Did Mrs. White Practice what she Preached on Diet?

Mrs. White and meat-eating

Did Mrs. White practice what she preached regarding eating meats? Note what she wrote in 1869:

"I have not changed my course a particle since I adopted the health reform. I have not taken one step back since the light from heaven upon this subject first shone upon my pathway. I broke away from everything at once, from meat and butter, and from three meals. I left off those things from principle. I took my stand on health reform from principle." (Testimonies, Volume 2, pp. 371-372).

Mrs. White claimed to have taken her stand prior to 1869 , yet four years later we find her eating deer and duck:

"A young man from Nova Scotia had come in from hunting. He had a quarter of deer. He had traveled 20 miles with this deer upon his back. He gave us a small piece of the meat, which we made into broth. Willie shot a duck which came in a time of need, for our supplies were rapidly diminishing ." (Manuscript 11, 1873. Released by the Ellen G. White Estate, Washington , D.C. , April 11, 1985 ; MR 14, p.353).

Mrs. White was still privately eating unclean meat a full 13 years after her public commitment ! In this 1882 excerpt from a letter to her daughter-in-law, Mary Kelsey White, she expresses her fondness for herring and oysters:

"Mary, if you can get me a good box of herrings , fresh ones, please do so. These last ones that Willie got are bitter and old. If you can buy cans, say a half dozen cans of good tomatoes, please do so. We shall need them. If you can get a few cans of good oysters, get them ." (Letter 16, 1882, dated May 31, 1882, from Healdsburg, California).

According to Dr. John Kellogg, Mrs. White celebrated her return from Europe in 1887 with "a large baked fish." When she visited the Battle Creek Sanitarium during the next several years, she "always called for meat and usually fried chicken," much to the consternation of Kellogg and the cook who were both vegetarians. At the various camp meetings she attended, her lax dietary habits became common knowledge , thanks in no small part to her own children. Kellogg recalled once hearing Edson (J.E.) White standing in front of his mother's tent calling out to a meat wagon that visited the grounds regularly:

"Say, hello there! Have you any fresh fish?" "No," was his reply. "Have you got any fresh chicken?" Again the answer was "no," and J.E. bawled out in a very loud voice, "Mother wants some chicken. You had better get some quick." (Kellogg letter to Ballenger, January 9, 1936).

Years after his mother's death Willie White told of his mother's difficulty in giving up meat. He described the difficulty in finding vegetarian cooks, and of lunch baskets filled with turkey, chicken, and tinned tongue. (Prophetess of Health, pp.171-172).

It was not until 1894 that Mrs. White finally gave up meat eating at the insistence of a Catholic woman ! Catholic? Yes, you read it right. The SDA's are supposed to be anti-Catholic.

"I have a large family, which often numbers sixteen. In it there are men who work at the plough, and who fell trees. These have most vigorous exercise, but not a particle of the flesh of animals on our table. Meat has not been used by us since the Brighton ( Australia ) Campmeeting (January, 1894). It was not my purpose to have it on my table at any time, but urgent pleas were made that such a one was unable to eat this or that, and that his stomach could take care of meat better than it could anything else. Thus I was enticed to place it on my table. he use of cheese also began to creep in, because some like cheese; but I soon controlled that. But when the selfishness of taking the lives of animals to gratify a perverted taste was presented to me by a Catholic woman, kneeling at my feet, I felt ashamed and distressed. I saw it in a new light, and I said, I will no longer patronize the butchers. I will not have the flesh of corpses on my table ." (Spalding and Magan, p.38).

Apparently her heavenly communications with angels were not enough to convince Mrs. White to give up meat. It took a Catholic woman begging her to give up meat on the basis that it was wrong to take the lives of animals! It makes one wonder how much confidence she had in her own visions!

Mrs. White on butter

Mrs. White said she gave up eating butter in 1869. She further stated in 1870:

"No butter or flesh-meats of any kind come on my table." (Testimonies, Volume 2, p.487).

Seventh-day Adventist president A.G. Daniels, who knew Mrs. White for over 40 years, stated at a conference meeting in 1919:

"I have eaten pounds of butter at her table myself, and dozens of eggs."

Mrs. White on cheese and eggs

"Cheese is wholly unfit for food." (CDF 368).

"Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach." (Testimonies to the Church, Volume 2, p.68).

"Eggs should not be placed upon your table. They are an injury to your children." (Testimonies to the Church, Volume 2, p.400).

"We bare positive testimony against tobacco, rich cakes, spirituous liquors, snuff, tea, coffee, flesh meats , butter , spice, mince pies." (Testimonies to the Church, Volume 3, p.21).

Mrs. White places "meat, butter and cheese" in the same category as tobacco and liquor. This is contrary to the Bible for Jesus Himself ate fish . (Luke 24:41-43). In John 21:9-12 we find that Jesus prepared flesh meat and said to his disciples, "Come and eat." The Bible tells us that Jesus ate butter (Isaiah 7:15 ). Mrs. White said, "Do not eat," but Jesus said, "Come and dine." Paul said, " that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ; :commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." (1 Timothy 4:1,3). The Bible clearly declares that to teach to abstain from meats is a "departing from the faith."

Did Mrs. White believe her own testimonies?

Now, it is obvious from these quotations that Mrs. White wasn't following the very health principles that she claimed she received from God and insisted others follow. Her practices were clearly not in line with her teachings. Jesus had something to say about people who placed burdensome requirements on others while not obeying those requirements themselves:

"For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." (Matthew 23:4).

In the Didache , an early Christian document believed to have been written around the first century A.D., the author advises early Christians on how to identify a false prophet:

"If any prophet teaches the truth, yet does not practice what he teaches, he is a false prophet." (Didache 11:10).

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