Dr. Jackson, The REAL Father of the Health Message

For six months prior to the “Health vision” James had released health articles in the Review and Herald, especially from Dr. Jackson. He promoted a vegetarian diet, two meals a day, etc. After the “vision” Ellen wrote that she and her husband had NEVER even read an article on health. That would be pretty difficult since he was the editor that released Dr Jackson’s research in the Review BEFORE the “health vision.” Read the story of what really happened!

Mrs. White’s Health Visions:

Was it God? Or Dr. Jackson?

Edited by D. Anderson


Dr. James Caleb Jackson was born in 1811. Early in his life he worked as a lecturer and publisher of abolitionist newspapers; but he was hampered by extremely poor health. In fact, he was at death’s door when he visited a water cure, and his near-miraculous recovery made Jackson a life-long advocate of hydropathy. Later, he obtained a medical degree, and in October of 1858 he moved to Dansville, New York, to open a water-cure clinic.1

Our Home on the Hillside, ca. 1870

The clinic became known as Our Home on the Hillside, and attained a national reputation. In addition to the water treatments, Dr. Jackson also encouraged his patients to eat properly. No red meat, sugar, coffee, tea, alcohol, or tobacco were permitted at Our Home on the Hillside; instead, the emphasis was on fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed grain. Jackson also promoted a two-meal-a-day diet. Jackson is credited with the invention of the first cold breakfast cereal, a graham-flour-derived recipe he named Granula.2


Striking Similarities


As the Whites traveled in the mid and late 1860s sharing the health reforms God had supposedly given her by vision, those listeners who happened to be familiar with Dr. Jackson’s writings were taken aback by the marked similarities between what Mrs. White claimed to have seen in vision and the teachings of Dr. Jackson. Even Mrs. White acknowledged these striking similarities in a letter to her sons:

“We have here met with a lady who was at Our Home at Dansville when we were there. She introduced me to her husband. They attended our meetings. Your father gave a temperance discourse Sunday morning. She sat with her husband in their carriage just outside the curtains of the tent. They are intelligent people and the first in the place. They invited us to visit them, and today we comply with their request. She made the remark in regard to your father’s discourse that it seemed to her she was listening to Dr. Jackson again. She spoke especially of my speaking at the convention, said she had never forgotten it; that it had been a great help to her since that time; that it had especially benefited her.”3

Mrs. White Defends Herself

The fact that Mrs. White’s health visions so closely resembled the teachings of Dr. Jackson raised some concern in the church. Mrs. White admits that people “often” questioned her as to whether she got her “vision” from Dr. Jackson. Such a controversy arose that Mrs. White was forced to publicly defend herself in the church’s paper:

“Question on the Vision .–Did you receive your views upon health reform before visiting the Health Institute at Dansville, New York, or before you had read works 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, volumes 3 and 4, 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, the 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 have 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.”4

Thus, we have two versions of events:

  1. The skeptics version: Mrs. White secretly read Dr. Jackson’s books, adopted his health reforms, then decided to bring those same reforms to the entire church, but instead of giving Dr. Jackson credit, she pretended God gave her a health reform vision and went around telling everyone the info came straight from Heaven.
  2. Mrs. White’s version: Mrs. White was given a vision of health reform by God. Later, she happened to come across some writings by Dr. Jackson, and by sheer coincidence they were nearly exactly what she was shown in vision.

A closer study of the events will show us which version is the truth.

The Reform Dress

The Reform Dress incident provides a dramatic illustration of how Mrs. White acquired her “reforms” and passed these along to the Church with a “Thus saith the Lord.” Prior to her visit to the Dansville Institution in 1864, Ellen White had shown little interest in the “reform dress.” In fact, a couple of years earlier she had told the sisters in the Church that God was not interested in the reform dress either:

God would not have his people adopt the so-called reform dress.5

Can it be any plainer than that? God was not interested whatsoever in the reform dress. However, when Mrs. White visited the Dansville clinic she began to see value in the reform dress. Assisting Dr. Jackson at the water cure was his adopted daughter, Dr. Harriet Austin, a fellow hydropathist, who advocated women’s dress reform. She was the inventor of the “American Costume”, which dispensed with unwieldy floor-length dresses in favor of a mid-length skirt worn over trousers (see picture of Dr. Austin on right).

