Restoring the Temple – Dress: A Part of Health Reform

Many who profess to be Christians spend so much on dress that they have nothing to spare for the needs of others. Costly ornaments and expensive clothing they think they must have, regardless of the needs of those who can with difficulty provide themselves with even the plainest clothing. . . .

“My sisters, if you would bring your manner of dressing into conformity with the rules given in the Bible, you would have an abundance with which to help your poorer sisters. You would have not only means, but time. Often this is most needed. There are many whom you might help with your suggestions, your tact and skill. Show them how to dress simply and yet tastefully. Many a woman remains away from the house of God because her shabby, ill-fitting garments are in such striking contrast to the dress of others. Many a sensitive spirit cherishes a sense of bitter humiliation and injustice because of this contrast. And because of it many are led to doubt the reality of religion and to harden their hearts against the gospel.” The Ministry of Healing, 207.

“In the professed Christian world enough is expended for jewels and needlessly expensive dress to feed all the hungry and to clothe the naked. Fashion and display absorb the means that might comfort the poor and the suffering.” Ibid., 287.

Healthful Dress

“Our clothing, while modest and simple, should be of good quality, of becoming colors, and suited for service. It should be chosen for durability rather than display. It should provide warmth and proper protection. . . .

“Our dress should be cleanly. Uncleanliness in dress is unhealthful, and thus defiling to the body and to the soul. . . .

“In all respects the dress should be healthful. ‘Above all things,’ God desires us to ‘be in health’—health of body and of soul. [111 John 2.] And we are to be workers together with Him for the health of both soul and body. Both are promoted by healthful dress.” Ibid., 288.

Contrary to Scripture

“How contrary to the principles given in the Scriptures are many of the modes of dress that fashion prescribes! Think of the styles that have prevailed for the last few hundreds of years or even for the last few decades. How many of them, when not in fashion, would be declared immodest; how many would be pronounced inappropriate for a refined, God-fearing, self-respecting woman.

“The making of changes in apparel for the sake of fashion merely is not sanctioned by the word of God. Changing styles and elaborate, costly ornamentation squander the time and means of the rich, and lay waste the energies of mind and soul. They impose a heavy burden on the middle and poorer classes. Many who can hardly earn a livelihood, and who with simple modes might make their own clothing, are compelled to resort to the dressmaker in order to be in fashion. Many a poor girl, for the sake of a stylish gown, has deprived herself of warm underwear, and paid the penalty with her life. Many another, coveting the display and elegance of the rich, has been enticed into paths of dishonesty and shame. Many a home is deprived of comforts, many a man is driven to embezzlement or bankruptcy, to satisfy the extravagant demands of the wife or children.

“Many a woman, forced to prepare for herself or her children the stylish costumes demanded by fashion, is doomed to ceaseless drudgery. Many a mother with throbbing nerves and trembling fingers toils far into the night to add to her children’s clothing ornamentation that contributes nothing to healthfulness, comfort, or real beauty. For the sake of fashion she sacrifices health and that calmness of spirit so essential to the right guidance of her children. The culture of mind and heart is neglected.” Ibid., 290.

“Almost as soon as they come into the world the children are subjected to fashion’s influence. They hear more of dress than of their Saviour. They see their mothers consulting the fashion plates more earnestly than the Bible. The display of dress is treated as of greater importance than the development of character. Parents and children are robbed of that which is best and sweetest and truest in life. For fashion’s sake they are cheated out of a preparation for the life to come.

“It was the adversary of all good who instigated the invention of the ever-changing fashions. He desires nothing so much as to bring grief and dishonor to God by working the misery and ruin of human beings. One of the means by which he most effectually accomplishes this is the devices of fashion that weaken the body as well as enfeeble the mind and belittle the soul.” Ibid., 291.

Evils of Fashion

“[A] serious evil is the wearing of skirts so that their weight must be sustained by the hips. This heavy weight, pressing upon the internal organs, drags them downward and causes weakness of the stomach and a feeling of lassitude [fatigue], inclining the wearer to stoop, which further cramps the lungs, making correct breathing more difficult.” Ibid., 292.

