August 15, 2007

Diet, Rest, and Labor

Brigham Young April 8, 1855 Here are some excepts from a rather colorful sermon given by President Young, who occasionally took time to offer some of his opinions on general health and living. While his terminology and phraseology brought a smile to my face, the underlying principle discussed is pretty good advice:

The people have laid the foundation of short life through their diet, their rest, their labor, and their doing this, that, and the other in a wrong manner, with improper motives, and at improper times. I would be glad to instruct the people on these points, if they would hearken to me. I would be glad to tell mothers how to lay forth the foundation of health in their children, that they may be delivered from the diseases with which I am afflicted, and have been from my youth up.

Suppose I happen to say 'Come, wife, let us have a good dinner today;' what does she get?

Pork and beef boiled, stewed, roasted, and fried, potatoes, onions, cabbage, and turnips, custard, eggs, pies of all kinds, cheese, and sweet-meats.

Now grant that I and my wife sit down and overload our stomachs, until we feel the deleterious effects of it from the crowns of our heads to the soles of our feet, the whole system is disturbed in its operations, and is ready to receive and impart disease.

A child begotten under such a condition of the systems of its parents, is liable to be born with a tabernacle subject to a life of pain and distress.Will all the women hearken to this plain statement? No, you might as well talk to the wild geese that fly over us.

Brigham cautioned mothers against giving their children harmful substances as well:
Some mothers when bearing children long for tea and coffee, or for brandy and other strong drinks, and if they give way to that influence the next time they will want more, and the next still more, and thus lay the foundation for drunkenness in their offspring. An appetite is engendered, bred, and born in the child, and it is a miracle if it does not grow up a confirmed drunkard."
Brigham concluded by discussing the attitude some might have, that if they die they really wouldn't care. Those who are very lax about taking care of their bodies might reason; "At least I'll die happy!" Brigham countered:
Still, in the present short period of life some say that 'this is a miserable world, I do not care how soon I get through.' Well go and destroy yourselves, if you choose, you have all the opportunity that you can desire, there is plenty of arsenic, calomel, and other means, within your reach. But I would not give a cent for such persons; I do not delight in such characters, and I do not believe that the Lord delights in people who wish to die before they have accomplished the work that He designed for them to do. For a person to be willing to die is but a small part of the duties pertaining to the Gospel of salvation and the Gift of eternal life. We ought to prepare ourselves to live in the flesh, and overcome every sin, to live to the glory of God, to build up His kingdom, and to bring forth righteousness, salvation, and deliverance to the house of Israel, until the devil and his associates are driven from the earth, and he and his clan are bound and thrust down to hell, and a seal put upon them. Latter-day Saints who live merely to get ready to die are not worth much; rather get ready to live, and be prepared to live to the glory of your Father in heaven, and to do the work He has given you to do. That is our duty, and then we shall be ready to receive our blessings (Journal of Discourses 2:266).
Eat right. Get plenty of rest. Exercise. We know all this stuff. If only we could get the motivation to do it! And do it consistently!

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