"Truth about Ellen White Writings"

Counsels on Health and Temperance

The source of Ellen White’s health writings:

Ellen White (1827-1915): “That which I have written in regard to health was not taken from books or papers. As I related to others the things which I had been shown, 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 questions. 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” (3SM, p. 282; Manuscript 7, 1867).

1. What temperance is

Ellen White (1827-1915): “True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful, and to use judicially that which is healthful” (PP, p. 562, 1890).

Ellen White: “…strict temperance in the use of his bounties, as well as total abstinence from every injurious or debasing indulgence” (CTBH, p. 27, 1890).

Ellen White: In 1893 she said, touch not, taste not,’ should be your motto. You should be temperate in eating. But liquor – let it alone. Touch it not. There can be no temperance its use”

(Temperance, p. 289).

Ellen White: “It is possible to eat immoderately even of wholesome food” (CTBH, p. 51, 1890).

Ellen white: “We are to be temperate in all things. Not only should we in the selection of proper food, but strict temperance in eating and drinking is essential to a health preservation and vigorous exercise of all the functions of the body; for intemperance in eating, even of healthful food, will have an injurious effect upon our system and will blunt the mental and moral powers” (HR, Dec 1, 1887).

L. B. Coles (1803-1856): “The creator has given us an inclination for food adapted to the body. Moderation in its use is temperance; immoderate indulgence is intemperance. But even moderation in the use of things as luxuries which God has never authorized a taste, is intemperance. To be temperate in the use of natural appetites, is to indulge rightly; but to be temperate in regard to unnatural indulgences, is to let them entirely alone. “Touch not, taste not, handle not.” Temperance is total abstinence from wrong things, and moderation in right things. Either kind of intemperance is at war with the progress and prosperity of mind” (Philosophy of Health: Natural principles of health and cure, p. 224, 1851).

John Milton (1608-1674): “There is, said Michael, ‘if thou well observe the rule of’ “Not too much” – by temperance, taught, in what thou eatest and drinkest; seeking from thence due nourishment, not gluttonous delight” (Paradise Lost. XI. 525-558).

John Milton (1608-1674): “By moderation either state to bear, prosperous or adverse” (Ibid. XI. 335-388).

John Milton (1608-1674): “But knowledge is as food, and needs no less her temperance over appetite” (Paradise Lost, VII. 118-151).

2. Return to Eden diet

Ellen White (1827-1915): “How can they take the life of God’s creatures that they may consume the flesh as luxury. Let them rather, return to the wholesome and delicious food given to man in the beginning and themselves practice, and teach their children to practice mercy toward the dumb creatures that God has made…”(MH, 205- 209, 1905).

Ellen White: “Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat-eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet…” (CD, p. 380, 1938).

Ellen White: “Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design- that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth” (CTBH, p. 119, 1890).

Anna Kingsford (1846-1888): “Paradise can never be regained, Regeneration never completed, man never fully redeemed, until the body is brought under the law of Eden, and has cleansed itself from the stain of blood” (The Perfect Way or The Finding of Christ, p. 164, 1881).

Anna Kingsford (1846-1888): An extract from her letter (1882) “The eating of blood, and the habit of slaughter are part of the fall and came with it. We of the new life, desire to return to Eden, and as a first step thither, we abandon that horrible and degrading custom [of eating flesh]…turn instead to pure sun- created fruits and grains,…We cannot err in following the indications- nay, the commands- of nature, for these are the surest words of God” (Anna Kingsford and Vegetarianism by Samuel Hop Good Hart, 1931).

Rev. Henry S. Clubb (1827-1922): “By living thus in harmony with the original law of food as given by Moses (Genesis 1:29) man becomes a co-operator with the Creator and becomes proportionately endowed with those faculties that enable him to resist and overcome diseased conditions” (Thirty-nine Reasons Why I am a Vegetarian, p. 17, 1854).

