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Manuscript Releases Volume Fifteen : Page 272

38. Building and Managing Sanitariums and Other Health Institutions

I have received letters from different States asking me to answer their inquiries in regard to the wisdom of investing means in building sanitariums, where the sick may be treated and where there could be a right influence exerted to point sick souls to Jesus, who is the Great Physician of the soul as well as of the body. This is a question that cannot be answered in quick, Italian fashion with "Yes" or "No." There are many sides to this question.

Letters have come to me from Ohio. They have erected a health institution there. Some of our ministers and leading men in Ohio have acted a prominent part in the building of this institution, and now they find that they have no one who is able to run such an institution. There were monied men, I have been told, who would put thousands into this institution but [who] could not be induced to invest means in our home or foreign missions.

I came fresh from Europe, where I had seen fields open before us on every side. Hearts were being softened, and were longing for the truth. Calls were constantly coming from all countries for books and for preachers. All was done that could be done, but there was an empty treasury and a want of qualified men who had experience to do a good work, in wisdom presenting the truth as it is in Jesus.


I attended our camp meetings. I tried to set the condition of things before our people and, besides that, wrote to several for means, either to loan or to donate. One of these returned answer that his means was invested in the sanitarium in Ohio, and he could do nothing. Of some ten letters that we sent, only one was responded to. Brother Smouse, of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, sent one hundred dollars.

The building of health institutions is in itself well enough, if the matter has been duly considered, if there has been prayerful, thoughtful investigation of the subject, and if those who enter upon the enterprise are discerning, careful, prayerful managers, and they begin to build, fully counting the cost, so they know whether they are able to finish that which they enter upon.

Have these brethren in Ohio unselfishly looked to God for light and for wisdom how to invest, as wise stewards, the Lord's money for the upbuilding of His cause and the advancement of His kingdom? Have they decided that the Lord's means was in their hands? Or have they followed their own inclination, and in the place of selling and giving alms, or, in short, investing in the very work that is most essential to open the Word of God to all nations, tongues, and peoples, have they invested their means where they will be sure to get either honor or returns? The Judgment will reveal the matter as it is. Every man's work will be tested and proved by the Lord.

If small institutions can be built in some localities, and there are discreet men and women to conduct these institutions, then we will say, Let them be built, if in so doing the cause is not in any way crippled for means to send missionaries to foreign countries, according to the


commission Christ gave His disciples. They were to go to all nations, tongues, and peoples, beginning at Jerusalem, and He gave them the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

I have found it no easy matter to secure means to invest in health institutions. But it has proved a still more difficult matter to secure persons who were qualified to conduct such institutions. It requires thoroughly balanced characters to do this work, not men who have some strong traits of character but who are weak as children in other points.

Plenty of physicians can be obtained who ceased to be students when they received their diplomas, who are self-inflated, who feel that they know all that is worth knowing and what they do not know is not worth knowing. But this class are not the ones we want. When a physician enters upon his work as practitioner, the more genuine, practical experience he has, the more fully will he feel his want of knowledge.

In self-sufficient, he will read articles written in regard to diseases and how to treat them without nature's aid; he will grasp statements and weave them into his practice, and without deep research, without earnest study, without sifting every statement, he will merely become a mechanical worker. Because he knows so little, he will be ready to experiment upon human lives, and sacrifice not a few.

This is murder, actual murder. He did not do this work with evil design, he had no malicious purposes; but life was sacrificed on account of his ignorance, because he was a superficial student, because he had not had that practice that would make him a safe man to be entrusted with human lives. It requires care-taking, deep, earnest taxation of the mind, to carry the burden a physician should carry in learning his trade thoroughly.


Every physician who has received a thorough education will be very modest in his claims. It will not do for him to run any risk in experimenting on human life, lest he be guilty of murder and this be written against him in the books of heaven. There should be a careful, competent physician who will deal scarcely ever in drugs, and who will not boast that powerful poisons are far more effective than a smaller quantity carefully taken. It is true, it kills if it does not cure; but drugs never cure. They change the order of difficulties, but never heal them, never remove the cause.

We have deeply regretted that there were not a large number of institutions working from the hygienic principles that there are now in existence. Not all of these can be prepared upon a large scale, involving large expense; but the question is, Will they preserve the principles of hygiene, or will they use the easier method of using drugs, to take the place of treating diseases without resorting to drug medication?

