Staunch Seventh Day Adventists Mr and Mrs John Preston Kellogg saw little need of education for their 17 children. It was the 1850’s for God’s sake!
They expected the Second Coming of Christ any day now. Who needs algebra for a blissful eternity of endless days drifting on heavenly clouds playing harps?
Spoiler: the anticipated second coming failed to eventuate but the Kelloggs never gave up hope, running to the door every time they heard the gate.
“Are you the Messiah?”
“No, the postman.”
Despite only two years of formal schooling, one of their children was destined for fame as a man of great learning. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
At the age of 11, John Harvey Kellogg (pictured above) went to work in his father’s broom factory. Brooms? Who needs brooms in a world about to end? Bugger sweeping the floor. Let’s just roll around it drunk!
Kellogg educated himself through books and as a young man became director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium where he put into practice his twin obsessions of plain eating and sexual abstinence.
The “doctor” believed sex was bad for you – very bad – the root of all evil. He claimed never to indulge in sins of the flesh himself.
He and his wife slept in separate rooms and apparently never consummated their marriage.
They passed their honeymoon working on his book Plain Facts for Old and Young which by the time of the 1917 edition was a four-volume 900-page opus chastising readers not to have sex, consider sex, or think about sex. It seems writing about it was okay though.
Kellogg advocated plain foods because tasty food stimulated the senses and led to… sex!
Just a single tasty treat could instantly transform a god-fearing virgin of undoubted virtue into a carnal lust-filled slut wanting to bonk every year… or even twice a year!
Even the most unlikely and morally righteous citizens could fall victim to the pitfall of the tasty morsel.
“Our most profound disgust is justly excited when we hear of laxity of morals in a clergyman. But when we consider how these ministers are fed, we cannot suppress a momentary disposition to excuse, in some degree, their fault,” Kellogg said.
“When the minister goes out to tea, he is served with the richest cake, the choicest jellies, the most pungent sauces, and the finest bread-stuffs.
“Little does the indulgent hostess dream that she is ministering to the inflammation of passions which may imperil the virtue of her daughter, or even her own.”
Good Lord! Kellogg was a genius. Think of all the pain and judicial inquiries we would have been spared if the Pope had simply banned Chocolate Bavarian.
In pursuit of bland and tasteless titbits to uninspire the appetite, Kellogg and brother Will invented corn flakes.
However there was little market for their unpalatable baked and flaked corn dough. Will suggested a heresy. Let’s add sugar. SUGAR! Who did he think he was? Mary Poppins? John never spoke to the heathen again.
Kellogg was a fan of yoghurt. But not some decadent, sinful, ungodly, cream-enriched, sugar-sweetened, fruit-infused concoction.
He liked good plain yoghurt cultured from the milk of very bored cows. His patients ingested about half a litre a day at breakfast – half orally, and half anally.
The single greatest threat to humanity!
If there was anything worse than people having sex with each other, it was people having sex by themselves. “The sin of self-pollution is one of the most destructive evils ever practised by fallen man. In many respects it is several degrees worse than common whoredom.”
He believed masturbation was a greater threat to humanity than any other evil and quoted a fellow medical writer, “Neither the plague, nor war, nor small-pox, nor similar diseases, have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism; it is the destroying element of civilised societies…” That explains the Aztecs I suppose.
You won’t just go blind!
He warned of 39 potential medical ailments resulting from self-gratification including cancer, leprosy, epilepsy, acne and death.
Kellogg used the example of a patient who, “had practised this vice seven or eight times daily from the age of thirteen until twenty-four; and was reduced to the lowest state of mental weakness, associated with various bodily infirmities; indeed, both mental power and physical existence were nearly extinguished.”
He declared masturbation to be suicide: death by your own hand!
To discourage masturbation Kellogg recommended electric shocks to the genitalia, male circumcision, stitching the foreskin with wire to prevent erection and burning the clitoris with carbolic acid. Suddenly the old quack stops being funny.
Kellogg was a ridiculous person and we’re right to laugh at him, but it’s important to remember the damage such pompous self-righteous moralists do, and be prepared to combat them at every turn. They are not restricted to the 19th century. They remain with us today, no less convinced of their infallibility.
However, Kellogg did live to be 91. Perhaps we should right now all swear off sex, especially masturbation, grab a straw and practice chugging yoghurt into our rectums.