Monday, June 30, 2008

Warning LDS talk with caution!

Ha, so here is my talk that I gave in church on Sunday. It is a good thing that I came prepared with my little kleenex pack because they didn't have a tissue box up on the stand. What's up with that? I would have flooded the podium. So here it is for those of you that missed it and are interested in hearing what I had to say......

I was asked to speak today on the Word of Wisdom. When hearing the topic “The Word of Wisdom” I think many of us think primarily about alcohol and tobacco. The Word of Wisdom not only guides us on those “should nots” but also on the “shoulds”. To fully understand the importance of this counsel it is also important to understand that our bodies are great blessings. In the gospel principles manual we are taught, “We need a physical body to become like our Heavenly Father. Our bodies are so important that the lord calls them Temples. In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 it reads…
"16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
Our bodies are holy,” For this reason I think that it makes perfect sense that Heavenly Father would also give us instruction on how to properly take care of our bodies.
In D & C 89, the section heading reads...
"Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833. HC 1: 327–329. As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result. The first three verses were originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet. "
The first 3 verses or inspired introduction to the revelation read..
"1 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—
2 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—
3 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."
So we are told that the Word of Wisdom is given for a principal with a promise. These 4 promises are outlined in the end of the section in verses 18 through 21 stating:
1. Shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones.
2. Shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even in hidden treasures.
3. Shall run and not be weary and shall walk and not faint.
4. That the destroying angel shall pass by them as the children of Israel, and not slay them.
The Prophet Spencer W. Kimball said in the Miracle of Forgiveness that in our time this means we will be saved from spiritual death: “For observing the Word of Wisdom the reward is life, not only prolonged mortal life but life eternal.”
To me the Word of Wisdom is just another prime example of the wonderful blessings that come from modern day revelation. There is was no way, save it be through the lord, that the prophet Joseph could have known all the adverse effect that could fall upon us by not obeying the counsel given by the word of wisdom.
While doing some research about the growing number of health concerns we face today, I wasn’t surprised to find that the WHO or the World Health Organization sites many things that were given to us as counsel in D&C 89. Under their “Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health” they say Diet and physical activity should be a public health priority. They go on to say:
"Healthy diets and regular, adequate physical activity are major factors in the promotion and maintenance of good health throughout the entire life course.
Unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are two of the main risk factors for raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, abnormal blood lipids, overweight/obesity, and for the major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
Overall, 2.7 million deaths are attributable to low fruit and vegetable intake.
Overall, 1.9 million deaths are attributable to physical inactivity."
Obesity is currently being called a health crisis or an epidemic. The WHO says….
"Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.
Facts about overweight and obesity
WHO’s latest projections indicate that globally in 2005:
approximately 1.6 billion adults (age 15+) were overweight;
at least 400 million adults were obese.
WHO further projects that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.
At least 20 million children under the age of 5 years are overweight globally in 2005.
What causes obesity and overweight?
Global increases in overweight and obesity are attributable to a number of factors including:
a global shift in diet towards increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients; and
a trend towards decreased physical activity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.
What are common health consequences of overweight and obesity?
Cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke) - already the world's number one cause of death, killing 17 million people each year.
Diabetes – which has rapidly become a global epidemic. WHO projects that diabetes deaths will increase by more than 50% worldwide in the next 10 years.
Musculoskeletal disorders – especially osteoarthritis.
Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon).
Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability in adulthood.
How can the burden of overweight and obesity be reduced?
Overweight and obesity, as well as their related chronic diseases, are largely preventable.
At the individual level, people can:
achieve energy balance and a healthy weight;
limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats;
increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts;
limit the intake of sugars; and
increase physical activity - at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity may be required for weight control. "
In verse #11 it says….
"11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving."
and in verse #16 it says….
"16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—"
