Word of Wisdom: The Voices of Prophets

The Voices of Prophets

A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—

"2. To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the Word of Wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—

"3. Given for a principle with a promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

"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—

"5. That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father. . .

"7. And again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.

"8. 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.

"9. And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly. . .

"18. 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;

"19. And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

"20. And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

"21. 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" (D&C 89:1-5, 7-9, 18-21).

"Some people argue over whether it [the Word of Wisdom] is a commandment. I do not need to argue. As far as I am concerned, whether it is a commandment or counsel, that which the Lord counsels becomes a commandment to Gordon B. Hinckley. I hope it does to you" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Tacoma Washington Regional Conference, August 20, 1995).

"Never forget that you were chosen and brought to earth as a child of God for something of importance in His grand design. He expects marvelous things of you. He expects you to keep your lives clean from the sins of the world. You are the line through which will pass the qualities of your forebears to the posterity who will come after you. Did you ever see a chain with a weak link? Don't you become that weak link" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Youth Fireside Satellite Broadcast, December 5, 1982).

"President Kimball used to tell the story of his boyhood. Some of his friends were not doing the right thing. . . They were violating the Word of Wisdom. Spencer Kimball, seeing what was going on in their lives, went to his room and got on his knees and told the Lord, as a fourteen-year-old boy, that he would not do those things. And having once made that decision, he never had to make it again" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Santiago Chile Fireside, November 11, 1996).

"The religion of which you are a part is seven days a week. It isn't just Sunday; it isn't the block plan; it isn't just three hours in Church; it isn't just the time you spend in seminary; it's all the time—twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Parowan Utah Youth Fireside, January 13, 1996).

"One appreciates the incomparable wisdom of the Lord who in 1833 in a rural town on the frontier of America spoke these simple and encompassing words: 'tobacco. . . is not good for man.' (D&C 89:8) He did not say that one would get lung cancer, develop heart or respiratory problems if he smoked. He did not produce mountainous statistics or recite histories. He simply declared that 'tobacco is not good for man.' Can there be any doubt that it is a Word of Wisdom when great forces, with millions of dollars at their command and some of the cleverest minds in the art of advertising, promote that which sober men of science also now say 'is not good for man'?. . . True freedom lies in obedience to the counsels of God. . . The gospel is not a philosophy of repression, as so many regard it. It is a plan of freedom that gives discipline to appetite and direction to behavior" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "A Principle with Promise," Improvement Era, June 1965, 521).

"I remember a report from the American Medical Association to the effect that heavy smokers die seven years before they would if they did not smoke. Seven years of life. That's as long as many persons spend in high school and college. Seven years—time enough to become a doctor, an architect, an engineer, a lawyer. Seven years in which to enjoy the sunrise and the sunset, the hills and the valleys, the lakes and the seas, the love of our children, the friendship of wonderful people we may know. What a statistical promise confirming the word of the Lord that the destroying angel shall pass by those who walk in obedience and will not slay them" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "Pillars of Truth," Ensign, January 1994, 6).

". . . There came to my desk a copy of an address given by Senator Dan Coats of Indiana. He spoke of a report dealing with the problems of American youth. That report concluded: 'Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among adolescents. . . Homicide is now the leading cause of death among fifteen to nineteen-year-old minority youth. . . Every year substance abuse claims younger victims with harder drugs. A third of high school seniors get drunk once a week.' The report reached a shocking conclusion. It said: 'The most basic cause of suffering. . . is profoundly self-destructive behavior. Drinking. Drugs. Violence. . . A crisis of behavior and belief. A crisis of character' ("Imprimis," September 1991, 1). . . If that is the mainstream of American youth, then I want to do all in my power to persuade and encourage our young people to stay away from it" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "This Favored Season," New Era, September 1992, 4-5).

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

"We must stand a cut above our peers in that which we do. It is not enough to be a part of the herd. We can and must be out in front" ("Search for Excellence," Bonneville International Corporation Executives, February 6, 1989).

"Stay away from drugs! They will destroy you in more ways than one. They will destroy your health. They will destroy your self-respect. They will destroy your character, your honesty, your integrity. Stay away from them, is my urgent and humble plea. You can make it without drugs" (Gordon B. Hinckley, So. Utah University Institute of Religion Devotional, Feb. 11, 1997).

"To those who may be partaking. . . stop immediately. To you who at any time in the future may be tempted, I urge you to stand your ground. Reflect on the fact that you are a child of God our Eternal Father, endowed with those faculties of body and mind which will help you to take a place that is significant in the world in which you live. Do not throw away your future. Do not jeopardize the well-being of your posterity" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "A Plague on the World," New Era, July 1990, 6-7).

