How to Deal with Disease

The following was written prior to 1913 but is just as relevant today.
The human family have brought upon themselves diseases of various forms by their own wrong habits. They have not studied how to live healthfully, and their transgression of the laws of their being has produced a deplorable state of things. The people have seldom accredited their sufferings to the true cause--their own wrong course of action. They have indulged an intemperance in eating, and made a god of their appetite. In all their habits they have manifested a recklessness in regard to health and life; and when, as the result, sickness has come upon them they have made themselves believe that God was the author of it, when their own wrong course of action has brought the sure result. When in distress they send for the doctor, and trust their bodies in his hands, expecting that he will make them well. He deals out to them drugs, the nature of which they know nothing, and in their blind confidence they swallow anything that the doctor may choose to give. Thus powerful poisons are often administered which fetter nature in all her friendly efforts to recover the abuse the system has suffered, and the patient is hurried out of this life.

The mother who has been but slightly indisposed, and who might have recovered by abstinence from food for a short period, and a cessation from labor, having quiet and rest, has, instead of doing this, sent for a physician. And he who should be prepared to understandingly give a few simple directions, and restrictions in diet, and place her upon the right track, is either too ignorant to do this, or too anxious to obtain a fee.

He makes the case a grave one, and administers his poisons, which, if he were sick, he would not venture to take himself. The patient grows worse, and poisonous drugs are more freely administered, until nature is overpowered in her efforts, and gives up the conflict, and the mother dies. She was drugged to death. Her system was poisoned beyond remedy. She was murdered. Neighbors and relatives marvel at the wonderful dealings of providence in thus removing a mother in the midst of her usefulness, at the period when her children need her care so much. They wrong our good and wise heavenly Father when they cast back upon him this weight of human woe. Heaven wished that mother to live, and her untimely death dishonored God. The mother's wrong habits, and her inattention to the laws of her being, made her sick. And the doctor's fashionable poisons, introduced into the system, closed the period of her existence, and left a helpless, stricken, motherless flock.

The above is not always the result which follows the doctor's drugging. Sick people who take these drug-poisons do appear to get well. With some, there is sufficient life-force for nature to draw upon, to so far expel the poison from the system that the sick, having a period of rest, recover. But no credit should be allowed the drugs taken, for they only hindered nature in her efforts. All the credit should be ascribed to nature's restorative powers.

Although the patient may recover, yet the powerful effort nature was required to make to induce action to overcome the poison, injured the constitution, and shortened the life of the patient. There are many who do not die under the influence of drugs, but there are very many who are left useless wrecks, hopeless, gloomy, and miserable sufferers, a burden to themselves and to society.

If those who take these drugs were alone the sufferers, then the evil would not be as great. But parents not only sin against themselves in swallowing drug-poisons, but they sin against their children. The vitiated state of their blood, the poison distributed throughout the system, the broken constitution, and various drug-diseases, as the result of drug-poisons, are transmitted to their offspring, and left them as a wretched inheritance, which is another great cause of the degeneracy of the race.

Physicians, by administering their drug-poisons, have done very much to increase the depreciation of the race, physically, mentally, and morally. Everywhere you may go you will see deformity, disease and imbecility, which in very many cases can be traced directly back to the drug-poisons, administered by the hand of a doctor, as a remedy for some of life's ills. The so-called remedy has fearfully proved itself to the patient, by stern suffering experience, to be far worse than the disease for which the drug was taken. All who possess common capabilities should understand the wants of their own system. The philosophy of health should compose one of the important studies for our children. It is all-important that the human organism be understood, and then intelligent men and women can be their own physicians. If the people would reason from cause to effect, and would follow the light which shines upon them, they would pursue a course which would insure health, and mortality would be far less. But the people are too willing to remain in inexcusable ignorance, and trust their bodies to the doctors, instead of having any special responsibility in the matter themselves.

Several illustrations of this great subject have been presented before me. The first was a family consisting of a father and daughter. The daughter was sick, and the father was much troubled on her account, and summoned a physician. As the father conducted him into the sick room, he manifested a painful anxiety. The physician examined the patient, and said but little. They both left the sick room. The father informed the physician that he had buried the mother, a son and daughter, and this daughter was all that was left to him of his family. He anxiously inquired of the physician if he thought his daughter's case hopeless.

