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Manuscript Releases, vol. 12 [Nos. 921-999]

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    MR No. 960—Necessity of Balance in Health Reform

    St. Helena, Calif.

    May 29, 1901

    Dear Brother and Sister Kress,

    I am deeply pained to learn that Brother Kress is ill. We have not yet heard the particulars.12MR 168.1

    I have some things I wish to send you, if I can get them off in this mail. Several cases have been presented to me, which I will speak of in time; meanwhile, do not put yourself through [such an extreme regimen] as you have done, and do not go to extremes in regard to the health reform. Some of our people are very careless in regard to health reform. But because some are far behind, you must not, in order to be an example to them, be an extremist. You must not deprive yourself of that class of food which makes good blood. Your devotion to true principles is leading you to submit yourself to a diet which is giving you an experience that will not recommend health reform. This is your danger. When you see that you are becoming weak physically, it is essential for you to makes changes, and at once. Put into your diet something you have left out. It is your duty to do this. Get eggs of healthy fowls. Use these eggs cooked or raw. Drop them uncooked into the best unfermented wine you can find.[Dr. Kress accepted this counsel. He followed the raw-egg and grape-juice regimen regularly until his death in 1956 at the age of 94.] This will supply that which is necessary to your system. Do not for a moment suppose that it will not be right to do this. There is one thing that has saved life—an infusion of blood from one person to another; but this would be difficult and perhaps impossible for you to do. I merely suggest it.12MR 168.2

    The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and I beseech you to call for the elders of the church without delay. May the Lord help you, is my most sincere prayer. We appreciate your experience as a physician, and yet I say that milk and eggs should be included in your diet. These things cannot at present be dispensed with, and the doctrine of dispensing with them should not be taught.12MR 169.1

    You are in danger of taking too radical a view of health reform, and of prescribing for yourself a diet that will not sustain you.12MR 169.2

    Again, let nothing come up before you to worry you. Come apart and rest awhile. This you must do. Draw from the great Physician leaves from the tree of life. Plead in your own behalf, and let others also plead for you. “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me, and he shall make peace with Me” (Isaiah 27:5).12MR 169.3

    I do hope that you will heed the words I have spoken to you. It has been presented to me that you will not be able to exert the most successful influence in health reform unless in some things you become more liberal to yourself and to others. The time will come when milk cannot be used as freely as it is now used; but the present is not the time to discard it. And eggs contain properties which are remedial agencies in counteracting poisons. And while warnings have been given against the use of these articles of diet in families where the children were addicted to, yes, steeped in, habits of self abuse, yet we should not consider it a denial of principle to use eggs of hens which are well cared for and suitably fed.12MR 169.4

    On one occasion a brother was taken sick with erysipelas of the head. His head was very much swollen. A message was sent for Dr. Lay to come at once. Meanwhile, a messenger was sent for me. At that time my husband and I had a most serious case on hand, a case in which the least wrong movement would prove fatal. A man had become dizzy while crossing a stream of water. He fell from his carriage, and was trampled under the feet of two high-spirited horses. He was brought to our house in a partially unconscious condition. His head and face were badly bruised and his skull was broken. A physician was sent for. He came and said that the man would have some chance for his life if he remained at our house. If he were taken to his own home, he would die; for his wife would indulge him in eating. The physician said that he could trust Elder White and his wife to carry out his orders strictly. For ten days he was to be kept at the point of starvation.12MR 170.1

    Just at this point his wife appeared, and concluded that her husband needed nourishing food. Without saying a word to me, she prepared something good, as she thought, and when we had left him to rest and sleep, stole in and gave it to him. In a short time he was in a raging fever, as crazy as a man need to be. All hope for his life seemed to have gone. We found out what was the matter, sent his wife home at once, and for two days worked unremittingly to save the life so heedlessly jeopardized. We watched, and we worked, and we prayed; and the Lord mercifully carried him again in His arms.12MR 170.2

    Thus we were working when the call came for us to attend Brother Wilson, the man who had come down with the erysipelas. But we dared not leave our patient. The night before I dreamed that I was caring for a child whose life was despaired of. Its head was swollen, and the whole body inflamed. A skillful physician gave orders to take woolen sheets, dip them in hot water, and wrap them round the child. Up to this time the child had been without sense of feeling. But as we worked over him with persevering diligence, wrapping him in hot blankets, we saw that he began to cringe. This process was kept up until the child's life was saved.12MR 171.1

