Ellen G. White Writings

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Study Guide: Counsels on Health, Page 3

Note

Please read this statement before using this Study Guide.

It will help to provide a setting for some of the counsel found in Counsels on Health.

Near the middle of her seventy years of prophetic ministry to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ellen White made a significant statement of her understanding of the work she had been given by the Lord. Recognizing changing times and circumstances, she spoke of both the Bible and her writings as laying down principles by which to live:

“The word of God abounds in general principles for the formation of correct habits of living, and the testimonies, general and personal, have been calculated to call . . . attention more especially to these principles.”-- Testimonies for the Church, Volume 4, page 323.

In some areas of counsel in this book current application of some of the details cannot always be made. At the same time, the principles continue to be timeless and valid. Three areas especially need some explanation.

First, the “sanitariums” Ellen White refers to were long-term-care institutions, somewhat like present-day health spas. We should not attempt, therefore, to apply all the counsel in this book about sanitariums to acute-care hospitals, which are more common among Seventh-day Adventists today. In our hospitals, for example, the length of stay for patients is generally only a few days, often determined by insurance limitations, consequently there are no opportunities to grow gardens, engage in long-term classes on health, or give patients time to spend out-of-doors during their brief stay. This does not mean, however, that such sanitariums should not be established, nor that our present-day hospitals cannot provide information on keeping well, which most of them attempt to do. See Sections V and VI, especially.

Second, counsel for physicians, nurses, and helpers, will have to be considered in light of the fact that few of our hospitals are staffed exclusively by Adventist personnel. Non-Adventist staff would obviously be unable to do what is suggested in many cases. See Section VIII, especially.

Third, the term “medical missionary work,” frequently mentioned, included going to homes to give “treatments.” Most of these treatments can no longer be given by a visiting “medical missionary” nurse or other worker because present-day laws will not allow such care. As in the two areas already mentioned, we must work within the framework of prevailing social and legal limitations. See Section XI especially.

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