Selected Messages Book 2


The Restoration of James White

[Statement made April 13, 1902, at a council meeting at Elmshaven, St. Helena, California.]

Many years ago [1865], while my husband was bearing heavy responsibilities in Battle Creek, the strain began to tell on him. His health failed rapidly. Finally he broke down in mind and body, and was unable to do anything. My friends said to me, “Mrs. White, your husband cannot live.” I determined to remove him to a place more favorable for his recovery. His mother said, “Ellen, you must remain and take care of your family.” 2SM 306.1

“Mother,” I replied, “I will never allow that masterly brain to fail entirely. I will work with God, and God will work with me, to save my husband's brain.” 2SM 306.2

In order to obtain means for our journey, I pulled up my rag carpets and sold them With the money secured by the sale of the carpets, I bought a covered wagon, and prepared for the journey, placing in the wagon a mattress for Father to lie on. Accompanied by Willie, a mere lad eleven years of age, we started for Wright, Michigan. 2SM 306.3

While on the journey, Willie tried to put the bits into the mouth of one of the horses, but found that he could not. I said to my husband, “Put your hand on my shoulder, and come and put the bits in.” 2SM 306.4

He said that he did not see how he could. “Yes, you can,” I replied. “Get right up and come.” He did so, and succeeded in putting the bits in. Then he knew that he would have to do it the next time, too. 2SM 306.5

Constantly I kept my husband working at such little things. I would not allow him to remain quiet, but tried to keep him active. This is the plan that physicians and helpers in our sanitariums should pursue. Lead the patients along step by step, step by step, keeping their minds so busily occupied that they have no time to brood over their own condition. 2SM 306.6

Physical and Mental Activity Encouraged

Often brethren came to us for counsel. My husband wanted to see no one. He much preferred to go into another room when company came. But usually before he could realize that anyone had come, I brought the visitor before him, and would say, “Husband, here is a brother who has come to ask a question, and as you can answer it much better than I can, I have brought him to you.” Of course he could not help himself then. He had to remain in the room and answer the question. In this way, and in many other ways, I made him exercise his mind. If he had not been made to use his mind, in a little while it would have completely failed. 2SM 307.1

Daily my husband went out for a walk. In the winter a terrible snowstorm came, and Father thought he could not go out in the storm and snow. I went to Brother Root and said, “Brother Root, have you a spare pair of boots?” 2SM 307.2

“Yes,” he answered. 2SM 307.3

“I should be glad to borrow them this morning,” I said. Putting on the boots and starting out, I tracked a quarter of a mile in the deep snow. On my return, I asked my husband to take a walk. He said he could not go out in such weather. “Oh, yes, you can,” I replied. “Surely you can step in my tracks.” He was a man who had great respect for women; and when he saw my tracks, he thought that if a woman could walk in that snow, he could. That morning he took his usual walk. 2SM 307.4

In the spring there were fruit trees to be set out and garden to be made. “Willie,” I said, “please buy three hoes and three rakes. Be sure to buy three of each.” When he brought them to me, I told him to take one of the hoes, and Father another. Father objected, but took one. Taking one myself, we began work; and although I blistered my hands, I led them in the hoeing. Father could not do much, but he went through the motions. It was by such methods as these, that I tried to cooperate with God in restoring my husband to health. And oh, how the Lord blessed us! 2SM 307.5

I always took my husband with me when I went out driving. And I took him with me when I went to preach at any place. I had a regular circuit of meetings. I could not persuade him to go into the desk while I preached. Finally, after many, many months, I said to him, “Now, my husband, you are going into the desk today.” He did not want to go, but I would not yield. I took him up into the desk with me. That day he spoke to the people. Although the meetinghouse was filled with unbelievers, for half an hour I could not refrain from weeping. My heart was overflowing with joy and gratitude. I knew that the victory had been gained. 2SM 307.6

Rewarded for Persistent Effort

After eighteen months of constant cooperation with God in the effort to restore my husband to health, I took him home again. Presenting him to his parents, I said, “Father, Mother, here is your son.” 2SM 308.1

“Ellen,” said his mother, “you have no one but God and yourself to thank for this wonderful restoration. Your energies have accomplished it.” 2SM 308.2

After his recovery, my husband lived for a number of years, during which time he did the best work of his life. Did not those added years of usefulness repay me manyfold for the eighteen months of painstaking care? 2SM 308.3

I have given you this brief recital of personal experience, in order to show you that I know something about the use of natural means for the restoration of the sick. God will work wonders for every one of us if we work in faith, acting as we believe, that when we cooperate with Him, He is ready to do His part. I desire to do everything I can to lead my brethren to pursue a sensible course, in order that their efforts may be the most successful. Many who have gone down into the grave might today be living, if they had cooperated with God. Let us be sensible men and women in regard to these matters.—Manuscript 50, 1902. 2SM 308.4