

"Fashion loads the heads of women with artificial braids and pads, which do not add to their beauty, but give an unnatural shape to the head. The hair is strained and forced into unnatural positions, and it is not possible for the heads of these fashionable ladies to be comfortable. The artificial hair and pads covering the base of the brain, heat and excite the spinal nerves centering in the brain. The head should ever be kept cool. The heat caused by these artificials induces the blood to the brain. The action of the blood upon the lower or animal organs of the brain, causes unnatural activity, tends to recklessness in morals, and the mind and heart is in danger of being corrupted. As the animal organs are excited and strengthened, the moral are enfeebled. The moral and intellectual powers of the mind become servants to the animal." (EGW in The Health Reformer, October 1, 1871. Emphasis supplied.)

Now we have been learning something new: wigs and toupees (braids and pads) may cause recklessness in morals because the "animal organs" are being excited.

"Habits which lower the standard of physical health, enfeeble the mental and moral strength. The indulgence of unnatural appetite and passions has a controlling influence upon the organs of the brain. The animal organs are strengthened, while the moral are depressed." (Testimony for the Church, PH159, p. 67. Counsels on Health, p. 36. Emphasis supplied.)

Apart from the suspicion that the above quotations most probably are borrowed from other authors and published in The Health Reformer as "the Spirit of Prophecy" to give weight to their statements, they reflect the phrenological principles about "organs of the brain" and "animal organs". Such kind of matter were mere reflections from the lack of knowledge about the brain, but still got their way into SDA-publications. Of course other people wrote on phrenological principles, but when such matter was borrowed and published under the name of Ellen G. White, it suddenly became "The Spirit of Prophecy".


There is considerable evidence for Ellen White borrowing information from other health reformers and publishing this information as a "pipeline from heaven". Early books as Appeal to Mothers and How to Live, Articles in the Health Reformer etc. etc. testify to this. Her plagiarism of health related material is also evident. I will quote a few statements from Larkin B. Coles and compare them to statements allegedly from Ellen White.

"It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break the ten commandments. To do either is to break God's laws." (EGW, Christian Temperance (1890), p. 53.)

"It is as truly a sin against Heaven, to violate a law of life, as to break one of the ten commandments" (Larkin B. Coles, Philosophy of Health (1853), p. 215).

"The sympathy which exists between the mind and the body is very great. When one is affected, the other responds." (EGW, Testimonies, vol 4, p. 60 (1876).)

"The sympathy existing between the mind and the body is so great, that when one is affected, both are affected" (Larkin B. Coles, Philosophy of Health (1853), p. 127).

". . .flesh meat is not necessary for health or strength. If used it is because a depraved appetite craves it. Its use excites the animal propensities to increased activity and strengthens the animal passions. When the animal propensities are increased, the intellectual and moral powers are decreased. The use of the flesh of animals tends to cause a grossness of body and benumbs the fine sensibilities of the mind." (EGW, Testimonies, vol 2, p. 63 (1868).)

"Flesh eating is certainly not necessary to health or strength. . . .If it be used, it must be a matter of fancy. . . .It excites the animal propensities to increased activity and ferocity. . . .When we increase the proportion of our animal nature, we suppress the intellectual. . . .The use of flesh tends to create a grossness of body and spirit" (Larkin B. Coles: Philosophy of Health, (1853), p. 64-67)

It is evident for all to se that one is copied from the other. Ellen White published her testimoniesafter 1853, the year when Larkin B. Coles published his book, it is therefore easy to see who copied from whom. These comparisons can be continued ad infinitum.

