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Ellen Gould White

Ellen White in 1899
Born November 26, 1827(1827-11-26)
Gorham, Maine
Died July 16, 1915 (aged 87)
Elmshaven (Saint Helena), California
Occupation Author and Co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Spouse(s) James White

Ellen Gould White (born Harmon) (November 26, 1827 – July 16, 1915) was an American Christian pioneer whose ministry was instrumental in founding the Sabbatarian Adventist movement that led to the rise of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Supporters of Ellen G. White regard her as a contemporary prophet, even though she never claimed this title for herself (see: Inspiration of Ellen White). Supporters for her believe that she had the spiritual gift of prophecy as outlined in Revelation 19:10. Her restorationist writings endeavor to showcase the hand of God in Christian history. This cosmic conflict, referred to as the "Great Controversy theme", is foundational to the development of Seventh-day Adventist theology. Her involvement with other Sabbatarian Adventist leaders, such as Joseph Bates and her husband James White, would form what is now known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

White was a controversial figure even within her own lifetime. She claimed to have received a vision soon after the Millerite Great Disappointment. In the context of many other visionaries, she was known for her conviction and fervent faith. Randall Balmer has described her as "one of the more important and colorful figures in the history of American religion".[1] Walter Martin described her as "one of the most fascinating and controversial personages ever to appear upon the horizon of religious history."[2] White is the most translated female non-fiction author in the history of literature, as well as the most translated American non-fiction author of either gender.[3] Her writings covered theology, evangelism, Christian lifestyle, education and health (she also advocated vegetarianism). She promoted the establishment of schools and medical centers. During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books; but today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. Some of her more popular books include Steps to Christ, The Desire of Ages, and The Great Controversy.

Contents

Personal life

Early life

Ellen, with her twin sister Elizabeth, was born November 26, 1827, to Robert and Eunice Harmon. Robert was a farmer who made hats also, and the whole family helped make hats. With eight children in the family, home was a busy place. The family lived on a small farm near the village of Gorham, Maine. However, a few years after the birth of the twins, Robert Harmon gave up farming, and, with his family, moved into the city of Portland, about twelve miles east.

Ancestry

The Ellen G. White Estate commissioned a professional genealogist to research her ancestry, who concluded that she was of Anglo-Saxon origin.[4] See her ancestral chart

Head injury

At the age of nine, Ellen was struck with a rock thrown by a fellow student. The injury severely disfigured her nose, and left her in a coma for three weeks.[5]

When Ellen Harmon had her first "conversion experience," she would later write:

This misfortune, which for a time seemed so bitter and was so hard to bear, has proved to be a blessing in disguise. The cruel blow which blighted the joys of earth, was the means of turning my eyes to heaven. I might never had known Jesus, had not the sorrow that clouded my early years led me to seek comfort in him.

Review and Herald, Nov. 25, 1884, par.2

Shortly after her injury, Ellen, with her parents, attended a Methodist camp meeting at Buxton, Maine, and there, at the age of 12, she was converted. Two years later, on June 26, 1842, at her request she was baptized by immersion.

Millerite movement

In 1840, at age 12, her family became involved with the Millerite movement. As she attended William Miller's lectures, Ellen felt guilty for her sins, and she was filled with terror about being eternally lost. She describes herself as spending nights in tears and prayer, and being in this condition for several months. She was baptized by John Hobart in Casco Bay in Portland, Maine, and eagerly awaited for Jesus to come again. In her later years, she referred to this as the happiest time of her life. Her family's involvement with Millerism caused its disfellowship by the local Methodist church.[6]

Marriage and family

Sometime in 1845 Ellen came into contact with her future husband James Springer White, a Millerite who became convinced that her visions were genuine. A year later James proposed and they were married by a justice of the peace in Portland, Maine, on August 30, 1846. James later wrote:

We were married August 30, 1846, and from that hour to the present she has been my crown of rejoicing....It has been in the good providence of God that both of us had enjoyed a deep experience in the Advent movement....This experience was now needed as we should join our forces and, united, labor extensively from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific....[7]

James and Ellen had four children: Henry Nichols, James Edson (known as Edson), William Clarence (known as Willie or W. C.), and John Herbert.

Only Edson and William lived to adulthood. John Herbert died of erysipelas at the age of three months, and Henry died of pneumonia at the age of 16 in 1863.

Final years and death

EGW In Memoriam.jpg

Ellen White spent the final years of her life in Elmshaven, her home in Saint Helena, California after the death of her husband James White in 1881. During her final years she would travel less frequently as she concentrated upon writing her last works for the church. Ellen G. White died July 16, 1915, at her home in Elmshaven, which is now an Adventist Historical Site.

Ministry

Visions

First reported vision

In 1844, Ellen White reported her first encounter with the supernatural.

At this time I visited one of our Advent sisters, and in the morning we bowed around the family altar. It was not an exciting occasion, and there were but five of us present, all females. While praying the power of God came upon me as I never had felt it before, and I was wrapt up in a vision of God's glory, and seemed to be rising higher and higher from the earth and was shown something of the travels of the Advent people to the Holy City... [8]

In this vision she reportedly saw the “Advent people” traveling a high and dangerous path towards the city of New Jerusalem [heaven]. Their path was lit from behind by “a bright (light)...which an angel told me was the midnight cry.” According to her vision, some of the travelers grew weary and were encouraged by Jesus; others denied the light, the light behind them went out, and they fell “off the path into the dark and wicked world below.” [9] The vision continued with a portrayal of Christ’s second coming, following which the Advent people entered the New Jerusalem; and ended with White returning to earth feeling lonely, desolate and longing for that “better world.”