The physician then inquired in regard to the nature and length of the sickness of those who had died. The father moanfully related the painful facts connected with the illness of his loved ones. "My son was first attacked with a fever. I called a physician. He said that he could administer medicine which would soon break the fever. He gave him powerful medicine, but was disappointed in its effects. The fever was reduced, but my son grew dangerously sick. The same medicine was again given him, without producing any change for the better. The physician then resorted to still more powerful medicines, but my son obtained no relief. The fever left him, but he did not rally. He sank rapidly and died.

"The death of my son so sudden and unexpected was a great grief to us all, but especially to his mother. Her watching and anxiety in his sickness, and her grief occasioned by his sudden death, were too much for her nervous system, and my wife was soon prostrated. I felt dissatisfied with the course pursued by this physician. My confidence in his skill was shaken, and I could not employ him a second time. I called another to my suffering wife. This second physician gave her a liberal dose of opium, which he said would relieve her pains, quiet her nerves, and give her rest, which she much needed. The opium stupefied her. She slept, and nothing could arouse her from the death-like stupor. Her pulse and heart at times throbbed violently, and then grew more and more feeble in their action, until she ceased to breathe. Thus she died without giving her family one look of recognition. This second death seemed more than we could endure. We all sorrowed deeply but I was agonized and could not be comforted.

"My daughter was next afflicted. Grief, anxiety and watching, had overtasked her powers of endurance, and her strength gave way, and she was brought upon a bed of suffering. I have now lost confidence in both the physicians I had employed. Another physician was recommended to me as being successful in treating the sick. And although he lived at a distance, I was determined to obtain his services.

"This third physician professed to understand my daughter's case. He said that she was greatly debilitated, and that her nervous system was deranged, and that fever was upon her, which could be controlled, but that it would take time to bring her up from her present state of debility. He expressed perfect confidence in his ability to raise her. He gave her powerful medicine to break up the fever. This was accomplished. But as the fever left, the case assumed more alarming features, and grew more complicated. As the symptoms changed, the medicines were varied to meet the case. While under the influence of new medicines she would, for a time, appear revived, which would flatter our hopes, that she would get well, only to make our disappointment more bitter as she became worse.

"The physician's last resort was calomel. For some time she seemed to be between life and death. She was thrown into convulsions. As these most distressing spasms ceased, we were aroused to the painful fact that her intellect was weakened. She began slowly to improve, although still a great sufferer. Her limbs were crippled as the effect of the powerful poisons which she had taken. She lingered a few years a helpless, pitiful sufferer, and died in much agony."

After this sad relation the father looked imploringly to the physician, and entreated him to save his only remaining child. The physician looked sad and anxious, but made no prescription. He arose to leave, saying that he would call the next day.

Another scene was then presented before me. I was brought into the presence of a female, apparently about thirty years of age. A physician was standing by her, and reporting, that her nervous system was deranged, that her blood was impure, and moved sluggishly, and that her stomach was in a cold, inactive condition. He said that he would give her active remedies which would soon improve her condition. He gave her a powder from a vial upon which was written, Nux Vomica. I watched to see what effect this would have upon the patient. It appeared to act favorably. Her condition seemed better. She was animated, and even seemed cheerful and active.

My attention was then called to still another case. I was introduced into the sick room of a young man who was in a high fever. A physician was standing by the bedside of the sufferer with a portion of medicine taken from a vial upon which was written Calomel. He administered this chemical poison, and a change seemed to take place, but not for the better.

I was then shown still another case. It was that of a female, who seemed to be suffering much pain. A physician stood by the bedside of the patient, and was administering medicine, taken from a vial, upon which was written, Opium. At first this drug seemed to affect the mind. She talked strangely, but finally became quiet and slept.

