The Significance of Ellen White's Head Injury
An Editorial Introduction
by Doug Hackleman, Editor, Adventist Currents,
Esta pagina in Español
The attempt to understand Ellen G. White and her visions has taken
many forms. Few are more interesting than the exhaustive research
of Dr. Molleurus Couperus, retired physician and founding Editor
of Spectrum magazine.
Couperus' article, "The Significance of Ellen White's Head
Injury" - termed "overkill" by one basically approving
neurologist - is the author's effort to understand how Ellen White
might honestly feel, believe, and claim that God was coming to
her repeatedly in vision - even if it wasn't so.
The reasons why one might question Ellen White's claims are myriad,
but one class of reason stands out. When Ellen White insisted
she had seen something in vision, or said 'I was shown', or (most
significant) purported to be quoting an angel, her guide, or
Jesus Himself, and the very words are now found published in an
earlier article or book, rational human beings may be forgiven
for disbelieving her veracity.
But since Mrs. White is such an integral part of our Adventists
roots, and since it is disconcerting to think of mother as mendacious,
we look for mitigating circumstances or alternate explanations
that might rescue her integrity.
The notion that a mild form of posttrauma seizure could explain
both her "visions" and her personality foibles seems,
therefore, attractive. Most neurologists agree that a missile-induced
head injury such as the one that caused Ellen Harmon three weeks
of coma followed by amnesia at age nine increases manifold the
likelihood that she would develop subsequently some kind of seizure
While a neurological explanation for Ellen White's vision appears
to have the potential to rescue her reputation as a truthful woman,
it simultaneously seems to preclude supernatural explanations.
White Estate officials have repeatedly indicated their 'a priori'
rejection of any naturalistic causes for Mrs. White's visions
- having gone so far as to establish an Ellen G. White Health
Committee from among the medical staff at Loma Linda University
to pronounce the impossibility that any form of temporal lobe
epilepsy could account for White's visionary experiences.
Because the thesis of Couperus' article will so scandalize many
Seventh-day Adventists, it seems only fair to let the author make
his best case - including all 210 references.
It is clear that wide disagreement remains among neurologists
regarding what behaviors and personality traits should indicate
a diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy. Three reputable, non-Adventist
neurologists were asked to read the manuscript in draft form.
Two of the three affirmed the scientific validity of Couperus'
thesis and one did not. One positive previewer refused to go on
record for practical reasons. The other was not asked to go on
record because his earlier published research on the topic is
cited substantially in the paper.
The previewer who doubted the author's concluding diagnosis is
Dr. Thomas Babb, professor of Neurology in residence, UCLA.
The Significance of Ellen White's Head Injury
by Molleurus Couperus
Adventist Currents, June 1985
Ellen G. White undoubtedly was one of the most influential individuals
in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist church - a spiritual
leader considered by many to be a prophet. Seventy years have
passed since Ellen died in 1915, and it is the purpose of his
presentation to reexamine the life and work of this exceptional
Christian woman in the light of current knowledge.
Ellen Gould Harmon and her twin sister, Elizabeth, were born November
26, 1827, in Gorham, Maine. Her parents were devout members of
the Methodist Episcopal church, as were their eight children.
Of Ellen and her family, James White wrote:
"Both the parents possess a large degree of physical endurance,
and the children inherited this blessing, as also the activity,
force of character, and executive ability which were especially
developed in the mother. In Ellen, both mental and physical development
were rapid and vigorous. While but a child she displayed a love
of study, a quick perception, and a retentive memory. She was
of a buoyant, hopeful disposition, fond of society, courageous,
resolute, and persevering." 1
It was also stated that "reverence for God, and respect for
parental authority, were early and firmly inculcated; and the
children were faithfully taught, both by precept and example,
those lessons of integrity and diligence which have molded the
characters of many of the world's noblest workers." Such
traits typified values of devout, nineteenth-century Methodist
When the Harmon family became acquainted with William Miller's
stirring warning of Christ's imminent return, they accepted his
message with deep conviction, finally "coming out" of
the Methodist church in 1843.
At the age of nine Ellen was involved in a serious accident that
she said affected her whole life.
"In company with my twin sister and one of our schoolmates,
I was crossing a common in the city of Portland, Maine, when a
girl of about thirteen years of age followed us, threatening to
strike us....We were running towards home but the girl was following
us rapidly, with a stone in her hand. I turned to see how far
she was behind me, and as I turned, the stone hit me on my nose.
A blinding, stunning sensation overpowered me and I fell senseless.
When consciousness again returned, I found myself in a merchant's
store; my garments covered with the blood streaming from my nose,
and a large stream of blood on the floor. A kind stranger offered
to take me home in his carriage. I knew not how weak I was, and
told him I should greatly soil his carriage with my blood, and
that I could walk home. I had walked but a few steps when I grew
dizzy and faint. My twin sister and my schoolmate carried me home.
I have no recollection of anything for some time after the accident.
My mother says that I noticed nothing, but lay in a stupid state
for three weeks.... As I aroused to consciousness, it seemed to
me that I had been asleep. I was not aware of the accident, and
knew not of the cause of my sickness.... I was shocked at the
change in my appearance. Every feature of my face seemed changed....
The bones of my nose proved to be broken." 2
Ellen states that her father was in Georgia when the accident
occurred, and when he finally returned home he did not recognize
his daughter. Apparently the physicians who were taking care of
her considered repairing the broken bones with silver wires. But
they decided against this, according to Ellen, because her recovery
was unlikely. It is possible that her physicians attempted to
align the broken bones manually, but there seems to be no record
of this. After regaining consciousness Ellen was confined to bed
for many weeks and "was reduced almost to a skeleton."
3 For two years she was unable to breathe through her nose.
Summarizing the essential facts of Ellen's injury from a medical
standpoint, one finds the following:
- At age nine Ellen received a projectile-type blunt injury
to the nasal area of the face and fell to the ground.
- She was immediately unconscious.
- There was severe and prolonged bleeding, and she was carried
to a nearby store.
- After a brief interval of consciousness she becomes unconscious
again; this lasted for some three weeks.
- When she regained consciousness she had no recollection of
what had taken place.
- She noticed that her face was markedly deformed at that time.
- After regaining consciousness she was confined to bed for
"many weeks" and was reduced "almost to a skeleton."
The area of the head where Ellen received the impact of the stone
thrown at her by a thirteen-year old girl contributed significantly
to the severity of the injury that followed. The stone hit Ellen
on the nose as she turned her head back to see how near the pursuing
girl was, and Ellen fell senseless to the ground. Girgis has observed
that the temporal lobe is peculiarly vulnerable to injury because
of its location low in the skull behind the eye orbit. There the
skull bone is thinnest and puncture wounds can penetrate the brain
with relatively little force. Landolt and de Jong also have emphasized
the fragility and vulnerability of the temporal area of the skull,
one reason that resulting temporal lobe epilepsy is so common.
When a head injury occurs, there is first the danger of the object
in motion (in Ellen's case a stone) causing injury to the overlying
skin and the structures immediately beneath it, such as blood
vessels, nerves, and the underlying bone. Following this is the
effect of the impact on the brain itself, which sometimes includes
direct destructive action if there is a fracture or a hematoma.
In a so-called closed-head injury (such as Ellen apparently sustained),
the force or impact of the flying object through its accelerating
effect (a jolt) throws the brain against the opposite side of
the skull, causing a diffuse injury to the brain. The head of
a person thrown from a speeding vehicle, striking a tree trunk,
would be subject to the same acceleration and deceleration injury
to the brain. The resulting damage in both cases could be either
mild or severe, depending on the force of the impact. Most head
injuries in civilian life come from such closed-head injuries.
In these injuries the temporal lobe is often more extensively
damaged than any other part of the brain.
The long period of unconsciousness which followed Ellen's head
injury, and her later amnesia regarding the incident, indicate
the seriousness of her brain injury and explained the delayed
results of the accident. For a head injury to produce a coma or
unconsciousness lasting some three weeks is not common and usually
suggests a severe brain insult. In a report of 105 children who
suffered a skull injury followed by a period of unconsciousness,
in only 4 patients did this last longer than twenty-four hours.
However, patients sustaining head injuries have remained unconscious
afterward for three weeks and still survived; but in such cases
there are nearly always serious after effects. It may take weeks
before recovery starts in such patients and improvement is slow,
as it was in Ellen's case. This is associated with a period of
confusion and a time of variable loss of memory regarding what
took place - a period of amnesia. Such amnesia may be permanent
or may gradually improve to a variable degree. A loss of memory
for a period greater than twelve hours following the accident
frequently is followed by the development of epilepsy. Epileptic
seizures may follow shortly after the accident; or the epilepsy
may not manifest itself for many years, sometimes as long as twenty
years later. If the head injury occurs in a child, the time interval
before the epilepsy manifests itself is likely to be longer; and
the longer the interval, the more likely it is that the epilepsy
will persist. Russell considers post-traumatic amnesia lasting
more than a few days the result of severe brain damage, including
possible tearing and twisting of the fiber tracts in the brain.
Cyril B. Courville, then-professor of nervous diseases at Loma
Linda University, and a leading authority on head injuries, wrote
the following in 1944 regarding some of the effects of head injuries:
"...unconsciousness due to application of force to the head
may persist for a variable interval, and when uncomplicated is
a fairly reliable indication of the degree of force producing
the reaction.... The clinical picture of original coma of short
duration following injury to the head with consequent lucid (or
semilucid) interval, and then relapse into coma is still too often
overlooked. It is essential to know that the original period of
coma is the result of "concussion". The patient recovers
from his experience more or less completely for the causative
injury is not usually severe (exception: gross temporal lobe contusion,
in which case there is only partial recovery from the deeply comatose
state). The relapse into coma is due to increasing intracranial
pressure due to accumulating extradural, subdural intracerebral
blood clot, to edema of the temporal lobe, to progressive subdural
cerebrospinal fluid accumulation, or to progressive softening
(and swelling) of the brain following arterial thrombosis".
Courville late stated "that the length of the period of unconsciousness
is a fair index to the severity of concussion." He specified
that an unconsciousness over a period of more than six hours suggests
the possibility "that gross lesions of the brain as well
as fractures of the skull may be present. Such patients may survive
or die, depending on the severity of these associated symptoms".
Courville also has pointed out that injury to the temporal lobe
is the essential cause of psychomotor epilepsy (a type of temporal
lobe epilepsy). 9 In a series of fifty-four clinical cases of
psychomotor epilepsy, he found that in thirty-seven percent (twenty
cases), injury was the most likely cause. 10 After the recovery
from prolonged unconsciousness there usually is only a slow improvement
from the amnesia (loss of memory), and only one-third of the patients
experience a complete recovery. 11,12
Jennett in 1975 stated that "loss of consciousness or even
brief amnesia after injury always implied brain damage.... But
the severity of the diffuse brain damage...is best judged by the
duration of the post-traumatic amnesia". In a series of 800
cases of head injuries studied by Jennett, some forty
percent of those who experienced a post-traumatic amnesia of twenty-four
hours or longer, developed late epilepsy.13 If Jennett concluded
that there was a forty percent likelihood for a patient to develop
epilepsy after a head injury resulting in an unconsciousness of
twenty-four hours or longer, how much greater would be the chance
for Ellen to develop epilepsy if she were unconscious for three
weeks and amnesic for the whole incident.
Based on the study of the later results of head injuries in the
armed forces, Caveness summarized his findings as follows:
"The post-traumatic syndrome, the most common sequelae [result]
to develop from craniocerebral trauma, is generally characterized
by the following complaints: headaches, vertigo and dizziness,
nervousness, irritability, impaired memory, inability to concentrate,
excessive fatigue, difficulty with sleep... Other attributes include
a sense of ill health and a reduction in the capacity to earn
Out of a group of 574 patients who had head injuries, 46 percent
developed epileptic seizures.14 The impaired memory, nervousness,
inability to concentrate, and excessive fatigue were all symptoms
Ellen White had for several years following her head injury.15 Of
all seizures in adults that include "behavioral automatism,
personality and thought disorders and visual disturbances",
over 50 percent are perhaps due to involvement of the temporal
Jennett in another study of 481 cases of so-called late epilepsy
after head injury found that temporal lobe epilepsy developed
in ninety cases. He determined that 53 percent of the patients
had from one-to-six attacks a year, but 18 percent had more than
one a month.17
Epilepsy as an entity has been recognized to some extent since
the days of ancient Egypt, but it was with Hippocrates (400 B.C.)
and Galen (+175 A.D.) that some organized knowledge of this disease
began to accumulate.
During the nineteenth century a gradual differentiation was made
between several kinds of epilepsy beyond the grand mal and petit
mal types, and such comparative analyses have continued. It was
Hughlings Jackson in England who in 1888 reported on some fifty
cases of epilepsy which had as part of their symptom complex a
"dreamy state" or "intellectual aura" that
preceded generalized attacks, or that occurred without a full
There was a steady but slow increase in the knowledge of brain
injury and resulting epilepsy during the rest of the nineteenth
century. During the two World Wars a large number of head and
brain injuries occurred. Many of the injured could be followed
closely for a number of years, increasing greatly the knowledge
of the late or delayed effects of these injuries. Of the cases
in which missile injuries to the head were sustained (in both
World Wars and in the Korean War), more than one-third of the
victims developed epilepsy. Many head injuries followed by epileptic
seizures now result from industrial and traffic accidents.
With the development in 1929 of the electroencephalograph to record
the electrical activity of the brain and improved x-ray visualization
of the brain and skull (including the CAT scan for variations
in anatomical structure, the PET tomography which indicates functional
changes in precise areas, and, most recently magnetic resonance
imaging [MRI]), a firmer basis for the study and detection of
abnormal function and defects of the brain was attained - resulting
also in a progressively better understanding of the various types
of epilepsy and other cerebral malfunctions.
There are numerous causes for epilepsy, including hereditary predisposition,
birth injury, postnatal head injury, meningitis and other infections,
tumor, metabolic abnormality, vascular disease, and intoxication.
The most common type of epilepsy is temporal lobe epilepsy, and
the most common cause for this is head injury.
The Post-traumatic Symptomatology of Ellen G. White After
After Ellen Harmon regained consciousness, she was confined to
bed for several weeks. She had lost a great deal of weight, probably
at least partially due to the difficulty of feeding her during
the period of her prolonged coma - no intravenous feeding equipment
being available at that time. Fluids put in her mouth might have
been swallowed by reflex action, however.
She improved very slowly, and "her health seemed to be completely
shattered." Later Ellen was able to attend school but little;
and she states that "it was almost impossible for me to study,
and retain what I had learned." When she did attend school
her hand trembled so much that she could make no progress in her
writing; and when studying she says "the letters of my book
would run together, large drops of perspiration would stand upon
my brow, and I would become dizzy and faint." Her teacher
advised her to leave school until her health improved, which she
did. Three years later, when she was twelve, she attempted to
go to school again; but her health failed once more and she was
forced to leave school permanently. This discouraged Ellen greatly.
"When I pondered over my disappointed hopes, and the thought
that I was to be an invalid for life, I was unreconciled to my
lot and at times murmured against the providence of God in thus
In another account she says: "I seemed to be cut off from
all chance of earthly happiness, and doomed to continual disappointment
The symptoms experienced by patients who are recovering from a
severe head injury include headaches, dizziness, depression, slowness
in thinking, and impairment of concentration and memory - all
of which Ellen, by her own account, experienced. Ounsted, in his
study of temporal lobe epilepsy in children, concluded that "social
and schooling difficulties are widespread among temporal lobe
epileptics, even when normal intelligence is present... The social
and schooling difficulties of children with temporal lobe epilepsy
are greater than is commonly thought."21
James White stated that at the time of Ellen's first vision, "her
nervous condition was such that she could not write, and was dependent
on one sitting near her at the table to even pour her drink from
the cup to the saucer."22
Ellen, nearly fifty years later reflecting in the Review and
Herald (November 25, 1884) on the effects of her accident,
"I visited...the spot where I met with the accident that
had made me a life-long invalid. 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."
