Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 2, 1884

Brother and Sister

Healdsburg, California

February 17, 1884

This letter is published in entirety in KC 68-70.

Dear Brother and Sister:

I have been thinking much of the Health Institute at St. Helena. Many thoughts crowd into my mind, and I wish to express some of them to you. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1884, par. 1

I am sure that _____ has a work to do for herself which she does not realize. All that she has thought and done, and all that her husband has thought and done, she has looked upon as beyond criticism, as just right. I know that this is a deception of the enemy. If anything is said to question her course, or his, it appears to both of you that you are treated unjustly. This deception of Satan will have to be broken before you will be right. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1884, par. 2

I have been calling to mind the light God has given me, and through me to you, on health reform. Have you carefully and prayerfully sought to understand the will of God in these matters? The excuse has been that the outsiders would have a meat diet; but even if they had some meat, I know that, with care and skill, dishes could be prepared to take the place of meat to a large degree <and in a short time they be educated to let the flesh of dead animals alone.> But if one performs the cooking whose main dependence is meat, she can <and will> encourage meat-eating, and the depraved appetite will frame every excuse for this kind of diet. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1884, par. 3

When I saw how matters were going—that if _____ had not meat to cook, she knew not what to provide as a substitute, and that meat was the principle article of diet—I felt that there must be a change at once. There may be consumptives who demand meat, but let them have it in their own rooms, and do not tempt the already-perverted appetite of those who should not eat it. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1884, par. 4

I became satisfied that no reform could be made while _____ was cooking at the Institute. All that we might try to do would be undone in one week, because the appetite of a few had control in this matter. Large expenses have resulted, for meat is the most expensive diet that can be had. I could not see how the Lord could bless either of you in the course you have pursued, for it was directly contrary to the light He has given for years. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1884, par. 5

Now as to my own experience: Meat seldom appears on my table, for weeks at a time I would not taste it, and after my appetite had been trained, I grew stronger and could do better work. When I came to the Retreat, I determined not to taste meat, but I could get scarcely anything else to eat, and therefore ate a little meat. It caused unnatural action of the heart. I knew it was not the right kind of food. I wanted to keep house by myself, but this was overruled. If I could have done as I wished, I should have remained at the institution several weeks longer. The use of meat, while at the Retreat awakened the old appetite, and after I returned home, it clamored for indulgence. Then I resolved to change entirely, and not under any circumstances eat meat and thus encourage this appetite. Not a morsel of meat or butter has been on my table since I returned. We have milk, fruit, grains, and vegetables. For a time I lost all desire for food. Like the children of Israel, I hankered after flesh meats. But I firmly refused to have meat bought or cooked. I was weak and trembling, as every one who subsists on meat will be when deprived of the stimulus. But now my appetite has returned, I enjoy bread and fruit, my head is generally clear, and my strength firmer. I have none of the goneness so common with meat eaters. I have had my lesson, and, I hope, learned it well. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1884, par. 6

We ought to have seen the evil of allowing certain ones to control the preparation of food for the Retreat. Hot biscuits and flesh meats are entirely out of harmony with health reform principles. If we would allow reason to take the place of impulse and love of selfish indulgence, we should not taste of the flesh of dead animals. What is more repulsive to the sense of smell than a shop where flesh meats are kept for sale! The smell of raw flesh is offensive to all whose senses have not been depraved by the culture of unnatural appetites. What more unpleasant sight to a reflective mind than the beasts slain to be devoured. Persons who live largely on a meat diet are in danger of putrefaction should they contract disease. If the light God has given in regard to health reform is disregarded, He will not work a miracle to keep in health those who are pursuing a course to make themselves sick. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1884, par. 7

Now, had another stood just where you have stood and prepared the meals as you have done, and you two had been lookers on, I wonder what position you would have taken in regard to the matter. You would not have let things continue as they have been going, not one week. You would have had a reform, or discharged the cook. But I have learned that it is not an easy matter to change the ideas and plans of some persons. They are very set and are not easily turned about. As I think of these things, I feel sad and sick at heart. I know that all that is said to change the order of things is taken as faultfinding. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1884, par. 8

I have thought it a hopeless undertaking to right matters at the Retreat. Then I have thought that, notwithstanding your ideas and feelings and impressions, it must be done. You must change your manner of living. Your influence, your appetite, has moulded the Institute, but it can do so no longer. You may think you cannot work without meat, I thought so once, but I know that in His original plan, God did not provide for the flesh of dead animals to compose the diet for man. It is a gross, perverted taste that will accept such food. To think of dead flesh rotting in the stomach is revolting. Then, the fact that meat is largely diseased should lead us to make strenuous efforts to discontinue its use entirely. My position now is to let meat altogether alone. It will be hard for some to do this, as hard as for the rum drinker to forsake his dram; but they will be better for the change. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1884, par. 9