Howard Williams (1837-1931): “Vainly do the more feeling persons who happen to have some scruples, ….think to abolish cruelties, while still indulging the appetite for the flesh luxuries of the table” (Ethics of Diet, p. XI, 1883).

Howard Williams (1837-1931): “To such a degree do we make luxuries of bloodshed, that we call flesh ‘a delicacy,’” (Ibid., p. 48).

3. Electric currents of the nervous system

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The brain nerves that connect with the whole system are the medium through which heaven communicates with man….Whatever hinders the circulation of the electric currents in the nervous system, thus weakening the vital powers and lessening mental susceptibility, makes it more difficult to arouse the moral nature” (Ed, p. 209, 1903).

Ellen White: This statement comes under the title, “Moral Pollusion”. “Whatever disturbs the circulation of the electric currents in the nervous system lessens the strength of the vital powers, and the result is a deadening of the sensibilities of the mind” (2T, p. 347, 1871).

L. B. Coles (1803-1856): nervous system. “The Brain is the seat and origin of all the nervous forces. It is made up of bundles of nerves. It is the seat of mental action” (Philosophy of Health: Natural principles of health and Cure, p. 9, 1851).

L. B. Coles (1803-1856): “The Nerves, proceeding from the brain carry out its influences and commands into all the functions of the animal economy. From it go out various branches of nerves, to transmit, like so many telegraphic wires, the electric fluid which is inseparably connected with the vital action of every part of the body” (Ibid., p. 11).

L. B. Coles (1803-1856): This comment comes under the title “Self Indulgence” [moral pollusion]. “And add to these [diseases], they will not frequently appear in males, seminal incontinence, wasting away, the vital energies by the excessive and unnatural draft which it makes on the electric forces of the brain” (Ibid., p. 126-127).

L. B. Coles (1803-1856): “Excitants of all kinds, and especially narcotics, disturb the electrical currents of the nervous system” (Ibid., p. 221).

4. Nerves of the body compared to telegraphic wires

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The head is the capital of the body. If the finger is pricked, the messages, like the telegraphic wires bear the intelligence immediately to the brain” (4a SG, p. 146, 1864).

Ellen White: “The nerves proceed from the brain control the body. By the brain nerves, mental impressions are conveyed to all the nerves of the body, as by telegraphic wires, and they control the vital action of the system” (HR, June 1, 1872).

J. C. Gunn (1800-1863): “The brain is the seat and origin of all the nervous forces; …The nerves proceeding as they do from the brain, carry out its influences and commands into all the functions of the animal economy. From it go out various branches of nerves, to transmit, like so many telegraphic wires, the electric fluid which is inseperably connected with all the vital action of every part of the body….They form the medium through which the brain receives intelligence from other parts, …and to use the comparison, are the telegraphic wires from the brain,…” (New Domestic Physician, p.592, 1857).

5. Health reformers looked forward to a vegetarian society

Ellen White (1827-1915): “…it will be not be long until animal food will be discarded by many besides Seventh-day Adventists” (3TT [Testimony Treasures], p. 132, 1902).

Anna Kingsford (1846-1888): “I wait the time when the consumption of the vegetarian movement have created perfect man, for I see in the movement the foundation of perfection. When I perceive the possibility of vegetarianism and the heights to which it can raise us, I feel convinced that it will prove the redeemer of the world” (Anna Kingsford and Vegetarianism by Samuel Hopgood Hart, 1931).

6. The study of human physiology

Ellen White (1827-1915): “It is our duty to study the laws that govern our being, and conform to them. Ignorance in these things is sin” (Unpublished Testimonies, August 25, 1897; HL, p. 13).

“From the first dawn of reason, the human mind should become intelligent in regard to the physical structure. We may behold and admire the work of God in the natural world, but the human habitation is the most wonderful” (Unpublished Testimonies, January 11, 1897; HL, p. 13).

“A practical knowledge of the science of human life is necessary in order to glorify God in our bodies. It is therefore of the highest importance that among studies selected for childhood, physiology should occupy the first place” (The Health Reformer, August 1, 1866; HL, p. 13).

