” 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—” – Doctrine and Covenants 89:2
This verse starts with the idea of greeting which has a really positive connotation. The Lord is greeting us with the word of Wisdom. It shouldn’t be taken as a negative commandment, but as a positive guide.
The word of wisdom was given by revelation. The Lord gave the Word of Wisdom after Joseph Smith asked about the use of tobacco among the brethren. Sometimes, in the past, I’ve thought that the Lord gave this commandment because they had to ask for it. Perhaps, if they had been closer to the Spirit, Joseph wouldn’t have had to ask the Lord about the use of tobacco. Perhaps, if living closer to the Spirit, then the early saints would have been guided on good physical practices – that have been outlined in the word of wisdom, and since Joseph asked, the Lord gave a fairly detailed word of Wisdom. However, as I think about this now, I don’t think that the word of wisdom was given as a “punishment” for asking. It was given to them because they were ready. They wouldn’t be ready for this physical dietary code until they asked for it. Either way, Joseph Smith asked, received, and now we have the word of wisdom.
This wasn’t given by way of “commandment.” In that, the Lord didn’t just give it to Joseph Smith and expect them to keep it right away. In a way, I think that this is confusing to read – because now, we absolutely see the Word of Wisdom as a commandment. However, as I think about the Word of Wisdom and it’s status as a “commandment”, I’m beginning to think that this specific iteration of the word of wisdom isn’t really a commandment in the classical sense. There have been dietary codes in the past, too, and we don’t keep them. (We eat pork, among other things). So, even though, to the ancient Jews (and even still now – to many Jews), there was a dietary code, we don’t believe that the code given in the old testament in effect currently. We have a new dietary code.
And so maybe, this is the way it is with our current word of wisdom. Perhaps this is another commandment that will fluctuate based on the conditions of the world in which we live. I don’t really know. I don’t claim to know. What matters is: we are expected to keep the Word of Wisdom now. It is God’s will.
The cool thing: God’s will is our temporal salvation.
Think about it…we are here, on earth, to receive a body and be like God. Our temporal salvation is very important. And, as we consider the word of wisdom, it seems apparent that our temporal salvation is more than merely “obtaining a body.” We also need to control it and care for it. All of the commandments that we have require both physical and spiritual demands. We must learn to overcome our carnal desires and submit our will to God. We have to learn to manage ourselves both physically and spiritually. In keeping the word of wisdom, we can see how physical law and spiritual law really coincide – rather than intersect occasionally.
In Colossians we read, ” 9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” – Colossians 1:9. The apostles prayed that we can be filled with the knowledge and will of God – in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. I do not doubt that our apostles do the same today. And, as I read this scripture, I am filled with the same desire – for myself, my children, my spouse, and my friends. I want to be filled with God’s knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual understanding.
What does this have to do with the word of Wisdom?
I cannot expect to be filled with God’s knowledge, wisdom, or understanding if I am not taking care of my body, my temple. I need to make sure that my body is a holy place, worthy to receive revelation.
So…submit to God’s will – keep the word of wisdom, and receive salvation…pretty rad.