As Godfrey T. Anderson points out, “In effect, the vision assured the Advent believers of eventual triumph despite the immediate despair into which they had plunged.” [10]

Second and third visions

In February 1845, White claimed to receive a second vision which became known as the “Bridegroom” vision in Exeter, Maine. Together with a third vision where White reportedly saw the new earth, these visions "gave continued meaning to the October 1844 experience and supported the developing sanctuary rationale. Additionally they played an important role in countering the spiritualizing views of many fanatical Adventists by portraying the Father and Jesus as literal beings and heaven as a physical place." [11]

Public testimony

Fearing people would think she was experiencing mental illness, Ellen did not initially share her visions with the wider Millerite community. In a meeting at her parent’s home when she received what she regarded as supernatural confirmation of her ministry:

While praying, the thick darkness that had enveloped me was scattered, a bright light, like a ball of fire, came towards me, and as it fell upon me, my strength was taken away. I seemed to be in the presence of Jesus and the angels. Again it was repeated, ‘Make known to others what I have revealed to you.’[12]

Soon Ellen was giving her testimony in public meetings — some of which she arranged herself — and in her regular Methodist class meetings in private homes.

I arranged meetings with my young friends, some of whom were considerably older than myself, and a few were married persons. A number of them were vain and thoughtless; my experience sounded to them like an idle tale, and they did not heed my entreaties. But I determined that my efforts should never cease till these dear souls, for whom I had so great an interest, yielded to God. Several entire nights were spent by me in earnest prayer for those whom I had sought out and brought together for the purpose of laboring and praying with them.[13]

News of her visions spread and White was soon travelling and speaking to groups of Millerite followers in Maine and the surrounding area. Her visions were not publicised further afield until January 24, 1846, when White’s account of the first vision: "Letter From Sister Harmon" was published in the Day Star, a Millerite paper published in Cincinnati, Ohio by Enoch Jacobs. White had written to Jacobs to encourage him and although she stated the letter was not written for publication, Jacobs printed it anyway. Through the next few years it was republished in various forms — including as part of White's first book, Christian Experience and Views, published in 1851.

Two Millerites claimed to have had visions prior to Ellen White – William Ellis Foy (1818–1893), and Hazen Foss (1818?–1893), Ellen White's brother-in-law. Adventists believe the gift offered to these two men was instead passed on to White.[14]

Middle life

Ellen White described the vision experience as involving a bright light which would surround her and she felt herself in the presence of Jesus or angels who would show her events (historical and future) and places (on earth, in heaven, or other planets). The transcriptions of White's visions generally contain theology, prophecy, or personal counsels to individuals or to Adventist leaders. One of the best examples of her personal counsels is found in a 9-volume series of books entitled Testimonies for the Church, that contains edited testimonies published for the general edification of the church. The spoken and written versions of her visions played a significant part in establishing and shaping the organizational structure of the emerging Sabbatarian Adventist Church. Her visions and writings continue to be used by church leaders in developing the church's policies and for devotional reading.

On March 14, 1858, at Lovett's Grove, Ohio, White received a vision while attending a funeral service. On that day James White wrote that "God manifested His power in a wonderful manner" adding that "several had decided to keep the Lord's Sabbath and go with the people of God." In writing about the vision, she stated that she received practical instruction for church members, and more significantly, a cosmic sweep of the conflict "between Christ and His angels, and Satan and his angels." Ellen White would expand upon this great controversy theme which would eventually culminate in the Conflict of the Ages series.[15]

From 1861 to 1881 Ellen White's prophetic ministry became increasingly recognized among Sabbatarian Adventists. Her frequent articles in the Review and Herald (now the Adventist Review) and other church publications were a unifying influence to the beginning church. She supported her husband in the church's need for formal organization. The result was the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1863. During the 1860s and 1870s the Whites participated in the founding of the denomination's first medical institution (1866) and school (1874).

Later ministry

After 1882 Ellen White was assisted by a close circle of friends and associates. She employed a number of literary assistants who would help her in preparing her writings for publications. She also carried on an extensive correspondence with church leaders. She then traveled to Europe on her first international trip. Upon her return she promoted the message of righteousness by faith presented by young ministers E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones, leading to a more Christ-centered theology for the church. When church leaders resisted her counsel on this and various other matters, she was sent to Australia as a missionary for several years.

Final years

When Ellen White returned to the US in 1900, she thought her stay would be temporary, and she called for church re-organization at the pivotal 1901 General Conference Session. During her later years she wrote extensively for church publications and wrote her final books, including a new edition with historical revisions expounding the title, The Great Controversy (1911). During her final years she would travel less frequently as she concentrated upon writing her last works for the church. Not too long before her death she laid her books before a group of people, held up a Bible, and made a point that her writings would not have been needed if people had just read the word of God for themselves and prayed for understanding. Ellen G. White died July 16, 1915, at her home in Elmshaven, which is now an Adventist Historical Site.

Personality and public persona

White was a powerful and sought after preacher.[16][17] While she has been perceived as having a strict and serious personality, perhaps due to her lifestyle standards, numerous sources describe her as a friendly person.[18][19]

Major teachings

Health reform

Ellen White expounded greatly on the subject of health and nutrition, as well as healthy eating and a balanced diet. At her behest, the Seventh-day Adventist Church first established the Western Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1866 to care for the sick as well as to disseminate health instruction.[20] Over the years, other Adventist sanitariums were established around the country. These sanitariums evolved into hospitals, forming the backbone of the Adventists' medical network and, in 1972, forming the Adventist Health System.

The beginnings of this health ministry are found in a vision that White had in 1863. Previous to this vision, little thought or time had been given to health matters in the church, and several of the overtaxed ministers had been forced to become inactive because of sickness. The vision was said to have occurred during a visit by James and Ellen White to Otsego, Michigan to encourage the evangelistic workers there. As the group bowed in prayer at the beginning of the Sabbath, Ellen White reportedly had a vision of the relation of physical health to spirituality, of the importance of following right principles in diet and in the care of the body, and of the benefits of nature's remedies—clean air, sunshine, exercise and pure water. This revelation on June 6, 1863 impressed upon the leaders in the newly organized church the importance of health reform. In the months that followed, as the health message was seen to be a part of the message of Seventh-day Adventists, a health educational program was inaugurated. An introductory step in this effort was the publishing of six pamphlets of 64 pages each, entitled, Health, or How to Live, compiled by James and Ellen White. An article from White was included in each of the pamphlets. The importance of health reform was greatly impressed upon the early leaders of the church through the untimely death of Henry White at the age of 16, the severe illness of Elder James White, which forced him to cease work for three years, and through the sufferings of several other ministers.