There could be many hygienic institutions in all parts of our world if there were plenty of means and plenty of persons who had the qualifications to manage such institutions. The physicians who shall be employed should not only have a book knowledge but a practical experience to understand disease and its causes, and [who] will feel the necessity, as soon as they are brought into positions of trust, to commence the work of carrying the burden necessary for them to bear, in order to do the most careful, thorough work. They will, if they are not closely connected with God, become careless and venturesome.

The first labors of a physician should be to educate the sick and suffering in the very course they should pursue to prevent disease. The greatest good can be done by our trying to enlighten the minds of all we can


obtain access to, as to the best course for them to pursue to prevent sickness and suffering and broken constitutions and premature death. But those who do not care to undertake work that taxes their physical and mental powers will be ready to prescribe drug medication, which lays a foundation in the human organism for a twofold greater evil than that which they claim to have relieved.

A physician who has the moral courage to imperil his reputation in enlightening the understanding by plain facts, in showing the nature of disease and how to prevent it, and the dangerous practice of resorting to drugs, will have an uphill business, but he will live and let live. He will not use his powerful drug medication, because of the knowledge he has acquired by studying books. He will, if a reformer, talk plainly in regard to the false appetites and ruinous self-indulgence, in dressing, in eating and drinking, in overtaxing to do a large amount of work in a given time, which has a ruinous influence upon the temper [and on] the physical and mental powers.

Knowledge is what is needed. Drugs are too often promised to restore health, and the poor sick are so thoroughly drugged with quinine, morphine, or some strong health- and life-destroying medicine, that nature may never make sufficient protest, but give up the struggle; and they may continue their wrong habits with hopeful impunity.

Right and correct habits, intelligently and perseveringly practiced, will be removing the cause for disease, and the strong drugs need not be resorted to. Many go on from step to step with their unnatural indulgences, which is bringing in just as unnatural a condition of things as possible.


Diseases of every stripe and type have been brought upon human beings by the use of tea and coffee and the narcotics, opium and tobacco. These hurtful indulgences must be given up, not only one, but all; for all are hurtful and ruinous to the physical, mental, and moral powers, and should be discontinued from a health standpoint. The common use of the flesh of dead animals has had a deteriorating influence upon the morals as well as the physical constitution.

Ill-health in a variety of forms, if effect could be traced to the cause, would reveal the sure result of flesh eating. The disuse of meat with healthful dishes nicely prepared to take the place of flesh-meats, would place a large number of the sick and suffering ones in a fair way of recovering their health without the use of drugs.

But if the physician encourages a meat-eating diet to his invalid patients, then he will make a necessity for the use of drugs. Nature will want some assistance to bring things to their proper condition, which may be found in the simplest remedies, especially in the use of nature's own furnished remedies--pure air, and with a precious knowledge of how to breathe; pure water, with a knowledge of how to apply it; plenty of sunlight in every room in the house, if possible, and with an intelligent knowledge of what advantages are to be gained by its use. All these are powerful in their efficiency, and the patient who has obtained a knowledge of how to eat and dress healthfully, may live for comfort, for peace, for health, and will not be prevailed upon to put to his lips drugs, which, in the place of helping nature, paralyze her powers. If the sick and suffering will do only as well as they know in regard to living out the principles of health reform


perseveringly, then they will in nine cases out of ten recover from their ailments.

The feeble and suffering ones must be educated line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, until they will have respect for and live in obedience to the law that God has made to control the human organism. Those who sin against knowledge and light, and resort to the skill of a physician in administering drugs, will be constantly losing their hold on life. The less there is of drug dosing, the more favorable will be their recovery to health. Drugs, in the place of helping nature, are constantly paralyzing her efforts.

The health institutions for the sick will be the best places to educate the suffering ones to live in accordance with nature's laws, and cease their health-destroying practices in wrong habits in diet, in dress, that are in accordance with the world's habits and customs, which are not at all after God's order. They are doing a good work to enlighten our world.

Drugs always have a tendency to break down and destroy vital forces, and nature becomes so crippled in her efforts that the invalid dies, not because he needed to die, but because nature was outraged. If she had been left alone, she would have put forth her highest efforts to save life and health. Nature wants none of such help as so many claim that they have given her. Lift off the burdens placed upon her, after the customs of the fashion of this age, and you will see in many cases nature will right herself. The use of drugs is not favorable or natural to the laws of life and health. The drug medication gives nature two burdens to bear in the place of one. She has two serious difficulties to overcome in the place of one.


