One aspect of our faith as Mormons that sets us apart from other Christian and religious groups is something called “the Word of Wisdom.”
It is contained within the Doctrine and Covenants (published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and can be read in its entirety here.
The power of this revelation is amazing – and even more so when you consider the time period when it was given to the prophet. Mankind in his day often chewed tobacco and drank alcohol – without scientific studies to analyze their impact.
Today scientists will tell you that chewing tobacco can cause cancer and that one ounce of alcohol destroys 10,000 brain cells. But this knowledge was not available to Joseph Smith (nor his contemporaries) in 1833.
The Lord Created Our Bodies.
The Lord knows what our bodies need. Thus, I am very interested in His thoughts on the subject. Those thoughts are contained within Doctrine and Covenants 89. These are principles that greatly bless our families today when we abide by those principles.
In fact, we’re told in the revelation that these principles have been adapted to the capacity of the “weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints” (vs 3). This excites me, because it means that even I can follow the wisdom contained in this chapter of scripture – for I consider myself weak in so many ways.
Second, we’re told that the Word of Wisdom is also a form of a warning. Listen why!
” … In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, … by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation” (vs 4).
Then the Lord proceeds to give several important pieces of counsel. Of course, He does not declare in D&C 89 everything that is prejudicial for our bodies. After all, He is teaching correct principles and expects us to use our God-given intelligence to figure out much of what is good for us. But that which He does reveal He expects us to heed – for after all, He knows our bodies.
The Lord teaches in this revelation that strong drink or alcohol is not appropriate “for the belly.” Instead He reminds us that (just as alcohol was used anciently), its purpose is for the washing of the body. For those who are medicinally inclined, they understand this statement – alcohol can be an effective tool to clean out serious wounds. But as science has shown, for every one ounce of alcohol drunk, 10,000 brain cells are destroyed! Do we seriously think the Lord would avoid warning us of this?
The Lord also teaches in D&C 89 that tobacco is not for the body nor the belly, except as used in poultices for bruising, sick cattle, etc. Again, anyone experienced in animal husbandry has seen the effectiveness of herbal poultices, including tobacco compresses. Additionally, those who have seen a smoker’s lungs after his or her death could attest to the blackened “soot” that drenched the deceased person’s lungs because of smoking. Again, do we seriously think a loving Lord would not warn His children of the dangers of tobacco? I’m so grateful He loves us enough to warn us and give us these pieces of wisdom.
There are many other gems of “health truths” contained within D&C 89. In the next blog, we’ll continue to discuss what those are. And as parents, when we understand these principles we can better bless our entire family with them.
The fact that Joseph Smith recorded this revelation in 1833, prior to the scientific evidence which now corroborates it, is simply inspiring.