William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “Another object of the Sabbath school is to teach the laws of God in the human frame… I believe also with Paul that it is our duty to glorify God with body and spirit both, since both are his… I am in favor of the Sabbath school to make up the deficiency [of not including human physiology]… But the same reason – why I would teach moral and religious laws in the Sabbath school is equally good in favor of inculcating, in these same schools, the laws of the human frame … Now there is no one of the animals more fearfully and wonderfully made than man; and therefore, in the study of none of them, would the habit of looking through nature up to nature’s God, be more rapidly acquired than in the study anatomy and physiology” (The Sabbath School As It Should Be, pp. 42, 44, 45, 1841).

7. Obedience to God’s moral and physical laws

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The violation of physical law, with its consequent suffering and premature death has so long prevailed…” (CTBH, 1890).

Ellen white: “While they depend upon divine strength to break the bonds of appetite, they are to co-operate with God by obedience to His laws, both moral and physical” (MH, 176-177, 1905).

William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “Could we be taught to obey all laws, physical and moral, from the very first, we should not only escape premature decline and death, but under the great law of renovation, we might be numerous instances, be restored to perfect health” (The Laws of Health, p. 13, 1856).

William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “There are laws of gravitation, the law of magnetic attraction, the laws of electricity, the laws of human life… and it is as much our duty to study and obey these, when and where we can, as it is to study and obey the ten commandments. Especially is it our duty to study and obey laws which obtain in and about the human frame” (The Sabbath School As It Should Be, p. 44, 1841).

8. Violation of natural and physical laws is sin

EllenWhite (1827-1915): “The laws that govern our physical organism, God has written upon every nerve, muscle and fibre of the body. Every careless or wilfull violation of these laws is a sin against our Creator” (Ed, pp. 196,197, 1903).

J. C. Gunn (1800-1863): “Obedience to the laws of health should be made a matter of individual and personal duty. It is, therefore, every individual’s duty to study the laws of his being, and conform to them. Ignorance or inattention on this subject is sin….” (New Domestic Physician, p.597, 1857).

William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “But to regard every departure from the natural laws of God, when the departure is voluntary, as offensive to God, and positively sinful, is extremely rare, even among our best people” (The Sabbath School As It Should Be, p. 48, 1841).

9. Violation of the physical laws is as breaking the Ten Commandments

Ellen White (1827-1915): “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” (CTBH, p. 53, 1890).

L.B. Coles (1803-1856): “As before remarked, it is as truly a sin against Heaven, to violate a law of life, as to break one of the ten commandments” (Philosophy of Health, p. 216, 1851).

J. R. Miller (1840-1912): “The observance of the physical laws of our being is of vital importance. These are inexorable. There is no forgiveness for their violation… Then still more essential is the observance of moral and spiritual precepts” (Week-Day Religion, pp. 227-228, 1880).

10. Any habit which tends to destroy health is sin

Ellen White (1827-1915): “And the human being who is careless and reckless of the habits and practises that concern his physical life and health, sins against God. God is not reverenced, respected, or recognized. This is shown by the injury done to the body in violation of physical law” (Unpublished Testimonies, May 19, 1897; Healthful Living, p. 17).

Meta Lander (1813-1901): “A habit which destroys or enfeebles the physical powers, which effects the whole nervous system, and thus reaches the will and moral character is sin” (The tobacco problem, 4th edition, p. 224, 1882[1885]).

11. Man’s original diet

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing” (CD, p. 81, 1905).

John Smith (1798-1888): “Many roots, nuts, corn, rice, and esculent vegetables, seem to be proper for man as articles of diet” (Fruits and Farinacea, p. 102, 1845)

John Smith (1798-1888): “There are few who doubt that fruits, &c., were the original food of man…” (Ibid., p. 53).

