Ellen G. White and Her Critics


The Whole Life Picture Important

The most important fact that stands out in this chapter, which has summarized the current medical view on epilepsy, hysteria, and schizophrenia, is not some particular symptom in connection with an attack, but the picture of the epileptic, the hysteric, and the schizophrenic as individuals. In mental maladies, perhaps more than in any others, the whole life picture is important to the diagnosis. A person suffering with one of these maladies presents, generally, a well-defined picture as an individual in relation to society. EGWC 68.9

If Mrs. White is being viewed as an epileptic, then she must be viewed as a pronounced case, for she had many visions, and they began in her teens. Further, we shall have to view her as an untreated case, for modern medication for epilepsy was unknown in mid-nineteenth century. Now let the reader turn back a few pages and refresh his mind on what medical men today say about the usual social attitudes of such persons, and of the high probability that pronounced cases, if untreated, will suffer mental deterioration as the years go by. EGWC 69.1

If Mrs. White is being viewed as a hysteric, then she must be viewed as a pronounced case, and for the same reason that holds regarding epilepsy. She must also be considered an untreated case. Now let the reader turn back and read again the current medical description of the “hysterical personality.” EGWC 69.2

Let him note particularly the fact that the hysterical fit is the result of a particular kind of personality that seeks, through a fit, to secure certain ends or to give expression to certain moods and attitudes that were present before the fit and continue after it. EGWC 69.3

If Mrs. White is being viewed as a schizophrenic, she must be viewed as a pronounced case, and again for the same reasons that hold regarding epilepsy and hysteria. She must also be viewed as an untreated case. EGWC 69.4

The only reason that the nervous-disorder charge against Mrs. White sounds plausible to some who have read it is that they have never had opportunity to read the facts concerning her life, or the current medical findings concerning nervous and mental maladies. EGWC 69.5

Note:—In the preparation of this chapter we have been greatly indebted to the critical assistance of several physicians who are specialists in the fields of psychiatry and neurology. Their names appear in the section entitled Acknowledgments on pages 5 and 6. See Bibliography for the list of current medical works consulted. EGWC 69.6