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Problem Statements


BBC Internet World News, July 13, 2004) Cosmetic poisoning. The Health Reformer, October 1871 ... Julian Chisholm, U.S. News and World Report, Aug. 10, 1987, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Problem Statements

Problem Statements in Ellen Whites
writings Denis Fortin November 2005 Perth,
Statements on Diet and Lifestyle
Ellen Whites statements on diet, nutrition,
exercise, and preventive health measures have
received unprecedented independent scientific
verification and corroboration.
Some Statements on Science
Yet, in other areas dealing with scientific
matters, there is generally widespread criticism
regarding some of her views. These problem
statements in science along with issues connected
with literary borrowing (plagiarism) are the two
major categories in which Adventists lose
confidence in her prophetic gift.
Categories of Statements
  • 1. Statements contradicted by contemporary
    science in her day but which, today, are
    confirmed by science.
  • 2. Statements in harmony with contemporary
    thinking in her day and which have proven sound
  • 3. Statements not widely discussed in her day
    which came more or less as new light and which
    have been confirmed since.
  • 4. Statements in harmony with the contemporary
    thinking of her day, but which science, today,
    generally repudiates.

Articles in The Health Reformer
A number of difficult statements occur in 1871 in
The Health Reformer in a series of six articles
titled "Words to Christian Mothers" in which she
decried the evils of fashion and the unhealthy
consequences of some behaviors.
Articles in The Health Reformer
In these articles she often quoted from other
journals and drew lessons from them to illustrate
and support her thoughts. Taken in their
historical setting these statements are not as
off-base as some of them appear when removed from
their original context.
Articles in The Health Reformer
The Health Reformer was the first Adventist
journal devoted to health education. Started in
August 1866. Ellen White published about 75
articles in this journal from August 1866 to 1887
Articles in The Health Reformer
  • Practical subjects
  • Dress reform and the evils of fashion
  • Alcohol consumption and temperance
  • Influence of the mother in the home
  • Home environment
  • Hygiene

Articles in The Health Reformer
James White editor, 1871-1874. To assist her
over-worked husband, in 1871, Ellen White agreed
to preside over a column in the journal. In this
column, she made some statements relating to
science which today sound weird and
Problem Statements in The Health Reformer
  • 1. Wet-nurse
  • 2. Wigs
  • 3. Cosmetics
  • 4. Tight corsets
  • 5. Small waist and lung disease
  • 6. Movable tumor

Other Problem Statements
  • 7. Large discrepancy in age of marriage partners
  • 8. Amalgamation of man and beast
  • 9. Masturbation
  • 10. Leprosy comes from eating pork
  • 11. Cause of some volcanic eruptions and

Other Problem Statements
  • 12. Diseases may come from living near ponds and
  • 13. Eating cheese
  • 14. Height of antideluvian people
  • 15. Involvement of England in the American Civil

Purpose of counsels
  • As we do with the sacred and the common in
    her letters, the more important approach to use
    in regard to problem statements is not to figure
    out what is inspired and what is not. Rather, we
    should attempt to understand the purpose of what
    she wrote her intentions.

Purpose of counsels
  • Dr. Don McMahons study on the difference between
    the counsel and the reason for the counsel sheds
    some light on how to understand Ellen Whites

  • The Health Reformer, October 1871
  • 1. Artificial hair and wigs heat and excite
    spinal nerves.
  • 2. Blood rushes to brain, causes unnatural
    activity, tends to recklessness in morals,
    heart/mind in danger of being corrupted.
  • 3. Moral/intellectual powers become servants of
    animal nature. Victim loses power to discern
    sacred things.
  • 4. May cause baldness, insanity, even premature

  • The nature and construction of wigs then was
    substantially different from that of today.
  • Insects were harbored inside some "jute
    switches"wigs made from dark, fibrous bark,
    which burrowed into the scalp and heads of the
  • Hair, torn out by the roots from dead bodies,
    often carried disease-causing microbes which
    easily could have caused disease to wig-wearers.
    (See "The False Hair Industry," in The Watchman,
    August 1910, pp. 503-504)

  • Powders for wigs contained arsenic as a
  • Scientific examination of wigs worn by George III
    found they contained arsenic.
  • He was also being fed arsenic by his physicians
    to treat his madness, the very thing which was
    probably being triggered by arsenic in the first
    place. (Arsenic in wigs of King George III, Mad
    or misunderstood? BBC Internet World News, July
    13, 2004)

Cosmetic poisoning
  • The Health Reformer, October 1871
  • 1. Seeds of death/paralysis are hidden in every
    jar of these supposedly innocent mixtures.
  • 2. Some suffer sudden severe illness, others go
    through life permanently disfigured with bad
  • 3. Some drop suddenly, with their features
    twisted on one side, perhaps deprived of use of
    their limbs.
  • 4. Others die outright, some are paralyzed.