Early in 1866, responding to the instruction given to Ellen White on Christmas Day, 1865 (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 489) that Seventh-day Adventists should establish a health institute for the care of the sick and the imparting of health instruction, plans were laid for the Western Health Reform Institute, which opened in September, 1866. While the Whites were in and out of Battle Creek from 1865 to 1868, James White's poor physical condition led them to move to a small farm near Greenville, Michigan.

White's idea of health reform included vegetarianism in a day and age where "meat and two vegetables" was the standard meal for a typical North American. Her health message inspired a health food revolution starting with John Harvey Kellogg in his creation of Corn Flakes. The Sanitarium Health Food Company as it is now known was also started by this health principle. It is also based on White's health principles that Kellogg differed from his brother's views on the sugar content of their Corn Flake breakfast cereal. The latter started Kellogg Company. White championed a vegetarianism that was intended to be spiritually helpful and with regard to the moral issues of the cruel treatment of animals (See White's book, Ministry of Healing pg. 315).

Her views are expressed in the writings Important Facts Of Faith: Laws Of Health, And Testimonies, Nos. 1-10 (1864), Healthful Living (1897, 1898), The Ministry of Healing (1905), and The Health Food Ministry (1970).

Education

White's idea of creating a Christian educational system and its importance in society is detailed in her writings Christian Education (1893, 1894) and Education (1903).

Theology

Jerry Moon argues that White taught Assurance of salvation.[23] Arthur Patrick believes that White was evangelical, in that she had high regard for the Bible, saw the cross as central, supported righteousness by faith, believed in Christian activism, and sought to restore New Testament Christianity.[24]

Major writings

Some of her most well known known books are:[25]

Conflict of the Ages Series

During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles, 40 books, and reported over 2000 visual/aural paranormal experiences, most of which she was convinced were communications with supernatural entities including various angels and sometimes Jesus. Today over 100 titles are available in English, including compilations from her 50,000 manuscript pages.

Book links are to the official Ellen White website, and also available as E-books.

Historic Legacy

According to one evangelical author, "No Christian leader or theologian has exerted as great an influence on a particular denomination as Ellen White has on Adventism."[26] According to the "Valuegenesis" studies, the percentage of self-identified Adventists studying in Adventist schools who read White's writings at least once a week was 13% in 1990 and 6% in 2000.[27] According to a 1985 questionnaire of North American Adventist lecturers, White was the second-most influential Adventist writer on them, after Edward Heppenstall. However no lecturers aged under 39 nominated her as a major influence on their thinking.[28] A 2004 survey of American Protestant pastors by The Barna Group showed those under 40 "championed" Ellen White as an author who had influenced them.[29]

Anglican minister Geoffrey Paxton wrote White has a "wax nose", in that her writings can be turned "turned this way, and then that way" by different people to support their own position.[30]

Ellen G. White Estate

The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc., was formed as a result of Ellen G. White's will. It consists of a self-perpetuating board and a modest staff which includes a secretary (now known as the director), several associates, and a support staff. The main headquarters is at the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Branch Offices are located at Andrews University, Loma Linda University, and Oakwood College. There are 15 additional research centers located throughout the 13 remaining divisions of the world church. The mission of the White Estate is to circulate Ellen White's writings, translate them, and provide resources for helping to better understand her life and ministry. At the Toronto General Conference Session (2000) the world church expanded the mission of the White Estate to include a responsibility for promoting Adventist history for the entire denomination.

Adventist historic sites

Several of Ellen G. White's homes are historic sites. The first home that she and her husband owned is now part of the Historic Adventist Village in Battle Creek, Michigan.[31] Her other homes are privately owned with the exception of her home in Cooranbong, Australia, which she named "Sunnyside," and her last home in Saint Helena, California, which she named "Elmshaven".[32] These latter two homes are owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the "Elmshaven" home is also a National Historic Landmark.

Biographical writings

The most comprehensive biography of Ellen G. White is an extensive six-volume work called "Ellen G. White: A Biography" written by her grandson, Arthur L. White. An academic work is Ronald L. Numbers' analysis of Ellen G. White's health reform teachings in the context of other nineteenth-century health reformers "Prophetess of Health: A Study of Ellen G. White" William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 3rd edition (July 2, 2008). Thousands of articles and books have been written about various aspects of Ellen G. White's life and ministry. A large number of these can be found in the libraries at Loma Linda University and Andrews University, the two primary Seventh-day Adventist institutions with major research collections about Adventism. An "Encyclopedia of Ellen G. White" is being produced by two faculty at Andrews University: Jerry Moon ,[33] chair of the church history department, and Denis Fortin, [34] dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.

Debate regarding the prophetic value of her writings

Most Adventists believe her writings are inspired and continue to have relevance for the church today. Some believe that her writings have devotional value only. Seventh-day Adventists began to discuss her writings at the 1919 Bible Conference, soon after her death. During the 1920s the church adopted a Fundamentalist stance toward inspiration. Because of criticism from the evangelical community, in the 1940s and 1950s church leaders such as LeRoy Edwin Froom and Roy Allan Anderson attempted to help evangelicals understand Seventh-day Adventists better by engaging in extended dialogue that resulted in the publication of Questions on Doctrine (1956) that explained Adventist beliefs in evangelical language.

Evangelical Walter Martin of the countercult Christian Research Institute "rejected White’s prophetic claims", yet saw her "as a genuine Christian believer", unlike her contemporaries Joseph Smith, Jr., Mary Baker Eddy, and Charles Taze Russell. Kenneth Samples, a successor of Martin in his interaction with Adventism, also denies White's prophetic claims yet "believe[s] she, at minimum, had some good biblical and theological instincts."[35]

Adventist statement of belief about the Spirit of Prophecy

Ellen White's writings are sometimes referred to as the Spirit of Prophecy by Adventists. The term is dually applied to the Holy Spirit which inspired her writings.

