The Word of Wisdom – Tobacco…Not Good for Man (D&C 89:8)

“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.” – 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

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?


2 thoughts on “The Word of Wisdom – Tobacco…Not Good for Man (D&C 89:8)

  1. Wow. Great thoughts. I especially loved this, “He, as the creator of our bodies, is qualified and able to teach us how to keep our bodies from being defiled.” I have a friend who thinks that it’s silly for “the Church” to tell us we can’t drink wine, because doctors tell us that an occasional glass of wine is actually good for us. Who do we trust? Doctors who think they know what is best for us (and have proven themselves wrong time and time again over the centuries) or God, who actually made our bodies and knows exactly what is good for them?

    I am pretty picky when it comes to what I feed myself and my family. As a wife and mother, and “guardian of the hearth” I believe that means guardian of our health as well. Just as we guard our homes against pornography and other vile influences, we should guard our homes against bad things for our body. I think I would group illegal drugs with pornography, and junk food would be grouped with “soft” porn – or movies with crude humor, etc. We talk about protecting our homes from morally degrading things, but what about against physically degrading things?

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.

  2. Nancy Woodard

    I happened on your site this morning while studying D&C 89. I am LDS and try to “remind” myself why I follow the teachings of the church and that sometimes means reading and studying all over again and again!

    I was impressed with our writing and felt that you had a good grasp on the subject. So. thank you for that.

    I often wonder about people that become ill with diseases that could have been avoided if only they had lived differant. I understand that sickness will come but I can’t help but think that maybe if they had practiced a healthier lifestyle that illness might have “passed over”.

    I am a practicing herbalist and delight in the wonders of plants and what they offer us. I have so much more to learn and believe that I will never fully understand everything these plants give. It is amazing to me how we have lost the knowlege that was once ours and see these things as weeds or outdated or worse yet we have on education in them at all. Much like so many have no knowlege of the WOW and all it has to offer.

    Thank you for your post and I hope to bebale to read more….

    Sister Nancy

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