See also: D&C 89
Your body is the instrument of your mind. In your emotions, the spirit and the body come closest to being one. What you learn spiritually depends, to a degree, on how you treat your body. That is why the Word of Wisdom is so important.
The habit-forming substances prohibited by that revelation – tea, coffee, liquor, tobacco – interfere with the delicate feelings of spiritual communication, just as other additive drugs will do.
Do not ignore the Word of Wisdom, for that may cost you the “great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures” promised to those who keep it. And good health is an added blessing. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1994, p. 61
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy
“The best way to detoxify is to stop putting toxic things into the body and depend upon it’s own mechanisms.” – Andrew Weil
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” — Buddha
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn
Approximately 5,000 people a day quit smoking, and another 1,000–every single day – die from cigarette smoking, or one in every ninety seconds, in the United States alone. This means that each day 6,000 people either kick the habit or kick the bucket….
I had my own comment printed and pasted on all cigarette advertising in the magazines of my medical office waiting room. It states:
“Many of the ads in this magazine are misleading, deceptive, and are a rip-off. For example, smoking does not make one glamorous, macho, or athletic. It does make one sick, poor, and dead.” — Elder Malcolm S. Jeppsen, Ensign, May 1990, pp. 44-45
We can observe that Word of Wisdom. We receive numerous letters inquiring whether this item or that item is proscribed by the Word of Wisdom. If we will avoid those things which are definitely and specifically defined, and beyond this observe the spirit of that great revelation, it will not involve a burden. It will, rather, bring a blessing. Do not forget: it is the Lord who has made the promise. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 1985, p. 85
Surely the Word of Wisdom was given so that you may keep the delicate, sensitive, spiritual part of your nature on proper alert. Learn to “listen” to your feelings. You will be guided and warned and taught and blessed. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1996, p. 19
. . . the Word of Wisdom counsels us to eat meat sparingly. (See D&C 89:12.) Lest someone become extreme, we are told in another revelation that “whoso forbiddeth to [eat meat] is not ordained of God.” (D&C 49:18.) — Elder Boyd K. Packer, General Conference, April 1996
The Word of Wisdom does not promise you perfect health, but it teaches how to keep the body you were born with in the best condition and your mind alert to delicate spiritual promptings. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, General Conference, April 1996
I have come to know that inspiration comes more as a feeling than as a sound.
Young people, stay in condition to respond to inspiration.
I have come to know also that a fundamental purpose of the Word of Wisdom has to do with revelation.
From the time you are very little we teach you to avoid tea, coffee, liquor, tobacco, narcotics, and anything else that disturbs your health.
And you know that we get very worried when we find one of you tampering with those things.
If someone “under the influence” can hardly listen to plain talk, how can they respond to spiritual promptings that touch their most delicate feelings?
As valuable as the Word of Wisdom is as a law of health, it may be much more valuable to you spiritually than it is physically. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1979, p. 20
One principle of the gospel that all young people of the Church should understand is this: God, our Heavenly Father, governs His children by law. He has instituted laws for our perfection. If we obey His laws, we receive the blessings pertaining to those laws. If we do not obey, we receive the consequences.
The Word of Wisdom is a law – a principle with promise. If we obey the provisions of the law, we receive the promises. If we do not, there will be both temporal and spiritual consequences. — President Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1983
The Lord expects each of us to observe the Word of Wisdom. What a wonderful thing it is, this Word of Wisdom. It doesn’t impose burdens on us. It gives us blessings. A professor at the University of California at Los Angeles has carried on an intensive study over a period of years, and he has reached the conclusion, and published that conclusion, that the Mormon people, speaking of averages, live 10 years longer than their peers. What is 10 years of life worth? Think of it. Think of the blessings which come to us as a gift of our Father in Heaven. And in addition tot hat is the marvelous promise that we shall run and not be weary and walk and not faint, and that hidden treasures of knowledge shall be given unto us. (See D&C 89:19-20.) That doesn’t mean we’ll be the brightest people in the world in science, or in any other temporal thing. But it does mean that the Holy Ghost will reveal unto us the things of God for our great blessing. No one can afford to violate the Word of Wisdom. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Mexico City member meeting, November 8, 1997; Church News, February 7, 1998, p. 2
The condition of the physical body can affect the spirit. That’s why the Lord gave us the Word of Wisdom. He also said that we should retire to our beds early and arise early (see D&C 88:124), that we should not run faster than we have strength (see D&C 10:4), and that we should use moderation in al good things. . . . Food can affect the mind, and deficiencies of certain elements in the body can promote mental depression. . . . Rest and physical exercise are essential, and a walk in the fresh air can refresh the spirit. Wholesome recreation is part of our religion and is a necessary change of pace; even its anticipation can lift the spirit. (President Ezra Taft Benson, “Do Not Despair,” Ensign, October 1986, p. 4) — Aleta Goodman Blackwell, “My Obsession with Food,” Ensign, October 2002, p. 58
We have accepted as the Word of Wisdom in the Church standards that we will not change. You are not going to go on a mission unless you observe it. You are not going to go to the temple for the more sacred ordinances unless you observe it. That is no tea or coffee or liquor or tobacco or whatever else is covered by it.
