One cannot study the Spirit of prophecy without sensing the necessity of blending the great principles of health with the third angel's message. Two excerpts which have stimulated me in my quest for knowledge on the vital subject of health, and inspired me to undertake the task of imparting to the public the importance of complying with the laws of health, are these:
"He designs that the great subject of health reform shall be agitated, and the public mind deeply stirred to investigate; for it is impossible for men and women, with all their sinful, health-destroying, brain-enervating habits, to discern sacred truth, through which they are to be sanctified, refined, elevated, and made fit for the society of heavenly angels in the kingdom of glory."—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 162.
"Successful evangelistic work can be done in connection with medical missionary work. It is as these lines of work are united that we may expect to gather the most precious fruit for the Lord."—Medical Ministry, pp. 26, 27.
When this subject first attracted my attention, I was busy in my Bible work, occupied constantly with evangelistic campaigns. How could I find time from my duties to take a course in nutrition or the science of food? And where would I get the help that would be practical for those who were attending our evangelistic meetings, and for those who comprised our church membership? Back in those days we had no training centers such as we have today; so there was only one recourse left for me, and that was to take what tools I had at my command and go to work. I proceeded to study all that the Bible and the Testimonies have to say concerning this important subject. I was amazed with the wealth of practical instruction I found in the Spirit of prophecy. How comprehensive and yet how reasonable!
I next extended my study to reliable sources, to such works as those which dealt with the scientific phase of health and foods. I used my scissors and culled out those statements that would be valuable. I learned by experience that color and dignity may be given any subject if it can be backed up with quotations taken from the pen of a reliable scientist or one who has specialized in that particular field.
I discovered that health reform in all its aspects is a broad field. It was like peering through the eye of a telescope. The more I explored, the greater and more interesting became this subject.
Foods—what a study ! Foods in their natural and refined states, and their effect upon the human body! Foods—their right and wrong combinations and the deleterious results that follow the combination of certain delectable dishes ! Foods —how to cook and prepare them so that they will not lose any of their nutritive value ! Foods—when to eat them and how to eat them so that the system can derive the most benefit! Foods—the right selection and amount of which make a balanced ration ! Foods for different types of people with their varied idiosyncrasies—the Epicurean be secured on both of these topics. At the close Of each of these lectures an appeal should be made to children, youth, and adults to sign the temperance pledge' and to take a definite stand against tobacco.
Charts can play a. very important part in keeping before the mind the various nutritional foods. These can be secured from a number of sources,* usually free of charge. There may be on these charts foods of which we do not approve. These, however, may be covered so that the audience will not see them. For instance, on the charts put out by some of these companies, there may be a beefsteak or even unclean meats. It would not be wise to allow such items to be shown. However, such charts, being quite colorful, add greatly to the attractiveness of the platform as well as make the audience food conscious. The flannelgraph can also -be used very effectively, should one choose to cut up these charts Then, too, when you desire to speak about the value of a particular food, it will greatly enhance your point to have the actual food displayed.
DEMONSTRATIONS.—Greater interest can be aroused by a food' demonstration than by any other method in presenting this aspect of the health message. When an attractive food exhibition is put on, it immediately holds the attention of men and women, young and old. Preparing certain dishes before the audience is of vital interest, and a means by which the interest can be maintained. For example, when one is speaking on condiments, it would be especially helpful to demonstrate how to make mayonnaise dressing without vinegar, using lemon juice instead. Two women from the church should be chosen to demonstrate. Some coaching may have to be done in advance, so that every move they make before the public may be made with grace and dignity. They should be appropriately dressed for the occasion. While they are thus engaged in putting together the component parts, the lecturer can be making remarks as to the amount of ingredients, beating, etc. If thought advisable, a sample may be passed around. The preparation of other wholesome foods, without using harmful condiments, can be demonstrated in the same manner.
SECURING SAMPLES.—Before beginning health lectures, one should visit the various health food stores in the city, or the nearest ones, informing them as to the program to be launched, and soliciting their support in providing samples of various foods and beverages. They have been found to be co-operative, and have given freely in the past. Write to our own food companies and inform them of the work being done in interesting the public in health. Samples should also be obtained from them as well as leaflets describing their various kinds of foods. Mention should be made to the audience that through the courtesy of such and such a store these free samples of certain foods were made available.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLE DISPLAY.—It is always well to have a diversified program, instead of using a stereopticon each lecture night. As one variation, contact the manager of the best fruit and vegetable market in the city. After explaining to him the nature of the work that is being done in promoting vegetarianism, request him to furnish a basket of choice fruits, stating that this is to be the special feature of the evening lecture. Likewise, when featuring the benefits derived from the vegetable kingdom, ask for samples of the various vegetables. When one holds up before the audience these vitamin- and mineral-laden vegetables and fruits, a profound impression is made.