Cosmetic poisoning
  • In Ellen Whites day many cosmetic preparations
    contained poisonous substances. No regulation to
    monitor the industry.
  • She herself was poisoned by applying a
    hair-restorer to her husbands bald head (HR,
    October 1871).

Cosmetic poisoning
  • The poisonous and deadly effects of some
    cosmetics she is describing could easily have
    been caused by lead poisoning (See Dr. Julian
    Chisholm, U.S. News and World Report, Aug. 10,
    1987, p. 56).
  • 17 coal-tar poison dyes were found in lipstick in
    1959 (Washington, D.C., Evening Star, Oct. 6,

Corsets and Wasp-waists
  • The Health Reformer, November 1871
  • 1. Fashionably-dressed women cannot transmit good
    constitutions to their children.
  • 2. Wasp-waists of some women "may" have been
    transmitted to them by their mothers, as result
    of mother's indulgence in the sinful practice of
    tight-lacing and in consequence of imperfect
  • 3. Poor children of these miserable slaves of
    fashion have diminished vitality, and are
    pre-disposed to taking on disease.

Corsets and Wasp-waists
  • Transmission of such physical problems may be
    caused by tight corsets.
  • Certainly not a genetic transmission, but a
    physical transmission of poor health is entirely
  • Pregnant women wearing tight corsets would have
    affected the health of their unborn children.

Corsets and Wasp-waists
  • What Ellen White emphasizes here is that wearing
    tight corsets is not a healthful practice.
  • The reasons she gives for not wearing corsets are
    not totally accepted today, but the counsel is.

Articles in The Health Reformer
  • Some have suggested that in writing these
    articles in The Health Reformer Ellen White was
    simply acting as a columnist not a prophet.
  • Others see the counsels offered in these articles
    as true and valid even though her supporting
    arguments (reasons, whys and wherefores) may
    cause some problems for us today.

Difference in Age of Partners
  • Health or How to Live, 229 (also in 2SM
  • 1. Older men who marry younger women often have
    their lives prolonged at the expense of the
    younger wife.
  • 2. It is still worse for young men to marry
    substantially older women because children born
    of such union may often not have well-balanced
    minds, will have peculiar traits of character,
    and often die prematurely. Those who do reach
    maturity are often deficient in physical/mental
    health, and moral worth.

Difference in Age of Partners
  • No known research on the dangers of younger women
    from marrying older men.
  • There are many warnings regarding the hazards of
    older women having later pregnancies (Down
  • Recent studies indicate that at 42, 90 of a
    womans eggs are abnormal and at 27, a womans
    chance of getting pregnant begins to decline
    (Nancy Gibbs, Making time for a baby, Time,
    April 15, 2002, pp. 48-54).

Difference in Age of Partners
  • Ellen White was not opposed to all marriages in
    which there was a substantial difference in age
    of the partners.
  • Stephen Haskell (64) married Hetty Hurd (40) in
    1897. Ellen White endorsed this union.
  • In 1902, George I. Butler (68) wished to marry
    Lorena Waite (33). Her sister (Delia Keck) and
    his son strongly opposed the marriage and
    effectively ended the relationship. Five years
    later, Butler (73) married Mrs. Grainger (62).
    Ellen White wrote strong letters of rebuke to the
    opponents of the marriage to Lorena (RY 115-120).

Difference in Age of Partners
  • In her counsel, Ellen White raised questions that
    should be contemplated by couples of
    widely-varying ages in their efforts to determine
    the wisdom (or lack of it) in proceeding with
  • (1) Spiritual Is this proposed union the will of
    the Lord? Would it advance the cause of God?
    Could the two, if wed, accomplish more for God as
    a married pair than they couldindividuallyif
    they remained single?

Difference in Age of Partners
  • (2) Health Are both parties in reasonably good
    health? Is there the prospect of children born
    to this union who might, thereby, be defective
    mentally, physically, or spiritually?
  • (3) Compatibility Does each love the other? Is
    each happy with the prospect of marriage to the
    other? Can/will each love the other and provide
    tender, loving care? Will each enhance the other?

