D&C 89:1 refers to the WoW as: 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—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—Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.
Huh? What was the point of the Word of Wisdom? How can we really reap its benefits?
I can think of three different ways to look at the Word of Wisdom:
- A (possibly antiquated) health code. This is the most common view of the Word of Wisdom, which is why everyone’s always trying to “prove” with articles that coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco are going to kill us all. If we are just looking for a health code, should we update it to say eat carbs sparingly or eat lots of good cholesterol? Should we prohibit trans fats and require skim milk? IMO, this is a pretty shallow interpretation, and leads to check-the-box compliance.
- A way to unite the Saints. So, is it designed to unite the Saints in a unique practice that is “adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints“? Joseph Smith was very concerned with uniting the saints to make them a holy people ready to receive the Lord’s blessings, just like the city of Enoch. Even the principle of plural marriage, at least as practiced by Joseph, seems to be more focused on knitting the family of the earth together than on any other purpose. So, should we practice the WoW to unite ourselves as Saints?
- Making the body holy. A unique tenet of Mormonism is that the body is an integral part of the soul and not something to be reviled. One original point of the Word of Wisdom, at least to Joseph, was to allow the Saints to become cleansed, holy vessels, ready to receive the Spirit and be filled with light. IMO, this is the deepest reading of the principle, and one that is not discussed much.
So, following the 3rd interpretation, how can we ground ourselves more firmly in our bodies while opening the body to receive spiritual light, if that was the intent of the Word of Wisdom? Actually, Hindus have been doing this for thousands of years (and you can, too! – although maybe not for thousands of years) through meditation and massage designed to open the seven energy centers of the body or “Chakras.”
What is a Chakra? One of seven energy centers located through the midline of the body that govern psychological properties. Chakra therapy is designed to open any blocked energy centers.
What are the Seven Chakras? (diagram to the right, listed bottom to top below)
- Root Chakra: Feeling grounded and secure, feeling at home in your body.
- Spleric (Sacral) Chakra: Being open, passionate and lively, feeling comfortable with sexuality and intimacy.
- Solar Plexus (Navel) Chakra: Being willing to self-assert and be decisive, having self-esteem and knowing what you want.
- Heart Chakra: Being compassionate, kind and friendly.
- Throat Chakra: Being able to express oneself through talking and artistic expression.
- Third Eye Chakra: Being able to visualize and be creative, having insight and access to fantasy.
- Crown Chakra: Being at one with the world, having wisdom, and being free from prejudice.
You can take this quick on-line quiz to see which of your Chakras may be blocked and how that affects your personality, your link between body and spirit and your spirituality.
So, is this a useful way to look at the Word of Wisdom? Should we strive to live it on all three levels to get the full benefit? Or is this just mystic mumbo jumbo in your opinion? Which of your Chakras are under or overactive (please share!)? Do you like to supplement concepts of the restoration with concepts from other cultures and faith traditions in this way (“treasuring up the good of other faiths”)?