Mrs. White was sold on the concept of the reform dress, and quickly penned out a testimony indicating God had suddenly changed His mind on the subject:

God would now have his people adopt the Reform Dress…6

Question to ponder: Who told Ellen White to adopt the reform dress? Was it God or Dr. Austin? To study the subject further, click here


 The Whites Visit Dansville

When their son Willie contracted pneumonia in February, 1864, the Whites became seriously interested in health reform. After his recovery, Arthur White explains the Whites’ new-found interest in health:

“Now, more than ever, they knew that they must dig deep and learn how to combat disease, and about sound dietetic principles. They determined then and there that at the earliest possible time they must visit the medical institution operated by Dr. Jackson and his associates at Dansville, New York, and gain all they could in practical lines.”7

The Whites spent three weeks at the Dansville clinic in September of 1864. Unlike many of the visitors, the Whites were in perfect health. They did not go there because they were feeling ill. On the contrary, they went on a fact-finding mission, to learn first-hand about Dr. Jackson’s health teachings. James White wrote:

“In the month of September, 1864, Mrs. White and self spent three weeks at the health institution at Dansville, Livingston County, New York, called ‘Our Home.’ Our object in this visit was not to take treatment, as we were enjoying better health than usual, but to see what we could see and hear what we could hear, so as to be able to give to many inquiring friends a somewhat definite report.”8

The Whites listened to Dr. Jackson lecture, and even attempted to follow some of his dietary reforms. One such attempt at reform failed, however. It was Dr. Jackson’s advice to give up salt. Mrs. White explains:

“Many years ago, while at Dr. Jackson’s, I undertook to leave it [salt] off entirely, because he advocated this in his lectures.”9

On the surface this statement–not released to the public until the 1980s–seems to be of little import, but it is highly significant in that it shows that at least some of the health reforms that later showed up in Mrs. White’s testimonies were first learned from Dr. Jackson. While Mrs. White did not give up salt entirely, she did advise her followers that “food should be prepared” without “an undue amount of salt.”10 Question: Was it God or Dr. Jackson?

Not only did Dr. Jackson shape the Whites’ thinking on health reform, he also seemed to change their thinking on phrenology. Just a couple years earlier Mrs. White denounced it as a tool of Satan.11 However, while at the Dansville clinic, the good doctor read the heads of both the White boys. Mrs. White reports in a private letter:

“I think Dr. Jackson gave an accurate account of the disposition and organization of our children. He pronounces Willie’s head to be one of the best that has ever come under his observation. He gave a good description of Edson’s character and peculiarities.”12

Health Reform Time Line
Date Event
Jan. 1863 Whites learn about Dr. Jackson
Feb. 1863 James reprints Jackson’s article in the Review
June 1863 James writes to Jackson requesting some books
June 1863 Mrs. White receives health reform “vision”
Aug. 1863 Dr. Jackson writes James apologizing for delay in book order
Sep. 1863 Ellen claims James first heard of Jackson
Oct. 1863 James prints a chapter from Jackson’s book in the Review
Dec. 1863 James mails one of Jackson’s books to a sick friend
June 1864 Ellen begins publishing How to Live articles
Aug. 1864 Whites visit Dr. Jackson’s Institute


The Whites Study Jackson’s books and Articles


In spite of her three-week fact-finding mission to the Dansville Clinic, Mrs. White assured her followers that others had no influence on her health writings:

“That which I have written in regard to health was not taken from books or papers. As I related the things which I had been shown to others, the question was asked, ‘Have you seen the paper, The Laws of Life or the Water Cure Journal?’ I told them No, I had not seen either of the papers. Said they, ‘What you have seen agrees very much with much of their teachings.‘ I talked freely with Dr. Lay and many others upon the things which had been shown me in reference to health. I had never seen a paper treating upon health. After the vision was given me, my husband was aroused upon the health question. He obtained books, upon our eastern journey, but I would not read them. My view was clear, and I did not want to read anything until I had fully completed my books. My views were written independent of books or of the opinions of others.13

Notice from this quote:

  1. People noticed the similarity between Mrs. White’s writings and Dr. Jackson’s writings.
  2. Mrs. White admitted James had obtained a set of books on health before her views were written.
  3. Mrs. White denies reading “anything” until after she had completed her books.

