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  Health Reform Vision June 6, 1863



 
 
A short time after the formal organization of the General Conference Ellen White received her first major health reform vision. "It was at the house of Brother A. Hilliard, at Otsego, Michigan, on June 6, 1863, that the great subject of health reform was opened before me in vision." Review & Herald, Oct. 8, 1867. The vision lasted about 45 minutes.
 
Initially, a partial account of the content of this vision was written down by Ellen White shortly after it was received. About two thirds of it was counsel given specifically to alleviate James White's deteriorated health; the remaining third was general counsel for the church. MS 1, 1863
 
When the light of health reform came to the Seventh Day Adventist people they had already made strides in eliminating tobacco and liquor from the congregation and were ardent workers for the cause of Christian Temperance. Mrs. White herself writes. “When the message of health reform first came to me, I was weak and feeble, subject to frequent fainting spells. I was pleading with God for help and He opened before me the great subject of health reform. (9T 158.9) Again she writes, “I have had great light from the Lord upon the subject of health reform. I did not seek this light; I did not study to obtain it, it was given me by the Lord to give to others.” C. D. F. 493. “I was astonished at the things shown me in vision, many things came directly across my own ideas.” M. S. 149.
 
In the summer of 1864 she wrote a more complete account of the instruction given her, which fills about 30 pages in Chapter 39 of Spiritual Gifts, book 4.  Eight categories of counsel were covered in this account of the vision.
 
1. Care of health is a religious duty. "I saw that it was a sacred duty to attend to our health, and arouse others to their duty."  MS 1, 1863  She wrote, "The body which God calls His temple, should be preserved in as healthy a conditional as possible. Many act as though they had a right to treat their own bodies as they please. They do no realize the God has claims upon them. They are required to glorify Him in their bodies and spirits, which are His . . . It is a sacred duty which God has enjoined upon reasonable beings, formed in His image, to keep that image in as perfect a state as possible. . . All are required to preserve healthy bodies and sound minds."  4aSG, page 148.
 
2. The cause of disease is a violation of health laws. While recognizing that much sickness comes from an external invasion of the body, Ellen still stoutly maintained that much of disease and illness orginated with the "violation of the laws of health." 4SG, page 120   She urged Christians to "reason from cause to effect" assuring them that God would not work a miracle, either to heal them or to preserve their health, if they flouted such laws, even through ignorance. 4SG page 137, 148
 
3.  Ellen White attacked intemperance. She used a broad definition of temperance. "True Temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything  hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful."  PP page 562   For her intemperance included five areas:
  a) Stimulating drinks - Alcohol was the chief, it was an intoxicant that "confused the brain and 
      brought down man to the level of the brute creation."  4SG p. 125  Coffee is another.
  b) Tobacco - "in whatever form is a slow and sure poison." and "Those who use tobacco in
      any form ar enot clear before god." 4SG p. 126
  c) Highly spiced foods - rich gravies, rich cake, pies, puddings. Such "rich food breaks down the
      healthy organs or body and mind . . ." 4SG p. 132
  d) Overwork - "Habits of working had a very definite effect upon one's health."  4 SG p, 134
  e) Indulgence of base passions
 
4. Vegetarianism - was revealed to Ellen as the ideal diet, being the original diet of Adam and Eve in Eden. Now, a "wholesome diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and plain (whole grain) bread, was the ideal.  4SG p. 128
 
5.  Natural remedies in healing - she was against the practice of physicians in her day who prescribed poisonous, powerful drugs. "Nature alone is the effectual restorer and the natural remedies focused upon (in this first health reform vision) were, pure air, pure water, sunshine, physical exercise, adequate rest and fasting for brief periods.
 
 6. Personal cleanliness had been raised in the 1854 vision at Brookfield, New York, now it was reemphasized and broadened to include the body, clothing and living quarters. 4SG p. 140, 141
 
7. Health Education by the church, with particular reference to prevention of illness was included in the 1863 health reform message. "I saw that it was a sacred duty to attend to our health, and arouse others to their duty . . . We have a duty to speak, to come out against intemperance of every kind . . . I saw that we should not be silent on the subject of health, but should wake up minds to the subject."  MS 1 1863
 
8.   Control of the mind was an essential feature of this vision. Ellen White wrote, "There is a class of individuals who have no real located disease. But as they believe they are dangerously diseased, they are in reality invalids. The mind is diseased, and many die who might recover of disease, which exists along in the imagination."
 
Additional Material
The book 'Counsels on Health' compiled and published in 1923
gives the divine plueprint for our hospitals.
Section V (pages 203 to 210)  subtitled:  God's Design in Our Sanitariums
[also found in TESTIMONIES FOR THE CHURCH, VOL. 6, PP. 219-228 (1900).] 

Here is the first paragraph:
     Every institution established by Seventh-day Adventists is to be to the world what Joseph was in Egypt and what Daniel and his fellows were in Babylon. As in the providence of God these chosen ones were taken captive, it was to carry to heathen nations the blessings that come to humanity through a knowledge of God. They were to be representatives of Jehovah. They were never to compromise with idolaters; their religious faith and their name as worshipers of the living God they were to bear as a special honor.  {CH 203.1}
     And this they did. In prosperity and adversity they honored God, and God honored them....  {CH 203.2}
 
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