The Word of Wisdom, contained in Doctrine and Covenants 89, not only lists those things we should avoid consuming, it also lists that which we should consume, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat.
Following the Word of Wisdom will allow us to avoid some health problems, but it does not guarantee we will not suffer illnesses and disease. My sister-in-law always followed the Word of Wisdom. She grew up in a home that adhered to the Word of Wisdom and established her own home wherein they adhered to the principles taught in the Word of Wisdom. Though she never smoked, she developed lung cancer and eventually succumbed to it last year. Some may argue that the Word of Wisdom did her no good because she died of cancer. Though it’s true that she passed away from a disease for which she did not have a high risk, she was a shining example of faith in the Lord and in His plan. She was obedient to the commandments, including the Word of Wisdom, and she received countless blessings because of her obedience.
The Word of Wisdom isn’t only about what food or substances we should avoid or consume, it’s also about obedience. We know that , “There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20-21). Doctrine and Covenants 89 promises specific blessings for obeying the Word of Wisdom, including health in our navel and marrow to our bones. Of course, this doesn’t mean we won’t ever die, that would frustrate the plan of happiness, but it does mean we can enjoy good health that we might not otherwise enjoy if we disobeyed the Word of Wisdom.
“And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint” (D&C 89:20). Adhering to the Word of Wisdom will allow us to have more strength and energy than if we disobey it and, specifically when it comes to sharing the gospel, we will have greater strength of mind.
While good health is important and desirable, perhaps the greatest blessings are in verses 19 and 21. In D&C 89:19 we’re told that we, “ . . . shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.” As we obey the Word of Wisdom and keep our bodies and minds healthy, we will find wisdom. As a mother of 10 children, I clearly need more wisdom than what I can obtain on my own. I need the Lord to impart of His great wisdom as I seek to raise these children unto Him. I cannot do it on my own. If I put my trust in Him by obeying his commandments, especially the Word of Wisdom, He will bless me to learn more than I could possibly learn without His help. He will teach me how to raise my children. He will also teach me how to be wise in my use of time, talents, and abilities to further the work of His kingdom.
Verse 21 promises us that the destroying angel will pass by us, just as it did for the children of Israel. We will not be destroyed. There is an eternal difference between dying and being destroyed. We can enjoy blessings in mortality from adhering to the Word of Wisdom, but we can also enjoy blessings in eternity for obeying it.
The Word of Wisdom is a temporal and spiritual commandment and when we obey, we will reap eternal rewards.
Return to the neighborhood.
And while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. Welcome to the yourLDSneighborhood newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletter brings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDS interviews from around the world—all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.