What does The Church of Jesus Christ educate about well being? | Opinion

Over a decade in the past, Thomas F. Rogers, a buddy of mine and a former professor at Brigham Young University, wrote an essay about the advantages of being a Latter-day Saint. 

“A nonbelieving former member tells me he still considers the church to have the ‘most comprehensive social benefit program’ he has ever encountered. I agree,” Rogers wrote in an essay printed within the e book “Why I Stay.”

“For instance,” he continued, “what contribution hasn’t the Word of Wisdom alone made to my personal well-being?”

This passage returned to my thoughts just lately with the information that President Russell M. Nelson, the chief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is now the oldest prophet the church has ever had in its 192-year historical past.

He’ll be 98 in September.

I’ve by no means been one for hagiography, regardless of the topic, however I can’t assist pausing to admire President Nelson’s lengthy life and good well being. He’s not simply 97 after which some. By all accounts, he’s within the workplace often. He’s delivering sermons. He’s energetic and filled with enthusiasm for all times.

Maybe it’s going to change into commonplace sooner or later to see nonagenarians who aren’t solely wholesome and loving their closing years however who additionally appear to age in reverse. But, so far, that is nonetheless a uncommon phenomenon. And one price studying from.

To what can we ascribe such longevity? Certainly, genetics should play a job. But, as I perceive from President Nelson’s biographies and from anecdotal tales of fellow church workers (disclosure: I write for the church), wholesome consuming and common train have been constant components of President Nelson’s life. The coronary heart surgeon usually tells church members to take “your vitamin pills. Get some rest,” as a result of the longer term “is going to be exciting.”

President Nelson’s habits had been little question influenced by the various sufferers (my maternal grandpa included) whose, let’s say, lower than optimum well being practices usually introduced them to his regular surgical arms. I can’t additionally assist however see a spot for revelation in aiding the prophet’s wholesome way of life.

It’s well-known that Latter-day Saints have a well being code generally known as the Word of Wisdom, which derives from scripture revealed to Joseph Smith in 1833. This is the muse for why working towards Latter-day Saints say no to alcohol, caffeinated tea, espresso, tobacco or some other addictive substance. And, when embraced correctly, the Word of Wisdom can be why many Latter-day Saints say sure to the nice issues — fruits, greens and grains. And meat, the revelation states, must be consumed “sparingly.”

That’s to not say all and even most of us dwell as much as this lofty customary (see, for instance, the lengthy strains exterior Utah’s considerable “dirty soda” drive-thru outlets).

With regard to train, the church’s well being code was revealed in 1833 when the idea of “treadmills” or “ellipticals” may need elicited puzzled amusement. But the scripture nonetheless states that those that adhere to those rules “shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.” The Church of Jesus Christ can be constructed on the idea of ongoing revelation. Perhaps sometime some assertion shall be canonized that features particulars on the most effective weightlifting routine, however, within the meantime, widespread sense and the most effective science give us loads of perception into the advantages of an energetic life.

Halfway into my missionary service in jap Ukraine in 2004, the Church of Jesus Christ applied a brand new program for missionaries that strongly inspired each day morning train.

I used to be pathetic at following the steerage.

But this system planted a seed that started bearing actual fruit 4 years in the past. I used to be approaching my mid-30s, my metabolism was slowing, and I had begun “outgrowing” all of my pants. Thanks to the sudden present of a easy stair stepper from a colleague at work, I began exercising. This progressed to reasonable jogging and lifting weights. I additionally adjusted my weight-reduction plan. I felt higher.

Within six months I misplaced 25 kilos. I’ve saved up this routine and have realized a lot about the potential of persistence and the refreshing rush of a accomplished exercise.

There can be the follow of month-to-month fasting, throughout which period Latter-day Saints chorus from meals for twenty-four hours, or two meals. Numerous research have discovered that fasting helps scale back numerous dangers related to coronary heart illness, however I’ve discovered that fasting additionally tends to construct capability for correctly managing bodily appetites past simply the 24 hour interval throughout which fasting happens.

From a secular perspective, it’s straightforward to level to the two-decade-long UCLA examine of Latter-day Saints which discovered working towards church-attending adherents had longer life spans (5 years longer for ladies and a full decade for males) in comparison with different inhabitants teams studied. There are additionally findings in regards to the advantages to coronary heart well being for 24-hour fasting practices from medical doctors at Intermountain Health.

But for believers the scriptural guarantees for taking good care of one’s physique are breathtaking.

“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; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.” And, the scripture continues, “they shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint; and I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them.”

Granted, life doesn’t at all times afford a lifespan of 90 years. We all know somebody who has lived nicely however grew to become severely sick or died “too soon.” Genetics and illness ultimately catch us all. We’ve additionally seen cigarette people who smoke who someway evade the chances and out survive anticipated.

I used to be struck some years in the past when a 109-year-old lady in Texas stated her secret to an extended life was consuming bacon day-after-day.

Sometimes uncommon exceptions stick in our thoughts since they’re so uncommon. But the final rule is in actual fact the “rule” for a motive: God expects us to take duty for our our bodies, and there are advantages for doing so.

At 97, because the oldest church president in historical past, President Nelson has come to embody the Word of Wisdom. And with every passing 12 months, he appears an increasing number of like a reasonably good instance to comply with.

Samuel B. Hislop is a author in Utah.

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