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Happy Birthday and Thank You, Ellen!

We’re really glad you were born, because if it hadn’t been for you—if you hadn’t been what you were—we wouldn’t be what we are.

You had a special role in our community of faith, but in many ways you were a lot like us. You belonged to your time and place. You had a birth family, and after you were married you had your own family—for better and for worse (I suspect that being the wife of James Springer White wasn’t a bowl of cherries).

You knew what some of your recent admirers seem to have forgotten—that you weren’t omniscient or infallible, and didn’t have the last word on every subject.

But you taught us a lot—about the purpose of prayer (“Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him”);[1] about the nature of God (“God is love” begins and ends your five-volume description of the “Conflict of the Ages”);[2] about faith and evidence (“God never asks us to believe without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith”);[3] about personal integrity (“The greatest want of the world” is for people “who will stand for the right though the heavens fall”);[4] and about the continuing need to learn (“There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of scripture are without an error”)[5].

So, on this 181st anniversary of your arrival in our world on November 26, 1827, we want to say, “Happy Birthday, Ellen — and thank you for being you.

[1] Steps to Christ (1892), p. 93.

[2] Patriarchs and Prophets (1890), p. 33; The Great Controversy (1911), p. 678.

[3] Steps to Christ, p. 105.

[4] Education (1903), p. 57.

[5] “Christ Our Hope,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Dec. 20, 1892, p. 785.

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