As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are known for many things. One of the most well-known things members are known for, though, is a love of family… And one of the ways we try to show this love is by living what is called the Word of Wisdom.


So what is the Word of Wisdom? Here is the Church’s definition:


orange picking fruit“The Word of Wisdom is a law of health revealed by the Lord for the physical and spiritual benefit of His children. On February 27, 1833, as recorded in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the revealed which foods are good for us to eat and which substances are not good for the human body. He also promised health, protection, knowledge, and wisdom to those who obey the Word of Wisdom.” (“Word of Wisdom,”


Here is the actual verbiage of Doctrine and Covenants 89, wherein the Lord revealed this inspired counsel through the prophet Joseph Smith. In it, we learn about the harm caused by alcoholic drinks, tobacco, tea, and coffee (known as “hot drinks” during that time).


But the broader application of the Word of Wisdom is to teach mankind to use wisdom in what they take into their bodies. For example, eating dirt is not mentioned in this prophetic counsel, yet it’s fairly obvious that this would not be wise. The point is, throughout D&C 89 the Lord is teaching a broad pattern of wisdom — do not take things into your body which are harmful (and some examples are given) and do take things into your body which are healing and helpful.


What is so fascinating to me is that during the early 1800s when this prophetic counsel was given, scientists did not have the knowledge nor the discoveries that modern-day scientists have uncovered. Though there has long been a debate on the healthfulness of alcohol, one study last year showed that there is “no safe level of alcohol.” One researcher said, “The health risks associated with alcohol are massive . . . Our findings are consistent with other recent research, which found clear and convincing correlations between drinking and premature death, cancer, and cardiovascular problems.”


Wow! Joseph Smith did not know this back in 1833, but the Lord sure did. And He advised Joseph Smith in this revelation against the drinking of alcohol.


Conspiring men’s thoughts weren’t publicly known back then, but during the 20th century, certain corporations were exposed as to knowing their products were harmful and addictive — yet until exposed, they denied these facts. Joseph Smith did not personally have this knowledge back then, but the Lord did. And He told Joseph Smith of it (see D&C 89:4).


running marathonD&C 89, otherwise known as the “Word of Wisdom,” is well worth reviewing. If you have your health, you are able to have and do so many other things!


Why not print out and apply the teachings in D&C 89? Your family will be greatly benefitted — I know it from experience.


This article was originally published in December 2007. Changes have been made for timeliness and consistency.

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