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Thus Saith Ellen White

Rules and Regulations of Ellen White

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Mrs. White penned a multitude of regulations which she expected faithful Adventists to follow. While most Seventh-day Adventists today are unaware of all these rules, there are a few who endeavor to follow them all. As you will see, many of these restrictions are extreme and go far beyond the Word of God.

MEDICINAL LAWS - No drugs or doctors?

Do not use drugs

"You should avoid the use of drugs and carefully observe the laws of health. If you regard your life you should eat plain food, prepared in the simplest manner, and take more physical exercise. Each member of the family needs the benefits of health reform. But drugging should be forever abandoned; for while it does not cure any malady, it enfeebles the system, making it more susceptible to disease." (Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 311)

"Drug medication, as it is generally practiced, is a curse. Educate away from drugs. Use them less and less..." Counsels on Health, p. 261 (1890).

Quinine is forbidden

Quinine, an alkaloid derived principally from the bark of the Cinchona tree, is an efficient antipyretic and is used to reduce fever in many diseases. It was the only known remedy for malaria until the development in recent years of synthetic drugs. Mrs. White placed quinine in the same category as the poisonous mercury:

"Mercury, calomel, and quinine have brought their amount of wretchedness, which the day of God alone will fully reveal." Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 4A, p. 139
Sadly, some Adventists took her seriously and forbid those who were suffering from Malaria from using quinine. Her son W.C. White wrote the following in a letter:
"One time while we were in Australia, a brother who had been acting as a missionary in the islands, told mother of the sickness and death of his first-born son. He was seriously afflicted with malaria, and his father was advised to give him quinine, but in view of the counsel in the testimonies to avoid the use of quinine he refused to administer it, and his son died." (--W. C. White letter, September 10, 1935)

Homeopathic remedies outlawed

"In their practice, the physicians should seek more and more to lessen the use of drugs instead of increasing it. When Dr. A came to the Health Retreat, she laid aside her knowledge and practice of hygiene, and administered the little homeopathic doses for almost every ailment. This was against the light God had given. Thus our people, who had been taught to avoid drugs in almost every form, were receiving a different education. I was obliged to tell her that this practice of depending upon medicine, whether in large or small doses, was not in accordance with the principles of health reform." (Manuscript Releases Vol. 13, p. 177)

Do not go to physicians

"If any among us are sick, let us not dishonor God by applying to earthly physicians, but apply to the God of Israel. If we follow his directions (James 5:14, 15) the sick will be healed. God's promise cannot fail. Have faith in God, and trust wholly in him, that when Christ who is our life shall appear we may appear with him in glory." (To Those who are Receiving the Seal of the Living God, January 31, 1849)

NOTE: Mrs. White later reversed herself and went to see physicians quite regularly. The SDA Church later developed a substantial medical ministry that employed many physicians. Hopefully no one followed her early counsel, which was obviously uninspired.

FOOD LAWS - Remember these at your next church potluck luncheon...

No more Pizza? Dairy products banished

"Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach." (Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 68

"Butter is less harmful when eaten on cold bread than when used in cooking, but, as a rule, it is better to dispense with it altogether. Cheese is still more objectionable; it is wholly unfit for food." (Ministry of Healing, p. 302

"Soon butter will never be recommended, and after a time milk will be entirely discarded; for disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time will come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter."--Letter 14, 1901, p. 3. (To Dr. S. Rand, January 22, 1901.) {8MR 384.2}

"Years ago I had a testimony of reproof for the managers in our camp meetings bringing upon the ground and selling to our people cheese and other hurtful things..." (Letter 25a, 1889)

Your Prayers Are Useless If You Eat Eggs!

