Word Of Wisdom Backwards
The Word of Wisdom, Backwards Joyce Kinmont, July 2002
 The Word of Wisdom, Backwards 

From behavior and moods to energy and relationships, all of life is tied to the health of our bodies.  The basic "care and feeding guide" for the human body is Doctrine & Covenants Section 89.  We are often so sure of what it says that when we read it we don't see what is really there, so I suggest that new clarity might result from reading it from end to beginning, starting with verse 21, then verse 20, etc., pondering as you go.  Please do that first; don't deny yourself your own connection to the Spirit.  Then if you are interested in my testimony and some quotes from LDS Church leaders, read on. 
                                                                                                    Joyce Kinmont, July 2002

Verse 21 promises that the destroying angel shall pass us by.  If he is not passing by the Saints -- and he is not -- why not?  (See D&C 130:20-21)  Six years ago I felt that angel hovering ever so close.  At that time a kind friend taught me to live the Word of Wisdom with exactness, and, thankfully, the destroyer moved on.  My desire is to bless my children by dying peacefully in my sleep in my old age. 

Verse 20 promises that we will walk and run without fatigue.  I'm much better, but I have a long, long way to go! 

Verse 19 promises us wisdom and great, even hidden treasures of knowledge.  I used to think that promise was available in the natural course of gospel living and was superfluous in Section 89.  I've since learned that this promise is true. 

Verse 18 promises us health.  Are we healthy?  We do well on infant mortality and trauma treatment, the great killers of the past, but how about diseases connected to diet -- diabetes, heart disease, cancer, auto-immune diseases, and a host of others? 

Verse 17 tells us that all grain, especially wheat, is for man.  I partake daily. 

Verse 16 tells us that the "fruit of the vine" is for man.  Assuming this to be a metaphor for fruits and vegetables, I partake daily. 

Verse 15 tells us that we may eat animals in times of famine and excess hunger.  For me, that condition does not exist at this time.   I do not partake. 

Verse 14 (See also Genesis 1:29-30) tells us that all grain, besides being for man, is ordained for the use of beasts, to be their staff of life.  Obviously not all beasts eat grain now, but apparently they will again. 

Isaiah gives us these poetically phrased particulars about animal life during the Millennium,  "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together," he says, "and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock." Implicit in this pronouncement is the fact that man and all forms of life will be vegetarians in the coming day; the eating of meat will cease, because, for one thing, death as we know it ceases.      - Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, p. 658 
That Millennial condition will come about not by pronouncement from the pulpit, but as men become more peaceful and more kind to animals.  I learned this from Brigham Young in Relief Society.  (See also JST Genesis 9:21, page 797 in the back of the Bible) 
Let the people be holy, and the earth under their feet will be holy.  Let the people be holy, and filled with the Spirit of God, and every animal and creeping thing will be filled with peace; the soil of the earth will bring forth in its strength, and the fruits thereof will be meat for man.  The more purity that exists, the less is the strife; the more kind we are to our animals, the more will peace increase, and the savage nature of the brute creation vanish away. . . Let the whole people . . . be possessed of that spirit and here is the Millennium, and so will it spread over all the world.      - Teachings of Presidents of the Church, Brigham Young, p. 333 
Verses 12-13 says we please the Lord when we eat animal flesh only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.  Would we turn down an opportunity to please our Shepherd? 

Hyrum explained the "famine" part: 

And why to be used in time of famine?  Because all domesticated animals would naturally die, and might as well be made use of by man as not.      - Hyrum Smith, Times and Seasons, Vol. III., p. 799 
Verse 11 tells us all vegetables and fruits, in season, are to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. 

Verse 10 tells us that all wholesome plants are ordained for the constitution and nature of man.  I'm comforted to know that the Lord created food especially for my body's constitution, and I trust that He put into it all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc. that my constitution requires.   As for my nature -- I do want to protect my personal hormonal balance from being influenced by the hormones of animals. 

Verses 5-9 tell us not to use stimulants.  Hot drinks are prohibited, and we've been told those drinks are tea and coffee.  Caffeine drinks are not mentioned, though President Hinckley told the whole world on the Larry King TV show that we don't use them.  He also slipped the "c" word into a conference address last April.  We might avoid caffeine simply to support our Prophet. 

I personally choose not to drink the body fluids of animals, although this preference stems more from Verses 4 and 19.   I do not want to burden my body with milk designed for the constitution of a cow, nor do I want to partake of the viruses and bacteria or the added hormones, antibiotics, vaccines, and other toxins that come with the cheese and ice cream I used to love -- and still wear around my middle, stuck to me like glue -- which it is, casein being the main ingredient in glue, as attested to by the cow pictured on the bottle. 

