Doctor Craft – Prophetic Warnings

Many selections here found from a larger text: has a larger article addressing 4 crafts (doctorcraft, lawyercraft, priestcraft, kingcraft), though here I’ve selected some favorite quotes on doctorcraft.




We use doctors in the Church, and believe in using faith and medicine as Elder Nelson and Elder Oaks and Elder Holland have recently taught. But this is to supplement your understanding, so you are aware that there are conspiring men in this field, and not to always trust them 100% on everything as seems to be the current trend.

-“When God spoke from heaven to Joseph Smith, the people were bound down by priestcraft, doctorcraft, kingcraft, and lawyercraft, the four grand crafts that uphold Satan’s kingdom.”(Brigham Young Deseret News, July 12, 1863)

-“The devil has sent his emissaries among us, some of whom come in the form of lawyers, doctors and ministers, and others as saloon keepers and gamblers, and [10] as “gentlemen” whose politeness and affability are peculiarly striking. Their special mission seems to be directed to the young of both sexes, to decoy and lead them astray. (Brigham Young JD 18:233)

-“Then you may take the class called merchants, also the doctors, the priests in the various sects, the lawyers, and every person engaged in any branch of business throughout the world, and, as a general thing, they are all taught from their childhood to be more or less dishonest.” (Brigham Young JD 6:72)

-“Some of the company thought I was not a very meek Prophet; so I told them: “I am meek and lowly in heart,” and will personify Jesus for a moment, to illustrate the principle, and cried out with a loud voice, “Woe unto you, ye doctors; woe unto you, ye lawyers; woe unto you, ye scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites!” etc. But you cannot find the place where I ever went that I found fault with their food, their [11] drink, their house, their lodgings; no, never; and this is what is meant by the meekness and lowliness of Jesus.” (Joseph Smith DHC 5:218)

-“As to the doctors who are in our midst, who are our enemies, I say let them alone, for I have no doubt but that three to one who have died in this place had a doctor. * * * Do [20] cease to employ doctors, lawyers, and merchants who will empty your purses. * * * As to the doctors, let them go. I can prove that a doctor in this place doctored a woman that was in the family way, and did not know it until she was delivered, and both woman and child died, and if you will employ them, you will all die.” (Joseph Smith DHC 7:258-259)

-” All ye doctors who are fools, not well read, and do not understand the human constitution, stop your practice. And all ye lawyers who have no business, only as you hatch it up, would to God you would go to work or run away!” (Joseph Smith DHC 6:59)

-“Another thing: I want to speak about the lawyers of this city. I have good feelings towards them; nevertheless I will reprove the lawyers and doctors anyhow. Jesus did, and every prophet has; and if I am a prophet, I shall do it: at any rate, I shall do it, for I profess to be a prophet.” (Joseph Smith DHC 6:238)

-“I am happy to say I have never been under the necessity of calling a doctor to my family for forty years. I have had them in my family, but not from necessity. I like them when they are gentlemen; when they are wise and full of intelligence, I am very fond of them; but I do not ask them to doctor my family in any case; and there are no circumstances under which I think them necessary except in case of a broken bone, or where skillful mechanical or surgical aid is necessary. But to call a doctor to my family to administer physic to them, I am not under the necessity of doing it. Is this so? Yes, it is; and if the experiment could be tried, independent of the Gospel and of faith, in any community, I care not where, nor for what length [21] of time, of having any number of persons, with regularly qualified physicians to attend them; and the same number without such physicians, but who will doctor themselves according to nature and their own judgments, among that portion without doctors, there would be less sickness and fewer deaths than among those who had their doctors. The experience of the Latter-day Saints in Utah confirms this. (Brigham Young JD 13:142)

-“Would you want doctors? Yes, to set bones. We should want a good surgeon for that, or to cut off a limb. But do you want doctors? For not much of anything else, let me tell you, only the traditions of the people lead them to think so; and here is a growing evil in our midst. It will be so in a little time that not a woman in all Israel will dare to have a baby unless she can have a doctor by her. * * *

Now the cry is, “Send for a doctor.” If you have a pain in the head, “Send for a doctor;” if your heel aches, “I want a doctor;” “my back aches, and I want a doctor.” The study and practice of anatomy and surgery are very good; they are mechanical, and are frequently needed. Do you not think it is necessary to give medicine sometimes? Yes, but I would rather have a wife of mine that knows what medicine to give me when I am sick, than all the professional doctors in the world. (Brigham Young JD 15:225)

-“When he [Jedediah Grant] was here, the devils had power over his flesh, he warred with them and fought them, and said that they were around him by millions, and he fought them until he overcame them. So it is with you and I. You never felt a pain and ache, or felt disagreeable, or uncomfortable in your bodies and minds, but what an evil spirit was present causing it. Do you realize that the [22] ague, the fever, the chills, the severe pain in the head, the pleurisy, or any pain in the system, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, is put there by the devil? You do not realize this, do you?