There is now positive need even with physicians, reformers in the line of treatment of disease, that greater painstaking effort be made to carry forward and upward the work for themselves, and to interestedly instruct those who look to them for medical skill to ascertain the cause of their infirmities. They should call their attention in a special manner to the laws which God has established, which cannot be violated with impunity. They dwell much on the working of disease, but do not, as a general rule, arouse the attention to the laws which must be sacredly and intelligently obeyed to prevent disease.

Especially [is this true] if the physician has not been correct in his dietetic practices, if his own appetite has not been restricted to a plain, wholesome diet, in a large measure discarding the use of the flesh of dead animals, [if] he loves meat, [and] he has educated and cultivated a taste for unhealthful food. His ideas are narrow, and he will as soon educate and discipline the taste and appetite of his patients to love the things that he loves, as to give them the sound principles of health reform. He will prescribe for sick patients flesh-meats, when it is the very worst diet that they can have. It stimulates, but does not give strength.

They do not inquire into their [patients'] former habits of eating and drinking, and do not take special notice of their erroneous habits which have been for many years laying the foundation of disease. Conscientious physicians should be prepared to enlighten those who are ignorant, and should with wisdom make out their prescriptions, prohibiting those things in their diet which he knows to be erroneous.


He should plainly state the things which he regards as detrimental to the laws of health, and leave these suffering ones to work conscientiously to do those things for themselves which they can do and thus place themselves in right relation to the laws of life and health. When from enlightened conscience they do the very best they know how to do to preserve themselves in health, then in faith they may look to the Great Physician, who is a healer of the body as well as of the soul.

We are health reformers. Physicians should have wisdom and experience, and be thorough health reformers. Then they will be constantly educating by precept and example their patients from drugs; for they well know that the use of drugs may produce for the time being favorable results, but will implant in the system that which will cause great difficulties hereafter, which they may never recover from during their lifetime. Nature must have a chance to do her work. Obstructions must be removed and opportunity given her to exert her healing forces, which she will surely do if every abuse is removed from her and she has a fair chance.

The sick should be educated to have confidence in nature's great blessings which God has provided; and the most effective remedies for disease are pure, soft water; the blessed God-given sunshine coming into rooms of the invalids; living outdoors as much as possible; having healthful exercise; eating and drinking foods that are prepared in the most healthful manner.

To resort to the drugging process lays upon nature a most fearful, merciless burden, from which they may never recover. There are many laboring under chronic diseases. They will swallow anything in the line of drugs prescribed by the unbelieving physician, when, if Christians, an intelligent


knowledge that they are indulging in unnatural appetites which explains to them the cause of their suffering, would place themselves in a position to be health reformers. They would change the cause which produces this sure result.

There are many, many afflicted in our world with tobacco poison, but the physicians who are summoned to treat their patients under painful afflictions brought upon them by using tobacco using [do not point out the evils of tobacco. The patients] are not instructed by these worldly physicians to let these poisons alone, in order that they may recover health; for many of these physicians use these poisons themselves. How can they, then, consistently enlighten the understanding of those who indulge in the poisonous narcotic, tobacco?

The physician, if he is not a novice, can trace the effects back to the true cause, but he dares not forbid its use, because he indulges in it himself. Some will in an undecided, halfway manner advise the tobacco users to take less of this narcotic; but they do not say to them, This habit is killing you. They prescribe drugs to cure a disease which is the result of indulging unnatural appetites, and two evils are produced in the place of removing one.

Thousands need to be educated patiently, kindly, tenderly but decidedly, that nine-tenths of their complaints are created by their own course of action. The more they introduce drugs into the system, the more certainly do they interfere with the laws of nature and bring about the very difficulties they drug themselves to avoid.


Let all who contemplate erecting an institution, carefully consider whether they are to make it an institution conducted upon the principles of health reform, or whether they design to copy the popular institutions all through our land. If an institution for health is conducted upon the principles of health reform, it will require for its management a large amount of faith, a large amount of patience, a large amount of perseverance, a large amount of moral power, such as they have scarcely dreamed of, to make such an institution a success and to pay its own way.

The managers will require moral backbone, as well as superior, educated skill. Lectures need to be given in such an institution every day upon some points connected with the customs and habits of the people, of disease and its causes, and the only true course to be taken to prevent disease.

