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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    GOD gave to man in Eden fruits and grains or seeds, for food. These foods contain all the essential food elements. In Genesis 1:29, 30, the Jewish version says: “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, on which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the heaven, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food.” The word “food” is used instead of “meat.” Chapter 2:9. “And the Lord God caused to grow out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” the scripture does not say that God produced a single animal for food. It does not say that a single animal was suitable or wholesome for food. Man’s diet was not to be of flesh. The trees and plants produced the food for man, and also for the beasts. “To every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food.”GCB February 13, 1895, page 125.2

    In the ninth chapter of Genesis we have a record of the change where flesh-eating was allowed. “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth.” There seems to have come in a change about this time. Originally animals were not afraid of man. They were in subjection to him, but had no fear of him. A state of peace existed between man and the beasts. Now the fear of and the dread of him was to be upon every beast.GCB February 13, 1895, page 125.3

    When the ark was prepared, God gave Noah directions to take food for himself and his family into the ark, but he did not tell him to take a lot of animals in, so he could have plenty of beef steak and mutton chop. He used for himself and for the animals the food that had been given at the first by the Lord for man and beast.GCB February 13, 1895, page 125.4

    After the flood there was a different state of things. “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” Genesis 9:3. Now there must be one of two reasons why the Lord changed the diet of man; either God made a mistake in the first place in prescribing his diet; or else the surrounding circumstances and conditions after the flood were such that God had a special purpose in allowing man to eat flesh food. We shall see presently why it was.GCB February 13, 1895, page 125.5

    God told man that he might eat the flesh of the animals; but at the same time, he told the animals that they might eat man. And from that time onward there was war between man and the lower animals. god permits many things that are not the best for man, simply because of the condition in which he has placed himself. He allowed David and Solomon and others to have more than one wife; but that was not the best way, nor according to his original purpose. The fact that God took the pains to prescribe a diet for man is evidence that what he there gave is the best food for man.GCB February 13, 1895, page 125.6

    “After the flood the people ate largely of animal food. God saw that the ways of man were corrupt, and that he was disposed to exalt himself proudly against his Creator, and to follow the inclinations of his own heart. And he permitted that long-lived race to eat animal food to shorten their sinful lives. Soon after the flood, the race began to rapidly decrease in size and in length of years.” “Spiritual Gifts,” Vol. IV, p.121.GCB February 13, 1895, page 125.7

    Here is the reason that God permitted man to eat animal food — to shorten their lives. Now if any of us are too strong, are likely to live too long, and desire to shorten our lives, we know how to do it. God gave them permission to eat animal food to shorten their sinful lives. Meat-eating shortens life. It not only shortened the life of man and caused him to decrease in strength and size; but it caused the animals to decrease in size and strength. Before the flood, the animals were of mammoth size, as shown by fossil remains. When the human race began to deteriorate, if the animals that followed man’s example in eating flesh had not also decreased in size and strength, they would doubtless have destroyed men from the earth.GCB February 13, 1895, page 125.8

    Let us read a little with reference to the effect of meat-eating:—GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.1

    “We are composed of what we eat, and if we subsist largely upon the flesh of dead animals, we shall partake of their nature.” — “Testimonies,” Vol. 2, p.61.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.2

    Are there any of us who have inherited so few evil tendencies that we can afford to pursue a course that will tend to make us more like the lower animals?GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.3

    “If ever there was a time when diet should be the most simple kind, it is now. Meat should not be placed before our children. Its influence is to excite and strengthen the lower passions, and it has a tendency to deaden the moral powers.” — “Testimonies,” Vol.2, p.352.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.4

    This is just as applicable to older persons as to children, unless there are some who have more moral power than they need. Has any one here more moral strength than he can use in the service of God? If so, then meat-eating is a good prescription by which those moral powers can be lessened.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.5

    “The use of the flesh of animals tends to cause a grossness of body and benumbs the finer sensitivities of the mind.” — Vol.2, p.63.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.6

    The more largely flesh composes the diet of teachers and pupils, the less susceptible will be the mind to comprehend spiritual things. The animal propensities are strengthened and the fine sensibilities of the mind are blunted. — Youth’s Instructor, May 31, 1894.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.7

    Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to his original design, — that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat-eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it. I cannot think that in the practice of flesh-eating we are in harmony with the light that God is pleased to give us. — “Christian Temperance,” p.119.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.8

    Instead of working steadily toward this end, some who twenty years ago did not eat meat, now eat it regularly every day. This is working the wrong way. It is going backward. In doing this we are not in harmony with the light that God gives us. Is it not time to go forward? Is it not time to begin now? Is it not time to act in harmony with the light the Lord has given us? The only excuse for not doing so, is a depraved appetite.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.9

