Each young man will see how properly observing the Lord’s law of health will strengthen his body and mind and lead to both temporal and spiritual rewards.
Scriptures for each young man.
A pencil and a piece of paper for each young man.
If the Family Home Evening Video Supplement (53276) is available in your area, show segment 19, “True to the Faith.”
Review the counsel about mental and physical health given on
pages 12 and 13 of For the Strength of Youth.
Most Aaronic Priesthood holders feel that they understand the Word of Wisdom. However, some may feel it is burdensome and overly restrictive. This lesson should help them understand that the Word of Wisdom can be a positive guide to daily living and that it demonstrates the Lord’s concern for every aspect of their lives.
Suggested Lesson Development
What is the Lord’s law of health usually called? (The Word of Wisdom.)
Explain that to find out how much the young men really know about the Word of Wisdom, you are going to give them a short quiz. Hand out paper and pencils, and give the following quiz.
Is drinking coffee violating the Word of Wisdom? (Yes.)
Are there more “dos” or more “don’ts” in the Word of Wisdom? (More “dos.”)
Does unnecessarily using drugs violate the Word of Wisdom? (Yes.)
Does the Word of Wisdom list foods that are good for us to eat? (Yes.)
Can you overeat and still keep the spirit of the Word of Wisdom? (No.)
Explain that the lesson contains the answers to this quiz. Challenge the young men to listen carefully during the lesson to discover the answers.
The Lord Gave Us a Law of Health
Chalkboard and discussion
Explain that the Lord’s law of health is found in Doctrine and Covenants 89. Develop the following chalkboard illustration as the lesson progresses.
The Word of Wisdom (D&C 89)
Part I: Purposes (D&C 89:1–4)
To benefit the Saints
To be a minimal law
To warn against designs of conspiring men
Part II: The “Don’ts” (D&C 89:5–9)
Avoid harmful substances
Part III: The “Dos” (D&C 89:10–17)
Eat wholesome foods
Part IV: The Promises (D&C 89:18–21)
Wisdom and knowledge
The destroying angel will pass by us
Explain that there are four main parts of the Word of Wisdom.
Have the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 89:1–4. Explain that this is part one of the revelation. Discuss the meaning of these verses, listing the following points on the chalkboard.
The Word of Wisdom was given to benefit the Saints.
It is a minimal law to live by.
It warns of the evils and designs of conspiring men.
What is the most famous part of the Word of Wisdom? (The commandment not to use alcohol, tobacco, and hot drinks [meaning tea and coffee].)
Have the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 89:5–9.
Explain that this is the second part of the Word of Wisdom. Discuss the meaning of these verses, and ask the young men to name the harmful food and drugs mentioned. List these on the chalkboard as they are named. If a question arises about the meaning of “hot drinks,” explain that they are tea and coffee. Although there is no specific mention of drugs, modern prophets have spoken on this subject.
“‘The Church has consistently opposed the improper and harmful use of drugs or similar substances under circumstances which would result in addiction, physical or mental impairment, or in lowering moral standards.’ We reaffirm this positive statement” (Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, p. 8; or Ensign, May 1974, p. 7).
Scripture and discussion
Explain that the Lord gave more instructions concerning what is good for man than what is bad. Read or have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 89:10–17. Discuss these verses, and point out what the Lord has advised man to eat. Write on the chalkboard Eat wholesome foods.
What does it mean in verse 11 that the good things of the earth should be used with “prudence and thanksgiving”?
Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 88:124.
What advice is given here concerning our health?
Obedience to the Lord’s Law of Health Brings Blessings
Scripture and discussion
What promises of physical well-being did our Father in Heaven make to those who live these laws?
Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 89:18, 20. Discuss these verses with the young men, helping them point out the promises. Write on the chalkboard:
Explain that science continues to collect evidence that the Word of Wisdom improves health. Share any recent news items that support the Word of Wisdom. Point out that no wise athletic coach would recommend that his athletes ignore these principles. Obeying these principles will help us be physically stronger and healthier.