Larkin B. Coles warned against the use of flesh meats many years prior to Ellen White's so called health reform vision in 1863, where she "saw" that the use of flesh meat was not the best. Ellen White's well known statement that transgression of the laws of health is synonymous with transgression of the Law of God, comes - as we have seen - from Larkin B. Coles. It stands there on print for all to see. Larkin B. Coles was a milleritte who died in 1856. He also advocated dress reform, and was against the use of drugs (medicines). He also launched the idea that there might be a connection between the use of tobacco and cancer. (The Beauties and Deformities of Tobacco-Using, p. 142. (1853).) Much of Ellen White's writings on health reform show great similarities with the writings of Larkin B. Coles, who wrote long before Ellen White. There should be no doubt about Ellen White's borrowing from Coles and presenting the matter as "heavenly visions."

In his book Lectures on the Science of Human Life (1849) the free-thinker Sylvester Graham (1794-1851) advocated most of the health principles Ellen White claimed to have seen in her vision from 1863. He warned about the use of eggs, milk, butter, tea, coffee, tobacco, rich pastries, medicines (drugs), white bread, pork, spices, tight lacing and all kinds of exciting food - exactly the same as Ellen White, but prior to her. Obviously, Ellen White was strongly influenced by Sylvester Graham. Dio Lewis was another well known health reformer from the 1850's. He advocated two meals a day - the same as EGW, but prior to her.

In the 1850's, health reform was very popular. Numerous health reformers travelled around, holding lectures on health reform. They advocated all the principles Ellen White later presented in her own writings. Her vision from 1863 represented nothing new under the sun. All this was well-known matter which had been preached and lectured in America at least ten years before her vision. On this background, it sounds strange that God would give her a "vision" on all these well-known things, and also that Ellen White claimed that she did not know about this before she got her "vision written down". Then she "discovered" to her "amazement" that others had advocated the same principles years before he! But Ellen White got all the merit for the pioneer work other people had been doing years before her.

It has been claimed that God had been showing Ellen White "advanced medical principles" years ahead of her time. As we have seen, these are exaggerated claims. These principles did not originate with her. What God really should have shown her in visions, was how to prevent by simple means some of the greatest causes of disease at that time.

1. In 1863 one of the greatest transmitters of disease was milk. Both tuberculosis and brucellosis could be transmitted by milk. In 1870 the method of pasteurizing was developed by heating the milk to a certain temperature. This was a simple procedure. Ellen White should have known this from her visions, but because pasteurizing was developed at a later time, she had no literature on the subject to copy from.

2. At that time people died by the thousands by typhus and cholera. The medical science did not know that this diseases could be prevented by boiling the drinking water. Ellen White should have been shown this in visions, but because medical science didn't know this simple fact in the 1860's, Ellen White had no one to copy from.

In 1844 Mrs. M.L. Shew published the third edition of her book with the lengthy title, "Water Cure for Ladies: A Popular Work on the Health, Diet and Regimen of Females and Children, and the Prevention and Cure of Diseases; With a Full Account of the Processes of Water Cure; Illustrated With Various Cases". The 1844-edition was in fact the third edition; the book must therefore have been published some time before 1844.

In this book a great number of the "new" health principles Ellen White "saw" in the "Otsego vision" of 1863, and which she got credit for, were outlined - health principles which were "far advanced for her time". Mrs. Shew (prior to 1844) and Mrs. White (after 1863) warned against the use of alcohol, drugs, salt, spices, tea, tobacco, opium. (Ellen White was warned in a "vision" against opium; Mrs. Shew warned against opium several years before, without help from any "vision".) She also warned against rich pastries, meat, cheese etc.)

Mrs. Shew (before 1844) and Mrs. White (after 1863) recommended water cures in the place of medicines, salt in small quantities only, daily bathing, excercise, fresh air, preparing pies and cakes with cream instead of butter and lard, cream and milk instead of meat, fruit and vegetables instead of meat, 5-6 hours between meals, bread from whole grain etc. etc.

Accordingly, there was nothing new under the sun in Ellen White's health reform vision from 1863. Others had been advocating the same principles long before Ellen White came into the arena. However, because of borrowing and plagiarism, and aggresive promoting, she got all the credit for health principles others had been pioneering long before her.