Early Sabbatarian Adventists, many of whom had come out of the Christian Connexion, were anti-creedal. However, as early as 1872 Adventists produced a statement of Adventist beliefs. This list was refined during the 1890s and formally included in the SDA Yearbook in 1931 with 22 points. In 1980 a statement of 27 Fundamental Beliefs was adopted, which was added to in 2005 to the current list of fundamental beliefs. Ellen G. White is referenced in the fundamental belief on spiritual gifts. This doctrinal statement says:

"One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Joel 2:28,29; Acts 2:14-21; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 12:17; 19:10.)"[36]

Criticisms

Soon after Ellen Harmon's first vision in 1845 doubts were cast as to the reliability and authenticity of her visions. While there would be numerous critics during her lifetime, the most prominent critic was D.M. Canright. His criticisms are summarized in his 1919 book, Life of Mrs. E.G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Prophet: Her False Claims Refuted. The criticisms found in this book synthesize those of all previous critics and, until recent years, served as a basic text for many of Ellen G. White's critics. Some of the most prominent criticisms include:

  • Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE): Professor Gregory Holmes of Dartmouth Medical School has noted that many of the self-described changes in Ellen White's behavior, including changes in facial expression, frequent episodes of staring upward, unawareness of her environment, as well as episodes of Automatism, all point to Temporal Lobe Epilepsy as a possible explanation for her high degree of religiosity and belief that she was receiving messages from God. He also points out that the fact that Ms. White's visions followed her head injury is more than coincidental, since the bones behind the eyes are weak and the brain tissue behind the eyes (Temporal Lobes) is particularly susceptible to injury. These textbook symptoms have Holmes conclude that there can be only one diagnosis for Ellen White's condition - Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.
  • Plagiarism: Many critics have also accused Ellen White of extensive plagiarism. One such was Walter T. Rea, who argued against the "original" nature of her supposed revelations in his book The White Lie. An examination of the plagiarism charges with a specific focus on White's teachings on health reform can be found in Ronald Numbers' Ellen White: Prophetess of Health (originally published in 1976).[37] In this text Numbers argues that her understanding of health reform was simply plagiarized from other health reformers and therefore did not come from divine revelation.
  • False prophecy: [38] Ellen G. White is alleged to have made a large number of failed prophecies.
  • Denial of the Trinity: Some critics, as well as some non-Trinitarian Adventists, have asserted that in some of her early writings Ellen White denied the Trinity and affirmed a form of Arianism, the view that Jesus is a separate, lesser being than God the Father (a position later adopted officially by the Jehovah's Witnesses). Orthodox Adventists, for their part, credit her with bringing the Seventh-day Adventist church into a progressive awareness of the Trinity during the 1890s. Some critics have characterized her descriptions of the Godhead as Tritheistic. Such anti-trinitarian teaching was common among early Adventist leaders, including White's husband James, Joseph Bates, Uriah Smith, J. N. Loughborough and J. H. Waggoner.[39]
  • Views on Masturbation: Many critics cite Ellen White's views on masturbation, which she called "self-indulgence" or "a solitary vice" as proof that she is a not a true prophet. In her now out of print book "A Solemn Appeal" she writes that:

"If the practice [self-indulgence] is continued from the age of fifteen and upward, nature will protest against the abuse he has suffered, and continues to suffer, and will make them pay the penalty for the transgression of his laws, especially from the ages of thirty to forty-five, by numerous pains in the system, and various diseases, such as affection of the liver and lungs, neuralgia, rheumatism, affection of the spine, diseased kidneys, and cancerous tumors. Some of nature's fine machinery gives way, leaving a heavier task for the remaining to perform, which disorders nature's fine arrangement, and there is often a sudden breaking down of the constitution; and death is the result." [40]

Females possess less vital force than the other sex, and are deprived very much of the bracing, invigorating air, by their in-door life. The result of self-abuse in them is seen in various diseases, such as catarrh, dropsy, headache, loss of memory and sight, great weakness in the back and loins, affections of the spine, and frequently, inward decay of the head. Cancerous humor, which would lie dormant in the system their lifetime, is inflamed, and commences its eating, destructive work. The mind is often utterly ruined, and insanity supervenes."[40]

Critics cite modern studies which seem to show that not only is masturbation normal and healthy, it even helps protect against certain diseases such as prostate cancer[41] and heart disease.[42] The scientific consensus hereupon was rendered by Thomas Szasz, MD as "Masturbation: the primary sexual activity of mankind. In the nineteenth century it was a disease; in the twentieth, it's a cure."[43]

  • Racism: Many critics believe that Ellen White also wrote extremely racist statements in her book "Spiritual Gifts."

"Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men."[44]

This criticism is compounded by a defense published 8 years later by church leader and personal friend of Ellen White Uriah Smith, inferring that this "amalgamation" produced certain lesser races which are difficult to differentiate from animals:

" Now we have ever supposed that anybody that was called a man, was considered a human being. The vision speaks of all these classes as races of men; yet in the face of this plain declaration, they foolishly assert that the visions teach that some men are not human beings! But does any one deny the general statement contained in the extract given above? They do not. If they did, they could easily be silenced by a reference to such cases as the wild Bushmen of Africa, some tribes of the Hottentots, and perhaps the Digger Indians of our own country.. Moreover, naturalists affirm that the line of demarkation between the human and animal races is lost in confusion. It is impossible, as they affirm, to tell just where the human ends and the animal begins.[45]

Responses to criticism

Seventh-day Adventists have long responded to critics with arguments and assertions of their own. Typical responses to these criticisms include:

