08 February 2012

With Real Intent

Today's Seminary lesson included a discussion about the doings of the Prophet Ezra. At this time the Israelites were returning to Jerusalem after many years in bondage. Chapter 7 verse 10 describes what Ezra did to be ready to fulfill his mission.

"For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments."

We talked about what it meant to prepare his heart. I had the students turn to Moroni 10:4;

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."

What does it mean to have "real intent"? It seems to me to mean that I intend to act upon what is revealed to me. Jesus taught that in order to know if the doctrine he taught was true we had to do it; in other words, keep the commandments, do what we're asked to do, only then will we know, probably through the blessings that follow obedience, that the command is truly God's will.

Ezra had prepared his heart, he had real intent; he sought to know the law, he lived it and then taught it to the people. This is the pattern of the new Duty to God program for Aaronic Priesthood holders. It's an inspired pattern.

As I was teaching this a question came into my mind. "Why are so many Saints addicted to caffeinated drinks?" I read a blog yesterday telling about the mother (writer) instructing her child to add a diet Dr. Pepper to a portrait he had drawn of her, laughingly saying that then the picture would be accurate. That really bothered me. I felt sorry for both the mother and the child.

In the past year I was in the hospital emergency room with my husband in the wee hours of the morning. While he went to get some tests done one of the staff asked me if I'd like a cup of coffee. I said, "No, I don't drink anything with caffeine in it." The person was astonished and asked, "How can you live without caffeine to get going?" I answered, "Very well, thank you."

Life with its frenetic pace is tiring; mothering, whatever the age of the children, is tiring. But I believe the promise of the Word of Wisdom:

"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 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, and the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen." (Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-21 emphasis mine)

Many justify themselves with the argument that caffeine isn't mentioned in the Word of Wisdom. To that I refer to Doctrine and Covenants 58:26

"For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward."

President Heber J. Grant, prophet from November 1918 to May 1945, taught in General Conference, "The Lord does not want you to use any drug that creates an appetite for itself." (April 1922) I think that covers caffeinated sodas.

The commandments are both a protection and a blessing to us. We are protected from the bondage of addiction and disease; we are blessed with health, strength, wisdom and knowledge, even life itself as the destroying angel passes us by. I can't think of better blessings than those.

A bishop once told me that if caffeinated sodas were included in the temple recommend interview, half the congregation, including his wife, wouldn't be worthy of a recommend. I thought that was a sad commentary on how far we let ourselves get from the letter and spirit of the law of health known as the Word of Wisdom.

I think this example taken from the manual "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant" is great.

Some members of the Church in President Grant's day complained about the numerous sermons they heard on the Word of Wisdom. President Grant commented: "There is seldom a conference when someone does not take it upon himself to tell us: 'Please do not speak on the Word of Wisdom. We hear it so much, we are sick and tired of it.'" President Grant responded to such complaints by saying: "No mortal man who is a Latter-day Saint and is keeping the Word of Wisdom is ever sick and tired of hearing it. When a man leaves a meeting and says . . . 'Can't they find something else to talk about besides the Word of Wisdom; I am sick and tired of it'--of course he is, because he is full of stuff that the Word of Wisdom tells him to leave alone." (p.190)

From the April 2008 New Era:

Is there anything wrong with drinking sodas with caffeine in them? Is caffeine bad? The Word of Wisdom doesn’t mention it.

Doctrine and Covenants 89:9 says we shouldn’t drink “hot drinks.” The only official interpretation of this term is the statement made by early Church leaders that it means tea and coffee. Caffeine is not specifically mentioned as the reason not to drink these drinks.
Boyd K. Packer: “The Word of Wisdom was ‘given for a principle with promise’ (D&C 89:3). … A principle is an enduring truth, a law, a rule you can adopt to guide you in making decisions. Generally principles are not spelled out in detail. Members write in asking if this thing or that is against the Word of Wisdom. … We teach the principle together with the promised blessings. There are many habit-forming, addictive things that one can drink or chew or inhale or inject which injure both body and spirit which are not mentioned in the revelation. … Obedience to counsel will keep you on the safe side of life” (“The Word of Wisdom: The Principle and the Promises,” Ensign, May 1996, 17–18).
With real intent - to act upon knowledge gained through study and revelation.

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