Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 75—Imagination and Illness

[See also chapter 7, “Disease that begins in the mind”; Chapter 42, “Mind and Health”; Chapter 63, “Imagination.”]

Imagination Leads to Severe Forms of Disease—The mind needs to be controlled, for it has a most powerful influence upon the health. The imagination often misleads, and when indulged, brings severe forms of disease upon the afflicted. Many die of diseases which are mostly imaginary. I am acquainted with several who have brought upon themselves actual disease by the influence of the imagination.—Testimonies for the Church 2:523 (1870). 2MCP 681.1

People Dying Who Might Get Well—Thousands are sick and dying around us who might get well and live if they would, but their imagination holds them. They fear that they will be made worse if they labor or exercise, when this is just the change they need to make them well. Without this they never can improve. They should exercise the power of the will, rise above their aches and debility, engage in useful employment, and forget that they have aching backs, sides, lungs, and heads. Neglecting to exercise the entire body, or a portion of it, will bring on morbid conditions. Inaction of any of the organs of the body will be followed by a decrease in size and strength of the muscles and will cause the blood to flow sluggishly through the blood vessels.—Testimonies for the Church 3:76 (1872). 2MCP 681.2

Imagination Can Control Parts of the Body—It is the lack of harmonious action in the human organism that brings disease. The imagination may control the other parts of the body to their injury. All parts of the system must work harmoniously.—Manuscript 24, 1900. (Medical Ministry, 682). 2MCP 682.1

Dying of a Diseased Imagination—Once I was called to see a young woman with whom I was well acquainted. She was sick and was running down fast. Her mother wished me to pray for her. The mother stood there weeping and saying, “Poor child; she cannot live long.” I felt her pulse. I prayed with her, and then addressed her, “My sister, if you get up and dress and go to your usual work in the office, all this invalidism will pass away.” 2MCP 682.2

“Do you think this would pass away?” she said. 2MCP 682.3

“Certainly,” I said. “You have nearly smothered the life forces by invalidism.” 2MCP 682.4

I turned to the mother and told her that her daughter would have died of a diseased imagination if they had not been convinced of their error. She had been educating herself to invalidism. Now this is a very poor school. But I said to her, “Change this order; arise and dress.” She was obedient, and is alive today.—Letter 231, 1905. (Medical Ministry, 109). 2MCP 682.5

Imagination Affected by Disease—You are highly sensitive and feel deeply. You are strictly conscientious, and your judgment must be convinced before you will yield to the opinions of others. Had your physical health been unimpaired, you would have made an eminently useful woman. You have long been diseased, and this has affected your imagination so that your thoughts have been concentrated upon yourself, and the imagination has affected the body.—Testimonies for the Church 3:74 (1872). 2MCP 682.6

Overcoming a Diseased Imagination—The light given me is that if the sister you mention would brace up and cultivate her taste for wholesome food, all these sinking spells would pass away. She has cultivated her imagination; the enemy has taken advantage of her weakness of body, and her mind is not braced to bear up against the hardships of everyday life. It is good, sanctified mind cure she needs, an increase of faith, and active service for Christ. She needs also the exercise of her muscles in outside practical labor. Physical exercise will be to her one of the greatest blessings of her life. She need not be an invalid, but a wholesome-minded, healthy woman, prepared to act her part nobly and well. 2MCP 683.1

All the treatment that may be given to this sister will be of little advantage unless she acts her part. She needs to strengthen muscle and nerve by physical labor. She need not be an invalid, but can do good, earnest labor. Like many others, she has a diseased imagination. But she can overcome and be a healthy woman. I have had this message to give to many, and with the best results.—Letter 231, 1905. (Medical Ministry, 108, 109). 2MCP 683.2

Summon the Aid of the Will—Indolence is a great evil. Men, women, and youth, by dwelling upon themselves, think they are in a much worse condition than they really are. They nurse their ailments, and think of them and talk of them, until their usefulness seems to be at an end. Many have passed into the grave when they might have lived, and ought to have lived. Their imagination was diseased. Had they resisted the disposition to yield to infirmities and be overcome by them; had they summoned to their aid the powers of the will, they might have lived to bless the world with their influence.—The Health Reformer, July, 1868. 2MCP 683.3

Deliverance From Sin and Healing Disease Linked—In the ministry of healing, the physician is to be a coworker with Christ. The Saviour ministered to both the soul and the body. The gospel which He taught was a message of spiritual life and of physical restoration. Deliverance from sin and the healing of disease were linked together. The same ministry is committed to the Christian physician. He is to unite with Christ in relieving both the physical and spiritual needs of his fellowmen. He is to be to the sick a messenger of mercy, bringing to them a remedy for the diseased body and for the sin-sick soul.—The Ministry of Healing, 111 (1905). 2MCP 683.4