  • Mental illness: Seventh-day Adventists reject the charge that Ellen White suffered mental illness or that she had seizures.[citation needed]
  • Plagiarism: Adventists argue that her use of sources was typical for a 19th-century writer; they generally believe that "she was in control of her sources and that her sources did not control her." Adventists assert that it became increasingly normative to cite sources during her lifetime, and that Ellen G. White subsequently revised her books, changed passages to include quotations from authoritative writers, and at times deleted passages when an author could not be found. When the plagiarism charge ignited a significant debate within the Adventist church during the late 1970s and early 1980s, the General Conference commissioned a major study by Dr. Fred Veltman. The ensuing project became known as the "'Life of Christ' Research Project." The results are available at the General Conference Archives.[46] Dr. Roger W. Coon,[47] David J. Conklin,[48] Dr. Denis Fortin[49][50], King and Morgan,[51] among others, undertook the refutation of the accusations of plagiarism.

subsection). At the conclusion of Ramik's report, he states:

"It is impossible to imagine that the intention of Ellen G. White, as reflected in her writings and the unquestionably prodigious efforts involved therein, was anything other than a sincerely motivated and unselfish effort to place the understandings of Biblical truths in a coherent form for all to see and comprehend. Most certainly, the nature and content of her writings had but one hope and intent, namely, the furthering of mankind's understanding of the word of God." [52]

  • Failed prophecy: Adventists state that some prophecy, including Bible prophecy, can be conditional. Some, for instance, have suggested that a passage in "Testimonies" which refers to the destruction of buildings at the end of time, refers to the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2001.[citation needed] However, the Ellen G. White Estate has rejected this interpretation. Recently a number of apologetic books have been published by the church arguing for the validity of her prophetic gift. Two examples include Don McMahon's book examining the accuracy of Ellen White's medical statements and Graeme Bradford's book Prophets are Human.
  • Denial of the Trinity: Many Adventists argue that, while she never used the terms "Trinity" or "Triune" in her published writings, Ellen White did use the term "trio" (as in Evangelism pp. 613–617) and many Adventists believe that she was, in fact, Trinitarian in her views despite doctrinal affirmations consistent with Arianism (a view held by a number of early Adventist leaders).[53][54]

When the laws of men conflict with the word and law of God, we are to obey the latter, whatever the consequences may be. The law of our land requiring us to deliver a slave to his master, we are not to obey; and we must abide the consequences of violating this law. The slave is not the property of any man. God is his rightful master, and man has no right to take God's workmanship into his hands, and claim him as his own.

Testimonies For The Church Volume 1, p. 201-202

Some apologists suggest that White's 1864 controversial statement was an attempt to attack Darwin's Theory of Evolution since Darwin's influence was only beginning to be felt throughout the world.[55] From a 1899 issue of Signs of the Times, White is quoted in suggesting that she believed in a pre-flood antediluvian world, a technologically advanced civilization that may have engaged in genetic engineering [56] While White indicates that it was man's doing of the amalgamation before the Flood, she does not say who provided the amalgamation after the Flood. Elsewhere she does speak of Satan altering plants through some sort of process: "All tares are sown by the evil one. Every noxious herb is of his sowing, and by his ingenious methods of amalgamation he has corrupted the earth with tares."—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 288. So it is possible that it was Satan doing the post-Flood amalgamation instead of man.[56]

