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Exposing Adventism - Where did the Health Message really come from?

"Whether or not she was motivated by her own lifelong health problems, Ellen White became a health reformer and wrote extensively about the benefits—even the Christian duty—of temperate living. As with other topics, there were her claims and denials. In 1897 she wrote, in Counsels on Diet and Foods:

I have the great light from the Lord upon the subject of health reform. I did not seek this light; I did not study to obtain it; it was given to me by the Lord to give to others.

In her husband’s Adventist Review and Sabbath Herald of October 8, 1867, (“Question and Answers,” p. 260) Mrs. White explained that it was on “June 6, 1863 that the great subject of health Reform was opened before me in vision.” The date of the article is important, for it was four years after the vision:

As I introduced the subject of health to friends…and spoke against drugs and flesh meats, and in favor or 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 I had not, neither should I read them till I had fully written out my own views, lest it should be said that I had received my light upon the subject of health from physicians, and not from the Lord.

In other written statements Ellen White answered similar queries by stating

“I had never seen a paper treating upon health “before the June 1863 vision. She added “After the vision was given me my husband was aroused upon the health question” (Manuscript 7 1867).

These 1867 denials by Ellen White are difficult to accept when it is realized that James White published several heath related articles in his church paper during the six months preceding Ellen’s June 1863 health vision.

Medical historian Ronald L Numbers has described James White’s own public stress on healthful living that began five months before the vision. In the February 10, 1863 Review “he called air, water, and light ‘Gods great remedies, preferable to doctors and their drugs.’” The next week’s Review carried a front page article by Dr. James Caleb Jackson titled “Diphtheria, Its Causes, Treatment and Cure.” According to Numbers this was shortly after Mrs. White had successfully applied Jackson’s treatment to her sons during their bouts with diphtheria.

Numbers wrote: “The Jackson article … spelled out the basics principles of health reform in tips on eating properly dressing sensibly, and breathing lots of fresh air.…During the month of may [1863], James White continued to focus on hygienic living in the Review and Herald with a note from Dio Lewis on dress form and two extracts from Hall’s Journal of Health, one urging a meatless low-fat diet during spring and summer, the other recommending two meals a day.”

Yet Ellen White could write in 1867 (manuscript 7), “I had never seen a paper treating upon health. After the vision was given me my husband was aroused upon the health question.”

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Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this ExposingAdventism.com website is 2007-2008 by Gilbert Jorgensen. Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.