Here is what Mrs. White asks us to believe: God gave her a health reform vision, she wrote it out, and then, to everone’s amazement, the vision “agrees very much” with the teachings of Dr. Jackosn. What an amazing coincidence!

Despite Mrs. White’s bold denial, there is evidence that Mrs. White, an avid reader, had plenty of opportunity to read the writings of Dr. Jackson prior to the publication of her own health writings.

The Whites did not visit Dr. Jackson’s health institute until August of 1864. This was 14 months after Mrs. White was said to have received her June, 1863 vision on health reform.14 She claimed to be unfamiliar with the writings of Dr. Jackson prior to September, 1863. However, the White boys had become ill with Diphtheria in January of 1863, and at that time, the Whites were first familiarized with the writings of Dr. Jackson. Grandson Arthur White tells of their good fortune:

“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.”15

Thus we know that the Whites had read at least one article of Dr. Jackson’s at least four months prior to the date of the “vision”. In fact, James reprinted Jackson’s article on Diphtheria in the February 17, 1863, edition of the Review and Herald.

On August 13, 1863, one month before James supposedly had any knowledge of Dansville, Dr. Jackson wrote him apologizing for his long delay in replying to White’s request for information about his books. It appears that James had written Jackson sometime in June, for in December of 1864 he stated that eighteen months earlier (June 1863) he had sent off to Dansville for some of their books.

When the books arrived Mrs. White claimed they remained in the wrappers, but on December 12, 1863, James was mailing Jackson’s Consumption from Topsham to a friend, Ira Abbey, in Brookfield, New York. It appears those wrappers came off those books at least nine months prior to Mrs. White writing out her vision! Furthermore, it is likely Ellen White read the article James White printed from Jackson’s Laws of Life in the October 27 issue of the Review and Herald.16 Thus we can see that Mrs. White had plenty of opportunity to read the writings of Dr. Jackson prior to the publication of her own articles on health.

The Doctor’s Prognosis

Although Dr. Jackson was quite familiar with Mrs. White, he never accepted her as a prophet. After his medical examination of her he attributed her unusual medical problems to hysteria. Mrs. White reported Jackson’s findings to the attendees of a conference, an eyewitness of which later wrote:

“When giving to a Conference at Pilot Grove an account of her visit at Dr. Jackson’s Health Institute, she stated that the Doctor, upon a medical examination, pronounced her a subject of Hysteria.”17


You decide: Was it God or Dr. Jackson?

Questions to ponder:


  • When did the wrappers come off Dr. Jackson’s books?
  • Why do her writings on health so closely resemble the teachings of Dr. Jackson?
  • Why do her teachings on the reform dress mimic those of Dr. Austin?
  • Did Mrs. White receive her health reform teachings from reading and talking with Dr. Jackson?
  • Was it God? Or was it Dr. Jackson?






The primary source for this article is: “The Dansville Days”, Prophetess of Health pp. 77-101, by Ronald Numbers, Ph.D. Other specific sources (some of them also cited in Prophetess of Health) are listed below.

1. David Gilbert, “Dansville’s ‘Castle on the Hill'”, Dansville Area Historical Society

2. Ibid.

3. Ellen White, Letter 3, 1865. (To Edson and Willie White, June 13, 1865, MR 5, p. 384).

4. Ellen White, Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 8, 1867.

5. Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 421.

6. Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 525.

7. Arthur White, Ellen G. White Volume 2 The Progressive Years 1862-1876, p. 78, 79.

8. James White, Op. cit. HL, No. 1, p. 12 in Ellen G. White Volume 2 The Progressive Years 1862-1876, page 83.

9. Ellen White, Manuscript Releases vol. 5, p. 402.

10. Ellen White, Temperance, p. 157.

11. Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 290, 296-297.

