Because our physical condition affects us spiritually, our Heavenly Father gives us commandments designed to improve our physical and spiritual health. As part of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, God revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith how we can care for our bodies so the Spirit of the Lord may be with us. This revelation is known as the Word of Wisdom. Obedience to this commandment is a requirement for baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Great blessings are promised to those who show their faith by obeying this commandment.
What Is the Word of Wisdom?
The Lord revealed the Word of Wisdom to the Prophet Joseph Smith. In this revelation we are warned to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and hot drinks, meaning coffee and tea. Later prophets have taught that we should not use any substance that contains illegal drugs or harmful and addictive substances. The Word of Wisdom also teaches that we should eat meat sparingly and that we should eat grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Blessings of the Word of Wisdom
Keeping the Word of Wisdom will improve your physical and spiritual well-being. Although you are still subject to normal health challenges, obedience to this commandment will help you have a healthier body and mind.
In the New Testament the Apostle Paul refers to the body as a temple: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17).
As you keep the Word of Wisdom, the delicate, sensitive, spiritual part of your nature will be prepared to receive guidance from God. Learn to listen to spiritual promptings and feelings. You will be warned of dangers and will be guided by the Holy Ghost. Your wisdom and knowledge will increase. You will have greater peace of mind, increased self-control, and a confident attitude toward life and the future.
A Word of Wisdom
This revelation, received by the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1833, is direction from our Heavenly Father to His children today. Following are excerpts from this revelation, which can be found in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 89:
“A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the … church, and also the saints in Zion …
“Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints. …
“Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I … forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—
“That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good. …
“And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man. …
“And again, hot drinks [tea and coffee] are not for the body or belly.
“… All wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man. …
“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. …
“All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground. …
“And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings … 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. Amen” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:1, 3–5, 8–10, 12, 16, 18–21).
Giving Up Harmful Substances
If you use tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, illegal drugs, or other harmful and addictive substances, stop now. You will be blessed with a healthier body and spirit. Some people have developed habits or addictions to substances that make it difficult to stop using them. If you have difficulty giving up these habit-forming substances, ask God in prayer to help you replace harmful thoughts, activities, and temptations with uplifting, wholesome influences. As you fill your life with what is positive and uplifting, there will be less room for what is harmful and negative. The following suggestions will help you:
Resolve to quit. Pray and fast with confidence that the Lord will help you overcome your addiction.
Study the scriptures. Memorize passages and recite them frequently. They will bring you spiritual power.
Ask for a priesthood blessing to help you resist temptation.
Dispose of harmful substances, and do not get more.
List the times, places, and situations in which you are tempted to violate the Word of Wisdom. Talk to your parents, your spouse, the missionaries, and other trusted friends about how you can avoid the things on your list. For example, find new pastimes or hobbies in which you will not be tempted. Listen to uplifting music, serve others, read wholesome books, or exercise when you are tempted.
Participate in Church activities. You will grow closer to the Lord and have increased strength to overcome your desires for harmful substances.
Attend an appropriate support group or obtain professional help.
Never forget that the Lord will help you as you rely on Him. Giving up these substances can be very difficult, and some people may relapse into old habits more than once before they quit entirely. Keep trying, and never lose hope.
By being humble and honest and calling upon God and others for help, you can overcome your addictions through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
As you live the Word of Wisdom, the blessings promised by the Lord will be yours.