“Another evil which custom fosters is the unequal distribution of the clothing, so that while some parts of the body have more than is required, others are insufficiently clad. The feet and limbs, being remote from the vital organs, should be especially guarded from cold by abundant clothing. It is impossible to have health when the extremities are habitually cold; for if there is too little blood in them there will be too much in other portions of the body. Perfect health requires a perfect circulation; but this cannot be had while three or four times as much clothing is worn upon the body, where the vital organs are situated, as upon the feet and limbs. . . .

“Many women have become confirmed invalids when they might have enjoyed health, and many have died of consumption [tuberculosis] and other diseases when they might have lived their allotted term of life had they dressed in accordance with health principles and exercised freely in the open air.

“In order to secure the most healthful clothing, the needs of every part of the body must be carefully studied. The character of the climate, the surroundings, the condition of health, the age, and the occupation must all be considered. Every article of dress should fit easily, obstructing neither the circulation of the blood nor a free, full, natural respiration. Everything worn should be so loose that when the arms are raised the clothing will be correspondingly lifted.” Ibid., 293.

Grace and Natural Beauty

“[Dress] should have the grace, the beauty, the appropriateness of natural simplicity. Christ has warned us against the pride of life, but not against its grace and natural beauty. He pointed to the flowers of the field, to the lily unfolding in its purity, and said, ‘Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’ Matthew 6:29. Thus by the things of nature Christ illustrates the beauty that heaven values, the modest grace, the simplicity, the purity, the appropriateness, that would make our attire pleasing to Him.” Ibid., 289.

Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English.

Health – Pain, Agony and Death for Moments of Beauty?

How many people have damaged their bodies and their health so others would consider them to have beauty in one way or another? Many women have dyed, plucked or shaved the hair of their head, squeezed their feet into uncomfortable high heels or even surgically enhanced parts of their anatomy for moments of beauty.

The temporary fashion of five-inch pumps has returned and many women are not considering the long-term health risks, as long as it makes the wearer beautiful in the eye of the beholder. Wearing high heels can strain the knees, push the hips and spine out of alignment, shorten calf muscles, lead to joint pain and hammertoes, etc. But, in the name of beauty, many choose to endanger health for a moment’s gratification because somebody is looking. Would you still wear them if you knew the harm they may cause to the body temple that God has given to you?

Until the early 20th century, millions of Chinese women bound their feet to prevent them from growing longer than three and one-half inches. Many of these women paid the ultimate price for what was considered beauty and their feet were disfigured to guarantee their own future for an upper class marriage, etc., but the price was high and they suffered terribly with many unable to walk without agonizing pain.

The ancient practice of foot binding began in the Sung dynasty (960-976 B.C.), reportedly to imitate an imperial concubine who was required to dance with her feet bound. By the 12th century, the practice was widespread and more severe—girls’ feet were bound so tightly and early in life that they were unable to dance and had difficulty walking.

Young bones are soft and break easily and by the time a girl had turned three years old, all of her toes except the first were broken, and her feet were bound tightly with cloth strips to keep her feet from growing larger than about 3.9 inches. The practice caused the soles of the feet to bend in extreme concavity.

Many women today are not only disfiguring their feet, but also their whole bodies, inside and out, and are suffering terribly as a result of their desire to be noticed and considered beautiful.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made, unique and precious in God’s eyes. Oh, if only we could be contented and happy the way God has made each one of us, there would not be so much pain just to be noticed.

Dr. John H. Kellogg said, “We should not wear our clothing so tight as to press hard upon any part of the body. It will cause the muscles of that part of the body to become weak.

“If the clothing is worn tight about the waist, the lungs cannot expand properly, the stomach and liver are pressed out of shape and the internal organs are crowded out of their proper places.

“People are often made crippled from wearing tight shoes. Their muscles cannot act properly and their feet grow out of shape.

“In China, it was fashionable for rich ladies to have small feet, they tied them up in cloths so that they could not grow. The foot was squeezed out of shape. A woman who had such feet found it so difficult to walk that she had to be carried about much of the time. Do you not think it is very wrong and foolish to treat the feet so badly?” First Book in Physiology and Hygiene, 110, 111.

