Today’s local news at KSL.com (KSL Television & Radio, Salt Lake City, Utah) includes this report: Studies: LDS Weigh More Than Members of Other Faiths by Carole Mikita.
A recent study has revealed Latter-day Saint men and women in Utah are 10 and a half pounds heavier and less active than non-Mormon residents of the state. The blame is laid on the LDS culture, which includes high-calorie and high-fat “comfort foods” at most social events.
The report notes that a healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains eaten in moderation—basically, following the Mormon “health code” known as the Word of Wisdom.
So does this new study indicate that Mormons in Utah are not observing the Word of Wisdom?
The Word of Wisdom is a very important element of the Mormon faith. It is understood to be a binding command from God. Those who don’t obey the Word of Wisdom are not allowed to enter LDS temples.
The LDS course manual Achieving a Celestial Marriage says on page 31,
When you are interviewed for a temple recommend you will be asked about—
1. Church attendance.
2. Payment of tithes and offerings.
3. Loyalty to Church leaders.
4. Moral cleanliness.
5. Overall faithfulness and worthiness.
6. Obedience to the Word of Wisdom.
Most people recognize the prohibition in the Word of Wisdom against tobacco, alcohol, and coffee/tea (“hot drinks”); this is what is generally thought of in the context of the Word of Wisdom. However, there’s much more to the revelation/commandment (Doctrine and Covenants 89) including the use of strong drinks for washing; the use of tobacco for bruises and sick cattle; the eating of meat and poultry sparingly and only in winter or times of famine.
Do Latter-day Saints observe the whole commandment? Do temple-worthy Mormons?
KSL-TV reports the LDS Church is giving a book to its employees “hoping it will encourage them to pay more attention to their health” (The Culprit & The Cure by BYU professor Steven Aldana).
I just wonder at the idea that a popular book might have a greater impact on Latter-day Saints’ health than something they are taught is a necessary condition for their exaltation.