Mormon Beliefs: Word of Wisdom
Mormons are often easily identified by their lifestyle. Mormon doctrine teaches that we should not partake of alcohol, take tobacco in any form, drink coffee or tea, or take any substance which is harmful to the body. In addition, we should take care of our bodies by getting enough rest and exercise and eating in moderation.
When the Word of Wisdom is combined with the Law of Chastity (that no one should participate in sexual intimacy outside the bonds of marriage), the world often looks and says, “How awful! You aren’t allowed to have any fun at all!” When one truly understand the Mormon doctrine behind these principles, however, it is readily apparent that the Word of Wisdom gives us far more freedom than it takes away.
Doctrine and Covenants 89:4 says, “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 have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation.” Perhaps at the time the Word of Wisdom was given to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, this did not make as much sense as it does now. Through science, we have a far better understanding than we once did about the powerful addiction that drinking alcohol and doing drugs can have on an individual. Even addiction to coffee can wreak havoc in one’s life. While it is true that not everyone will become addicted to these substances, it is undeniable that if one never drinks alcohol or never smokes a cigarette then her or she will never be addicted to either of them. Both science and investigative journalism have also revealed the connection between these substances and “conspiring men.” The destructive and addictive properties have been hidden by their manufacturers, or slick marketing has created bogus attractions for these substances.
Anyone who has ever been addicted to a substance or behavior will tell you how confining it is. The addiction takes away their choices in many ways. They become slaves to their cravings and appetites. No one can doubt the motives behind big businessmen who make these products: if they can get you addicted, they have a returning customer. There is nothing that any of these substances can bring you which is worth the risk of everything they can take away. This Mormon doctrine
Addiction aside, there are other effects alcohol alone may have on your judgment and skill. You may make very poor choices under the influence of drugs or alcohol which you would never make when not under their influence. Or, you may unintentionally hurt someone else when you do not have your own behavior under control. Studies say that college students who drink commit unintentional sexual acts 25 percent of the time. When both a guy and a girl drink that percentage is doubled.
God promises that those who live the Word of Wisdom:
“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” (D&C 89:18–21).
Living the Word of Wisdom is not a restriction for those who truly understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and Mormon doctrine. It is a blessing to them, which helps them to live a better life free from the pain that can come from the abuse of such things. It provides them with a clarity of mind and health of body and spirit. It provides more freedom and helps those who live it to make better choices in their lives. Those who live it understand that true joy and friendship comes from loving one another and from lifting each other up to be better people, not but succumbing to the world’s standards and views of happiness, which are all fleeting.