12. Ellen White, Letter 6, 1864, p. 1. (To Brother and Sister Lockwood, September, 1864.)

13. Ellen White, Manuscript 7, 1867. Manuscript Releases vol. 5, pp. 391, 392.

14. “It was at the house of Bro. A. Hilliard, at Otsego, Mich., June 6, 1863, that the great subject of health reform was opened before me in vision.” (Review and Herald, Oct. 8, 1867).

15. Arthur White, Progressive Years, Vol. 2, p. 13.

16. J.C. Jackson, “Which Will You Have, Hoops or Health?”, Review and Herald, Oct. 27, 1863.

17. H. E. Carver, “Mrs. E. G. White’s Claims to Divine Inspiration Examined”, 1872.



The Ailing Health Instructor

By Max Chugg

Would you take your car to a mechanic whose own car was in a state of disrepair? Would you ask a builder to build you a home, when his own home was on the verge of collapse? Would you hire a fitness instructor who was grossly over-weight? No, no, no, of course you wouldn’t. Then why would trust a health instructor who was often sick and ailing, and did not even follow her own instructions? This article exposes the sickening truth about Ellen White’s health. –Editor

The Health of the Whites

Despite her “inspired” counsel to others, Mrs. White’s own family health record should be a major concern for those who would promote her as an authority on health.

Mrs. White was frequently ill, and her husband suffered many health problems and died an early death. Mrs. White’s youngest son, Henry, lived from 1847 to 1863, a mere 16 years. Her youngest, John, lived a mere 3 months. James, Henry, and John all died from disease or illness.

For a person who wishes to provide counsels on diet and foods, and to promote healthful living, this record is a poor recommendation. But the problem runs much deeper, because the health record of the White family is pathetic.

Ellen married James White on 30th August 1846, and illness immediately followed. She was desperately ill for three weeks, and, convinced that prayers were protracting her intense agony, requested them to stop.1 What an interesting concept! God hears members of His “remnant church” praying for the recovery of their leader, and rewards their prayers by adding to Mrs. White’s problems. This is surely without precedent in scripture.

In 1854, when pregnant with her third child, she could only breathe with difficulty, had frequent fainting fits, and a swelling on her eye which was painful and affected her vision. She “dishonoured God” by visiting an earthly physician, and was told that the growth was probably a cancer, but that she would die of apoplexy before the cancer broke out. Eventually the “cancer” was cured. A month later she suffered a stroke.2

In 1858 she was “attacked by Satan” and was left with a swollen face and blocked eyes. This probably came as no surprise because “Satan’s darts were hurled at us more than others.”3 Here she is craving sympathy from others.

Illness continued at Memphis, where Mrs. White complained of overwork and illness: “Our nights were spent in broken sleep, because of bodily infirmities.”4 In Europe it was the same story, and in Cologne Mrs. White recorded that “The old sickness follows me” and says she is “weak and sick and yet compelled to labor.”5 Who compelled her? Her own “inspired” counsel in relation to temperance should have prevented this problem from arising. Yet another plea for pity comes from her account of the dream in which she has a conversation with James after his death. In this dream, James tells Ellen “Our people will never know under what infirmities we have labored to serve them”.6

The climate of Australia was no help. Here “she little realized the ominous nature of the situation, for this was the onset of a prolonged and painful illness that was to affect her ministry in Australia materially”. The illnesses she claims to have suffered in Australia included inflammatory rheumatism, malarial fever and bleeding of the lungs. She wrote that ” For eleven months I did not have the free use of my arms.”7

Seventh-day Adventist Health Message


While living in Melbourne she claimed to have suffered malarial fever.8 It is generally accepted that malaria does not come below 19 deg. S. latitude, and Melbourne is about 1000 miles below that position, so it is practically impossible to believe that she contracted malaria in Australia. Had Mrs. White really contracted this debilitating disease as she claims, it is highly improbable that it would have only received the passing mention that she gives it. In particular, the treatment that she received would have been ineffective because, with her “inspired” medical knowledge, she denounced the use of quinine9, but pronounced lemon juice to be good for malaria!10 These are discoveries that modern medical science has yet to make!

