Pro Tip: The Destroying Angel is Bad
The blessings for obedience to the Word of Wisdom aren’t akin to a diet fad.
Latter-day Saints on the Internet: look at me. Listen. Pay close attention.
Y’all remember in the Old Testament, that bit about getting the Jews ready for one of the ten plagues in Egypt? The one where all the firstborn babies would be destroyed unless certain measures were taken by families in the city? Very specific and seemingly arbitrary measures?
Okay, now think of those measures…but it’s the Word of Wisdom.
Folks have been making a lot of noise on Twitter and Facebook about recent clarifications handed down by the First Presidency over what violates the Lord’s law of health. Substances like green tea, cannabis, vaping, and all manner of coffee-mocha-ccino-ites. Some people aren’t too pleased their favorite camping sites in the “Gray Area” aren’t actually in the Gray Area if you get me.
(Many of these same people are croaking and cawing about the recent handbook changes on firearms at church buildings, but that’s none of my business.)
When we think of the Word of Wisdom, oftentimes we miss the point of what the Lord was telling us when He revealed it to the prophet Joseph Smith. It’s not a fad diet. It’s not some new keto-paleo variation that targets belly fat and helps your body produces its own natural essential oils, which you need in order to cleanse toxins. Physical health is a byproduct of it, and of course, we should take care of our bodies.
But the real substance of the Word of Wisdom has less to do with the “eat this” and “don’t eat that” portions of the law. The real substance comes from the blessings described for our obedience:
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;
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 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.Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-21
What does the Lord promise us?
Health in our bodies! Strong bones!
Wisdom! Treasures of knowledge! HIDDEN treasures!
Strength to do arduous physical things without fainting!
PROTECTION FROM THE DESTROYING ANGEL!
Brothers and sisters, do not get hung up on what is popular, what some celebrity eats or drinks or smokes, or even what things your body craves. Don’t spend your energy looking for ways to subvert the list of do’s and do-nots.
Find it in yourself to have the faith the Lord will keep His promise. It isn’t about whatever study or blog post says a cup of coffee is good for you, or that wine cleans your blood vessels, or that vaping is a healthy alternative to cigarettes (lol it ain’t), or that weed is a non-tobacco cure-all for whatever you think is ailing you.
Aside from the physical benefits promised to you in the Word of Wisdom, the spiritual benefits are immeasurable. Treasures of knowledge? Hidden treasures? Keeping your actions in line with the Lord’s will in this specific thing is the very gateway to getting answers to your prayers, getting a stronger testimony, and staying close to the Lord.
And these are the things that will ultimately protect you from that Destroying Angel that went all Planned Parenthood on Egyptian babies in the Book of Exodus.
Remember His promises, brothers and sisters. He keeps His. All of this can be ours if we will just be obedient.
- Statement on the Word of Wisdom
- “The Word of Wisdom: The Principles and the Promises” – President Boyd K. Packer, April 1996
- “A Principle with a Promise” – President Ezra Taft Benson, April 1983
Graham Bradley is a trucker, novelist, and illustrator. He served a mission in Barcelona, Spain, from 2003-2005.