We get strange letters asking if this or that is a part of the Word of Wisdom. Marijuana is not listed in section 89! And neither is strychnine or arsenic listed! But, of course, they are not habit forming.
The point is, if you want to move on spiritually and so as you ought to do in this life, the principle outlined in the Word of Wisdom shows you the requirements. You cannot just toy with it. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, February 2, 2003, p. 5
People write asking what is the position of the Church on the Word of Wisdom, for instance, on soft drinks or something. And we think, “Why do they have to ask?” It is a principle, and you have the freedom to do as you will. You do not have to be commanded in all things. Without having to have the Church deliver a statement on it, you should know what the Lord’s position is on abortion or cloning or same-gender marriage or birth control. All of those things are built in as a part of what we know and what we are.
We are about the only ones left in the world who hold to these standards. When we look around, we cannot find any organization that is holding to the standards. We do not like to talk about the other churches, but we are going to stand alone. If so, there we will stand. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, February 2, 2003, p. 7
I recall a bishop telling me of a woman who came to him to get a temple recommend. When asked if she observed the Word of Wisdom, she said that she occasionally drank a cup of coffee. She said, “Now, Bishop, you’re not going to let that keep me from going to the temple, are you?” To which he replied, “Sister, sure you will not let a cup of coffee stand between you and the house of the Lord.” — President Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, April 1990
With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on the matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided. — Priesthood Bulleting, February 1972, p. 4
I have come to know also that a fundamental purpose of the Word of Wisdom has to do with revelation. From the time you are very little we teach you to avoid tea, coffee, liquor, tobacco, narcotics, and anything else that disturbs your health. And you know that we get very worried when we find one of you tampering with those things. If someone “under the influence” can hardly listen to plain talk, how can they respond to spiritual promptings that touch their most delicate feelings? As valuable as the Word of Wisdom is as a law of health, it may be much more valuable to you spiritually than it is physically. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1979, p. 20
I have met any number of people who have said the Word of Wisdom is not a command from the Lord, that it is not given by way of commandment. But the Word of Wisdom is the will of the Lord and the Lord says in the words that I have just read that it is not meet that we should be commanded in all things (D&C 58:26-29) . . . One of the best ways in all the world to bring to pass much righteousness is to set an example as a conscientious, God-fearing Latter-day Saint, observing all of the requirements of the Lord.” — President Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, April 1931, pp. 12-13
We have accepted Joseph Smith as the prophet, seer, and revelator of this last dispensation, and in doing so we accept these revelations as being the word of the Lord to us. Here the Lord expresses His will, in very plain terms, that this revelation is given “showing forth the order and will of God.” If for no other reason, this should be sufficient for any consistent Latter- day Saint to induce him to yield implicit obedience unto this word. — Elder George F. Richards, Conference Report, October 1908, pp. 87-88
The reward for keeping the Word of Wisdom is four-fold. (1) Self-control is developed. That is implied in verse 3 of the revelation which states that the Word of Wisdom is “adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all Saints, who are or can be called Saints,” (2) Strength of body, including resistance to contagion, is a result of wise living. (3) Clearness of mind is the gift of those whose bodies are in a healthy condition. (4) Spiritual power comes to all who conquer their appetites, live normally and look upward to God. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Program of the Church, 1938, pp. 39-40
I am sure that such abstinence will increase the length of our lives and increase the vigor of our lives. But I am sure that a deeper value comes from the observance of the Word of Wisdom than the mere length of life, for after all we must finally all pass away . . . When I refrain from the use of these forbidden things, I am obeying my Heavenly Father, and whether or not I understand the purpose I will still receive the blessing . . . The living of the Word of Wisdom is a test. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1951, p. 86
I am not saying that disease will not come, that death will not strike. Death is a part of the divine plan, a necessary step in the eternal life of the sons and daughters of God. But I do not hesitate to say that in this brief but inclusive statement of the Lord is found counsel, given with a promise, which, if more widely observed, would save untold pain and suffering and lead not only to increased physical well-being but also to great and satisfying “treasures of knowledge” of the things of God. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1986, p. 49
This reference to the first Passover reminds us that, in faith, ancient Israel was obedient to the commandment to take blood and `strike it on two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses’ (Exodus 12:7) . . .
