Monday, August 24, 2009

The Word of Wisdom and Minimalism

We studied the Word of Wisdom in Gospel Principals yesterday. As always, it was a very interesting discussion with all sorts of opinions offered. But it remained civil. I've been thinking a lot about it and I've read a lot about the Word of Wisdom in the scriptures, General Authority talks and other blogs and websites. I decided to start tracking all the articles I've read or found on the subject in an effort to capture the full spectrum of WoW discussions.

One of the lessons I came across today was from the Brigham Young manual. His quotes are always so much fun to read ... he was so un-PC! A few of the quotes from chapter 29 stood out to me because they were difinately minimalistic in nature.

Here is the direct link to the lesson: “Chapter 29: Living the Word of Wisdom,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 211. I added emphasis to point out minimalistic comments.

Instead of doing two days’ work in one day, wisdom would dictate to [the Saints], that if they desire long life and good health, they must, after sufficient exertion, allow the body to rest before it is entirely exhausted. When exhausted, some argue that they need stimulants in the shape of tea, coffee, spirituous liquors, tobacco, or some of those narcotic substances which are often taken to goad on the lagging powers to greater exertions. But instead of these kind of stimulants they should recruit by rest. Work less, wear less, eat less, and we shall be a great deal wiser, healthier, and wealthier people than by taking the course we now do. It is difficult to find anything more healthy to drink than good cold water, such as flows down to us from springs and snows of our mountains. This is the beverage we should drink. It should be our drink at all times. … It may be remarked that some men who use spirituous liquors and tobacco are healthy, but I argue that they would be much more healthy if they did not use it, and then they are entitled to the blessings promised to those who observe the advice given in the “Word of Wisdom” (DBY, 187).

The Americans, as a nation, are killing themselves with their vices and high living. As much as a man ought to eat in half an hour they swallow in three minutes, gulping down their food like the [dog] under the table, which, when a chunk of meat is thrown down to it, swallows it before you can say “twice.” If you want a reform, carry out the advice I have just given you. Dispense with your multitudinous dishes, and, depend upon it, you will do much towards preserving your families from sickness, disease and death (DBY, 189).

Do you know that it is your privilege so to live that your minds may all the time be perfectly within your control? Study to preserve your bodies in life and health, and you will be able to control your minds (DBY, 190).

Prepare to die is not the exhortation in this Church and Kingdom; but prepare to live is the word with us, and improve all we can in the life hereafter, wherein we may enjoy a more exalted condition of intelligence, wisdom, light, knowledge, power, glory, and exaltation. Then let us seek to extend the present life to the uttermost, by observing every law of health, and by properly balancing labor, study, rest, and recreation, and thus prepare for a better life. Let us teach these principles to our children, that, in the morning of their days, they may be taught to lay the foundation of health and strength and constitution and power of life in their bodies (DBY, 186).

Monday, August 17, 2009


Last Friday, I came accross a particularly fantastic post at the exceptional blog Zen Habits. The post was about minimalism. Ever since, I've been thinking a lot about minimizing certain things in my life so that the most important can stand out and so I can focus on the most important things.

Today, while I was thinking about how I can minimize, this scripture came to mind:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. - Matthew 6:19-21

Spending more time with family and in serving others is important. Time spent on other things such as hobbies, watching TV and even exercising need to be minimized.

Time spent on shopping and maintaining things should also be minimized. It seems, at least in our home, we spend more time cleaning up, finding and fighting over toys than we actually spend playing with them.

Eating is another big time-consumer. Why can't we eat less? If we eat less, then we don't spend as much time shopping for food, preparing it, eating it, feeling guilty for eating it and then cleaning up after we eat it.

Also, our food storage would last a lot longer if we don't need as much to eat. Wouldn't we be better off humbling our appetites on our own accord rather than having to force ourselves to eat more humbly when emergencies came? (see Alma 32:13-15)

What are some other big time-consumers? What else can you or I minimize today?

Other posts and articles to read:
Establishing our Priorities
Simplify Heart and Home
“Questions and Answers,” Ensign, Dec 2005, 62–64
M. Russell Ballard, “O Be Wise,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 17–20
Dallin H. Oaks, “Good, Better, Best,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 104–8
L. Tom Perry, “Let Him Do It with Simplicity,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 7–10
Walden (wiki synopsis), on-line annotated version

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Business and Toil

I read this quote while visiting a news site today.

"Business or toil is merely utilitarian. It is necessary, but does not enrich or ennoble a human life." - Aristotle

Life is all about balance.