"You should be teaching your children. You should be instructing them how to shun the vices and corruption's of this age. Instead of this, many are studying how to get something good to eat. You place upon your tables butter, eggs, and meat and then your children partake of them. They are fed with the very things that will excite their animal passions, and then you come to meeting and ask God to bless and save your children. How high do your prayers go?" (Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 362, 1870)

More Restricted Foods

"Children are allowed to eat flesh meats, spices, butter, cheese, pork, rich pastry, and condiments generally. They are also allowed to eat irregularly and between meals of unhealthful food. These things do their work of deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves to unnatural action, and enfeebling the intellect. Parents do not realize that they are sowing the seed which will bring forth disease and death." (Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 136)

"Let not any of our ministers set an evil example in the eating of flesh-meat. Let them and their families live up to the light of health reform. Let not our ministers animalize their own nature and the nature of their children."(Spalding and Magan, p. 211)

NOTE: Although she ate meat most of her life, Mrs. White spent much of her life advocating a pure vegetarian diet. Mrs. White prohibited eating flesh meat and butter while allowing for a limited use of eggs, milk, and cream. This diet goes far beyond the Biblical standard. Jesus left "us an example, that ye should follow his steps". (1 Pet. 2:21). How did Jesus eat?
  • Clean Meats - Jesus ate Lamb at the Passover supper. (Luke 22:15)
  • Fish - Jesus fed thousands of people with fish. (Matt. 14:19)
  • Eggs - Jesus called eggs a "good gift" for children. (Luke 11:12,13)
  • Butter - Jesus ate butter. (Isa. 7:15)

In 1902, Mrs. White said that the people of God would soon need to stop eating dairy products and eggs (see Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 135). It may be good that very few followed her advice, because vitamin B12 is only available from animal products. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause severe health problems.

Recently scientists have discovered the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, meat, and eggs. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the proper function of the cardiovascular, immune, and central nervous functions. Omega-3 fatty acids are very difficult to obtain from a purely vegetarian diet. One of these acids, DHA, is important for mental and visual function. DHA is found in red meat, animal organ meats, and eggs--all of which Mrs. White frowned upon.

Desserts are out

"It is better to let sweet things alone. Let alone those sweet dessert dishes that are placed on the table. You do not need them. You want a clear mind to think after God's order." (Counsels on Diet, p. 328)

"Many understand how to make different kinds of cakes, but cake is not the best food to be placed upon the table. Sweet cakes, sweet puddings, and custards will disorder the digestive organs; and why should we tempt those who surround the table by placing such articles before them?" (Youth Instructor, May 31, 1894)

Infants Only to Eat 2 or 3 Times a Day!

"Infants should be allowed only plain food … partaken of at regular periods, not oftener than three times a day, and two meals would be better than three." (Counsels on Diets and Foods, p. 229)

Stop Using Baking Soda

"The use of soda or baking powder in bread making is harmful and unnecessary. Soda causes inflammation of the stomach and often poisons the entire system." (Ministry of Healing, p. 300)
NOTE: Baking soda and powder are simply sodium bicarbonate. Its mode of action in bread mainly is to release carbon dioxide gas which produces bubbles and causes the dough to rise. This leaves behind sodium which is a component of common table salt. The carbon dioxide of course would disappear long before the bread is eaten and even if it got into the stomach it is completely harmless. Are we really expected to believe that these two harmless substances (especially in such small quantities!) can cause inflammation of the stomach and poisoning of the entire system? (Dr. Gregory Hunt, Beware This Cult, chap. 10)

Vinegar causes many evils (even in salad dressing)

"The salads are prepared with oil and vinegar, fermentation takes place in the stomach, and the food does not digest, but decays or putrefies. As a consequence the blood is not nourished, but becomes filled with impurities, and liver and kidney difficulty appear. Heart disturbances, inflammation, and many evils are the result of such kind of treatment, and not only are the bodies affected, but the morals, the religious life, are affected."--Letter 9, 1887, Manuscript Releases vol. 2, p. 143-144.

Coffee and Tea are forbidden

"I saw that the stewards of the Lord have no duty to help those persons who persist in using tobacco, tea, and coffee." Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 224

Mustard, pepper, pickles, and cinnamon prohibited

"Mustard, pepper, spices, pickles, and other things of a like character, irritate the stomach and make the blood feverish and impure." (Ministry of Healing, p. 325)

"The mince pies and the pickles, which should never find a place in any human stomach, will give a miserable quality of blood." (Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 368)

"Parents who have taught their children to eat unhealthful, stimulating food, all their lives, until the taste is perverted, and they crave clay, slate pencils, burned coffee, tea grounds, cinnamon, cloves, and spices, cannot claim that the appetite demands what the system requires." (Health Reformer, Dec. 1, 1870)

