Daughters of God


Courtship and Marriage Serious Step

Ellen White's grandniece, Addie Walling, was like a daughter to her. A distant cousin of Addie's apparently was interested in courting her. Mrs. White outlined her reasons for her lack of enthusiasm for such a courtship. DG 189.3

Since writing the foregoing I received a letter from you that has relieved me somewhat, but I am still some troubled. I think Reuben [Tapley]—I hope that there is no attachment between you. I should feel very sad if you had given him any decided encouragement. I like Reuben. I consider him an honest-hearted young man, but not one I would want to give you in marriage to for several reasons. One is, he is a consumptive, of a consumptive family, and I know too well what it is to have to battle with this terrible disease. We buried Nathaniel and Annie White with consumption. We buried Lumen Masten, foreman of the office, with consumption. We buried Robert Harmon, my next oldest brother, with consumption. We buried Sarah Belden with consumption. DG 189.4

I would not favor, as you regard health and happiness, your connecting with one who is predisposed to consumption. His mother has escaped consumption because of a scrofulous swelling in her side. She has no health, but is liable to die any time. His mother's father, Samuel McCann, died of the long, lingering consumption, and my sister Harriet, his wife, took it of him, and her suffering was extreme. She died. Sarah, the eldest daughter, died of consumption. Melville, the next-eldest son, died of consumption. Lucy Ellen next died of consumption. Mary, the next, died of consumption, and only two of the children now live. It is the worst kind of consumption, and we feel deeply the need of care in this matter of connecting our interest with those whose blood is tainted with this dread destroyer. DG 190.1

As soon as I looked upon Reuben I knew he was marked. He will not live long. His slim neck, his large head, tell the painful story that his life is short. Now, Addie, there is still a more painful side to this question. While they are having a feeble hold on life, only one of this large family was religiously inclined; that was Sarah. Lucy Ellen made no preparation for heaven till on her deathbed; then with her expiring breath she called upon God. Melissa is religious. She has had all the light upon the Sabbath, yet has not kept it. This is Reuben's mother. Melville neglected religion just as Reuben does. [But he] did not oppose [it] when he was dying. His last breath was agonizing prayer. So, also, May neglected to give her heart to God till her very last dying days. DG 190.2

Now this is worse to me than the dreaded disease of consumption. But I could not consent to have there be an attachment between you and Reuben. It is just and right that you should open your mind freely to me on this subject of courtship and marriage, for this concerns your happiness more than any other event of your life, and you need counsel and advice here more than on any other point. I hope to hear from you often.—Letter 95, 1886. DG 190.3