Dear Mr. Fagal; Thank you for your kind response to my question in regards Unclean meats(Ellen White and oysters), I appreciate you taking the time to answer. I very much try to avoid meat, but it is difficult, as I was raised to include this as a part of my diet. I have been back in the church for the last several years, and it has been my goal to abstain from meat, however I have to admit that I have fallen short of my goal, on occasion. I am the only one in my family that tries to be a vegetarian, as my husband and grown children, are not, so you can see my struggle. As I said, this other Adventist lady that I know, told me about Mrs. White and the oyster situation, so I determined to ask you , as I knew that you would know the answer.
I know another devout friend, that tells me she eats some fish, as Jesus ate fish, and she seems to have a need for it. I have been told that if one eats meat, they will not be translated when the Lord comes, but will still be saved.
As you saw in the materials I sent you yesterday, it was 1894 before Mrs. White determined that she would not eat meat under any circumstances. W. C. White described their practice in the time leading up that this change: "We were vegetarians," he said, "but not teetotalers." It sounds to me like this is about where you are. I have no criticism for you or for your friend. This is a personal matter where the Lord will have to bring conviction. I think that is what happened with Mrs. White.
You would probably be interested to read Mrs. White's last address to a General Conference session in regard to health reform. Her concerns are relatively few, and the principles she sets forth are, I think, quite helpful. She does not indicate, for instance, that everyone must stop eating meat. She merely says that in places where a wide variety of other foods is available, meat is not the best diet for God's people. She appeals to ministers to model health reform to others on this issue and on other matters. Arthur L. White, her grandson and for decades the leading authority on her writings, used to say that every church member ought to read this address once a year, and every minister should read it twice a year! It is found in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 153-166.
What about being translated? People ask me about that with some frequency, and here's what I share with them:
I have used your search engines but have not found what I am looking for. I have heard that meat eaters will not be translated to heaven but will have to die first. Can you tell me if this exists and if it does where it is found.
There is no statement from Mrs. White which makes this claim. Some people deduce it (wrongly, I believe) from the following statement, found in Counsels on Diet and Foods, pp. 380, 381:
(1890) C.T.B.H. 119 651. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it. I cannot think that in the practice of flesh eating we are in harmony with the light which God has been pleased to give us. All who are connected with our health institutions especially should be educating themselves to subsist on fruits, grains, and vegetables. If we move from principle in these things, if we as Christian reformers educate our own taste, and bring our diet to God's plan, then we may exert an influence upon others in this matter, which will be pleasing to God.
You will notice the lack of any assertion that those who are eating meat will have to die before Jesus comes. Rather, I believe, Mrs. White is saying that those preparing for translation will want to know what their Father's will is, and it will be their aim to fashion their lives after His design. This emphasis is a little clearer in another place where some of the same material appears, but with an additional sentence of context before it:
Counsels on Health, p. 450:
Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design--that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it. . . .
Still, Mrs. White did not seem to believe that this would hold in every part of the world. In an appearance before the last General Conference session she would ever attend, she outlined her views on health reform. You can find it in Testimonies for the Church, vol 9, pp. 153-166. Arthur L. White used to say that every Adventist church member should read that chapter once a year, and every Adventist pastor should read it twice a year. In that chapter are these words (p. 159):
We do not mark out any precise line to be followed in diet; but we do say that in countries where there are fruits, grains, and nuts in abundance, flesh food is not the right food for God's people. I have been instructed that flesh food has a tendency to animalize the nature, to rob men and women of that love and sympathy which they should feel for everyone, and to give the lower passions control over the higher powers of the being. If meat eating was ever healthful, it is not safe now. Cancers, tumors, and pulmonary diseases are largely caused by meat eating.
Clearly, Mrs. White believed that the advisability of adopting the meatless diet was dependent to some extent on the conditions in the country one was living in.
I am a lifelong vegetarian, so I am not looking for excuses for my own behavior in this matter. I want to be fair and accurate with Mrs. White and with the Lord. And I can't help but observe that Jesus Himself, shortly before His translation, cooked a meal for His disciples (and presumably ate of it Himself) which consisted partly of fish (Jn 21:12-14). In light of these things, I believe Mrs. White's views do not harmonize with the kinds of statements we sometimes hear attributed to her about meat eating and translation. Rather, she urged us to seek to know and to follow the will of God with a heart that is quick to please Him. If we will do that, I believe we will do the right thing, and for the right reason.
I guess I need to study the testimonies more, but it seems that when I
try to read them, I feel that I see myself on every page, and that it will be practically impossible for me to reach the standard that I see in the pages. I do read the books such as Desire of Ages, etc. (even though I know nothing is impossible with God) Guess I need to seek God more in this regard.
Read what you feel you can for now. God is good, and as you draw nearer to Him through such books as The Desire of Ages, He will continue to mold your life more and more into His likeness. The time will come when you will sense a desire to explore those other books. God is "able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy"! (Jude 24). Trust in Him, then, and not to anything that you can do on your own.
However, Again, I appreciate your response to my email to you, and I
will be certain to show the lady that told me about the oysters... thank you and God Bless...___________
Thank you for writing back and sharing with me a little of your own experience. May God richly bless and guide you as you walk with Him.
William Fagal, Director
Ellen G. White Estate Branch Office
Berrien Springs, MI 49104-1400 USA
Phone: 616 471-3209
FAX: 616 471-6166
Website: www.WhiteEstate.org or www.egwestate.andrews.edu