“Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater. Instead of being a school of morality and virtue, and is so often claimed, it is the very hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities are strengthened and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd gestures, expressions, and attitudes, deprave the imagination, and debase the morals. Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence, as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement.  

     There are modes of recreation which are highly beneficial to both mind and body. An enlightened, discriminating mind will find abundant means for entertainment and diversion, from sources not only innocent, but instructive. Recreation in the open air, the contemplation of the works of God in nature, will be of the highest benefit.”--"Testimony," No. 30, first published in 1881. 

CE 35

“Sense of Sacred Responsibility.

Young men are arising to engage in the work of God, some of whom have scarcely any sense of the sacredness and responsibility of the work. . . . They talk nonsense, and sport with young girls, while almost daily listening to the most solemn, soul-stirring truths. (1875) 

     Not Actors, but Teachers of the Word.

“I see that great reformation must take place in the ministry before it shall be what God would have it. Ministers in the desk have no license to behave like theatrical performers, assuming attitudes and expressions calculated for effect. They do not occupy the sacred desk as actors, but as teachers of solemn truths. There are also fanatical ministers, who, in attempting to preach Christ, storm, halloo, jump up and down, and pound the desk before them, as if this bodily exercise profited anything. Such antics lend no force to the truths uttered, but, on the contrary, disgust men and women of calm judgment and elevated views. It is the duty of men who give themselves to the ministry to leave all coarseness and boisterous conduct outside the desk at least.  

     Awkward and uncouth gestures are not to be tolerated in the common walks of life; how much less, then, are they to be endured in the most sacred work of the gospel ministry. The minister should cultivate grace, courtesy, and refinement of manner. He should carry himself with a quiet dignity becoming his elevated calling. Solemnity, a certain godly authority, mingled with meekness, should characterize the demeanor of him who is a teacher of God's truth.  

     Ministers should not make a practice of relating anecdotes in the desk; it detracts from the force and solemnity of the truth presented. The relation of anecdotes or incidents which create a laugh or a light thought in the minds of the hearers is severely censurable. The truths should be clothed in chaste and dignified language; and the illustrations should be of a like character.  

     Were the gospel ministry what it should and might be, the teachers of Christ's truth would be working in harmony with the angels; they would be co-laborers with their great Teacher. There is too little prayer among the ministers of Christ, and too much self-exaltation. There is too little weeping between the porch and the altar, and crying, "Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach." There are too many long doctrinal sermons preached, without one spark of spiritual fervor and the love of God. There is too much gesticulation and relation of humorous anecdotes in the pulpit, and too little said of the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.  

     It is not enough to preach to men; we must pray with them and for them; we must not hold ourselves coldly aloof from them, but come in sympathy close to the souls we wish to save, visit and converse with them. The minister who conducts the work outside the pulpit in a proper manner will  accomplish tenfold more than he who confines his labor to the desk.”

Ev 639-641


“My brethren, God calls upon you as His followers to walk in the light. You need to be alarmed. Sin is among us, and it is not seen to be exceedingly sinful. The senses of many are benumbed by the indulgence of appetite and by familiarity with sin. We need to advance nearer heaven.  

     Satan's Strategy Is to Confuse the Senses.

Satan's work is to lead men to ignore God, to so engross and absorb the mind that God will not be in their thoughts. The education they have received has been of a character to confuse the mind and eclipse the true light. Satan does not wish the people to have a knowledge of God; and if he can set in operation games and theatrical performances that will so confuse the senses of the young that human beings will perish in darkness while light shines all about them, he is well pleased.  

     Satan Cannot Enter the Mind Without Our Consent.

We should present before the people the fact that God has provided that we shall not be tempted above what we are able to bear, but that with every temptation He will make a way of escape. If we live wholly for God, we shall not allow the mind to indulge in selfish imaginings.    

     If there is any way by which Satan can gain access to the mind, he will sow his tares and cause them to grow until they will yield an abundant harvest. In no case can Satan obtain dominion over the thoughts, words, and actions, unless we voluntarily open the door and invite him to enter. He will then come in and, by catching away the good seed sown in the heart, make of none effect the truth.”

