Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 54—Overstudy

We Are to Preserve Brain PowerI believe, I believe that the Lord hears my prayers, and then I go to work to answer my prayers, which I am sure are indited by the Lord. I am of good courage. Let us not overtax the strength that the Lord gives us. We are to preserve our brain power. If we abuse this power, we shall have no deposit to draw from in times of emergency.—Letter 150, 1903. 2MCP 506.1

Wisdom Needed in Choosing Mental Diet—The gathering together of many books for study too often interposes between God and man a mass of knowledge that weakens the mind and makes it incapable of assimilating that which it has already received. The mind becomes dyspeptic. Wisdom is needed that man may choose aright between these many authors and the word of life, that he may eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God.—Testimonies for the Church 7:205 (1902). 2MCP 506.2

Shortens Life—To those who are desirous of becoming efficient laborers in the cause of God I would say, If you are putting an undue amount of labor on the brain, thinking you will lose ground unless you study all the time, you should at once change your views and your course. Unless greater care is exercised in this respect, there are many who will go down to the grave prematurely.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 296 (1913). 2MCP 506.3

Overconcentration Wears Out Vital Organs—The power to concentrate the mind upon one subject to the exclusion of all others is well in a degree; but the constant exercise of this faculty wears upon those organs that are called into use to do this work; it throws too great a tax upon them, and the result is a failure to accomplish the greatest amount of good. The principal wear comes upon one set of organs, while the others lie dormant. The mind cannot thus be healthfully exercised, and, in consequence, life is shortened.—Testimonies for the Church 3:34 (1872). 2MCP 507.1

Overtaxed Mind Opens Door to Temptation—Students who apply themselves wholly to brain labor in the schoolroom injure the whole living machinery by confinement. The brain is wearied, and Satan brings in a whole list of temptations, enticing them to engage in forbidden indulgences, to have a change, to let off steam. Yielding to these temptations, they do wrong things which injure themselves and do mischief to others. This may be done only in sport [frolic]. The brain is active and they desire to play some pranks. But someone must undertake to undo the mischief they did under temptation.—Letter 103, 1897. 2MCP 507.2

Overworking the Mind Causes Diseased Imagination—The proper methods have been presented to me. Let students with their mental studies call into exercise the physical and moral powers. Let them work the living machinery proportionately. The constant working of the brain is a mistake. I wish I could express in words just that which would express the matter. The constant working of the brain causes a diseased imagination. It leads to dissipation. The education of five years in this one line is not of as much value as an all-round education of one year.—Letter 76, 1897. 2MCP 507.3

Too Much Study Leads to Depravity—Avoid exciting the brain. Too much study stimulates the brain and increases the flow of blood to it. The sure result of this is depravity. The brain cannot be unduly excited without producing impure thoughts and actions. The whole nervous system is affected, and this leads to impurity. The physical and mental powers are depraved, and the temple of the Holy Spirit is defiled. The evil practices are communicated, and the consequences cannot be estimated. I am compelled to speak plainly on this subject.—Letter 145, 1897. 2MCP 508.1

Heart and Head Must Have Rest (counsel to an overburdened minister)—Keep the channel free and unobstructed, for the inflowing of the Holy Spirit. Whatever may take place, keep your mind stayed on God, and do not become in any way confused. 2MCP 508.2

As I talked with you in the night season, I saw that you were brain-weary, and I said to you, Cast all your care upon the Lord; for He careth for you. Lay your burdens and perplexities upon the Burden-bearer. The peace of Christ in the heart is worth more to us than anything else.... 2MCP 508.3

I warn you to be careful. I ask you to unload; to rid yourself of the many burdens and perplexities that prevent you from giving your heart and your head rest. Remember that there is need of giving attention to matters of eternal interest.—Letter 19, 1904. 2MCP 508.4

Illness Resulting From Mental Taxation—Those who have broken down from mental labor should have rest from wearing thought; but they should not be led to believe that it is dangerous to use their mental powers at all. Many are inclined to regard their condition as worse than it really is. This state of mind is unfavorable to recovery and should not be encouraged. 2MCP 508.5

Ministers, teachers, students, and other brain workers often suffer from illness as the result of severe mental taxation, unrelieved by physical exercise. What these persons need is a more active life. Strictly temperate habits, combined with proper exercise, would ensure both mental and physical vigor and would give power of endurance to all brain workers.—The Ministry of Healing, 238 (1905). 2MCP 508.6

Harmony to Be Preserved Between Mental and Physical Powers—We lose or gain physical strength just in accordance with the way in which we treat the body. When the largest portion of time is devoted to brain work, the organs of imagination lose their freshness and power, while the physical organs lose their healthy tone. The brain is morbidly excited by being constantly exercised, while the muscular system is weak from lack of exercise. There is a manifest loss of strength and increase of debility, which in time makes its influence felt on the brain. As far as possible, harmony should be preserved between the mental and physical powers. This is necessary for the health of the entire system.—Letter 53, 1898. 2MCP 509.1