Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Word of Wisdom

My understanding and application of the Word of Wisdom has varied over the years. As a kid I knew I wasn't supposed to drink alcohol or smoke AND DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT MOUNTAIN DEW, but I never thought about the prescriptive parts of the Word of Wisdom, or really even pondered the attached promises.

As an adult, I've studied D&C 89 with more interest. 

For a while, my main focus was eating less meat. Then I got pregnant and that went into the toilet with everything else I ate. Why does pregnancy make everything so hard? A post for another day.

I haven't been pregnant in a while, so my thoughts been able to journey back to food and how it affects my mind, body, and spirit.

Today I want to write about verses 18-19. The Lord says, 

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;

The promises in verse 19 are especially appealing to me. I love learning, I have a mental storage unit bursting with questions, and who doesn't like treasure?

For several months now my prayers have been focused on asking the Lord what I need to do to grow closer to Him, and on begging God to grant me patience as a mother of three kids.

I never expected the answer to both prayers to be something as non-exciting and unappealing as "stop eating so much sugar." In fact, I was so unimpressed with this answer* that I ignored it for a long time. How could denying myself my much-needed nap time (and post bedtime, let's be honest) treat help me? Wasn't ice cream invented by a mother of six during nap time? (No, but that's not relevant.)

When I finally seriously pondered this answer, God told me clearly, "Stop eating sugar, and I will open your mind."


So on January 20 I decided to stop eating sugar except for one dessert on date night and another after family night. I also haven't concerned myself with incidentally added sugar in things like ketchup, but I have cut out gratuitously sweetened foods like my beloved Honey Bunches of Oats. You should know that before this I was eating 2-3 sugary desserts a day in addition to overly-sweetened non-dessert foods (like yogurt). During my sugar-free(ish) weeks I've wondered if God wanted me to cut out all sugar, but I was directed that I didn't need to be that drastic or obsessive, but that the important point was that I remove my dependency on sugar.

All the Honey Bunches.

The results have been miraculous. I was expecting to just feel so deprived (isn't that how we always feel when giving up sin**?), and I did feel that way for about a week. But then the sugary clouds parted and the sunlight poured into my mind and spirit. I also lost ten pounds, but that really is so insignificant in comparison to the spiritual clarity that has come from freeing myself from the constant up-down, craving, lethargy, grumpy sugar cycle that had been trapping me. It turns out that when your brain isn't constantly worried about when your next sugar fix is coming, you can ponder, you can listen to the spirit, you can pause and think before screeching at your kids.

My sugar addiction was like a foggy filter over my spiritual lens, and lifting it has led me to receive even more light and knowledge that I wasn't expecting. My mind has been opened. 

I know sugar isn't specifically mentioned in the Word of Wisdom, and I'm not saying that anyone else is sinful for eating it, serving it to their kids (I still do), or swimming in it, but God knew that for me, my sugar dependence was holding me back mentally, physically, and spiritually. I am grateful for the spirt of the Word of Wisdom that teaches us that how we treat our bodies affects our spiritual progression as well as our physical well-being. 

Maybe what's holding you back is sugar, or maybe it's that lame reality television show that takes up the time you should be using to read your scriptures, or maybe it's peanut butter--I don't know! But God knows, and He will tell you what you need to do next in your journey back to Him. Ask Him with real intent and He will answer. Then do it.

P.S. I love that it's called the Word of Wisdom because it's about how you take care of your body, which is a gift from your mom, and Wisdom is another name for Heavenly Mother. Think about that while you drink your kale smoothie.

*I was also led to the book Peaceful Parenting, Happy Children, which has given me so many great tools. I really recommend it to anyone looking to be a more Christlike parent. Kicking my sugar habit allowed me to get into a mental and emotional state to be able to put the practices taught in this book into action.
**I want to be clear that I don't think eating sugar is a sin. However, I think my addiction to it was sinful and contributed to mood swings and physical limitations that contributed to more sins like being slothful and impatient with my children.


  1. I just wrote a great comment, but it got lost! Anyway, I love this new blog and what you are writing! So insightful and just what I need! I've also been moving this direction, but I love how clear and powerful your revelation was. Would you be willing to write more about that? How have you learned to receive such clear and specific personal revelation?

  2. I can so relate to you and this "sugar addiction". I did a 2 or 3 part blog post on this very thing- "My Sugar Addictions"

  3. I love reading your blog! I have an interesting sugar story. Right before my mission I went into a huge depression. I made it worse during my mission by telling myself it was spiritual...because I wasn't being righteous enough. I remember talking to Pres. Wheelwright for the upteenth time and he told me to stop eating sugar. My initial thought was, "Who does that?" Fast forward a few years when I get married and have our first baby. She develops a severe auto-immune condition and the things that triggers it the most? SUGAR. She can't have hardly any sugar, especially refined! So, yes there are people that can't have sugar. I think Heavenly Father was trying to teach me this very important lesson (and many others). So now when I'm able to control my sugar eating (sometimes I'm good, sometimes I'm definitely not so good) I notice a huge difference: anger, brain fogginess, depression. It's amazing the impact sugar has on our minds and bodies.


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