The awareness of this evil
Peter L. Allen: “Around 1700, however, the concept of “self-abuse” lept over the dividing line between religion and medicine, as doctors warned for the first time that masturbators were endangering not only their souls, but their bodies as well. At first, doctors trumpeted warnings; then in the eighteenth century, they began to prescribe drugs to combat the effects of this vice…He goes on to say that “If anything, the nineteenth century was even more occupied by masturbation panic than the eighteenth century had been” (Wages of Sin, pp. 80, 89, 1957).
Note: A Century before Ellen White, medical, religious and social reformers had been aware of the evils of solitary vice [or self- abuse] and resorted to corrective and remedial measures to stem the tide of this evil. However, Ellen claimed that she had received the same information through inspiration! She had been in fact pre-occupied in the early part of her health ministry writing and warning against the secret-vice.
1. This habit starts very early
Ellen White (1827-1915): “The young indulge to quite an extent in this vice before the age of puberty without experiencing to any very great degree the evil results upon the constitution… I have been shown that children who practice self-indulgence previous to puberty, or the period of merging into manhood and womanhood, must pay the penalty of nature’s violated laws at that critical period… If the practice is continued from the ages of fifteen and upward, nature will protest against the abuse she has suffered, and continues to suffer, and will make them pay the penalty for the transgression of her laws, especially from the ages of thirty to forty-five” (An Appeal to Mothers, pp. 12, 18, 1864).
Sylvester Graham (1795-1851): “It is generally commenced very early in life… whatever may be the of puberty in which our country rarely takes place in males earlier than about the fourteenth or fifteenth year of life certain it is… Yet it is generally previous to this time, and frequently many before before it, that the debasing and ruinous practice of self-pollusion is commenced” (Graham’s Lectures on Chastity, p. 17, 1834).
2. This evil spreads from one boy to another
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Children who are experienced in this vice can impart their vile knowledge to others… even teaching very young children this practice” (An Appeal to Mothers, p.11, 1864).
Sylvester Graham (1795-1851): “It is, however, more frequently communicated from one boy to another; and sometimes a single boy will corrupt many others” (Graham’s Lectures on Chastity, p. 17, 1834).
3. Myriad of diseases resulting from self- abuse
Ellen White (1827-1915): The disease caused by self- abuse (secret or solitary vice): 1. Headache, 2. Catarrh, 3. Dizziness, 4. Nervousness, 5. Pain in the shoulders and side, 6. Loss of appetite, 7. Pain in the back and limbs, 8. Wakefulness, 9. Feverish nights, 10. Tired feelings in the morning, 11. Great exhaustion after exercise, 12. Sallow countenance, 13. Imbecility, 14. Dwarfed forms, 15. Crippled limbs, 16. Misshapen heads, 17. Numerous pains in the system, 18. Affections of the liver, 19. Lungs, 20. Neuralgia, 21. Rheumatism, 23. Affections of the spine, 24. Disease of the kidney, 25. Cancerous humors, 26. Drops, 27.Loss of memory, 28. Loss of sight, 29. Great weakness in the back and loins, 30. Insanity, 31. Glassy appearance of the eyes, 32. Early grave. – Appeal to Mothers, pp. 5, 17, 18, 24, 27, 1864.
William A. Alcott (1798-1859): The diseases mentioned by Ellen White had already been known and confirmed by Dr. Alcott in 1833, 31 years earlier! Here is his list: 1. Insanity, 2. Chorea, 3. Epilepsy, 4. Idiotism, 5. Paralysis, 6. Apoplexy, 7. Blindness, 8. Hypochondria, 9. Phthisis of the spinal marrow, 10. Great weakness of the small part of the back, 11. Fever with flushing of the face, 12. Wrinkled face, 13. Sight grows dim, 14. Pain in the head, 15. ringing in the ears, 16. Loss of memory, 17. Legs become weak, 18. Kidneys am d stomach suffer, 19. Acute fever, 20. Feebleness in extreme, 21. Pain in every part of the body particularly in the 22. shoulders and chest, 23. Painful eyes, 24. Constant cold, 25. Diseased joints or bones, 26. Numbness of toe or finger; or hand, leg or arm and 27. Premature death. – The Young Man’s Guide, pp. 312-316, 1833.