In 1841 Ellen had attended a series of lectures by William Miller,
but she felt unready to be accepted by God because of a lack of
sanctification. Ellen states that she "settled down in a
melancholy state which increased to despair."23 She remained
in this state for three weeks, and in utter hopelessness, she
would fall upon her face:
"I thought that the fate of the condemned sinner would be
mine....Many times the wish arose that I had never been born.
Total darkness settled upon me and there seemed no way out of
the shadows.... I have since thought that many inmates of the
lunatic asylums were brought there by experiences similar to my
At this time, and in this state of mind, Ellen had a significant
dream that was probably the first of her many recorded visionary
experiences. In this dream she saw a temple supported by a large
pillar to which a bleeding lamb was tied. Fear came over Ellen
while near the lamb, and she felt a sense of shame when she saw
that she must confess her sins before those who had already done
so and who seemed happy and expecting a joyful event. Then a trumpet
sounded, the building shook, and the saints shouted in triumph.
The temple then shone with awful brightness, followed by a terrible
darkness in which Ellen found herself alone. She wrote: "The
horror of my mind could not be described. I awoke, and it was
some time before I could convince myself it was not a reality.
Surely, I thought, my doom is fixed."25
Shortly afterward she had another dream in which she thought she
was sitting in deep despair when "a person of beautiful form
and countenance" asked her if she wished to see Jesus, and
if so, to follow him. She was led to a steep stairway and was
told to keep her eyes fixed upwards; for if she would look down,
she would become dizzy and fall. She saw that some indeed fell
on the way. Then she saw Jesus, and "she tried to shield
herself from his piercing gaze." But Jesus laid His hand
upon her head and said: "Fear not." Ellen fell prostrate
at His feet and saw scenes of glory and beauty, while Jesus smiled
upon her. The guide then brought her back to the stairs, giving
her a green cord with which she would come in contact with Jesus
when she so desired.26
Certain features of this vision suggest that it may have been
a temporal lobe seizure. First, the circumstances must be remembered.
Ellen was discouraged, feeling that she was not ready to be accepted
by Christ because of a lack of sanctification, and in deep despair.
Her dream probably was conditioned by her emotional state and
the specific problems that were troubling her. She felt fear in
the dream when she came near to the lamb, and later saw the awful
brightness and then the terrible darkness that followed, in which
she was alone. All of these (fear, bright light, and darkness)
are frequently experienced in temporal lobe seizures, as they
were in many of Ellen's visions.27
In her second recorded dream (1842) she was told to keep her eyes
fixed upwards. Jesus looked at her with piercing gaze, but then
told her, "Fear not." Fear apparently was part of this
experience also, and her eyes were fixed upwards - both of which
are typical factors in temporal lobe epileptic seizures.28
There are obvious similarities between this dream and the much
longer vision which she experienced in December 1844. Soon after
her second dream (mentioned in previous paragraph), Ellen had
another experience while participating in a prayer meeting:
"As I prayed...everything was shut out from me but Jesus
and glory, and I knew nothing of what was passing around me. I
remained in this state a long time, and when I realized what was
around me, everything looked glorious and new, as if smiling and
In the account in Early Writings she added: "Wave
after wave of glory rolled over me, until my body grew stiff."
29 This would seem to be her third recorded visionary experience.
Ellen participated in the disappointment of the Millerite Adventists,
when Jesus did not return in the spring of 1843, and in the still
greater disillusionment of October 22, 1844, when again He did
It was in December of 1844 that Ellen experienced a vision while
kneeling in prayer together with four other women at the home
of a friend. In this vision she saw the journey of the 144,000
saints on a narrow winding path: some fell down into the dark
and wicked world below. Then followed a statement which has given
rise to considerable controversy in her church:
"It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again
and go to the city, as all the wicked world which God had rejected.
They fell all the way along the path one after another, until
we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day
and hour of Jesus' coming."
Together with most of the little group that later formed the Seventh-day
Adventist church, she believed, for several years after October
22, 1844, that probation was closed.30
A week later Ellen experienced another vision in which she saw
the trials and oppositions she would pass through in her work
of relating her visions to others. Following this she again entered
a period of despair because she had no means to support herself
in such a ministry; she "coveted death."
During a prayer session in her father's home with friends, she
suddenly felt as if a ball of fire had struck her over the heart;
she fell to the floor and heard a holy being say, "Make known
to the others what I have revealed to you."31 After this
Ellen Harmon was faithful to the vision and became increasingly
active in speaking to small groups of those who had believed the
second advent message of Christ's soon return. On August 30, 1846,
she was married to Elder James White, with whom she then worked
for the scattered Adventist companies. Writing, publishing, and
traveling became a mode of living for the Whites.
Ellen continued to have many so-called "open visions"
during waking hours in the period from 1844 to 1884; after that
she had primarily prophetic dreams, or night-visions, until her
death on March 3, 1915. It is impossible, of course, to obtain
an accurate account of the total number of visionary experiences
Ellen White had, but James White claimed that by 1868 she had
experienced between 100 and 200 visions.32 Between 1868 and
1884 there are some eighty additional visions listed; and nearly
sixty prophetic dreams after 1884 are enumerated in the Comprehensive
Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White, besides forty-eight which
are classified as of uncertain date. Arthur White has stated that
"no complete record was preserved of all the visions given
Ellen Harmon in the weeks and months succeeding the first revelation.
Contemporary documents indicate that the revelations of those
early days were frequent.33 It would seem from all this that
Ellen had at least 400 lifetime visionary experiences, and perhaps
How was Ellen Harmon persuaded that the visionary experiences
and dreams she had had came directly from God? First, probably,
was the nature of what she saw - scenes of heaven in which she
spoke with angels, spoke with Christ, and saw God. She believed
she was receiving important messages and warnings from heaven.
Perhaps more crucial in the beginning was the influence of those
who were close to her, who believed that her experiences or trances
were the workings of God. After her second dream in 1841 she confided
to her mother the struggles she was going through. Her mother
was sympathetic and encouraged her to visit Elder Stockman. Ellen
"Upon hearing my story, he placed his hands affectionately
upon my head, saying with tears in his eyes: 'Ellen, you are only
a child. Yours is a most singular experience for one of your tender
age. Jesus must be preparing you for some special work'."34
Ellen's first public prayer was such an emotional experience for
her that she lost consciousness of what was going on around her.
"When I was struck down, some of those present were greatly
alarmed and were about to run for a physician, thinking that some
sudden and dangerous indisposition had attacked me; but my mother
bade them let me alone, for it was plain to her, and to the other
experienced Christians, that it was the wondrous power of God
that had prostrated me."35
Ellen was deeply impressed by the religious and emotional excitement
of her local Methodist congregation, including the trances and
the fainting.36 She found support for her belief in the divine
origin of her visions also from James White and Joseph Bates.37 During the middle of the nineteenth century, there were others
in the Adventist faith community who were claiming, or who were
recognized as having, visions from God. Ellen mentions a number
of these in autobiographical sketches.38
There is no question that Ellen White claimed, and no doubt came
to believe firmly, that she received visions and messages directly
from God. Today one may wonder why Ellen White was so easily accepted
by others as a prophetess. During that period of history, prophets
and prophetesses were rather common both in England and America.
At this time Joseph Smith was accepted as a prophet, and Mormon
missionaries claimed that their church had "the spirit of
prophecy." Mary Baker Eddy, also a contemporary of Ellen
White's, became the founder and spiritual leader of the Christian
Scientists. Billington has pointed out that between 1830 and 1850,
"women preachers were popular. Visions and trances were easily
Arthur White, Ellen's grandson, agrees that the physical manifestations
of Ellen's visionary experiences - unusual and unexplained as
they were to that generation - contributed to their acceptance
as being of supernatural origin. "The very manner in which
the visions were given was one strong evidence, among many, which
settled the matter in the minds of most eyewitnesses."40
There was a period early in the ministry of Ellen White in which
her acceptance rather than unanimous was quite probationary in
nature; she certainly was not seen as an authority. In 1851 James
White wrote in the Review and Herald (April 21, 1851):
"Every Christian is, therefore, duty bound to take the Bible
as a perfect rule of faith and duty.... He is not at liberty to
turn from them [the Scriptures] to learn his duty through any
of the gifts. We say that the very moment he does, he places the
gifts in the wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position."
In the same issue of the Review he added:
"God's Word is an ever-lasting rock. On that we can stand
with confidence at all time. Though the Lord gives dreams, designed
generally for the individuals who have them, to comfort, correct,
or to instruct in extreme trials or dangers, yet to suppose that
he designs to guide in general duties by dreams, is unscriptural,
and very dangerous."
Four years later James White wrote the following:
"There is a class of persons who are determined that the
Review and its conductors make the view of Mrs. White a
test of doctrine and Christian fellowship.... What has the Review
to do with Mrs. W.'s views? The sentiments published in its columns
are all drawn from the Holy Scriptures. No writer of the Review
has ever referred to them as authority on any point."41
Twenty-eight years later (in 1883), Elder G.I. Butler, then-president
of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, wrote the
"Our enemies try very hard to make it appear that we make
the visions a test of fellowship. It would be most absurd and
impossible to do so, even if we would do it. With people in all
parts of the world embracing our views who never saw Sister White
or heard of her, how could we make them a test of fellowship?....
They claim that there are many among us who do not believe the
visions. This is true; yet these are in our churches, and are
not disfellowshipped. They have claimed...that Elders Smith, Canright,
and Gage did not believe the visions; yet all of them are members
of our churches, two of them hold credentials as ministers, and
one of them holds very important offices....No, we do not make
the visions a test, and never have."42
Neal Wilson, current president of the General Conference of Seventh-day
Adventists, expressed basically the same attitude in an interview
"When we come to the point as to whether one has to believe
in Ellen White, to some degree or another, or accept her visions
as real, or simply an imagination or parroting what somebody else
said - that one has to believe that these things were real visions
in order to be a Seventh-day Adventist or to experience salvation
- this church has never taken this position. I hope it never does.
It would do great violence to the gift of God the church has been
given. It was never intended for that purpose at all."43
As time went on, Ellen White was more and more accepted in the
Seventh-day Adventist church as a person with authority; and her
influence became that of a real prophet, even though she herself
refused to call herself one - preferring the title "the Lord's
Messenger." She believed that her work included "much
more than the word 'prophet' signifies."44
What she really believed about the importance of, and divine involvement
in, her work is clear by the following statements:
"The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil.
In arraying yourself against the servants of God you are doing
a work either for God or for the devil."45
""If you seek to turn aside the counsel of God to suit
yourselves, if you lessen the confidence of God's people in the
testimonies He has sent them, you are rebelling against God as
certainly as were Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.... In these letters
which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you
that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article
in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God
has opened before me in vision - the precious rays of light shining
from the throne. It is true concerning the articles in our papers
and in the many volumes of my books."46,47
Why did Ellen come to these conclusions regarding the nature and
significance of her work? Perhaps it was a gradual process, primarily
due to the influence and pressure of all those around her who
believed that her visionary experiences must be of supernatural,
divine origin. This process started with her first dreams and
continued until her last vision. It is quite understandable that
Ellen became fully persuaded that these dreams and vision were
all direct, divine revelations so that she could finally say (and
believe): "In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouths
of the prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them
by the Testimonies of His Spirit."48
However, during Ellen's lifetime there were those who questioned
the divine origin of her visions. James White in 1847 published
a letter from "a beloved brother" regarding Ellen's
"I cannot endorse sister Ellen's visions as being of divine
inspiration, as you and she think them to be; yet I do not suspect
the least shade of dishonesty in either of you in this matter....I
think that what she and you regard as visions from the Lord, are
only religious reveries, in which her imagination runs without
control upon themes in which she is most deeply interested. While
so absorbed in these reveries, she is lost to everything around
her. Reveries are of two kinds, sinful and religious. Hers is
Others suggest mental or physical causes. Ellen mentions mesmerism
(a form of hypnosis) as being claimed as a cause or explanation
for her visions. This possibility even suggested itself to her.
Another explanation given for her visions was hysteria, and this
suggestion was repeated throughout her life. It is interesting
that Ellen diagnosed one of her fellow church members as suffering
from hysteria. She wrote:
"Dear Sister F., you have a diseased imagination.... You
are doing positive injury, not only to yourself, but to the other
members of your family, and - especially your mother.... Her mind
is becoming unbalanced by the frequent fits of hysteria which
she is compelled to witness." 51
There were early coworkers with Ellen and James who rejected the
supernatural origin of Ellen's visions. Among these was Isaac
Wellcome, who was baptized by James White in 1844 and was active
in the Second Advent Movement. He wrote:
"Ellen G. Harmon... was strangely exercised in body and mind...
falling to the floor... (we remember catching her twice to save
her from falling upon the floor)... in meetings she would speak
with great vehemence and rapidity until falling down, when, as
she claimed, wonderful views of heaven and what was being transacted
there were shown her. She claimed to have seen that Christ had
left the office of mediation and assumed that of Judge, had closed
the door of mercy, and was blotting out the names, from the book
of life.... We saw her in Poland, Portland, Topsham, and Brunswick
during the beginning of this career, and often heard her speak,
and several times saw her fall, and heard her relate wonders which
she said her heavenly Father permitted her to see. Her supernatural
or abnormal views were not readily understood as visions, but
as spiritual views of unseen things, which were quite common among
the Methodists.... These visions were but the echoes of Elder
[Joseph] Turner and others' preaching, and we regard them as the
product of the overexcited imagination of her mind, and not as
Jacob Brinkerhoff and his brother W.H. Brinkerhoff (who was ordained
by James White), were active in the work of the Seventh-day Adventist
church in the 1860-65 period. Jacob wrote in 1884:
"Mrs. White is in high repute among them as a leader... partly
by her claim to divine inspiration. Shortly after the disappointment
in 1844, she had what is called her first vision. Those were trying
times to the faith of the Advent people, no doubt; and she was
very young at the time, and in very poor health.... In the excitement
of the time, and while in this weak condition of the body, her
mind seemed to depart from her body, in trance, in which the mind
continues to be active, and forms conceptions from preconceived
opinions, from the excitement of the occasion, or from surrounding
circumstances. At that time the experience of the Advent people
was the theme of interest among them, and in her vision or trance
her mind went forward on the same subject as a natural consequence....
We do not wonder that her visions were considered by her and by
those whom she associated with as revelations from the Lord. Such
phenomena in nature do not often occur; and at a time when various
fanaticism[s] were attributed to the work of God, it is not surprising
that this should have been. Being wholly absorbed in her religious
views and experience, her mind, while in a trance state, would
operate in the same direction while she was in a state of insensibility.
A trance is a state of insensibility; catalepsy; ecstasy.... Those
at all acquainted with the history of Mrs. White's visions have
read that a principal claim for her divine inspiration is that
she is perfectly insensible; but it only corroborates the position
we take that they are only produced by an unhealthy and unnatural
state of her body and mind." 53
It almost reads as if Brinkerhoff was going to call it temporal
lobe epilepsy. But he stopped short of that; the term had not
yet been coined. A little later in his paper her adds: "They
overlook the fact that they (the visions) may be inspired by neither
God or Satan, but may be only human, or from her own mind, which
position we hold to be true as to their source."
