Sara White marveled at her husband's passion for the truth. She had known Reggie since college and married him when she was just 21, yet he never ceased to amaze her. Here he was each morning, forsaking celebrity golf outings and easy speaking engagements, to spend hours and hours in solitude painstakingly translating Hebrew.
"He would come upstairs and say, 'Did you know, this, this and this?' " said Sara on Thursday, as the faint afternoon light peaked through the stained glass of the old Mariner's Church in downtown Detroit, where she conducted interviews for a forthcoming DVD about Reggie. "He would teach me what he learned. He found, first off, (that the) King James (Bible) was taken out of context, a lot. A lot of words were added. A lot of words were subtracted.
"He found that in the Torah, in Hebrew, things that may have been taken literal shouldn't have been. Some things that were idioms at that time, today people don't understand those idioms because they were their time. Just like in 40 years, people aren't going to understand our idioms.
"(For example) 'I paid an arm and a leg for this shirt.' Guess what, in 40 years they are going to think I paid a literal arm and a literal leg for this shirt. What Reggie understood, and he taught us, is that you have to go back to the way they were living and understand their mindset."
Reggie meticulously translated each word and then put it in context. Sara says he found alarming inaccuracies. Some of it was lost in translations, Hebrew being translated into Greek and then being translated into another language. Some may have been just simple errors, the product of an era before moveable type.
Some were not so honest, Reggie White believed.
"And so, that was what he was getting to – there were so many mistakes in the translations," said Sara while her sister nodded in agreement. "That is why he was so doggone eager to (translate it himself)."
Each day brought new clarity, new opinions and more dismay that so much of what Reggie had once preached he no longer believed. He began to wonder if he had been used and lied to by ministers. He regretted using his fame to raise so much money for various churches he felt weren't true to God.
He felt, he told NFL Films just four days before dying, "prostituted."
"Reggie felt like the churches had become polluted because they were following man's tradition instead of God," Sara said. "We felt like early on, (the) idea (of churches) was right, but then later on it was polluted because now, instead of going with what God was saying, they added to The Word. They added their opinions rather than just reading.
"Now we have preachers preaching their opinion which distorts The Word. It should be (called) opinion churches, or motivational speakers. For our family and for many people who was studying the Torah with us, it created a sense of excitement because now the things we felt uncomfortable (about) in church wasn't our imagination. It was we should have been uncomfortable.
"We should have been uncomfortable with some idols, with some idol worshipping, with people bowing down to the pastor, people putting the pastor on a pedestal."
The change in the White home was dramatic. Reggie discarded all athletic awards that included a statue of a football player, since it was a false idol. His kids' Beanie Babies soon followed. The Whites had never celebrated Easter because it is not in the Bible (they observed Passover), but they have eliminated the celebration of Christmas, too.
"We all knew the Messiah wasn't born on Christmas Day, December 25. We all knew that was just a representation to celebrate his life," Sara said. "But after we started reading how Christmas came about, with the pagan holiday of the sun solstice, then we stopped celebrating Christmas.
"What (they) were trying to do as a traditional church was satisfy the Christians and give them Christmas. When really, in fact, we are worshipping the solstice, the winter solstice; The Word says, 'Don't do it.' "