Amalgamation of man beast
  • If there were one sin worse than another before
    Noah's flood it was the "base crime of
    amalgamation of man and beast." It "defaced the
    image of God" in mankind, and caused "confusion"
    everywhere. 3SG 64
  • One of the purposes of the flood was to destroy
    these confused species which were not a part of
    the original creation by God. 3SG 75
  • Since the flood there has been amalgamation of
    man and beast, as may be seen in the almost
    endless varieties of species of animals, and in
    certain races of men 3SG 75

Amalgamation of man beast
  • Although these statements were reprinted in her
    Spirit of Prophecy series (volume 1, 1870), it is
    interesting and significant to note that Ellen
    White did not perpetuate this curious expression
    in her later expansion on the flood narrative in
    Patriarchs and Prophets (1890).

Amalgamation of man beast
  • A debate between Dr. Harold Clark, founder of
    the Pacific Union College biology department, and
    Dr. Frank Lewis Marsh, longtime biology teacher
    at Union College and later a member of the
    Geo-Science Research Institute team, took place
    on Sept. 8, 1947, near San Francisco, CA.

Amalgamation of man beast
  • Clark took the position that Ellen White meant
    "amalgamation between man and animals" with
    offspring being born as a product of such union.
  • Marsh held, contrarily, that Ellen White meant
    "amalgamation of man with man, and of beast with
  • (For a report of the debate, see Gordon Shigley,
    "Amalgamation of Man and Beast What Did Ellen
    White Mean?" Spectrum, June, 1982, pp. 10-19.)

Amalgamation of man beast
  • Francis D. Nichol treats the subject in Ellen G.
    White and Her Critics, pp. 306-322.
  • He observes that in grammatical constructions
    such as the phrase "amalgamation of man and
    beast," "the preposition of is not necessarily
    repeated, though it may be clearly implied."
  • Thus the phrase could refer to one process, man
    with beast, or to two separate processes,
    "amalgamation of man and of beast."

Amalgamation of man beast
  • The results Ellen White attributes to
    amalgamation were "species of animals" and "races
    of men," "but not any kind of amalgam of animals
    with human beings" ("Comments Regarding Unusual
    Statements in Ellen White's Writings," SD, CAR).
  • The second grammatical option, "amalgamation of
    man and of beast," however, fits the rest of
    the sentence. The "amalgamation of man" "defaced
    the image of God" and the amalgamation of "beast"
    "caused confusion everywhere" (3SG 64, 75 1SP
    69, 78).

  • Ellen White did not employ the word
    "masturbation" in her writings, though it was
    used in her generation the word is listed as
    such in the Webster's Dictionary of her day
    instead she used euphemisms such as "secret vice"
    and "self-abuse".
  • She called it an evil, and identified a number
    of undesirable physical, emotional, and spiritual
    ills which could result from this practice.

  • In the 18th century the concept of harm to the
    body brought on by masturbation came to the fore
    in the United States.
  • European physician, Dr. S. Tissot took up the
    cause against the practice, and brought to
    America his theories, which included not only the
    harmfulness of masturbation, but of some sexual
    conducts between husbands and wives as well.

  • The list of disorders following such sexual
    behaviors were said to cause problems all the way
    from "acne to suicide." Parents were alerted to
    this proclaimed evil to every body system.
  • Much energy, time and money were spent on
    "cures" to put an end to this activity. These
    consisted of preventive measures which included
    mechanical devices and surgical procedures, many
    of which would now be considered abusive.

  • Conditions or results attributed to this
  • 1. Physical effects headaches, dizziness,
    exhaustion, nervousness, loss of appetite,
  • 2. Intellectual consequences forgetfulness,
    inattention, idiocy and brain derangement.
  • 3. Emotional outcomes apathy, gloom, sadness,
    jealousy, rebellion against authority.
  • 4. Spiritual consequences death to spiritual
    matters, destruction of high resolve and earnest
    endeavor, and removal of oneself from holy

  • Ellen White did not say that all of the serious
    consequences she associated with masturbation
    would be visited upon any one given individual
    nor did she indicate that the worst possible
    degree of any of these consequences would be
    experienced by any particular person.

  • One cannot help but be impressed when reading An
    Appeal to Mothers, Child Guidance (pp. 439-470),
    and Testimonies for the Church (2346-481), at
    how many times Ellen White uses the word "mind"
    as though much more were involved than the purely
    physical act.