Dudley Canright in 1887 named her head injury as the cause of
"At the age of nine she received a terrible blow on the face,
which broke her nose and nearly killed her. She was unconscious
for three weeks. This shock to her nervous system was the real
cause of all the visions she afterwards had."54
In 1919 he specifically suggested epilepsy as the cause. It is
significant that all the symptomatic diagnoses applied during
her lifetime to her visionary experiences are covered by the then-unknown
entity of temporal lobe epilepsy.54
Dr. William Sadler, who was well acquainted with Ellen White,
wrote in 1912:
"It is not uncommon for persons in a cataleptic trance to
imagine themselves taking trips to other worlds. In fact, the
wonderful accounts of their experiences, which they write out
after these cataleptic attacks are over, are so unique and marvelous
as to serve as the basis for founding new sects, cults, and religions....It
is an interesting study in psychology to note that these trance
mediums always see visions in harmony with their theological beliefs....
Nearly all these victims of trances and nervous catalepsy, sooner
or later come to believe themselves to be messengers of God and
prophets of Heaven; and no doubt most of them are sincere in this
belief. Not understanding the physiology and psychology of their
afflictions, they sincerely come to look upon their peculiar mental
experiences as something supernatural, while their followers blindly
believe anything they teach because of the supposed divine character
of these so-called revelations."55
Sadler had written to Ellen in 1906 a nine-page letter as an answer
to her invitation that anyone who had "perplexities and grievous
things on their mind regarding the testimonies that I have born,
to specify what their objections and criticisms are."56
Arthur L. White has published extracts from Sadler's long letter,
listing the questions asked by Sadler.
Dr. Gregory Holmes and Dr. Delbert Hodder presented a paper entitled
"Ellen G. White and the Seventh-day Adventist Church: Visions
or Partial Complex Seizures?" at the American Academy of
Neurology meeting in Toronto in May 1981. The paper was summarized
in the Journal of Neurology as follows:
"The Seventh-day Adventist Church was born in the period
following the "Great Disappointment" of 1844. The principal
figure in the formation of this major Protestant denomination
was Ellen G. White. Her 100,000 pages of writing are second only
to the Bible in determining church doctrine for millions of members
throughout the world. Ellen White was considered to be a "Prophet
of God" who received instructions and guidance through supernatural
visions which continue to provide evidence to most Adventists
of her divine inspiration.
"At age 9 Ellen White sustained a severe head injury. Following
recovery her personality changed and she became introspective,
extremely moralistic, and religious, and developed into a prolific
reader and writer. At age 17 Ellen White had her first "spell"
which was interpreted by her as a "vision." The visions
were characterized by occasional auras, an altered state of consciousness
with staring or eye-rolling, general automatisms, perseveration
of speech, visual and auditory hallucinations, and postvision
lethargy and amnesia for events occurring during the vision.
"Based on the history of head trauma, personality changes,
and descriptions of the visions, we suggest that Ellen White had
partial complex seizures."57
The paper was also reported in the Toronto Star on May
23, 1981; and a version was published by Hodder in Evangelica,
Partial complex seizures are typical of one form of epilepsy,
which involves the limbic system of the brain, including the temporal
lobes. There was a time when most people believed that epilepsy
meant muscle spasms and convulsions with probable frothing at
the mouth and biting of the tongue. This kind of epilepsy does
indeed occur, but there are also other types of epilepsy. All
forms of epilepsy are due to malfunction of nerve cells in the
brain. Such malfunction may cause abnormal reactions in muscle
activity in large areas of the body, but there are many other
systems and functions that may be affected, especially in temporal
lobe epilepsy. These include endocrine functions, heart rate,
respiration, consciousness, thoughts, memory, dreams, speech,
writing, mood, behavior, temper, sexuality, and others.
The specific symptoms which an epileptic patient will manifest
depend on the location of the damaged neurons (including in which
half of the brain), the severity and extent of the damage to the
involved nerve cells, and what other distant neurons are influenced
by the malfunction of the primary focus in the brain. The symptoms
resulting from the original brain damage may not become evident
for many years.58 This delay may be due to the final effects
of the prolonged process of tissue changes following the brain
injury. Courville59 quotes Earl et al, reporting that in 31.2
percent of clinical cases of psychomotor epilepsy there was a
history of postnasal craniocerebral injury. Gomes60 who analyzed
3,636 cases of temporal lobe epilepsy, was able to ascertain the
etiology [cause] in 64 percent of the patients. Of these, injury
was the cause in 38 percent of the cases.
Epileptic seizures occur periodically, but their frequency may
vary greatly. Seizures may also be precipitated by internal and
external factors, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sleep;
and in some types of epilepsy it is possible for patients to trigger
an attack by hyperventilating (intentionally or during stress),
by blinking at bright lights, by hearing a sudden loud noise,
by pressure on the carotid arteries in the neck, and even in some
individuals by reading. Some patients may have a premonition that
a seizure is coming, and it is sometimes possible for a patient
to abort the seizure. Ellen was able to resist the coming of a
vision at least once and was unable to speak following this for
nearly twenty-four hours.61
Ellen was unaware of her surroundings during a vision and was
later amnesic about what had taken place around her during the
vision; yet she was able to recall what she had seen and experienced
in the vision itself. This is typical of a partial complex seizure
in temporal lobe epilepsy.
It was claimed that Ellen did not breathe during her visions;
yet she never became cyanotic. (But she frequently did speak while
in vision - an activity for which she needed air.) George I. Butler
in 1874 supported this when he said her "face retains its
natural color, and blood circulates as usual." In the more
detailed reports of Ellen's visions, it has been noted that when
she came out of a vision she experienced "a deep inhalation,
followed in about a minute by another, and very soon natural breathing
was resumed." Ellen's breathing may well have been almost
imperceptible. Because of the reduction in normal breathing, it
is not strange that some of those present concluded that Ellen
was not breathing at all.62 It has been reported in temporal
lobe epilepsy that respiration may actually be arrested for brief
periods (apnea), and slowed down following this. Lennox lists
among the symptoms of psychomotor seizures the fact that breathing
in these patients may vary from hyperventilation to apnea (absence
of breathing). Total absence of breathing could continue only
a very short time, but almost imperceptible breathing could last
for long periods.63 At times this apparent "not-breathing"
during visions was put forward as a proof that Ellen's visions
must be of supernatural origin.
Automatism (automatic actions of which the patient is not conscious)
is a common symptom in temporal lobe epilepsy. And Ellen manifested
this by wringing her hands; having slow graceful movements of
the shoulders, arms, and hands; and walking back and forth while
in vision. This peripatetic manifestation seems significant since
the most remarkable feats of automatism in temporal lobe epileptics
have been in this area.
In 1888 Hughlings Jackson reported fifty cases of epilepsy that
manifested an aura or dreamy state, including some rather extreme
examples of automatism. These happened to a physician who was
a patient of Jackson's. in one of his experiences he was traveling
on a commuter train and was to get off at the fourth station.
He remembered passing the second station, but the next thing he
knew he was standing on the door steps of his house, fumbling
for his door key. he had left the train at the correct station,
turned in his ticket at the gate, walked half a mile, and crossed
streets to his house - none of which he recalled. It had been
an automatic behavior for which he was amnesic.64 Interestingly,
another of Jackson's patients referred to his seizure experiences
as "visions." Sleepwalkers may open doors and climb
stairs safely but not remember their actions; it is an automatism.
What did those who were present during Ellen's visions actually
observe? Fortunately, there are available a number of fairly detailed
reports by some who were present when Ellen was involved in one
of her visionary experiences, including James White and J.N. Loughborough,
who claimed to have seen her in vision about fifty times. Arthur
L. White has given us a comprehensive summary of the accounts
of these eye witnesses:
- Immediately preceding a vision, there was a deep sensing of
the presence of God by both Mrs. White and by others in the room.
- As the vision began, Mrs. White uttered an exclamation of
'Glory!' or 'Glory to God!' at times repeated.
- There was a loss of physical strength.
- Supernatural strength was then apparent.
- There was no breathing, but the heart beat continued normally,
and the color in the cheeks was natural. The most critical tests
failed to reveal any disturbance of the circulatory system.
- Occasionally there would be exclamations indicative of the
scene being presented.
- The eyes were open, not with a vacant stare, but as if she
were intently watching something.
- The position might vary. At times she was seated; at times
reclining; at times she walked about the room and made graceful
gestures as she spoke of matters presented.
- There was absolute unconsciousness of what was occurring about
her. She neither saw, heard, felt, nor perceived in any way the
immediate surroundings or happenings.
- The close of the vision was indicated by a deep inhalation,
followed in about a minute by another, and very soon natural breathing
- Immediately after the vision all seemed very dark.
- Within a short time natural strength and abilities were regained.65,66
Loughborough also reports on an 1846 vision that Ellen Harmon
experienced in the presence of Joseph Bates. In this she spoke
about what seemed to be planets. Mrs. Truesdale, who was present
at this meeting, is quoted by Loughborough:
"We soon noticed that she was insensible to earthly things....After
counting aloud the moons of Jupiter, and soon after those of Saturn,
she gave a beautiful description of the rings of the latter. She
then said, "The inhabitants are a tall, majestic people,
so unlike the inhabitants of earth. Sin has never entered here."
Ellen also reports on her planetary vision in Early Writings,
where she saw Enoch among the inhabitants of one of the planets.
In further discussing what Ellen White said she experienced in
her first vision, Arthur White adds a very clear picture of the
essential features of her experience, and summarizes them as follows:
"Thus it is clear that it seemed to her she was seeing, feeling,
hearing, obeying, and acting, employing her ordinary faculties,
while in reality she was not; but it was in this vivid way, seemingly
through the utilization of the ordinary organs of sense, that
the truths and information were forcefully impressed upon her
mind. This she later related or wrote out in her own words."69,70
When the extant records of the details of Ellen G. White's visions
are compared with the symptoms of partial complex seizures in
temporal lobe epilepsy, a striking similarity is discovered. Daly71 mentions that "complex partial seizures consist in an
alteration in the content of consciousness.... the
hallucinations of complex partial seizures are 'formed,' in the
sense that they constitute a fully developed recognizable sensory
experience which in rare instances may, in fact, be the memory
of an actual experience. An important point in the nature of this
altered content of consciousness is that it constitutes an intrusion
upon the patient's on-flowing stream of awareness.... No matter
how vivid, complex, or 'real' the ictal [seizure] experience,
the patient recognizes that it is an experience imposed upon him.
His consciousness is 'split,' and he can still remain the objective
observer, the bystander witnessing these curious events."
The seizure experience is usually initiated by a so-called symptom,
or aura, that often involves some epigastric sensations or other
automatic manifestations. There may be a sense of fear or the
hallucination of smelling something, which Ellen White experienced
a number of times as the smell of roses, or simply "flowers."
She smelled the fragrance of violets, and at another time she
was "gathering the flowers and enjoying their fragrance."72 At another time "she knelt by the bed, and before the
first word of petition had been offered she felt that the room
was filled with the fragrance of roses. Looking up to see whence
the fragrance came she saw the room flooded with a soft, silvery
Arthur White, when describing a visionary experience of Ellen
in 1901 in which there was "a sweet fragrance, as of beautiful
flowers," added: "She knew what it meant." Apparently
it was a frequent part of Ellen's visions to notice this fragrance.
She also often saw a bright light at the beginning of her visions,
a light that would flood the room, or would appear in various
intensities, colors and shapes . The seeing of bright lights and
various colors is very common in the partial complex seizures
of epileptics. Ellen has stated:
"Well, while I was praying and sending up my petition, there
was, as has been a hundred times or more, a soft light circling
around in the room, and a fragrance like the fragrance of flowers,
of a beautiful scent of flowers."74
If one takes seriously the statement "a hundred times or
more," the circling light and the fragrance of flowers must
have been present in nearly every vision. The hallucination of
music (also associated with bright light) was present in Ellen's
experiences,75 as it is also found in the seizures of temporal
The main event in Ellen's visions is also comparable to occurs
in partial complex seizures, be they brief or long. Williams has
summarized the basic features of these seizures as follows:
"all recognition, however simple, is based upon memory, as
is all movement, and there is simply an increasing complex pattern
of the use of past experiences, from the recognition of the simplest
visual or auditory form to the intellectual handling of an elaborate
Gastaut observed that the thoughts that occupied the mind of the
patient before the seizure might well become the subject of the
seizure itself.77 Such was the case, apparently, in Ellen's
visions frequently, perhaps always.
Gloor et al, in 1982, when discussing the results of brain stimulations
in their patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, expressed themselves
similarly. The idea that:
"stimulating 'whom' seems more important than stimulating
'where' in the limbic system becomes understandable, because the
responses reflect at the same time the functional role of the
stimulated area and the patient's past individual experience."
M.G. Kellogg's Diagnosis
Dr. M.G. Kellogg wrote this assessment of Ellen White's visions
in a 3 June 1906 letter to his younger brother, John Harvey Kellogg:
"In 1868, after talking with Dr. Trall, I began to suspect
that Mrs. White's visions might not be what we had thereunto supposed
them to be, and from that time onward I have been studying both Mrs.
White and her visions, dreams, and testimonies....
"I have seen Mrs. White when in vision quite a number of
times between 1852 and 1859, in every instance she was simply
in a state of catalepsy. In each instance she was suddenly seized,
fell unconscious, and remained unconscious during the full time
the fit lasted; every vital function was reduced to the lowest
point compatible with life; pulse almost stopped and very infrequent
breathing so slight as to be imperceptible except when she uttered
short sentences; pupils dilated to great width, sense of hearing
blunted; in fact all her senses so blunted that she could neither
see, feel, nor hear; in fact was wholly unconscious, yet her mind
was acutely active, the action being automatic and wholly involuntary,
the whole vision being a conglomerated mental rehearsal of previous
conceptions, scenes, meditations, and suggestions so vividly reproduced
on her mind as to be to her a living reality. Catalepsy assumes
many forms in its various victims, but in her case some phase
of all forms was produced. I have seen many cases. Mrs. L.M. Hall's
description of Mrs. W's condition in vision agrees with mine."
Lennox has pointed out that seizures lasting several hours might
occur once or twice a year; and that the more frequent the seizures
are, the more likely that they will be of short duration.79
Partial complex seizures usually last from only a few seconds
to several minutes, but may also last hours and, rarely, days.
Arthur White stated regarding the duration of Ellen's visions:
"While some of the visions were very extended in their nature,
at times lasting more that an hour, and on one occasion four hours,
there were other times when the visions were very brief...only
a few minutes, or in some cases, seconds."80
Temporal lobe epileptic seizures which are prolonged and last
even for days can be classified as partial complex status epilepticus.
Such prolonged seizures may actually consist of many short ones
occurring in such rapid succession that they appear to be one,
especially to an untrained observer. It is also possible to have
a long-lasting period of mental confusion following a seizure,
which again may appear as a continuation of the seizure. If more
details were known about Ellen White's three-and four-hour visions,
a definitive diagnosis of them might responsibly be made.81
When a partial complex seizure ends, the patient may pass through
a brief of exhaustion and some automatism , for all of which the
patient is later amnesic. Gradually self-awareness and consciousness
return; this was also Ellen's experience. If the vision was to
be written out, it could not be done until the individual had
recovered from the seizure. And when writing out the vision, the
fully conscious patient could also interpret the vision, adding
to or subtracting from it. With a compulsion to write, such an
account could become extensive indeed.
Most patients with status epilepticus suffer from the convulsive
type, but some 25 percent to 30 percent have partial complex seizures
which are nonconvulsive. In this latter group, "no evidence
of permanent intellectual deterioration has yet been reported."
82,83,84 Convulsive, generalized status epilepticus is seen
in grand mal epilepsy, while in the complex partial variety it
The point has recently been made that if a patient experiences
a prolonged attack of status epilepticus, this will result in
a definite serious deterioration of the mental capacities. Therefore
Ellen White could not have been an epileptic. This argument is
based on a misunderstanding of the difference between convulsive
epilepsy (such as grand mal) and a nonconvulsive type (such as
temporal lobe epilepsy).
Status epilepticus of the convulsive type is indeed threatening
not only because of its deteriorating effect on the intellectual
capacities of the patient, but because the prolonged rapid muscle
contractions produce serious complex metabolic disturbances that
endanger life itself.85 So serious are such prolonged convulsive
attacks that they must be terminated as soon as possible by injections
of strong sedating medication in order to prevent brain damage.