FUN AND GAMES RESTRICTIONS

Card playing, chess, checkers, and sports and games for students all proscribed

"There are amusements, such as dancing, card playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve, because Heaven condemns them. These amusements open the door for great evil. They are not beneficial in their tendency, but have an exciting influence, producing in some minds a passion for those plays which lead to gambling and dissipation. All such plays should be condemned by Christians, and something perfectly harmless should be substituted in their place." (Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 514)

"I entreat the students in our schools to be sober-minded. The frivolity of the young is not pleasing to God. Their sports and games open the door to a flood of temptation. In your intellectual faculties you are in possession of God's heavenly endowment, and you should not allow your thoughts to be cheap and low." (Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 65)

Football banned

"Play is not essential. The influence has been growing among the students in their devotion to amusements, to a fascinating, bewitching power, to the counteracting of the influence to the truth upon the human mind and character .... What force of powers is put into your games of football and your other inventions after the way of the Gentiles—exercises which bless no one! .... I can not find an instance in the life of Christ where he devoted time to play and amusement. He was the great Educator for the present and the future life. I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples to engage in amusements of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical exercise... and yet Christ was our pattern in all things." (Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 228, 229)

Picnics and social parties banned

"They have not been willing to give up the world, but have united with them, have attended picnics and other gatherings of pleasure, flattering themselves that they were engaging in innocent amusement. Yet I was shown that it is just such indulgences that separate them from God, and make them children of the world." (Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 269)

"Parties for frivolous, worldly pleasure, gatherings for eating, drinking, and singing, are inspired by a spirit that is from beneath. They are an oblation to Satan. The exhibitions in the bicycle craze are an offense to God. His wrath is kindled against those who do such things." (Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 66)

"All true followers of Jesus will have sacrifices to make. God will prove them and test the genuineness of their faith. I have been shown that the true followers of Jesus will discard picnics, donations, shows, and other gatherings for pleasure. They can find no Jesus there, and no influence which will make them heavenly minded and increase their growth in grace." (Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 288.)

Tennis, cricket, baseball, and bike racing are all taboo

"A view of things was presented before me in which the students were playing games of tennis and cricket. Then I was given instruction regarding the character of these amusements. They were presented to me as a species of idolatry, like the idols of the nations." Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 350

"I was told by my Guide: 'Look ye, and behold the idolatry of My people, to whom I have been speaking, rising up early, and presenting to them their dangers. I looked that they should bring forth fruit.' There were some who were striving for the mastery, each trying to excel the other in the swift running of their bicycles. There was a spirit of strife and contention among them as to which should be the greatest. The spirit was similar to that manifested in the baseball games on the college ground. Said my Guide: 'These things are an offense to God.'" (Testimonies Vol. 8, p. 52)

Musical concerts [secular] nixed

"But many of the popular amusements have been an injury to both mind and body. The practice of calling in the rich and fashionable to give concerts for the diversion of the patients has had an influence contrary to the spirit of the gospel." (Testimony for the Physicians and Helpers of the Sanitarium, p. 69)

Can I read Robinson Crusoe? Shakespeare? Absolutely not!

"Dear Brother E: I have just read the Review and Herald and have seen your article giving a list of good books for our youth. I was much surprised to read your recommendation of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Robinson Crusoe, and such books. You are in danger of becoming somewhat careless in your writing. It would be well to give thought and careful study to whatever is to be immortalized in print. I am really alarmed to see that your spiritual eyesight is not more clear in the matter of selecting and recommending reading for our youth. I know that the recommendation in our papers of such infatuating books as Uncle Tom's Cabin will in many minds justify the reading of other books which are nothing but fiction. . . . This recommendation will make taxing work for those who are laboring to persuade the youth to discard fictitious reading. I have repeatedly seen the evil of reading such books as you recommend, and have an article all prepared, cautioning our youth in this very matter." (Testimonies Vol. 5, p. 516)

"In turning from God's Word to feed on the writings of uninspired men, the mind becomes dwarfed and cheapened." (My Life Today, p. 107)

NOTE: Interestingly enough, Ellen White owned fictional books and used fictional stories as sources for Desire of Ages and other books.

Theaters? Don't even think about it!

"Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater." (Messages to Young People, p. 380)

Billiard halls and bowling alleys are off limits

"The true Christian will not desire to enter any place of amusement or engage in any diversion upon which he cannot ask the blessing of God. He will not be found at the theater, the billiard hall, or the bowling saloon." (Messages to Young People, p. 398)

Stay away from the Circus!