As we have seen, Ellen White's counsels on health are frequently mixed with bizarre superstitions she borrowed from others.

Ellen White went against her own counsels

In the 1850's both James and Ellen White made use of swine's flesh as food. Later they abandoned it.

"Dear Sister Curtis: - I felt sorry for you as I read your letter. I believe you to be in error. The Lord showed me two or three years since that the use of swine's flesh was no test. Dear sister, if it is your husband's wish to use swine's flesh you should be perfectly clear to use it." (EGW, letter to Str. Curtis, quoted in H.E. Carver, Mrs. E.G. White's Claims to Divine Inspiration Examined. Emphasis supplied.)

In 1858 Ellen White wrote a similar testimony,

"I saw that you had mistaken notions about afflicting your bodies, depriving yourselves ofnourishing food. Some have gone too far in the eating question. They have taken a rigid course, and lived so very plain that their health has suffered. I saw that God did not require any one to take a course of such rigid economy as to weaken or injure the temple of God. All this is outside of the word of God. If this is a duty of the church to abstain from swine's flesh God will discover it to more than two or three. A fanatical spirit is with you. You are deceived." Testimony No. 5. Emphasis supplied.)

This is the original testimony. The second edition has been put into Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 206-7 - somewhat edited, with an "explanation" by James White. Here Ellen White says that swine's flesh is nourishing food, and that people who went against the use of it, were deceived and led by a fanatical spirit. (The testimony had to do with swine's flesh.)

Then we have the strange situation that God showed Ellen White in a vision that the use of swine's flesh was not a test, and that it was OK to eat it, in spite of what the Bible plainly says, that the swine is an unclean animal.

". . .And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase" (Deut. 14:8).

This plain command, written several thousand years ago, was no unknown matter.

Later, Ellen White writes testimonies - allegedly based on visions - that swine's flesh was unclean food, and that God did not sanction its use. First, God shows Ellen White in a "vision" that the use of swine's flesh is OK. Later, God shows her that it is wrong to make use of it. Meantime, the Bible was clear on that point.

James White wrote in 1850,

"Some of our good brethren have added 'swine's flesh' to the catalogue of things forbidden by the Holy Ghost, and the apostles and elders assembled at Jerusalem. But we feel called upon to protest against such a course, as being contrary to the plain teaching of the holy scriptures. Shall we lay a greater 'burden' on the disciples than seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and the holy apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ? God forbid. Their decision, being right, settled the question with them, and was a cause of rejoicing among the churches, and it should forever settle the question with us." (The Present Truth Vol. 1., Nov., 1850. - No. 11., 'Swine's Flesh'. Emphasis supplied.)

James White wrote this in 1850. In 1858 both he and his wife wrote letters and testimonies echoing this article. James even claimed that to go against the use of swine's flesh, was contrary to Scripture.

On the back of this letter to Str. Curtis (quoted above), James White had jotted down,

"That you may know how we stand on this question, I would say that we have just put down a two hundred pound porker." (H.E. Carver, Mrs. E.G. White's Claims to Divine Inspiration Examined.)

Ann Lee (1736-84), who founded "the Shakers", received "visions" which she published as "Testimonies". She went strongly against the use of swine's flesh - and that several years before Ellen White came into the arena. All this was nothing new. At the very time James White "brought down a hundred pound porker", Ann Lee's testimony against the use of swine's flesh had been in existence for many years.

It then becomes clear that SDA's at that time did not dodge the use of fat porkers, and they had Ellen Whites "inspired testimonies" behind them to support this practice. But later she received equally "inspired testimonies", saying that God did not intend that people should eat swine's flesh, under any circumstances. (How to Live, chap. 1, p. 58 (1865).)

"You know that the use of swine's flesh is contrary to His express command, given not because He wished to especially show His authority, but because it would be injurious to those who should eat it." (Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 96 (1868).)