John Smith (1798-1888): He also mentions various nuts to be used in preparing food: “A simple enumeration of a few Cupulifarae, Polygoneacea, and other seeds, will be sufficient, namely, chestnut, buckwheat, hazel-nut, walnuts, almonds, cocoa-nuts, brazil-nuts, cashew-nuts, Pistachio-nuts, Suwarrow, etc.” (The principles and Practice of Vegetarian Cooking, p. 39, 1860).

London Vegetarian Society: “The London Vegetarian Society [1847] is established for the purpose of advocating the total disuse of the flesh of animals (fish, flesh, and fowl) as food, and promoting instead   more extensive use of fruits, grains, nuts, and other products of the vegetable kingdom…” (A Candid Hominid: A History of Vegetarianism, [1891 credo]).

Note: Ellen White Estate has made a boastful claim that Ellen White was the first among the health reformers to make mention of “nuts” as part of man’s original diet in 1905 (Health Principles/5, Chapter 28). But the citations from earlier writers proves them wrong, and besides, they were years ahead of Ellen White.

12. The sympathy between the body and mind

Ellen White (1827-1915): “A close sympathy exists between the physical and the moral nature” (Review & Herald, 1881; CD, p.67, 1938).

Ellen White: “The relation that exists between the mind and the body is so intimate when one is affected the other sympathizes. Disease is sometimes produced and is often aggravated, by the imagination…Many imagine that every slight exposure will cause illness, and the evil effect is produced because it is expected. Many die from disease the cause of which is wholly imaginary” (MH, p. 241, 1905).

Ellen White: “But few realize the power that the mind has over the body. A great deal of the sickness which afflicts humanity has its origin in the mind and can only be cured by restoring the mind to health” (Mind, Character, and Personality  Vol. 2, p. 396; 3T, 184, 1872).

Ellen White: “The mind needs to be controlled, for it has a most powerful influence upon the health. The imagination often misleads, and when indulged, brings severe forms of disease upon the afflicted. Many die of diseases which are mostly imaginary. I am acquainted with several who have brought upon themselves actual disease by the influence of the imagination” (2T, p. 523, 1871).

L. B. Coles (1803-1856): “The sympathy existing between the mind and the body is so great, that when one is affected, both are affected. If a person imagine ever that he is sick, he is pretty sure to be sick” (The Philosophy of Health, p. 88, 1845).

L. B. Coles (1803-1856): “Great sympathy exists between the physical and the moral nature” (The Philosophy of Health: Natural Principles of Health and Cure, p. 226, 1851).

J. C. Gunn (1800-1863): “The sympathy existing between the mind and the body is so great, that when one is affected both are affected” (New Domestic Physician, p. 597, 1857).

J. C. Gunn (1800-1863): “For instance, during the cholera hundreds were seized by this complaint who might otherwise have escaped, as many died of fear; and many died in my presence entirely under the influence of imagination” (Ibid., p. 63).

13. Dignity of manual labour

Ellen White (1827-1915): “At the creation, labour was appointed as a blessing” (Ed, p. 214, 1903).

Ellen White: “And the students are to be taught the true dignity of labour” (Christian Education, September 1, 1090).

Ellen White: “Adam was not to be idle. No sooner was he created than his work was given him” (Counsels to Parents Teachers and Students, p. 273, 1913).

John Milton (1608-1674): “Other creatures all day long rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest. Man hath his daily work of body or mind appointed, which declares his dignity” (Paradise Lost, IV, 616-649).

Daniel Whedon (1808-1885): “Man was made for work, and labour was honourable in the primitive Eden. God himself is revealed as working, and furnishing a divine example. Hence the commandment: “Six days shalt thou labour…” (Whedon’s Commentary on Genesis).

14.    Tight lacing or Corsets

Ellen White (1827-1915): “By lacing, the internal organs of women are crowded out of her positions. There is scarcely a women that is thoroughly healthy, majority of women have numerous ailments….These wasp waists may have been transmitted to them from their mothers, as the result of their influence in the sinful practice of tight-lacing and in consequence of imperfect breathing” (Health Reformer, November 1, 1871).

