Friday, June 12, 2009

A Word of Wisdom: The LDS Code of Health

One of the LDS teachings that most people know about is our code of health. This commandment was given by revelation in 1833 at Kirtland, Ohio to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Today we refer to this as "The Word of Wisdom". This name comes from the first verse of the revelation which says, "A Word OF Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion." This revelation is included in section 89 our book of scripture: "The Doctrine and Covenants".

It is interesting that in this revelation we are told the word of wisdom was given "In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days."

There are several things mentioned in this revelation:
--If wine is used for the sacrament, it should be new, of our own making. That would be understood to be grape juice.

--"And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your "bodies

--"...tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill."

--"And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly." The Prophets have told us this refers to coffee and tea.

--"...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. And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine."

--"All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life"

Included in this revelation is a promise of blessings that will come to those who obey this law:

"And 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"

--"...shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures."

--"...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."

Having grown up in this church, and having lived the Word of Wisdom all of my life, I can testify that those who live it will receive the blessings mentioned. I have seen how living this commandment has brought health, and strength, and hidden treasures of knowledge. I think it's a common sense law, because most of us know these things aren't good for the body. I have heard many say that wine is good for the body, and it may be in some respects, but we have to remember why this law was given. It was given in consequence of the evil designs of men. Men make alcohol and tobacco to make money, regardless of the ill effects it may have on the body.

This from the LDS Newsroom:

"Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are known for their healthy lifestyles. A health plan for the Church was first written down in 1833 by Joseph Smith, and he presented it to early members specifically as a revelation from God.Today, Latter-day Saints usually refer to these health guidelines as "the Word of Wisdom."

Among the provisions of the health code: no alcoholic drinks, no smoking or chewing of tobacco, and no "hot drinks" — believed to refer specifically to tea and coffee. "Wholesome herbs," along with fruits and grains, are specifically recommended. Meat is to be used "sparingly." The Church also interprets the misuse of drugs — illegal, legal, prescription or controlled — as a violation of the health code
"The health code ... of over a hundred years ago exactly mirrors the recommendations that are now being made in the scientific world in terms of improving health and maintaining quality of health," says Ted Adams, Ph.D., program director at the LDS Hospital Fitness Institute in Salt Lake City.
A 14-year UCLA study, completed in 1997, tracked mortality rates and health practices of 10,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in California. Specific findings: Church members who adhered to the health code had one of the lowest death rates from cancer and cardiovascular disease in the United States — roughly half that of the general population. The study also indicated that Church members who followed the code had a life expectancy eight to 11 years longer than the general white population of the United States."

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