What spiritual blessings are denied to one who disobeys the Word of Wisdom? (Responses could include companionship of the Holy Ghost, advancement in the priesthood, a mission, and entering the temple.)
Emphasize that to be spiritually clean, an Aaronic Priesthood holder must keep himself physically clean. Remind the young men that before a person can be given a temple recommend or be approved for a mission, baptism, or priesthood advancement, he must be interviewed by the bishop. One thing the bishop will ask in the interview is whether the individual obeys the Word of Wisdom.
Scripture and discussion
Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 89:19, 21.
What additional blessings are mentioned in these verses?
Add the following to the chalkboard:
2. Wisdom and knowledge
3. The destroying angel will pass by us
Explain that President N. Eldon Tanner gives another key to receiving these blessings:
“I have always felt that the promise given in the last four verses of this revelation … is one of the most glorious promises that the Lord has pronounced for our benefit. …
“Too often we think of the promise as pertaining only to observance of the Word of Wisdom, but if you will note the phrase in the first sentence, it states, ‘walking in obedience to the commandments,’ which means that we observe not only the counsel in this revelation, but keep the other commandments in order to obtain the promise” (“Trusting the Lord’s Promise,” Ensign, Aug. 1981, p. 2).
Help the young men to understand that the Lord’s blessings of knowledge, health, and protection in the last days depend upon obedience to all his commandments, not just the Word of Wisdom.
How have you been blessed by keeping the Word of Wisdom?
Mention that many people have been blessed with moral and physical courage and strength that come from living worthily of the blessings promised by our Heavenly Father. Read the following story from a young man on the Isle of Man who was blessed in this way.
“I work out a little bit, but I don’t believe the strength I had that night on the cliff was my own. I feel the promise that has been made to everyone who keeps the Word of Wisdom was kept to me.
“I was coming back from a local [club] in Bradda Glen … when I saw some friends. Some of them had been drinking, and they weren’t their normal selves. Two of them decided to take a different way home.
“There are two ways back. You can go the normal way, by road, which is much safer. Or you can go along the coast path, which is windy but has a good view. That’s the one my friends decided on. Normally, I would have just walked along the road, but I decided my friends weren’t in a fit state to look after themselves, so I walked along with them.
“One of them started staggering and suddenly plopped down, off the side of the cliff. The other guy went to try to help him, but he went over too. It wasn’t completely sheer, but it was very steep, and they were hanging on with one arm. They could have easily slid right down, and I don’t know if they would have made it back up.
“I remember clearly actually grabbing hold of their arms, one at a time, and hoisting them. I not only pulled them up; I actually pulled them off the ground, over the top, and back onto the path. The words from the promise of the Word of Wisdom, in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, came to me, ‘And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint’ (verse 20).
“They were amazed. I was amazed. They said, ‘Well, it’s a good thing you didn’t drink tonight.’ And I said, ‘Well that’s really my religion for you.’
“For my entire life I’ve strived to keep the Word of Wisdom. I find it easy to keep, even though smoking, drinking, and drugs seem to be an increasing problem here on the Isle. When I was young, I heard President Spencer W. Kimball say that if I decided to keep standards then, when I was young, it would be much easier for me when the temptation came up, because I would have already made the decision to abstain.
“I’ve really tried to apply that in my life, and that night on the coast path, I was glad I did. By following the Word of Wisdom, I believe I was given extra strength for that moment in time” (Daniel Johnson, “Cliff Hanger,” New Era, Nov. 1992, pp. 14–15).
According to this young man, why did he receive strength that night?
What do you think would have happened if he had not kept the Word of Wisdom?
Review the introductory quiz, and make sure each young man understands the correct answers. You may want to have a young man read the counsel about mental and physical health given on
Challenge the young men to decide now to obey the Word of Wisdom. Assure them that their obedience will bring them great blessings. Encourage the young men to review the counsel about mental and physical health given on
Bear your testimony of the importance and value of obeying the Word of Wisdom and taking proper care of one’s physical body.
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