My attention was then called to the first case, that of the father who had lost his wife and two children. The physician was in the sick room, standing by the bedside of the afflicted daughter. Again he left the room without giving medicine. The father, when in the presence of the physician alone seemed deeply moved, and he inquired impatiently, "Do you intend to do nothing? Will you leave my only daughter to die?" The physician said,--

"I have listened to the sad history of the death of your much loved wife, and your two children, and have learned from your own lips that all three have died while in the care of physicians, while taking medicines prescribed and administered by their hands. Medicine has not saved your loved ones, and as a physician I solemnly believe that none of them need, or ought to have died. They could have recovered if they had not been so drugged that nature was enfeebled by abuse, and finally crushed." He stated decidedly to the agitated father "I cannot give medicine to your daughter. I shall only seek to assist nature in her efforts, by removing every obstruction, and then leave nature to recover the exhausted energies of the system." He placed in the father's hand a few directions which he enjoined upon him to follow closely.

"Keep the patient free from excitement, and every influence calculated to depress. Her attendants should be cheerful and hopeful. She should have a simple diet, and should be allowed plenty of pure soft water to drink. Bathe frequently in pure soft water followed by gentle rubbing. Let the light, and air, be freely admitted into her room. She must have quiet, and undisturbed rest."

The father slowly read the prescription, and wondered at the few simple directions it contained, and seemed doubtful of any good resulting from such simple means. Said the physician,

"You have had sufficient confidence in my skill to place the life of your daughter in my hands. Withdraw not your confidence. I will visit your daughter daily, and direct you in the management of her case. Follow my directions with confidence, and I trust in a few weeks to present her to you in a much better condition of health, if not fully restored."

The father looked sad and doubtful, but submitted to the decision of the physician. He feared that his daughter must die if she had no medicine.

The second case was again presented before me. The patient had appeared better under the influence of nux vomica. She was sitting up, folding a shawl closely around her, and complaining of chilliness. The air in the room was impure. It was heated and had lost its vitality. Almost every crevice where the pure air could enter was guarded to protect the patient from a sense of painful chilliness, which was especially felt in the back of the neck and down the spinal column. If the door was left ajar, she seemed nervous and distressed, and entreated that it should be closed, for she was cold. She could not bear the least draught of air from the door or windows. A gentleman of intelligence stood looking pityingly upon her, and said to those present,--

"This is the second result of nux vomica. It is especially felt upon the nerves, and it affects the whole nervous system. There will be, for a time, increased forced action upon the nerves. But as the strength of this drug is spent, there will be chilliness, and prostration. Just to that degree that it excites and enlivens, will be the deadening, benumbing results following."

The third case was again presented before me. It was that of the young man to whom was administered calomel. He was a great sufferer. His lips were dark and swollen. His gums were inflamed. His tongue was thick and swollen, and the saliva was running from his mouth in large quantities. The intelligent gentleman before mentioned looked sadly upon the sufferer, and said,--

"This is the influence of mercurial preparations. This young man had remaining, sufficient nervous energy, to commence a warfare upon this intruder, this drug-poison to attempt to expel it from the system. Many have not sufficient life-forces left to arouse to action, and nature is overpowered and ceases her efforts, and the victim dies."

The fourth case, the person to whom was given opium, was again presented before me. She had awakened from her sleep much prostrated. Her mind was distracted. She was impatient and irritable, finding fault with her best friends, and imagining that they did not try to relieve her sufferings. She became frantic, and raved like a maniac. The gentleman before mentioned looked sadly upon the sufferer, and said to those present,--

"This is the second result from taking opium." Her physician was called. He gave her an increased dose of opium which quieted her ravings, yet made her very talkative and cheerful. She was at peace with all around her, and expressed much affection for acquaintances, as well as her relatives. She soon grew drowsy and fell into a stupefied condition. The gentleman mentioned above, solemnly said,--

"Her conditions of health are no better now than when she was in her frantic ravings. She is decidedly worse. This drug-poison, opium, gives temporary relief from pain, but does not remove the cause of pain. It only stupefies the brain, rendering it incapable of receiving impressions from the nerves. While the brain is thus insensible, the hearing, the taste, and sight are affected. When the influence of opium wears off, and the brain arouses from its state of paralysis, the nerves, which had been cut off from communication with the brain, shriek out louder than ever the pains in the system, because of the additional outrage the system has sustained in receiving this poison. Every additional drug given to the patient, whether it be opium, or some other poison, will complicate the case, and make the patient's recovery more hopeless. The drugs given to stupefy, whatever they may be, derange the nervous system. An evil, simple in the beginning, which nature aroused herself to overcome, and which she would have done had she been left to herself, has been made ten-fold worse by drug-poisons being introduced into the system, which is a destructive disease of itself, forcing into extraordinary action the remaining life-forces to war against and overcome the drug-intruder."

