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

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    The Wedding

    We would like to picture in our minds James White, 25 years of age, and his bride, Ellen Harmon, 18, with a bouquet in hand, standing in a little white New England chapel surrounded by parents, brothers, sisters, and close friends, as they listened to appropriate admonitions and exchanged their wedding vows. But it was not so.1BIO 112.1

    Sometime on Sunday, August 30, James Springer White and Miss Ellen Gould Harmon stood before Charles Harding, justice of the peace, in Portland, Maine, and were married. The marriage certificate, preserved through the years, is just a small slip of paper carrying a brief form and the signature of the one who officiated. While both recognized the importance of the event, they could not, with their concept of the imminent Second Advent, foresee that this was the beginning of thirty-five years of united lives laboring incessantly in building up the cause of God.1BIO 112.2

    Of their experience James White later wrote:1BIO 112.3

    We were married August 30, 1846, and from that hour to the present she has been my crown of rejoicing.... It has been in the good providence of God that both of us had enjoyed a deep experience in the Advent movement.... This experience was now needed as we should join our forces and, united, labor extensively from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific....

    We entered upon this work penniless, with few friends, and broken in health. Mrs. White has suffered ill health from a child, ... and although I had inherited a powerful constitution, imprudence in study at school, and in lecturing ... had made me a dyspeptic.1BIO 112.4

    In this condition, without means, with very few who sympathized with us in our views, without a paper, and without books, we entered upon our work. We had no houses of worship at that time, and the idea of using a tent had not then occurred to us. Most of our meetings were held in private houses. Our congregations were small. It was seldom that any came into our meetings, excepting Adventists, unless they were attracted by curiosity to hear a woman speak.—Ibid., 126, 127.1BIO 112.5

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