    “Tea, coffee, and flesh meats produce an immediate effect. Under the influence of these poisons, the nervous system is excited and in some cases, for the time being, the intellect seems to be invigorated and the imagination to be more vivid. Because these stimulants produce for the time being such agreeable results, many conclude that they really need them, and continue their use. But there is always a reaction. The nervous system, having been unduly excited, borrows power for present use from its future resources of strength. Then this temporary invigoration of the system is followed by depression. In proportion as these stimulants temporarily invigorate the system, will be the letting down of the power of the excited organs after the stimulus has lost its force.” — “Testimonies,” Vol.3, p.487.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.10

    If a man eats largely of meats, he is hungry in three or four hours, and wants another meal; but if he eats fruits and grains, he can wait very well until the proper time to eat. He has something that will stand by him, as the lumberman says. The meat stimulates him for a little time, and then he soon feels the need of food again.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.11

    “Those who subsist largely upon flesh cannot avoid eating the meat of animals which are to a greater or less degree diseased. The process of fitting animals for market produces in them disease; and fitted in as healthful manner as they can be, they become heated and diseased by driving before they reach the market. The fluids and flesh of these diseased animals are received directly into the blood, and pass into the circulation of the human body, becoming fluids and flesh of the same. Thus humors are introduced into the system. And if the person already has impure blood, it is greatly aggravated by the eating of the flesh of these animals. The liability to take disease is increased ten-fold by meat-eating.” — Vol. 2, p.64.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.12

    Are there any of us who do not have impure blood? Are there any whose blood is not more or less contaminated? The liability to take disease is increased ten-fold by meat-eating.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.13

    “Could you know just the nature of the meat you eat, could you see the animals when living from which the flesh is taken when dead, you would turn with loathing from your flesh meats. The very animals whose flesh you eat are frequently so diseased, that, if left alone, they would die of themselves; but while the breath of life is in them, they are killed and brought to market. You take directly into your system, humors and poison of the worst kind, and yet you realize it not.” — “Testimonies,” Vol.2, p.404,405.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.14

    After they have reduced their physical strength by reduced quantity and a poor quality of food, some conclude that their former way of living is the best. The system must be nourished. Yet we do not hesitate to say that flesh meat is not necessary to health and strength. If used, it is because depraved appetite craves it.” — “Testimonies,” Vol.1, p.63.GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.15

    Is it not better to heed this instruction repeated in so many places than to try to make excuses to justify ourselves in taking the lives and eating the flesh of animals? Would not this be much better than to use the few expressions where meat-eating is allowed in particular cases, especially as the Lord has given us so much better food?GCB February 13, 1895, page 126.16

    Notice this instruction: “Grains and fruits prepared free from grease, and in as natural a condition as possible, should be the food for the tables of all who claim to be preparing for translation to heaven.” (“Testimonies,” Vol. 2, p.352.) This is a very plain and powerful statement. It would be well to think about this, and act in harmony with it.GCB February 13, 1895, page 127.1

    I suppose that those who think they have to have meat in order to give them strength, do not know that in a pound of peas or beans there is three times as much nourishment, and more too, than there is in a pound of beefsteak. This is the fact. Peas and beans and grains contain the same kind of nourishment that is in the beefsteak, and do not contain the poisons and the tendencies to disease to which meat is subject. Neither do they stimulate the animal propensities.GCB February 13, 1895, page 127.2

    Some kinds of vegetables have considerable nourishment, particularly potatoes; and are wholesome food. However, it would require fourteen pounds of potatoes, if eaten alone, to afford a working man nutriment enough for a single day.GCB February 13, 1895, page 127.3

    The Lord recognizes the value of the use of vegetables. In “Testimonies,” Vol.2, p.486 we have this:—GCB February 13, 1895, page 127.4

    “Some fall into the error that because they discard meat, they have no need to supply its place with the best fruits and vegetables, prepared in their most natural state, free from grease and spices. If they would only skillfully arrange the bounties with which the Creator has surrounded them, parents and children with a clear conscience unitedly engaging in the work, they would enjoy simple food, and would then be able to speak understandingly of health reform. Those who have not been converted to health reform, and have never fully adopted it, are not judges of its benefits. Those who digress occasionally to gratify the taste in eating a fattened turkey or other flesh meats, pervert their appetites, and are not the ones to judge of the benefits of the system of health reform. They are controlled by taste and not by principle.” — “Testimonies,” Vol.2, pp.586,587GCB February 13, 1895, page 127.5

    How much has been said upon the right way! Ought we not to be willing to go in the right way when it is so plainly pointed out? Instead of going on in the wrong way, shall we not rather choose the better way, even the best way?GCB February 13, 1895, page 127.6

    PROF. R. B. TAGGART said:— “We have used meat heretofore at intervals of once in three weeks, perhaps, but after hearing these discourses shall do so no more. I have thought it might be wrong; now I know it is.”GCB February 13, 1895, page 127.7

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