Chapter 2—Signing the Pledge

Every Seventh-day Adventist to Sign—From the light of God has given me, every member among us should sign the pledge and be connected with the temperance association.—The Review and Herald, October 21, 1884. Te 197.4

Sign and Encourage Others to Sign—Here is a work opened before the young, the middle-aged, and the aged. When the temperance pledge is presented to you, sign it. More than this, resolve to put all your powers against the evil of intemperance, and encourage others who are trying to do a work of reform in the world.—The Review and Herald, January 14, 1909. Te 198.1

Every Youth to Sign Every Pledge Presented—Intemperance and profanity and licentiousness are sisters. Let every God-fearing youth gird on the armor and press to the front. Put your names on every temperance pledge presented. Thus you lend your influence in favor of signing the pledge, and induce others to sign it. Let no weak excuse deter you from taking this step. Work for the good of your own souls and for good of others.—The Youth's Instructor, July 16, 1903. Te 198.2

The Drunkard to Sign—Temperance workers try to induce the drunkard to sign a pledge that henceforth he will not use intoxicating liquor. This is well.—Manuscript 102, 1904. Te 198.3

The Drunkard's Children to Sign. An Appeal—Let not one drop of wine or liquor pass your lips, for in its use is madness and woe. Pledge yourself to entire abstinence, for it is your only safety.... Let not one son by his words and his example become Satan's agent to tempt one of the members of the family to lead to indulge and awaken the demon appetite which spoiled the life of the father and sent him prematurely to the grave.—Manuscript 25, 1893. Te 198.4

Those in High Positions to Sign—To those in high positions we are to present the total abstinence pledge, asking them to give the money they would otherwise spend for the harmful indulgences of liquor and tobacco to the establishment of institutions where children and youth may be prepared to fill positions of usefulness in the world.—Testimonies for the Church 7:58. Te 198.5

Sign at Our Camp Meetings—At our camp meetings we should call attention to this work and make it a living issue. We should present to the people the principles of true temperance and call for signers to the temperance pledge.—Testimonies for the Church 6:110. Te 199.1

Offer No Excuse—Let no excuse be offered when you are asked to put your name to the temperance pledge, but sign every pledge presented, and induce others to sign with you. Work for the good of your own souls, and the good of others. Never let an opportunity pass to cast your influence on the side of strict temperance.—Counsels on Health, 441. Te 199.2

Failure to Sign Leaves Bars Down—After the discourse Sunday evening, the pledge was circulated, and one hundred and thirty-seven names were attached. We were sorry to learn that some few names were withheld for that which we consider was no reason that would justify a true child of God. Their excuse was that their work called them into places where wine would be passed to them (as is customary in this country), and they could not refuse to take it for fear of offending those for whom they worked. I thought that here was a very good opportunity for them to lift the cross, and let their light shine forth as God's peculiar people whom He was purifying unto Himself.... Te 199.3

At all times and on all occasions it requires moral courage to resist temptation on the point of appetite. We may expect such practice will be a surprise to those who do not practice habits of total abstinence from all stimulants; but how are we to carry forward the work of reform if we are to conform to the habits and practices of those with whom we associate? Here is the very opportunity to manifest that we are a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Te 199.4

The beer drinkers will present their glasses of beer, and those who claim to be children of God may plead the same excuse for not signing the temperance pledge,—because they will be treated with beer, and it will not be agreeable to refuse. These excuses may be carried to any length, but they are not of any weight; and we were sorry that any who claimed to believe the truth should refuse to sign the pledge—refuse to put barriers about their souls and fortify themselves against temptation. They choose to leave the bars down, so that they can readily step over and accept temptation without making the effort to resist it.... Te 200.1

No Courage to Say, “I Have Signed the Pledge”—Those who claim to believe the truth have not all taken their position in relation to temperance which it is their sacred duty to do. There have been those who have stood aloof from decided committal on the side of temperance, and for what reason? Some say that if wine or beer is passed to them, they have not the moral courage to say, I have signed the pledge not to taste of fermented wine or beer or strong drink. Shall the names of those stand registered in the books of heaven as defending the indulgence of appetite?—The Review and Herald, April 19, 1887. Te 200.2

