“… the weakest of the weak…”
Ellen G. White, nee Harmon (1827-1915), is among the least known of the prophet-founders of major American religious movements. The Seventh-day Adventist prophet has received neither the celebrity nor the notoriety of Mormonism’s Joseph Smith, Shakerism’s Ann Lee, or Christian Science’s Mary Baker Eddy. Yet she deserves at least the recognition of these other sect founders. Ill, introverted, and undereducated, White ultimately asserted the most forceful influence on Seventh-day Adventism and ensured it a place among the major American sects. Her long and resourceful career as the Adventist visionary inspired the transformation of a single-minded, other-worldly, Millerite off-shoot into a complex and established denomination with wide-ranging interests in sabbatarianism, eschatology, health reform, temperance, medicine, child nurture, education, and religious liberty. Her legacy includes an impressive global network of sanitariums and hospitals and a vast educational system unparalleled in contemporary Protestantism. Her writings number eighty printed volumes, circulated among an Adventist world membership of over five million.