Her eventual return to the U.S.A. did not end the complaints of constant illness that persisted until the end of her life.

In 1865, after James suffered a stroke, James, Ellen, Laughborough, Sister M.F. Maxson and Uriah Smith all went to Dr. Jackson’s Health Institute, and to that party were later added Willie and Edson White and Adelia Patten as a helper for Ellen. This visit lasted for three months and cost $40 per week for the White family, plus an additional $20 per week for Uriah Smith and Elder Loughborough, and presumably the same for Adelia Patten and Sr. Maxson. Although, at that time a woodcutter was earning fifty cents a day,11 the cost was no problem to Mrs. White because it was borne by church members.12 We are not told who paid for the team of horses sent to Dansville, New York, to “augment James’ physical activities.” Why were they needed when Mrs. White was so definite that walking is the best form of exercise?

In summary, Mrs. White claims to have suffered at length from the following illnesses:

  • Neuralgia of the nerves
  • Inflammatory rheumatism
  • Malaria
  • Bleeding of the lungs
  • Oppressed lungs
  • Brain fever
  • Hip and spine difficulties
  • Kidney problems
  • Dropsical consumption
  • Right lung decayed
  • Left lung considerably diseased
  • Fainting fits
  • Dropsy
  • Heart disease
  • Paralysis
  • Swollen face and gums
  • Loose teeth

Ask yourself a simple question. Would you allow a person who suffered from all of these illnesses to counsel you on what you should eat, and to give you advice on healthful living?

It almost seems that Mrs. White was referring to her own case when she wrote “The more you dwell upon discouragement, talking to others about your trials and enlarging upon them, to enlist the sympathy you crave, the more discouragement you shall have.”13 Apart from the obvious seeking of sympathy for her life of illness, she has also been accused of using illness for manipulative purposes.


Did Mrs. White follow her own health counsel?

A feature of Mrs. White’s life is the amount of illness she and her family are claimed to have suffered. Perhaps the combined effects of all of this illness and the knowledge that she was living in total violation of her own counsel did cause her to believe what she preached. A hint that this might be the case comes from Dr. Kellogg, who commented that after she stopped eating meat, because of the pleadings of a Catholic woman,14 she wrote in a letter to him that “I thought it was about time for me to begin my own teaching.”15 He went on to say that she ate plenty of meat, fish, chicken, mutton stew, oysters, dried beef and bologna sausage.16 (Note that currently the main ingredients of bologna sausage are bacon, veal and pork suet.)

In her private life the conflict was even greater as Mrs. White ate oysters17, meat that in the judgment of her church today, would have been regarded as unclean. On a camping trip she and her son Willie ate duck18, and venison19 and they provided squirrel for a companion, Bro. Glover.20 On another occasion a companion, W.H. Moore, became seriously ill when he ate contaminated bear meat.21

She wrote to Sister Belden on Nov. 26, 1905 that “we have no butter and no meat on our table”, yet 14 years later, General Conference President A.G. Daniels claimed to have eaten pounds of butter and dozens of eggs at her table22, another conflict with the health message.

Apologists argue that in Mrs. White’s time the attitude that the church should take on unclean foods was not clear. Yet she lists a number of foods, including oyster stews as an attempt to “beget unhallowed desires”. In her writings she makes it clear that Daniel knew which meats were unclean and which were not.23 Contemporaries of Mrs. White, such as Dr. Kellogg, Dr. Stewart, S.N. Haskell, and even the much maligned Dudley Canright had views that are current today. Also, on February 27, 1864 she wrote to her son Edson and expressed concern about him eating with his grandparents, who used pork and mince pies.

