This article is part of a series on Discovering the Word of Wisdom. To view all the articles in this series, see Featured Author Jane Birch.

The Season of Gifts

In a world of crass commercialism, it is harder than ever to find a truly meaningful gift. And kids today have so many “things,” they sometimes don’t value what they are given. Something enjoyed for a few hours may soon be neglected, broken, or even abused. Before long, it is ready for the trash heap.

Perhaps something of little value deserves no more care than what it gets, but what about gifts of tremendous value? How would we feel if we gave a gift of the highest worth, only to watch the recipient treat it with neglect or even abuse?

In this season of gifts, I’m thinking of one of the more precious gifts we will receive in all of eternity, the priceless gift we left our home of glory to obtain: our physical body.

Each of us has received an incomparable body of flesh and blood from a loving Heavenly Father. Not only is our body of inestimable value, it makes possible the enjoyment of every other gift we can imagine receiving. Of what value are other gifts without eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to touch, mouths to taste, and a body to feel and enjoy? Truly our bodies are central to the enjoyment of every gift we receive throughout the year and throughout our lives. And neglect of our bodies can diminish not only how we feel about ourselves, but how we experience every blessing of life.

Not only does neglecting our bodies damage our ability to enjoy the material things of the world, it also damages our receptivity to the Lord’s spiritual gifts, including the greatest spiritual gift of all: the Gift of the Holy Ghost.[1]

How Well Do We Treat This Priceless Gift?

How well do we treat this priceless gift of our bodies? To function well, our bodies require a wholesome diet, regular exercise, and adequate water, sleep and other essentials. While there are certainly times when even well-cared for bodies stop functioning correctly, when treated properly, our bodies tend to work supremely well. When neglected, all kinds of mischief can occur: feeling icky, drained of energy, weight gain, not sleeping well, indigestion, and an assortment of bodily woes and chronic diseases that can wreck havoc in our lives. The blessing of a body can easily turn into the curse of disease when we neglect this gift!

And yet judging by my own experience and those of many others, it seems many of us do not do a superb job of caring for the priceless bodies we have been given. Perhaps we think we can treat our bodies as we wish, as if they were our exclusive possessions. Perhaps we have forgotten these words from our Savior:

Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Cor. 6:19–20, emphasis added)

During Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. He lived and died and paid the ultimate price, not just for our souls, but also for our bodies. Our bodies have been bought with the price He paid. So when we mistreat our bodies, we are abusing not just the gift our Father gave us at birth but also the gift our Savior paid to redeem.

How must they feel when we treat their priceless gifts with neglect and sometimes even abuse? Conversely, how must they feel when we demonstrate our appreciation for their gift by the way we nourish and care for our bodies, in accordance with the wise counsel they have given us?

A Gift We Can Give Our Savior

Our bodies were given to us as a free gift. None of us had to pay for the bodies we received, nor do we need to pay to keep them for eternity . . . our Savior already paid that colossal price. God not only gave us the priceless gift of a mortal body, He has blessed us with wise counsel on how to nourish them, and He has provided the wholesome foods we need to care for our bodies in a manner that is pleasing to Him.

Perhaps this Christmas season we can consider making a new resolution to care for our bodies in a manner that expresses our love and appreciation for this gift from our God. Perhaps we can consider recommitting to studying His counsel on how to care for them so that we can “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1).

Join me in a Word of Wisdom Health Challenge Beginning January 1, 2015

The New Year is around the corner. What a great time to do a better job of caring for the bodies our Father has given us! In preparation for the New Year, I hope each of us can find some time to prayerfully study D&C 89 and consider specific changes we’d like to make. I know the Lord will help us in ways that will bring great joy.

If it would be helpful to you to join a support group, you can sign up on Facebook: Word of Wisdom Health Challenge. To prepare, start now to find some healthy whole food, plant-based recipes that you like: WFPB Recipes. If you are ready to get started, check out: Getting Started.

Next Time in “Discovering the Word of Wisdom”

How would you like to be at your ideal weight and stay there for the rest of your life? How would you like to achieve this without going hungry? I believe the Word of Wisdom way to weight loss can help us do this and much more! Tune in next week!

Real Mormons • Real Stories

This section features Latter-day Saints who have adopted a Word of Wisdom diet. (If you have a story to share, please contact me.)

Sarah comes from a family with quite the history of weight problems, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. At just 23 years old, she was overweight and discovered she had high blood pressure. She decided it was “time to start taking better care of my body temple.” Even at that young age, switching to a plant-based Word of Wisdom diet helped her lose over 25 pounds. In addition, she reports, “My skin has greatly cleared up, I’m able to breathe much more easily, my blood pressure is normal, and I haven’t been sick in the two-plus years that I’ve been on this journey!” Her father later joined her. He lost over 30 pounds, greatly lowered his cholesterol, and is not pre-diabetic anymore. “Through all of this,” Sarah says, “I’ve come to embrace my body as a temple and have made it a goal to help others learn the full blessings of the Word of Wisdom.” Read her full story here: “I’ve come to embrace my body as a temple”


Jane Birch is the author of Discovering the Word of Wisdom: Surprising Insights from a Whole Food, Plant-based Perspective (2013) and many articles on the Word of Wisdom. She can be contacted on her website, Discovering the Word of Wisdom.



[1] Elder Boyd K. Packer taught, “Our physical body is the instrument of our spirit. In that marvelous revelation, the Word of Wisdom, we are told how to keep our bodies free from impurities which might dull, even destroy, those delicate physical senses which have to do with spiritual communication. The Word of Wisdom is a key to individual revelation. See Boyd K. Packer, “Revelation In A Changing World” (Ensign, October 1989). Elder Russell M. Nelson reminds us that our bodies are a “vital part of God’s eternal plan.” He taught that the decisions we make in how we care for and use our bodies will “determine your destiny” because “your body is the temple for your spirit. And how you use your body affects your spirit.” See Russell M. Nelson, “Decisions for Eternity,” LDS General Conference (October 2013).