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My Conversion to the Word of Wisdom

In my youth, my father taught me by word and example to obey the “don’ts of the Word of Wisdom,” and I have lived them with exactness. I have received great blessings for having done so. He also shared his great love of hunting and fishing with me, and we were very fond of eating what we killed together. After Ezra Taft Benson’s invitation in his 1979 14-Stake BYU Fireside address, to eat like Daniel, I felt a desire to learn how to do so. I tried for several weeks, but I was addicted to animal products. Moreover, every Latter-day Saint I knew ate a lot of meat, and no one I knew ate like Daniel.

Brigham Young once said,  and I quote from memory, "How are the youth of the church supposed to believe what the Lord has taught in the Word of Wisdom if there is not one bishop in the state; no, not in the entire territory, who doesn't chew tobacco, or drink alcohol, coffee, or tea." I believe that if Brigham Young were alive today he would ask, "How are the youth today suppose to become a generation that eats like Daniel if beloved parents and priesthood leaders don’t eat like Daniel?” 

Because of examples before me of those I loved and respected, I didn’t learn to eat like Daniel for 20 years. For ten of those years I suffered from chronic fatigue, bronchitis, rashes, and serious bouts of pneumonia. Conditions became such that my doctor said that I would die if I suffered another bout of pneumonia. At this point I turned to God believing he could help me where doctors had not been able to do so. Seven days into a fast a voice spoke to me from heaven, and I was given the instructions that I needed to get well again. 

The Lord taught me how to eat like Daniel, and I followed his instructions with exactness. My good health was restored; my weight dropped from 239 to 155 pounds; my total cholesterol dropped from above 400 to 137 mg/dl of blood, and all other health bio-markers came into ranges that were optimal. I became stronger and could lift about 100 pounds more in the bench press than ever before, and I could run 20+ miles with great ease. Also, my mind sharpened, and I was credited with important solutions on several critical projects at church headquarters. 

However, because of my choice to not eat animal products, I was sometimes accused of walking contrary to the doctrines of Christ. This confused me, and following the restoration of my good health, I chose to eat some animal products now and then. My misguided attempt to quell criticisms of others led to a relapse of my former poor health. I knew that God had invited me to live the same dietary law that had enabled Daniel’s soul to become in some measure more pure, less burdened, fitter for learning, stronger, and more spiritually attuned. I also knew that Daniel ate no different than Latter-day Saints have been counseled to eat in the Word of Wisdom

As I thought upon these things, I repented of my fear of man, and I became determined to play my own unique melody in the Lord’s great symphony of love and good works upon this earth. I now make my choices according to the light and knowledge I have received. I have no stewardship in these things other than for myself and family, and my experiences with the Lord in these things were for me. I am grateful that more saints are being made alive in these things. However, my testimony cannot give anyone the power to eat like Daniel. That power comes from the Lord alone, and perhaps this knowledge is the greatest testimony I can share.

Every saint who desires to lay hold upon the blessings that are associated with the Word of Wisdom must gain a testimony, understanding and knowledge, and God's grace to help them make their weak things strong in this thing. I am a meat addict and could have never made these changes without power to do so that I received from the Lord. Now I love how I eat, and it is very satisfying to me, and I love the way it makes me feel. I know that the Lord will quicken and strengthen every saint who comes to him in faith and with a fixed determination to obey his counsels. 

If you want to lay hold upon the blessings promised in the Word of Wisdom, then give your will to him fully in these things. If needed, fast and pray until you are fully subdued before the Lord; then, ask in faith for the light, knowledge, and grace you need to become a part of the generation who eats like Daniel, while also walking in obedience to all of God's commandments. If you do so, you will become a part of the mighty generation who will bring forth fruits that are meet for Zion. 

Best,
Jim and Colleen Simmons

P.S. Please share your own testimony of the Word of Wisdom in the comments section below.

Special Note: Before engaging in Daniel's Challenge, please study carefully each of its seven parts:

  1. Daniel's Challenge - Part 1
  2. Daniel's Challenge - Part 2
  3. Daniel's Challenge - Part 3
  4. Daniel's Challenge - Part 4
  5. Daniel's Challenge - Part 5
  6. Daniel's Challenge - Part 6
  7. Daniel's Challenge - Part 7

Also, it is good to do Daniel's Challenge with a friend or friends who also have great interest in doing so after they read and study these seven different parts. You can use any of the sharing features below to share Daniel's Challenge with them. Also, we are offering Video Conferencing to all who desire further assistance. It important that you make this a permanent lifestyle change, and it is good to have expert assistance from time to time, when it is needed. Best!

