You may know that Latter-day Saints don’t drink alcohol or smoke. But do you know why?
What is the Word of Wisdom?
Throughout the Bible, God asked His people to abstain from certain foods. Today is no different. God has given wise counsel to help all His children be healthy. It is called the Word of Wisdom. It outlines inspired ways to improve our physical and spiritual well-being. In it, we’re advised to eat nutritious food and avoid addictive substances.
The Do’s and Don’ts of the Word of Wisdom
“Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanskgiving” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:11).
“And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:7).
“Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:12).
“And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:8).
“To care for your body, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 25).
“And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:9).
“All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:14).
“Anything harmful that people purposefully take into their bodies is not in harmony with the Word of Wisdom. This is especially true of illegal drugs” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 186).
We are also encouraged to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and fast once a month—where we abstain from two consecutive meals—to help us stay healthy, practice discipline, and become more spiritually in tune.
The blessings of living the Word of Wisdom
Those who follow God’s counsel in the Word of Wisdom are promised that they’ll receive health, find wisdom, and “run and not be weary, and [walk] and not faint” (D&C 89:18–20).
It’s amazing to think that when the Word of Wisdom was revealed in 1833, the world didn’t understand the science behind the effects of things like diet, alcohol, and tobacco. Now, the health code described in the Word of Wisdom is widely accepted even in scientific circles. Researchers have shown again and again the negative side effects of drinking alcohol, smoking, and chewing tobacco, including diseases such as cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and many types of cancer.
It has also been found that people who follow the Word of Wisdom tend to live longer. From 1980 to 2004, the University of California–Los Angeles conducted a study of Latter-day Saints who followed the health guidelines in the Word of Wisdom. Results of the 25-year study showed this lifestyle was associated with a longer life expectancy.
We are encouraged to care for our bodies because they are gifts from God. Understanding this relationship influences the way we take care of ourselves.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
1 Corinthians 6:19
When we treat our bodies as temples and as God-given gifts, we gain emotional and spiritual blessings, such as a closer relationship to God and a greater sense of our divine identity.
It is clear that physical health and spiritual well-being go hand in hand. Want help improving your physical and spiritual health? Set up a meeting with our missionaries. They can help you implement the teachings of the Word of Wisdom so you can experience greater blessings in your own life.