Ellen experienced none of these consequences from her prolonged
visions because her seizures were nonconvulsive and of the partial
Temporal Lobe Epileptic Seizures
Penfield has described the function of the temporal lobe as having
to do with "the interpretation of present experiences in
the light of past experiences." Further the temporal lobe
contains a sequential record of consciousness, a record that has
been laid down during the patient's earlier experience."
In 1933 Penfield discovered that when he electrically stimulated
certain groups of nerve cells in the temporal lobe, the patient
would "relive" - as in a moving picture or a "flashback"
- what had been experienced in one way or another earlier in life.
In other words, the temporal lobe system records all the experiences
that a particular person has had; and even if it is beyond the
direct recall of the individual (forgotten), it is still recorded
and can be brought back to consciousness by artificial electrical
stimulation or by an electrical discharge in the brain during
an epileptic seizure.86,87 The results of these experiments
substantiated what had been suggested by Jackson and others long
before - that the brain stores permanently our past experiences,
which are subject to recall. This recalling of past events, thoughts,
and impressions is the basis of what patients experience in partial
Various terms have been used in the past for what is covered by
the term temporal lobe epilepsy. One of these was psychomotor
epilepsy; but the World Health Organization adopted the general
designation of temporal lobe epilepsy for this disease, and the
more limited terms of temporal lobe partial seizures and partial
complex seizures for specific types of temporal lobe seizures
that are very different from those of generalized or grand mal
The symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy are many, and they can
be divided into those associated with the seizures themselves
(called ictal) and those between seizures (interictal).
The beginning of a seizure in temporal lobe epilepsy usually manifests
itself by the patient suddenly stopping whatever he or she is
doing. There may then follow an interval of automatism such as
lip smacking, hand wringing, walking, or other behaviors that
the patient will not remember. A patient may even continue to
turn the pages of a book as Ellen did.89 The patient may also
experience olfactory hallucinations of flowers or ill-smelling
substances. This is followed by "cognitive complex temporal
lobe experiences" that Wilder Penfield called "flashbacks"
("playbacks"), "psychical hallucinations,"
or "experiential seizures."90 These involve hallucinations
of past experience, and reactivation of the stream of consciousness."91,92
"Penfield points out that the epileptic is having the double
experience of a re-creation of the past with the consciousness
of the present time during the experiential hallucination. The
sychosensory hallucination deriving from the temporal lobes can
involve any of the sensory modalities or combination thereof,
namely visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, vestibular, tactile
or the 'indescribable' hallucinations described by Williams."
During the seizure the patient may be sitting, lying down, or
even walking and signing, while being totally unaware of what
is going on around him. During the seizure the patient may experience
joy, elation, depression, and often fear - as Ellen White did
in her visions. Automatism may be present again at the very end
of the seizure, and the completion of the seizure is marked by
the patient beginning to respond to questions and commands. Some
patients will have a period of varying degrees of confusion following
the end of the seizure, the so-called postictal phase. Patients
most often will remember what they experienced or saw during the
seizure, but not what went on around them.95
Some complex partial seizures are reported to start with a motionless
stare, others with motion and staring, and a third type with a
"drop attack." Dreifuss has stated: "The objectivity
with which patients with complex partial seizures can describe
their hallucinations is an extremely important diagnostic point."96
The thoughts in a partial complex seizure may be called ideational,
involving thoughts on which the patient has dwelled previously
and on which he perseverates. These ideas may be repeated in many
attacks. "Its content may be personal, metaphysical, or even
transcendental (of death, eternity), or it may be quite objective
(fixation on the ideational content of a sentence read or heard
at the start of the seizure)."97
Behavioral Symptoms in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
It has been known for more than a century that patients afflicted
with temporal lobe epilepsy are likely to manifest psychic abnormalities.
Many of these abnormalities are no doubt due to the specific brain
lesion, but some are due perhaps to the social and emotional effects
produced by being an epileptic. Landolt points out that as early
as 1938 it was reported that as many as 50 percent of temporal
lobe epileptics were afflicted with psychic disturbances.
Patients who suffer from temporal lobe epilepsy may also manifest
specific symptoms between seizures. These symptoms are classified
as interictal (between seizures) and indicate a state of behavioral
activity which is part of the epilepsy and is due to pathological
changes in the temporal lobe limbic system. These behavioral symptoms
have been catalogued over a period of years by many clinical observers.
Waxman and Geschwind in 1975 published a paper entitled The Interictal
Behavior Syndrome of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy,99 in which they
described alterations in patients' sexual behavior and religiosity,
and a tendency toward extensive, compulsive writing.
During recent years several epileptologists have published lists
of these symptoms. These were summarized by Bear and Fedio (1977)
and by Bear (1979),100 and include a deepening of emotions,
euphoria, sadness, anger, hostility, hyposexuality, guilt, argumentiveness,
hypermoralism, compulsivity, viscosity (stickiness, tendency to
be repetitive), sense of personal significance and destiny, multiple
conversions, deep and often idiosyncratic religious beliefs, interest
in philosophical, moral or cosmological speculations, humorlessness,
a sense of dependence and passivity (cosmic helplessness), paranoia
(suspiciousness, overinterpretation of motives and events), and
Not all workers in epileptology are yet fully convinced that all
the symptoms listed by Bear and Fedio are found only in temporal
lobe epilepsy. Hermann and Riel in 1981 discussed whether these
symptoms were specific for temporal lobe epilepsy, or if they
might also be found in other types of epilepsy. They concluded:
"Four traits (sense of personal destiny, dependence, paranoia,
philosophical interest) were significantly elevated in the TLE
(temporal lobe epilepsy) group, thus lending some support to the
notion of changes in behavior and thought which occur in TLE but
not necessarily in other forms of epilepsy." The other traits
mentioned by Bear and Fedio were found both in patients suffering
from temporal lobe epilepsy and in those with generalized epileptic
Blumer has stated that behavioral and personality changes begin
about two years after the onset of seizures, and are "associated
with chronic excessive neuronal discharge in the mesial temporal
lobes and adjoining areas." He mentions that emotionality,
hyposexuality, and mood changes are the three major characters
changes, and that the patient's religiosity may become "awkward
or intrusive to others."103
Geschwind 104 noted that the increased concern of temporal
lobe epileptics with philosophical, moral, or religious issues
is often in striking contrast to their educational background.
Geschwind105 had suggested in 1977 that "the personality
changes in temporal lobe epilepsy may in some sense be the single
most important condition in psychiatry." However, neither
Geschwind nor anyone else has claimed that these characteristics
are found only in temporal lobe epilepsy; but their frequency
of occurrence individually and as a group in TLE is significant.
One would not expect that all patients suffering from temporal
lobe epilepsy would show all the possible symptoms of this disease.
The extent and severity of the causative head injury, or the size
and location of a neoplasm, would be influential in determining
the variety and severity of the patient's symptoms. In the case
of Ellen G. White, we know that she was unconscious for a period
of three weeks following her head injury; that she was amnesic
for the entire episode; and that she was subsequently unable to
attend school due to emotional, physical, and neurological symptoms.
One should not be surprised that Ellen manifested so many of the
symptoms that are encountered in temporal lobe epilepsy.
In 1974 Waxman and Geschwind reported on hypergraphia as they
had observed it in seven patients with temporal lobe epilepsy:
"The case histories summarized above are striking in that
in each case there was an unusual tendency for the patient to
write extensively, typically in a meticulous manner. Each of the
authors has observed many other patients besides these seven in
whom there was evidence for a temporal lobe disorder and who also
wrote to an unusual degree. The literature contains numerous references
to the circumstantial and pedantic character of speech of temporal
lobe epileptics. In describing a patient with psychomotor seizures,
Kraeplin, as early as 1906, noted that the patient 'gives a connected,
though very long-winded account of his condition....' We believe
that the extensive and in some cases compulsive writing we have
observed in temporal lobe epileptic patients reflects the previously
documented deepening of emotional response in the presence of
relatively preserved intellectual function. In this context, it
is not surprising that, in speech, some temporal lobe epileptics
are described as circumstantial or pedantic or as exhibiting 'stickiness'
The first patient Waxman and Geschwind discussed was a "24
year old right handed woman who began to have seizures at age
10 and behavioral disturbances at age 15." Following her
examination and treatment she continued to have seizures and become
"devoutly religious and experienced at least five religious
conversions." It was determined that her brain lesion was
in her right temporal lobe. She experienced visual hallucinations
with "blue-green flashing light," and showed "great
interest in mystical issues and in particular the meaning of existence
and the fate of the universe. She also complained of having no
interest in sexual activities." She spent several hours a
day writing, including poetry, "usually with a moral or philosophical
theme." A song she had learned she copied several hundred
times and felt "compelled to write a word over and over."107
Sachdev and Waxman108 in 1981 studied the frequency and degree
of hypergraphia in temporal lobe epilepsy by sending out letters
to all patients who had been admitted to the hospital at the Palo
Alto Veterans Administration Medical Center and discharged between
1972 and 1978 with a diagnosis of epilepsy or seizure disorder.
They were asked to answer to the best of their ability questions
regarding their present state of health, their understanding of
their disease, and the change the disease had caused in their
Those who had a diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy used 4200
to 5540 words in their reply; those with a possible diagnosis
of temporal lobe epilepsy used from 120 to 475 words, while those
who had no evidence of temporal lobe epilepsy used from 33 to
120 words. Sachdev and Waxman concluded "that hypergraphia
is one of the relatively more obvious traits of the interictal
Geschwind summarized his finding as follows:
"The degree of hypergraphia in many of these patients is
striking. Thus patients may regularly write essays or sermons.
One patient had trunks filled with his writings. A neurologist
in New Zealand was presented by one of his patients with over
twenty volumes of her selected handwritten works. I have recently
seen a patient who developed temporal lobe epilepsy after partial
resection of one temporal lobe during the removal of an aneurysm.
He had never had intellectual interest but, following the appearance
of temporal lobe epilepsy, became consumed with the thought that
he had the mission to write something important."109
The question naturally arises, Is every temporal lobe epileptic
hypergraphic to some extent? Is it specific for temporal lobe
epileptics, or is it also found in other epilepsies? Hermann and
his coworkers investigated this in 1983.110 They studied a
group of 138 patients, 90 of whom had TLE; 29 with general epilepsy;
and 15 with a mixed type. All of these patients were sent a letter
similar to the one which Sachdev and Waxman had sent to their
patients. They found that patients with a temporal lobe spike
focus "had a higher response rate relative to nontemporal
lobe epilepsy." If one considers hypergraphia an all-or-none
phenomenon, "then letter length would suggest support for
temporal lobe epilepsy/hypergraphia specificity as the two longest
letters (1176 and 1229 words) were written by people with TLE."
The average length of the letters from the nontemporal lobe epilepsy
group was 371 words, for the temporal lobe, 296 words. (The two
longest letters from the TLE group of Sachdev and Waxman's study
were 5540 and 4200 words long.) Hermann, et al., suggested "that
further research in this area should attempt to determine whether
hypergraphia is best conceptualized as a graded or an all-or-none
The compulsion to write was clearly evident in Ellen G. White.
She wrote and almost unbelievable quantity; so that at the time
of her death in 1915, her literary productions consisted of well
over 100,000 pages, including 4,000 articles in church periodicals.111 The printed pages of the nine volumes of her Testimonies
amount to 4,812 pages, while the "Conflict of the Ages"
series has 3,603 pages. She wrote in addition many letters that
were not preserved, particularly in the earlier years of her labors.
She also kept a diary and an extensive journal.
Ellen started her public writing in 1845. To reach 100,000 pages
before she died in 1915, she would have had to average at least
three and a half pages every day of her life, in health or in
sickness, on Sabbaths, and when traveling or attending conferences.
An entry in her diary on June 12, 1892, illustrates the extensive
writing that was a part of her daily life.
"Articles written: missionary work, 15 pages letter paper.
A.T. Robinson, 13 pages; Sister Ings, 5 pages; Brother Lockwood,
5 pages; Sara McEnterfer, 2 pages; Ella May and Mable White, 4
pages. Large document to C.H. Jones in regard to publishing and
health institutions. J.E. White, 12 pages. Sent Brother Wessels
5 letter pages, to Elder E.J. Waggoner to London; to Elder Washburn,
England, 1 page."112
This made a total of 62 pages, besides the "large document"
to C.H. Jones. But more significant than the total quantity she
wrote is the compulsion and pressure she felt to write. This is
already apparent in the article she wrote to the editor of the
Day Star after he had published her so-called first vision
on December 20, 1845. She said: "My vision which you published
in the Day Star was written under a deep sense of duty, to you,
not expecting you would publish it."113
"I felt that I should have rest, but could see no opportunity
for relief. I was speaking to the people several times a week,
and writing many pages of personal testimonies.... The blood rushed
to my brain, frequently causing me to reel and nearly fall. I
had the nosebleed often, especially after making an effort to
write. I was compelled to lay aside my writing, but could not
throw off the burden of anxiety and responsibility upon me....
I then wrote out a portion of that which was shown me in regard
to the Institute, but could not get out the entire subject because
of pressure of blood to the brain.... I supposed that after resting
a few days I could again resume my writing. But to my great grief
I found that the condition of my brain made it impossible for
me to write. The idea of writing testimonies, either general or
personal, was given up, and I was in continual distress because
I could not write them."114 (Testimonies, vol.
1, pages 576-577)
Throughout her long life this early sense of duty remained, accompanied
by an ever-increasing feeling of mission and divine election,
so frequently expressed in her writings and lectures. This deep
conviction of a special, God-given mission to the world is illustrated
by the following statements in her writing:
"I had not the least idea of writing as I have done, but
the Lord has carried my mind on and on until you have the matter
"In the night season the Lord gives me instruction, in symbols,
and then explains their meaning. He gives me the word, and I dare
not refuse to give it to the people."116
"God has given me a testimony to bear to His people that
he has given to no other and I must bear this testimony which
is like fire shut up in my bones."117,118
"I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely
my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision."
"In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouths of prophets
and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies
of His Spirit."121
"Physically, I have always been a broken vessel; and yet
in my old age the Lord continues to move upon me by His Holy Spirit
to write the most important books that have ever come before the
churches and the world."122,123
In a letter that Ellen wrote to Lucinda Hall on April 8, 1876,
"I have a special work at this time to write out the things
that the Lord has shown me.... I have felt that I must neglect
everything to get out these writings. I have not attended meetings
for two weeks.... While Elders Waggoner and Loughborough are her
I let them do the work, and I keep all my strength for one purpose
- to write....I have a great work to do that has been a great
burden to my soul. How great, no one but the Lord knows."
(Review and Herald, August 16, 1973, p.6)
Another illustration of her compulsion to write is obvious in
a 1906 letter to George Amadon:
"The evening after the Sabbath I retired, and rested well
without ache or pain until half past ten. I was unable to sleep.
I have received instruction, and I seldom lie in bed after such
instruction comes.... I left my bed and wrote for five hours as
fast as my pen could trace the lines."124
Arthur White also called attention to Ellen's voluminous writing,
and her sense of compulsion to write:
"Write, write, write, I feel that I must, and not delay,"
penned Ellen in 1844. In these words are summed up the objective
of her most important work.... Her childhood experience and her
education were not such as we would ordinarily think of as naturally
fitting one to spend a lifetime in writing.... When we sum up
the story we find that Mrs. White was a voluminous writer. Today
there are 18,000 pages in the current E.G. White books. Taking
these with the earlier editions which are now out of print, we
have a total of 22,000 pages. We may add to this more than 2,000
articles which have appeared in our various denominational journals.