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Thank You.

I was blessed with Colon Cancer in order that I would find the humility to learn to eat like Daniel.


Would love it if you would share your story further. Is your cancer in remission? I met a man a few years ago who wanted to serve a mission with his wife, but he had prostrate cancer and a PSA in the upper 20s. He changed his diet and In three month's time his PSA dropped to 5. His doctor declared him cancer free, and he was allowed to serve a mission.  


John Angel said:

I was blessed with Colon Cancer in order that I would find the humility to learn to eat like Daniel.

James,  I appreciate your testimony.  Question: When you fasted into the Seventh day, what did you obstain from during that fast? There are different ways to "fast" so this is why I ask. Looking forward to your other "letters".

 

Ruth, I drank water alone throughout the duration of the fast. When I fast, my purpose is to silence the natural man in me so that I can hear the voice of the Lord. Drinking water alone often helps me achieve this state rather swiftly. It rarely takes this long, but in this case it took a full week before I had become fully subdued and until my desire was to learn and do whatsoever the Lord might instruct me to do.

This can be a hard state to achieve sometimes, especially if cherished, but false traditions, get in myway without me even knowing it. These create a veil between me and truth that is opposite to that which is false in me. For example, it wasn't until King Lamoni gave away "all" his sins that he became filled with redeeming light and truth. This is my purpose for fasting. It helps me quicken my ability to create a place in me for the truth God wants to give to me.

There are many ways to obtain the spirit of the fast 24/7. I try to keep it with me always so that God is always free to instruct me. Whenever my will is pitted against God's will, knowingly or even unknowingly, all revelation ceases. Clinging to my will is exercising my agency to tell God that I am uninterested in knowing and doing his will at this time. He cannot give me further light and knowledge until I exercise my agency to ask for his answers by submitting my will fully to him. Fasting for a day, a week, or from evening meal to the next evening meal over many days, each help me to more easily subdue the natural man in me to meet the conditions that enable the purposes of fasting to be achieved.

I have juiced. It gets rid of my bad food addictions. In 2013 I juiced for 60 days and lost 26 lbs and felt wonderful! I have done several juicing experiences since then. This year in February, I sprained my L-5 vertebrae twice and was in bed a lot and it took 6 weeks to heal. I was in pain and couldn't move much and I took to eating whatever the family ate (junk) and too much sugar and meat. I have re gained 20 lbs. Tomorrow I am embarking on a juice again, for at least a week. I may go for a month. I want to get my eating thereafter to where it should be. I hope I can be a good example and influence to my family. This series is perfect timing for me. Thank you.
I have one question that is more to answer to my family and others. I am sure you have come across it Brother Simmons. How do you respond to those who point out the scripture,
1 Timothy 4:3
Thanks for all your work and help

Thank you James for these inspiring words.

You are setting a great example for me and I am

sure others to follow.  I cannot wait for Part 5!

Debby, I took that scripture to the ancient scripture department at BYU and also looked at about 30 interpretations of it, including a direct traslation from Greek. I addressed this scripture earlier in one of the other Parts of Daniel's Challenge. But let's address it further here.

King James English was used in the translation of the King James version of the bible, which translation occurred between 1604 and 1611. In that period of time the word meat meant "a person's choice of foods." It is not a reference to "flesh," unless flesh was a part of a person's choice of foods. See Genesis 1:29 and you will see the Lord use the word meat in the KJV of the bible when referring only to the plants of the earth. What I found in my studies is that in verses 1 thru 5 of this chapter of Timothy, Paul is writing a letter (in Greek) warning Timothy that in Latter times there would by lying and seducing spirits that would cause saints to not eat "certain foods" that God has ordained for our use." He has ordained flesh for our use and wholesome herbs (edible plants) and the edible fruits of plants for our use, including grains. Paul also speaks of the teachings of "doctrines of devils." What are doctrines of devils? In a conversation with the director of Ancient scripture Saturday evening, he agreed that doctrines of devils are doctrines that stand in direct opposition to the doctrines of Christ.

If we look at the foods God ordained for our use we find that he has given specific conditions regarding the use of the plants of the earth and their fruits and to the use of flesh. So although he has ordained these for our use, we are also to abide his conditions of their use if we want to lay hold of the promised blessings.

For example, with the wholesome herbs and fruits of the earth he has given the condition of eating them in the season thereof. This is when they contribute the strength the body needs. For the use of flesh, he is very specific in four places in scripture about its proper use. First, in the JST version of Genesis Chapter 9:10-11 where he says that we are to not shed the blood of animals, except for meat (a food choice), to save our lives, and warns that he will require the blood of every beast at our hands.

