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A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church

by Bob Pickle

Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and

Discern Fact from Fiction

Health Counsel, Wigs, and the Reform Dress

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#128 & #129: "Women were not immune from Ellen G. White's health advice either, and she further controlled her female followers by issuing directives on their hairstyles and manner of dress. Speaking of wigs and other hair pieces she said, 'The artificial hair and pads covering the base of the brain, heat and excite the spinal nerves centering in the brain... in consequence... many have lost their reason and become hopelessly insane, by following this deforming fashion. Yet the slaves to fashion will continue to thus dress their heads, and suffer horrible disease and premature death...' The Health Reformer October 1, 1871."—Dan Snyder.

#128: She controlled her female followers with directives. Mrs. White did not issue "directives" on dress, nor did she try to control her "followers." Hear what she says regarding the reform dress, dealt with under #131 ff.:

Some who adopted the reform were not content to show by example the advantages of the dress, giving, when asked, their reasons for adopting it, and letting the matter rest there. They sought to control others' conscience by their own. If they wore it, others must put it on. They forgot that none were to be compelled to wear the reform dress.

It was not my duty to urge the subject upon my sisters. After presenting it before them as it had been shown me, I left them to their own conscience. . . .

Some were greatly troubled because I did not make the dress a test question, and still others because I advised those who had unbelieving husbands or children not to adopt the reform dress, as it might lead to unhappiness that would counteract all the good to be derived from its use.—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, pp. 636, 637.

So others issued directives, but Mrs. White did not. Once again she has been charged with the very extremism she sought to counter.

#129: She was against wigs. Her statement has nothing to do with what we call wigs. There is not a single usage of the word "wig" or "wigs" in all her published and released writings.

Notice how the quote used by the video refers to something "deforming" that creates "heat." The context reveals even more clearly what she was talking about:

Fashion loads the heads of women with artificial braids and pads, which do not add to their beauty, but give an unnatural shape to the head. The hair is strained and forced into unnatural positions, and it is not possible for the heads of these fashionable ladies to be comfortable. The artificial hair and pads covering the base of the brain, heat and excite the spinal nerves centering in the brain. The head should ever be kept cool. The heat caused by these artificials induces the blood to the brain. . . .

The unnatural heat caused by these artificial deformities about the head, induces the blood to the brain, producing congestion, and causing the natural hair to fall off, producing baldness.—italics added.

The White Estate posted the following at their web site (www.whiteestate.org):

In the context of today's comfortable wigs, critics [p. 89] tend to ridicule this statement. But Mrs. White was referring to an entirely different product. The wigs she described were "monstrous bunches of curled hair, cotton, seagrass, wool, Spanish moss, and other multitudinous abominations." [The Health Reformer, July 1867.] One woman said that her chignon generated "an unnatural degree of heat in the back part of the head" and produced "a distracting headache just as long as it was worn."

Another Health Reformer article (quoting from the Marshall Statesman and the Springfield Republican) described the perils of wearing "jute switches"—wigs made from dark, fibrous bark. Apparently these switches were often infested with "jute bugs," small insects that burrowed under the scalp. One woman reported that her head became raw, and her hair began to fall out. Her entire scalp "was perforated with the burrowing parasites." "The lady . . . is represented as nearly crazy from the terrible suffering, and from the prospect of the horrible death which physicians do not seem able to avert." [Ibid., January 1871.]

So Mrs. White was not condemning the use of a simple wig. But please, leave those jute switches alone. You might go crazy!

A Response to the Video

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