By her own admission, Mrs. White did not heed her own counsel about discontented repinings because her writings contain a large number of references to depression in her life and also in the life of her husband.24

Mrs. White was “instructed” to appropriate her own tithe and used the money as she saw fit,25, behaviour that in others could be a cause of illness. People such as H.E. Carver saw the Whites as a major cause of trouble in the church, citing the arrogance of James and the inconsistencies in Mrs. White’s message. He concludes, “If the visions had never been introduced by us, Sabbath keeping churches might now be numbered by scores instead of units, and Sabbath keeping Adventists by thousands instead of scores.” Again, according to Mrs. White’s rules, this was another cause of illness.

In 1864 Mrs. White and her husband made a visit to Dr. Jackson’s health institute, not for the purposes of illness, but to study his methods.26 Part of the entry procedure at this, and at subsequent visits, was a routine physical examination for each person27 This visit would appear to have been totally unnecessary because an employee of Dr. Jackson’s was Dr. Lay, who was a Seventh-day Adventist. It is probable that Mrs. White could have learned everything she needed to know by reading Dr. Jackson’s published literature and talking to Dr. Lay. This would have avoided her exposure to the dancing, card playing and other evil influences of which she complained.

Mrs. White wrote that thousands have been “spoiled through the philosophy of phrenology, and driven into infidelity”, and “if the mind commences to run in this channel, it is almost sure to lose its balance and be controlled by a demon”.28 But, as usual, even this counsel to others did not prevent her from recording, with ill-concealed pride, results of phrenological readings that Dr. Jackson performed on her sons.29

Despite the knowledge acquired from the first visit to Dr. Jackson, and despite her own teachings on the subject of health, it all appears to have been to no avail, for about a year later the Whites found it necessary to return to the care of Dr. Jackson after James suffered a stroke. Mrs. White also had an interesting, if hypocritical method of treating James’ illness by feeding him venison, which was well received.30

For a time temperance was Mrs. White’s favourite subject and she argued that it should be practiced in all things including labour. She wrote “It is not our duty to place ourselves where we shall be overworked”.31 She could not plead emergency as a valid excuse for illness caused by intemperate working habits because of her counsel “Let no one overtax his God-given powers in an effort to advance the Lord’s work more rapidly. The power of man cannot hasten the work……though all the workmen now bearing the heaviest burdens should be laid aside, God’s work would be carried forward.”32

Despite an admission that James “sinned against God in overtaxing the energies of his system”33, this criticism is not followed by any form of rebuke, nor could it be, because Mrs. White so readily uses the same excuse to account for much of her own illness. Even after the death of James the excuse again appears when Mrs. White recounts a dream in which James tells her “Our people will never know under what infirmities we have labored to serve them”. Sympathy is clearly required for behaviour that would earn other church members a testimony of reproof for disobeying the health message.


What if one of the “saints” got ill?

Mrs. White’s wrote that “the use of flesh has a tendency…to rob men and women of the love and sympathy they should feel for everyone.”34 Perhaps then her extensive use of flesh meat could explain her startling lack of sympathy with others who fell ill.

If you had been a member of the SDA Church when Mrs. White was alive, and called on her for assistance in a time of prolonged illness, you probably would have received some unpleasant surprises. Instead of receiving practical help or comfort, you could well have found her probing your life, attempting to discover what you had done to create the problem that you were facing.

Perhaps your illness had been caused by violation of the laws of health.35 Had you been in violation of Nature’s laws and brought your sorrows upon your own head? Might you have had incorrect dietary practices, worn inappropriate clothing, or even dishonored God by seeing an earthly physician?36 Perhaps sin in your life had caused your feebleness of mind or debility of body. Maybe your attitude was at fault? Dissatisfied feelings and discontented repinings also bring sickness of body and mind.37

If premature death of a family member had occurred, this would not have been without a cause. In such a case, you needed to look upon the death as a special dispensation of Providence because your own inexcusable ignorance had probably been the cause, and if you charged the death to Providence, that would be blasphemy.38

In any of these cases you would have come to the wrong person, because there would be no words of comfort and prayer should not even be offered for you.39

Another possible cause of your problems could have been that you had been withholding tithe, or causing trouble in the church. Mrs. White would check this out, and if you failed this test, she would not pray for you.40