This scripture is technically not part of the word of wisdom but also concerns our health in D&C 88: 124 it reads….
"124 Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated."
So these scientific facts that have now been proven were given to us by revelation more than 100 years ago.
I think that when a reputable source and not to mention the lord, is telling us prevention of not only, obesity and overweight, but it says chronic diseases are preventable by following these steps we should all be aware of the counsel given and follow it. Along with this counsel the additional counsel in D&C for the “shoulds” is in verses #10 and 12-15 and 17.
"10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—
12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain. "
I can say from personal experience that when I am making an effort to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get a good night sleep, I feel much better than when I chose to not make these a priority. As most of you know I was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 2 years ago. After I was diagnosed I was forced to make this more of a priority in my life. I was doing pretty top notch already with the “should nots” but needed to focus more on the “shoulds” to get me through the long hard months of fighting off the cancer. My nurses and family alike would be there as a constant reminder when I was not feeling well to say “Are you drinking your water? What did you have to eat today? Did you get enough sleep last night?” It seemed like these were the main questions to get down to the root of my complaints. When my chemo regimen changed half way through to start the “really bad” stuff my body was deprived of white blood cells and I had to have a shot of Neulasta which stimulates the white blood cell production in the body. Since these cells are produced in your bone marrow it in turn left me in complete pain in all the large bones in my body. My legs hurt to walk, my hips hurt to sit on, and I couldn’t believe it but my skull hurt the worse. I couldn’t even lie down and be comfortable. After the excruciating week of dealing with the side effects of these shots my mother took it upon herself to hit the ground running to find out what was going to get me through the seemingly never ending months of constant nausea and pain. It was after this first treatment that we started juicing. We juiced wheat grass, carrots, and apples several times daily to build up my blood and immune system. It was going back to these basic but very important principals, and of course listening to the wise counsel of my mother, that got me through this horrible time. I never did have to take another one of the dreaded and might I add ridiculously expensive shots during the rest of those months of treatment.
The “should nots” of the Word of Wisdom are more widely talked about and known. In D&C 89:9 it reads...
"9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly."
In the Gospel Principles book it explains “Church leaders have said that this means coffee and tea, which contain harmful drugs. We should avoid all drinks that contain harmful drugs.” This study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, appears in the July/August 2002 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.
"The effects of coffee drinking are long-lasting and exaggerate the stress response both in terms of the body’s physiological response in blood pressure elevations and stress hormone levels, but it also magnifies a person’s perception of stress," said James D. Lane, Ph.D., lead author of the study. "People haven’t really accepted the fact that there could be a health downside to caffeine consumption, but our evidence – and that of other studies – shows that this downside exists and people should be aware of it in order to make the best possible health choices."
In D&C 89:7 it reads..
"7 And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies."
In turn the WHO also agrees stating:
"Alcohol consumption has health and social consequences via intoxication (drunkenness), dependence (habitual, compulsive and long-term drinking), and other biochemical effects. In addition to chronic diseases that may affect drinkers after many years of heavy use, alcohol contributes to traumatic outcomes that kill or disable at a relatively young age, resulting in the loss of many years of life to death or disability. There is increasing evidence that besides volume of alcohol, the pattern of the drinking is relevant for the health outcomes. Overall there is a causal relationship between alcohol consumption and more than 60 types of disease and injury. Alcohol is estimated to cause about 20-30% worldwide of oesophageal cancer, liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, homicide, epilepsy, and motor vehicle accidents.
Worldwide alcohol causes 1.8 million deaths (3.2% of total) and 58.3 million (4% of total) of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). Unintentional injuries alone account for about one third of the 1.8 million deaths, while neuro-psychiatric conditions account for close to 40% of the 58.3 million DALYs."
Tobacco is also addressed in the word of wisdom. This would also include smokeless or chewing tobacco. In D&C 89:8 it reads..
" 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."
And yet again in modern studies we learn (from the WHO)..
"Tobacco kills up to half of those who use it. Yet tobacco use is common throughout the world due to low prices, aggressive and widespread marketing, lack of awareness about its dangers, and inconsistent public policies against its use.
Most of tobacco’s damage to health does not become evident until years or even decades after the onset of use.
