LDS Question 12: What exactly IS the Word of Wisdom as believed by the Mormon Church . . . and isn’t it difficult to live by all the rules that are described by the Word of Wisdom?
If you are sincerely interested in the truth, then have a prayer before you read any of my writings in answers to these questions . . . ask your Heavenly Father to let you know if what you are reading is true; because only God knows all truth. And, should you feel that it is . . . then, find the missionaries near you, or call or stop by your local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; or write to me, and I'll send missionaries to you; or go to lds.org.
I, myself, am a counselor with a Master’s Degree from Oregon State University in Counseling Education. I have counseled in just about every area of human trial and have taught other counselors. Anyone who has been, or is now associated with counseling will easily be able to tell of the torment and horrors associated with addictions. The robbery that takes place of human choice and life’s direction and achievement through addiction is a terrible occurrence . . . and brings to pass a prison from which escape is very difficult to achieve.
It doesn’t require an Einstein’s IQ to reasonably understand that if one never drinks of alcohol . . . one will never, then, become an alcoholic; likewise, if one never takes any kind of addictive drugs, or smokes, or partakes of coffee or tea or other addictive substances, they won’t have to surrender their freedom of will, brain, and life to those vices either . . . EVER.
The Word of Wisdom is not a new concept; when the heavens were opened between God and His children of Israel, similar religious edicts were also given in the ancient Law of Moses; way back then there were---heaven-sent---restrictions of dietary consumption and actions that were for the benefit and protection of Heavenly Father’s children. It is just plain and simple love; our Heavenly Father loves us each so much that He has provided a means whereby—if followed and obeyed—all His children can be safe . . . and spared from the “afflictions of addictions.”
So, just what is the Word of Wisdom exactly? Below I will herein quote the entire 21 verses of text that is contained in the 89th Section of the book called the Doctrine and Covenants (one of the volumes of scriptures used by the LDS people) it was presented from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself by Revelation, personally, to the boy Prophet Joseph Smith on February 27th, 1833 . . . long before any studies or scientific facts---that these substances were bad for you---was known . . . it reads . . .
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833. As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently, he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result. 1–9, The use of wine, strong drinks, tobacco, and hot drinks is proscribed; 10–17, Herbs, fruits, flesh, and grain are ordained for the use of man and of animals; 18–21, Obedience to gospel law, including the Word of Wisdom, brings temporal and spiritual blessings.
1 A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—
3 Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.
4 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—
5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.
7 And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—
11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.
12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—
17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.
18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
21 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. Amen.”
THAT is what is called the Word of Wisdom by the LDS people.
I didn’t join the church until I was 21 years old. So, before this time, I was a professional musician traveling all around playing music . . . drinking and using drugs and partying. My biological father was an alcoholic who surrendered his entire life to the bottle. It became his only true love that was above his wife, above his children, and, eventually above everything and anything. Though a talented artist and gifted in music, he eventually wasted away to lose the ability to even think rationally. He developed what is called a “wet brain” and lost sensibility and even an ability to just live a normal life . . . eventually being placed in a home where he finally died of throat cancer and alcoholism. NOT pretty . . . and not anything I will ever know . . . because of my obedience to the Word of Wisdom.
To the second part of the posed question above . . . "Isn't it difficult to live by all the rules prescribed by the Word of Wisdom? The Answer ?. . . No . . . the principle of the Word of Wisdom is not a challenge to live . . . it is freeing . . . guaranteeing . . . and empowering; it is, truly, WONDERFUL to me. Every morning when I awake . . . my first thougth ISN'T where can I get my next hit, or take, or bottle, or joint, or drink, or cup . . . my mind is free from the chains of addiction. And, for those of you who are reading this who ARE addicted . . . Heavenly Father can help you start anew and be free, yourself.