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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 44, 1903

    Dangers in the Health Food Business

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    April 28, 1903

    Portions of this manuscript are published in HFM 61-66. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    On the night of April 26, scene after scene passed before me. I was talking to our people in Battle Creek, warning them most earnestly in regard to the dangers that would come upon us.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 1

    The next night I was again in meeting with my brethren, laboring most earnestly. One of authority was among us, and He said, “You rejoice that you have gained great victories. But you will certainly have severe conflicts.”18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 2

    I thought that propositions were being made by our brethren in Battle Creek to establish food stores in many places. I was instructed that there was great danger that in this matter grave mistakes would be made. There is danger that this work will be treated as commercial business and that it will be carried to an extreme. There is danger that men who are greatly needed just where they are will be encouraged to enter this business because of the wages offered.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 3

    The end of all things is at hand. The Lord is looking upon the plans that are being made, and He says, “Beware lest men shall be induced to enter business enterprises who ought to be serving the Master as evangelists and canvassers and ministers.”18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 4

    The worldly plans made in the past in regard to the food business may change somewhat; but there is danger that in many respects the same wood, hay, and stubble will be piled upon the foundation and that the work, that Christ ordained should be done in the food work, will be left undone for work in which more financial gain will be secured.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 5

    My brethren, watch unto prayer. Then men who have obtained an experience that enables them to labor successfully for the Master, and who are doing good work in their various positions of trust, should not be encouraged to leave their present work for some other line of work. If they should follow the policy that will be advocated by some, leaving the place in which they are now working, to enter the health food work, the cause of the Lord, at the end of the year, would be far behind where it ought to be.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 6

    Our Instructor addressed the leaders in the health food work at Battle Creek, telling them that they must make straight paths for their feet. Should the plans for health food stores and hygienic restaurants be carried out just as they have been outlined, many souls would fall into snares and pitfalls. There are those who view in a favorable light the establishment of health food stores and restaurants. But they should understand that like some other lines of work, this line may become altogether too absorbing. There may be brought into it too much business and too little principle. Thus the work which, if rightly handled, might be a blessing would become a curse.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 7

    Great care must be shown in regard to the extension of the food work. I have been instructed that this work will prove a snare unless right plans are laid and unless caution is exercised. There is danger that worldly business plans will be brought into the food work, and that the minds of the workers will become absorbed by business cares and will thus become dead to religious things. Bribes, in the form of high wages, must not be offered to men, to tempt them to leave positions where they are doing successful work for the Master, to enter the food work.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 8

    Men who are already carrying heavy responsibilities must not be urged to accept heavier responsibilities than they can carry and, at the same time, preserve their spirituality. Plans must not be laid in regard to this that will create perplexity and difficulty. This is a snare that the enemy would be pleased to see laid for the entanglement of our feet.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 9

    There are those who can successfully carry a certain amount of work, but who become overwearied, fractious, and impatient when there is crowded upon them a larger amount of work than they have physical or mental strength to perform. They lose the love of God out of the heart, and then they lose courage and faith, and the blessing of God is not with them. There are physicians who have lost their spiritual power because they have done double the work that they ought to have done. When men are asked or tempted to take more work than they can do, let them say firmly, I cannot consent to do this. I cannot safely do more than I am doing.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 10

    The food business is not to be so managed that it will absorb in it the talent needed elsewhere. No plans are to be followed that tend to make a great whole of the food work, and thus deprive other branches of the cause of God of their workers. Men and women must not be led to engage in a commercial line of work which will not help them to perfect a Christian character.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 11

    We need canvassers, evangelists, ministers who have received the Holy Spirit and who are partakers of the divine nature. We need workers who are able to talk with God, and then with the people. I am alarmed as I see how many obstructions are coming in to divert men from evangelistic work, and thus hinder the work of God. As our restaurants are presented to me, they are not doing the work that they should be doing to bring souls into the truth. I warn those who should be in the canvassing work, circulating the books so much needed everywhere, to be careful not to turn from the work that the Lord has called them to. Let not the men that God has called to do gospel work become entangled with business perplexities. Let them keep their souls in the atmosphere most favorable to spirituality. Let them not place themselves where they will find many temptations, where they will be absorbed in cares that will lead them to be regardless of the preparation necessary for the courts above. God wants every worker who claims to believe the present truth to consecrate himself, body, soul, and spirit, to the work of seeking to save the perishing souls around him.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 12

    I have been given a presentation of how the food work, if conducted as a commercial enterprise, will ever spread and will become a dangerous element in our work. I am bidden to say to men and women, Keep your conscience clear before God. Do not place yourselves where you will be tempted and tried by the sight of your eyes and the hearing of your ears, so that you will lose your spiritual perception of what it means to be a Christian. Hold the standard firmly, and raise it high. Let no one talk you into engaging in work that will hinder you from making the preparation that you must make in order to meet Christ in peace.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 13

    Many things will come up to divert the minds of God’s people from the great work to which they are called. May the Lord help them to labor in such a way that they will win the crown of immortal life. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; while it is said, Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” [Hebrews 3:12-15.]18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 14

    “Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” [Hebrews 4:1, 2.]18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 15

    There is a great and special work to be carried on in these last days, and the work is to be carried on in right lines. The Lord would have us understand that minds that are not daily enlightened by the Holy Spirit have not wisdom even concerning the carrying forward of the business enterprises which, if properly managed, would tell for the advancement of God’s cause. In these days of peril we must avoid anything that has a tendency to divert the mind from the great work to be done. To gain means for the accomplishment of certain results, we may make plans that appear to be wise and just and rational; but were these plans carried out, the future might show that they had accomplished little or nothing for the saving of souls.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 16

    The Lord has not given orders that the food business be exalted to large proportions. It will take something more than food stores and factories, with their perplexities and their commercial business, to make an impression that will convert souls. Unless the standard of godliness is raised, unless the principles of heaven are manifest in all business dealings, more souls will be lost by connecting with the food stores than will be saved by the work of these stores.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 17

    When the large food factory was erected in Los Angeles, the question was asked by One who knows the end from the beginning, Who will furnish the facilities necessary for the running of the business in this large building? Where is the talent necessary to operate such a plant? Where is the talent necessary to carry forward spiritual lines of work as they would have to be carried forward in order to produce the best results? There is danger that if this work is carried on as planned, workers, young and old, would be called in who would not maintain their spirituality. With the present clouded perception of righteousness, the way is open for injustice and selfishness to be shown, and this would provoke the wrath of God.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 18

    It will not be wise to erect large food factories anywhere. Should this be done, there would be danger that they would be destroyed by those who are carrying out Satan’s plans, unless there is a compliance with these plans. I have received light on the subject of large food factories, and the outlook is not favorable. If the food work is carried forward as many have planned, the final result will be the destruction of property and the destruction of souls.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 19


    It is a mistake to start enterprises that will draw Seventh-day Adventists into the cities. In their corruption the cities are as Sodom and Gomorrah. And their corruption is increasing. Satan is stirred with a power from beneath to gather in his harvest, and every capability and power of the people of God is needed now to enlighten men and women as to what is truth. Let our schools and sanitariums be established out of the cities, where they can stand alone. And let them be furnished with the very best talent—teachers and managers who are wise, God-fearing, consecrated. Mammoth sanitariums are not to be erected in any place. But in many places provision is to be made for the care of the sick.18LtMs, Ms 44, 1903, par. 20

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