"The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence, as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement." (Messages to Young People, p. 380)

Dance halls are enemy territory!

"To those who plead for these diversions, we answer, We cannot indulge in them in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The blessing of God would not be invoked upon the hour spent at the theater or in the dance. No Christian would wish to meet death in such a place. No one would wish to be found there when Christ shall come." (Messages to Young People, p. 398)
FASHION LAWS

Women who do not wear pants underneath their dresses are immodest!

"They do not blush to witness the exposure of the almost naked limbs. But the limbs thoroughly dressed with warm pants shock their modesty. Such opposition to the pants, which are positively modest, and which protect the limbs from exposure and chilliness, should be supported by sensible reason." (Health Reformer, May 1, 1872)

"We cannot, if we would, conceal the fact that women have feet and limbs that were made for use. But in regard to the exposure, this is on the other side of the question. We have traveled extensively the past twenty-five years, and have been eye-witnesses to many indecent exposures of the limbs. But the most common exposure is seen upon the streets in light snow, or wet and mud. Both hands are required to elevate the dress, that it may clear the wet and filth. It is a common thing to see the dress raised one-half of a yard [18 inches/50 cm], exposing an almost unclad ankle to the sight of gentlemen, but no one seems to blush at this immodest exposure. No one's sensitive modesty seems shocked for the reason that this is customary. It is fashion, and for this reason it is endured. No outcry of immodesty is heard, although it is so in the fullest sense." (Ibid.)

NOTE: The Bible teaches modesty in dress, but does not dictate that the extremities should be clothed at all times. An examination of Scripture will reveal that people worked outside in the fields and on the lakes without their extremities covered. Saul prophesied naked, and God even told Isaiah to walk around naked for three years:
  • "I am very dark, but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has scorched me. My mother's sons were angry with me, they made me keeper of the vineyards..." Song of Solomon 1:5,6

  • That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea." John 21:7

  • "And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel, and lay naked all that day and all that night. Hence it is said, 'Is Saul also among the prophets?'" 1 Sam. 19:24

  • "At that time the LORD had spoken by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, 'Go, and loose the sackcloth from your loins and take off your shoes from your feet,' and he had done so, walking naked and barefoot--the LORD said, 'As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign...so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians captives...naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.'" Isa 20:2-4

Jewelry banned

"Not one penny should be spent for a circlet of gold to testify that we are married." (Special Testimony to Ministers and Workers, No. 3, 1895).

"To dress plainly, abstaining from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind, is in keeping with our faith." Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 366

NOTE: The restriction against rings goes far beyond the Biblical requirement. The Bible tells us that wealthy people attending church services in the New Testament wore gold rings (see James 2:2). When the "prodigal son" returned from his wanderings, his father, who represented God, put a ring on his finger (Luke 15:22). If Jesus was opposed to the wearing of rings, why would He represent His Father as putting a ring upon His child?

It is worth noting that Mrs. White wore jewelry on occasion.

MORALITY LAWS

What? College students cannot date?

"The infatuation which is upon you is more satanic than divine. I do not wish to have you disappointed in regard to Battle Creek. The rules are strict there. No courting is allowed. The school would be worth nothing to students were they to become entangled in love affairs as you have been. Our college would soon be demoralized." Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 109

"Self Abuse" banned

"They do not realize the exceeding sinfulness of this degrading sin..." (Testimonies Vol. 2, p. 347)
"This vice was shown me as an abomination in the sight of God." (Appeal to Mothers, p. 25)
NOTE: While the Bible condemns impurity of thought and action, it never mentions masturbation as a sin, much less an abomination. An abomination is a sin which carries the death penalty. The Bible lists the sexual abominations in Leviticus 18:
  • Adultery
  • Homosexuality
  • Bestiality
  • Incest
Masturbation is noticeably absent from this list of abominations. Once again Mrs. White exceeded the morality of the Bible and took it upon herself to elevate masturbation up into the category of abomination. For further study on this subject, CLICK HERE.