These reduced book pages would give us another 12,000 pages. In
addition to this are many thousands of pages of manuscript matter
which, because of its local or personal character was not published."125
It has already been noted that Geschwind has called attention
to the deep philosophical, moral, and religious concerns that
temporal lobe epileptics manifest, in strong contrast to their
educational background.126 When these are combined with an
uncontrollable urge to write, the temptation to borrow material
from others in massive proportions may become irresistible. The
call to "write, write, write" can easily change to 'borrow,
borrow, borrow'. Under a strong religious compulsion, such a writer
could well persuade herself that it was God who made her find
the material she wanted to copy; and that she was simply obeying
the divine obligation and prompting of the Spirit to copy the
writings of others and put it out under her own name.
Ron Graybill has recently discussed Ellen White's extensive borrowing
and he also points to Ellen's compulsion to write as a possible
cause for her extensive use of unacknowledged sources.
"When the scope of her writing expanded, first into health
topics, and later into history, Mrs. White found herself in a
position where plagiarism was hard to avoid. Her limited education
did not equip her for the broad range of topics she tried to cover.
Nevertheless, she felt "mightily wrought upon" to write.
"Should I resist these impression to write, when I am so
burdened?" she asked. "I must obey the movings of the
Spirit of God or withdraw myself from having any connection with
the work." "I take no credit of ability in myself to
write the articles in the paper or to write the books which I
publish." she said. "Certainly I could not originate
them. I have been receiving light for the last forty-five years
and I have been communicating the light given me of Heaven to
our people." This strong self-image as an inspired writer
may have inhibited her ability to realize how much her writings
depended on other authors. She could scarcely have sensed the
degree to which her visions and dreams were shaped by her reading,
and thus she came to believe that her revelations were the original
sources of what she wrote."127
How much did Ellen copy? Apparently no one yet knows this accurately,
but it is clearly massive. Since 1887, when Canright first called
attention to her plagiarism, William Peterson, Ingemar Linden,
Ronald Numbers, Jonathan Butler, Don McAdams, Walter Rea, Warren
H. Johns, Ron Graybill, and others have added to the accumulating
evidence of her lifelong, uncredited source dependency.128
Robert W. Olson in the Adventist Review of February 23, 1984,
stated that "possibly 50 percent or more of the material
in the book [The Great Controversy] was drawn from other
sources." Only further research will finally determine how
much more than "50 percent" was actually copied from
other authors in this book by Ellen. Some estimate that it may
be as high as 90 percent, but it is probably not too important
whether half or nine tenths is borrowed. Ellen had
to write, and to produce the quantity she did she had no recourse
but to copy from others; and this, with the help of her secretaries,
she did well.
Ellen's literary borrowing seems to have started in her very first
article published in the Day Star of January 24, 1846,
where she reported on her so-called first vision of December 1844.
Apparently she had in front of her the pamphlet 'The Christian
Experience of William E. Foy', which was published and copyrighted
in 1845. Her indebtedness to Foy is evident in many places in
her article, but the most striking place is where Foy's guide
says: "Those that eat of the fruit of this tree return to
earth no more" (page 14). Ellen, in turn, has Jesus say:
"Those who eat of the fruit of this land go back to earth
An easily observable trait in the temporal lobe epileptic is perseveration,
stickiness, or viscosity - a form of automatism, which applies
both to speech and writing, in which the individual repeats words,
phrases, sentences, or, as Fenton expressed it, "a tendency
to adhere to each thought, feeling and action."130 For
example, many who saw Ellen White experience a vision report that
she often exclaimed "glory, glory, glory" at the onset
of a vision. Daly describes a case reported by Penfield and Jasper
of a boy who "at the beginning of attacks heard a voice calling
"Sylvere, Sylvere, Sylvere" - the patient's first name."
A forty-five year old man was heard to say, "Mother, Mother,
Mother." And an admitted agnostic repeatedly uttered "God,
God - oh, my God."131 It would be easy for Ellen's subconscious
mind to select the repetition "glory, glory, glory"
because the word glory was commonly used in the Methodist meetings
she attended in her adolescence.
Ellen gave evidence of this repetitiveness in her first publication
when, as an eighteen-year old, she repeated the words "I
saw" sixteen times. In a second contribution to the same
periodical three weeks later she used "I saw" thirteen
times. Two months after this in an article in The Little Remnant
Scattered Abroad, she employed "I saw" thirty-five
times. The repetition of this phase becomes increasingly noticeable
in Ellen's writings, until in some pages nearly every sentence
begins with these words, as seen in an article by her in an 1849
Present Truth where, in thirteen sentences, she used "I
saw" or "I was shown" eleven times.132
Many other words beginning or imbedded in her sentences illustrate
this same repetitiveness - words such as "they" and
"you". In all her early publications, this can easily
be seen, particularly in the first one hundred pages of volume
one of her Testimonies, and volume two of Spiritual
Gifts. In later editions of her works most repetition, particularly
of "I saw" and "I was shown," was eliminated.
Perhaps at first the frequent use of the "I saw" in
her writings was looked upon as reinforcing a claim for divine
inspiration. As time went on, the evidence of this repetition
was greatly reduced by editors, but never entirely eliminated.133,134
Ellen's son, W.C. White, agreed "that in the original manuscripts...there
was such repetition." And Ellen wrote in 1906:
"While my husband lived, he acted as a helper and counselor
- The instruction I received in vision was faithfully written
out by me.... Afterward we examined the matter together, my husband
correcting grammatical errors, and eliminating needless repetition.135
Later "the secretaries were expected...to leave out that
which was plainly unnecessary repetition." Arthur White also
believed that "in some original manuscripts" there was
much repetition, when Ellen was "perplexed by many cares
Many repetitions that were not so objectionable as "I saw"
remained even in her later writings. Particularly significant
are cases in which she represented others as speaking or writing
with the same repetitiveness that she did. For example: "Said
the angel, 'Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord, 'Be
ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord."137
Ellen had two visions on January 5, 1849, at Rocky Hill, Connecticut.
In the second vision she saw four angels heading toward earth
on a special mission. Jesus "gazed in pity in the remnant,...
raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, 'my blood,
Father, my blood, my blood, my blood'... Then I saw an angel...crying
with a loud voice, 'Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold!" In the same
year she wrote also: "I heard an angel say, 'Speed the swift
messengers, speed the swift messengers'."138 One year
later she quoted an angel's question: "Can such enter heaven?"
Another angel answered, "No, never, never, never."139
In Ellen's report of her March 14, 1852, vision at Ballston, the
following is given:
"If the sins do not go beforehand to judgment they will never
go. Thy people, thy people, thy people, thy people not ready,
not ready, not ready. In that time one sin uncovered will crush
the soul. Heaven will give no answer. That time will try men's
souls. Confusion will take place and their desire will not be
accomplished. Can you not see? ...Get ready! Get ready! Get ready!
almost finished... I behold, I behold those that have that excellent
reward sacrifice to obtain it.... Help the children get ready,
something must be done. Self! self! O Jesus, pity and forgive
thine erring children."140
In 1852 at Vergennes, Ellen said of James White: "The power
of God was upon him...said he, 'I hope it will go out! In the
name of the Lord, I hope it will go out!'"141,142,143,144
In the Sutton vision of Ellen White in 1850, we have the following
"Then I saw we must drink deep, deep, from the water of the
fountain.... I saw that Brother Bates must be open, ready to yield
up a dear point when the clear light shines. I saw that we must
be more like Jesus.... The I saw James and Brother Bates: said
the angel, press together, press together ye shepherds lest the
sheep be scattered. Love one another as I have loved you. Swim,
swim, swim, plunge deep, deep, deep, in the ocean of God's love.
I saw that we must overcome..."145
On January 3, 1875, in Battle Creek, Ellen had a vision reported
by W.C. White that demonstrated some of the typical features of
a temporal lobe seizure, including repetitiveness. She had been
ill with influenza and was seated in a large arm chair, warmly
wrapped in blankets.
"Then mother undertook to pray, and in a horse, labored voice,
she uttered two or three sentences of petition. Suddenly her voice
broke clean and musical, and we heard the ringing shout, 'Glory
to God!' We all looked up, and saw that she was in vision. Her
hands were folded across her breast. her eyes were directed intently
upward, and her lips were closed. There was no breathing, although
the heart continued its action. As she looked intently upward,
an expression of anxiety came into her face. She threw aside her
blankets, and stepping forward, walked back and forth in the room.
Wringing her hands, she moaned, 'Dark! Dark! All dark! So dark!'
Then after a few moments silence, she exclaimed with emphasis,
and a brightening of her countenance, 'A light! A little light!
More light! Much light!... Following her exclamatory remarks regarding
the lights, she sat down in her chair."146,147,148
In 1868 she wrote: "He will not accept half a sacrifice.
All, all, all is God's".149 In Early Writings (2nd
ed., 1882) she wrote: "Said the angel, 'Get ready, get ready,
get ready, Ye will have to die a greater death to In 1868 she
wrote: "He will not accept half a sacrifice. All, all, all
is God's".149 In Early Writings (2nd ed., 1882) she wrote:
"Said the angel, 'Get ready, get ready, get ready, Ye will
have to die a greater death to the world than ye have ever yet
It seems clear that in many instances the words attributed to
the angels and Christ are phrased with Ellen's characteristic
repetitiveness - the "stickiness" of the temporal lobe
epileptic. In books such as her later editions of Great Controversy
and subsequent books like the Desire of Ages and Acts
of the Apostles, in which there is so much material paraphrased
from other authors and which were well edited, one would expect
to see little of her characteristic tendency to repeat; but some
Towards the end of her stay in Australia, Ellen had a vision,
as reported by her to G.B. Starr:
"I was as wide awake as I am now, and there appeared a chariot
of gold and horses of silver above me, and Jesus, in royal majesty,
was seated in the chariot.... Then there came the words rolling
down over the clouds from the chariot from the lips of Jesus,
'Fannie Bolton is your adversary! Fannie Bolton is your adversary!'
repeated three times. Now," said Sister White, "I had
this same vision about seven years ago, when my niece Mary Clough
was on my writings."
She also repeated "drudge, drudge, drudge, drudge" in
a letter in 1892 from Australia.151 Still later she wrote:
"I have received a letter from Elder Daniells regarding the
addition of another building to the Review and Herald office.
The answer I make to this is: No, no, no."152,153 It was
early in December 1914 that she testified to hearing voices in
the night season, crying out: "Advance! Advance! Advance!
Press the battle to the gate!"154
In 1901 Ellen said, "God forbid! God forbid, brethren."
In a letter in 1904 she wrote, "Cut loose, cut loose, is
my message."155 "The first chapter of Daniel... read
it, read it, and as you read, become wise not in your own conceit
but wise like Daniel."156 "The great difficulties
which have existed in Battle Creek would not have been. The great
dearth of means would not have been."157 In a letter she
wrote to A.G. Daniells and W.W. Prescott on May 20, 1904, she
reports Christ as saying: "Unite, unite, unite in perfect
Horace Shaw, in his doctoral dissertation in 1959, included the
results of a questionnaire which he had mailed out to those who
might have known Ellen White personally. One correspondent reported
on a meeting she had attended at which Ellen spoke. "After
what seemed to be her parting admonition she hesitated for a moment
and then said, 'Be sensible, be sensible, be sensible'."160
Another trait in the writings of Ellen G. White is one that includes
hypermoralism, sobriety, humorlessness, and multiple exhortations.
This is particularly evident in writings which were intended for
her fellow church members. A typical example of this is seen in
a letter written to Dear Sister E. in 1873:
"I have been shown that you need a thorough conversion. You
are not now on the right track to obtain that peace and happiness,
which the true humble, cross-bearing believer is sure to receive...
You have a selfish disposition... Your principal thoughts are
for yourself, to please yourself... You neglect to cheerfully
engage in the work which God has left you to do. You overlook
the common, simple duties lying directly in your pathway... You
do not study to make others happy... You indulge in a dreamy habit,
which must be broken up... You are not improving as fast as you
might, and as you must... You have been a cloud and a shadow in
the family... You have not had the grace of God in your heart...
You love to think and talk about young men. You interpret their
civilities as a special regard for yourself. You flatter yourself...
A reformation must commence in your father's family. You bear
the stamp of your father's character. You should endeavor to shun
his errors and his extremes... You do not love children. In fact
you do not love anything which requires steady, earnest, persevering
In this seven-page letter, 75 sentences begin with 'you', and
an additional 115 times 'you' is used in the middle of sentences
and is an example of the judgmentalness and hypermoralism seen
in the temporal lobe epileptic, so often encountered in Ellen's
Hypermoralism and hyperethicalness of temporal lobe epileptics
is closely related to their humorlessness, viscosity, attention
to detail, and self-scrutiny. Waxman and Geschwind in 1975 wrote:
"There is often a striking preoccupation with detail, especially
as concerns moral or ethical issues or both. There are no trifles
for these patients... Preoccupation with detail and clarity and
a profound sense of righteousness are evident in the speech of
many of our patients."163
Other researchers have described this phenomenon:
"All events are serious to these patients... They may become
excessively concerned with moral issues and involve themselves
with rights and wrongs of rather trivial affairs... the right
or wrong of every item needs to be considered along with all ramifications;
no issue can be easily dropped; these patients become long winded
in speech and often feel the need to put down their thoughts in
lengthy writings; they tend to be remarkably without humor."164
Temporal lobe epileptics tend to be not only hyper-ethical, but
often hyper-religious. To them, their own ministers may lack deep
religious conviction... These basic traits account for a deepening
of emotional response with over emphasis on the qualities of good
and evil, right and wrong.165
To feel strongly about moral and ethical issues is probably a
desirable trait; how this trait is executed and expressed is significant,
however, in relation to temporal lobe epilepsy. It is the excessive
concern with trivial questions, the obsession with moral issues,
the lack of understanding and tolerance for divergent opinions,
and the resulting judgment and condemnation of those who differ
that set these patients apart. This is often accompanied by a
sense of divine mission and authority. They have been called "inflexible"
and are not likely to change their point of view.
As Beard has pointed out, there is a ponderousness, long-windedness,
and a dullness in these patients, together with egocentricity,
unctuous utterances, and stickiness.166
Ellen's hypermoralism is illustrated by her discussion on dress:
"I was shown that some of the people of God imitate the fashions
of the world, and are fast losing their peculiar, holy character,
which should distinguish them as God's people. I was pointed back
to God's ancient people, and then was led to compare their apparel
with the mode of dress in these last days. What a difference!
What a change! Then the woman were not as bold as now. When they
went in public they covered their face with a vail [sic]. In these
last days fashions are shameful and immodest... The small bonnets,
exposing the face and head, show a lack of modesty... Young and
old, God is now testing you. You are deciding your own eternal
destiny. Your pride, your love to follow the fashions of the world,
are all put in the scale, and the weight of evil is fearfully
against you... Many, I saw, were flattering themselves that they
were good Christians, who have not a single ray of light from
Jesus... And I saw that the Lord was whetting his sword in heaven
to cut them down."167-171
About children playing on the Sabbath she had this advice:
"Parents, above everything, take care of your children upon
the Sabbath. Do not suffer them to violate God's holy day by playing
in the house or out of doors. You may just as well break the Sabbath
yourselves as to let your children do it, and when you suffer
your children to wander about, and suffer them to play upon the
Sabbath, God looks upon you as Sabbath-breakers."172
[She also wrote:]
"I have long been designing to speak to my sisters and tell
them that, from what the Lord has been pleased to show me from
time to time, there is a great fault among them... Their words
are not as select and well chosen as those of women who have received
the grace of God should be. They are too familiar with their brethren.
They linger around them, incline toward them, and seem to choose
their society. They are highly gratified with their attention.
