You may have once invited a Mormon friend of yours to a party. He or she might have asked, “Is there going to be alcohol there?” And if the answer was “Yes,” your Mormon friend might have declined.
Mormons— a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintss—do not believe in smoking, drinking, or partaking of any substance that is harmful to the body. There is a small book available especially for youth called For the Strength of Youth. It has guidelines on topics that all youth sometimes wonder about; for example, Agency and Accountability, Dating, Education, Entertainment and the Media, Friends, Language, and Sexual Purity. In the section entitled Physical and Emotional Health, it states: “Your body is a temple, a gift from God. You will be blessed as you care for your body. Choose to obey the Word of Wisdom.” A temple is a sacred house of the Lord, and we see our bodies as “sacred houses” for our spirit during our life here on Earth.
When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established around the early 1800s, Joseph Smith, Jr., the leader of the “restored church” (meaning it is the restoration of the ancient Church of Jesus Christ, with the same power and authority as the early church), received many revelations from God pertaining to the organization and well-being of the Saints (active members). These revelations are known as the Doctrine & Covenants and are known as one of the standard works of the Church. In 1833, Joseph Smith received a revelation known as Doctrine & Covenants 89, or the “Word of Wisdom.”
The Word of Wisdom explains food, drink and substances we should or should not partake of.
“And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies. 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” (D&C 89:7-8).
An example of a strong drink is alcohol.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we believe in following these guidelines. We don’t see the Word of Wisdom in the way of holding us back or a list of Do-Not’s, but see it as protecting us and helping our lives for good. “When you are obedient to this law, you remain free from harmful addictions and have control over your life” (“Physical and Emotional Health” in For the Strength of Youth). When someone becomes addicted, to anything, it allows that substance to take control of him/her. Depending on how bad the addiction is, it can hurt oneself, one’s friends, and one’s family. It can ruin marriages and tear apart families.
We have all seen the commercials of someone who is drunk and his/her friends are messing around, allowing for that person to be acted upon instead of act for him or herself. We have also seen the studies and dangerous effects of alcohol on our driving, judgment, and well-being as well as the health problems that can arise from smoking and drinking. By following and obeying the Word of Wisdom, we protect ourselves from these harmful situations and can live a long, healthy life free from addiction and health problems due to smoking and drinking.
For those who are struggling with addiction, there are four words of comfort to hear: You can overcome it. With faith, prayer, and even the help of a trusted adult, you can overcome the addiction and feel the blessings of a healthy lifestyle, even if you are not a member of the Church right now. It may not be easy, but won’t the thought of living a long, healthy life be worth it?
My grandfather is a great example to me about obeying the Word of Wisdom. About ten years ago, my grandfather survived a massive heart attack. The doctor said that it is a good thing he didn’t smoke or drink, otherwise his heart wouldn’t have been strong enough to survive. He is grateful for a promise he made to himself as a teenager to never even take that first drink, and because he held true to that promise, he continues a longer life and I’m grateful that he’s alive and that I can be around him and hear his stories.
It really helps members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to know that they are free from addictions and promised health and wisdom by simply choosing to say “No” to drugs and alcohol and lives are blessed, improved and even saved by following the Word of Wisdom. We are promised by God that “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… And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint” (D&C 89:18,20).
This article was written by Erik Gray, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Erik Gray is 19 years old and lives in Utah. He is a college student and three-time cancer fighter. He loves running, graphic design, and being with friends and family. His favorite sports are football, basketball, and of course, running. In his spare time he likes to watch movies, be with family, and spend time with friends. For his future career he wants to be a graphic designer or a motivational speaker, or maybe both. He acknowledges that knowing that Jesus Christ is his Savior, being a member of His Church, and living righteously, he can return to live with Him someday. It is his hope to use his testimony and experiences to help others with what they’re going through and share the glorious message of the Gospel.