Accordingly, Ellen White's statements where she "saw" that the use of swine's flesh was not wrong, comes into a strange light. Later editions of Ellen White's books have footnotes and appendices, trying to "explain" her many contradictory statements on health issues from that time. One common explanation is that Adventists got "progressive light" on health issues. But that doesn't explain away the fact that at the same time a substantial number of health reformers both wrote and lectured against the use of swine's flesh, and flesh meat in general, without pleading heavenly visions as basis for their teachings. Both Graham, Fowler, Wells, Jackson, Trall, Ann Lee and others warned against the use of swine's flesh, but God were obliged to give Seventh-Day Adventists "progressive light" and in addition contradict himself!

After her Otsego vision in 1863, Ellen White abandoned the use of flesh meat a few years. Later she took up her former practice and ate meat until 1894. This information will undoubtedly come as a shock to many, but is based on plain facts.

In a letter to E.S. Ballenger, (January 9, 1936), Dr. John H. Kellogg wrote,

"Mrs. White ate meat and plenty of it. The next day after she arrived in America on her return from Scandinavia. I took dinner with her at the house of a mutual friend near New Bedford, Massachusetts. A large baked fish occupied the center of the table. Mrs. White ate freely of itas did all the rest with the exception of the hostess and myself. From this circumstance I think Mrs. White began the use of meat during the several years she spent abroad, chiefly In Switzerland and Scandinavia. She visited the Sanitarium frequently during the years that intervened before she went to Australia. When there she always called for meat and usually fried chicken. Dr. H.F. Rand was then the cook at the Sanitarium and had became an ardent vegetarian and he on more than one occasion said to me, 'It goes very hard on me to have to prepare fried chicken for Mrs. White.' In those days we had a liberal table at the Sanitarium where we served meat to friends of patients who insisted on having it, although we did not prescribe it for patients.

'At the annual meetings of the General Conference, which were always held in Battle Creek, we used to give the Conference a banquet. Most of the members were members of the Sanitarium constituency. We thought we owed them that courtesy. At these banquets they expected us to serve meat.

'In those days practically all Seventh-Day Adventist ministers ate meat.

'They knew that Mrs. White ate it and with not more than two or three exceptions they all ate chicken or mutton stew that was usually served them.

'On the day of Elder White's funeral, his, brother, who attended the funeral, and his two sons, J.E. and W.C., took dinner at the Sanitarium. They ate the liberal table and both ate meat within an hour after their father was buried.

'After Mrs. White return from Scandinavia she visited many camp meetings at some of which I was present. She was then in the habit of eating meat and the fact must have been generally known. I heard J.E. on one occasion, standing in front of his mother's tent, call out to a meat-wagon that visited the grounds regularly and was just leaving, 'Say, hello there! Have you any fresh fish?' 'No' was his reply. 'Have you got any: fresh chicken?' Again the answer was 'No,' and J.E. bawled out in a very loud voice, 'Mother wants some chicken. You had better get some quick.'

'It was always lay suspicion that he was the one who was hankering for the chicken and that Mrs. White ate it also and that it was then her habit.

'I am surprised that Elder Starr should state that Mrs. White did not eat meat in Australia. He must have been acquainted with the fact that she ate it regularly. She was eating meat when she went there (1891) and continued to eat it for several years until she got rheumatism so bad she was not able to walk and had to be wheeled about and sat in a chair while she talked.

'After a while she gave up the use of meat and wrote me about it. She said that one of her addresses on Christian temperance was attended by a Catholic woman who was president of the W.C.T.U. and happened to be a vegetarian.

'After the lecture she called on Mrs. White and thanked her for the lecture and remarked, 'Of course you do not eat meat, Mrs. White.' Mrs. White replied she did sometimes, whereat the lady dropped upon her knees and with tears streaming down her face besought Mrs. White never again to allow a morsel of meat to pass her lips. Said Mrs. White in her letter to me, 'I thought it was about time me to begin my own teaching.' So who said, 'I have stopped the use of meat myself, but I still serve it to my workers. . . .

