“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.” – Doctrine and Covenants 89:8
In reading this, I couldn’t help but think of my grandfather, who struggled with tobacco his entire life.
My grandpa didn’t grow up in the Church. He wasn’t introduced to the gospel (and the Word of Wisdom) until he was an adult – long after he had developed a dependence on tobacco. Not only that, but when he was young, tobacco wasn’t considered to be harmful. I understand his situation, so I don’t want to sound like I’m picking on him, but tobacco destroyed and eventually took his life.
My grandfather passed away several years ago; however, for the last 15+ years of his life, he suffered from Emphysema. Throughout this illness, he still smoked and used all kinds of tobacco products. I can’t imagine having Emphysema. He was hospitalized – nearly to the point of death – several times. He died a slow and painful death because of Emphysema, and the thing is: it could have been avoided. Even though my grandfather developed a tobacco habit long before science understood the dangers of tobacco, he could have been spared this illness by following the commandments of the Lord.
I feel like in seeing his example, it was imperative for me to learn from it. Because of my grandpa, I’ve never been tempted to smoke or use any kind of tobacco. So, studying this verse seemed to be kind of redundant, but I kept studying – and I have learned something useful, too.
I was struck by the idea that our bodies are created by God. They are sacred … they are holy.
We have been taught:
“The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.” – Doctrine and Covenants 93:35
We need to keep our temples holy. And Heavenly Father has given us instruction on how to do it. He, as the creator of our bodies, is qualified and able to teach us how to keep our bodies from being defiled.
Heavenly Father knows what is good for us. He knows everything. He knows the true purpose of all of the plants and herbs that he has created. Sure, some of them may have an effect on our bodies, and those effects may even feel good, but they aren’t necessarily good for us. It is easy to see how tobacco is bad for us. However, there are other ways we can defile our temples – not only through tobacco. Currently, it seems that the struggle with our bodies is with food.
People are defiling their temples through neglect and eating poorly. And the results of such choices are just as Heavenly Father warned: …and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.” I have to admit, I’m not always the best at keeping my body pure. Sure, I don’t use tobacco, but there are times when I choose to eat things that aren’t nourishing to my body. It is a hard habit to break. But it is good for me to remember the experience of my Grandfather – and to trust God by keeping the Word of Wisdom so I don’t have to endure unnecessary illness.
What do you do to help keep your body pure and undefiled? How have you felt blessed as you have done so?