The Word of Wisdom as it is recorded in the 89th section of the Mormon book of scripture known as the Doctrine and Covenants is a revelation to the first prophet of this dispensation, Joseph Smith. In it a type of health code is laid out for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Best known for its instruction to avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco products, the revelation actually extends beyond just this realm to include other various aspects of healthy living.By the same token, it does not spell out every specific detail of what should and should not be done regarding care for the mortal body.It is meant as a guideline for good and wise choices according to the laws of God.
Though initially not given as such, the Mormon church accepted this revelation as a binding commandment under the direction of President Brigham Young in 1851.Even so, this section of the Doctrine and Covenants has been identified as “a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:3)Its purpose has always been to bring those who would closer to their Savior Jesus Christ by keeping their minds and bodies free from those things that might impair their ability to think or feel His Spirit.
Specific content counsels against the use of alcohol, tobacco, and hot or strong drink.It also encourages the consumption of grains, fruits, and vegetables while limiting consumption of red meats.Many other areas are not specifically addressed.Members of the LDS church are encouraged to use the “wisdom” of this message to judge for themselves on specific matters not addressed
With this in mind, many Mormons extend this council to other areas of their health, making choices to avoid any substance that could be harmful or addictive in an effort to honor and care for their God-given bodies and spirits.Following the commandment to avoid addictive and harmful substances can also apply to illicit drug use and abuse of prescription medications.
The benefits listed for those willing to adhere to a conscious effort toward health that may seem outside the world’s standards is health, wisdom, and treasures of knowledge, protection from harm, and the ability to “run and not be weary”. (Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-21)