Leisure Pursuits


“How my heart has been grieved as I have seen, in galleries of art, pictures representing Christ.  The executors have shown their [lack of] true understanding of the mission of Christ and His character.  They have not even approached the reality, and we had better spend our time in contemplating the true Artist of nature” (Ms 42, 1886; in 3 MR 85).

Literature & Fiction

“Novel reading is like taking poison, and will sooner or later reveal its bitter results” (Letter 10, 1888; in 6 MR 260).

“The nervous system is unnecessarily taxed by this passion for reading.  In some cases youth, and even those of mature age, have been afflicted with paralysis from no other cause than excess in reading.  The mind was kept under constant excitement until the delicate machinery of the brain became so weakened that it could not act, and paralysis was the result” (MYP 280-281).

“Thousands are today in the insane asylum whose minds become unbalanced by novel reading, which results in air-castle building and love-sick sentimentalism” (MYP 290).

“You are indulging in an evil which threatens to destroy your spirituality.  It will eclipse all the beauty and interest of the sacred pages.  It is love for storybooks, tales, and other reading which does not have an influence for good upon the mind that is in any way dedicated to the service of God.  It produces a false, unhealthy excitement, fevers the imagination, unfits the mind for usefulness, and disqualifies it for any spiritual exercise” (1T 241-242).

“The world is flooded with novels of every description.  Some are not of as dangerous a character as others.  Some are immoral, low, and vulgar; others are clothed with more refinement; but all are pernicious in their influence” (2T 236).


“Frivolous songs and the popular sheet music of the day seem congenial to their [the youth’s] taste.  The instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer” (1T 497).

“How can I endure the thought that most of the youth in this age will come short of everlasting life!  Oh, that the sound of instrumental music might cease and they no more while away so much precious time in pleasing their own fancy” (2T 144).

Recreation, Sports, & Games

“In the night season I was in a dream or vision which revealed some things in Battle Creek.  My Guide said, ‘Follow me.’  I was directly in Battle Creek; the streets were alive with bicycles ridden by our people.  There was a Witness from heaven beholding our people indulging their desire for selfish gratification, and using the money that should be invested in foreign missions, to unfurl the banner of truth in the cities, and in the highways and byways of the land....  The Witness from heaven said.... ‘Every device that Satan can invent to make our people disloyal to Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation, will be ready at hand.  The notices given in our papers, extolling bicycles, might better to cut out, and in their place the destitute of foreign fields be represented’” (Letter 23c, 1894; in 4 MR 105, 106).

“This is no time to foster pleasure loving by providing the youth, as they enter upon their student’s life, with facilities for the playing of games which are a snare to all who engage in them....” (Letter 47, 1893; in 4 MR 255).

“There are amusements, such as dancing, card-playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve, because heaven condemns them” (MYP 392).

“I have been shown that the true followers of Jesus will discard picnics, donations, shows, and other gatherings for pleasure.  They can find no Jesus there....” (1T 288).

Talking & Joking

“Lightness, jesting, and joking will result in barrenness of soul and the loss of the favor of God” (2T 236).

“All lightness and trifling is positively forbidden in the word of God” (2T 338).

“From the light the Lord has given me, our sisters should pursue a very different course.  They should be more reserved, manifest less boldness, and encourage in themselves ‘shamefacedness and sobriety.’  Both brethren and sisters indulge in too much jovial talk when in each other’s society.  Women professing godliness indulge in much jesting, joking, and laughing.  This is unbecoming and grieves the Spirit of God” (2T 455).

“Our sisters should encourage true meekness; they should not be forward, talkative, and bold, but modest and unassuming, slow to speak” (2T 456).

“The fourth commandment is virtually transgressed by conversing upon worldly things or by engaging in light and trifling conversation.  Talking upon anything or everything which may come into the mind is speaking our own words.  Every deviation from right brings us into bondage and condemnation” (2T 703).


“As I visit the homes of our people and our schools, I see that all the available space on tables, what-nots, and mantelpieces is filled up with photographs.  On the right hand and on the left are seen the pictures of human faces.  God desires this order of things to be changed.  Were Christ on earth, He would say, ‘Take these things hence.’  I have been instructed that these pictures are as so many idols, taking up the time and thought which should be sacredly devoted to God. [para] These photographs cost money.  Is it consistent for us, knowing the work that is to be done at this time, to spend God’s money in producing pictures of our own faces and the faces of our friends?  Should not every dollar that we can spare be used in the upbuilding of the cause of God?  These pictures take money that should be sacredly devoted to God’s service; and they divert the mind from the truths to God’s word. This making and exchanging photographs is a species of idolatry.  Satan is doing all he can to eclipse heaven from our view.  Let us not help him by making picture-idols” (MYP 316).