Ellen Gould White was a prolific author and an American Christian pioneer. She, along with other Sabbatarian Adventist leaders, such as Joseph Bates and her husband James White, formed what is now known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Ellen White reported to her fellow believers her visionary experiences. James White, and others of the Adventist pioneers, viewed these experiences as the Biblical gift of prophecy as outlined in Revelation 12:17 and 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 and Christian church history. This cosmic conflict, referred to as the "Great Controversy theme", is foundational to the development of Seventh-day Adventist theology.
White was considered a somewhat controversial figure. Her reports of visionary experiences and use of other sources in her writings comprise much of the controversy. She received her first vision soon after the Millerite Great Disappointment. Historian Randall Balmer has described her 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 creationism, agriculture, theology, evangelism, Christian lifestyle, education and health. She advocated vegetarianism. She promoted the establishment of schools and medical centers. During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books. Today, including compilations from her 100,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. Some of her most famous books include The Desire of Ages, The Great Controversy and Steps to Christ. Her work on successful Christian living, Steps to Christ, has been published in more than 140 languages.