Medical Biography: Ellen Gould Harmon White

Speaker: Categories: Oct 14, 2000

 

[1hr, 16min, 51sec / 53min, 52sec]

ABOUT THE TOPIC:

Have you ever considered what your biography -- or autobiography -- might be like if it were built upon your medical records? How would the readers of such a work perceive you? What if there were aspects of that record which seemed to contradict what you advocated for others of your family or friends? How would the reader know, especially decades after your demise, if the information shared was accurate? If the biographer were a relative, might that influence how readers would accept or question its accuracy.

With such quest ions in mind (and more questions to follow as you read on), Dr. Fred Hoyt's introduction suggests:“ ... by far the most important person in the development of the Seventh-day Adventist church was Ellen Gould Harmon White and . . . any increase in our understanding of her will help us more fully understand our own historical roots, our contemporary church, and perhaps even something of its future.

The written sources for this pursuit of heightened understanding are primarily the six volumes in a remarkable biography by Arthur Lacey White, her grandson, which he disarmingly titled simplyEllen G. White. He wrote this biography between 1978 and 1986, but the volumes were not published in chronological order (volume 5 appeared first and volume 1, for unexplained reasons, appeared next to last).

Dr. Fred Hoyt suggests, somewhat seriously this writer believes, that prior to October 14, readers of this newsletter ought to browse through this impressive work looking for material concerning her health and medical problems. Be alert, Dr. Hoyt continues to counsel, to any patterns and causal relationships. Also note diagnoses for these problems, especially chronic ones. Note also the medical care-givers which she sought and their professional qualifications.

If you have these six volumes on your home library shelves, it's possible that this above prompt will give you just the nudge needed to open the pages of this set and to begin to digest the content found there. If you don't have your personal copies of the above, you might find them in your church library!

Historian Hoyt notes further, perhaps to make us feel less intimidated by such an awesome historical-biographical work, Arthur White provides helpful introductions to each volume. Especially useful is that in the first volume which was published (volume 5). Volume 1 also has a helpful introductory section,'About the Author,'which unfortunately did not appear until the series was almost finished.

Bring your questions and conclusions to the discussion session [October 14],“ Dr. Hoyt offers as an invitation to San Diego Adventist Forum members and attenders.

The session will be a bit different in format, involving two very competent persons as responders who are knowledgeable in the medical field: Dr. Walter Hofmann, a retired psychiatrist of La Jolla, who is a member and frequent attender at Chapter meetings, and Dr. AnnaMae Crowder of Laguna Beach, member and frequent attender at Chapter retreats . Each of these will draw upon his or her knowledge and experience background in commenting on Dr. Hoyt's remarks and conclusions. This should add a nice touch, a bit of variety, and even the perceptions from a female point of view!

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Fred Hoyt earned his B.A. in history and religion at La Sierra, his M.A. in history at Claremont, and his Ph.D. in history at Claremont. Teaching experiences, prior to joining the La Sierra faculty in 1955, included San Pasqual Academy and Pomona Junior Academy. Research interests include American-Philippine history, the USN in Asiatic waters, and Millerite-early SDA history. He has the talent and patience to search rather tirelessly through newspaper/library archives to discover (or uncover) thetruestory!

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