Section 8—Our Broad Temperance Platform

Chapter 1—What True Temperance Embodies

Reaching the Highest Degree of Perfection—“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Te 137.1

Only one lease of life is granted us; and the inquiry with everyone should be, How can I invest my life so that it will yield the greatest profit? How can I do most for the glory of God and the benefit of my fellow men? For life is valuable only as it is used for the attainment of these objects. Te 137.2

Our first duty toward God and our fellow beings is that of self-development. Every faculty with which the Creator has endowed us should be cultivated to the highest degree of perfection, that we may be able to do the greatest amount of good of which we are capable. Hence that time is spent to good account which is directed to the establishment and preservation of sound physical and mental health. We cannot afford to dwarf or cripple a single function of mind or body by overwork or by abuse of any part of the living machinery. As surely as we do this, we must suffer the consequences. Te 137.3

Intemperance, in the true sense of the word, is at the foundation of the larger share of the ills of life, and it annually destroys its tens of thousands. For intemperance is not limited to the use of intoxicating liquors; it has a broader meaning, and includes the hurtful indulgence of any appetite or passion.—The Signs of the Times, November 17, 1890. Te 137.4

Excess in Eating, Drinking, Sleeping, and Seeing—Excessive indulgence in eating, drinking, sleeping, or seeing, is sin. The harmonious healthy action of all the powers of body and mind results in happiness; and the more elevated and refined the powers, the more pure and unalloyed the happiness.—Testimonies for the Church 4:417. Te 138.1

Temperance in the Food Eaten—The principles of temperance must be carried further than the mere use of spirituous liquors. The use of stimulating and indigestible food is often equally injurious to health, and in many cases sows the seeds of drunkenness. True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful, and to use judiciously that which is healthful. There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. The appetite should ever be in subjection to the moral and intellectual powers. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 562. Te 138.2

Eating Too Frequently or Too Much—Those who eat and work intemperately and irrationally, talk and act irrationally. It is not necessary to drink alcoholic liquors in order to be intemperate. The sin of intemperate eating—eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unwholesome food—destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, preventing rational, calm, healthy thinking and acting.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 155. Te 138.3

Those who will not, after the light has come to them, eat and drink from principle, instead of being controlled by appetite, will not be tenacious in regard to being governed by principle in other things.—The Health Reformer, August, 1866. Te 138.4

Temperance in Dressing, Also—God's people are to learn the meaning of temperance in all things. They are to practice temperance in eating and drinking and dressing. All self-indulgence is to be cut away from their lives. Before they can really understand the meaning of true sanctification and of conformity to the will of Christ, they must, by co-operating with God, obtain the mastery over wrong habits and practices.—Medical Ministry, 275. Te 138.5

Temperance in Labor—We should practice temperance in our labor. It is not our duty to place ourselves where we shall be overworked. Some may at times be placed where this is necessary, but it should be the exception, not the rule. We are to practice temperance in all things. If we honor the Lord by acting our part, He will on His part preserve our health. We should have a sensible control of all our organs. By practicing temperance in eating, in drinking, in dressing, in labor, and in all things, we can do for ourselves what no physician can do for us.—Manuscript 41, 1908. Te 139.1

Living on Borrowed Capital—Intemperance in almost everything, exists on every hand. Those who make great exertions to accomplish just so much work in a given time, and continue to labor when their judgment tells them they should rest, are never gainers. They are living on borrowed capital. They are expending the vital force which they will need at a future time. And when the energy they have so recklessly used is demanded, they fail for want of it. The physical strength is gone, the mental powers fail. They realize that they have met with a loss, but do not know what it is. Their time of need has come, but their physical resources are exhausted. Te 139.2

Everyone who violates the laws of health must sometime be a sufferer to a greater or less degree. God has provided us with constitutional force, which will be needed at different periods of our lives. If we recklessly exhaust this force by continual overtaxation, we shall sometimes be losers. Our usefulness will be lessened, if not our life itself destroyed.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 153, 154. Te 139.3

Evening Labor—As a rule, the labor of the day should not be prolonged into the evening.... I have been shown that those who do this, often lose much more than they gain, for their energies are exhausted, and they labor on nervous excitement. They may not realize any immediate injury, but they are surely undermining their constitution.—Counsels on Health, 99. Te 140.1

Temperance in Study—Intemperance in study is a species of intoxication, and those who indulge in it, like the drunkard, wander from safe paths, and stumble and fall in the darkness. The Lord would have every student bear in mind that the eye must be kept single to the glory of God. He is not to exhaust and waste his physical and mental powers in seeking to acquire all possible knowledge of the sciences, but is to preserve the freshness and vigor of all his powers to engage in the work which the Lord has appointed him in helping souls to find the path of righteousness.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 405, 406. Te 140.2

Intemperance in Seeking Riches—One of the most fruitful sources of shattered constitutions among men is a devotion to the getting of money, an inordinate desire for wealth. They narrow their lives to the single pursuit of money, sacrifice rest, sleep, and the comforts of life to this one object. Their naturally good constitutions are broken down, disease sets in as a consequence of the abuse of their physical powers, and death closes the scene of a perverted life. Not a dollar of his wealth can that man take with him who has obtained it at such a terrible price. Money, palaces, and rich apparel avail him nothing now; his lifework is worse than useless.—The Health Reformer, April, 1877. Te 140.3

To Guard Every Fiber of the Being—Every organ, every fiber of the being, is to be sacredly guarded from every harmful practice, if we would not be among the number that Christ represents as walking in the same dishonorable path as did the inhabitants of the world before the Flood. Those in this number will be appointed to destruction, because they have persisted in carrying lawful habits to extremes, and have created and indulged habits that have no foundation in nature, and that become a warring lust.... Te 140.4

The mass of the inhabitants of this world are destroying for themselves the true basis of the highest earthly interest. They are destroying their power of self-control, and making themselves incapable of appreciating eternal realities. Willingly ignorant of their own structure, they lead their children in the same path of self-indulgence, causing them to suffer the penalty of the transgression of nature's laws.... Te 141.1

Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number that the Lord by His mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the world. These are His peculiar people, zealous of good works.—Manuscript 86, 1897. Te 141.2

Temperance in All Things—In order to preserve health, temperance in all things is necessary,—temperance in labor, temperance in eating and drinking. Our heavenly Father sent the light of health reform to guard against the evils resulting from a debased appetite, that those who love purity and holiness may know how to use with discretion the good things He has provided for them, and that by exercising temperance in daily life, they may be sanctified through the truth.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 52. Te 141.3

The advocates of temperance should place their standard on a broader platform. They would then be laborers together with God. With every iota of their influence they should encourage the spread of reform principles.—Manuscript 86, 1897. Te 141.4