Adventist Online

Ellen White and other Early Adventist borrowed their ideology about health from this Preacher. Unfortunately; he is unknown to most Adventist.  Most of his ideas about health are reflected in Ellen Whites guidance on health.

USA: 19th Century
Sylvester Graham (1795-1851)

IVU on Facebook:

Inventor of graham flour and the graham cracker

Sylvester Graham was an American Presbyterian minister (ordained in 1826) who preached on temperance and stressed whole-wheat flour and vegetarian diets. He was known for his graham crackers. His Graham Journal of Health and Longevity preached his principles of good health. He compared people physiologically to orangutans, and concluded that vegetarian food was natural for both primates.

Graham had many devoted followers, known as Grahamites, who slavishly followed his principles, which included temperance, sexual restraint, and baths, in addition to vegetarianism. He was so famous that his lectures on proper living were attended by thousands, and he was able to hold his audiences spellbound. He had many disciples who also worked diligently to further the vegetarian cause. When the British Vegetarian Society was founded in 1847, he helped found a similar group in America (see American Vegetarian Society ).
- Richard Schwartz

See also:
The Vegetarian


In 1831 and 1832, at the invitation of New York's temperance leadership, Philadelphia activist Sylvester Graham delivered lectures on the relationship between diet and disease. New Yorkers, Graham argued, had been fatally weakened in their ability to resist epidemics by the improper eating habits spawned by big-city life. Graham opposed the use of stimulants--not only liquor, wine, and cider but tea, coffee, and tobacco too. He advocated vegetarianism. He denounced urban bakers who used 'refined' flour--stripped of husks and dark oleaginous germ and whitened with 'chemical agents'--because it baked more quickly than traditional bread, even though the result was an almost crustless loaf without granular texture or nutritional value. He railed, too, against marketplace milk, much of which came from cows fed on leftover distillery mash (swill), with the anemic, liquor-inflected product made presentable by the addition of chalk, plaster of Paris, and molasses.
from Burrows, Edwin G. and Mike Wallace, _Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898_; New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999

Views: 776

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

With a little digging it is easy to discover where Ellen White gleaned the health message. I wonder if anyone finds it disingenuous for some SDA to indicate that the message was given via vision.

Leon, I found this information some time ago. Ellen White embraced the ideas of vegetarianism presented by the British and American Vegetarian Society and introduced it into the Church. Nothing is wrong with that, but it’s not presented to its member in that light.

You are correct Gene it is presented in a very different light. It has become doctrine to many Adventist who are taught that it originated with Ellen White via Gods message. Many churches treat it as doctrine with conservative churches making adherence to it a test for serving in the Church.



Graham was not the only one with the health message. There were several contemporary's to Ellen White, including Joseph Smith, Joseph Bates, John Wesley, Mary Backer Eddy and others. We were taught about them in Adventist college.

The consensus among  some of the students was, " how wonderful that God would give the only true message to Ellen White for the enlightenment of the SDA church."

Ellen White was a "late-comer" to health reform. She did not receive her first "vision" on health reform until 1863, a full 30 years after Prophet Joseph Smith's vision. While Mrs. White was still feasting on pork in the early 1850s the health reform movement was in full swing in America. Health and temperance lecturers traveled throughout the country, speaking in churches and halls, promoting the vegetarian diet, and warning against alcohol, tobacco, and corsets. A full decade before Mrs. White received her "vision" on health reform, all the major tenets of her health teachings were being taught by nationally-known non-Adventist Christian health crusaders.

Keith I say, the church is responsible of its creation of this monster, for what I don’t know.  I’m perfectly ok with them say we learned this, and think it is a good way of living. I agree it is a good health lifestyle, but that’s all.  There were many cultures and other religious groups that were and are vegetarians, Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian.

Where is he on clean meats?

So out of the three Leon, Gene, and Mr Mack who is a vegetarian. Why?  If you hate EG White so much why would you follow the health message she stole according to this thread? Hilter was vegan, so. Hindu's are vegetarian. 


I for one don't hate Ellen White. I don't like the way the church has treated the massage over the years, almost making it a salvation message rather than a health message. I love vegetarians food, but I'm not a strict vegetarian.

I object to the  way the church often makes it seem as though SDA were the first to have the message, and that it was a direct message given exclusively to us.

Why does the word hate come up. so often. To disagree dose not mean to hate.

Why does the word hate come up. so often. To disagree dose not mean to hate.

I am sorry I agree with you on this. To disagree does not mean to hate. The culture does rub off with these terms.  I am not a strict vegetarian either. I just do not see the point of bashing on EG White.  It does get old.  It would be interesting to discuss the dissatisfaction you and others seem to have rather than the finer points of EG White. 


I am not bashing Ellen White. I am presenting the truth, rather than the mythological presentation often provided by the church. Many members want Ellen White to be in an elevated status because she is the foundation of their faith. This is a serious error and leads them away from Christ. Strict Ellen Whiteians are not trying to be Christians, they are trying to create a God on earth which is akin to idolatry.



It does seems like the prominence of Ellen White has over shadowed the growth we are to grow into; grow in grace an in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is not her doing, it’s the church doing, and it needs to be corrected.  


I appreciate that you were able to man up with Keith and say you were wrong for using the word hate in suggesting we all hate EGW because we may have a differences. I tend to look at things objectively, not that I always have, but as I have sought to understand, or to separate facts from fiction.

Unless Ellen White was the first vegetarian she received this lifestyle from somewhere. I can’t attest to her vision, therefore my approach is to understand what I’ve heard over the years is more logical.  As Leon mention, it doesn’t take an in depth study to find that these ideas were received from folk who were vegetarians, and in turn she brought them into the Church.  God works through other people in our lives, and in this case I believe this is how the Church got this understanding. I do agree she says some things concerning the eating of meat that is very prudent, but that’s about all I can honestly say. Here’s an article and some excerpts:

Maine woman founded church, converted followers to vegetarianism

Gorham-native Ellen G. White became a major influence on health-conscious eating in the 19th century.

… White’s two major visionary messages(?) about health came in 1863 and 1865, causing her to promote the benefits of a vegetarian diet. But since she lived in 19th-century America, where vegetarian food was scarce, and she admitted to a personal fondness for meat, White didn’t “become a strict vegetarian until 1894,” Levterov said, “although her habitual practice after 1863 was to avoid eating meat.”

White became a full-time vegetarian in 1894 while at a church meeting in Australia, Levterov continued.

“She was approached by a Catholic woman,” Levterov said, “who prompted her to think about the cruelty towards animals killed for meat.” He added, “Ellen White’s major arguments for vegetarian diet were usually connected to its health benefits. But her decision to become a strict vegetarian came as a result of ethical concerns.”

Pastor Rick Kuntz of the Auburn Seventh-day Adventist Church said White was a sought-after speaker on a variety of topics, including health. “She would lecture to crowds as big as 20,000,” Kuntz said.

In “Vegetarian America: A History,” Karen and Michael Iacobbo write that White “became world renowned after she and her spouse founded a new Christian religion – the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which encouraged its members to become vegetarians.


Site Sponsors


Adventist Single?
Meet other Single
Adventists here:
Join Free

USA members:

Support AO by
using this link:


© 2020   Created by Clark P.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service