I say but little about this matter, because I do not want you to realize it. When you have the rheumatism, do you realize that the devil put that upon you? No, but you say, “I got wet, caught cold, and thereby got the rheumatism.” The spirits that afflict us and plant disease in our bodies, pain in the system, and finally death, have control over us so far as the flesh is concerned. But when the spirit is unlocked from the body, it is free from the power of death and Satan; and when that body comes up again, it also, with the spirit, will gain the victory over death, hell, and the grave. (Brigham Young JD 4:133)

-“As an individual, I am free to acknowledge that I should much prefer to die a natural death, to being helped out of the world by the most “intelligent graduate,” new or old school, that ever scientifically flourished the wand of Esculapius, or any of his followers.” (Brigham Young Mill. Star 14:215)

-“The doctors in this region [Nauvoo] don’t know much; and the lawyers, when I speak about them, begin to say, “We will denounce you on the stand.” But they don’t come up; and I take the liberty to say what I have a mind to about them. Doctors won’t tell you where to go to be well; they want to kill or cure you, to get your money.” (Joseph Smith DHC 5:357)

-” I want to say to all who profess to be saints, do not harbor blacklegs, counterfeiters and bogus-makers, wipe them away; it is time to carry out the design of our Prophet; do [24] cease to employ doctors, lawyers, and merchants who will empty your purses and then mob you.” (Brigham Young DHC 7:259)

-“But the great majority of men who have amassed great wealth have done it at the expense of their fellows, on the principle that the doctors, the lawyers and the merchants acquire theirs. Such men are impositions on the community, and they ought to be taken and put to some honorable labor such as raising potatoes, raising grain, cattle and sheep, and performing other useful and necessary labors for the good of mankind. Amen.” (Brigham Young JD 19:98)

-“Doctors and their medicines I regard as a deadly bane to any community. Give your children, when sick, a little simple herb drink; and if they have eaten too much, let them go without food until their stomachs are cleansed and purified, and have faith in the name of Jesus and in the ordinances of his Church, and they will live. That is my faith with regard to this thing. I am not very partial to doctors and lawyers. I can see no use for them unless it is to raise grain or go to mechanical work.” (Brigham Young JD 14:108)

-“I can see the faces of this congregation, but I do not see two alike; and if I could look into your nervous systems and behold the operations of disease, from the crowns of your heads to the soles of your feet, I should behold the same difference that I see in your physiognomy-there would be no two precisely alike. Doctors make experiments, and if they find a medicine that will have the desired effect on one person, they set it down that it is good for everybody, but it is not so, for upon the second person that medicine is administered to, seemingly with the same disease, it might produce death. If you do not know this, you have not had the experience that I have.” (Brigham Young JD 15:226-227)

-“Who is the real doctor? That man who knows by the spirit of revelation what ails an individual and by the same spirit knows what medicine to administer. That is the real doctor, the others are quacks.” (Brigham Young, JD 15:226)

-“save the sick like a good physician, and not kill them by dosing down the medicine as do some of our doctors.” (Brigham Young, JD 9:125, 17 Feb. 1861)

-“You may go to some people here, and ask what ails them, and they answer, “I don’t know, but we feel a dreadful distress in the stomach and in the back; we feel all out of order, and we wish you to lay hands upon us.” “Have you used any remedies?” “No. We wish the Elders to lay hands upon us, and we have faith that we shall be healed.” That is very inconsistent according to my faith. If we are sick, and ask the Lord to heal us, and to do all for us that is necessary to be done, according to my understanding of the Gospel of salvation, I might as well ask the Lord to cause my wheat and corn to grow, without my plowing the ground and casting in the seed. It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and to ask my Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus Christ, to sanctify that application to the healing of my body” 21

-“If the people want to eat calomel,” he said, “let them do it and be damned. But don’t feed it to any of my family. If any doctor does and I know it I would kill him as quick as I would for feeding arsenic.” (Notes of Brigham Young’s medical lecture to the Board of Health in Great Salt Lake City, December 1851, Wilford Woodruff’s journal.)