From the light which the Lord has given me, our sisters should
pursue a very different course. They should be more reserved,
manifest less boldness, and encourage in themselves 'shamefacedness
and sobriety'. Both brethren and sisters indulge in too much jovial
talk when in each other's society. Women professing godliness
indulge in much jesting, joking and laughing."173,174
"No trifling, common conversation is to be indulged. God
looks into every secret thing of life."175
"I have been shown that the true followers of Jesus will
discard picnics, donations, shows, and other gatherings for pleasure."176
"With many young ladies the boys are the theme of conversations,
with the young men, it is the girls... They talk of those subjects
upon which their minds mostly run. The recording angel is writing
the words of these professed Christian boys and girls."177
"Jesting, joking, and worldly conversation belong to the
world... The communication opened between God and his soul...
will not cause levity or the semblance of a smile, but will solumnize
"Do not, my sister, trifle longer with your own souls and
with God. I have been shown that the main cause of your backsliding
is your love of dress... and you find yourselves with scarcely
a spark of the love of God in your hearts... I have been shown
that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride
in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient
reason for church discipline."179
"Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized."180
Perhaps related to Ellen's opposition to "worldly conversation"
was her warning against story books and the reading of fiction:
"Dear Brother E: ...I was much surprised to read your recommendation
of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Robinson Crusoe, and SUCH BOOKS. You are
in danger of becoming somewhat careless in your writing... I have
repeatedly seen the evil of reading such books."181
Ellen also felt constrained to speak out against bicycles, tennis,
"I was shown things among our people that were not on accordance
with their faith. There seemed to be a bicycle craze. Money was
spent to gratify an enthusiasm in this direction that might better,
far better have been invested in building houses of worship...There
was a spirit of strife and contention among them as to which should
be the greatest. The spirit was similar to that manifested in
the baseball games in the college ground. Said my Guide: 'These
things are an offense to God'."182
She also wrote:
"A view of things was presented before me in which the students
were playing games of tennis and cricket. Then I was given instruction
regarding the character of these amusements. They were presented
to me as a species of idolatry, like the idols of the nations...Angels
of God...were ashamed that such an exhibition should be given
by the professed children of God."183
In addition to the terrible consequences which Ellen ascribed
to masturbation, she threatened those who wore hair pieces with
equally frightening results:
"Fashion loads the heads of women with artificial braids
and pads...which heat and excite the spinal nerve centers in the
brain...The action of the blood upon the lower or animal organs
of the brain, causes unnatural activity and tends to recklessness
in morals, and the mind and heart are in danger of being corrupted.
As the animal organs are excited and strengthened, the morals
are enfeebled. The moral and intellectual powers of the mind become
servants of the animal... Many have lost their reason, and become
hopelessly insane, by following this deforming fashion."184
Hyposexuality has been shown to be a frequent symptom in temporal
lobe epilepsy. Walker and Blumer185 state that such altered
sexuality "is a ...depression of sexual experience, not just
the impairment of genital expression. In an individual who develops
epilepsy before puberty, he or she may never know psychosexual
experiences." Blumer has pointed out that both hyposexuality
and "viscosity" are stable manifestations in temporal
lobe epilepsy, and become manifest about two years after the onset
of the epilepsy.
Such hyposexuality has been eliminated in temporal lobe epileptics
by the surgical removal of the involved area of the temporal lobe.
Frigidity or low sexual drive are symptoms of the hyposexuality.
Shukla186 et all reported that "hyposexuality appears
to be uniquely associated with temporal lobe epilepsy" (as
compared with generalized epilepsy), and that these patients "showed
no concern over it." In Shukla's study, twenty-eight of forty-four
patients were hyposexual. 64% of female patients were hyposexual
and "took part in sexual relations only on repeated requests
from their husbands." Shukla also reports that of Gastaut
and Colomb's patients, two-thirds were hyposexual.
In studying Ellen G. White in regard to the trait of hyposexuality,
we must remember that her original accident occurred when she
was nine years old, probably before puberty. She was married at
age eighteen, had four sons, and was widowed when she was fifty-three
years old. Ellen did not remarry and died at the age of eighty-seven.
Ellen wrote considerably about relations between the sexes and
on sexuality. Her advice about the very young suggests the danger
of permitting association between small children of the opposite
sex. This counsel seems to be motivated by her fear that these
small children might become sexually aroused and fall prey to
the devastating practice of masturbation.
"This is a fast age. Little boys and girls commence paying
attention to one another when they should both be in the nursery,
taking lessons in modesty and deportment. What is the effect of
this common mixing up? Does it increase chastity in the youth
who thus gather together? No, indeed! It increases the first lustful
passions; after such meetings the youth are crazed by the devil
and give themselves up to their vile practices."187
To an adult Ellen gave the following advice:
"You have fallen into the sad error which is so prevalent
in this degenerate age, especially with woman. You are too fond
of the other sex... You seem to know considerable about anticipated
marriages, and write and talk about these things. This only causes
dearth to your soul... You have done great injustice to yourself
in permitting your mind and conversation to dwell upon love and
"Many parents do not obtain the knowledge that they should
in the married life... They have united themselves in marriage
to the object of their choice, and therefore reason that marriage
sanctified the indulgence of the baser passions. Even men and
women professing godliness give loose rein to their lustful passions,
and have no thought that God holds them accountable for the expenditure
of vital energy, which weakens their hold on life and enervates
the entire system."189
Ellen continued her advice:
"Let the Christian wife refrain, both in word and act, from
exciting the animal passions of her husband. Many have no strength
at all to waste in this direction. From their youth up they have
weakened the brain and sapped the constitution by the gratification
of animal passions."190
Ellen's fearful description of the results of masturbation was
inspired perhaps by her own hyposexuality and contemporary literature
on the topic.
"Females possess less vital force than the other sex... (see
Note:) The result of self abuse in them is seen in various diseases,
such as... loss of memory and sight, great weakness in the back
and loins, affections of the spine, the head often decays inwardly.
Cancerous humor, which would lay dormant in the system their life-time,
is inflamed, and commences its eating, destructive work. The mind
is often utterly ruined, and insanity takes place."191
Ellen states that her early accident kept her from knowing about
these secret vices.192
(Note: For the uninitiated, the basic idea of the vital force
theory is that an individual begins life with a certain amount
of "vital force," and expends that force slowly or quickly
- the more quickly, the sooner it runs out - death follows.)
Elsewhere Ellen adds to this: "Solitary vice is killing thousands
and tens of thousands."193
Ellen also felt free to counsel missionaries not to have children
while in the mission field.
"I was shown that Brother and Sister V____ had departed from
God's counsel in bringing into the world children. God required
all there was of them in His work for the Master, but the enemy
came in, and his counsel was followed... When I learned that you
were soon to have an increase in your family, I knew that you
were not doing the will of God, but following your own inclination
to please yourselves...The time has come when, in one sense,
they that have wives be as though they had none... I am thoroughly
disgusted with the course of our preachers and workers. They seem
to think one of the important branches of the work is first to
get as many children into the world as possible."194
Ellen White was clearly a very religious woman. What is not so
often recognized is the fragility of her religious experience
and her periods of depression, doubt, and despair - each of which
was followed sooner of later by a renewal of faith and courage.
Ellen openly shared these episodes that appeared periodically
during most of her life. Hurst and Beard in 1970 called attention
to the frequency of religious crises and conversions in temporal
Conditions classified as pseudoepilepsy and pseudoseizures may
be confused with partial complex seizures. These include hysteria,
conversion reactions, narcolepsy, syncope, hyperventilation, and
others. If the individual is conscious during these experiences,
it is not epilepsy. Psychogenic reactions, such as seen in intense
religious excitement, favor the development of hysteria. The revival
meetings that were popular during the early years of Ellen's visionary
experiences often saw men and women fall from their seats, cry
for mercy, writhe in agony, and faint. Hysterical attacks occur
only when there is an audience to witness them. Recent investigations
also indicate that at least some individuals who claim that they
are subject to extrasensory or paranormal experiences may actually
suffer from temporal lobe dysfunction which is apparently hereditary.
Patients with temporal lobe epileptic seizures may also have attacks
It has been suggested that if Ellen's visions are credited to
a malfunction of her temporal lobes, that such an explanation
neglects to take into account the emotional, cultural, and psychic
factors that could have been responsible for her trances as has
occurred in other individuals in the past. Such questions overlook
the fact that the temporal lobe epileptic participates in the
visionary experience that is imposed upon him with his total physical,
intellectual, emotional, religious, and cultural being - in which
all past and present influences have a part. The visionary experience
is not something outside the real person; it is produced by and
in the total person - including the effects of any organic malfunction
that may be present.
Summary and Conclusion
The visionary experiences of Ellen G. White and her behavioral
characteristics have been examined from the perspective of current
clinical knowledge. From this overview may be drawn the following
1. Ellen was a healthy normal girl, both physically and emotionally,
until at the age of nine, she was hit by a stone on the nasal
area of her face. She was unconscious for 3 weeks, indicating
a severe brain injury; and was not able to remember anything about
the accident or its aftermath. The type and location of her head
injury, and the resulting period of unconsciousness and amnesia,
made it likely that she would ultimately develop epileptic seizures.
2. Her dreams and visions began at age fifteen, some six years
after her accident; and they continued throughout her life. When
Ellen's visions experiences are compared with the seizures of
temporal lobe epilepsy, they are found to be typical of partial
3. Following this, her behavioral traits were compared with those
of temporal lobe epileptics and found to be similar. Also discussed
was the self-confessed compulsive drive of Ellen to write culminating
in a total quantity of writing that few have ever equaled. Ellen's
habit of borrowing freely from other authors without giving them
the deserved credit is perhaps also partially explainable by this
intense drive to write (hypergraphia) and by her own limited formal
education that ended with the third grade. The borrowing enabled
her to include that which she was unable to produce herself. To
say, however, that she did not know that literary sources should
be acknowledged seems difficult to sustain, since some from whom
she borrowed even in her earlier writings were meticulous in indicating
their sources with each quotation. This was clearly seen in the
works of J.N. Andrews, from whom she borrowed early.
4. Ellen had another epileptic trait that is very visible even
today in her writings, and was also present in her speech - namely
the tendency to hang on to a word, phrase, or thought, and repeat
these in succession - a viscosity. This is most striking where
single words are repeated, such as the sentence ascribed to Christ:
"my blood, father, my blood, my blood" or when the angel
is made to say "never, never, never"; or where she says
"write, write, write, write." Or "dark! dark! All
dark! So dark!" Or "All, all, all, is God's." This
repetitiveness shows up in nearly all of Ellen's writings in one
way or another as it does in the writings of other temporal lobe
epileptics. As we have shown, the editing of Ellen's later writings
removed many of these repetitions, but not all. Most striking
was her use of the words "I saw," where at times every
sentence began with this repetitious introduction.
5. Her writings and speech had other characteristics that are
common in this form of epilepsy, such as humorlessness, soberness,
suspicion of the motives of others, ponderousness, hypermorality,
and hyperethicalness. Her writings include long accounts of the
faults and failures of others, and overinterpretations of the
actions and words of fellow church members, accompanied by condemnation.
With this went a sense of the great importance of her own work
and messages and of the dire consequences of ignoring her counsel.
Her hyperethical demands included such requirements as children
not playing on the Sabbath, wearing certain types of clothing,
and injunctions against tennis, baseball, cricket, and bicycles.
Such characteristics of Ellen's thinking and judgment, probably
ascribable to the aftereffects of her head injury, have been incomprehensible
and alienating to many members of her church. A recent expression
of this concern repeats what many have said before:
"...how much of the cynicism and loss of faith we see in
the church today might have been avoided, if throughout the denomination's
history, there had been a little more confidence in the member's
ability to handle the truth about the nature of Ellen White's
inspiration and work?
"Revealing more of the truth earlier on would no doubt have
caused some pain, but might not that have been preferable to the
disruption of having it forced out in an atmosphere of acrimonious
dissent? And might many today who are disillusioned instead have
a strong faith in Ellen White's gift and a receptiveness to her
counsels, if there had been greater openness? Of course, hand-wringing
about the past isn't the point. Nor is it to cast scorn on conscientious
church leaders who did what they thought best. The question is,
will the church of today see a lesson in all of this?"206
In 1977, Paul B. Ricchiuti wrote the following:
"But as the 1800's developed, a strange sort of unreality
surrounded her, lifting her up and placing her beyond the reach
of fellow believers. The name "Ellen White" became a
mystery, for people could not identify with her as a living person.
Ellen White had become an institution to them, and was fast becoming
a legend. Aware of this herself, she could not stop it, try as
she might. Thus well-meaning but confused people drew an obscuring
veil across the real Ellen White. And when they pulled it aside
from time to time, "Sister White" sat as a sainted statue,
book in her hand, fire of God's condemnation in her eyes.
"Today that legend can be described in three words. And those
three words have become the "woodshed rod" in the hands
of unnumbered parents and teachers in the Adventist Church.
"Thus the phrase, "Sister White said," has kindled
fires of resentment in the hearts of thousands of Adventists,
especially among the young. This disaster is actually a very effective
tool, invented by Satan himself, to destroy the church from within.
"Ellen White's work and words, her writings and actions have
all been used as whips and clubs over the heads of old and young
There have been periodic discussions and crises about the significance,
position, and authority of Ellen in her church; and this has continued
to the present. In all her writings Ellen probably tried to present
what she believed to be true and elevating, but she was still
writing as a temporal lobe epileptic with a very limited education
and as a child of her time.
There were things that Ellen wrote that clearly reflect this,
such as her contentions that eating pork causes leprosy, that
earthquakes are caused by burning subterranean coal and oil, that
wearing wigs causes insanity, or that the amalgamation of man
and beast can be seen in certain races of man.208
As we look at the life and work of Ellen White, the problem is
not so much with what she has said or written, but with the authority
that she claimed and implied, as well as the authority assigned
to her by others. Ellen believed that God had given her a special
work to do on earth that He had not given to anyone else; she
was a special messenger. This, no doubt, was the basis for her
belief in her special authority. If Ellen suffered from temporal
lobe epilepsy, with its seizures and altered behavior, this does
not mean that all she said or wrote is therefore invalid. It does
not imply, however, that what she said is not true because she
said it, but that it might be true, based on other
evidence than simply her assertions. It also implies that some
of what Ellen wrote might be wrong. Such an intellectual
integrity then would require that Ellen's writings be critically
judged by the available evidence.
Ellen White Autopsy?
The following exchange took place during a videotaped interview
with Ellen White's grandchildren, siblings Arthur White and Grace
Jacques, taken by James Nix, assistant secretary of the White
Estate and director of the White Estate branch in Loma Linda University Heritage Room:
NIX: Do you know, why wasn't Ellen White buried immediately back
there [in 1915]?
WHITE: This is a question I know very little about. I did not
know until a few years ago that the dirt was not put over the casket
immediately. She was held for some time, and Edson spoke of seeing
her in the casket at a later time. Why, I don't know. There was
some talk of fears of Dr. Kellogg having the body exhumed to have
her brain examined. There was some talk about it.
JACQUES: I remember that.
WHITE: And it could be; and if there was any reason, I would suppose
that that was the reason. I have heard talk, but I have nothing
- the kind of evidence that I like to have - Jim, to back [it]
up. And in the absence of evidence, I don't like to talk much
about it. But there is correspondence which would indicate that
the final burial was at a time later than the funeral itself.
Much of what Ellen or her secretaries wrote or borrowed was beautiful
and spiritually elevating, no matter who wrote it. It is also
clear that some of what came from Ellen's pen was questionable
or erroneous, as might be true of any author. To grant Ellen the
intrinsic authority that was rejected by the early leaders of
her church is unwarranted and dangerous to the study and progressive
understanding by Seventh-day Adventists of Christian doctrine
and knowledge in general.
The 1919 Bible Conference seemed to promise a more realistic and
honest attitude towards Ellen G. White and her work.209 If
this openness and study had been allowed to continue, it is likely
that a major criticism by other Christian churches that the Seventh-day
Adventist church has a special addition to Scripture - namely
the writings of Ellen G. White - would have been avoided.