I was brought again into the sick room of the first case, that of the father and his daughter. The daughter was sitting by the side of her father, cheerful and happy, with the glow of health upon her countenance. The father was looking upon her with happy satisfaction, his countenance speaking the gratitude of his heart, that his only child was spared to him. Her physician entered, and after conversing with the father and child for a short time, arose to leave. He addressed the father, thus,--

"I present to you your daughter restored to health. I gave her no medicine that I might leave her with an unbroken constitution. Medicine never could have accomplished this. Medicine deranges nature's fine machinery, and breaks down the constitution, and kills, but never cures. Nature alone possesses the restorative powers. She alone can build up her exhausted energies, and repair the injuries she has received by inattention to her fixed laws."

He then asked the father if he was satisfied with his manner of treatment. The happy father expressed his heartfelt gratitude, and perfect satisfaction, saying,--

"I have learned a lesson I shall never forget. It was painful, yet it is of priceless value. I am now convinced that my wife and children need not have died. Their lives were sacrificed while in the hands of physicians by their poisonous drugs."

I was then shown the second case, the patient to whom nux vomica had been administered. She was being supported by two attendants, from her chair to her bed. She had nearly lost the use of her limbs. The spinal nerves were partially paralyzed, and the limbs had lost their power to bear the weight of the person. She coughed distressingly, and breathed with difficulty. She was laid upon the bed, and soon lost her hearing, and seeing, and thus she lingered awhile, and died. The gentleman before mentioned looked sorrowfully upon the lifeless body, and said to those present,--

"Witness the mildest and protracted influence of nux vomica upon the human system. At its introduction, the nervous energy was excited to extraordinary action to meet this drug-poison. This extra excitement was followed by prostration, and the final result has been paralysis of the nerves. This drug does not have the same effect upon all. Some who have powerful constitutions can recover from abuses to which they may subject the system. While others, whose hold of life is not as strong, who possess enfeebled constitutions, have never recovered from receiving into the system even one dose, and many die from no other cause than the effects of one portion of this poison. Its effects are always tending to death. The condition the system is in, at the time these poisons are received into it, determine the life of the patient. Nux vomica can cripple, paralyze, destroy health forever, but it never cures."

The third case was again presented before me, that of the young man to whom had been administered calomel. He was a pitiful sufferer. His limbs were crippled, and he was greatly deformed. He stated that his sufferings were beyond description, and life was to him a great burden. The gentleman whom I have repeatedly mentioned, looked upon the sufferer with sadness and pity, and said,--

"This is the effect of calomel. It torments the system as long as there is a particle left in it. It ever lives, not losing its properties by its long stay in the living system. It inflames the joints, and often sends rottenness into the bones. It frequently manifests itself in tumors, ulcers, and cancers, years after it has been introduced into the system."

The fourth case was again presented before me--the patient to whom opium had been administered. Her countenance was sallow, and her eyes were restless and glassy. Her hands shook as if palsied, and she seemed to be greatly excited, imagining that all present were leagued against her. Her mind was a complete wreck, and she raved in a pitiful manner. The physician was summoned, and seemed to be unmoved at these terrible exhibitions. He gave the patient a more powerful portion of opium, which he said would set her all right. Her ravings did not cease until she became thoroughly intoxicated. She then passed into a deathlike stupor. The gentleman mentioned, looked upon the patient and said sadly,--

"Her days are numbered. The efforts nature has made have been so many times overpowered by this poison, that the vital forces are exhausted by being repeatedly induced to unnatural action to rid the system of this poisonous drug. Nature's efforts are about to cease, and then the patient's suffering life will end."

More deaths have been caused by drug-taking than from all other causes combined. If there was in the land one physician in the place of thousands, a vast amount of premature mortality would be prevented. Multitudes of physicians, and multitudes of drugs, have cursed the inhabitants of the earth, and have carried thousands and tens of thousands to untimely graves.