"Never have the young people of the Church been faced with such temptations as they are today—temptations that their parents or their grandparents never dreamed about. . . I would like to express to the wonderful young people we have in this Church the hope which I have for them, which the leadership of the Church has for them. They are our future. Our greatest assets are not our lands and our herds and our stocks and bonds or our business blocks, but our young people. Only a matter of years and they will be in positions of leadership in the kingdom. The adversary knows this, and he knows that the place to strike is at the young people. . . The Lord has on the earth some potential spiritual giants whom He saved for some six thousand years to help bear off the kingdom triumphantly and the devil is trying to put them to sleep. . . like Gulliver. . . And what good is a sleepy, neutralized, lukewarm giant as a leader?" (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 403.)

"Those who, because of their acceptance and use of the Word of Wisdom, possess a clean body, a clear mind and a spirit in tune with the infinite, are best able to assist in establishing the Kingdom of God on earth, and thereby to render greatest service to their fellow men. They also find the greatest happiness in life, for their capacity for joy is unhindered by a weak body, a dull mind, and dim spiritual vision. They find a new wealth of joy in every commonplace of life. They have eyes and they see; ears and they hear. Their understanding is reinforced with the spiritual light of truth. There are many laws of the Gospel that lead towards spirituality. Among them the Word of Wisdom stands unchallenged" (John A. Widstoe, The Word of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation, 283-84).

"Do not become involved in illegal drugs. Do not touch them. Never experiment with them. I plead with you, with every one of you, to shun them as you would poison. . . A great future is ahead of you. Your lives are radiant with promise. Most of you will someday wish to be married and have children. The use of illegal drugs could place a terrible handicap not only upon you, but also upon your children. If you discipline yourselves to avoid them, you will have reason to rejoice. . . If you tamper with these things, you will regret it" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "Stand True and Faithful," Ensign, May 1996, 92).

"In earlier centuries there were plagues that swept across England and the nations of Europe. They struck like lightning, carrying tens of thousands to their death. This modern drug scourge has become as a plague on the world. But in most cases, the death it brings is not swift, but rather, it follows a long period spent in misery and pain and regret. Unlike the plagues of old, from which there was no known defense, the defense is clear and relatively easy in the case of illicit drugs. It lies in simply refraining from touching them" (Gordon B. Hinckley, National Conference of Christians and Jews Banquet, February 21, 1995).

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body. . . " (Matthew 10:28).

"I feel so grateful for the Word of Wisdom. . . What a remarkable thing it is. The Lord used those words 'evil and conspiring men.' Very interesting words, really. 'Evil and conspiring men in the last days.' Read the paper, listen to the radio, watch the television news, and you will see almost, not quite but almost, those words in the things that are taking place these very days in which we live. How thankful I am for the Word of Wisdom. . . " (Gordon B. Hinckley, Potomac Virginia Regional Conference, April 27, 1997).

"Be smart. Do not be so shortsighted as to indulge in the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. It simply is not smart to do so. It is stupid, if you will pardon that harsh word, to use cocaine, marijuana, or any of the other drugs that rob you of control of your mind. After every drug-induced 'high,' there is a reactionary 'low.' Why spend money on that which can only harm you? Why become enslaved to a habit that can only hinder and short-circuit your future? Beer and other forms of alcohol will do you no good. Their use will be expensive, dull your conscience, and could lead to. . . alcoholism, which is humiliating, dangerous, and even deadly. Tobacco will shorten your life. Studies show that it will enslave you, weaken your lungs, and statistically that it will shorten your life seven minutes for every cigarette smoked. Be smart. Take the Lord at his word. His is the wonderful promise that those Saints who follow his counsel in these matters 'shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint" (D&C 89:19-20). (Gordon B. Hinckley, "Four B's for Boys," Ensign, November 1981, 40-41).

"Some have. . . used as an alibi the fact that drugs are not mentioned in the Word of Wisdom. What a miserable excuse. There is likewise no mention of the hazards of diving into an empty swimming pool or of jumping from an overpass onto the freeway. But who doubts the deadly consequences of such? Common sense would dictate against such behavior. Regardless of the Word of Wisdom there is a divinely given reason for avoiding these substances. I am convinced that their use is an affront to God. He is our Creator. We are made in His image. These remarkable and wonderful bodies are His handiwork. Does anyone think that he can deliberately injure and impair his body without affronting the Creator? We are told again and again that the body is the tabernacle of the spirit. We are told that it is a temple, holy to the Lord. . . Can anyone doubt that the taking of these mind and body-destroying drugs is an act of unholiness? Does anyone think that the Spirit of God can dwell in the temple of the body when that body is defiled by these destructive elements? If any of you are tampering with these things, resolve. . . with the strongest determination of which you are capable, that you will never touch them again" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "A Plague on the World," New Era, July 1990, 4-6).