We are also told not to consume tobacco or alcohol.  Not mentioned, but worth considering, are street drugs and mind-altering prescription drugs (Ritalin, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.).  They all destroy health over time, most of them cut us off from the spirit, and we now know that most of the anti-depressants cause violent killings and many times more suicides than they prevent. (Never stop taking anti-depressants without help.) 

Verse 4 tells us that there are conspiring men in the last days.  I recognize them as the ones who sell us food and drugs that they know full well are harmful for our bodies.  Their advertising is persuasive and deceptive; they work for a clever, ruthless devil. 

Verse 3 tells us that the weakest of Saints can live by this commandment.  What, then, do we do to be among the strongest of Saints?  Perhaps we add a second meaning to the word sparingly: sparing the lives of the animals by allowing the "dumb animals to live." 

Verse 2 says this scripture is the order and will of God for our temporal salvation in the last days.  I want to be saved. 

I also want to live by Alma 32:13-15 which tells us to humble ourselves because of the word rather than waiting to be compelled by circumstances.  I indulged my cheese and ice cream addiction long after the spirit was telling me to stop; I hope you'll be smarter than that! 

Both D&C 49:21a and JST Genesis 9:11, p.797, tell me that when I eat animal flesh and have no need, the blood of each dead beast will be required at my hands.  It may be that animals get their revenge by passing disease to me.  Unlike plants, animal flesh and fluids are full of viruses and bacteria that are harmful to people.  The plagues of the last days may well be delivered by the animals.  Those plagues may already be here. 

A quarter-century ago in a BYU Devotional President Ezra Taft Benson called for a generation that eats like Daniel: 

To a great extent we are physically what we eat. Most of us are acquainted with some of the prohibitions, such as no tea, coffee, tobacco, or alcohol.  What needs additional emphasis are the positive aspects--the need for vegetables, fruits, and grains, particularly wheat. In most cases, the closer these can be, when eaten, to their natural state--without over refinement and processing--the healthier we will be. To a significant degree, we are an overfed and undernourished nation digging an early grave with our teeth, and lacking the energy that could be ours because we overindulge in junk foods. I am grateful to know that on the Brigham Young University campus you can get apples from vending machines, that you have in your student center a fine salad bar, and that you produce an excellent loaf of natural whole-grain bread. Keep it up and keep progressing in that direction. We need a generation of young people who, as Daniel, eat in a more healthy manner than to fare on the "king's meat"--and whose countenances show it (see Daniel 1).      - Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 476-7, from "In His Steps," BYU Devotional 1979 
And how did Daniel eat? 
Now Daniel and his kinsmen had resolved to use a severe diet, and to abstain from those kinds of food which came from the king's table, and     entirely to forbear to eat of all living creatures: so he came to Ashpenaz (and asked for) pulse and dates for their food, and anything else,     besides the flesh of living creatures, that he pleased, for that their inclinations were to that sort of food, and that they despised the other.     - Flavius Josephus 
Today many people are feeling promptings of the Spirit to prepare for Zion in heart and body.  Here, in the words of those devoted, inseparable, prophetic brothers, is the vision: 
When God first made man upon the earth, he was a different being entirely to what he now is; his body was strong, athletic, robust, and healthy; his days were prolonged upon the earth; he lived nearly one thousand years, his mind was vigorous and active, and his intellectual faculties clear and comprehensive, but he has become degenerated. . . . Man is not now that dignified, noble, majestic, honorable and mighty being that he was when he first proceeded from the hands of his Maker. . . . (the Lord) has appointed the word of wisdom as one of the engines to. . . .remove the beastly appetites, the murderous disposition and the vitiated taste of man; to restore his body to health, and vigour, promote peace between him and the brute creation . . . ." - Hyrum Smith, Times and Seasons, 6-1-1842, pp.799-800 

By a proper observance of the Word of Wisdom, man may hope to regain what he has lost by transgression and live to the age of a tree, that as the sun's rays in springtime gladden all nature and awaken life and hope, the Word of Wisdom given of God may remove the thorns and briers from our pathway and strew the same with joy and peace.  - Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith as a Prophet, Scrapbook of Mormon Literature, Vol 1, p.118 

 © Joyce Kinmont 2002, 
Latter Day Saint Home Education Assoc. & Home School Utah |

(Note - Motivation for our expanded view, search, research, writing and publishing 
on the Word of Wisdom as a needed benefit for all my home education families
and their children, as well as my own, was inspired - or provoked -
by my friend: Thomas L. Rodgers

From the Prophets 

Joseph Smith:  In pitching my tent we found three massasaguas, or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, "Let them alone--don't hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the suckling child can play with the serpent in safety." 

