Ellen G. White Writings

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Ellen White: Woman of Vision, Page 15

About The Author

Arthur Lacey White, one of seven grandchildren of James and Ellen White, was born to William C. (Willie) and Ethel May White on October 7, 1907. He grew up in picturesque Pratt Valley, just below the St. Helena Sanitarium in northern California. This small valley cradled the W. C. White home; Elmshaven, the home of Ellen White; and several others. Arthur attended the nearby 10-grade church school and then continued his education at Pacific Union College. He received a certificate in business administration in 1928 and that same year was united in marriage with a classmate, Frieda Belle Swingle. The newlyweds moved to Madison College in Tennessee, he to serve as assistant accountant and she as secretary to college and hospital personnel.

The following year Arthur was called to the office of the Ellen G. White Estate at Elmshaven to serve as accountant and general assistant to his 74-year-old father. The latter, one of five church leaders appointed by Ellen White in her will to administer her estate, was secretary of the board of trustees when Arthur joined him in 1929. During the next nine years Arthur was given increasing responsibilities, and in 1933 he was appointed assistant secretary of the board. Shortly after the death of W. C. White at the age of 83, in late 1937, Arthur was elected as a life member of the board and secretary of the estate, a position he held for 41 years.

On the death of his father, in harmony with plans of long standing, Arthur supervised the transfer of the office and E. G. White files to the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Washington, D.C. Principal tasks included working with the world field in the development of the available Spirit of Prophecy literature and assembling E. G. White materials for publication, in compilations such as Evangelism, The Adventist Home, and Selected Messages, climaxed by the three-volume Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White.

With the development of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Arthur White was drawn into a teaching program in Washington, Berrien Springs, and overseas. He taught in 13 overseas Seminary Extension Schools. As secretary of the White Estate he also wrote many periodical articles and produced substantial monographs dealing with various matters relating to Ellen White and her teachings. In 1973 Andrews University conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.

In 1966 the White Estate board of trustees, in counsel with the General Conference officers, asked Elder White to author a definitive biography of Ellen White. Hesitant because of his personal relationship to the subject of the biography, but conditioned by his stance taken early in his ministry that he would relate to Ellen White as would any other loyal Seventh-day Adventist, viewing her as “Sister White” and not as “my grandmother,” he accepted the assignment. In 1978 he resigned as secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate to devote his energies almost exclusively to the biography project. Adhering to a careful schedule, he produced one volume each year—six in all—doing his work largely in his study at home, where he could give undivided attention to research and writing while at the same time maintaining easy access to the rich sources in the White Estate vault.

With this monumental task completed, Arthur and Frieda White moved to their retirement home at Deer Park, California, with its garden, orchard, and workshop situated on the crest of the hill above the St. Helena Health Center and the Pratt Valley, where Arthur was born. Six years later, on January 12, 1991, he died at the age of 83.

The Publishers

Chapter 1—The Time Was Right

In 1837 a traumatic event occurred in the life of a small girl in Portland, Maine. This event eventually would have far-reaching consequences in all parts of the world. In 1837 the groundswell of expectation that Christ would come in 1844 was moving toward a crisis. In 1837 appointments for lectures in Vermont alone filled many pages in William Miller's memorandum book.

In 1837 the United States was struck by a depression. Robert Harmon, a hatmaker and father of eight, the youngest being his 9-year-old twins, Ellen and Elizabeth, had moved his family from the rural farm in Gorham, Maine, to the city of Portland, where he thought to find a better market for hats. But even the hat business had been affected. So one day in the winter of 1837-1838 he decided to take his supply of hats to Georgia in hope of a more ready sale. Doubtless there was an air of excitement in the family the night before he was to leave, as they helped wrap the hats and place them in a large leather bag.

In imagination we can see the whole family following the father to the stage depot early the next morning. Together they walked the dirt paths near their home, and then on the wooden sidewalks down to the old “Elm House” to catch the western stage for Boston and points south.

As Robert Harmon placed his hat box on top of the stage, he climbed in and turned to wave goodbye. Lovingly he looked at the cheerful, well-formed features of Ellen's face. The next time he was to see his precious daughter she would be much changed.

It was mid-afternoon. Ellen and Elizabeth, with a classmate, were crossing a park when they noticed that an older girl who also attended Portland's Brackett Street School was following them. Carrying a stone, she shouted some angry words. The Harmon children had been taught never to retaliate, so they ran toward home.

As they ran, Ellen turned to see how far behind them the girl was. When she turned, the stone hit her directly in the face. She fell to the ground unconscious, blood streaming from her nose and staining her clothes. Someone gave her first aid in a nearby store. Then a customer, a total stranger, offered to take

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