We have been warned about the dangers to our bodies when wearing clothing too tightly.

Women need to watch those undergarments. When you remove any of your undergarments and the skin around the area is itching, that is a good sign that they are too tight and that makes you a good candidate for breast cancer, etc. Many women are being stricken with breast cancer and other female problems because of the binding. That binding causes lack of blood circulation and affects the lymphatic system.

Some lymphatic diseases range from mild congestion to malignant lymphoma. The most common disorder is lymphatic insufficiency, or lymph edema, which is a swelling that occurs when damaged lymph vessels can’t drain fluid. The lymphatic system is important because it picks up fluid that is lost from the circulatory system and returns it. It is the first line of defense against disease and infection. Wearing tight clothing blocks this most important system of the body and can cause disease in many women.

“Woman’s dress should be arranged so loosely upon the person, about the waist, that she can breathe without the least obstruction. Her arms should be left perfectly free, that she may raise them above her head with ease. … The compression of the waist by tight lacing prevents the waste matter from being thrown off through its natural channels. The most important of these is the lungs. … If the lungs are cramped, they cannot develop; but their capacity will be diminished, making it impossible to take a sufficient inspiration of air. … The compression of the waist weakens the muscles of the respiratory organs. It hinders the process of digestion. The heart, liver, lungs, spleen, and stomach are crowded into a small compass, not allowing room for the healthful action of these organs.” Healthful Living, 122.

Some men seem to think that this does not apply to them and they can wear tight clothing with no injury. That thinking is all wrong, especially when you read the following: “Our Creator made no mistake in fashioning the human body. He gave appropriate space for the free action of every organ, and formed us in such a way that every muscle could come into play without trespassing upon the function of any other muscle.” Ibid.

Men and women have bodies that are fearfully and wonderfully made and need proper care to continue in good health. The health risks are growing for men and women who wear their clothing too tight. Many times clothing is bought too tight and people squeeze into them regardless of the pain it causes while wearing them. Men and women love to follow the fashion world rather than preserve health.

There have been some medical studies done on tight fitting clothing and its effects on women’s health. It was found that the body can develop a nerve condition called paresthesia, which is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition causes a burning sensation under the hip bone and can cause numbness and tingling in the legs.

Just as the Chinese women went through much suffering to be accepted, many people are following in their ways, only through other health damaging practices.

Apart from not looking good or healthful, too tight clothing puts the person who wears them at the risk of damaging his/her health. Some of the health problems resulting from wearing clothes that are too tight are:

Tingling Thigh Syndrome: Individuals who wear their jeans too tight can experience nerve problems called meralgia paresthetica in which the thigh tingles with no explanation.

Back Pain: When pants are too tight, and are low riding, it can cause nerve compression in the back (similar to the thigh problem above) and numbness and tingling in the legs and possible stress on the back.

Acid Reflux/Heartburn: Tight pressure against the stomach can increase abdominal pressure, causing acid to go back into the esophagus, resulting in heartburn and acid reflux. A burning sensation in the stomach, chest and throat and a bitter, acidic taste in the mouth may be experienced.

Abdominal Pain/Constipation: The digestive process can be slowed down by being bound tightly around the waist.

“The compression of the waist hinders the process of digestion. The heart, liver, lungs, spleen, and stomach are crowded into a small compass, not allowing room for the healthful action of these organs.” Healthful Living, 168.

“The compression of the waist by tight lacing prevents the waste matter from being thrown off through its natural channels. The most important of these is the lungs. In order for the lungs to do the work designed, they must be left free, without the slightest compression. If the lungs are cramped, they cannot develop; but their capacity will be diminished, making it impossible to take a sufficient inspiration of air. The abdominal muscles were designed to aid the lungs in their action. Where there is no compression of the lungs, the motion in full breathing will be observed to be mostly of the abdomen. … When tight lacing is practiced, the lower part of the chest has not sufficient room for action. The breathing, therefore, is confined to the upper portion of the lungs, where there is not sufficient room to carry on the work. But the lower part of the lungs should have the greatest freedom possible. The compression of the waist will not allow free action of the muscles of the respiratory organs.” Ibid, 171.

