Physical and Emotional Health

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    • What’s the harm in trying drugs or alcohol just once to see what they’re like?

      Elder Dallin H. Oaks shared a story about trying a harmful substance just once: “Some years ago, one of our sons asked me why it wasn’t a good idea to try alcohol or tobacco to see what they were like. He knew about the Word of Wisdom, and he also knew the health effects of these substances, but he was questioning why he shouldn’t just try them out for himself. I replied that if he wanted to try something out, he ought to go to a barnyard and eat a little manure. He recoiled in horror. ‘Ooh, that’s gross,’ he reacted.

      “‘I’m glad you think so,’ I said, ‘but why don’t you just try it out so you will know for yourself? While you’re proposing to try one thing that you know is not good for you, why don’t you apply that principle to some others?’ That illustration of the silliness of ‘trying it out for yourself’ proved persuasive for one sixteen-year-old” (“Sin and Suffering,” Ensign, July 1992, 73–74).

    • What are the key things I should do to stay physically healthy?

      “You will be blessed as you care for your body. Choose to obey the Word of Wisdom (see D&C 89). …

      “To care for your body, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Practice balance and moderation in all aspects of your physical health. Also, avoid extremes in diet that could lead to eating disorders. Do not intentionally harm your body. Avoid dangerous activities that put your body at risk of serious injury.

      “Avoid any drink, drug, chemical, or dangerous practice that is used to produce a “high” or other artificial effect that may harm your body or mind. … Use of these substances can lead to addiction and can destroy your mind and your body” (For the Strength of Youth, 25–26).

    • Why should I keep the Word of Wisdom?

      When you obey the Word of Wisdom, “you remain free from harmful addictions and have control over your life. You gain the blessings of a healthy body, an alert mind, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. You will be prepared to serve the Lord” (For the Strength of Youth, 25).

      To those who keep the Word of Wisdom, the Lord promises:

      “All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them” (D&C 89:18–21).

    • What should I do to overcome addictions?

      “The best course is to completely avoid the substances that the Lord prohibits in the Word of Wisdom. But if you have become addicted to any of these substances, you can become free from your addiction. You can overcome addiction through personal effort, the enabling power of the Lord’s grace, help from family members and friends, and guidance from Church leaders.

      “Pray for help, and do all in your power to resist temptations that come because of addiction. Your Heavenly Father wants you to receive the blessings that come from keeping the Word of Wisdom, and He will strengthen you in your sincere efforts to do so” (True to the Faith, 187–88).

    • A lot of things aren’t mentioned specifically in the Word of Wisdom. What about things like caffeine or supplements? Are these OK?

      “The only official interpretation of ‘hot drinks’ (D&C 89:9) in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early Church leaders that the term ‘hot drinks’ means tea and coffee. Members should not use any substance that contains illegal drugs. Nor should members use harmful or habit-forming substances except under the care of a competent physician” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 21.3.11).

      President Boyd K. Packer said: “The Word of Wisdom was ‘given for a principle with promise’ (D&C 89:3). . . . A principle is an enduring truth, a law, a rule you can adopt to guide you in making decisions. Generally principles are not spelled out in detail. . . .

      “Members write in asking if this thing or that is against the Word of Wisdom. . . . We teach the principle together with the promised blessings. There are many habit-forming, addictive things that one can drink or chew or inhale or inject which injure both body and spirit which are not mentioned in the revelation. . . . Obedience to counsel will keep you on the safe side of life” (“The Word of Wisdom: The Principle and the Promises,” April 1996 general conference).

      “Some have . . . used as an alibi the fact that drugs are not mentioned in the Word of Wisdom. What a miserable excuse. There is likewise no mention of the hazards of diving into an empty swimming pool or of jumping from an overpass onto the freeway. But who doubts the deadly consequences of such? Common sense would dictate against such behavior” (“The Scourge of Illicit Drugs,” October 1989 general conference).