-“”I will give $5000 dollars,” he said, “for the 16 part of an oz of poison that can be extracted out of all the lobelia in this valley.” (Brigham Young, Sermon, 16 June 1861, typescript, Church Archives, p.3)

-“But there is constitutions, and situations in life, wherein you may administer calomel to persons, and it will do them good when nothing else will. But is it good in every case? No. Not one in fifty thousand, but we will reduce that and say one to five thousand. It will produce death in five thousand where it will do good only to one person.” (Brigham Young, Sermon, 16 June 1861 p.3)

-Speaking of physicians “A worse set of ignoramuses do not walk the earth.” (Notes of Brigham Young’s medical lecture to the Board of Health in Great Salt Lake City, December 1851, Wilford Woodruff’s journal.)

-“I suppose there are physicians here laughing in their sleeves and thinking what a pity it is that brother Brigham was not a studied physician. A studied fool you mean—a learned fool. When you come to the real knowledge I know more than ye all and do not brag one particle. I could put all the real knowledge they possess in nut shell and put it in my vest pocket, and then I would have to hunt for it to find it.” (Brigham Young Sermon, Bowery, 16 Jan. 1861, pp. 7-8)

–If the Saints were to fully cultivate the gift of healing, “every doctor might be removed from our midst.” (Brigham Young JD 14:108, 8 Aug. 1869)

–“at Salt Lake they had no sickness till the doctors came. Then they, being too lazy to delve and hoe like others, made people ill, in order to get a living by doctoring them!” (Brigham Young; Harper’s Weekly, v. 13, 2 Oct. 1869)

-The doctors in this region don’t know much . . . and I take the liberty to say what I have a mind to about them. They won’t tell you where to go to be well; they want to kill or cure you to get your money. Calomel doctors will give you calomel to cure a sliver in your big toe, and they do not stop to know whether the stomach is empty or not; and calomel on an empty stomach will kill a patient. . . .” (Joseph Smith; Journal History, 13 April 1843)

-““People will seldom die of disease,” he explained, “provided we know it seasonably, and treat it mildly, patiently and perseveringly, and do not use harsh means.” ( Joseph Smith; Journal History, 19 April 1843)

-Speaking of the selfishness of one local doctor, Brigham Young said, “did not have quite sympathy enough to buy them a chicken or give them a shilling, though he was worth some four or five hundred thousand dollars.” (Watson, p. 53)

–George W. Hickman a doctor was told by Brigham Young “not to practice medicine because he [Young] wanted to teach the people faith and dependence upon God. . . . This was a stunning blow to a young man who had spent years in preparation for a profession suddenly to have his staff knocked from under him.” (From the journal of Josephine Hickman Finlayson, his daughter, in “Pioneer Medicines,” Heart Throbs of the West, 12 vols. (SLC; Daughter of the Utah Pioneers, 1939-1950, 7:210-11)

-“As to supporting a family by medical practice, we have physicians who find considerable employment, yet it is no uncommon thing to see them at work in the canyons getting out wood, plowing, sowing, or harvesting their crops, which, I think betokens a healthy state.” Brigham Young

-We want sister physicians that can officiate in any capacity that the gentlemen are called upon to officiate and unless they educate them- selves the gentlemen that are flocking in our midst will do it.” ( Eliza R Snow SLC (General or Cooperative) Retrenchment Association minutes, 1871-75, 13 Sept. 1873, LDS Church Archives)

-“Learn to take proper care of your children. If any of them are sick the cry now, instead of “Go and fetch the Elders to lay hands on my child!” is, “Run for a doctor.” Why do you not live so as to rebuke disease? It is your privilege to do so without sending for the Elders. You should go to work to study and see what you can do for the recovery of your children.” (Brigham Young JD 13:155, 14 Nov. 1869)

–“know their own systems, understand the diseases of their country, under- stand medicine and they ought to know enough to treat themselves and their neighbors in that way that they will live as long as it is possible for them to live.” (Brigham Young; Sermon, Bowery, 16 Jan. 1861, pp.3-4)

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