See also

References

  • Ronald L. Numbers, Prophetess of Health: A Study of Ellen G. White William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 3rd edition (July 2, 2008)
  • Forthcoming scholarly work on Ellen White, multiple authors, expected publisher Oxford University Press, 2010[57]
  • Jerry Moon and Denis Fortin, editors. The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, forthcoming)
  • The World of Ellen G. White edited by Gary Land, a historical background to White's writings without critically comparing the two
  • Forthcoming review of White's correspondence by a Newbold College scholar
  • Hilary M. Carey, "Ellen G. White and Female Prophetic Authority in the Adventist Tradition in Australia. Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies 5 (2000), 3-19; a feminist interpretation
  • R. E. Graham, Ellen G. White, Cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (New York: Peter Lang, 1985)
  • Ronald Graybill, "The Power of Prophecy: Ellen G. White and Women Religious Founders of the Nineteenth Century" (Ph.D. diss.: The Johns Hopkins University, 1983)
  • "Prophecy, Gender, and Culture: Ellen Gould Harmon [White] and the Roots of Seventh-day Adventism" by Jonathan M. Butler. Religion and American Culture 1:1 (Winter, 1991), p3–29
  • "Religion in Ellen G. White’s Portland" blog by Jeff Crocombe, December 14, 2006
  1. ^ "White, Ellen Gould (née Harmon)" in Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism" by Randall Balmer, p614–15
  2. ^ Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany Fellowship, 1965, p379
  3. ^ Arthur L. White (August 2000). "Ellen G. White: A Brief Biography". Ellen G. White Estate. http://www.whiteestate.org/about/egwbio.asp. 
  4. ^ Ellen G. White's Genealogy
  5. ^ http://www.crcbermuda.com/reference/ellen-white-books-t-z/testimonies-vol-1/2259-chap-1-my-childhood
  6. ^ Merlin D. Burt (1998). Ellen G. Harmon's Three Step Conversion Between 1836 and 1843 and the Harmon Family Methodist Experience.. Term paper, Andrews University. 
  7. ^ Life Sketches, 1880 edition, 126, 127.
  8. ^ Ellen G. White, A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White (1851)
  9. ^ Ellen G. White, To the Little Remnant Scattered Abroad, (April 6, 1846)
  10. ^ Godfrey T. Anderson, "Sectarianism and Organisation, 1846-1864," in Adventism in America: a History, ed. Gary Land (Berrien Springs: Andrews University Press, 1998), 31.
  11. ^ Merlin D. Burt, “The Historical Background, Interconnected Development, and Integration of the Doctrines of the Heavenly Sanctuary, the Sabbath, and Ellen G. White's Role in Sabbatarian Adventism from 1844-1849”, PhD, Andrews University, 2002, 170.
  12. ^ Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts vol. 2, (1860), 37.
  13. ^ Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church Vol.1, (1855-1868)
  14. ^ Nix, James R. (4 December 1986). "The third prophet spoke forth" (DjVu). Adventist Review (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald) 163: 22. ISSN 0161-1119. http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH19861204-V163-49/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=22. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  15. ^ Ellen G. White (1860). My Christian Experience, Views, And Labors In Connection With The Rise And Progress Of The Third Angel's Message. James White. 
  16. ^ See Horace Shaw's doctoral dissertation, "A Rhetorical Analysis of the Speaking of Mrs. Ellen G. White, A Pioneer Leader and Spokeswoman of the Seventh-day Adventist Church" (Michigan State University, 1959), p282.
  17. ^ Chapter 12: "The Sought-for Speaker" in Messenger of the Lord by Herbert Douglass
  18. ^ See Walking With Ellen White: The Human Interest Story by George R. Knight. http://h0bbes.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/ellen-white-the-real-human-being/
  19. ^ Life With My Mother-in-law: An interview with Ethel May Lacey White Currow" DjVu by Ed Christian. Her grandson Arthur L. White recounts happy childhood memories of her
  20. ^ "Adventist Health," Company Histories, FundingUniverse
  21. ^ "My soul was daily drinking rich draughts of salvation. I thought that those who loved Jesus would love His coming, so went to the class meeting and told them what Jesus had done for me and what a fullness I enjoyed through believing that the Lord was coming. The class leader interrupted me, saying, "Through Methodism"; but I could not give the glory to Methodism when it was Christ and the hope of His soon coming that had made me free." Early Writings Pg. 13
  22. ^ A Word to the Little Flock
  23. ^ http://www.andrews.edu/~jmoon/Documents/GSEM_534/Class_outline/08.pdf
  24. ^ Arthur Patrick, "An Adventist and an Evangelical in Australia? The Case of Ellen White In The 1890s." in Lucas: An Evangelical History Review No. 12, December 1991
  25. ^ List consists of titles in Selection of Ellen G. White's Best-Known Books
  26. ^ CRI Journal - CRJ0005B
  27. ^ Gillespie, Bailey (October/November 2002). "Adventist Schools DO Make a Difference!" (PDF). Journal of Adventist Education: 12–16. http://circle.adventist.org/files/jae/jae200265011205.pdf. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  28. ^ Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart (October 1987). "The Intellectual World of Adventist Theologians" (PDF). Spectrum (Roseville, California: Adventist Forums) 18 (1): 32–37. ISSN 0890-0264. http://spectrummagazine.org/files/archive/archive16-20/18-1bull.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  29. ^ Survey Reveals The Books and Authors That Have Most Influenced Pastors by The Barna Group. May 30, 2005. Accessed 2007-12-09
  30. ^ "Conclusion: The Shaking of Adventism", in The Shaking of Adventism by Geoffrey J. Paxton
  31. ^ Adventist Heritage Site
  32. ^ Elmshaven website
  33. ^ Jerry Moon Faculty bio at Andrews University
  34. ^ Denis Fortin Faculty bio at Andrews University
  35. ^ Samples, Kenneth (2007). "Evangelical Reflections on Seventh-day Adventism: Yesterday and Today". Questions on Doctrine 50th anniversary conference
  36. ^ Fundamental Beliefs
  37. ^ Ronald Numbers (1992). Prophetess of Health: Ellen G. White and the Origins of Seventh-Day Adventist Health Reform. University of Tennessee Press. 
  38. ^ Prophecy Blunders of Ellen G. White
  39. ^ "Part 1: Historical Overview". http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/trinity/moon/moon-trinity1.htm. 
  40. ^ a b Ellen G. White (1870). Solemn Appeal, A. The Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association. 
  41. ^ Giles, G.G.; G. Severi, D.R. English, M.R.E. McCredie, R. Borland, P. Boyle, J.L. Hopper (August 2003). "Sexual factors and prostate cancer". BJU International 92 (3): 211–216. doi:10.1046/j.1464-410X.2003.04319.x. 
  42. ^ Smith, George Davey; Frankel, Stephen and Yarnell, John. (December 1997). "Sex and death: are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly cohort study". British Medical Journal 315 (7123): 1641–1644. PMID 9448525. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/315/7123/1641. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  43. ^ Thomas S. Szasz Quotes Allgreatquotes.com.
  44. ^ Ellen G. White (1860). Spirutal Gifts, Volume 4. The Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association. 
  45. ^ Uriah Smith (1868). The Visions of Mrs. E. G. White, A Manifestation of Spiritual gifts According to the Scripture. Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association. 
  46. ^ General Conference Archives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
  47. ^ Ellen G. White as a Writer: Part III - The Issue of Literary Borrowing
  48. ^ An Analysis of the Literary Dependency of Ellen White
  49. ^ Ellen G. White as a Writer: Case Studies in the Issue of Literary Borrowing
  50. ^ The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia
  51. ^ E. Marcella Anderson King and Kevin L. Morgan (2009). More Than Words: A Study of Inspiration and Ellen White's Use of Sources in The Desire of Ages. Honor Him Publishers. 
  52. ^ http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/ramik.html Also appears in Review article
  53. ^ The Role of Ellen G. White in The Adventist Trinity Debate
  54. ^ The Quest for a Biblical Trinity: Ellen White’s “Heavenly Trio” Compared to the Traditional Doctrine by Jerry Moon, published in Journal of the Adventist Theological Society
  55. ^ Chapter 20: Amalgamation of Man and Beast
  56. ^ a b Possibility of Genetic Engineering
  57. ^ "Scholars to Publish a Book on Ellen White" press release, Ellen White project. Accessed 2009-10-08; repeated on the Spectrum blog

External links

Official Ellen G. White Estate

Apologists

Critics

Writings online

Audiobooks online

Other


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

It is not earthly rank, nor birth, nor nationality, nor religious privilege, which proves that we are members of the family of God; it is love, a love that embraces all humanity.

Ellen Gould White (26 November 1827 - 16 July 1915)) was a pioneer of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and a prolific writer on religious matters.

