Class 7: Word of Wisdom
Most importantly, we need to look after our spiritual relationship with God.
“Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full. Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul, and seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.” DC 98:5i-j
This section was given in December 16, 1833 and was given to the Saints in Ohio because they had “been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance…” DC 98:1a. Seeing this, it is important to note that God is not implying that we should not care for our bodies. He is just giving encouragement to those that have been persecuted. Again, the greatest gift, eternal life (DC 12:3b), is the most important thing.
What is the importance of our bodies?
We are made after the image of God.
Genesis 1:29; 6:9; 9:13; Alma 13:44; Ether 1:80-82; DC 17:4a-b
The body is the temple of the Holy Ghost
John 2:19-22; I Corinthians 6:19
The body of Christ.
There are many members of the body of Christ. We are all important. Jesus Christ is the head of the body.
Romans 12:4-8; I Corinthians 6:15; 12:12-31(25-26); Ephesians 1:20-23; 2:16; 3:6; 4:4-6, 16; 5:30-33; Colossians 1:18, 24; 2:19; 3:15; DC 83:21b
What is the significance of the Last Supper in relation to the body of Christ?
Matthew 26:22-25; Mark 14:20-25; Luke 22:19-20; I Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:23-29; III Nephi 8:32-43; 9:40-45; Moroni 4:4; DC 17:22d
We are to take the bread in remembrance of His body. We are making witness not just that we remember Him, but that we are part of that one body.
Christ was pure and perfect in Spirit and in Body. When the body of Christ or the church is pure and undefiled it works better and perfectly. Regardless of our feelings of importance or unimportance, our role in the church is vital in the perfect functioning of the church.
Death and resurrection of the body.
The first death is the death of the body.
James 2:25; II Nephi 6:25
When we die, we go directly to God.
Resurrection is restoration of our body to an immortal state.
Job 19:25-27; Romans 8:23; I Corinthians 15:35-44; Philippians 3:20-21; II Nephi 6:29-35; Alma 8:100-106; 16:232; 19:58, 65; III Nephi 13:27; DC 85:4a, 6c-g
What other things are important for and about our bodies besides nourishment?
Our sin defiles our bodies and likewise the body of Christ.
Matthew 5:31-34; Romans 6:11-14; I Corinthians 6:18; 9:27
What is the spiritual and physical importance of our eyes?
Matthew 6:22-24; Luke 11:34-37; III Nephi 5:113-115; DC 85:18
Our speech can control our bodies and actions.
We need to carry the life and meaning of Jesus within our bodies.
II Corinthians 4:10-11; Galatians 6:17; Philippians 1:20
We need sleep.
DC 83:13; 119:9a-c
What do the scriptures say about nourishment?
We have dominion over the earth and God has given us food that we can eat. However, he has given us commandments on what and how to eat in the past.
Genesis 9:8-11; Leviticus 11; DC 59:4
What do we eat when we are in the service of the Lord?
Matthew 6:25-28; Luke 12:24-25 (These two scriptures refer to God providing for us.)
Luke 10:8; I Corinthians 10:27
Eating food and idols.
Acts 15:19; I Corinthians 8
What do the scriptures say about meat?
I Corinithians 8:8; I Timothy 4:3, DC 49:3d-e
The Word of Wisdom
“I have given thee the Word of Wisdom, yet few follow it.” Arthur Oakman given at Wichita, KS 1974
“I’ll mention a couple other things. I want to mention the Word of Wisdom, no I’m not going to say anything about tea and coffee, because so many of us so much of the time have looked upon the Word of Wisdom as a negative commandment and it isn’t. It is a positive commandment. When my boy was very little, he use to recite, wheat for man corn for the ox, rye for the fouls, and prunes for the bowels. But that’s the heart of the message. Brethren, read the Word of Wisdom (DC 86), God is concerned that we function at our maximum capacity. And so many times, years and years of service are lost to our Heavenly Father because we’re careless, your speaker included, careless about keeping the Word of Wisdom. If you apply the stewardship principle to your body you must take notice of the Word of Wisdom. And read it, it is said that we need to have it interpreted. Alright, let’s go to Him who gave it and ask for His interpretation of it, and abide by it. Each man can do this for himself. And let no man judge another on this, because this is sin. The worse sin Latter Day Saints commit, do you know what it is? They achieve a standard of righteousness and they draw a line and if you don’t come up to their standard of righteousness God pity you. Their righteousness becomes God’s righteousness, and they condemn everyone else who doesn’t conform to their way of thinking. This is a sin to which Latter Saints are peculiarly subject. Let no man then judge another but let him examine his own life and his own heart and seek to function at the maximum capacity physically and spiritually.” Arthur Oakman Endowment Series Lecture 6
What has been referred to as the Word of Wisdom is found in Section 86 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
“A conference met at Kirtland on February 19, and on the next day-the 20th-the High Council was called to decide a question concerning the worthiness of a man to officiate who disregarded the “Word of Wisdom.” But we will quote the words of Joseph Smith on this meeting and decision:- “KIRTLAND, February 20, 1834. “The high council met this evening to determine concerning the elders going out to preach, etc. The president opened the council by prayer. “At a church meeting held in Pennsylvania, Erie County, and Springfield Township, by Orson Pratt and Lyman Johnson, high priests, some of the members of that church refused to partake of the sacrament, because the elder administering it did not observe the Words of Wisdom to obey them. Elder Johnson argued that they were justified in so doing, because the elder was in transgression. Elder Pratt argued that the church was bound to receive the supper under the administration of an elder, so long as he retained his office or license. Voted that six councilors should speak upon the subject. “The council then proceeded to try the question, whether disobedience to the Word of Wisdom was a transgression sufficient to deprive an official member from holding an office in the church, after having it sufficiently taught him. “Councilors Samuel H. Smith, Luke Johnson, John S. Carter, Sylvester Smith, John Johnson, and Orson Hyde, were called to speak upon the case then before the council. After the councilors had spoken, the president proceeded to give a decision:- “That no official member in this church is worthy to hold an office, after having the Words of Wisdom properly taught to him, and he the official member neglecting to comply with or obey them; which decision the council confirmed by vote.” Church History Volume 1 Chapter 16:434 (Times and Seasons Volume 6 Chapter 16:1022)
“On Wednesday, February 27, 1883, the revelation familiarly known as the “Word of Wisdom” was given. 3 This is a peculiar and unique document, but we think it will bear the closest investigation; and though it is now over sixty-three years old, and the subjects treated of have been investigated and discussed by men of learning, it will be found to be in harmony with or in advance of the best minds of the age.” Church History Volume 1 Chapter 11:279
“June 15, 1834 … It was then motioned and seconded that the elders, priests, teachers, and deacons in this conference abide by the Word of Wisdom, and passed by a unanimous vote.” Church History Volume 1 Chapter 19:521-522
“Listen not to the teaching of any man, or any elder who says the word of wisdom is of no moment; for such a man will eventually be overthrown. These are principles that I have always acted upon; that I have always practiced; and they are what my family practices; they are what Brother Hyrum has always contended for, and what I now contend for; and I know that nothing but an unwavering, undeviating course can save a man in the kingdom of God. The Lord has told us that ‘Strong drinks are not good,’ who is it that will say they are? when the Lord says they are not.“ Excerpt from Hyrum Smith discourse on Word of Wisdom (Times and Seasons Volume 3 Chapter 15:799-801)
Things to ponder for next week:
What are practical things that I can do to implement some of the spiritual principles discussed over the last several weeks into my life?