'When I visited the Grand Rapids camp grounds, one of the first camp meetings held, I found in the provision stand conspicuously displayed whole codfish, large slabs of halibut, smoked herring, dried beef and Bologna sausage. I found some of the same things at all the camp meetings I visited.

'After a few years I succeeded in getting these things cleared out. On one occasion in order to clean up the provision stand I paid what the whole stock of meat, strong cheese and some detestable bakery stuff cost, which was fifteen dollars, and ordered it thrown into the river. I was assured that this would be done, but learned afterwards that it was put away and after the camp meeting was Over was divided up among the preachers of the Conference. This was in Indiana. I received information concerning its disposal from Elder Covert who was President of the Conference." (Letter, J.H. Kellogg to E.S. Ballenger, Jan. 9, 1936. Emphasis supplied.)

In this letter, we are to note that Ellen White admitted as late as 1894 that she ate meat. According to the words of several witnesses, she had at that time been a meat-eater for several years. Further she admitted in 1894 that it was time to begin to follow her own counsel. Accordingly, she had not been doing this for a number of years. Do not forget that she received her so-called vision on health reform in 1863, 31 years before 1894.. In a manuscript, dated August 30, 1896, Ellen White herself admits this incident in Australia, in 1894.

It is strange that the Otsego vision in 1863 - which Ellen White claimed was from heaven - was not enough to convince her to keep to the health reform. A catholic lady was to intervene several years later, and she managed to accomplish what the "heavenly vision" did not.

In 1863, according to her own claims, God gives her a vision, in which both she and others were warned against meat-eating, that it caused leprosy, tuberculosis, cancer, benumbed the brain, shortened the life-span etc. Quite often Ellen White wrote testimonies, condemning others for eating meat, while she herself was a meat-eater.

"Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?" (Romans 2:21,22.)

"Thou therefore which teachest another not to eat flesh-meats, dost thou eat flesh-meat?"

According to Dr. Kellogg, she reverted back to meat-eating during her stay in Europe in the mid 1880's. However, from her own letters, it is quite obvious that she had been eating both meat and fish long before that. So what? She did not sin in doing this. Nowhere does the Bible call meat-eating a sin. That's not the point in question here. What we are discussing, is Ellen White pretending to be a health reformer, condemning other people for occasional digressions, all the time while she herself made quite a few "digressions" on a continual basis. This, of course, is hypocrisy.

In a letter, dated May 31, 1882, Ellen White wrote,

"Mary, if you can get me a good box of herrings, fresh ones, please do so. These last ones that Willie got are bitter and old. If you can buy cans, say, half a dozen cans, of good tomatoes, please do so. We shall need them. If you can get a few cans of good oysters, get them." Letter 16, 1882", to her daughter-in-law, Mary Kelsey White.)

After the 1887 campmeeting in Springfield, Ill., Ellen White met Fannie Bolton and wanted to hire her as a literary assistant. Ellen White arranged to meet her in Chicago on the way back to California. From Chicago they were to travel together. Fannie Bolton tells the story,

"When Ellen left the campmeeting circuit to return to her home in California, she arranged for Fannie to meet her and her party at the Chicago depot so that they could travel together. Ellen was 'not with her party, so Elder Starr hunted around till he found her behind a screen in the restaurant very gratified in eating big white raw oysters with vinegar, pepper and salt,' Fannie wrote; and on the same trip Willie White brought into the car a 'thick piece of bloody beefsteak' for Sara McEnterfer, one of Ellen's valued employees, to cook on a small oilstove. These incidents were shocking to Fannie, who had 'lived up to the testimonies with all faithfulness discarding meat, butter, fish, fowl and the supper meal, believing that as the 'Testimonies' say, 'no meat-eater will be translated.'' (Letter, Fannie Bolton to Mrs. E.C. Slawson, Dec. 30, 1914; pp. 108-9. The Fannie Bolton Story: A Collection of Source Documents, Ellen G. White Estate, 1982.)

