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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    The Author's Aims and Objectives

    The author has had before him as aims and objectives: 1. To write for the average reader, but in such detail and with such documentation as will meet the expectations of the scholar.1BIO 10.7

    2. To leave the reader with the feeling that he or she is Acquainted with Ellen White as a very human person.1BIO 10.8

    3. To portray accurately her life and work as the Lord's messenger in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, not by a slavish chronicle of each day of her active ministry, but by a selection from her experience of events and happenings that illustrate her lifework and make a contribution to the cause.1BIO 11.1

    4. As far as possible, to keep these events in a year-by-year development, picturing her home life, her travels, her weaknesses and strengths, her burden of heart, and her earnest devotional life.1BIO 11.2

    5. To select and present in detail, significant events, two or three in a given year, that best illustrate her prophetic mission, depicting the interplay between the prophet and church leaders, institutions, and individuals, and recounting the sending of testimonies and the response to these messages.1BIO 11.3

    6. To provide a knowledge of the principal points of the history of the church in a unique way as it is seen especially through the eyes of, or in relation to, the messenger of the lord.1BIO 11.4

    7. To make the work not only an interesting narrative but to provide a selection of illustrative experiences with which the reader may at times vicariously associate himself.1BIO 11.5

    8. To keep constantly before the reader the major role the visions played in almost every phase of the experiences comprising the narrative.1BIO 11.6

    9. Where convenient to the purposes of the manuscript, to let Ellen White speak in her own words, rather than providing a paraphrase. This ensures an accurate conveyance of the unique and fine points of the messages in the very expressions of the prophetic messenger herself. Thus, many important statements are provided in a form that will be of value to all readers.1BIO 11.7

    10. To provide a documented running account of the literary work done both by Ellen White and her literary assistants in the production of her articles and books.1BIO 11.8

    11. And in all of this, to present in the narrative, in a natural way, confidence-confirming features.1BIO 11.9

    In dealing with any given era, the pattern of travels and labors is established early by going into detail in narrating certain typical experiences, but as the account continues, much less detail in such features is called for. All through her life, writing almost constantly Called for her attention. Therefore, only occasional reference is made to this dominant feature of her work. Also, she suffered from physical infirmities and she was often in pain, but no attempt is made to keep this fact before the reader.1BIO 11.10

    Mention should be made here of her conversation with the angel in connection with the commission that she should present to others what had been opened up to her. Having observed the experience of some especially favored by God, she feared she might become exalted, but the angel of the Lord responded: “if this evil that you dread threatens you, the hand of God will be stretched out to save you; by affliction he will draw you to himself and preserve your humility.”—1LS, p. 196.1BIO 12.1

    J. N. Loughborough (who was closely associated with Ellen White), addressing the general conference in 1893, referred to this:1BIO 12.2

    [The apostle Paul] tells us that lest he should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to him a thorn in the flesh.... Sister White has also a thorn in the flesh; she has continually had great difficulty with her heart, yet she will not have the brethren pray that she may be relieved of this trouble, for she said it was to remain by her, and to be manifested whenever she was in danger of becoming exalted.—The General Conference Bulletin, 1893, 19.

    Relying momentarily and constantly on God kept her very close to him, and left no place for self-exaltation. We would not be justified, however, in attributing every illness and all discomfort to this cause.1BIO 12.3

    Doubtless there will be some differences of opinion as to the value of some of the details presented. It is the Author's opinion that they make a contribution to reading interest and rather intimate acquaintance with Ellen White.1BIO 12.4

    A task of such proportions as this could not have been accomplished by one person single-handedly within a decade or two. Even before the responsibility fell on the Author's shoulders, members of the White Estate staff were assigned the task of assembling biographical materials and preparing an indispensable card index to biographical data. As the task has been carried forward, members of the working force of the White Estate have Rendered much valuable assistance. Certain of these have been mentioned by name in the opening statements of the particular volumes of which they gave special help.1BIO 12.5

    The sources from which the author has worked are voluminous. They include the Ellen G. White diaries, the tens of thousands of pages of her letters and manuscripts, her many articles as they have appeared in the Review and Herald and Signs of the Times and other journals, her books and pamphlets, the correspondence she and her office received through the years, and letters and historical articles in the White Estate document file. Also, for general historical backgrounds, the Review and Herald in its entirety1BIO 13.1

    The reader will find in the pages of this biography a great deal of denominational history, but the limitations of space preclude enlarging on points of interest and value in the development of the church. The record has had to be confined to areas where Ellen White in her presence, or through her writings, has had an important bearing. Nor is the author able to introduce, in the space allowed, each and every incident in the life and work of Ellen White, profitable as that may be.1BIO 13.2

    This volume, The Early Years, the first of the series of six, traces her activities through her developing Christian experience, the advent movement and disappointment of 1844, and how she became the recipient of visions. It deals with her place with her husband and Joseph Bates in laying the foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and discloses the vital role the visions had in this development. If in this and the succeeding volumes Ellen White becomes better known as an individual—a wife and mother, a neighbor and friend—as well as the messenger of the lord, laboring tirelessly in the pulpit and on the public platform in declaring God's messages and in counseling often and writing incessantly, with influence felt the world around, the objectives of the author will have been largely met.1BIO 13.3

    Arthur L. White

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