    It was the brother of the sick man who came to me with the message, and when I told him my dream about the child, he said that I had described his brother's case exactly. He said he would follow the directions given, for the dream was of the Lord. He said, “My brother has no sense of feeling. His body is apparently dead, just as you described the body of the child to be.”12MR 171.2

    He went home and carried out the treatment as given in my dream. Two or three times they wrapped the sick man in hot blankets, until he began to wince and finally asked them what they were doing. In a short time the swelling left his head, and he was fully conscious. When the physician arrived, he said that it was nothing less than a miracle.12MR 171.3

    After this Dr. Lay came to me and said, “I have gone as far as I can go, but Brother Wilson is sinking. I cannot arouse him.” I said, “Last night I dreamed that my sick child was sinking. I asked the skillful Physician, who has never lost a case, what I should do. The answer came, “Break an egg into a glass of unfermented wine, and give him such a drink two or three times a day, until the exhaustion is gone and there is a revival of the life forces.” Snatching up his hat, Dr. Lay said, “This is of the Lord. We shall save Brother Wilson yet.” And off he went. For three days he gave him egg and wine, and he was soon fully recovered.12MR 171.4

    This Brother Wilson was the father of our beloved Brother Wilson who died in Queensland, Australia.12MR 172.1

    I write you this that you may see that the very simplest things may be used as remedial agents in placing one in great danger in a favorable condition.12MR 172.2

    I have something to say in reference to extreme views of health reform. Health reform becomes health deform, a health destroyer, when it is carried to extremes. You will not be successful in sanitariums where the sick are treated if you prescribe for the patients the same diet you have prescribed for yourself and your wife. I assure you that your ideas in regard to diet for the sick are not advisable. The change is too great. While I would discard flesh meat as injurious, something less objectionable may be used, and this is found in eggs. Do not remove milk from the table or forbid its being used in the cooking of food. The milk used should be procured from healthy cows, and should be sterilized.12MR 172.3

    Those who take an extreme view of health reform are in danger of preparing tasteless dishes. This has been done over and over again. The food has become so insipid as to be refused by the stomach. The food given the sick should be varied. They should not be given the same dishes over and over again.12MR 172.4

    There should be in our sanitarium a cook who thoroughly understands the work, one who has good judgment, who can experiment, who will not introduce into the food those things which should be avoided. It is well to leave sugar out of the crackers that are made. Some enjoy best the sweetest crackers, but these are an injury to the digestive organs. Butter should not be placed on the table, for if it is some will use it too freely, and it will obstruct digestion. But for yourself, you should occasionally use a little butter on cold bread, if this will make the food more appetizing. This would do you far less harm than to confine yourself to preparations of food that are not palatable.12MR 173.1

    Dr. Kellogg has prepared a potato flour, and this food I have used during my journey. It is made as a gruel, and some good cream is added to it. It is palatable, and does not produce any ill effects. I use some salt, and always have, because from the light given me by God, this article, in the place of being deleterious, is actually essential for the blood. The whys and wherefores of this I know not, but I give you the instruction as it is given me.12MR 173.2

    I have told you what I have because I have received light that you are injuring your body by a poverty-stricken diet. I must say to you that it will not be best for you to instruct the students as you have done in regard to the diet question, because your ideas in regard to discarding certain things will not be for the help of those who need help.12MR 173.3

    Brother and Sister Kress, I have all confidence in you, and I greatly desire that you may have physical health, in order that you may have perfect soundness spiritually. It is the lack of suitable food that has caused you to suffer so keenly. You have not taken the food essential to nourish your frail physical strength. You must not deny yourself of good wholesome food.12MR 173.4

    At one time Dr. Merritt Kellogg tried to teach our family to cook according to health reform, as he viewed it, without salt or anything else to season the food. Well, I determined to try it, but I became so reduced in strength that I had to make a change and a different policy was entered upon with great success. I tell you this because I know that you are in positive danger. Food should be prepared in such a way that it will be nourishing. It should not be robbed of that which the system needs.12MR 174.1

    The Lord calls upon Brother and Sister Kress to reform, to take periods of rest. It is not right for you to take burdens as you have done in the past. Unless you take heed, you will sacrifice that life which is so precious in the sight of the Lord. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).12MR 174.2

    You love to obey the commandments of God. I would that your conscientious adherence to principle could be seen in Brother _____ and Dr. _____. Then they would work on altogether different lines. They would be a strength and a necessity to the sanitarium. These brethren need converting. Then the correct principles will be followed in the development of character.12MR 174.3

