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Ellen Harmon WhiteAmerican Prophet$
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Terrie Dopp Aamodt, Gary Land, and Ronald L. Numbers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199373857

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199373857.001.0001

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Science and Medicine

Science and Medicine

(p.196) 11 Science and Medicine
Ellen Harmon White

Ronald L. Numbers

Rennie B. Schoepflin

Oxford University Press

Although she had earlier shown interest in aspects of health reform, Ellen White became an advocate after an 1863 vision, which reflected the ideas of contemporary reformers. Until about 1870, she emphasized sexual behavior, particularly masturbation, afterward turning her attention to vegetarianism, which gained ascendency in her Adventist community in the 1890s, and other subjects. As a teenager she had rejected the notion of a separate soul and as an adult wrote of a highly relational definition of mind and body, incorporating faculty psychology and elements of phrenology. She rejected Mesmerism, Christian Science, and other spiritual/mental movements of the time. She also responded to evolutionary theory, endorsing a seven-day creation and Noah’s flood, unintentionally providing inspiration for late twentieth-century “creationism.” The chapter concludes that Ellen White was among the most influential health reformers.

Keywords:   Ellen White, health reform, sex, vegetarianism, mind/body, faculty psychology, phrenology, creationism

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