"And he doth not dwell in unholy temples; neither can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received into the Kingdom of God; therefore I say unto you the time shall come, yea, and it shall be at the last day, that he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness" (Alma 7:21).

"For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven" (D&C 1:31-32).

"We cannot say it frequently enough. . . Stay away from drugs. They can absolutely destroy you. Avoid them as you would a terrible disease, for that is what they become. . . Observe the Word of Wisdom. You cannot smoke; you must not smoke. You must not chew tobacco. You cannot drink liquor. You hold the priesthood of God. You must rise above these things which beckon with a seductive call. Be prayerful. Call on the Lord in faith, and He will hear your prayers. He loves you. He wishes to bless you. He will do so if you live worthy of His blessing" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "Converts and Young Men," Ensign, May 1997, 49-50).

"Brigham Young once said that 'every principle of the gospel carries with it a conviction of its truth to those who live it.' I believe that with all my heart. The Word of Wisdom carries with it a conviction of truth to those who live it. What a marvelous thing it is. Four hundred thousand people die each year as a result of tobacco. You cannot live the Word of Wisdom, you cannot observe it, without recognizing the hand of the Lord in this marvelous thing which we call the Word of Wisdom, which is the only law of health anywhere under the heavens that carries with it a divine promise concerning those who observe it and live it. And that conviction comes into our hearts of its truth and divinity as we live it" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Jacksonville Florida West Stake Conference, January 19, 1997).

". . . Drink brings cruelty into the home; it walks arm in arm with poverty; its companions are disease and plague; it puts chastity to flight; 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" (President Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1942, 8).

"In those early years, the milk we drank was not pasteurized. We, of course, did not have an automatic dishwasher, except that it was our automatic duty to wash the dishes. When we were diagnosed as having chicken pox or measles, the doctor would advise the city health department, and a man would be sent to put a sign in the front window. This was a warning to any who might wish to come to our house that they did so at their own peril. If the disease were smallpox or diphtheria, the sign was bright orange with black letters. It said, in effect, 'Stay away from this place.' I learned something I have always remembered—to watch for signs of danger and evil and stay away" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "Some Lessons I Learned as a Boy," Ensign, May 1993, 52).

"We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see" (Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, April 1983, 89-90).

"I have never committed a sin in this Church and kingdom, but what it has cost me a thousand times more than it was worth" (Elder Wilford Woodruff, July 4, 1880, Journal of Discourses 21:184).

"Behold I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10).

"Happiness leaves no bad after-taste; it is followed by no depressing reaction; it calls for no repentance, brings no regret, entails no remorse" (James E. Talmage, "A Greeting to the Missionaries," Improvement Era, December 1913, 173).

"Awake my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul" (2 Nephi 4:28).

"For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. . . I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end,. . . if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. . . That same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world" (Alma 34:31-34).

"You have an alarm system built into both body and spirit. In your body it is pain; in your spirit it is guilt—or spiritual pain. While neither pain nor guilt is pleasant, and an excess of either can be destructive, both are a protection, for they sound the alarm 'Don't do that again!' Be grateful for both. If the nerve endings in your hands were altered so that you couldn't feel pain, you might put them in fire or machinery and destroy them. In your teenage heart of hearts, you know right from wrong. Learn to pay attention to that spiritual voice of warning within you" (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1989, 54, 59).

"I pray you. . . avoid drugs of all kinds as you would avoid the very gates of hell" (Hugh B. Brown, General Priesthood Meeting, October 1, 1967).

"And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion;. . . and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from which there is no deliverance" (2 Nephi 28:21-22).

"Whoever said that sin was not fun? Whoever claimed that Lucifer was not handsome, persuasive, easy, friendly? Sin is attractive and desirable. Transgression wears elegant gowns and sparkling apparel. It is highly perfumed; it has attractive features, a soft voice. It is found in educated circles and sophisticated groups. It provides sweet and comfortable luxuries. Sin is easy and has a big company of pleasant companions. It promises immunity from restrictions, temporary freedoms. It can momentarily satisfy hunger, thirst, desire, urges, passions, want without immediately paying the price. But, it begins tiny and grows to monumental proportions—drop by drop, inch by inch" (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, 228).

