Manuscript Releases, vol. 8 [Nos. 526-663]
MR No. 635—The Use of Tea, Coffee, and Meat in SDA Institutions
Light has been given showing the injurious effects of tea, coffee, and flesh meats; but this light has been disregarded, even by those who profess to believe the testimonies. They even feel that to deny themselves of these health-destroying indulgences would be a restriction of their liberties. If deprived of their use for a time, they feel the loss, because of former indulgences, and are always pleading to be allowed to use them in some form. Care should be exercised in the case of self-indulgent worldlings who have been accustomed to the use of these stimulants. Enlighten their minds by the means of the talks and the lectures, in regard to the effects of tea, coffee, and flesh meats, and thus lead them to a voluntary correction of their habits. 8MR 382.1
But so long as the use of tea and coffee is favored by some who are connected with the institute, there will be a demand for these articles on the part of the patients.... 8MR 382.2
The patients soon learn the condition of things, and who will be most ready to listen to their appeals, and indulge them in their use of these articles. If those who occupy positions of trust in the institution are not true to principle, they will be the ones to lower the standard of reform. Arrangements will be made for a liberal table where tea and coffee and meat can be furnished. Then those who have but little power to resist the cravings of appetite will see these things and plead for a place at the liberal table. Thus a constant temptation is placed before those who should be led to dispense with these hurtful indulgences. Persons who are fully satisfied as to the effect of these things, and who want to reform, have asked me to use my influence to prohibit tea and coffee and meat from coming upon their table. 8MR 382.3
But what shall be done with those in responsible positions who love these things, and who give their influence in favor of their use? I see no way but to dismiss them; lest the reforms that are hard enough to make when they have the support of all connected with the institute shall be given up in discouragement. The institution would thus be perverted from its real object, and would become like all popular institutions, where tables are spread with all the condiments and stimulants called for.—Letter 6a, 1890, pp. 7, 8. (To “The Managers of the Health Institution at Crystal Springs, St. Helena, California,” April, 1890.) 8MR 383.1
Every church should be staunch and true to the light God has given. Some justify their use of tea and of meat by saying that they have been in the habit of eating meat and drinking tea. But this is a great evil. He who thus tries to justify these practices is not walking in the light. Some try to live the truth but their habits are not brought into conformity with the will of God. Their appetites and passions bear away the victory, and the safeguards are broken down. How then will the church be prepared to help those newly come to the faith. They are far behind in the principles of health reform, and lead others in the same line.—Manuscript 49, 1898, 14. (“The Lack of Spirituality in Our Churches,” April 9, 1898.) 8MR 383.2
Released June 21, 1978.