By: A. Arthur Day, II
Crestwood Ky Stake President
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
In Genesis Chapter 1 we read, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this was an important and vital part of our eternal progression. We believe all men and women lived with God as His spirit children before coming to earth. God’s plan for us, His spirit sons and daughters, was to obtain physical bodies and to have this earthly experience as part of our eternal progression. “And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness … so God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” During this mortal experience, our responsibilities and opportunities are two-fold. We have a stewardship to preserve the sacredness of the earth as well as the sacredness of our mortal bodies.
Our sacred responsibility to the earth is best described in scripture found in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 59:18-20, “Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.” We are grateful to our Heavenly Father for this great gift of the earth upon which we live and the many resources available to us, His children.
According to Elder David L. Bednar, “Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our pre-mortal existence. Thus, our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies.” We consider our physical bodies to be sacred, as earthly tabernacles for our pre-mortal spirits as taught in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Our ability to be influenced by God is in direct proportion to the care we give to our bodies.
Because of the sacred nature of our bodies, we follow a law of health called the Word of Wisdom. This law of health give us direction as to what foods and other substances we should and should not take into our bodies. By following this law we are able to maintain both our physical and spiritual health. We are encouraged to eat healthy foods and commanded to avoid alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee and harmful drugs. As with all of God’s commandments, we are blessed when we obey. As a physical therapist I have seen the blessings of good health and rapid recovery from illness by those who have followed these principles in their lives.
In conclusion, I return to the beginning, the creation of life. The means by which mortal life is created is sacred. The doctrine of being chaste and morally clean is paramount to our eternal progression and happiness. Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained that, “The power to create mortal life is the most exalted power God has given his children. . . . The emphasis we place on the law of chastity is explained by our understanding of the purpose of our procreative powers in the accomplishment of God’s plan. … Outside the bonds of marriage, all uses of the procreative power are to one degree or another a sinful degrading perversion of the most divine attribute of men and women” (“The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 74). Through living morally clean lives, we are blessed with the strength of self-control. We also have a deep and significant trust in one another in our marriage and family relationships. As we live the law of chastity and are morally clean, the Spirit of God can have a greater influence upon us during our mortal lives. I know that we are God’s children of eternal worth and that His work and glory is our eternal happiness.