It is highly probable that, having learned of your circumstances and being unable to pray for you, there remained the probability that Mrs. White would send you a testimony of reproof for the way in which you had flouted the health reform. In this event, the testimony would probably be like the one of which A.T. Jones complained of receiving, and would not come to you directly, but you would hear about it from someone else.41

Compare Mrs. White with a church member who was eating meat, clean and unclean, overworking, continuously ill, frequently depressed, seeing earthly physicians and probably using their prescriptions, causing great upset to other church members, paying tithe as he saw fit, had his home full of photographs and making provision for relatives in his will. If this member came to Mrs. White seeking comfort for illness which he claimed was a consequence of attacks by Satan upon him, what would have been her response? Certainly she would not pray for him42 but a testimony of rebuke would have been almost certain to arrive.

Had you, a contemporary of Mrs. White, behaved as she did, and had suffered the poor standard of health of which she constantly complains, she would have rebuked you and refused to pray for you because you would be seen as the author of your own problems. Yet in her case the causes of her health problems were either “attacks of Satan” or the result of being grossly overworked. When she had problems, someone else was always at fault. Ellen White was always the victim.



1. Arthur White, Early Years 1827 – 1862 Vol. 1, p. 115
2. Early Years 1827 – 1862 Vol. 1, p. 292
3. EGW Manuscript Releases, Vol. 6, p. 171
4. EGW Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 9, 1914
5. EGW Manuscript Releases Vol. 16, P. 251-252
6. EGW Letter 17, 1881, pages 2-4 (written to W. C. White, September 12, 1881).
7. Arthur White, Australian years 1891 – 1900, p. 31
8. EGW Manuscript Releases Vol. 21, P 359
9. EGW Selected Messages, Book 2, P 281; Manuscript Releases Vol. 15, P.276
10. EGW Manuscript Releases VOL. 2, P 48
11. Arthur White, Progressive Years Vol. II, p. 120
12. Progressive Years Vol. II, p. 84
13. EGW In Heavenly Places, p. 247
14. Spalding and Magan, p38
15. E.G.W. Letter to E.S. Ballenger, January 9, 1936
16. J.H. Kellogg – Letter to E.S. Ballenger January 9, 1936
17. EGW – letter to Mary Kelsey Dated May 31, 1862
18. EGW Manuscript Releases Vol. 7, p. 346
19. EGW Manuscript Releases Vol. 14, p. 353
20. EGW Manuscript Releases Vol. 20, p. 211
21. Arthur White, Lonely Years 1876 – 1891 Vol. 3, p 109
22. 1919 Conference
23. EGW Testimonies Vol. 4, p.435
24. EGW and Arthur White, Early Years, 1827 – 1862 Vol. 1, p. 406, 407; Progressive Years V2. P. 430; Australian Years 1891 – 1900 p. 71; Manuscript Releases Vol. 7, p.278
25. EGW Manuscript Releases Vol. 2, p.99-100
26. Arthur White, Progressive Years Vol. II, p. 83
27. Arthur White, Progressive Years Vol. II, p. 84
28. EGW Evangelism P. 605
29. EGW Manuscript Releases, Vol. 6, p. 346
30. A.G. Daniells, 1919 Conference Minutes
31. EGW Child Guidance P. 397
32. EGW Testimonies Vol. 7, p 298 (1902).
33. EGW Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Feb. 20, 1866
34. EGW Letter to Brother and sister Belden, Nov 26, 1905.
35. EGW Healthful Living P. 24; Testimonies, Vol. III, p. 164
36. EGW To those Who are Receiving the Seal of the Living God, Jan. 31, 1849.
37. EGW Healthful Living p. 65; Testimonies Vol. 1, p. 566
38. EGW Healthful Living p. 53; Testimonies Vol. III, p. 136
39. General Conference Daily Bulletin, Feb. 26, 1897
40. EGW Healthful Living p. 237
41. A.T. Jones – Letter to E.G.W. April 26, 1906
42. EGW Healthful Living p. 237

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