"The attractiveness of sin is a lie. Have you seen a real mirage in the distance with lakes and trees and dwellings and castles and water, but as the thirsty traveler moves on and on and on through it, he finds it but an illusion, and when he has gone too far to return he stumbles choking in the desert deception? That is like life. . . shadows of nothingness can bring us only disappointment and frustration" (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, 153).

"As we go through life, we ofttimes build a rock wall between ourselves and heaven. This wall is built by our unrepented sins. . . In spite of the wall we build in front of us, when we cry out to the Lord, he still sends his messages from heaven; but instead of being able to penetrate our hearts, they hit the wall that we have built up and bounce off. His messages don't penetrate, so we say: 'He doesn't hear,' or 'He doesn't answer.' Sometimes this wall is very formidable, and the great challenge of life is to destroy it, or, if you please, to cleanse ourselves, purifying this inner vessel so that we can be in tune with the spirit" (Elder H. Burke Peterson, Ensign, June 1981, 73).

"For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge that it is of God. But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. And now. . . seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully;. . . " (Moroni 7:16-18).

"I was brought up in scientific laboratories, where I was taught to test things, never to be satisfied unless a thing was tested. We have the right to test the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. By testing it, I mean living it, trying it out. Do you question the Word of Wisdom? Try it. . . It is the way to truth" (John A. Widstoe, Conference Report, October 1938, 129).

"I repeat, the crucial decision. . . of life. . . is between good and evil. . . Happiness will depend on what each of us does with what each has, what we learn from what we do, and what we do thereafter. These are the things that will be reviewed in the days of judgment" (Boyd K. Packer, New Era, August 1989, 6).

"No [man] can serve two masters. . . " (Luke 16:13).

". . . To meet and beat the enemy will take clear heads and strong bodies" (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 480).

"Behold, verily, verily I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name" (3 Nephi 18:18-19).

"Do not suppose that we shall ever in the flesh be free from temptation to sin" (Brigham Young, in the Tabernacle, May 24, 1863, Journal of Discourses, 10:173).

"If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

"Obedience to God can be the very highest expression of independence. Just think of giving to him the one thing, the one gift, that he would never take. . . Obedience—that which God will never take by force—he will accept when freely given. And he will then return to you freedom that you can hardly dream of. . . Strangely enough, the key to freedom is obedience. We should put ourselves in a position before our Father in heaven and say, individually, 'I do not want to do what I want to do. I want to do what thou would'st have me do.' Suddenly, like any father, the Lord could say, 'Well, there is one more of my children almost free from the need of constant supervision'." (Boyd K. Packer, Brigham Young University, 1971).

"He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you". (D&C 41:5).

"I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise" (D&C 82:10).

"Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22).

"Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).

"There is no reward for half-hearted obedience. We must become vigorous and enthusiastic about living our religion, for God commands that we serve him with all our heart, with all our might, with all our strength, and with the very best of our intelligence. With him there can be no halfway measures. We must be fully for him or we may be classed with those who are against him" (Mark E. Petersen, Conference Report, April 1980, 96).

"And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold;. . . " (Alma 5:39).

"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more" (D&C 58:42).

"Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love" (D&C 6:20).

"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it" (Mosiah 2:41).

"For the day soon cometh, that men shall come before me to judgment, to be judged according to their works" (Matthew 7:21).

"And if ye keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God). D&C 14:7).

"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart. . . " (Psalms 24:3-4).

"I could not wish for you anything more than that happiness which comes of being at peace in your hearts and at peace with the Lord" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ricks College Regional Conference, Rexburg, Idaho, October 29, 1995).

"Believe in yourself as a child of God. Every one of you here. . . has a divine inheritance. God is your Eternal Father. What a marvelous birthright that is. Do not live beneath it. Stand tall and live the gospel" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Managua Nicaragua Fireside, January 21, 1997).

"Believe in God as your Eternal Father. You are His child. You are His child all the time, not just when you are good. You are His child when you are bad. You have within you. . . a portion of divinity that is real and tremendous and marvelous and wonderful. My great plea is that we all try a little harder to live up to the stature of divinity that is within us. We can do better than we are doing. We can be better than we are. . . We are children of God and we love Him. Act that way a little more. . . Our Father loves us. I believe that with all of my heart" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Smithfield/Logan Utah Regional Conference, April 21, 1996).

"We are all part of a great conflict that is going on. This conflict has been going on since the war in heaven. It is the conflict between good and evil. It is endless. We shall never know the end of it in our lifetime. We must be strong. We must be faithful. We must be true. We must stand up for that which is right as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. God help us to do what is right" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Guatemala City Guatemala North and South Regional Conference, January 26, 1997).

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