Messenger of the Lord


Chapter 26—Health Principles-Part 3: Quality Improvement in Adventist Health

“You need not go into the water, or into the fire, but take the middle road, avoiding all extremes.” 1 MOL 300.1

Across the Adventist world in the 1860s went the broad message of health reform. Not all joined the march forward. But many did and their hearty gratitude was reported in the church paper. MOL 300.2

R. M. Kilgore, former army captain and longtime evangelist-administrator, described the new life of better health shared by many: “As they advanced, they felt their diseases, aches, and pains leaving them, and in return buoyancy of spirit, and glow of health, the greatest earthly blessings. Thus, those in front accepted the offered mercies, not given by commandment or way of urging, but to obtain the blessing resulting from such a course of life and habits; by obeying the laws of their being which God implanted, and cleansing the temple for the indwelling of His Holy Spirit; which will be poured more copiously upon those who are ready to receive it.” 2 MOL 300.3

M. E. Cornell, pioneer evangelist in Michigan and California, penned his gratitude: “I believe the reform came up just in time to save me from becoming a complete wreck. Fourteen years of incessant labor, with all kinds of unhealthy diet and but little attention to the laws of life, had nearly used up a strong constitution. Now I hope to recover, by the blessing of God, and endure to the end. My whole being cries out, Praise God for the health reform. Let those who have adopted the reform hold on. And I exhort all others to take hold of it in earnest.” 3 MOL 300.4

At 68, John Byington, the church’s first General Conference president, wrote that after making “proper changes in diet” he no longer had a severe cough that threatened his survival. Further, he had “gained in flesh, have more warmth in my system, and feel better prepared to endure another cold winter.” 4 MOL 300.5

J. H. Waggoner affirmed: “I thank God for the health reform. It is no cross; it is no hardship; it brings pleasure in pain and gives strength in weakness.... When bearing heavy burdens of body and mind, when all looked dark and cheerless in this world, it has come as a messenger of mercy, strengthening the body, cheering the mind, and refreshing the spirits, and bringing the peace of the Saviour to the sorrowing soul.” 5 MOL 300.6

Joseph Clark, a layman, wrote enthusiastically: “Since adopting the health reform, my own health has been so much benefited that I have been at a loss to know whether it was duty to tell others of it, lest they might consider me an enthusiast; but over two years have passed away since we commenced to live out the health reform, and it is proving to be even better than I had imagined at first.” 6 MOL 300.7

Looking back over the previous twenty years, Dr. J. H. Kellogg stated: MOL 300.8

“Numerous reforms in diet and dress were introduced and quite generally adopted. These reforms were of such a character that, when conscientiously carried out, they invariably produced a decided change for the better on the part of those adopting them. Hundreds who had for years suffered from various chronic ailments were soon relieved of the distressing symptoms which had been endured so long. Many whose cases had been pronounced hopeless were restored to excellent health. Others who seemed to be just on the brink of the grave received a new lease of life and ability for eminent usefulness. The most extraordinary evidences of good resulting from the adoption of health reform principles—results which in many instances seemed little short of miracles—were to be met on every hand. In every community of Sabbath-keepers were to be found those who freely acknowledged that they owed their lives to the light which they had received upon this question.” 7 MOL 301.1