15 June 2021

Today's Word of Wisdom

 Many people know Latter-Day Saints best by the health code to which most adhere:  The Word of Wisdom.  It has been interpreted to proscribe the use of coffee, tea, tobacco, and harmful drugs, along with encouraging the eating of vegetables and fruits, grains, and a little meat. Though triggered by Emma, the wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, in relation to having to clean up tobacco use after church leadership meetings, the Lord gave this as his justification for revealing the Word of Wisdom:

Doctrine and Covenants 89:4

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-

 In the tradition of recent study guides produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I will ask a few "open-ended" questions and let you readers answer for yourselves.

  • Given the realities of the modern world and consumption habits, what proscriptions and encouragements do you think the Lord would give today as a "word of wisdom"?
  • Relative to the phrasing "evils and designs", beyond what goes into our bodies, what "conspiring" do you think the Lord would "forewarn" us about?
Verse 4 is a broad statement of the realities of life. There have always been evil people and they have always had designs and conspiracies toward us, no matter what naysayers shout - God himself says such things exist.  I recall as a youngster that tobacco advertising on all media was a design by "evil" people to profit from unhealthy products.  The US National Security Agency (NSA), now a very public public part of government, was a secretive organization in the past and those who spoke of it were labeled "conspiracy theorists".  It can readily be seen that what was once the hidden "designs" of "conspiring men" are now out in the open and affecting our lives just as strongly as what we consume.

You may take some time to consider what an updated Word of Wisdom from God would "forewarn" us about today.  Nutrition and health were the subject in the early 19th century, but perhaps there are other matters more potentially damaging about which the Lord would be concerned for us. It is important to study the words of our modern church leaders to know the warnings that have been revealed in our time, just as the Lord revealed knowledge to Joseph Smith in the past.