The Words of the Prophets on Having a Healthy Body
By Carolyn Allen
Note From Carolyn: My next article to be published on April 19 will be about the LDS Addiction Recovery program. We’re still scheduled for our teleconference with Judy Jensen (link to her article about her significant weight loss) where you can ask her questions about food addiction and how she lost 70 pounds. The call will be on April 23 at 5:00 EST, That’s 3:00 PM for our Utah friends. Call 1-201-793-9022. Enter Conference Room No. 6046762# Please send questions by e-mail so we can use our time effectively: [email protected].
My youngest daughter and I have just returned to our home in northern Virginia from a 10-day trip to Utah and Idaho over Spring Break. We visited family and friends, toured BYU Idaho and BYU in Provo, attended the Young Women’s Broadcast and several sessions of General Conference, and (drum roll please) made several stops at Deseret Industries, the Church’s brilliant answer for building better lives as members recycle usable home and clothing items for others to enjoy.
I’m always passionate about used books anywhere, but where else but at a Deseret Industries store can you find a greater percentage of Church material than anything else? As if by divine providence for all of us who struggle with our weight, there was a most interesting little book entitled The Diet Solution: Weight Loss, Wellness and The Word of Wisdom, by Peggy J. Hughes. Published in 2000 (about the same time Meridian first made its appearance), it was filled with common sense and basic advice about healthy eating that most of us have memorized, yet still struggle to implement. I bought it (at the grand price of $1.00) for the large section of healthy recipes and the unique element of this book: quotes from the Prophets that examine and enhance the Word of Wisdom, D&C 89.
It is fascinating how, in the same way we know that the Word of Wisdom came long before scientific proof that tobacco and coffee/tea are detrimental, similarly, Brigham Young and others have embellished the Word of Wisdom and confirmed up-to-date research on what is best for each of us to eat, think and do for health.
As each of us basks in the glow of General Conference, I know that you, as I, have a greater desire to hearken to their words, to live more exactly, to have the blessings of the Spirit to be with me in every possible way, every day. In addition, this is the Monday after Easter! For many of us, there is more food in our refrigerators than necessary, and leftover candy lurking. We need the words of the prophets to guide us in our choices for how we feed and nourish our bodies, and to help us move past the temporary indulgences of a holiday.
As you continue reading, I’m sure you’ll agree that each of these quotes is worthy of an article and/or very lively discussion. I hope you’ll say a prayer to know which are most important for you to you, then copy or print them out, and use these quotes to place in your journal, or somewhere where you will see them to inspire you.
“We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body.” (Note from Carolyn: Doesn’t that make you want to take exceptional care of yours???)
“When you find the thinking faculty perfectly active, in a healthy person, it should put the physical organization into active operation … in such a person you will see mental and physical health and strength combined, in their perfection.” (Note from Carolyn: Doesn’t that make you want to be that person, at your best physically and spiritually???)
“To those who observe the Word of Wisdom, God will give great wisdom and understanding, increasing their health, giving strength and endurance to the faculties of their bodies and minds until they shall be full of years upon the earth. This will be their blessing if they will observe His word with a good and willing heart and in faithfulness before the Lord.”
“Although reformation is needed in regard to our eating and drinking, and on this point I will freely express myself, and shall be glad if the people will hear, believe and obey.”
“Let us seek to extend the present life to the uttermost, by observing every law of health, and by properly balancing labor, study, rest and recreation, and thus prepare for a better life. Let us teach these principles to our children, that in the morning of their days, they may be taught to lay the foundation of health and strength and constitution and power of life in their bodies.”
“…where food is partaken of chiefly to gratify the pleasurable sensation derived from eating, disease is engendered, and true misery springs out of this unwise gratification. Some healthy, strong-constituted persons can eat large quantities of food with apparent impunity, but in so doing, the tax they place upon their systems will ultimately bring disease and death.” (Note from Carolyn: There is such comfort in this: to know that even though some can eat all they want, it is not a long-term blessing or “good thing.”)
“By and by, according to the Scriptures, the days of a man shall be like the days of a tree. But in those days, people will not eat and drink as they do now; if they do, their days will not be like a tree, unless it be a very short-lived tree … The people have laid the foundation of short life through their diet. As we have lived more richly, indulging in sweet cake, plum pudding, roast beef and so on, we have had more or less disease among us. Go into their houses and you will find roast beef, poke, apple pie, custard pie, pumpkin pie, mince pie, and every luxury, and they live so as to shorten their days and the days of their children. Let the people observe the Word of Wisdom, and they lay the foundation for longevity.” (Note from Carolyn: The author notes that it is overindulgence of these things that is the primary concern, not the complete removal.)
“Live as our first parents did, on fruits and on a little simple food.” (Note from Carolyn: This is the foundation of the greatest health — just ask Dr. Gardner!)
“Fish is as healthy a food as we can eat, if we except vegetables and fruit, and with them will become a very wholesome diet.”
“The people have laid the foundation of short life through their diet, their rest, their labor, and their doing this, that, and the other in a wrong manner, with improper motives, and at improper times.”
“As for health, it is far healthier to walk than to ride, and better every way for the people.” (Note from Carolyn: Although he was talking about walking rather than riding in carriages and wagons, we can apply it to walking rather than riding escalators, elevators, and in parking further from our destinations for more exercise.)
“My mind becomes tired, and perhaps some of yours do.
If so, go and exercise your bodies.” (Note from Carolyn: The candy industry and modern man would have us believe that we need a Snickers. Here’s a prophet telling us to go out and take a brisk walk!”)
“Take care of yourselves and live as long as you can, and do all the good you can.”
“The strength, power, beauty and glory that once adorned the form and constitution of man have vanished away before the blighting influences of inordinate appetite and love of this world. The health and power and beauty that once adorned the noble form of man must again be restored to our race.” (Note from Carolyn: Here ts is from the lips of a prophet: We’re stronger and more attractive when we’re at a healthy weight. It is Heavenly Father’s plan for it to be so, when a healthy weight is medically possible. We understand that there are medical, documented exceptions when this is not possible and embrace the innate understanding that we are ALL beautiful, no matter what our weight.)
“Indulgence of appetite is not worthy.”
“It is difficult to find anything more healthy to drink than good cold water … This is the beverage we should drink. It should be our drink at all times.” (Note from Carolyn: Once again, it is the modern man who has convinced us that soft drinks quench thirst and are more “interesting” popular or desirable than water.)
“The first principle that pertains to the intelligence God has bestowed upon us is to know how to preserve the present organization with which we are endowed. It is man’s first duty to his existence, a knowledge of which would cause him to use all prudent efforts for the preservation of his life on the earth until his work here is completed.”
“The Americans, as a nation, are killing themselves with their vices and high living. As much as a man ought to eat in half an hour, they swallow in three minutes, gulping down their food … Dispense with your multitudinous dishes, and depend upon it, you do much towards preserving your families from sickness, disease and death.”
Boyd K. Packer
“Each of us has agency; each is free to choose. Nothing can free us spiritually more than obedience — obedience to the laws, to the Lord. Nothing is more liberating spiritually than the worthiness which is maintained, and at times perhaps must be reclaimed, through repentance. We need to keep the Word of Wisdom. That is the key to revelation, to treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.”
Remarkable, isn’t it? Lots of fruits and veggies — simply prepared, water, exercise, smaller meals eaten slowly, less red meat and sweets, more fish, more whole grains … oh, we know what to do!
It’s simply a matter of applying the Prophet Spencer W. Kimball’s words: “Do it!”
Once again, please join us on April 23 at 5:00 PM EST: 201-793-9022 Conference Room 6046762#!
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