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This material regarding the writings of Ellen G. White is part of a Field Guide profile on Seventh-dayAdventism. Click here to go to the main page of the SDA profile.


The following is an excerpt from Section 9 of Asmund Kaspersen's short book Ellen G White -- The Myth and the Truth which is available online.


… Shortly before the American Civil War in the years 1861-5, a few radical feminists in America advocated a so-called "reform-dress", consisting of a dress, halfways up to the knees, with loose-fitting pants underneath. Some adventist sisters claimed that such a reform dress was both healthy and sensible, but Ellen White condemned it and took heaven as witness to that, through a testimony,

 "God would not have His people adopt the so-called reform dress. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the modest, humble followers of Christ. ... Those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of woman's rights and the so-called dress reform might as well sever all connection with the third angel's message." (Testimonies, vol 1, p.p. 421-422 (June 1863). Emphasis supplied.)

Here Ellen White claims in no uncertain words that God would not that his people should adopt this reform dress because it was "immodest".

Four years later (1867) Ellen White says in a new testimony, purportedly from heaven,

"Christians should not take pains to make themselves a gazing-stock by dressing differently from the world." (Ibid, p. 458. Emphasis supplied.)

She claims that his people should not adopt the American reform dress and dress differently from the world.

One year later, in September 1864, James and Ellen White visited Dr. James C. Jackson's sanitarium at Dansville, N.Y. During their three weeks stay at this place, they both became fascinated by the health reform principles taught there. One of the physicians at Dr. Jackson's sanitarium, Miss Harriet N. Austin, wore a reform dress which, with small modifications, was similar to the reform dress Ellen White one year previously had claimed that God would not that his people should adopt. Ellen White began wearing Miss Austin's reform dress, and received "visions", testimonies and "revelations" where she claimed that God now wanted his people to adopt this dress,

"God would now have His people adopt the reform dress, not only to distinguish them from the world as His "peculiar people," but because a reform in dress is essential to physical and mental health." (Ibid, p. 525. Emphasis supplied.)

One of the reasons that God now wanted his people to adopt the reform dress - the same dress he previously had condemned - was to distinguish his people from the world and set them apart as his special people. But he had stated previously that his people should not make gazing-stocks of themselves, by dressing differently from the world! These are all absurdities and contradictions, which did not originate from an orderly God. God does not change his mind from day to day.

Ellen White provided paper-patterns which she advertised in the
Review at one dollar each. She also brought these patterns with her wherever she traveled and sold them at the same price. She urged the sisters to buy them, and urged them not to make their own! This was some business going on!

D.M. Canright tells about his own wife, who wore this reform dress,

"I was married at Battle Creek in 1867, to a young sister of nineteen. It was at the height of this short-dress craze. Of course, as a minister's wife, she reluctantly put on the dress and wore it for eight years. So I know all about it. It was a shameful thing, and brought ridicule everywhere. On the street, people would stop and gaze at her and mock. I have seen troops of boys follow her, making fun, till she would step into a store to hide from them. We were both ashamed of it; but God's prophet said it was his will, and we must bear the cross! Here is the warning Mrs. White gave:

'I have done my duty; I have borne my testimony, and those who have heard me and read that which I have written, must bear the responsibility of receiving or rejecting the light given [Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 523.]'." (D.M. Canright, The Life of Mrs. E.G. White, Chap. 19.)

"Christians should not take pains to make themselves a gazing-stock by dressing differently from the world." (Testimonies, vol 1, p. 458. Emphasis supplied.)

God would now have His people adopt the reform dress, not only to distinguish them from the world as His "peculiar people. . ." (ibid, p. 525. Emphasis supplied).

Canright goes on,

"But at length she saw it was a mistake and a failure. So she went away to California and quietly laid it off herself, and never wore it afterward. Of course she was plied with requests for explanations; but she simply refused to give any. She said she had given the light. They could obey it or reject it. That was all! The fact was, she had been misled by Miss Austin, and dared not own it, for she had said it was light from heaven, and had made God responsible for it all." (D.M. Canright, The Life of Mrs. E.G. White, Chap. 19. Emphasis supplied.)

Ellen White says that she received the light, and they (SDA's) could receive it or reject it. Because Ellen White took off her reform dress and never wore it again, she rejected the light from heaven, according to her own words.

Such absurdities and contradictions are the result of claiming heavenly visions as basis for human inventions.



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The "Reform Dress"

Teaching of

Ellen G White