Physicians denied from seeing patients of a different sex

"Women should be educated and qualified just as thoroughly as possible to become practitioners in the delicate diseases which afflict women, that their secret parts should not be exposed to the notice of men. ... It is a most horrible practice, this revealing the secret parts of women to men, or men being treated by women." (Kress Collection, p. 23)

SABBATH LAWS

Preparing food or shaving on the Sabbath breaks the 4th commandment

"The violation of the fourth commandment is not confined to the preparation of food. Many carelessly put off blacking their boots, and shaving, until after the beginning of the Sabbath. This should not be. If any neglect to do such work on a working day, they should have respect enough for God's holy time to let their beards remain unshaven, their boots rough and brown, until the Sabbath is past. This might help their memory, and make them more careful to do their own work on the six working days." (Signs of the Times, May 25, 1882)

Leave those dirty dishes in the sink!

"We would charge all not to wash their dishes on the Sabbath if this can possibly be avoided. God is dishonored by any unnecessary work done on His holy day. It is not inconsistent, but proper, that the dishes should be left unwashed till the close of the Sabbath, if this can be managed." (Letter 104, 1901)

No Swimming (or fun?) on Sabbath!

"Pleasure seeking, ball playing, swimming, was not a necessity, but a sinful neglect of the sacred day sanctified by Jehovah." (Letter 252, 1906)

"ODDS AND ENDS" LAWS

Life Insurance

"I was shown that Sabbathkeeping Adventists should not engage in life insurance. This is a commerce with the world which God does not approve. Those who engage in this enterprise are uniting with the world, while God calls His people to come out from among them and to be separate. ... 'For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.' Here is the only life insurance which heaven sanctions." (Testimonies Vol. 1, p. 549)

No formal schooling before age 8

"Parents should be the only teachers of their children until they have reached eight or ten years of age. ... The only schoolroom for children from eight to ten years of age should be in the open air amid the opening flowers and nature's beautiful scenery. And their only textbook should be the treasures of nature." (Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 137)

Living in the city frowned upon

"...the conditions of life in the city are constantly becoming more and more difficult. Serious troubles are before us, and for many families removal from the cities will become a necessity." (The Adventist Home, p. 136)

No membership in Labor Unions permitted

"These unions are one of the signs of the last days. Men are binding up in bundles ready to be burned. They may be church members, but while they belong to these unions, they cannot possibly keep the commandments of God; for to belong to these unions means to disregard the entire Decalogue." (Country Living, p. 11)

"Those who claim to be the children of God are in no case to bind up with the labor unions that are formed or that shall be formed. This the Lord forbids. Cannot those who study the prophecies see and understand what is before us?" (Letter 201, 1902)

No praying standing up!

"I have received letters questioning me in regard to the proper attitude to be taken by a person offering prayer to the Sovereign of the universe. Where have our brethren obtained the idea that they should stand upon their feet when praying to God? One who has been educated for about five years in Battle Creek was asked to lead in prayer before Sister White should speak to the people. But as I beheld him standing upright upon his feet while his lips were about to open in prayer to God, my soul was stirred within me to give him an open rebuke. Calling him by name, I said, 'Get down upon your knees.' This is the proper position always." (Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 311)

 

Conclusion

Some people look at the high standards advocated in Mrs. White's writings and ask,

"How could someone with such high standards be a false prophet?"
The answer is that it is just as much an error to hold the standard too high as it is to hold the standard too low. Solomon once said,

Do not be overly righteous Eccl. 7:16 NKJV

There are two paths that lead away from the truth. One leads to immorality, the other to fanaticism. The Bible warns us about straying into either of these paths:

Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left. Prov. 4:25-27 NKJV
Extremes should be avoided because they tend to lead people away from God. Let us compare the two extremes that lead away from the truth:

Extreme liberal Extreme conservative
Standards too low Standards too high
Antinomianism Legalism
Falls short of the Bible Goes beyond the Bible
Formalism Fanaticism
Openly rebellious Secret Hypocrite

The fact that Mrs. White held up high standards is no proof that she was a prophet of God. The Prophet Mohammed held up some high standards in the Quran. Was he a prophet of God?

High standards do not equate to righteousness. The Pharisees held up high standards and they were condemned by Christ for their wickedness. It is just as wrong to go beyond the Word of God and place unnecessary restrictions upon people as it is to fail to meet the requirements of God.

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Deut. 4:2

Add thou not unto his words,
lest he reprove thee,
and thou be found a liar.

Prov. 30:6


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