D&C 89: The Word of Wisdom

Section 89

The word of wisdom has got to be one of the greatest prophecies of the Restoration.

Why would the Lord say, this is adapted to the capacity of the weakest of all saints?

Naturally what does the body do when it comes into contact with Word of Wisdom violations?  The body naturally rejects all the things mentioned in section 89.  You have to retrain the body to like these things. 

D&C 89 – this is a mind/spirit thing, because the body naturally wants to fight these substances.

Teach the Mahan principle, which is what Satan taught Cain- that Cain could murder for monetary gain.  Another way to put this is what is sometimes called the great exchange: your life for money- the great secret that Satan was going to teach Cain is that you can convert life into property.  If I kill you and take your money, that is the essence of the Mahan principle.  But if I can get you addicted to something that you need to come back again and again and pay for, now I am on to something.  Now I am ready to take the Mahan principle to a whole new level.

The Lord asks Cain, “What have you done to your brother?”

Cain says, “hey, it’s not my problem!  I’m not my brothers keeper.  All I want is his money!”

Heber J Grant has fought the fight with the Word of Wisdom and said much on the subject.  Drink has caused more problems than all the wars the world has ever suffered.

“Drink brings cruelty into the home; it walks arm in arm with poverty; its companions are disease and plague; it puts chastity to flight; and it knows neither honesty nor fair dealing; it is a total stranger to truth; it drowns conscience; it is the bodyguard of evil; it curses all who touch it.  Drink has brought more woe and misery, broken more hearts, wrecked more homes, committed more crimes, filled more coffins, than all the wars the world has suffered. . . .” (Message of the First Presidency, Oct. 3, 1943. See also: Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine and Covenants, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 1: 468.) (Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine and Covenants, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 1: 467.) 

This revelation comes to us not by way of commandment.  I think the promises in section 89 are applicable specifically to those who keep the Word of Wisdom, but they are also applicable to those who don’t need to be told everything, but are “anxiously engaged” in doing God’s work.  See D&C 63:22 – “not by way of commandment” 

89:18 – walking in obedience to the commandments (plural) = live a life of wisdom 

The navel is a symbol for the center of a mans strength – this is a similar promise out of Isaiah… 

You will be renewed and repaired and made strong.  Bones in the Old Testament is a symbol of dryness.  Marrow represents moisture, refreshing, irrigate and water- in other words, your life will have life in it.  I will add more life to your life.  

Run that you can obtain the prize – 1 Corinthians 9:24

Run with patience the race-  Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (JST Hebrews 12:1-2.) 

2 Nephi 32:9 – pray always and not faint= not to quit!  It means to not give up

D&C 64:33 – be not weary in well doing

Alma 37:34 – teach them to never be weary in good works

Isaiah 40:28-31 – This is the full promise of section 89:  “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) 

So what is the promise of D&C 89?  That I’ll be a good runner?  No- it’s that I will be able to endure the stresses of life and run the race of mortality.  These are spiritual promises: you will be spiritually nourished through the wilderness of life.  Satan is the destroying angel, not cancer… it can apply to cancer, but we are talking about spiritual blessings in my life.

I love this quote by Joseph Fielding McConkie on the Word of Wisdom and its spiritual component: 

The Mosaic system consisted of a host of ritualistic reminders to Israel that they were a nation set apart, a nation consecrated to God and his service – and that as such they needed to be pure. Only that which was clean could enter into his presence. This was the purpose of their dietary laws, which delineated at great length between those animals which they were permitted to eat, designated as “clean,” and those forbidden to them, designated as “unclean.”

The Hebrew word for clean used in the dietary law reached far beyond that of physical cleanliness. Synonyms include pure, unadulterated, uncontaminated, innocent, and holy. A Jewish writer explaining these dietary laws observed:  A hog could be raised in an incubator on antibiotics, bathed daily, slaughtered in a hospital operating room, and its carcass sterilized by ultra-violet rays, without rendering kosher the pork chops that it yields. “Unclean” in Leviticus is a ceremonial word. That is why the Torah says of camels and rabbits, “They are unclean for you, limiting the definition and the discipline to Israel. Chickens and goats, which we can eat, are scarcely cleaner by nature than eagles and lions, but the latter are in the class of the unclean. (Wouk, Herman. This Is My God. New York: Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1959.pp. 100-101; italics added.) 

Like the Word of Wisdom, the ancient dietary law was first spiritual and only secondarily a health law. This principle has been overlooked in far too many discourses on the Word of Wisdom. Its primary purpose is to keep modern Israel clean – that is, pure, unadulterated, uncontaminated, innocent, and holy – in order that they might have the Holy Ghost as their constant companion. The health benefits are secondary. Of what particular value is it to live to a great age avoiding cancer if we are unworthy to associate with the Spirit of the Lord? 

The Mosaic dietary code can only properly be understood when viewed as a symbol of a people consecrated or dedicated to the Lord. Every meal was a reminder to Israel of who they were and what they had covenanted to be. It has been suggested that strength comes from living such a law, vision from understanding it.  (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Gospel Symbolism [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1999], 91-92.)

Scripture Mastery Powerpoint: D&C 89-18-21

About LDS Scripture Teachings

I write about ways scripture applies in our lives: LDSScriptureTeachings.org
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