Indulging in eating too frequently, and in too large quantities, overtaxes the digestive organs, and produces a feverish state of the system. The blood becomes impure, and then diseases of various kinds occur. A physician is sent for, who prescribes some drug which gives present relief, but which does not cure the disease. It may change the form of disease, but the real evil is increased tenfold. Nature was doing her best to rid the system of an accumulation of impurities, and, could she have been left to herself, aided by the common blessings of Heaven, such as pure air and pure water, a speedy and safe cure would have been effected.

The sufferers, in such cases, can do for themselves that which others cannot do as well for them. They should commence to relieve nature of the load they have forced upon her. They should remove the cause. Fast a short time, and give the stomach chance for rest. Reduce the feverish state of the system by a careful and understanding application of water. These efforts will help nature in her struggles to free the system of impurities. But generally the persons who suffer pain become impatient. They are not willing to use self-denial, and suffer a little from hunger. Neither are they willing to wait the slow process of nature to build up the overtaxed energies of the system. But they are determined to obtain relief at once, and take powerful drugs, prescribed by physicians. Nature was doing her work well, and would have triumphed, but while accomplishing her task, a foreign substance of a poisonous nature was introduced. What a mistake! Abused nature has now two evils to war against instead of one. She leaves the work in which she was engaged, and resolutely takes hold to expel the intruder newly introduced into the system. Nature feels this double draft upon her resources, and she becomes enfeebled.

Drugs never cure disease. They only change the form and location. Nature alone is the effectual restorer, and how much better could she perform her task if left to herself. But this privilege is seldom allowed her. If crippled nature bears up under the load, and finally accomplishes in a great measure her double task, and the patient lives, the credit is given to the physician. But if nature fails in her effort to expel the poison from the system, and the patient dies, it is called a wonderful dispensation of Providence. If the patient had taken a course to relieve overburdened nature in season, and understandingly used pure soft water, this dispensation of drug-mortality might have been wholly averted. The use of water can accomplish but little, if the patient does not feel the necessity of also strictly attending to his diet.

Many are living in violation of the laws of health, and are ignorant of the relation their habits of eating, drinking, and working, sustain to their health. They will not arouse to their true condition, until nature protests against the abuses she is suffering, by aches and pains in the system. If, even then, the sufferers would only commence the work right, and would resort to the simple means they have neglected--the use of water and proper diet, nature would have just the help she requires, and which she ought to have had long before. If this course is pursued, the patient will generally recover without being debilitated.

When drugs are introduced into the system, for a time they may seem to have a beneficial effect. A change may take place, but the disease is not cured. It will manifest itself in some other form. In nature's efforts to expel the drug from the system, intense suffering is sometimes caused the patient. And the disease, which the drug was given to cure, may disappear, but only to re-appear in a new form, such as skin diseases, ulcers, painful diseased joints, and sometimes in a more dangerous and deadly form. The liver, heart, and brain, are frequently affected by drugs, and often all these organs are burdened with disease, and the unfortunate subjects, if they live, are invalids for life, wearily dragging out a miserable existence. Oh, how much that poisonous drug cost! If it did not cost the life, it cost quite too much. Nature has been crippled in all her efforts. The whole machinery is out of order, and at a future period in life, when these fine works which have been injured, are to be relied upon to act a more important part in union with all the fine works of nature's machinery, they cannot readily and strongly perform their labor, and the whole system feels the lack. These organs, which should be in a healthy condition, are enfeebled, the blood becomes impure. Nature keeps struggling, and the patient suffers with different ailments, until there is a sudden breaking down in her efforts, and death follows. There are more who die from the use of drugs, than all who would have died of disease had nature been left to do her own work.

Very many lives have been sacrificed by physicians' administering drugs for unknown diseases. They have no real knowledge of the exact disease which afflicts the patient. But physicians are expected to know in a moment what to do, and unless they act at once as though they understood the disease perfectly, they are considered by impatient friends, and by the sick, as incompetent physicians. Therefore, to gratify erroneous opinions of the sick and their friends, medicine must be administered, experiments and tests tried, to cure the patient of the disease of which they have no real knowledge. Nature is loaded with poisonous drugs which she cannot expel from the system. The physicians themselves are often convinced that they have used powerful medicines for a disease which did not exist, and death was the consequence.