Contents

Sourced

Many are to believe on Christ through the communication of truth by His servants.
  • True Christian love cherished in the heart and exemplified in the life, would teach us to put the best possible construction upon the course of our brethren. We should be as jealous of their reputation as of our own. If we are forever suspecting evil, this very fact will so shape their course of action as to produce the very evil which we have allowed ourselves to suspect. In this way, a great many difficulties are manufactured that otherwise would never have had birth, and brethren are often wronged by our being suspicious, free to judge their motives, and express our opinion to others in regard to their actions. That which one may be ready to construe into grave wrongs, may be no more than we ourselves are chargeable with every day.
    • The Review and Herald (15 April 1880); also in Mind, Character, and Personality (1977), Vol. 2, p. 789
  • There are many whose religion consists in criticising habits of dress and manners. They want to bring every one to their own measure. They desire to lengthen out those who seem too short for their standard, and to cut down others who seem too long. They have lost the love of God out of their hearts; but they think they have a spirit of discernment. They think it is their prerogative to criticise, and pronounce judgment; but they should repent of their error, and turn away from their sins... Let us love one another. Let us have harmony and union throughout our ranks. Let us have our hearts sanctified to God. Let us look upon the light that abides for us in Jesus. Let us remember how forbearing and patient He was with the erring children of men. We should be in a wretched state if the God of heaven were like one of us, and treated us as we are inclined to treat one another.
    • The Review and Herald (27 August 1889), p. 530.
God has set up a high standard of righteousness. He has made plain a distinction between human and divine wisdom. All who work on Christ's side must work to save, not to destroy.
  • Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.
  • Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven's storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence.
    • Steps to Christ(1892), p. 94
You need clear, energetic minds, in order to appreciate the exalted character of the truth, to value the atonement, and to place the right estimate upon eternal things.
  • Many are to believe on Christ through the communication of truth by His servants. As they see the beauty of the Word of God, and as they see Jesus revealed in the lives of His children, they will praise Him with heart and soul and voice.
    • The Signs of the Times (9 December 1903], paragraph 10
  • Early in my public labors I was bidden by the Lord, "Write, write the things that are revealed to you." At the time this message came to me, I could not hold my hand steady. My physical condition made it impossible for me to write. But again came the word, "Write the things that are revealed to you." I obeyed; and as the result it was not long before I could write page after page with comparative ease. Who told me what to write? Who steadied my right hand, and made it possible for me to use a pen? — It was the Lord.
    • The Review and Herald (14 June 1906), p. 8
  • When will the church do her appointed work? She is represented as an angel of light, flying through heaven with the everlasting gospel to be proclaimed to the world. This represents the speed and directness with which the church is to prosecute her work.
    • Medical Ministry (1932), p. 131
  • God has set up a high standard of righteousness. He has made plain a distinction between human and divine wisdom. All who work on Christ's side must work to save, not to destroy.
    • Medical Ministry (1932), p. 133
  • You need clear, energetic minds, in order to appreciate the exalted character of the truth, to value the atonement, and to place the right estimate upon eternal things.
    • Counsels On Diet and Foods (1938), Section 2, p. 47
  • Heaven is all health.
    • Mind, Character, and Personality (1977), Vol. 2, p. 411

Testimonies for the Church (1855 - 1868)

If the life we live in this world is wholly for Christ, it is a life of daily surrender.
  • Perfect health depends upon perfect circulation.
    • Vol. 2, p. 531
  • Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope...
    • Vol. 6, p. 62
  • If the life we live in this world is wholly for Christ, it is a life of daily surrender.
    • Vol. 6, p. 116
  • We do not mark out any precise line to be followed in diet; but we do say that in countries where there are fruits, grains, and nuts in abundance, flesh food is not the right food for God's people.

Christ's Object Lessons (1900)

