One of William Miller’s admirers and followers was a young girl named Ellen Harmon. After hearing Miller preach, she grew fearful that she was not among the righteous who would be saved when Jesus returned. One day, in prayer with some of the believers still suffering from the Great Disappointment, she said she had a vision of a people who travel to the city of God. She was only 17 years old, but she related this vision - and other visions – to her fellow believers, who took this as a sign of encouragement from God. She began traveling to other Adventist prayer meetings to tell them of these visions.
At the age of 23 she was married to James White, an Adventist preacher. Together James and Ellen White spoke of God’s plan for his people as described in her visions. One vision involved the commandment “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” Ellen White interpreted that as a sign that Saturday, the seventh day in the creation story when God rested - not Sunday - should be observed as the Sabbath. This ultimately led to the name Seventh-day Adventists.
She continued writing, traveling and speaking, publishing tracts and periodicals with her husband. In 1855 the Whites moved to Battle Creek, Michigan, where an Adventist community built them a small publishing house. Ellen White had more visions, which she documented and which were warmly accepted among her fellow Adventists. By 1863 her organizational work, along with others', led to the establishment of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist.
Later that same year she began to have health-care visions. Perhaps influenced by her husband’s declining heath, she felt that Seventh-day Adventists should establish a health institute for the care of the sick and the imparting of health instruction. Plans were laid for the Western Health Reform Institute, which opened in Battle Creek in September, 1866.
During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books. She traveled extensively throughout Europe and Australia founding missions, hospitals and sanatariums.She worked, traveled and wrote tirelessly until her death in 1915.