Physicians are censurable, but they are not the only ones at fault. The sick themselves, if they would be patient, diet and suffer a little, and give nature time to rally, would recover much sooner without the use of any medicine. Nature alone possesses curative powers. Medicines have no power to cure, but will most generally hinder nature in her efforts. She, after all, must do the work of restoring. The sick are in a hurry to get well, and the friends of the sick are impatient. They will have medicine, and if they do not feel that powerful influence upon their systems their erroneous views lead them to think they should feel, they impatiently change for another physician. The change often increases the evil. They go through a course of medicine equally as dangerous as the first, and more fatal, because the two treatments do not agree, and the system is poisoned beyond remedy.

But many have never experienced the beneficial effects of water, and are afraid to use one of Heaven's greatest blessings. Water has been refused persons suffering with burning fevers, through fear that it would injure them. If, in their fevered state, water had been given them to drink freely, and applications had also been made externally, long days and nights of suffering would have been saved, and many precious lives spared. But thousands have died with raging fevers consuming them, until the fuel which fed the fever was burnt up, the vitals consumed, and have died in the greatest agony, without being permitted to have water to allay their burning thirst. Water, which is allowed a senseless building to put out the raging elements, is not allowed human beings to put out the fire which is consuming the vitals.

Multitudes remain in inexcusable ignorance in regard to the laws of their being. They are wondering why our race is so feeble, and why so many die prematurely. Is there not a cause? Physicians who profess to understand the human organism, prescribe for their patients, and even for their own dear children, and their companions, slow poisons to break up disease, or to cure slight indisposition. Surely, they cannot realize the evil of these things or they could not do thus. The effects of the poison may not be immediately perceived, but it is doing its work surely in the system, undermining the constitution, and crippling nature in her efforts. They are seeking to correct an evil, but produce a far greater one, which is often incurable. Those who are thus dealt with, are constantly sick, and constantly dosing. And yet, if you listen to their conversation, you will often hear them praising the drugs they have been using, and recommending their use to others, because they have been benefited by their use. It would seem that to such as can reason from cause to effect, the sallow countenance, the continual complaints of ailments, and general prostration of those who claim to be benefited, would be sufficient proofs of the health-destroying influence of drugs. And yet many are so blinded they do not see that all the drugs they have taken have not cured them, but made them worse. The drug invalid numbers one in the world, but is generally peevish, irritable, always sick, lingering out a miserable existence, and seems to live only to call into constant exercise the patience of others. Poisonous drugs have not killed them outright, for nature is loth to give up her hold on life. She is unwilling to cease her struggles. Yet these drug-takers are never well.

The endless variety of medicines in the market, the numerous advertisements of new drugs and mixtures, all of which, as they say, do wonderful cures, kill hundreds where they benefit one. Those who are sick are not patient. They will take the various medicines, some of which are very powerful, although they know nothing of the nature of the mixtures. All the medicines they take only make their recovery more hopeless. Yet they keep dosing, and continue to grow worse until they die. Some will have medicine at all events. Then let them take these hurtful mixtures, and the various deadly poisons, upon their own responsibility. God's servants should not administer medicines which they know will leave behind injurious effects upon the system, even if they do relieve present suffering.--How to Live, no. 3, pp. 49-64.
- - - {Selected Messages II page 441 - 455}

Physicians, by administering their drug-poisons, have done very much to increase the depreciation of the race, physically, mentally, and morally. Everywhere you may go you will see deformity, disease and imbecility, which in very many cases can be traced directly back to the drug-poisons, administered by the hand of a doctor, as a remedy for some of life's ills. The so-called remedy has fearfully proved itself to the patient, by stern suffering experience, to be far worse than the disease for which the drug was taken. All who possess common capabilities should understand the wants of their own system. The philosophy of health should compose one of the important studies for our children. It is all-important that the human organism be understood, and then intelligent men and women can be their own physicians. If the people would reason from cause to effect, and would follow the light which shines upon them, they would pursue a course which would insure health, and mortality would be far less. But the people are too willing to remain in inexcusable ignorance, and trust their bodies to the doctors, instead of having any special responsibility in the matter themselves. - - - {Selected Messages II page 442, 443}

And (God) said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. - - - Exodus 15:26

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