Personal Experiences on the Word of Wisdom


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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

President Spencer W. Kimball

May I tell you another goal that I set when I was still a youngster.

I had heard all of my life about the Word of Wisdom and the blessings that could come into my life through living it. I had seen  people chewing tobacco, and it was repulsive to me. I had seen men waste much time in “rolling their own” cigarettes.

They would buy a sack of “Bull Durham” tobacco or some other brand and then some papers, and then they would stop numerous  times in a day to fill the paper with tobacco and then roll it and then bend over the little end of it and then smoke it. It seemed  foolish to me and seemed such a waste of time and energy. Later when the practice became more sophisticated, they bought  their cigarettes ready made. I remember how repulsive it was to me when women began to smoke.

I remember as a boy going to the Fourth of July celebration on the streets of my little town and seeing some of the men as they took part in the horse racing as participator or as gambler, betting on the horses, and I noted that many of them had cigarettes in their lips and bottles in their pockets and some were ugly drunk and with their bleary eyes and coarse talk and cursing.

It took a little time to match the ponies and arrange the races, and almost invariably during this time there would be someone call out, “Fight! Fight!” and all the men and boys would gravitate to the fight area which was attended with blows and blood and curses and hatreds.

Again I was nauseated to think that men would so disgrace themselves, and again I made up my mind, that while I would drink  the pink lemonade on the Fourth of July and watch the horses run, that I never would drink liquor or swear or curse as did many of these fellows of this little town.

And I remember that without being pressured by anyone, I made up my mind, while still a little boy that I would never break the Word of Wisdom. I knew where it was written and I knew in a general way what the Lord had said, and I knew that when the Lord said it, it was pleasing unto him for men to abstain from all these destructive elements and that the thing I wanted to do was to please my Heavenly Father.

And so I made up my mind firmly and solidly that I would never touch those harmful things. Having made up my mind fully and unequivocably, I found it not too difficult to keep the promise to myself and to my Heavenly Father.

I remember once in later years when I was district governor of the Rotary Clubs of Arizona that I went to Nice, France, to the  international convention. As a part of that celebration there was a sumptuous banquet for the district governors, and the large  building was set for an elegant meal.

When we came to our places, I noted that at every place there were seven goblets, along with numerous items of silverware and dishes; and everything was the best that Europe could furnish.

As the meal got underway, an army of waiters came to wait on us, seven waiters at each place, and they poured wine and liquor. Seven glass goblets were filled at every plate.

The drinks were colorful. I was a long way from home; I knew many of  the district governors; they knew me. But they probably did not know my religion nor of my stand on the Word of Wisdom.

At  any rate, the evil one seemed to whisper to me, “This is your chance. You are thousands of miles from home. There is no one  here to watch you. No one will ever know if you drink the contents of those goblets. This is your chance!”

And then a sweeter spirit seemed to whisper, “You have a covenant with yourself; you promised yourself you would never do it; and with your Heavenly Father you made a covenant, and you have gone these years without breaking it, and you would be stupid to break  this covenant after all these years.”

Suffice it to say that when I got up from the table an hour later, the seven goblets were still full of colorful material that had been poured into them but never touched an hour earlier.