The Sabbath bids us behold in His created works the glory of the Creator.
  • In Christ's parable teaching the same principle is seen as in His own mission to the world. That we might become acquainted with His divine character and life, Christ took our nature and dwelt among us. Divinity was revealed in humanity; the invisible glory in the visible human form. Men could learn of the unknown through the known; heavenly things were revealed through the earthly; God was made manifest in the likeness of men. So it was in Christ's teaching: the unknown was illustrated by the known; divine truths by earthly things with which the people were most familiar.
So wide was Christ's view of truth, so extended His teaching, that every phase of nature was employed in illustrating truth.
  • Not only the things of nature, but the sacrificial service and the Scriptures themselves — all given to reveal God — were so perverted that they became the means of concealing Him.
    Christ sought to remove that which obscured the truth. The veil that sin has cast over the face of nature, He came to draw aside, bringing to view the spiritual glory that all things were created to reflect. His words placed the teachings of nature as well as of the Bible in a new aspect, and made them a new revelation.
    • Ch. 1, p. 19
  • Christ interpreted the message which He Himself had given to the lilies and the grass of the field. He desires us to read it in every lily and every spire of grass. His words are full of assurance, and tend to confirm trust in God.
    So wide was Christ's view of truth, so extended His teaching, that every phase of nature was employed in illustrating truth. The scenes upon which the eye daily rests were all connected with some spiritual truth, so that nature is clothed with the parables of the Master.
    • Ch. 1, p. 19
Christ had truths to present which the people were unprepared to accept or even to understand. For this reason also He taught them in parables.
  • Jesus desired to awaken inquiry. He sought to arouse the careless, and impress truth upon the heart. Parable teaching was popular, and commanded the respect and attention, not only of the Jews, but of the people of other nations. No more effective method of instruction could He have employed.
    • Ch. 1, p. 20
He said nothing to gratify curiosity, or to satisfy man's ambition by opening doors to worldly greatness. In all His teaching, Christ brought the mind of man in contact with the Infinite Mind.
  • Christ had truths to present which the people were unprepared to accept or even to understand. For this reason also He taught them in parables. By connecting His teaching with the scenes of life, experience, or nature, He secured their attention and impressed their hearts. Afterward, as they looked upon the objects that illustrated His lessons, they recalled the words of the divine Teacher. To minds that were open to the Holy Spirit, the significance of the Saviour's teaching unfolded more and more. Mysteries grew clear, and that which had been hard to grasp became evident.
    Jesus sought an avenue to every heart. By using a variety of illustrations, He not only presented truth in its different phases, but appealed to the different hearers.
    Their interest was aroused by figures drawn from the surroundings of their daily life. None who listened to the Saviour could feel that they were neglected or forgotten. The humblest, the most sinful, heard in His teaching a voice that spoke to them in sympathy and tenderness.
    And He had another reason for teaching in parables. Among the multitudes that gathered about Him, there were priests and rabbis, scribes and elders, Herodians and rulers, world-loving, bigoted, ambitious men, who desired above all things to find some accusation against Him. Their spies followed His steps day after day, to catch from His lips something that would cause His condemnation, and forever silence the One who seemed to draw the world after Him. The Saviour understood the character of these men, and He presented truth in such a way that they could find nothing by which to bring His case before the Sanhedrim. In parables He rebuked the hypocrisy and wicked works of those who occupied high positions, and in figurative language clothed truth of so cutting a character that had it been spoken in direct denunciation, they would not have listened to His words, and would speedily have put an end to His ministry. But while He evaded the spies, He made truth so clear that error was manifested, and the honest in heart were profited by His lessons.
    • Ch. 1, p. 22
In these lessons direct from nature, there is a simplicity and purity that makes them of the highest value.
  • He said nothing to gratify curiosity, or to satisfy man's ambition by opening doors to worldly greatness. In all His teaching, Christ brought the mind of man in contact with the Infinite Mind. He did not direct the people to study men's theories about God, His word, or His works. He taught them to behold Him as manifested in His works, in His word, and by His providences.
    Christ did not deal in abstract theories, but in that which is essential to the development of character, that which will enlarge man's capacity for knowing God, and increase his efficiency to do good. He spoke to men of those truths that relate to the conduct of life, and that take hold upon eternity.
    • Ch. 1, p. 23
  • Through the creation we are to become acquainted with the Creator. The book of nature is a great lesson book, which in connection with the Scriptures we are to use in teaching others of His character, and guiding lost sheep back to the fold of God. As the works of God are studied, the Holy Spirit flashes conviction into the mind. It is not the conviction that logical reasoning produces; but unless the mind has become too dark to know God, the eye too dim to see Him, the ear too dull to hear His voice, a deeper meaning is grasped, and the sublime, spiritual truths of the written word are impressed on the heart.
    In these lessons direct from nature, there is a simplicity and purity that makes them of the highest value. All need the teaching to be derived from this source. In itself the beauty of nature leads the soul away from sin and worldly attractions, and toward purity, peace, and God.
Nature utters her voice in lessons of heavenly wisdom and eternal truth.
  • The Sabbath bids us behold in His created works the glory of the Creator. And it was because He desired us to do this that Jesus bound up His precious lessons with the beauty of natural things. On the holy rest day, above all other days, we should study the messages that God has written for us in nature. We should study the Saviour's parables where He spoke them, in the fields and groves, under the open sky, among the grass and flowers. As we come close to the heart of nature, Christ makes His presence real to us, and speaks to our hearts of His peace and love.
    • Ch. 1, p. 25 - 26
We need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in order to discern the truths in God's word.
  • Nature utters her voice in lessons of heavenly wisdom and eternal truth.
  • The Bible is God's great lesson book...
    • Ch. 8, p. 107
  • We need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in order to discern the truths in God's word. The lovely things of the natural world are not seen until the sun, dispelling the darkness, floods them with its light. So the treasures in the word of God are not appreciated until they are revealed by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
    The Holy Spirit, sent from heaven by the benevolence of infinite love, takes the things of God and reveals them to every soul that has an implicit faith in Christ. By His power the vital truths upon which the salvation of the soul depends are impressed upon the mind, and the way of life is made so plain that none need err therein. As we study the Scriptures, we should pray for the light of God's Holy Spirit to shine upon the word, that we may see and appreciate its treasures.
  • Let none think that there is no more knowledge for them to gain. The depth of human intellect may be measured; the works of human authors may be mastered; but the highest, deepest, broadest flight of the imagination cannot find out God. There is infinity beyond all that we can comprehend. We have seen only the glimmering of divine glory and of the infinitude of knowledge and wisdom; we have, as it were, been working on the surface of the mine, when rich golden ore is beneath the surface, to reward the one who will dig for it.
    • Ch. 8, p. 114

Conflict of the Ages series

Look up, look up, and let your faith continually increase.
  • The existing confusion of conflicting creeds and sects is fitly represented by the term "Babylon," which prophecy (Revelation 14:8) applies to the world-loving churches of the last days.
  • Singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer.
    • Patriarchs and Prophets, Ch. 58, p. 594
The spirit of Christ is a missionary spirit.
  • Look up, look up, and let your faith continually increase. Let this faith guide you along the narrow path that leads through the gates of the city into the great beyond, the wide, unbounded future of glory that is for the redeemed.
  • The seed buried in the ground produces fruit, and in turn this is planted. Thus the harvest is multiplied. So the death of Christ on the cross of Calvary will bear fruit unto eternal life. The contemplation of this sacrifice will be the glory of those who, as the fruit of it, will live through the eternal ages.

Selected Messages (1958 - 1980)

  • The people are hungry for the bread of life. Do not offer them a stone.
    • Book II, Ch. 1, p. 24
  • Gather every promise. This is Jesus, the life of every grace, the life of every promise, the life of every ordinance, the life of every blessing.
    • Book II, Ch. 25, p. 244
  • Pure air and water, cleanliness, a proper diet, purity of life, and a firm trust in God are remedies for the want of which thousands are dying; yet these remedies are going out of date because their skillful use requires work that the people do not appreciate.
    • Book II, Ch. 29, p. 287
  • The banner of the third angel has inscribed upon it, "The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."
    • Book II, Ch. 49, p. 384

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