Messenger of the Lord

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Chapter 28—Health Principles-Part 5: Reviewing a Century of Health Reform Principles

“The health and lifespan advantages of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have been traced to the way they live and eat. Since the 1800s, Seventh-day Adventists have practiced eight secrets of health that reduce their risk of heart disease and cancer ... the two leading causes of premature death. By keeping these two killers at bay, Seventh-day Adventists enjoy greater health and a longer life than the general population.... The scientific confirmation has just been available in recent years, so how did they know before the scientists? From a woman named Ellen G. White. This visionary said God did not want people to suffer unnecessary illness and death and He inspired her to tell people how they could enjoy maximum wellness. Ellen G. White wrote with amazing simplicity and accuracy what has since been proved to be the best formula for health and longevity.” 1 MOL 320.1

In reviewing Ellen White’s health reform principles, readers should first place themselves in the middle of the nineteenth century. Without any more information about the future than the prevailing notions that governed medical practice at that time, think of how strange the unfolding, synthesizing, integrating health principles of Ellen White must have seemed. Of course, some of these principles had been promoted by contemporaries, but in no place were they so complete or so integrated. No other writers were so free from those errors that subsequent research contradicted. 2 MOL 320.2

For the average person, even for physicians, in the middle of the nineteenth-century, the germ theory was unheard of. Physicians were still using opium, calomel, mercury, arsenic, and strychnine to “heal” disease. Aspirin was unknown, along with the X-ray machine, antibiotics, pasteurization, immunizations, and blood transfusions. MOL 320.3

People generally saw no connection between their life style and disease. Fresh air in the home, night or day, aroused qualms for fear of catching a cold or being bitten by an invasion of flies or mosquitoes. 3 People seldom bathed. 4 MOL 320.4

Headlines shouting the deteriorating impact of high-fat, low-fiber diets and the sheer necessity of exercise were a century away. 5 The profound linkage between the mind and body seemed far-fetched. Birth defects due to drugs and alcohol were not to be understood for another hundred years. The concept of cancer germs was a thought that was cross-grain with the medical world. Prenatal influences were considered of little importance. MOL 320.5

In many of these areas, as recently as a few decades ago, Ellen White seemed not only extreme but even fanatical. Imagine how she could have been viewed in 1863! The record is in, however. Those who believed in her role as God’s messenger, those who faithfully put her health principles into practice, became healthier, stronger, more productive people. To the extent that people picked and chose which principles they would incorporate into their life style, to that extent they fell short of reaching their full potential. MOL 320.6