As “the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak”
When tempted, we must yield to our spirits to grow
Lest Satan overcome both the body and spirit he seeks
Now, there is wisdom that all of us should know!
‘Everything has become degenerated from what it was in its primitive state; ‘God made man pure, but he has found out many inventions:’ his vices have become innumerable, and his diseases multiplied; his taste has become vitiated, and his judgment impaired; he has fallen-fallen-fallen, from that dignified state that he once occupied on the earth; and it needs a restorative that man has not in his possession-wisdom which is beyond the reach of human intellect;-and power which human philosophy, talent and ingenuity cannot control. God only is acquainted with the fountain of action and the main springs of human events; he knows where disease is seated, and what is the cause of it;–he also is acquainted with the spring of health; the balm of Gilead-of life; he knows what course to pursue to restore mankind to their pristine exeelency [sic] and primitive vigour, and health; and he has appointed the word of wisdom as one of the engines to bring about this thing, to remove beastly appetites, the murderous disposition and the vitiated taste of man; to restore his body to health, and vigour…” (Times and Seasons, 1842; 3:799-800).
Purpose, Power, and Spiritual Control of Physical BodiesThe Prophet Joseph Smith, through whom the word of wisdom was originally revealed, taught “we came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. That great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment” (TPJS, 181). In a talk to the students at Ricks College (newly renamed Brigham Young University-Idaho), Elder David A. Bednar quoted the statement of Joseph Smith above and further explained that one of the blessings of mortality is “our physical bodies make possible a breadth and a depth and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our Premortal estate. As President Boyd K. Packer has taught, ‘Our physical body is the instrument of our spirit’ (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, p. 211). Thus, our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and respond to truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies” (Ricks College Devotional, Jan. 11, 2000, p. 2).In this same talk, Elder Bednar also quoted Brigham Young about the nature of our agency in regard to our bodies and their appetites. “You are aware that many think that the Devil has rule and power over both body and spirit. Now, I want to tell you that he does not hold any power over man, only so far as the body overcomes the spirit that is in man, through yielding to the spirit of evil. The spirit that the Lord puts into a tabernacle of flesh, is under the dictation of the Lord Almighty; but the spirit and the body are united in order that the spirit may have a tabernacle, and be exalted; and the spirit is influenced by the body, and the body by the spirit. In the first place the spirit is pure, and under the special control and influence of that fallen nature that is of the earth. If the spirit yields to the body, the Devil then has power to overcome the body and spirit of that man, and he loses both…. When you are full of evil passion, and wish to yield to it, then stop and let the spirit, which God has placed into your tabernacles, take the lead. If you do that, I promise that you will overcome all evil, and obtain eternal lives” (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 69-70).’