  • In fact, she was more concerned with thought
    processes, attitudes, fantasies, as indicated in
    the following quotes "the effect of such
    debasing habits upon the minds of all is not the
    same" (Pamphlet 085, p. 4), "impure thoughts
    seize and control the imagination" (Solemn
    Appeal, 167), "the mind is to be stimulated in
    favor of the right" (CG 93), "the mind takes
    pleasure in contemplating the scenes which awake
    base passions" (CG 439).

  • Ellen White's straightforward comments regarding
    the corrupting of one's mind and imagination also
    apply to the use of pornography and its effects
    upon one's life (CG 439- 440).

  • While medical science has not verified that the
    medical conditions attributed to masturbation
    through the years have any validity, there is
    agreement that obsessive masturbation is harmful
    and may point out problems in the person involved
    which are not wholly physical.

Leprosy and Eating Pork
  • Ellen White In order to preserve health,
    temperance in all things is necessary. Temperance
    in labor, temperance in eating and drinking.
    Because of intemperance a great amount of misery
    has been brought upon the human family. The
    eating of pork has produced scrofula, leprosy and
    cancerous humors. Pork-eating is still causing
    the most intense suffering to the human race
    (4aSG 146).

Leprosy and Eating Pork
  • There is no known scientific research that would
    support the statement that leprosy could be
    contacted by eating of pork, especially in warm

Leprosy and Eating Pork
  • There is a study which indicates that in
    experiments with mice, rodents which were given a
    pork diet showed a significantly greater
    predisposition to leprosy than those on a
    non-pork diet.
  • ("Effect of Diet on Growth of M. Lepre in Mouse
    Footpads," by Ray L. Foster, et. al., Leprosy
    Research Foundation, Loma Linda, CA, published in
    Indian Journal of Leprosy, 61/3 (July, 1989.)
  • (See also Dr. Foster's "Nutrition in Leprosy A
    Review," in International Journal of Leprosy,
    56/1, pp. 66-81.)

Leprosy and Eating Pork
  • There is evidence that leprosy is contracted
    today by eating armadillo meat.
  • In 1983 in the USA there were 1000 cases of
    leprosy (Hansen's Disease) being treated in
    California, 500 in Hawaii, 430 in Texas, 106 in
    Florida, and 88 in Louisiana 15 million
    estimated cases worldwide.
  • The armadillo is 20 times more susceptible to
    Hansen's Disease than humans.
  • The eating of an infected armadillo is known to
    be one cause of Hansen's Disease.

Volcanoes and Earthquakes
  • At this time the flood immense forests were
    buried. These have since been changed to coal,
    forming the extensive coal beds that now exist,
    and also yielding large quantities of oil. The
    coal and oil frequently ignite and burn beneath
    the surface of the earth. Thus rocks are heated,
    limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. The
    action of the water upon the lime adds fury to
    the intense heat, and causes earthquakes,
    volcanoes, and fiery issues. As the fire and
    water come in contact with ledges of rock and
    ore, there are heavy explosions underground,
    which sound like muffled thunder. The air is hot
    and suffocating. Volcanic eruptions follow (PP

Volcanoes and Earthquakes
  • Before 1850, many scientists believed earthquakes
    and volcano eruptions were caused by the burning
    of underground coal and oil reserves. Now the
    accepted theory is that the center of the earth
    is made of molten lava and the shifting of
    tectonic plates causes earthquakes and volcanoes.
  • Yet, a number of examples of burning coal beds
    have been found. One in Germany burned for about
    150 years.

England and the Civil War
  • Ellen White This nation will yet be humbled
    into the dust. England is studying whether it is
    best to take advantage of the present weak
    condition of our nation, and venture to make war
    upon her. . . . A portion of the queen's subjects
    are waiting a favorable opportunity to break
    their yoke but if England thinks it will pay,
    she will not hesitate a moment to improve her
    opportunities to exercise her power and humble
    our nation. When England does declare war, all
    nations will have an interest of their own to
    serve, and there will be general war, general
    confusion (1T 259).

England and the Civil War
  • Critics of Ellen White claim that in this
    statement she made a prophecy that never
    materialized and, therefore, she is a false
  • However, historical research and documents
    concur that there were British military observers
    courting the Confederate army and studying
    whether it would be a good move to join the war
    against the North.

England and the Civil War
  • Rhodes, James Ford, History of the Civil War,
    1861-1865 (New York Macmillan, 1919), pp. 66-82.
  • Adams, Ephraim Douglass. Great Britain and the
    American Civil War. 2 volumes (London Longmans,
    Green, 1925).
  • Jones, Howard, Union in Peril The Crisis over
    British Intervention in the Civil War (Chapel
    Hill, NC University of North Carolina Press,