John Howard Weeks
John Howard Weeks is a career journalist and longtime columnist for Southern California’s largest newspaper group. He is author, co-author, or editor of six previous books (Mojave Desert, Inland Empire, San Bernardino Bicentennial, Choice Words, Dream Weavers, and Window Beyond the World, a novel).
He has degrees in English literature from the University of California at Riverside and Birmingham University in England. Except for one year in Europe, he has lived for more than fifty years in or near Loma Linda, California, the health-minded community established in 1905 by his great-great-grandmother, Ellen G. White, founder and prophet of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
He is popularly known as the “Emperor of the Inland Empire”.
Ellen Gould White
Ellen Gould White (née Harmon), (1827-1915) was a prolific author and an American Christian pioneer. Along with other Sabbatarian Adventist leaders such as Joseph Bates and her husband James White, she formed what became known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Smithsonian magazine named Ellen G. White among “100 Most Significant American Figures” in an acknowledgement of her influence on religion.
White reported her visionary experiences to her fellow believers. James White and others of the Adventist pioneers viewed these experiences as the Biblical gift of prophecy as outlined in Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 19:10 which describe the testimony of Jesus as the “spirit of prophecy.” Her Conflict of the Ages series of writings endeavor to showcase the hand of God in Biblical history and in church history. This cosmic conflict, referred to by Seventh-day Adventist theologians as the “Great Controversy theme,” became foundational to the development of Seventh-day Adventist theology. Her book on successful Christian living, Steps to Christ, has been published in more than 140 languages.
White was considered a somewhat controversial figure by her critics, with much of the controversy centering on her reports of visionary experiences and on the use of other sources in her writings. She experienced her first vision soon after the Millerite Great Disappointment of 1844. Historian Randall Balmer has described White as “one of the more important and colorful figures in the history of American religion”. Walter Martin described her as “one of the most fascinating and controversial personages ever to appear upon the horizon of religious history.” Arthur L. White, her grandson and biographer, writes that Ellen G. White is the most translated female non-fiction author in the history of literature, as well as the most translated American non-fiction author of either gender. Her writings covered a broad range of subjects, including religion, social relationships, prophecy, publishing, nutrition, creationism, agriculture, theology, evangelism, Christian lifestyle, education and health.
White advocated vegetarianism. She promoted and was instrumental in the establishment of schools and medical centers. During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books. More than 100 White titles are available in English, including compilations from her 100,000 pages of manuscript. Some of her other notable books include The Desire of Ages and The Great Controversy.
White’s great-great-grandson, John Howard Weeks, is the author of “The Healthiest People on Earth.”
Seventh-day Adventist Church
What Are Seventh-day Adventists, Anyway?
The new book “The Healthiest People on Earth” talks a lot about the Seventh-day Adventists, but only in the context of their unique lifestyle and longevity, not their religious practices. The author has been careful to leave religion out of the discussion, to avoid distractions from the book’s important health message.
However, he has discovered that many readers of the book become curious about the belief system of the 20 million Adventists worldwide. In an effort to satisfy this interest, here is a brief summary of Adventist theology, adapted from the denomination’s official literature. It is presented here only to inform, not to advocate. Those who wish to study further will find much additional information on the church’s global website, www.adventist.org.
What Adventists Believe
Adventists embrace Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and attempt to emulate His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the Church. They also feel called to follow Christ’s example by compassionately ministering to the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of humanity.
Adventists believe the Bible is the literal and infallible word of God. They accept the Bible as their only creed and hold their fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures.
Adventists worship on Saturday, the seventh day according to the Bible. They believe the Creator, after the six days of creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of creation. They believe the Fourth Commandment requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus. They observe the Sabbath as “a day of delightful communion with God and one another.”
Adventists believe they have been called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life. They believe their amusements and entertainments should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, they strive to dress simply, modestly and neatly. They believe their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and that they should care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, they adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the “unclean” foods identified in the Scriptures. They abstain from meat, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and harmful drugs.
Adventists confidently await the Second Coming. They believe that Christ’s return to Earth will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. They believe that when He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. Adventists believe that Christ’s coming will take place soon, and that they should be ready at all times.
Adventists believe that church founder and prophet Ellen G. White was a divinely inspired messenger of God. The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy, and Adventists believe this gift was manifested in her ministry. They believe that her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance and instruction to the church.
Ellen G. White is the great-great-grandmother of John Howard Weeks, the author of “The Healthiest People on Earth.”