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg tells almost the same story,

"With reference to Fanny Bolton's story about Mrs. White eating oysters, Fanny told me that the first time she net Mrs. White was in Chicago in a restaurant. She had been informed that Mrs. White was eating her dinner at a certain restaurant and went there and found she was eating stewed oysters. Mrs. White I think was not so much to blame for eating meat oysters etc. as the people associated with her. They made her believe that she needed meat and ought to eat it." (Letter, J.H. Kellogg to E.S. Ballenger, Jan. 9, 1936. Emphasis supplied.)

According to Dr. Charles E. Stewart, Ellen White in fact ate oysters as late as 1890.

As I have mentioned on several occasions, Ellen White received her so-called health reform vision in 1863. The purpose of this vision was - according to EGW - to show the dangers of meat-eating,

"But since the Lord presented before me, in June, 1863, the subject of meat-eating in relation to health, I have left the use of meat. For a while it was rather difficult to bring my appetite to bread, for which, formerly, I have had but little relish. But by persevering, I have been able to do this. I have lived for nearly one year without meat." (Spiritual Gifts, vol 4a, p. 153. (1864). Emphasis supplied.)

Five years later Ellen White wrote,

"I have not taken one step back since the light from heaven upon this subject first shone upon my pathway. I broke away from everything at once, - from meat and butter, and from three meals. . . .I left off these things from principle. I took my stand on health reform from principle." (Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 371-372 (1869). Emphasis supplied.)

The following year she wrote,

"Those who digress occasionally to gratify the taste in eating a fattened turkey or other flesh meats, pervert their appetites, and are not the ones to judge of the benefits of the system of health reform. They are controlled by taste, not by principle. . . .No butter or flesh meats of any kind come on my table." (Testimonies, vol. 2. p. 487 (1870). Emphasis supplied.)

This was written in 1870, just one year after she had written that she did not yield an inch from the principles of health reform.

When Dr. Ronald Numbers was struggling with the White Estate to get copies of letters and other material as documentation for his forthcoming book "Prophetess of Health" (1976), he finally got what he asked for, with the exception of two letters which Arthur White would not release - probably because they were damaging for the madonna-picture of Ellen G. White. One of these letters was dated 1873, just two years later than the above testimony from 1870. In this letter from 1873, Ellen White describes a vacation trip to the Rocky Mountains, where both she and her family ate deer-broth and wild ducks.

"A young man from Nova Scotia had come in from hunting. He had a quarter of deer. He had traveled 20 miles with this deer upon his back. ... He gave us a small piece of the meat, which we made into broth. Willie shot a duck which came in a time of need, for our supplies were rapidly diminishing" (Manuscript 11, 1873; Manuscript Release 14, p. 353. Emphasis supplied).)

". . . No butter or flesh meats of any kind come on my table," she had written two years before, reproving a brother for gratifying his appetite on a fat turkey. Those who did so, she informed, were not to talk aloud about the benefits of health reform - while she herself, from time to time, gratified her own appetite by eating meat. However none wrote more about the benefits of health reform than Ellen White at that time.

Long after the death of his mother, W.C. White told about picknic baskets laden with chicken, turkey and tinned tongue. (Ronald Numbers, Prophetess of Health, pp. 171-2.)

". . .No butter or flesh meats of any kind come on my table." (Testimonies, vol. 2. p. 487 (1870).

"You place upon your tables butter, eggs, and meat, and your children partake of them. They are fed with the very things that will excite their animal passions, and then you come to meeting andask God to bless and save your children. How high do your prayers go?" (Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 362 (1870). Emphasis supplied.)

What kind of God does Ellen White present here? Are God's answers to prayers dependent on an egg or two, or a little butter on the breakfast table? According to this, one egg on the table, and your prayers go as high as the roof, but not further. Does this make any sense to you, dear reader?

