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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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#137, #138, & #139: "Faithful sisters struggled with the cumbersome dress, until Ellen White quietly stopped wearing hers some years later, with no explanation given."—Dan Snyder.

#137: Faithful sisters struggled. False. The dress was eventually dropped because:

  1. Many "faithful" sisters wouldn't quit pushing the matter on people (see #128).
  2. Other "faithful" sisters wouldn't quit complaining.
  3. Other "faithful" sisters wouldn't use good taste in preparing the dress.

What was it about the reform dress that caused so much complaining? There were two principal reasons:

"Oh! it looks so to see women with pants!" . . .

It is true that this style of dress exposes the feet. And why should woman be ashamed of her well-clad feet any more than men are of theirs? It is of no use for her to try to conceal the fact that she has feet. This was a settled fact long before the use of trailing skirts.—Health Reformer, May 1, 1872.

So some didn't like the reform dress because then women would be wearing pants, something quite commonplace today. Also, they didn't like it because being able to see women's shoes was considered immodest. We've come a long ways since then. In fact, we've come too far, for there isn't a whole lot left unexposed in today's society.

And so the "faithful" sisters complained:

Some who wore the dress sighed over it as a heavy burden. The language of their hearts was: "Anything but this. . . ." Murmuring and complaining were fast destroying vital godliness.—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 637.

Then we have the "faithful" sisters who lacked good taste when making the dress:

In some places there is great opposition to the short dress. But when I see some dresses worn by the sisters, I do not wonder that people are disgusted and condemn the dress. . . . There is certainly nothing in these dresses manifesting taste or order. Such a dress would not recommend itself to the good judgment of sensible-minded persons. In every sense of the word it is a deformed dress.—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 521, 522.

#138: The dress was cumbersome. No it was not. See #133-#136.

#139: Mrs. White gave no explanation for stopping wearing hers. To the contrary, she explained it well:

In preparing my wardrobe, both long and short dresses were made. Of the former, there were one or two for travelling, and to appear in before those who are ignorant of our faith and of dress reform, whose minds are balancing in favor of the truth. We do not wish to bring before such hearers any question that is not vital, to divert their minds from the great and important subject, for Satan takes advantage of everything that can possibly be used to divert and distract minds.

I had explained all this fully. But notwithstanding all this, my sisters were so weak they could not appreciate my motives, and were too glad of a pretext to lay aside the reform dress making my example their excuse. I had felt that, for me, discretion was highly essential while laboring in California, for the salvation of souls. With Paul, I could say I became all things to all if by any means I might save some. I did not do anything secretly. I frankly gave my reasons. But unsanctified hearts which had long galled and chafed under the cross of dress reform, now took occasion to make a bold push and throw off the reform dress. They have taken advantage of my necessity to misinterpret my words, my actions, and motives.

My position upon health and dress reform is unchanged. I have been shown that God gave the dress reform to our sisters as a blessing, but some have turned it into a curse, making the dress question a subject of talk and of thought, while they neglected the internal work, the adorning of their souls by personal piety. Some have thought religion consisted in wearing the reform dress, while their spirits were unsubdued by grace. They were jealous and fault finding, watching and criticizing the dress of others, and in this neglected their own souls and lost their piety.

If the dress reform is thus turned to a curse, God would remove it from us. God bestowed blessings upon ancient Israel and withdrew them again because those blessings were despised and became a cause of murmuring and complaint.—Pamphlet 104, pp. 10-12, italics added except "for me."

How could she have been more plain? She fully explained why she temporarily stopped wearing the reform dress. But as it is now, so it was then: Many wanted to misconstrue her motives and ignore her explanation. [p. 92]

A Response to the Video

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