Ellen G White is believed to be one of the most translated non-fiction authors of all time. She was also the co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Her writings influence people in different parts of the world even today. She was named by the Smithsonian magazine in its list of 100 most significant Americans of all time.
In her private and public meetings, she claimed to have received more than 2,000 dreams and visions from God. Among her prominent books is Steps to Christ, which has been published in over 140 different languages.
She and her twin sister were born on 26th of November 1827 to Robert and Eunice Harmon. When she was nine and living in Portland, Maine, she got hit on her face by a stone. This left her face disfigured and she was unable to attend her school as a result.
A few years after this incident, she attended a Methodist camp meeting with her parents. It was during her time spent in this camp that she had a religious experience. She became a follower of William Miller, who preached the imminent return of Christ. She was baptized on the 26th of June 1842 in Portland, Maine, by John Hobart.
White experienced the first of her 2,000 dreams and visions towards the end of 1844. She claimed that about 200 of these visions occurred in public places and meeting halls. She married James Springer White in 1846. They had met a year earlier. Her husband was also a follower of William Miller and was convinced that his wife’s visions were true.
They traveled together, spreading the Adventist faith. After they moved to Battle Creek, Michigan, the city became a hub of Adventist activities. Members of various Adventist congregations met and adopted the name of Seventh-day Adventists.
Role in the Adventist movement
Later, the Adventist church adopted a formal denominational structure. Her visions became a guiding force in the organization’s work and the establishment of an Adventist orthodoxy. The written interpretations of her visions were accepted promptly. Her testimonies for the church grew from the initial 16 pages to massive nine volumes.
The Seventh-day Adventist practice incorporated her views on varied topics. Among them were her opposition to the use of meat, tea, coffee, and drugs. She helped in establishing the Western Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek in 1866. It soon became famous for its works in diet and health food as the Battle Creek Sanitarium.
The Whites had four sons – Henry Nichols, James Edson, William Clarence, and John Herbert. Of these four sons, only Edson and William could live to their adulthood. Henry had died at the age of 16 of pneumonia. John died when he was only two months of age from erysipelas.
The final years of Ellen G White were spent in Elmshaven. It was her home in Saint Helena, California, after her husband’s death in 1881. Travels became less frequent during her final years as she was focused more on writing for the church. She died at Elmshaven on the 16th of July 1915.