But at the 1919 Bible Conference, A.G. Daniells, the President of the General Conference, commented,

"I have eaten pounds of butter at her table myself, and dozens of eggs. I could not explain that in her own family if I believe that she believed those were the Lord's own words to the world." (Statement by A.G. Daniells, Bible Conference of 1919.. Emphasis supplied.)

A.G. Daniells had been knowing Ellen White personally for 40+ years.

According to Ellen White's testimony, her own prayers during several years did not reach longer than the roof - she had been placing eggs, butter and meat on her table!

In 1888, at a time when Ellen White ate meat, she wrote,

"I do not preach one thing and practice another. I do not present to my hearers rules of life for them to follow while I make an exception in my own case...." (Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 302; Letter 12, 1888. Emphasis supplied.

But at this time Ellen White did teach one thing and practice quite another. This is well documented. She pretended before others that she was a strict health reformer, and she condemned in strong words others who took "side steps" - all while she herself took quite a few "side steps". If this is not religious hypocrisy, what is it then? The above statement is a plain lie which does not square up with documented facts!

In the years 1891-1900 she wrote,

"No man should be set apart as a teacher of the people while his own teaching or example contradicts the testimony God has given His servants to bear in regard to diet, for this will bring confusion. His disregard of health reform unfits him to stand as the Lord's messenger." (Testimonies, vol 6, p. 378. Emphasis supplied.)

In 1903, nine years after she finally abandoned meat-eating, she wrote,

"God gave the light on health reform, and those who rejected it, rejected God." (Special Testimonies, vol 6, p. 31. Emphasis supplied.)

She claimed that God gave light on health reform in 1863. According to herself, those who rejected the light, rejected God. Ellen White did not reject health reform per se, but for many years she did not practice it. She was a health reformer by principle, not by practice. According to her own words, she could not represent the truth to others, and was unfit to stand as God's messenger all these years - more than twenty years - all the while she calls herself "God's messenger".

At that time (1901) Arthur G. Daniells was elected President of the General Conference - an office he held to 1922. Daniells was a meat eater and neglecter of health reform, but in spite of this, Ellen White strongly supported Daniells when he was elected. How could she do that, when his "neglect of health reform" made him "unfit" to stand as the Lord's messenger? None should be elected to teach the people, she wrote, while they were neglecting health reform.

In 1909, Ellen White wrote,

"When the message of health reform first came to me (1863), I was weak and feeble, subject to frequent fainting spells. I was pleading with God for help, and He opened before me the great subject of health reform. . . .This light has been a great blessing to me. I took my stand as a health reformer, knowing that the Lord would strengthen me. I have better health today, notwithstanding my age, than I had in my younger days. . . .

'It is reported by some that I have not followed the principles of health reform as I have advocated them with my pen; but I can say that I have been a faithful health reformer. Those who have been members of my family know that this is true." (Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 158-159. Emphasis supplied.)

This light she may have been receiving by reading the numerous writings on health issues which circulated at that time - and she did exactly that.

But as we have seen, Ellen White admitted while in Australia, that she ate meat at that time, until 1894. Her big household, counting sixteen people, would most probably attest to that. Her own son Edson provided her with chicken; and while visiting the Battle Creek Sanitarium, she ordered fried chicken. She ate oysters and herring, butter and eggs. In other words, she was not a true health reformer from 1870 or prior to that, until 1894. In addition she was a hypocrite on this matter. She did not tell the whole truth in her statement from 1909.

Dress reform

Even the so-called dress reform, which the SDA's advocated in the 1800's, was not based on "visions" from God, in spite of Ellen White's claims to the contrary. Ann Lee, of the Shakers, introduced a special dress for her followers.

