About Ellen G. White


Ellen White and her minister-husband James were among several founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which with its more than fourteen million members now encircles the globe. 

Born in 1827 as Ellen Harmon, her first years were spent in the vicinity of Portland, Maine, a stronghold of Harmon families. An earnest Christian youth and member of the Methodist Church, she with her family entered heartily into the Advent religious revival of the early 1840s. In 1846, she united in marriage with Adventist evangelist James White. Four sons were born to this union - Henry in 1847; Edson in 1849; William in 1854; and John in 1860. Two of the children lived to maturity. John died at three months and Henry at 16 years.

In 1844, at age 17, in an experience she and those associated with her recognized as a prophetic vision, there was imparted to her information and instruction pertinent to the experience of the believers in the near second advent of Jesus Christ.

It was seen by those acquainted with her that this and subsequent visions benefited the emerging church, harmonized fully with Scripture teachings, and gave sound evidence of being a fulfillment of Bible predictions of the last-day renewal of the prophetic gift as set forth in Joel 2:28-30; Ephesians 4:8-14; and Revelation 12:17 and 19:10. Such visions continued through her long life, given, as she declared, "Not for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth." Early Writings, page 78.

Shunning the title of prophetess, she answered those who questioned her about her mission with the simple statement that the Lord had declared her to be His messenger - a channel of communication between heaven and earth, but a work she recognized as embodying that of a prophet.

In this capacity Ellen White's ministry was a great blessing to the church as she bore messages of encouragement, guidance, instruction, and reproof - messages oral and written which challenged it to high standards of Christian living, fervent evangelistic activity, and the development of publishing, medical and educational institutions.

Her labors and travels with her husband in the interests of the developing work led her back and forth across the American continent and after his death in 1881, overseas. For two years (1885-1887) she labored in Europe. She spent nine years (1891-1900) in pioneer work in Australia.

Ready to respond to speaking opportunities, she addressed audiences in churches, in inhospitable attic rooms, and in the largest halls and auditoriums. Speaking without notes or benefit of amplifying equipment, with Bible in hand, she held spellbound audiences not infrequently numbering thousands. Her addresses were practical, marked with sincerity and feeling and a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. Prominent in her presentation was a message on healthful living and temperance, a message stemming from a comprehensive vision given to her in 1863. This vision led to the changes of the health practices, not only of the church, but thousands touched by Seventh-day Adventist medical institutions and health food products which stemmed from her emphasizing the value of a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet.

While at home and while traveling, Ellen White was busy with her writing. Early in her experience she was commissioned, "Write, write the things that are revealed to you," Review and Herald, June 14, 1906.

To do this was a lifelong task, for an estimated 2,000 visions were given to her in her 70 years of ministry. Her writing, which in the main presented the light, the instruction, and the information given to her in vision, but included ordinary correspondence as well, runs well beyond 100,000 pages. She did not dictate, but wrote the words with pencil or pen. Some reached the people - individuals, churches, and church leaders - in the form of letters. Periodical articles and books such as Testimonies for the Church and various volumes of counsel carried her message to Seventh-day Adventists. Some volumes such as Steps to Christ, The Ministry of Healing and the five books compromising the "Conflict of the Ages Series" (Patriarchs and Prophets, Prophets and Kings, The Desire of Ages, The Acts of the Apostles and The Great Controversy) present her message to the general public. Noted for their feeling, their practical nature, and for their beauty of literary style, these works have been purchased and read by millions in many nations.

In harmony with the provision of her last will and testament these writings, which currently enjoy an ever-widening distribution, are in the custody of the Board of Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate with offices at the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Ellen White, whose life closed July 16, 1915, at the age of 87, rests by the side of her husband in the family burying plot in the Oak Hill Cemetery at Battle Creek, Michigan.