Headaches/Blurred Vision: Wearing button down shirts that are too tight in the collar or ties that are tied too tightly can decrease proper circulation to the brain and head.

Observe yourself as you dress. Take note if you are binding yourself so tight that it may cause itching now, but may turn into major health issues later on.

It would be advisable to prevent the pain and suffering and wear clothing that is well-fitting and comfortable, considering the internal organs that need space to work efficiently. Dressing properly provides protection and development of every part of the body.

“Many have become lifelong invalids through their compliance with the demands of fashion. Displacements and deformities, cancers and other terrible diseases, are among the evils resulting from fashionable dress.” Ibid., 123.

Our wise creator God has given much instruction on how to take care of this most wonderful piece of machinery—the human body. It would be well for each of us to heed that advice and live in good health. Is it really worth causing damage to your body just for a passing glance of approbation from another human being?

Keys to the Storehouse – Fake and Artificial

It is often hard to realize just how artificial our lives have become and the destruction it has caused in all areas of life—physically, mentally and also spiritually.

“Our artificial civilization is encouraging evils destructive of sound principles. Custom and fashion are at war with nature. The practices they enjoin, and the indulgences they foster, are steadily lessening both physical and mental strength, and bringing upon the race an intolerable burden. Intemperance and crime, disease and wretchedness, are everywhere.” The Ministry of Healing, 125.

Artificial is not genuine or natural. We are right in the middle of this artificial civilization, which is encouraging evils and destroying sound principles.

Artificial is something that is fabricated—a counterfeit. The devil is destroying our minds and bodies through the artificial, which all seem so real. Look around and you will see the fruits of the devil’s labor:

  • Artificial snow, artificial ice, artificial flowers.
  • Artificial lighting creates more awake time, making it easy to cram more activities into each day and ignore the health law of good rest, which ends in health problems.
  • Television creates artificial scenarios and “encourages evils destructive of sound principles.”
  • “Custom and fashion are at war with nature.” Most of the material in our clothing is of manmade synthetics that are destructive, preventing good ventilation that allows the pores of the body to breathe.
  • “A fashionable life is a hard, thankless life. How often time, money, and health are sacrificed, the patience sorely tried, and self-control lost, merely for the sake of display.” Christian Education, 168.
  • Modern farming practices using genetically modified seeds (GMO) and the abundant chemical fertilizers and pesticides have stripped most of our food of its natural nutrients and often flavor. Results of this can be seen in the overweight population of the West and the increase of diabetes, heart conditions and cancers that are affecting people younger and younger each year. Our bodies are suffering from its effects. We eat more but get less nutrition. In fact, we are being gradually destroyed.

“Our artificial habits deprive us of many blessings and much enjoyment, and unfit us for living the most useful lives. Elaborate and expensive furnishings are a waste not only of money, but of that which is a thousandfold more precious. They bring into the home a heavy burden of care and labor and perplexity.

“What are the conditions in many homes, even where resources are limited and the work of the household rests chiefly on the mother? The best rooms are furnished in a style beyond the means of the occupants and unsuited to their convenience and enjoyment. There are expensive carpets, elaborately carved and daintily upholstered furniture, and delicate drapery. Tables, mantels, and every other available space are crowded with ornaments, and the walls are covered with pictures, until the sight becomes wearying. And what an amount of work is required to keep all these in order and free from dust! This work, and the other artificial habits of the family in its conformity to fashion, demand of the housewife unending toil.” The Ministry of Healing, 367.

The opposite of artificial is genuine or natural. When you look around, there is not much that is natural or genuine to be seen. We really do live in an artificial society. But, there are certain things that are unacceptable when faked and must be absolutely genuine. One is faith. Is your faith genuine or is it artificial? The artificial or synthetic manmade faith, also known as presumption, can seem so real but is so dangerous to spiritual health.

“Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption, for presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression.” Mind, Character and Personality, vol. 2, 534.

Father: Help me to recognize the artificial in my life and turn toward the genuine. I do not want a counterfeit faith presuming on Your mercies in the midst of my disobedience and yet still claiming Your promises. Forgive me Father; keep me from presumptuous sins; let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight. Amen.