Shortly before the American Civil War in the years 1861-5, a few radical feminists in America advocated a so-called "reform-dress", consisting of a dress, halfways up to the knees, with loose-sitting pants underneath. Some adventist sisters claimed that such a reform dress was both healthy and sensible, but Ellen White condemned it and took heaven as witness to that, through a testimony,

"God would not have His people adopt the so-called reform dress. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the modest, humble followers of Christ. . . .Those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of woman's rights and the so-called dress reform might as well sever all connection with the third angel's message." (Testimonies, vol 1, p.p. 421-422 (June 1863). Emphasis supplied.)

Here Ellen White claims in no uncertain words that God would not that his people should adopt this reform dress because it was "immodest".

Four years later (1867) Ellen White says in a new testimony, purportedly from heaven,

"Christians should not take pains to make themselves a gazing-stock by dressing differently from the world." (Ibid, p. 458. Emphasis supplied.)

She claims that his people should not adopt the American reform dress and dress differentely from the world.

One year later, in September 1864, James and Ellen White visited Dr. James C. Jackson's sanitarium at Dansville, N.Y. During their three weeks stay at this place, they both became fascinated by the health reform principles taught there. One of the physicians at Dr. Jackson's sanitarium, Miss Harriet N. Austin, wore a reform dress which, with small modifications, was similar to the reform dress Ellen White one year previously had claimed that God would not that his people should adopt. Ellen White began wearing Miss Austin's reform dress, and received "visions", testimonies and "revelations" where she claimed that God now wanted his people to adopt this dress,

"God would now have His people adopt the reform dress, not only to distinguish them from the world as His "peculiar people," but because a reform in dress is essential to physical and mental health." (Ibid, p. 525. Emphasis supplied.)

One of the reasons that God now wanted his people to adopt the reform dress - the same dress he previously had condemned - was to distinguish his people from the world and set them apart as his special people. But he had stated previously that his people should not make gazing-stocks of themselves, by dressing differently from the world! These are all absurdities and contradictions, which did not originate from an orderly God. God does not change his mind from day to day.

Ellen White provided paper-patterns which she advertised in the Review at one dollar each. She also brought these patterns with her wherever she travelled and sold them at the same price. She urged the sisters to buy them, and urged them not to make their own! This was some business going on!

D.M. Canright tells about his own wife, who wore this reform dress,

"I was married at Battle Creek in 1867, to a young sister of nineteen. It was at the height of this short-dress craze. Of course, as a minister's wife, she reluctantly put on the dress and wore it for eight years. So I know all about it. It was a shameful thing, and brought ridicule everywhere. On the street, people would stop and gaze at her and mock. I have seen troops of boys follow her, making fun, till she would step into a store to hide from them. We were both ashamed of it; but God's prophet said it was his will, and we must bear the cross! Here is the warning Mrs. White gave:

'I have done my duty; I have borne my testimony, and those who have heard me and read that which I have written, must bear the responsibility of receiving or rejecting the light given [Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 523.]'." (D.M. Canright, The Life of Mrs. E.G. White, Chap. 19.)

"Christians should not take pains to make themselves a gazing-stock by dressing differently from the world." (Testimonies, vol 1, p. 458. Emphasis supplied.)

"God would now have His people adopt the reform dress, not only to distinguish them from the world as His "peculiar people. . ." (ibid, p. 525. Emphasis supplied).

Canright goes on,

"But at length she saw it was a mistake and a failure. So she went away to California and quietly laid it off herself, and never wore it afterward. Of course she was plied with requests for explanations; but she simply refused to give any. She said she had given the light. They could obey it or reject it. That was all! The fact was, she had been misled by Miss Austin, and dared not own it, for she had said it was light from heaven, and had made God responsible for it all." (D.M. Canright, The Life of Mrs. E.G. White, Chap. 19. Emphasis supplied.)

Ellen White says that she received the light, and they (SDA's) could receive it or reject it. Because Ellen White took off her reform dress and never wore it again, she rejected the light from heaven, according to her own words.

Such absurdities and contradictions are the result of claiming heavenly visions as basis for human inventions.

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