The tobacco epidemic kills 5.4 million people a year from lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. Unchecked, that number will increase to more than eight million a year by 2030. Tobacco use is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of deaths in the world."
Modern studies have also proven that not only those doing the actual smoking of the tobacco but those exposed to 2nd hand smoke are also at risk. Also put out by the WHO..
"Its conclusions confirmed the cancer-causing effects of active smoking. It also concluded its evaluation of the carcinogenic risks associated with involuntary smoking and classified second-hand smoke as carcinogenic to humans(1).
There is clear scientific evidence of an increased risk of lung cancer in non-smokers exposed to SHS. This increased risk is estimated at 20% in women and 30% in men who live with a smoker (2). Similarly, it has been shown that non-smokers exposed to SHS in the workplace have a 16 to 19% increased risk of developing lung cancer (3). In addition to this risk, What are the effects of SHS on children’s health?
Small children whose parents smoke at home have an increased risk of suffering lower tract respiratory infections and otitis media (6,7). SHS has also been linked to an increase in the number and severity of asthma episodes in asthmatic children (8). There is also evidence that SHS increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (9)."
So not only smoking tobacco yourself, but being in an environment where you are around smoke is bad for you.
In a book I was reading during one of my chemotherapy sessions I came across a rather humorous comic. It showed a bald woman, who was obviously the person going through chemotherapy, attending a cocktail party. A gentleman who was passing by her and smoking offered her a cigarette. Her reply was “No thanks, I already have cancer.” In my mind it is a no brainer. The warning is printed right there on the side of the box by the surgeon general. “SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy." What’s not to understand? I am not sure how this can lead to anything other than the cause and effect of smoking equals death. Who can read this and still be thinking….bring it on? It is completely baffling to me having been through the battle that cancer is, and surviving it, why anyone would so willingly invite that horrible reality into their lives and the lives of those who surround them while they are smoking.
It is no secret that alcohol and substance abuse plays a negative role in many lives, not only by the addict but also their family and friends who are impacted by their negative choices.
My husband’s life has been greatly affected by having a father and a brother who have had substance abuse problems. My husband’s father passed away at the age 52. He was diagnosed with throat cancer which was caused by his chronic drinking and smoking. In trying to treat the cancer the doctors overlapped 2 of the radiation fields in his neck. This caused scar tissue to form in his throat which in turn caused him to basically suffocate. His brother is currently in a rehabilitation program and has struggled with substance abuse his whole life. I have only met him on 2 occasions and he has very limited contact with his parents and his children. I have seen first hand that by simply staying away from these substances he probably would have had a more meaningful relationship with those who love and care about him.
I think that it is also important to remember that the Word of Wisdom is not a get out of jail free card. There are promised blessings for following this counsel but it doesn’t mean that you will have no health issues if you are obedient to these teachings. On the LDS website I read, “As part of Heavenly Father's plan of redemption, all people experience adversity during their lifetime. Trials, disappointments, sadness, sickness, and heartache are a difficult part of life, but with the help of the Lord they can lead to spiritual growth, refinement, and progress.” In no way do I feel like I was being punished having to experience my own trials through cancer. I feel just that. It was one of my difficult trials to endure and it still is. It is still hard for me very frequently to not let my mind wander to the places of “What if it comes back, what would I do? Or my toenail hurts; I think my cancer is coming back.” I don’t know if my mom remembers this but right after I was diagnosed we were sitting at church and she gave me a sticky note with a few scriptures on it. One of the scriptures was 2nd Tim 1:7...
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
I try to think of that scripture often when I feel like my mind is wandering there and not have that spirit of fear but of a sound mind. Making healthy decisions for me and for my family are part of that.
I have a testimony of the importance of the Word of Wisdom and of modern day revelation. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that our current prophet Thomas S. Monson is also. I know that our Heavenly Father has given us this counsel to help us take better care of our bodies. I hope that we will all make it a priority to follow these teachings.


Toni said...

Nice talk! (I have to admit, I just skimmed it, but it seemed very nice.) I especially liked the part about you doing grass. Sa-weet! ;)

Eliza Brock said...

Dude! Gotta get the grass fix!

Jer said...

It took me a while to get through your talk because I usually don't get to read the long posts in one sitting, but it was worth it. Great talk!

Bob Packwood said...

Each year more than 1 million people die from tobacco and Throat Cancer related illnesses. Because of advertisements and other forms of media that build up smoking, bounteous teens think it is hip and cool to smoke. Now more than ever bounteous teens are getting addicted to nicotine and cigarettes.