Ellen White: “Many claim that tight lacing is now nearly or quite abandoned, and such may think these remarks are uncalled-for; but it is true today that the corsets and dresses of most women are worn too tight for the proper action of the vital organs. The lungs, heart, and liver are burdened in their work” (HR, Feb 1, 1877).

Ellen White: “When waists are compressed, the circulation of the blood is impeded, and the internal organs cramped and crowded out of place, cannot perform their work properly. It is impossible, under such circumstances, to take full inspiration” (CTBH, p. 88, 1890).

Ellen White: “I have conversed with many young ladies upon the sin of wearing Corsets and tight dresses…” (HR, Dec 1, 1871).

L. B. Coles (1803-1856): “Vast damage has been also, in past times, been done by pressing the lungs out of their place and oppressing their expansion by lacing… Tight lacing – compressing the lungs with ropes, and boards, and steel – is now nearly abandoned; but still dresses are made too tight in the waist, and too much filled with whalebone. The chest should have free room to expand itself, and allow the lungs to fill with air. The breathing should meet no resistance from dress” (Philosophy of health, pp. 20, 192, 1851).

John C. Gunn (1800-1863): “The most mistaken and pernicious practice in the world is tight lacing; it distorts the “human from divine,” and causes destructive organic diseases, which can never be remedied, thus curtailing life, and disfiguring beauty…. I hesitate not to say, that of the females, not one in fifty, I fear not one in five hundred,   dresses sufficiently loose to suffer no ill consequences from ligature or compression…. I should say, by this tight lacing you committed suicide” (New Domestic Physician, p. 281, 1857).

John C. Gunn (1800-1863): “This crushing of course, prevents freedom of action, the heart is obstructed, lungs cannot freely breathe, the blood does not circulate healthily, the stomach cannot well digest, while the liver, and other viscera, or organs, are put out of sorts, and all of these functions are deranged” (Ibid., p. 283).

John C. Gunn (1800-1863): “Of the unfortunate young females, who too often fall victims to this vicious practice, the blame ought in some cases to fall on mothers, who are in many instances the guilty cause of this fault” (ibid., p. 286).

John C. Gunn (1800-1863): “It, (human figure) in a word is not shaped like a wasp” (Ibid., p. 287).

15. Tight lacing is a sin

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Mothers are accountable, in a great degree, for the health and lives of their children… Where tight-lacing is practiced, the lower part of the chest has not room sufficient for action. The breathing, therefore, is confined to the upper portion of the lungs, where there is not sufficient room to carry on the work. … These wasp waists may have been transmitted to them from their mothers, as the result of their indulgence in the sinful practice of tight-lacing, and in consequence of imperfect breathing” (The Health Reformer, November 1, 1871).

William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “The appearance of the son is diminutive – owing, no doubt to that crying sin of tight lacing practiced by his mother previous to his birth; for it is impossible the contracted lungs in the parent can produce any other in the offspring.” (Tea and Coffee, pp.77, 78, 1839).1

16. Intemperance is evil

Ellen White (1827-1915): “And while Christians are asleep, the giant evil of intemperance is gaining strength and making fresh victims” (ST, Feb 11, 1886).

Ellen White: “The first great evil was intemperance in eating and drinking (4a SG, p. 131, 1864).

A.H. Grimshaw (1824-1899): “Intemperance is acknowledged to be an evil; the cause of an evil must also be an evil; tobacco is a cause of intemperance, therefore, tobacco is an evil, and should be shunned” (The Physical And Moral Effects of the use of Tobacco, p. 28, 1853).

17. Eat to live

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The little ones need to learn that they eat to live, not live to eat” (CD, 229, 230).

L. B. Coles (1803-1856): “Students should live on simple food; and remember to “eat to live, and not live to eat”” (The Philosophy of Health, p. 66, 1848).

Socrates (470-399 BC): “Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.” (Memorable Quotes and quotations from Socrates).

18. True remedies (8 laws of health)

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in the divine power – these are true remedies” (MH, p. 127, 1905).

