The Word of Wisdom
Mormons believe that physical and spiritual things influence one another. For example, when someone is physically sick, he or she often feels emotionally drained as well. The same is true for someone who is spiritually or emotionally depressed; he/she feels physically sick, too. In the Doctrine and Covenants, which contains the revelations of Jesus Christ to modern prophets like Joseph Smith, the Lord says this:
Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men, neither Adam, your father, whom I created (Doctrine and Covenants 29:24)
This means that all of God’s commandments to us are spiritual, even when they deal with temporal things like physical health. The Lord desires all of us to take care of our bodies. Our bodies are gifts from God and are necessary to our happiness. In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord gives us some instructions on how to take care of our bodies. This revelation is known as the Word of Wisdom and is found in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 89.
According to the Word of Wisdom, there are certain foods and drinks that God commands us to avoid and others that He encourages us to use. Most people know that Mormons do not drink alcohol or coffee, nor do they smoke cigarettes. These “Don’ts” are sometimes more well known than the “Do’s,” but both are important. It is important to know and follow both.
We are commanded to eat the following things with thanksgiving and in moderation (see verse 11):
- All wholesome herbs and fruit (10-11)
- Flesh of beasts and fowls to be used sparingly (12-13)
- Grain is to be the staff of life (16)
There are certain things that we are commanded to avoid because they are harmful both to our bodies and our spirits. These are:
- Wine and strong (that means alcoholic) drinks (5-6)
- Tobacco (8)
- Hot drinks (black tea and coffee) (9)
Modern prophets have also added, through revelation, that we should avoid other harmful drugs like marijuana, opiates, cocaine, and so on, since they harm the body and the spirit. Other powerful drugs, like painkillers, should be used carefully and with a doctor’s supervision.
Those who keep the Word of Wisdom by avoiding those things that it prohibits are promised great blessings. The revelation says,
All saints who remember to keep and doing 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 (Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-20)