Discover God's Divine Laws of Health

Most Guidance is Contained in the Word of Wisdom

The Church has published a pamphlet on the Word of Wisdom. Photo courtesy of © 2012 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.


Heavenly Wants Us to Take Care of Our Bodies

We all came to earth to get bodies. Having bodies allows us to become more like Heavenly Father; because He has a body, as does Jesus Christ. Our bodies are likened to temples in the scriptures; and temples are our most sacred structures.

Our bodies are sacred too. We should take care of them and do nothing to harm them. For this reason, one of Satan's major targets is our bodies.

He tempts us to mistreat them.

Heavenly Father provides guidance on how to take care of our bodies and be healthy. Much of this guidance is contained in D&C 89. Revealed in 1833, it is called the Word of Wisdom.

What the Word of Wisdom is and is Not

The Word of Wisdom tells us what is good for our bodies and what is bad. We are expected to follow and to apply these health principles to our particular circumstances.

There are some specific rules in this revelation. When we keep the Word of Wisdom, this means we do not use any of the prohibited substances.

Other guidance in the Word of Wisdom provides principles on what we should proactively do to be healthy and strong.

The Word of Wisdom concludes with the blessings and benefits we will receive if we follow the guidance it contains.

The Word of Wisdom is not a barometer of all righteousness. Keeping the Word of Wisdom does not determine whether we are wholly righteous or not.

It is a health law with guidelines for enjoying maximum health while we are on this earth.

Prohibited Substances and Practices

The prohibited substances are easy to list. Revelation to modern prophets has clarified some of the ambiguity.

  • Wine and strong drinks. This means alcoholic beverages.
  • Hot drinks. This means tea and coffee, but not most herbal teas.
  • Tobacco, in any form.
  • Harmful drugs, especially ones not prescribed by medical persons for medicinal purposes.

Caffeine is not mentioned in any revelation or counsel. Many people assume caffeine is why Heavenly Father prohibited these beverages, although tea and coffee both contain other harmful elements.

When we consume a substance we know is harmful to us, we will be held accountable.

Foods and Practices to Avoid

We should avoid any substance or practice we know will harm our bodies. Because foods and practices change constantly, no list would ever be complete. Just because a particular substance is not specifically prohibited by revelation does not mean it is acceptable to consume it.

We are expected to apply the principles we have and use our own moral judgment. For example, we need sleep to remain healthy. Too little sleep, or even too much, is not healthy. Our sleep needs can be highly personal, because every body is unique.

The Best Foods to Eat

The Word of Wisdom contains some excellent, and detailed, principles on the best foods to consume. These includes fruits, vegetables, grains and wholesome herbs. We are counseled they are best consumed when they are in season and used with good judgment and gratitude.

Meat is approved, but it should only be used sparingly. It is best used during famine or when it is cold, like in winter.

All grains are good for people. In fact, grains are called the staff of life for both people and other living creatures. This modern revelation is specific, listing which grains are best for which groups:

  • Humans -- wheat
  • Oxen -- corn
  • Horses -- oats
  • Fowl/Swine/"Beasts of the field" -- rye
  • Useful animals -- barley

Barley is also approved for mild drinks.

Other Divine Health Guidelines

Although, most health principles are contained in the Word of Wisdom; there are other revealed health principles (See especially D&C 88:124), including the following:

  • Do not be idle.
  • Do not be unclean.
  • Do not sleep longer than is necessary.
  • Rise early.
  • Retire early.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Occasionally fast (generally once per month).

    Reap the Blessings

    All commandments come with blessings. However, few blessings are as well articulated and momentous as those associated with the Word of Wisdom.

    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;

    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.

    The blessings are contingent on whether we both keep and do the Word of Wisdom. Both aspects are necessary to receive the promised blessings.

    How Should Knowing All This Change My Life?

    It should make you eager to follow good health practices.

    It should increase your resolve to avoid unhealthy substances and practices.

    You may be confident in knowing what is and is not healthy for you, because it gives you a reliable framework for making your personal decisions.

    Next: Aim High by Developing Charity, the Pure Love of Jesus Christ