William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “The common ingredients of health and long life are, great temperance, open air, easy labour, little care, simplicity of diet- rather fruits and plants than flesh,  which easier corrupts – and water” (Vegetable Diet, p. 179, 1838).

Lawrence Society, Kansas (1855) “They emphasized a “return to nature,” with the avoidance of drugs and patent medicines then so much advertised. The constitution of the Lawrence society provided in its preamble, “that hydropathy, including the hygienic agencies of water, air, light, food, temperature, exercise, sleep, clothing, and the passions in their various modifications, comprises a whole and ample Materia” (Kansas Historical Quarterly – The Vegetarian and Octagon by Russell Hickman, 1933).

19. Regular bathing

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Upon rising in the morning, most persons would be benefited by a sponge-bath, or, if more agreeable, a hand-bath, with merely a wash-bowl of water. This will remove impurities from the skin” (4aSG, p. 143, 1864).

Ellen White: “Persons in health should on no account neglect bathing. They should by all means bathe as often as twice a week….and frequently even more than this is positively necessary” 3T, p. 71, 1871).

J. C. Gunn (1800-1863): “What is called hand bath may be taken by any one, in all circumstances. If you have a bowl of water, remove your clothing, and apply the water to your whole body with a sponge or towel….You may have the water colder or warmer, as suits your convenience,…No one can have any excuse for neglecting it, who can get a basin of water and ten minutes leisure….Regular bathing so as to keep the skin in a healthy condition” (New Domestic Physician, pp. 603-604, 1857).

20. Importance of ventilation

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Many do not realize the necessity of light, and pure air in their houses in order to have health….Sleeping rooms especially should be well ventilated,…” (4aSG, 142, 1864).

L. B. Coles (1803-1856): “Another important mater, is living and sleeping in apartments well ventilated. This is important as a means of health, or the relief from any or kind of disease” (Philosophy of health, p. 191, 1851).

J. C. Gunn (1800-1863): “It is seldom however this matter is properly attended to; indeed we have a good reason to believe that its importance is very little understood…But above all things is it important that our sleeping rooms should be well ventilated” (New Domestic Physician, p. 1005, 1857).

21. Exercise

Ellen White (1827-1915): “There is no exercise that can take the place of walking. By it the circulation of the blood is greatly improved” (3T, p. 78, 1875)

J. C. Gunn (1800-1857): “Walking is the most natural and convenient exercise and, to the healthy and robust, perhaps the best” (New Domestic Physician, p. 177, 1857).

22. The curse of drugs

Ellen White (1827-1915): “…Multitudes of drugs, have cursed the inhabitants of the earth….Drugs never cure disease” (4aSG, pp. 133-134, 1864).

Ellen White: “If the sick and the suffering will do only as well as they know in regard to living out the principles of health reform perseveringly, then they will in nine cases out of ten recover from their ailments” ( MM, p. 223.[MS 22, 1887]).

J. C. Gunn (1800-1863): “Nature will perform the cure better without medicines than with their use; for in thousands of instances they do harm instead of good” (New Domestic Physician, p. 596, 1857).

J. C. Gunn (1800-1863): “Perhaps more than nine cases out of ten, Nature will remove the difficulty without the aid of any kind of medicine” (New Domestic Physician, p. 595, 1857).

J. C. Gunn (1800-1863): “And thousands daily die victims to medicine who might have lived to a good old age, had they but trusted to nature and simple remedies” (Ibid., p. 36).

23. Milk is not safe, as it carries diseases

Ellen White (1827-1915): “…and after a time milk will be entirely discarded; for disease in animals is increasing in proportion…” (Letter 14, 1901; CD, p. 411, 1938).

Anna Kingsford (1846-1888): In reply to a question [1885] she said, “…the milk of the animals is not necessary or wholesome, and more dangerous a medium for the conveyance of infectious diseases that even flesh” (A Candid Hominid: A history of Vegetarianism).