Importance of Prominent Men Signing the Pledge—I dreamed that there was a large company assembled together in the open air, and a tall young man that I have often seen in my dreams, when important matters are under consideration, was sitting near the chairman of the meeting. This young man arose and passed to the men that seemed to be at the head of the company and said, “Here is a paper I wish you to attach your names to, every one of you.” He presented it to Brother A first. He looked at it and read aloud, “You here pledge yourselves to abstain from all fermented wines and spirituous liquors of any kind, and use your influence to induce all others that you can to follow your example.” Te 200.3

I thought Brother A shook his head, saying it was not necessary for him to attach his name to the paper. He understood his duty and should advocate the cause of temperance all the same, but felt not called upon to bind himself, for there were exceptions in all these things. Te 201.1

He handed the same paper to Brother B, who took the paper, looked it over carefully and said, “I am of the same mind of Brother A. Sometimes I feel the need of something to stimulate me when I am weak and nervous, and I don't want to pledge myself that under no circumstances will I use wine or liquors.” Te 201.2

There was a sad, grieved look expressed in the countenance. He passed on to others. There were about twenty or thirty who followed the example of Brethren A and B. He then returned to the first two and handed them the paper and said in a firm, decided manner, yet a low tone, “You, both of you, are in the greatest danger of being overcome upon the point of appetite. The work of reformation must commence at your tables and then be carried out conscientiously in every place under all and every circumstance. Your eternal destiny depends upon the decision you now make. You both have strong points of character and are weak in some directions. See what your influence has done.” I saw the names of all who had refused to sign written upon the back of the pledge.... Te 201.3

Again he presented the paper and in an authoritative manner said, “Sign this paper or resign your positions. Not only sign, but upon your honor carry out your decisions. Be true to your principles. As God's messenger I come to you and demand your names. Neither of you have seen the necessity of health reform, but when the plagues of God shall be all around you, you will then see the principles of health reform and strict temperance in all things,—that temperance alone is the foundation of all the graces that come from God, the foundation of all victories to be gained. Refuse to sign this and you will never have another solicitation. You both need your spirits humbled, softened, and let mercy, tender compassion, and dutiful tenderness take the place of coarseness, harshness, set and determined will to carry out your ideas at any cost”.... Te 201.4

I thought, with trembling hands the names were given and the entire thirty signed their names. Te 202.1

Then one of the most solemn addresses was given upon temperance. The subject was taken up from the table. “Here,” said the speaker, “is the appetite created for love of strong liquor. Appetite and passion are the ruling sins of the age. Appetite, the way it is indulged, influences the stomach and excites the animal propensities.... Te 202.2

The stomach becomes diseased, then the appetite is morbid and continually craving something to stimulate, something to ‘hit the spot’! Some acquire the disgusting habit of tea and coffee, and go still further using tobacco, which benumb the tender organs of the stomach and lead them to crave something stronger than tobacco. They go still further to the use of liquor.”—Manuscript 7, 1874. Te 202.3

An Early Experience in Pledge Signing—Monday morning, June 2, 1879, while in attendance at a camp meeting held at Nevada, Missouri, we assembled under the tent to attend the organization of a temperance association. There was a fair representation of our people present. Elder Butler spoke, and confessed that he had not been as forward in the temperance reform as he should have been. He stated that he had always been a strictly temperance man, discarding the use of liquor, tea, and coffee, but he had not signed the pledge being circulated among our people. But he was now convinced that in not doing so he was hindering others who ought to sign it. He then placed his name under Colonel Hunter's; my husband placed his name beneath Brother Butler's, I wrote mine next, and Brother Farnsworth's followed. Thus the work was well started. Te 202.4

My husband continued to talk while the pledge was circulating. Some hesitated, thinking that the platform was too broad in including tea and coffee; but finally their names were given, pledging themselves to total abstinence. Te 203.1

Brother Hunter, who was then called upon to speak, responded by giving a very impressive testimony as to how the truth found him, and what it had done for him. He stated that he had drunk liquor enough to float a ship, and that now he wanted to accept the whole truth, reform and all. He had given up liquor and tobacco, and this morning he had drunk his last cup of coffee. He believed the testimonies were of God, and he wished to be led by the will of God expressed in them. Te 203.2

As the result of the meeting, one hundred and thirty-two names were signed to the teetotal pledge, and a decided victory was gained in behalf of temperance.—Manuscript 79, 1907. Te 203.3

Work Everywhere—Give prominence to the temperance reform, and call for signers to the temperance pledge. Everywhere call attention to this work, and make it a living issue.—Manuscript 52, 1900. Te 203.4