Who then was Ellen White? Certainly she was a remarkable woman
and a devout Christian. Dudley Canright, one of her most severe
critics, is reported to have said at the time of her funeral that
she was "a most godly woman."210
Even though Ellen's trances probably were not the kind of visions
she believed them to be, she clearly was a person of vision. She
envisioned medical institutions, schools, and publishing houses
in various locations around the world; suggested far-reaching
changes in denominational organization; and demonstrated at times
great insight into the mission of her church. She advocated health
care and advanced education for her people. Yet it will be difficult
to rightly understand Ellen and what she wrote unless one recognizes
the presence of the temporal lobe epilepsy from which she apparently
suffered her entire adult life, and that so markedly influenced
her thinking, writing, and behavior.
1. James White and Ellen G. White. Life Sketches. Ancestry, Early Life, Christian Experience, and Extensive Labor of Elder James White and His Wife, Mrs. Ellen G. While (Battle Creek, Michigan: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing
Association, 1888).122-130 (hereafter cited as Life Sketches).
2. Ibid. 131. See also Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts (1860, reprint, Battle Creek, Michigan: Review and Herald Publishing Association, n.d.), 2:7-9.
3. White and White. Life Sketches. 132.
4. M. Girgis. Neural Substrates of Limbic Epilepsy (St. Louis:
Warren H. Green. 1981),102; H. Landolt, Die Temporal lappen epilepsie und
(Basel: Karger. 1960),12,15; B. D. De Jong et al., "Craniofacial
Injuries," in Handbook of Clinical Neurology, ed. P. J. Vinken and G. W. Bruyn
(Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company, 1975). 23:360-385.
5. P. Black et al.. "Posttraumatic Syndrome in Children," in The
Late Effects of Head Injury, ed. A. E. Walker. W.F. Caveness. and M. Critchley (Springfield,
Illinois: Thomas, 1969); P. Black and A. van der Zwan, "Late Results from
Prolonged Traumatic Unconsciousness," in The Late Effects of Head Injury. 138-142.
See also J. S. Torg. Athletic Injuries to the Head. Neck and Face (Philadelphia:
Lea and Febiger, 1982).96-104; J. Hume Adams, "Neuropathology of Head Injuries,"
in Handbook of Clinical Neurology. ed. P. J. Vinken and G. W. Bruyn
(Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company, 1975). 23:36-51, A. W. Craft,
"Mechanisms of Injury," in Handbook of Clinical Neurology. 23:448; W. F. Caveness et
al., "Natural History of Posttraumatic Epilepsy," in Advances in
Epileptology, ed- J. A. Wada and J. K. Penry (New York: Raven Press, 1980), 177-182; W. R.
Russell, The Traumatic Amnesias (London: Oxford University Press, 1971 ).
6. Cyril B. Courville, "The Structural Basis for the Common
Traumatic Cerebral Syndromes," Bulletin of the Los Angeles Neurological Society 9 (1944):
7. Cyril B. Courville, Commotio Cerebri (Los Angeles: San Lucas
Press, 1953), 91-95.
See also Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, ed. D. F. Neufeld et al.
(Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association. 1966), 1406.
8. Cyril B. Courville. Pathology of the Central Nervous System, 3rd
ed. (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1950). 110-112,
9. Cyril B. Courville, "Traumatic Lesions of the Temporal Lobe as
the Essential Cause of Psychomotor Epilepsy," in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, ed. Maitland,
Baldwin et al. (Springfield, Illinois: Thomas, 1962), 221-239.
10. Cyril B. Courville, "Traumatic Intracerebral Hemorrhages,
"Bulletin of the Los Angeles Neurological Society 27 (1962): 22-38.
11. A. Bricolo, -Prolonged Post-traumatic Coma," in Handbook of
Clinical Neurology, ed. P. J. Vinken and G. W. Bruyn (Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing
Company, 1976), 24:
12. De Jong, "Craniofacial Injuries," in Handbook of Clinical
13. B. Jennett, Epilepsy after Non-missile Head Injuries (London:
Heinemann, 1975), 5-6; idem, in J. Laidlaw and A. Richens, A Textbook of Epilepsy
(Edinburgh and New York: Churchill, 1976),33.
14. W. F. Cavcness, "Sequelae of Cranial Injury in the Armed
Forces," in Handbook of Clinical Neurology. ed. P. J. Vinken and G. W. Bruyn (Amsterdam:
North-Holland Publishing Company, 1976),24:460; J. A. M. Frederiks, "Sequelae of
Cranial Injury in the Armed Forces," in Handbook of Clinical Neurology 24:487-499.
15. Ellen G. White, "Testimonies for the Church" (1868; reprint,
Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1948),I:13; White and White, Life Sketches. 136; C. Ounsted, "Social and Schooling,' in Biological Factors in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, ed. C. Ounsted, J. Lindsay, and R. Norman (London: Heinemann, 1966), 109-123; A. van der Zwan, "Late Results from Prolonged Traumatic Unconsciousness," in The Late Effects of head injury, ed. A.
E. Walker, W. F. Caveness, and M. Critchley (Springfield, Illinois: Thomas,
16. F. A. Gibbs, "Ictal and Non-ictal Psychiatric Disorders in
Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 113 (1951):523-527.
17. B. Jennett, Epilepsy after Blunt Head Injuries (Springfield,
Illinois: Thomas, 1962), 84; idem, ..Post-traumatic Epilepsy,- in Handbook of Clinical
Neurology, ed. P. J. Vinken and G. W. Bruyn (Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company, 1976), 24:445-453; idem,
in A Textbook of Epilepsy, 2nd ed., ed. J. Laidlaw and A. Richens (Edinburgh
and New York: Churchill, 1982),152.
18. Hughlings Jackson, "On a Particular Variety of Epilepsy," Brain
II (1888): 179-207.
19. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church, 13.
20. White and White. Life Sketches, 136.
21. van der Zwan, "Late Results from Prolonged Traumatic
Unconsciousness," in The Late Effects of Head Injury 138-142; Ounsted, "Social and Schooling," in
Biological Factors in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, 109-123.
22. James White, "Life Incidents, In Connection with the Great
Advent Movement" 272-273, in F. D. Nichol, Ellen G. White and Her Critics (Washington, D.C.:
Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1951). 53.
23. White and White, Life Sketches, 153. See also E. G. White,
Spiritual Gifts 2:15-16.
24. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 1:25-27.
25. Ibid, 28-29; idem, Spiritual Gifts 2:16-18.
26. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 1:25-27; idem. Spiritual
27. Ellen G. White, Early Writings, (I 85 1; reprint, Washington,
D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1945), 12, 78-8 1; D. D. Daly, "Ictal
Clinical Manifestations of Complex Partial Seizures,- in Advances in Neurology
ed. J. K Penry and D. D. Daly (New York: Raven Press, 1975), 11:57-80.
28. E. G. White, Early Writings, 79-80.
29. Ibid., 12,
30. "Letter from Sister Harmon," The Day Star, 24 Jan. 1846, pp.
31-32; James White, A Word to the Little Flock (pamphlet), 1847; Ellen Harmon, To the Remnant
Scattered Abroad (broadside), April 6, 1846; Ellen G. White, Selected Messages
from the Writings of Ellen G. While (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald
Association, 1958), 2:63.
31. Ellen G. White, Life Sketches of Ellen G. White (1848; reprint,
California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1915), 69-7 1.
32. D. F. Neufeld, Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia 1380-138 1.
33. Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. While (Mountain
Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1963), 3:2978-2984; Arthur L.
G. While Messenger to the Remnant (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald
Publishing Association, 1969), 29.
34. J. White and E. G. White, Life Sketches, 157-158.
35. E. G. White, Life Sketches of Ellen G. White. 38.
36. J. White and E. G. White, Life Sketches, 139-140; E.G. White,
Spiritual Gifts (Battle Creek, Michigan: James White, 1858), 2:28-29.
37. James White, A Word to the Little Flock (May 1847; facsimile
reproduction, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 13.
38. E. G. White, Selected Messages 2:72-1 00.
39. Louis Billington, "Popular Religion and Social Reforms,
Revivalism and Teetotalism, 1830-1850," Journal of Religious History 10 (I
40. A. L. White. Ellen G. White Messenger to the Remnant, 7.
41. Review and Herald, 16 Oct 1855.
42. G. 1. Butler, Review and Herald, 14 Aug. 1883, 60:12.
43. P.U.C- Campus Chronicle, 27 May 1982.
44. E. G. White, Selected Messages 1:32.
45. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 4 (1876):230 (reprint
Oakland, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1948).
46. Ibid. 5:66-67; idem, Selected Messages 1:29.
47. Review and Herald, 20 Jan. 1903; Ellen G. White, Colporteur
Ministry (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1953). 125.
48. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 4:147-148.
49. J. White. A Word to the Little Flock. 22.
50. E. G- White, Early Writings of Mrs. White (1882; reprint,
Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association. 1925). 22.
51. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 5:3 1 0.
52. Isaac Wellcome, History of the Second Advent Message (Yarmouth,
Maine: Advent Christian Publication Society, 1874); Jacob Brinkerhoff, The Seventh-day
Adventists and Mrs. White's Visions (Marion, Iowa: Advent and Sabbath
Advocate, 1884), 4-6.
53. Dudley M. Canright, "Mrs. E. G. White and Her Revelations,
"Michigan Christian Advocate. 8 Oct. 1887; idem, "Mrs. E. G. White and Her Revelations;
Wellcome, History of the Second Advent Message; Brinkerhoff. The Seventh-day
Adventists and Mrs. While's Visions, 4-6.
54. D. M. Canright, Life of Mrs. E. G. White (Cincinnati, 1919),
55. William S. Sadler, The Physiology of Faith and Fear (Chicago: A.
C. McClurgand Company, 1912), 461-462. See also idem, The Mind at Mischief (New York
and London: Funk and Wagnalls, 1929). 382.
56. Ellen G. White, Letter 120 (1906), in Arthur L. White, The Later
Elmshaven Years (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1982),
90-95; Arthur L. White. The Early Elmshaven Years (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald
Publishing Association, 1981), 349.
57. Gregory Holmes and Delbert Hodder, "Ellen G. White and the
Seventh-day Adventist Church: Visions or Partial Complex Seizures?" Journal of Neurology 3 1,
no. 4 pt. 2 (1981):160-161.
58. 0. J. Andy et al., "Frontal Lobe Lesions and Behavior," Southern
Medical Journal 74 (1981): 968-972.
59. Courville, "Traumatic Lesions of the Temporal Lobe," in Temporal
Lobe Epilepsy, 220-239.
60. L. S. Gomes "A Etiopatogenia Da Epilcpsia Do Lobo Temporal,"
Neurobiologia 41 (1978):273-288.
61. E. G. White, Early Writings. 22-24; D. L. Schomer, "Partial
Epilepsy," New England
Journal of Medicine 309 (1983):536-539.
62. A. L. White, Ellen G. White Messenger to the Remnant. 6-7; W. G.
Lennox, Epilepsy and Related ,Disorders (Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 1960); G. 1.
Butler, Review and Herald 9 June 1874.
63. D. L. Coulter, "Partial Seizures with Apnea and Bradycardia,
"Archives of Neurology 41 (1984):173-174; D.D. Daly, "Complex Partial Seizures," in A
Textbook of Epilepsy, 2nd ed., ed. J. Laidlaw and A. Richens (Edinburgh and
New York: Churchill, 1982), 136.
64. Jackson, "On a Particular Variety of Epilepsy," Brain 11: 1
65. A. L. White, Ellen G. White Messenger to the Remnant, 6-7; W. G.
Lennox, Epilepsy and Related Disorders (Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 1960); G. 1.
Butler, Review and Herald, 9 June 1874.
66. J. N. Loughborough, Rise and Progress of the Seventh-day
Adventists (Battle Creek, Michigan: General Conference Association of Seventh-day Adventists,
67. Ibid., 167.
68. E. G. White. Early Writings, 39-40.
69. J. White, Life Incidents, 272, quoted in A. L. White, Ellen G.
White Messenger to the Remnant, 6.
70. A. L. White, Ellen G. White Messenger to the Remnant, 6-8. 59.
71. D. D. Daly. "Ictal Clinical Manifestations of Complex Partial
Seizures," in Advances in Neurology (New York: Raven Press, 1975),11:57.
72. E. G. White, Sketches of Ellen G. White, 310; an authentic
interview between Elder G. W. Amadon, Elder A. C. Bordeau, and Dr. Harvey Kellogg in Battle
Creek, Michigan, on 7 October 1907; A. L. White, The Early Elmshaven Years.
23-24; Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ (1892; reprint Mountain View, California:
Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1940), 121.
73. E. G. White, Life Sketches of Ellen G. White. 310; interview
between Elders G. W. Amadon and A. C. Bordeau and 15r. Harvey Kellogg; A.- L. White, The
Early Elmshaven Years. 23-24; E. G. White, Steps to Christ. 12 1.
74. Manuscript 43a (I 90 1). in A. L. White, The Early Elmshaven
75. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 9:66.
76. Denis Williams, "Temporal Lobe Epilepsy" British Medical Journal
5501 (1966): 1439-1442.
77. H. Gastaut and R. Broughton, Epileptic Seizures (Springfield,
Illinois: Thomas, 1972), 132.
78. P. Gloor et al, "The Role of the Limbic System in Experiential
Phenomena of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," Annals of Neurology 12 (1982):129-144.
79. W. G. Lennox, Epilepsy and Related Disorders 1:236.
80. A. L. White, Ellen G. White Messenger to the Remnant, 8.
81. E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts 2:77-79; idem, Life Sketches, I 1 2
(one and one-half hour vision; based on an original publication in 1860).
82. W. A. Hauser, "Status Epilepticus: Frequency, Etiology, and
Neurological Sequelae," Adpances in Neurology (New York.- Raven Press, 1983),34:3-14.
83. Ibid., 11.
84. J. Engel, Jr., "Prolonged Partial Complex Status Epilepticus:
EEG and Behavioral Observations," Neurology 28 (1978):863-869.
85. H. Gastaut, "Classification of Status Epilepticus, Advances in
Neurology 34 (1983):15-32;'D. M. Treiman and A. V. Delgado-Escueta, "Complex Partial
Status Epilepticus," Advances in Neurology 34 (1983): 69-81; A. V.
Delgado-Escueta et al., "Status Epilepticus: Summary," Advances in Neurology 34
(1983):537-54 1; J. Roger et al., "Status Epilepticus," Handbook of Clinical Neurology ed.
P. J. Vinken and G. W. Bruyn (Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company,
86. Wilder Penfield, The Mystery of the Mind (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1975); idem, "The Cerebral Cortex in Man. I. The Cerebral Cortex and
Consciousness," Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 40 (1938):417-442.
87. Gibbs, "Ictal and Non-ictal Psychiatric Disorders," Journal of
Nervous and Mental Disease 163 (1953,):113:523-527.
88. H. Gestaut and Roger Broughton, Epileptic Seizures (Springfield,
Illinois: Thomas, 1972), 73-133; W. H. Theodore et al., "Complex Partial Seizures:
Clinical Characteristics and Differential Diagnosis," Neurology 33
89. V. M. Neppe, "Symptomatology of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," South
African Medical Journal 60 (1981):902-907; F. E. Dreifuss, in Advances in Neurology, ed.
J. K. Penry and D. D. Daly (New York: Raven Press, 1975), 11:197. S. B.
Filskov and T. J. Boll, 'Handbook of Clinical Neuropsychology (New York: John Wiley,
1981), 58-64; E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 2:596-597; Daly, "Ictal Clinical
Manifestations of Complex Partial Seizures," in Advances in Neurology, 1
1:65; Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White, The Human Interest Story (Washington,
D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association), 52; E. G. White, Spiritual
Gifts 2:78; Denis Williams, "Temporal Lobe Syndromes," in Handbook of Clinical
Neurology, ed. P. J. Vinken and G. W. Bruyn (Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing
Company, 1969), 2:700-724; W. Penfield and P. Perot, "The Brain Record of Auditory and
Visual Experience," Brain 86 (1963):595-694.
