Ellen G. White
As co-founder and visionary leader of the Adventist movement from the age of 17 until her death at the age of 87, Ellen White (1827-1915) is one of the few females in history to have started a major Christian denomination. For many Adventists, her writings carry a unique authority as a guide to Scripture. Yet her prophetic calls for social justice have been forgotten or ignored by many members of the tradition she began. During the American Civil War, White declared that defenders of slavery should be expelled from the Adventist movement and urged defiance of the Fugitive Slave Law. She advocated a vegetarian lifestyle not only for health reasons but also out of concern for the suffering of animals. And she condemned “the oppression of the rich toward the poor,” writing that the principles of wealth redistribution found in the Hebrew Bible “were designed to promote social equality” and would help to eliminate the threat of violence in the present.