    Self is the hardest master to serve. And no one can serve self and Christ. The responsibility of Christian profession is often shunned as a yoke of bondage. Men shake it off as an intolerable burden, supposing that they will be disgraced unless they assert their dignity and their authority. Unless they wish to stand condemned before the heavenly universe, they must view in an altogether different light the wearing of the yoke of Christ. Unless they change, they will be humbled instead of exalted.12MR 174.4

    The religion of Christ is not what many have supposed it to be. Many have lost the holy principles of genuine Christlikeness. They make a pretense to follow Jesus, but self, dear self, is the mainspring of every action. They are not Christians, for Christ is dishonored by their misrepresentation of His example. They carry not with them the reviving hopes and helps of the gospel. These are kept in the outer court. They do not think it essential to blend the principles of Christ with their philosophy. They do not allow the Sun of Righteousness to give decided influence to their life-practice. Bible religion, reverence for God, homage to Christ, unswerving obedience to principle, are kept in the outer court. Christ has no personal contact with their lives. Their practice is far from the reality and sacredness of true religion.12MR 175.1

    God calls for whole-souled, upright, high-principled men. These are the men needed in our institutions. Those who are satisfied with half-and-half service can well be spared.12MR 175.2

    I arose very early this morning and wrote the foregoing before breakfast. I have more written on this subject, which the next mail may bring to you.12MR 175.3

    God calls upon those for whom Christ died to take proper care of themselves and set a right example to others. My brother, you are not to make a test for the people of God upon the question of diet, for they will lose confidence in teachings that are strained to the farthest point of extension. The Lord desires His people to be sound on every point in health reform, but we must not go to extremes. I have matter written on these points, but I shall not be able to get it copied for this mail. This that I now send you was opened distinctly before me last night. The reason for Dr. Kress's poor health is his overdrawing on his bank stock of health and then failing to replace the amount drawn out by wholesome, nutritious, palatable food. My brother, devote your whole life to Him who was crucified for you, but do not tie yourself down to a meager diet, for thus you misrepresent health reform.12MR 175.4

    While working against gluttony and intemperance, we are to remember the means and appliances of gospel truth, which commend themselves to sound judgment. In order to do our work in straight, simple lines, we must recognize the conditions to which the human family are subjected. God has made provisions for those who live in the different countries of the world. Those who desire to be co-workers with God must consider carefully how they teach health reform in God's great vineyard. They must move carefully in specifying just what food should and should not be eaten. The human messenger must unite with the divine Helper in presenting the message of mercy to the multitudes God would save.12MR 176.1

    We are to be brought into connection with the masses. Should health reform be taught them in its most extreme form, harm would be done. We ask them to leave off eating meat and drinking tea and coffee. That is well. But some say that milk also should be given up. This is a subject that needs to be carefully handled. There are poor families whose diet consists of bread and milk, and, if they can get it, a little fruit. All flesh food should be discarded, but vegetables should be made palatable with a little milk or cream or something equivalent. The poor say, when health reform is presented to them, “What shall we eat? We cannot afford to buy the nut foods.” As I preach the gospel to the poor, I am instructed to tell them to eat that food which is most nourishing. I cannot say to them, “You must not eat eggs or milk or cream. You must use no butter in the preparation of food.” The gospel must be preached to the poor, and the time has not yet come to prescribe the strictest diet.12MR 176.2

    The time will come when we may have to discard some of the articles of diet we now use, such as milk and cream and eggs, but my message is that you must not bring yourself to a time of trouble beforehand, and thus afflict yourself with death. Wait till the Lord prepares the way before you.12MR 177.1

    The reforms that are strained to the highest tension might accommodate a certain class who can obtain all they need to take the place of the things discarded, but this class forms a very small minority of the people, to whom these tests seem unnecessary. There are those who try to abstain from what is declared to be harmful. They fail to supply the system with proper nourishment, and as a consequence become weak and unable to work. Thus health reform is brought into disrepute. The work we have tried to build up solidly is confused with strange things that God has not required. The energies of the church are crippled.12MR 177.2

    But God will interfere to prevent the results of these too-strenuous ideas. The gospel is to harmonize the sinful race. It is to bring the rich and the poor together at the feet of Jesus.12MR 177.3

    This is all I can write today, for the mail must go soon. But I wish to say that when the time comes that it is no longer safe to use milk, cream, butter, and eggs, God will reveal this. No extremes in health reform are to be advocated. The question of using milk and butter and eggs will work out its own problem. At present we have no burden on this line. Let your moderation be known unto all men.—Letter 37, 1901, pp. 1-13. (To Dr. and Mrs. Kress, May 29, 1901.)12MR 178.1

    White Estate

    Washington, D. C.,

    December 2, 1982.

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