Sylvester Graham (1795-1851): A similar list of diseases also appears in Graham’s “Lectures on Chastity”, 1834, written thirty years before Ellen White’s vision on secret vice! They are: 1. Hypochondria, 2. Insanity, 3. Nervous system [affected], 4. Retarded digestion, 5. Disease of the brain, 6. heart, 7. lungs, 8. liver and 9. skin, 10. Muscles become exceedingly feeble, 11. Headache, 12. Hysterics, 13. Feebleness of all senses, 14. Pulmonary consumption, 15. Disorders of the kidneys, 16. Spinal diseases, 17. Weakness of the brain, 18. Loss of memory, 19. Epilepsy, 20. Apoplexy, 21. Abortion, 22. Early deaths of the offspring, 23. Impaired vision, 24. Loss of sight [blindness], 25. Dyspepsia, 26. Shrivelled skin, 27. Paralysis, 28. Degraded idiot [idiocy], 29. Shrivelled countenance, 30. Dwarfed and crooked bodies, 31. Restless and disturbed sleep with dreams, 32. Diabetes, 33. Rheumatism, 34. Ulcerous sores of a cancerous character, 35. Glossy appearance of the eyes And 36. premature death. – Graham’s Lectures on Chastity, pp. 17-30, 1837 .
4. Self – abuse is suicide
Ellen White (1827-1915): “They sacrifice physical strength and reason upon the altar of lust…Such are just as surely self-murderers as surely as though they pointed a pistol to their own breast and destroyed their life instantly” (An Appeal to Mothers, p. 26, 1864).
Peter L. Allen: “In a 1697 Latin tract against fornication, an obscure author named Adriaan Beverland warned that self-abuse was both sinful and – what was new – suicidal” (Wages of Sin, p. 87, 1957).
5. Thousands are destroyed by this evil
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Secret vice is killing thousands and tens of thousands” (4T, p. 97, 1881).
William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “If the ordinary diseases slay their thousands, consumption [resulted from this vice] slays its tens of thousands” (The Young Man’s Guide, p. 314, 1833).
L. B. Coles (1803-1856): “Self-indulgence is another low-lived, contemptible vice, which has destroyed its thousands and tens of thousands annually, both of males and females” (The Philosophy of Health, p. 87, 1848).
J. C. Gunn (1800-1863): “Another vile and vicious habit which destroys nervous strength, and is ruinous to the constitution, is self-indulgence, called masturbation; this secret sin is doing a great amount of injury to the human race” (New Domestic Physician, p. 597, 1857).
John Duffy: Quotes from New Orleans Medical Surgical Journal (1854-1855) “In my opinion, neither the plague, nor war, nor, smallpox, nor a crowd of similar evils have resulted more disastrously for humanity, than the habit of masturbation: it is destroying element of civilized society” (Clitoridectomy: A Nineteenth Century Answer To Masturbation, 1989).
Note: Ellen White testified: “I have been shown that children who practice self-indulgence previous to puberty, or the period of merging into manhood and womanhood, must pay the penalty of nature’s violated laws at that critical period” (An Appeal to Mothers, p. 18, 1864). Did she see all these things in her visions? I don’t suppose so as the following quote tells us how she became aware of these things after a personal conversation with some of the victims: “Because of sickness I was kept from society which preserved me in blissful ignorance of the secret vices of the young. After I was a mother, by the private death-bed confessions of some females, who had completed the work of ruin, I first learned that such vices existed. But I had no just conception of the extent of this vice, and the injury the health sustained by it, until a still later period” (ibid., p. 12).