All connected with our health institutions as managers and helpers should possess the very best ability, should have abundance of Christian courtesy, should practice universally Christian politeness, should be tender, pitiful, courteous. This is positively essential in order to leave the right impression upon the minds of sick people. While trying to educate them away from the habits and customs of the world, many will be glad to be enlightened, while many who are wedded to their own fashionable, health-destroying indulgences will be offended and make it very unpleasant for those who wish to do them good.

Some have not the moral courage to keep right on in the fear of the Lord. There is even among those who have intelligence in regard to the laws of life and health, a constant selfish indulgence in those things which are injurious to both soul and body. There is intemperance in eating and in the


many varieties of food taken at one meal. In the preparation of food there are unhealthful mixtures which ferment in the stomach and cause great distress. And yet these go on, continuing their indulgence, which lays the foundation for numerous difficulties. If these would have self-control, and educate their taste to eat only those things which the abused stomach can and will assimilate, they would save large expense in doctor bills and avoid great sufferings.

There are many who spend their money for that which is not bread--for tea, coffee, the large use of flesh-meats. All of these produce their sure results in painful affliction. Many animals have been butchered when their blood was in a high state of fever, apparently boiling with madness. Those who eat of these meats are subject to inflammation and blood-poisoning. Some have distressing spasms, some have great distress of the bowels.

It is the work of the physician to educate those who are ignorant in regard to these things. There should be training schools to educate nurses and prepare the minds to sense the danger and to see the importance of bringing in skill and tact in the preparation of foods which shall be substituted for the meat diet. This kind of education will pay in the end. Wisdom should be used not to remove meat all at once from those who have been in the habit of using it, but educate the mind to see the importance of the use of healthful food.

We must not go to work in building our institutions until we shall carefully look the ground over and see whether we can complete that which we have in our mind to undertake. There is danger of making rash moves, which will not bear the sanction of heaven, or erecting large buildings, and


binding up a large amount of God's means that is needed at the very time [when money is required] in other branches of the work in sustaining our poverty-stricken missions that are directly engaged in the salvation of souls. This means, invested in this important work, may not bring the greatest honor and flattering praise to the one who invests it, but in the heavenly records every dollar is placed to their account as treasures laid up that they will come into possession of when Christ shall come.

Let none flatter themselves that it is an easy work to erect and conduct an institution upon health reform principles. It is not an easy matter to run an institution where the sick of all classes shall be treated. Every such institution should have as its managers and helpers the very best talents that the work can produce. Then they will have an educating school and be thoroughly disciplined and fitted, that representatives shall be sent out to any part of the world to impart their knowledge to those who are ignorant and who greatly need it. This drill is to be kept up until men and women are prepared to do the very best kind of work as educators, as well as all the time to be learners themselves, disciplining their powers to obtain increased knowledge, that they may as stewards of God have wisdom and light, [and] that they can impart [to those] that they are connected with in any branch of the work.

In all our institutions there are many who are deficient in knowledge, who might be fitted to do a much better work if they had made the best use of the opportunities and privileges which God has given them. These will boast of their knowledge, when they are very ignorant of the things which they ought to know. If they knew themselves better, they would have a sense


of their inefficiency. They would [not try to] grasp the higher rounds of the ladder, without climbing with painstaking efforts round after round to reach this elevation. It is much easier to boast than to execute. In these institutions we have it [illegible corrections] a most puzzling question how to keep managers and helpers in harmonious working order.

The very best kind of material is needed for the upbuilding of institutions for the sick. We have had an experience from the first establishment of the institution in the city of Battle Creek, and in the institution at St. Helena, and we feel compelled to say that it has cost much time and a great amount of perplexity, and quite an amount of money, to get these institutions in working order. There have been counsels and painful reproofs given, [and] most earnest entreaties and appeals made. One set of workmen [was] discharged because inefficient, and others have been placed in their place. Step by step a little has been gained here and there.

There has been much said in order to keep out licentious practices and improper familiarity between men and women. This had to be met and reproved, and constantly guarded against, and the ones that are corrected Become angry, in the place of reforming; they try to work their revenge upon the faithful workers in the institution. My own soul has been weighed down with burdens that are inexpressible as I have tried in the fear of God to do my duty to all parties and to the institution.--Manuscript 22, 1887. Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D.C. March 12, 1986. Entire Document.