As a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1863, Ellen G. White and her prophetic ministry served to guide and inspire millions of followers throughout the world. In this book, editor Robert Cohen presents Ellen G. White’s most insightful thoughts on all aspects of life, from building strong character and recognizing the importance of family ties to dealing with disappointments and respecting the rights of animals.
Here, then, are over 400 inspiring quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White that provide practical and moral guidance, as well as inspirational insights. Paired with each of White’s thoughts are the voices of such noteworthy individuals as William Shakespeare, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa, and Oprah Winfrey, who provide further food for thought. To help you find the most relevant passages, Ms. White’s quotations are arranged topically and alphabetically, making this book as wonderfully easy to use as it is illuminating.
Ellen G. White was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Born in 1827 in Gorham, Maine, her spiritual calling began at an early age. For the remainder of her life, she conducted a public ministry, spreading her revolutionary Christian thinking around the country and the world. In 1863, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was established and she became its first spiritual leader. Through her inspired guidance, what began as a handful of believers has grown to include millions of followers throughout the world. - Robert Cohen is a contributor for Square One Publishing Inc. titles including God's Nutritionist.
At the age of seventeen, Ellen G. White experienced her first religious vision. During the course of her lifetime, 2,000 additional revelations were to become a collective prophecy that would lay a hand upon millions of individuals. As a result of her own personal encounters with God, she and her husband, James White, founded the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church.
In her literary career, White authored more than forty books compiled from over 25 million of her written words contained in 50,000 pages of manuscript. Her voluminous work has been published into one hundred and forty different languages, making Ellen White the most translated author in the history of American literature. In 1905, at the age of seventy-eight, Ellen G. White distributed what was to become her best-known book,The Ministry of Healing. In that book, Mrs. White shared her divinely inspired prophecies, which included an appreciation of those fundamentals that would lead to healthy living.
In May of 2003, while doing research for God's Nutritionist, I was fortunate to visit the Ellen G. White estate in Silver Spring, Maryland, where many of Mrs. White’s original documents are stored in bank-like vaults. Silver Spring is also home to one of the world’s largest Adventist health food and book stores. A few hours before my appointment with the SDA archivists, I visited the bookstore. In an effort to avoid two hundred miles of snarling rush hour traffic in the New York-Washington corridor, I left my New Jersey home many hours before sunrise. Knowing that I would arrive before the store opened, I brought along newspapers to occupy my waiting time. I was surprised by the size of the store, which occupied an area equivalent to a typical supermarket, and could not resist getting out of the car and doing some window-shopping. There on display were many hundreds of books and vegetarian health foods. In front of the store was a larger-than life bronze statue of Jesus, washing the feet of his disciple Peter.
The statue was impressive in its lifelike detail, as was the message of foot washing at its base, citing John 12:1-8 and 13:1-17. I copied down the citations on a piece of paper and folded it into my pocket for later review. I had thirty minutes before the store opened to reflect upon the meaning of what I read. I circled the statue, admiring the sculptor’s skill from many angles.
As a young woman, Ellen G. White attempted to make foot washing a traditional part of her church’s daily worship. That symbolic act is still practiced in many SDA congregations. As a Jew, I was not introduced to foot washing, although there is some mention of that custom in the Old Testament. In “the beginning” (Genesis: 18:4), we find Abraham attending to three visitors by bidding them to wash their feet on a very hot day. Although Abraham supplied the water, he did not do the actual food washing. He busied himself by preparing food for his guests. One chapter later (Genesis 19:2), Old Testament readers find Lot rising to greet two angels at the gates of Sodom. He invited his visitors to bathe their feet. So, apparently the ages-old custom for sandal-wearing desert travelers included foot-washing, as a primary means of cleaning one’s dirty feet, and a way of graciously showing respect by playing host to a weary guest.
I was so taken with the imagery of Jesus washing Peter’s feet, that when a young man arrived to open up the store, I jokingly asked whether he wished to wash my own feet. He smiled and politely declined the offer, but acted way beyond the scope of a typical retailer by giving me a personal tour of the store, explaining the history behind each of Mrs. White’s major works. The imagery of Jesus washing Peter’s feet had made an initial impression upon me. During this tour, I first thought of writing a column or article about the custom of cleaning feet. Although I knew little of the tradition, I recalled stories and visions of Mother Teresa washing the feet of beggars in Calcutta, India. I became fascinated by the loving gesture of foot-washing, and made it a goal to research the subject in the following weeks. During that same period of time I began to read Ellen G. White’s Ministry of Healing. In recognition of a powerful moment in my life, I went away alone for the weekend to read the book a second time. I began to write in margins, taking notes at one brilliant observation after another, and then it came to me. Cleansing and purifying souls. That is what White’s Ministry of Healing is all about.
Ministry of Healing is a primer in childcare and health care, diet and nutrition, schooling, dress, and cleanliness. If one were challenged to write the be all and end all to raising a family with plenty of love and strong values, this would be the text. As I read White’s words, I felt as if I were reading the most important thoughts and philosophies contained within the great books of Western literature. From Aristotle to Voltaire, to Goethe and Emerson. From Shakespeare to Schopenhauer to Freud and Thoreau. Mrs. White’s insights are both inspiring and instructional, as are theirs.
Mother Teresa washed feet. Her inspiration was Jesus. During the Passover Seder before His crucifixion, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples as a sign of love and respect. Peter wanted no part of the ceremony, but Jesus made clear to all that such an action was the law of love. Jesus washed Peter’s feet that day, and the act of foot washing is still performed by many twenty-first century congregations. In cleansing souls, Jesus was purifying souls. In writing Ministry of Healing, Ellen White gave the gift of spiritual cleansing to her SDA followers. By setting down rules of hygiene, White purified both soles and souls.
Writing Food for Thought was an exercise in both knowledge and love for me. The discovery of quotations from humankind’s most brilliant men and women to support Ellen G. White’s work took great time and effort. Hundreds of hours of study, reviewing tens of thousands of sources during the summer of 2003 resulted in the volume you now hold in your hands. Each one of the nearly four hundred different quotations provides a lesson for study and introspection. Together as one, quotations from hundreds of authors, philosophers, respected elders, and other personalities are combined with Ellen G. White’s own work. Together, they shimmer like a powerful beacon of truth, with Mrs. White’s work as the centerpiece, outshining the brightest of stars.