AH 401-402 


“Devices to Teach, Not Entertain.

“By the use of charts, symbols, and representations of various kinds, the minister can make the truth stand out clearly and distinctly. This is a help, and in harmony with the Word of God. But when the worker makes his labors so expensive that others are unable to secure from the treasury sufficient means to support them in the field, he is not working in harmony with God's plan.     

     The work in the large cities is to be done after Christ's order, not after the order of a theatrical performance. It is not a theatrical performance that glorifies God, but the presentation of the truth in the love of Christ.” (1909)  

Ev 206 

“God has committed to my care children, not to train for worldly amusement, but for Heaven; and it is my duty to place them in the best possible conditions to understand their duty to God, and to become heirs of immortality. It is impossible for me to be guiltless if I place them in the way of temptation, where there is danger of their being thrown into every class of society, and being corrupted by surrounding influences. There is enough frivolity existing all around us, having a tendency to discourage serious impressions, and to put God out of the mind. Thousands of youth have bid fair to be an honor to their parents, and useful members in society, who have in an evil hour yielded to the Tempter who came in the form of a professed friend, and for the first time broke over the barrier to their conscience and attended the theater, to see and hear the performance of some celebrated actor. Everything fascinates them--their imagination is lively--their senses, their hearts, are carried away captive--they are intoxicated with excitement. They leave the theater; but their imagination continues to dwell upon the scenes they have witnessed, and they are anxious to go again, and again. They acquire a passion to witness theatrical performances. At times they may be convicted that card-playing and attending theaters are not having a beneficial influence upon their health and morals; yet they do not possess sufficient fortitude and independence to tear away from these exciting pleasures. They may strengthen themselves with the thought that physicians have not only attended theaters themselves, but have recommended others to do so, and these physicians were Christians. They thus stifle conscience with the example of worldly, pleasure-loving, professed Christians. They have learned to play cards, considering it an innocent amusement. In attending the theater they place themselves in the most dangerous company, and are exposed to the deceptive, fascinating charms of the gambler, the sensualist, and that class of females "whose steps take hold on hell." They yield to temptation, and continue their downward course until their consciences become seared, and they will not hesitate to degrade themselves by any vice.     

     Christians are those who follow Christ. "Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you." Tenderness of conscience in regard to these amusements should never be called precision and narrowness of mind. How can Christians call that innocent which is a snare to the soul, which has led thousands in the road to certain ruin? I cannot believe a true follower of Christ will touch a card for amusement, nor read novels, nor attend balls and theaters. RH, February 20, 1866

Can you tell me what marked impression the two poems rehearsed by the two ladies on the stand would have to do with this work?     

     The singing was after the order we would expect it to be in any theatrical performance, but not one word to be distinguished. Certainly the tempest-tossed ship would be wrecked upon the rocks if there were no more light coming from the lighthouse than was seen in the exercises. I must say I was pained at these things, so out of order with the very work of reformation we were trying to carry forward in the church and with our institutions, that I should have felt better if I had not been present.”

 2MR 235

“Whatever is done under the sanctified stimulus of Christian obligation, because you are stewards in trust of talents to use to be a blessing to yourself and to others, gives you substantial satisfaction; for all is done to the glory of God. I cannot find an instance in the life of Christ where He devoted time to play and amusement. He was the great Educator for the present and the future life. I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples to engage in amusement of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; and yet Christ was our pattern in all things. Christ, the world's Redeemer, gave to every man his work and bids them "occupy till I come." 

And in doing His work, the heart warms to such an enterprise, and all the powers of the soul are enlisted in a work assigned of the Lord and Master. It is a high and important work. The Christian teacher and student are enabled to become stewards of the grace of Christ, and be always in earnest.”  

FE 229  

“The subjects should be presented in such a way as to impress the people favorably. There should be in the meetings nothing of a theatrical nature. The singing should not be done by a few only. All present should be encouraged to join in the song service. There are those who have a special gift of song, and there are times when a special message is borne by one singing alone or by several uniting in song. But the singing is seldom to be 

done by a few. The ability to sing is a talent of influence, which God desires all to cultivate and use to His name's glory.”  

CH 481