A SAMPLE BALANCED MEAL.—There are very few -people who know what a balanced ration is ; that is, the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats to be used at each meal. A table should be set attractively, and so placed that all can observe. The meal placed on this table should be balanced and wholesome, with the correct combination of foods, palatably prepared. Comments should be made as to what constitutes a balanced meal, and why one must be so particular about the combinations used.
It is an excellent idea to place in the hands of your eager listeners mimeographed menus and recipes, thus enabling them to prepare meatless dishes, balanced rations, and right food combinations. It is also well to include a list of alkaline-and acid-forming foods.
Displaying and Distributing Health Foods
When lecturing on harmful foods and beverages, one does well to have a table display of various kinds of substitutes. If, after speaking on the harmful effect of tea and coffee, you suggest no substitutes, much will be lost. While the minds of the interested ones are being agitated, that is the psychological moment to put into their hands a beverage that will take the place of the health-destroying cup to which they have been accustomed.
Some member of the church or perhaps the Dorcas Society could be the agent for health foods. The table should be large enough so that the different items can be exhibited in such a way as to attract the eye. Appoint several sisters to have charge of the sale of these foods—those who are able to meet the public and who are capable of answering questions that may arise from the inquiring purchasers.
HYDROTHERAPY DEMONSTRATIONS.—A graduate nurse should be present to give a hydrotherapy demonstration. If a doctor is available, he should be called upon to speak on the technique used in giving such treatments. If the services of a physician cannot be obtained, then the nurse should explain to the audience the reason why heat should be applied to the feet and cold to the head, why the fomentation should be changed before it becomes too cool, and the application of cold at its removal. These and other points should be dealt with during the entire demonstration. If the nurse would prefer not to say anything, then the regular lecturer should answer all the questions that arise.
To give such an exhibition properly requires planning and thought. A bed should be set up.
Or, if a regular bed cannot be secured, then an improvised one can be used. It should be placed so that all can easily see the movements of the nurse. A little boy may be chosen as the patient. Sometimes there are circumstances which make it impossible to use water. However, the demonstration can be made just as effective without it. All the necessary equipment in the giving of a real treatment should be on display.
TIME ALLOTTED FOR LECTURE.—If the health work is to be given its proper place in the public evangelistic effort, ample time should be allowed to promote it. This cannot be done in occasional fifteen-minute periods. At least a half hour should be given for the health lecture period if it is to accomplish all that is designed. The hour from seven to seven-thirty has been found to be feasible in some efforts. In other instances one entire evening each week is devoted to the health message.
CONCLUSION.—When the health program is given proper recognition in the evangelistic campaign, the new converts will receive it as part of the threefold message and will ever have a high regard for the laws that govern their being. When the time comes for the newly interested ones to be baptized and admitted into the church, they will be conversant with the standards held by the advent people, and will have already subscribed intelligently to principles taught during the health lectures.
In some instances a candidate has been preparing for church membership without being informed about the harmful use of tea, coffee, tobacco, unclean meats, etc., until the night before his baptism. The suddenness with which he is approached and the little time that is to elapse before he goes into the watery grave tend to confuse his mind. He does not and cannot comprehend what a cup of tea has to do with being a Christian. Yes, he will give up his tea and coffee, and will stop smoking, because he wants to be baptized. Sabbath morning arrives, he wants a hot drink with his breakfast. He has no substitute for his coffee, and consequently, he weakens and resorts to his favorite beverage. Thus, we can see the necessity of laying a thorough groundwork before the final step in baptism is taken.
When people see from the study of the Bible that food, drink, exercise, sunshine, fresh air, and a firm trust in God are all a part of religion, they will happily relate themselves to the "right arm of the message" and will reap the benefits of good health. I may add that many of our own church members will be blessed and helped from such a course of lectures. Thus, the accomplishments are twofold.
* Several such films (S.V.E.) may be obtained from the Purchasing Bureau of the General Conference, Takoma Park 12, D.C., as follows
**See comprehensive list page 36.