Maintaining the best possible physical health has been a gospel ideal throughout the agesfrom the strict dietary laws of ancient Israel, with the example of Daniel and his associates, to the Word of Wisdom in this dispensation and the counsel of todays prophets and apostles. The physical body is a gift from God and should be properly cared for and respected. Mental health is also important and should not be overlooked, as it can affect us both physically and spiritually. We must do all we can to take care of both our bodies and our minds.
The Lord sets a high standard for us in telling us to consider our bodies a temple. ... [He] has established some basic standards for the governance of our physical bodies and mental health so that we may become more self-reliant and better prepared to progress personally, strengthen the family, and serve in the Church and community (see L. Tom Perry, The Tradition of a Balanced, Righteous Life, Liahona, Aug. 2011, 32).
The scriptures testify as to how important our physical bodies are to our eternal progress.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are (1Corinthians 3:1617) (L. Tom Perry, The Tradition of a Balanced, Righteous Life, 32).
Nutritious meals, regular exercise, and appropriate sleep are necessary for a strong body, just as consistent scripture study and prayer strengthen the mind and spirit (Thomas S. Monson, That We May Touch Heaven, Ensign, Nov. 1990, 46).
The condition of the physical body can affect the spirit. Thats why the Lord gave us the Word of Wisdom. He also said that we should retire to our beds early and arise early (see D&C 88:124), that we should not run faster than we have strength (see D&C 10:4), and that we should use moderation in all good things. Food can affect the mind, and deficiencies of certain elements in the body can promote mental depression. Rest and physical exercise are essential, and a walk in the fresh air can refresh the spirit. Wholesome recreation is part of our religion, and a change of pace is necessary, and even its anticipation can lift the spirit (Ezra Taft Benson, Do Not Despair, Ensign, Nov. 1974, 66).
The Lord has commanded members to take care of their minds and bodies. They should obey the Word of Wisdom, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, control their weight, and get adequate sleep. They should shun substances or practices that abuse their bodies or minds and that could lead to addiction. They should practice good sanitation and hygiene and obtain adequate medical and dental care. They should also strive to cultivate good relationships with family members and others (Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 6.1.1).
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