Brigham Young:   When men live to the age of a tree, their food will be fruit. 
     If the people were willing to receive the true knowledge from heaven in regard to their diet they would cease eating swine’s flesh.  I know this as well as Moses knew it. 

Apostle George Q. Cannon:  We are told that flesh of any kind is not suitable to man in the summer time, and ought to be eaten sparingly in the winter. 

Lorenzo Snow, 5th President:   thought the time was near at hand when the Latter-day Saints should be taught to refrain from meat eating and the shedding of animal blood.. 

Joseph F. Smith, 6th President:   I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he “needs” them for food....Love of nature is akin to the love of God... 

Heber J. Grant, 7th President:  ...during the years we have had a cafeteria in the Utah Hotel I have not, with the exception of not more than a dozen times, ordered meat of any kind...I have endeavored to live the Word of Wisdom and that, in my opinion, is one reason for my good health. 

George Albert Smith, 8th President:  In the summer he eats no meat, and even in the winter months he eats very little.
     Let me plead with you, search the Word of Wisdom prayerfully. Do not just read it, search it prayerfully. Discover what our Heavenly Father gave it for. He gave it to us with a promise of longer life and happiness, not if we fail to observe it, but if we observe it. 

Apostle John A. Widtsoe:. . . plants contain all of the necessary food substances:  proteins, fats, starches, and other carbohydrates, minerals and water [and vitamins].  The great Builder of the earth provided well for the physical needs of His children.  (Priesthood manual)

Joseph Fielding Smith, 10th President:  My husband doesn’t eat meat [but rather] lots of fruit and vegetables.  (Jessie Evans Smith)
     Small children do not need the flesh of animals. May I add also that adults would be far better if they would refrain from too much eating of meat. As far as I am concerned the eating of meat should be very sparingly. In fact, I will be contented if the Millennium was to be ushered in next week. When it is, we will learn that the eating of meat is not good for us. Why do we feel that we do not have a square meal unless it is based largely on meat?  Let the dumb animals live. They enjoy life as well as we do...Naturally, in times of famine the flesh of animals was perhaps a necessity, but in my judgment when the Millennium reaches us, we will live above the need of killing dumb innocent animals and eating them. If we will take this stand in my judgment, we may live longer. 

Harold B. Lee, 11th President:   The Lord's word of wisdom . . . counsels the simple diet of fruits, grains and vegetables in season, with meats used sparingly, has been given you as a revelation of God's great law of health. . . . If by faith in this great law, you refrain from the use of food and drink harmful to your bodies, you will not become a ready prey to scourges that shall sweep the land, as in the days of the people of Moses in Egypt, bringing death to every household that has not heeded the commandments of God.    - The Teachings of HBL, p. 205-6 

Spencer W. Kimball, 12th President, sang: 
That the children may live long, 
And be beautiful and strong,
Tea and coffee and tobacco they despise,
Drink no liquor, and they eat
But a very little meat;
They are seeking to be great and good and wise.
      (Hymn #307, In Our Lovely Deseret, by Eliza R. Snow,wife of two Prophets, sister of a third) 

I still don’t eat very much meat. 
    Gen. Conf., Priesthood Session, April & Oct 1978 

Ezra Taft Benson, 13th President:  We need a generation of young people who, as Daniel, eat in a more healthy manner than to fare on the “kings meat”—and whose countenances show it.
     But what needs additional emphasis are the positive aspects...the need for vegetables, fruits, and grain, particularly wheat...We need a generation of people who eat in a healthier manner.
     In general, the more food we eat in its natural state and the less it is refined without additives, the healthier it will be for us. 

Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th President:  It proscribes alcohol and tobacco, tea and coffee, and emphasizes the use of fruit and grains.  This Word of Wisdom came to us from the God of Heaven, for our blessing.  I regret that we as a people do not observe it more faithfully.      -  Conference, October 1990
     I thank the Lord for a testimony of the Word of Wisdom. I wish we lived it more fully, but even though we do not, the Lord pours out his blessing on  those who try.  The promise is before us that if we will do so, we shall receive health in the navel and marrow in the bones and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures, and shall run and not be weary and shall walk and not faint, and the destroying angel shall pass by us as the children of  Israel and not slay us. - Conference, October 1993 

Elder Robert S. Wood of the Seventy:  Today many people manifest the desire for such a rescue in small and large ways: . . . the individual who, having abused his or her body through lack of exercise and violation of the Lord’s law of health, expects to be delivered, sometimes through priesthood administration, from the ravages of self-induced ill health. . . .       - Ensign, March 2002 

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