So, in faith, modern Israel is commanded to obey the Word of Wisdom. It becomes our token of a covenant with the Lord – a spiritual separator of covenant Israel from the rest of the world. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, November 1986, p. 69
Elder Ezra T. Benson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve under President Brigham Young, broadened the usual interpretation of the Word of Wisdom when he said: “When we first heard the revelation upon the Word of Wisdom many of us thought it consisted merely in our drinking tea and coffee, but it is not only using tea and coffee and our tobacco and whisky, but it is every other evil which is calculated to contaminate this people. The Word of Wisdom implies to cease from adultery, to cease from all manner of excesses, and from all kinds of wickedness and abomination that are common amongst this generation – it is, strictly speaking, keeping the commandments of God, and living by every word that proceedeth from His mouth.” — Journal of Discourses, 2:358; Doctrine & Covenants Student Manual, p. 211
The reward for keeping the Word of Wisdom is four-fold. (1) Self-control is developed. That is implied in verse 3 of the revelation [D&C 89] which states that the Word of Wisdom is “adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all Saints, who are or can be called Saints.” (2) Strength of body, including resistance to contagion, is a result of wise living. (3) Clearness of mind is the gift of those whose bodies are in a healthy condition. (4) Spiritual power comes to all who conquer their appetites, live normally and look upward to God. — Program of the Church, pp. 39-40; Doctrine & Covenants Student Manual, p. 211
“And I the Lord give unto them a promise. . . .” (D&C 89:21)
This does not say and this does not mean, that to keep the Word of Wisdom is to insure us against death, for death is, in the eternal plan, co-equal with birth. This is the eternal decree. [1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Nephi 9:6.] But it does mean that the destroying angel, he who comes to punish the unrighteous for their sins, as he in olden time afflicted the corrupt Egyptians in their wickedness [Ex. 12:23, 29], shall pass by the Saints, “who are walking in obedience to the commandments,” and who “remember to keep and do these sayings.” These promises do mean that ll those who qualify themselves to enjoy them will be permitted so to live out their lives that they may gain the full experiences and get the full knowledge which they need in order to progress to the highest exaltation in eternity, all these will live until their work is finished and God calls them back to their eternal home, as a reward. — President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, October 1940, pp. 17-18
I look upon the Word of Wisdom as kind advice of our Father in heaven, who desires to see His children become more like Him. . . . I take it as the fatherly counsel of one who, knowing what I needed, said to me: “My son, these things are not good for you, and if you will avoid them I will give you the companionship of my Holy Spirit and joy while you live in the world and in the end eternal life.” How foolish I would be then to partake of these forbidden things, having the assurance that it is the counsel of the Lord I should abstain therefrom. I would feel under condemnation if I should partake of them, when He who knows better than anybody else says that they are harmful, and has warned me against them. . . .
. . . He thought it of enough importance to give it unto us, and to warn us, and if He who knows all things thought it necessary to give advice and counsel upon these temporal matters, how carefully we, who know not what the morrow has in store for us, should observe that divine counsel. I feel that the Latter-day Saints have in the Word of Wisdom a law that will exalt them and lift them above those who fail to keep it. (In Conference Report, Apr. 1907, 19–21.) — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, “Temporal and Spiritual Blessings from the Word of Wisdom”
The gospel of Jesus Christ is to preserve souls, of which the body is the tabernacle, for eternal happiness. How foolish we are if we give way to the habits and customs of the world! . . . Our Heavenly Father in his kindness and love [warned]: “In consequence of the evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you and forewarn you by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation.” (D&C 89:4.) . . . The purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to prepare us to understand the beauty of life as the Lord has indicated it should be lived, by telling us how we may avoid the things that are destroying the world. (“Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1947, 688.) — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, “Temporal and Spiritual Blessings from the Word of Wisdom”
The Word of Wisdom does not promise you perfect health, but it teaches how to keep the body you were born with in the best condition and your mind alert to delicate spiritual promptings. — President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1996, p. 18
There are rules and laws to help ensure our physical safety. Likewise, the Lord has provided guidelines and commandments to help ensure our spiritual safety so that we might successfully navigate this often-treacherous mortal existence and return eventually to our Heavenly Father. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Obedience Brings Blessings,” General Conference, April 2013
We preach and discuss the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom, and usually think of the temporal blessings that will come to us in increased health if we live in harmony with its teaching, that we might run and not be weary and walk and not faint, and the destroying angel should pass us by (D&C 89:20-21), but there is also a spiritual aspect which is more far-reaching and should stimulate us to high purpose. The promise I am thinking of is this:
And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments . . . shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures (D&C 89:18-19).
What could be so priceless as wisdom and knowledge, even hidden treasures? Surely the treasures here referred to are not those of scientific accomplishments. Such will come revealed as light from heaven discovered through the research of men, but these hidden treasures of knowledge in the revelation are those which can be had only by use of the keys given which are: “Walking in obedience” (D&C 89:18). And while the discoveries in the physical world are very important to us here in mortality, the spiritual discovery of a knowledge of God and his program reach into and through eternity. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report October 1944