Manuscript Releases, vol. 8 [Nos. 526-663]


MR No. 632—In Manuscript Release No. 1209

MR No. 633—Food in Campmeetings

Let not food or confectionery be brought upon our campground that will counterwork the light given our people on health reform. Let us not gloss over the temptation to indulge appetite, by saying that the money received from the sale of such things is to be used to meet the expenses of a good work. Where is your discernment? All such temptation to self-indulgence should be firmly resisted. Let us not persuade ourselves to do that which is unprofitable to the individual under the pretext that good will come of it. Let us individually learn what it means to be self-denying, yet healthful, active missionaries.... 8MR 374.1

In the matter of cooking, if the meals are taken at the dining tent, no preparation of food will be necessary. When families board themselves, far too much cooking is often done. Some have never attended a campmeeting, and do not know what preparations are required. Others are liberal minded, and want everything done on a bountiful scale. The food which they provide includes the rich pies and cakes, with other articles that cannot be eaten without positive injury. 8MR 374.2

It is not wise to make such great preparation. The task they take upon themselves is so heavy that these sisters come to the meeting thoroughly wearied in body and mind; and those for whom the work is done are not benefited. The stomach is overburdened with food which is not as plain and simple as that eaten at home, where a far greater amount of exercise is taken. As a result of overwork and bad food, much of the benefit of the meeting is lost. A lethargy takes possession of the mind, and it is difficult to appreciate eternal things. The meeting closes, and there is a feeling of disappointment that no more of the Spirit of God has been enjoyed. 8MR 374.3

Nothing in the line of food should be taken to campmeeting but the most wholesome articles, cooked in a simple manner. Plenty of good bread with other necessary food, may be provided without overtaxing the strength. And all, both those who cook and those who eat, will enjoy better health, be better able to appreciate the words of life, and more susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit. 8MR 375.1

My sisters, let the preparation for eating and dressing be a secondary matter; but let deep heart-searching commence at home. The great burden of the thoughts should be, How is it with my soul? When such thoughts occupy the mind there will be such a longing for spiritual food—something that will impart spiritual strength—that no one will complain if the diet is simple. Pray often, and, like Jacob, be importunate. At home is the place to find Jesus; then take Him to the meeting, and the hours you spend there will be precious. But how can you expect to realize the presence of the Lord, and to see His power displayed, when the individual work of preparation has been neglected? 8MR 375.2

The arrangements for the dining tent are very important; for on the cooking and serving of the food, the health of the campers very largely depends. Those who have the responsibility of this department should be good cooks, who can be depended upon to do painstaking, skillful work. But on many occasions, this has been overdone. Great care and thought have been given to the cooking, and the table has been supplied, not only with plenty of plain, substantial food, but with meat, pies, cake, and a variety of other luxuries. In this way precious time has been given to needless labor, merely for the gratification of appetite; and the faithful workers have had the privilege of attending but few of the meetings. 8MR 375.3

This is unnecessary. The cooking may be so planned as to give the workers more advantages of the meeting than they have usually enjoyed, and on the Sabbath, in particular, their duties should be made as light as possible. We should have sympathy for those who are confined to the hot kitchen, engaged in the preparation of food, and should be willing to deny ourselves unnecessary luxuries for their sake. 8MR 376.1

A few simple articles of food, cooked with care and skill, would supply all the real wants of the system. No greater luxuries are required than good, wheaten-meal bread, gems, and rolls, with a simple dessert, and the vegetables and fruits which are so abundant in most countries. These articles should be provided in sufficient quantity and of good quality, and when well cooked they will afford a good, wholesome, nourishing diet. 8MR 376.2

No one should be compelled to eat flesh meats because nothing better is provided to supply their place. Meat is not essential to health or strength; had it been, it would have been included in the bill of fare of Adam and Eve before the fall. The money that is sometimes expended in buying meat would purchase a good variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains, and these contain all the elements of nutrition.... 8MR 376.3

All needful preparation [for Sabbath meals at campmeeting] should be made beforehand. On Sabbath morning, if the weather is cool, let hot gruel, or something equally simple, be provided, and for dinner some kind of food may be warmed. Further than this all cooking should be avoided as a violation of the Sabbath. 8MR 376.4

If all will exercise judgment and reasonable care in regard to clothing and diet, the blessings of the meeting may be enjoyed in health and comfort. The clothing should be varied according to the weather. During sudden changes, and the chill of morning and evening, warmer garments and additional wraps are essential to health. The feet, in particular, should be well protected. Whatever the weather, they need to be kept warm and dry. 8MR 377.1

In eating, errors in the quantity as well as the quality of food should be avoided. Eating too much of even a simple diet will injure the health, as will also irregular eating, and eating between meals. All these abuses of the stomach cloud the mind and blunt the conscience. 8MR 377.2

If right habits are ever observed, they certainly should be at these large and important meetings. Here, if anywhere, we want our minds clear and active. We should honor God at all times and in all places; but it seems doubly important at these meetings, where we assemble to worship Him, and to gain a better knowledge of His will. 8MR 377.3

One reason why we do not enjoy more of the blessing of the Lord, is that we do not heed the light He has been pleased to give us in regard to the laws of life and health. If we would all live more simply, and let the time usually given to unnecessary table luxuries and pride of dress, be spent in searching the Scriptures and in humble prayer for the bread of life, we should receive a greater measure of spiritual strength. We need to give less attention to our mere temporal wants, and more to our eternal interests. 8MR 377.4

Let all who possibly can, attend these yearly gatherings. Return unto the Lord, gather up the rays of light that have been neglected, comply with the conditions laid down in the Word of God, and then by faith claim the promises. Jesus will be present; and He will give you blessings which all the treasures you possess, be they ever so valuable, would not be rich enough to buy. A strong, clear sense of eternal things, and a heart willing to yield all to Christ, are of inestimable value; in comparison with these the riches, and pleasures, and glories of this world, sink into insignificance.—Manuscript 8, 1882, 3-9. (“Campmeeting Hygiene,” May 5, 1882.) 8MR 378.1

Released June 21, 1978.