90. Daly, "Ictal Clinical Manifestations of Complex Partial
Seizures," in Advances in Neurology, 11:57-80. "Rarely scenes of extraordinary complexity may
occur which despite their vividness apparently do not represent true memories" (p.
91. Neppe, "Symptomatology of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," in South
African Medical Journal 60 (1981):60:902-907.
92. lbid; Filskov and Boll, Handbook of Clinical Neuropsychology,
58-64-. E. G. White. Testimonies for the Church 2:596-597; Daly, "Ictal Clinical
Manifestations of Complex Partial Seizures,' in Advances in Neurology. 1 1:57,65; A. L.
White, Ellen G. White. The Human Interest Story 52; idem, Spiritual Gifts 2:78;
Williams, "Temporal Lobe Syndromes," in Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 2:700-724;
Penfield and Perot, "The Brain Record of Auditory and Visual Experience" Brain
93. Neppe, "Symptomatology of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," South African
Medical Journal 60 (1981): 60:902-907.
94. Ibid; Filskov and Boll, Handbook of Clinical Neuropsychology, 58-64;
E. G. White. Testimonies for the Church 2:596-597; Daly, "Ictal Clinical
Manifestations of Complex Partial Seizures," in Advances in Neurology 11:57,65; A.L.White,
Ellen G. White The Human Interest Story.52;idem, Spiritual Gifts 2:78; Williams,
"Temporal Lobe Syndromes" 2:700-724, Penfield and Perot, "The Brain Record of
Auditory and Visual Experience," Brain 6:595-694.
95. Neppe, "Symptomatology of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," South African
Medical Journal 60 (198 1): 60:902-907.
96. F. E. Dreifuss, in Advances in Neurology ed. J. K. Penry and D. D.
Daly (New York: Raven Press, 1975),11:197.
97. A. V. Escueta et a[., "Complex Partial Seizures," Annals of
neurology II (1982): 292-300; Gastaut and Broughton, Epileptic Seizures, 133.
98. Landolt, Die Temporallappenepilepsie und ihre Psycopathologie,
22-40; E. R. Rodin et al., "Psychological Factors in Convulsive Disorders of Focal Origin,"
Archives of Neurology, 74 (1956):365-374.
99. S. G. Waxman and N. Geschwind, "The Interictal Behavior Syndrome
of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," Archives of General Psychiatry 32 (1975):1580-1586. See also
Gibbs, "Ictal and Non-ictal Psychiatric Disorders in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy"
100. D. M. Bear and P. Fedio, "Quantitative Analysis of Interictal
Behavior in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," Archives of Neurology 34 (1977):454-457; idem,
"Temporal Lobe Epilepsy-a Syndrome of Sensory-limbic-hyperconnection," Cortex 15
(1979):357-384; P. Fedio and A. Martin, "Ideative-emotive Behavioral
Characteristics of Patients Following Left or Right Temporal Lobectomy,"
Epilepsia 24, suppl. 2, S I 17-S 1 30 (1983). See - also E. Rodin et
al., "The Bear-Fedio Personality Inventory and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," Neurology
101. Laura Schenk and David Bear, "Multiple Personality and Related
Disassociative Phenomena in Patients with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," American Journal of
Psychiatry 138 (1981):10.
102. B. P. Hermann and P. Riel, "Interictal Personality and
Behavioral Traits in Temporal Lobe and Generalized Epilepsy," Cortex 17 (1981):125-128.
103. D. Blumer, "Specific Psychiatric Complications in Certain Forms
of Epilepsy and Their Treatment," in H. Sands, Epilepsy (New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1982),
104. N. Geschwind, Behavioral Changes in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy,-
Psychological Medicine 9 (I 979):217-219. See also idem, "Pathogenesis of Behavior
Change in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," in Epilepsy, ed. A. A. Ward, J. K. Penry, and
D. D. Purpura (New York: Raven Press, 1983), 61:355-370; M. R. Trimble,
"Phenomenology of Epileptic Psychosis: A Historical Introduction of Changing Concepts,"
in Advances in Biological Psychiatry (Basel: Karger, 198 2), 8: 1-11; idem,
"Interictal Behaviour and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," in Recent Advances in
Epilepsy (Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1983), 212-227; idem, "Interictal
Psychoses of Epilepsy," Acia Psychiatrica Scandinavica, supplement 69 (suppl. 313,
1984):9-20; E. Rodin and S. Schmaltz, "The Bear-Fedio Personality Inventory and
Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," Neurology 34 (1984):591-596.
105. N. Geschwind, "Psychiatric Complications in the Epileptics.
Current Research and Treatment. Introduction," McLean Hospital Journal special issue, June
106. S. G. Waxman and N. Geschwind, "Hypergraphia in Temporal Lobe
Epilepsy," Neurology 24 1974):929-363; B. P. Hermann et al., "Hypergraphia in
Epilepsy: Is There a Specificity to Temporal Lobe Epilepsy?" Journal of Neurology,
Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 46 (1983):848-853.
107. Waxman and Geschwind, "Hypergraphia in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy"
24:629-636; Hermann, "Hypergraphia in Epilepsy" 46:848-853.
108. H. S. Sachdev and S. G. Waxman, "Frequency of Hypergraphia in
Temporal Lobe Epilepsy: an Index of Interictal Behaviour Syndrome," Journal of
Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 44 (1981):358-360.
109. N. Geschwind, -Pathogenesis of Behavior Change in Temporal Lobe
Epilepsy,- in Epilepsy, vol. 6 1, ed. A. A. Ward, Jr., J. K. Penry, and D. D. Purpura
(New York: Raven Press, 1983).
110. Hermann, "Hypergraphia in Epilepsy" 46:848-853.
111. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 1413-1418.
112. Manuscript 33(1892),in Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White The
Australian Years (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1983), 18.
113. Day Star, 14 March 1846.
114. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 1:576-577.
115. Letter 53 (1900), in A. L. White, Ellen G. White Messenger to
the Remnant, 14.
116. Manuscript 22 (1890), in A. L. White, Ellen G. While Messenger
to the Remnant, 14.
117. Letter 36 (1878), in A. L. White, Ellen G. While. Messenger to
the Remnant, 117.
118. Letter 59 (1895), in A. L. White, Ellen G. White Messenger to
the Remnant, 14.
119. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 5:67.
120. Letter 8 (1860), 16, 17, in Manuscript Releases (Washington,
D.C.: E. G. White Estate, 1981),I:307.
121. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 5:661, 4:147-148.
122. E. G. White, Selected Messages 3:76; Manuscript 122 (1903).
123. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 5:67-68.
124. Letter 28 (1906), in A. L- White, The Later Elmshaven Years, 75.
125. A. L. White, Ellen G. White, The Human Interest Story 37-45.
126. Waxman and Geschwind, "Hypergraphia in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy",
Neurology 24: 629-636; Hermann, "Hypergraphia in Epilepsy," Journal of Neurology,
Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 46: 46:848-853.
127. Ronald D. Graybill, "The Power of Prophecy: Ellen G. White and
the Women Religious Founders of the Nineteenth Century- (Ph.D. diss., Johns
Hopkins University, 1983), 206.
128. Canright, "Mrs. E. G. White and Her Revelations"; Wellcome,
History of the Second Advent Message; Brinkerhoff, The Seventh-day Adventists and Mrs. White's
129. "Letter from Sister Harmon," The Day Star, 24 Jan. 1846, pp.
130. G. W. Fenton, "Personality and Behavioral Disorders in Adults
with Epilepsy," in Epilepsy and Psychiatry, ed. E. H. Reynolds and M. R. Trimble
(Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 198 1).
131. Daly, "Ictal Clinical Manifestations of Complex Partial
Seizure," in Advances in Neurology 4 11:61:
R. D. Walter, "Clinical Aspects of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," California
Medicine 110 (1969): 325-329.
132. Present Truth (published by James White in Middletown,
Connecticut)(Dec. 1849), 35.
133. E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts 1: 148.
134. Ellen G. White, A Sketch of the Experience and Views of Ellen G.
White (Saratoga Springs, New York: James White, 1851), 3.
135. W. C. White, "The Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies to
the Church," in Addresses to Faculty and Students at the Advanced Bible School, Angwin,
California part I (1935), 19.
136. Ibid., 20.
137. E. G. White, Early Writings, 62.
138. Ibid, 38; idem, Present Truth I (1850):23.
139. E. G. White, Present Truth I (1850):72.
140. Record Book (Washington, D.C.: E. G. White Estate) 1:94.
141. E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts 2:158.
142. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 1: 1 18.
143. James White, Letter (Jan. 10, 1850), Record Book 1:51, 52, in A.
L. White, Ellen G. White Messenger to the Remnant, 49; E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts
144. Letter -I I (1884), in A. L. White, Ellen G. White Messenger to
the Remnant, 109.
145. "The Sutton Visions of Mrs. E. G. White," as copied by Hiram
Edson. Advent Source Collection, General Conference of SDA, Washington. D.C., W 58
146. W. C. White, in The Spirit of Prophecy Treasure Chest
(Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1960), 33-34.
147. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 1:694.
148. E. G. White, Early Writings, 2nd ed. (republished by Review and
Herald Publishing Association in 1925), 64.
149. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 1:694.
150. E. G. White, Early Writings, 2nd ed., 64.
151. G. B. Starr, "The Watchcare of Jesus Over the Writings Connected
with the Testimony of Jesus, June 2,1915," in The Fannie Bolton Story, A
Collection of source Documents (Washington, D.C.: Ellen G. White Estate, 1982), 110.
See also A. L. White, The Australian Years 241; Ellen G. White, Letter 130
(1893), in Graybill, "The Power of Prophecy,- 178.
152. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 8:90.
153. E. G. White, Life Sketches, 409; Review and Herald. 5 July 1906.
154. E. G. White, Life Sketches, 409; A. W. Spalding, Origin and
History of the Seventh-day Adventists (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing
Association, 1962), 3:280.
155. A. L. White, The Early Elmshaven Years, 77, 349.
156. Manuscript 13 (190 1), Letters and Manuscripts Relating to
Medical Missionary Work and Going to Battle Creek (1928), 11. Diary (Jan. 1898).
157. Manuscript 13 (190 1), Letters and Manuscripts. 13.
158. A. W. Spaulding and Percy T. Magan Collection, "Unpublished
manuscript testimonies of Ellen G. White" (I 915-1916), 350.
159. A. L. White, The Early Elmshaven Years. 77, 349.
160. Horace Shaw, "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), 615.
161. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 3:329-338.
162. Ibid., 2:261-268.
163. S. G. Waxman and N. Geschwind, "The Interictal Behavior Syndrome
of Temporal Lobe
Epilepsy," Archives of General Psychiatry 32 (1975): 1580-1586.
164. A. E. Walker and D. Blumer, "Long Term Behavioral Effects of
for Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," McLean Hospital Journal (June 1977).
165. D. Blumer, "Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and Its Significance,- in
Benson and Blumer.
Psychiatric Aspects of Neurologic Disease (New York: Grune and Stratton,
1975), 162, 185-19 1. See also I. Sherwin, "Clinical and EEG Aspects of
Temporal Lobe Epilepsy with Behavior Disorder, the Role of Cerebral Dominance," McLean
Hospital Journal (June 1977).
166. A. W. Beard, "The Schizophrenia-like Psychoses of Epilepsy. ii-
Physical Aspects. The Journal of Psychiatry 109 (1963):113-129.
167. E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts 2:227-229.
168. Ibid., 256.
169. See also, Ronald L. Numbers, Prophetess of Health (New York:
Harper and Row, 1976),129-159.
170. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 3:171.
171. Ibid., 4:628.
172. E. G. White, Review and Herald 3 (17 Feb. 1853):155.
173. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 2:455.
174. E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts, 256; idem, Review and Herald 3:155
(17 Feb. 1853).
175. E. G. White, The Adventist Home (1899; reprint, Nashville,
Tennessee: Southern Publishing Association, 1952), 443.
176. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 1:288.
177. Ibid., 2:460.
178. Ibid., 3:24 1.
179. Ibid., 4:647.
180. Ibid., 4:648.
181. Ibid., 5:516.
182. Ibid., 8:51-52.
183. E. G. White, Counsels to Parents, Teachers. and Students
(Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1913), 350.
184. E. G. White, "Words to Christian Mothers, no. 2," Health
Reformer 6 (Oct. 1871):12 1.
185. Walker and Blumer, "Long Term Behavioral Effects of Temporal
Lobectomy.' McLean Hospital Journal June 1977). See also Blumer, "Temporal Lobe Epilepsy"
in Psychiatric Aspects of Neurologic Disease, 162, 185-191; Sherwin,
"Clinical and Aspects of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy," McLean Hospital Journal (June 1977).
186. G. D. Shukla et al., "Sexual Disturbances in Temporal Lobe
Epilepsy. A Controlled Study,- British Journal of Psychiatry 134 (1979):288-293.
187. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 2:482.
188. Ibid., 248.
189. Ibid., 472.
190. Ibid., 477.
191. E. G. White, Appeal to Mothers (Battle Creek, Michigan,
1864),27. See also Numbers, Prophetess of Health 1976.
192. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 2:472.
193. Ibid., 4:95-97.
194. E. G. White, Document DF97c, in Sherman A. Nagel, God's Love,
The Remnant Church (Beaverton, Oregon: n.p. 1934), 61-62. See also E. G. White, Gospel
Workers (Washington, D.C. Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1920), 459;
idem, Adventist Home, 165-166.
195. Beard, "Schizophrenic-like Psychoses" 109:95-150.
196. E. G. White, Life Sketches, 135-142.
197. Ibid., 153.
198. Ibid., 16 1.
199. Ibid., 194-195; idem, Testimonies for the Church 1:63-65; idem,
Spiritual Gifts 2:36-37.
200. E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts 2:5 1.
201. E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church 1:597.
202. Ibid., 2:607-609.
203. E. G. White, Manuscript 61 (1894), in Mind, Character, and
204. N. Geschwind, "Psychiatric Complications in the Epileptics,"
McLean Hospital Journal (June 1977):6-8.
205. T. L. Riley and A. Roy, Pseudoseizures (Baltimore: Williams and
Wilkins, 1982); William G. McLoughlin, Jr., Modern Revivalism (New York: Ronald Press
Company, 1959); E. G. White, Early Writings, 43-44; M. Gross, Pseudoepilepsy
(Lexington, Massachusetts: Health, 1983); R. J. Cohen and C. Suter, "Hysterical
Seizures: Suggestion as a Provocative EEG Test,- Annals of Neurology 11
(1982):391-395; L. A. Hurst and V. M. Neppe, "A Familial Study of Subjective Paranormal
Experience in Temporal Lobe Dysfunction Subjects," Parapsychological Journal of
South Africa 2 (1981):56-64; S. Krippner, "Dreams and Other Altered Conscious
Stages," Parapsychological Journal of South Africa 2 (1981):35-55; A. M. Moffett
and D. F. Scott, "Hysterical Attacks in Patients with Epilepsy," in D. F. Rose,
Research in Progress in Epilepsy (Bath: Pitman, 1983), 210-213.
206. Collegiate Quarterly (Boise, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing
Association, July-September 1984), 102.
207. Paul B. Ricchiuti, Ellen (Mountain View; California: Pacific
Press Publishing Association, 1977), 112-113, 135-139.
208. E. G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, California:
Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1890) 108-109; idem, Spiritual Gifts 3:79-83;
209. M. Couperus, "The Bible Conference of 1919," Spectrum 10 no. 1
210. Loughborough, Rise and Progress of Seventh-day Adventism 127.