Selected Messages Book 2


All to Understand What to Do for Themselves

Your question is, ... “In urgent cases, should we call in a worldly physician, because the sanitarium doctors are all so busy that they have no time to devote to outside practice?” If the physicians are so busy that they cannot treat the sick outside of the institution, would it not be wiser for all to educate themselves in the use of simple remedies, than to venture to use drugs that are given a long name to hide their real qualities. Why need anyone be ignorant of God's remedies—hot-water fomentations and cold and hot compresses. It is important to become familiar with the benefit of dieting in case of sickness. All should understand what to do [for] themselves. They may call upon someone who understands nursing, but everyone should have an intelligent knowledge of the house he lives in. All should understand what to do in case of sickness. 2SM 289.4

Were I sick, I would just as soon call in a lawyer as a physician from among general practitioners. [Mrs. White is here referring to the “general practitioner” of 1897 in the backwoods of Australia, from where she penned these words. The reader must keep in mind that until the second decade of the twentieth century, physician training was largely unregulated and was often meager. In many instances it was on an apprentice basis, supplemented at best by a short period of training in a more or less orthodox medical school. The medical profession was without well-established standards. The mainstay in the medications of the ordinary doctor was poisonous drugs, often prescribed in large doses. 2SM 290.1

The following facts show clearly that Mrs. White's statement should not be used to depreciate the labors of the carefully trained conscientious physician:

1. Her many statements relative to the high calling and weighty responsibilities of the physician;

2. Her practice of consulting qualified physicians as attested by the published record and by those who were members of her family;

3. Her counsel to an associate worker who was ill, to “let the physicians” “do those things” for her “that must be done” (See page 251 of this volume), and urging her to eat, “because your earthly physician would have you eat” (Page 253);

4. Her many counsels addressed to practicing physicians presented in The Ministry of Healing, Counsels on Health, and Medical Ministry;

5. The guidance from her pen in the establishment of a Seventh-day Adventist medical college at Loma Linda, designed to provide “a medical education that will enable” its graduates “To pass the examinations required by law of all those who practice as regularly qualified physicians.”—Ellen G. White Manuscript 7, 1910 (published in Pacific Union Recorder, February 3, 1910 Words of Counsel).(See The Story of Our Health Message, 386, (1955)).] I would not touch their nostrums, to which they give latin names. I am determined to know, in straight English, the name of everything that I introduce into my system.

Those who make a practice of taking drugs sin against their intelligence and endanger their whole afterlife. There are herbs that are harmless, the use of which will tide over many apparently serious difficulties. But if all would seek to become intelligent in regard to their bodily necessities, sickness would be rare instead of common. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.—Manuscript 86, 1897 (General Manuscript, “Health Reform Principles,” written from Cooranbong, Australia). 2SM 290.2