(WARNING: The following material contains commentary on sexual matters. It is intended for adult readers.)
The quotations from the writings of Ellen G White (EGW) in this section are excerpts from a collection of material at:
"Fashion loads the heads of women with artificial braids and pads [wigs] , which do not add to their beauty, but give an unnatural shape to the head. The hair is strained and forced into unnatural positions, and it is not possible for the heads of these fashionable ladies to be comfortable. The artificial hair and pads covering the base of the brain, heat and excite the spinal nerves centering in the brain. The head should ever be kept cool. The heat caused by these artificials induces the blood to the brain. The action of the blood upon the lower or animal organs of the brain, causes unnatural activity, tends to recklessness in morals, and the mind and heart is in danger of being corrupted. As the animal organs are excited and strengthened, the moral are enfeebled. The moral and intellectual powers of the mind become servants to the animal." (EGW in The Health Reformer, October 1, 1871. Emphasis supplied.)
"Solitary Vice" or "Self Abuse"
The first document EGW wrote on "health reform" after her famous "Health Reform Vision" in Otsego MI in 1863 was a small book called "A Solemn Appeal" (also sometimes titled "Appeal to Mothers"). The specific topic of this material is the dangers of "solitary vice", the Victorian era term for masturbation.
"The state of our world was presented before me, and my attention was especially called to the youth of our time. Everywhere I looked, I saw imbecility, dwarfed forms, crippled limbs, misshapen heads, and deformity of every description. Sins and crimes, and the violation of nature's laws, were shown me as the causes of this accumulation of human woe and suffering. I saw such degradation and vile practices, such defiance of God, and I heard such words of blasphemy, that my soul sickened. From what was shown me, a large share of the youth now living are worthless." (An Appeal to Mothers pg.17)
Children who practice self-
"Females possess less vital force than the other sex, and are deprived very much
of the bracing, invigorating air, by their in-
"It is not the taxation of study alone that was doing the work of injury to your
children, but that their own wrong habits were sapping the brain, and robbing the
entire body of vital energy. The nervous system was becoming shattered by being often
excited and thus laying the foundation for premature and certain decay. Self -
"The minds of some of these children are so weakened that they have but one half
or one third of the brilliancy of intellect that they might have had, had they been
virtuous and pure. They have thrown it away in self-
They do not see that God requires them to control their married lives from any excesses. But very few feel it to be a religious duty to govern their passions. They have united themselves in marriage to the object of their choice, and therefore reason that marriage sanctifies 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. (Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 472)
Sexual excess will effectually destroy a love for devotional exercises, will take
from the brain the substance needed to nourish the system, and will most effectively
exhaust the vitality. No woman should aid her husband in this work of self-
It is not pure, holy love which leads the wife to gratify the animal propensities
of her husband at the expense of health and life. If she possesses true love and
wisdom, she will seek to divert his mind from the gratification of lustful passions
to high and spiritual themes by dwelling upon interesting spiritual subjects. It
may be necessary to humbly and affectionately urge, even at the risk of his displeasure,
that she cannot debase her body by yielding to sexual excess. She should, in a tender,
kind manner, remind him that God has the first and highest claim upon her entire
being, and that she cannot disregard this claim, for she will be held accountable
in the great day of God. (Adventist Home, pp. 124-
("Sexual excess" within the marriage relationship is defined elsewhere in health literature approved by EGW as more than about once a week.)
Acquired Health Characteristics Inherited
By lacing [use of corsets to tightly pull in the waistline, popular in the 1800s
and early 1900s], the internal organs of women are crowded out of their positions.
There is scarcely a woman that is thoroughly healthy. The majority of women have
numerous ailments. Many are troubled with weaknesses of most distressing nature.
These fashionably dressed women cannot transmit good constitutions to their children.
Some women have naturally small waists. But rather than regard such forms as beautiful,
they should be viewed as defective. These wasp waists may have been transmitted to
them from their mothers, as the result of their indulgence in the sinful practice
'But my waist is naturally slender,' says one woman. She means that she has inherited small lungs. Her ancestors, more or less of them, compressed their lungs in the same way that we do, and it has become in her case a congenital deformity. (Health Reformer Oct. 31, 1871)
The Stature of People Throughout History
At the first resurrection all come forth in immortal bloom, but at the second, the
marks of the curse are visible upon all. All come up as they went down into their
graves. Those who lived before the flood, come forth with their giant-
Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this Field Guide website
is © 2001-
Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.
Strange Science and Health teachings
of Ellen G White