Second, in D&C 49:18-21 he warns against those who forbid the use of "meat" and then in verse 19 he defines the meats (foods he has ordained for our use) flesh of certain animals and all that cometh of the earth (wholesome herbs and their fruits). In verse 21 he issues another warning about shedding blood and wasting flesh. I've written about this in an earlier Part of Daniel's Challenge.

To waste is to expend something extravagantly to no useful purpose. Science has shown us that when we fill up on fruits, grains, and vegetables, and then add flesh to that meal, the flesh is broken down and excreted from the body without any useful purpose being made of it. In other words it is utterly wasted. In this verse the Lord says that woes will come upon those who shed blood and waste flesh. Since this revelation, science has since revealed that they are about 4000 diseases, or woes, that are linked directly to consuming flesh without need.

Now for the third and fourth verses that speak to the proper use of flesh. In D&C 89:13 the Lord first reveals that it is pleasing to him if we limit our use of flesh to times of winter, cold, or famine. Then, in verse 15 he completes his thoughts about the use of flesh. He says that animals hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger. In other words the flesh of animals is not ordained for our use unless it is to save our lives, just as he taught Noah and his sons.

President Benson warned several times during his years as an apostle, and then prophet, that we are to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains, particularly wheat, and warned that we are digging early graves with our teeth. President Hinckley noted and encouraged that we can do much better living the Word of Wisdom, and that the rise in diseases among members of the church is a great concern to the church.

My question is what causes us to be "blind" to what is written so simply in section 89 regarding the proper role and use of flesh? I believe it is our own false traditions that blind us. Twelve different prophets in our dispensation have been as clear as I have been, yet we still do not see it. I am grateful to see it, and living accordingly is a great blessing to me. I hope it will be helpful to others as well. 

Debby Smith said:

I have juiced. It gets rid of my bad food addictions. In 2013 I juiced for 60 days and lost 26 lbs and felt wonderful! I have done several juicing experiences since then. This year in February, I sprained my L-5 vertebrae twice and was in bed a lot and it took 6 weeks to heal. I was in pain and couldn't move much and I took to eating whatever the family ate (junk) and too much sugar and meat. I have re gained 20 lbs. Tomorrow I am embarking on a juice again, for at least a week. I may go for a month. I want to get my eating thereafter to where it should be. I hope I can be a good example and influence to my family. This series is perfect timing for me. Thank you.
I have one question that is more to answer to my family and others. I am sure you have come across it Brother Simmons. How do you respond to those who point out the scripture,
1 Timothy 4:3
Thanks for all your work and help
Thanks SO much Brother Simmons for your answer. Very clear and concise. I have a LOT of studying to do. I have started my juice cleanse to clear and clean out my system. I am looking forward to implementing the proper way to eat into my life afterwards.

James,

I am curious to know how you respond when someone says, "But have you not read all the scriptures that say, 'a land flowing with milk and honey?'" I have a brother and sister in law that have been on the GAPS diet for over two years, having gone from being vegan to eating huge amounts of dairy, homemade broth and meats. They have begun to raise more and more animals to feed themselves and others, including bees for honey, and feel they are creating a "land flowing with milk and honey." To me, it appears they are very happy, but their faces have lost much color and their children are gaining weight and looking stocky. 

Have you studied with the Department of Ancient Studies to understand what 'land flowing with milk and honey' meant in that day and what the King James English meaning of milk might have been in the 1600's? I am very curious. Thank you.

I have not studied with the Department of Ancient Studies to better understand this passage of scripture, nor have I studied "with them" regarding anything. I've only asked questions about this or that, as I have given personal study to a topic. I have done this to learn their thoughts.

My belief about this passage of scripture is that it is not at all a dietary guide, but is a promise of a fertile land that is receiving rain in due season, and a land where the soil beneath the feet will give forth of its strength.

All my study is personal, but I do ask questions to the best earthly sources I can find. Every person on this earth, including scholars, receive further light and truth, only according to our willingness to give up all that is false in us out of a pure desire to come to "know the Lord" in a thing. Until we give our will fully to his in a thing he cannot give us further light and knowledge. Why? He must respect our agency and cannot violate eternal law by imposing further light and knowledge upon us, unless we ask for it, having first met the conditions of the atonement. Only then can he give us further light and knowledge we seek. He can invite us to receive more light and knowledge, but we must recognize and receive his invitations prior to our learning more.

GAPS has been helpful to some in the healing process of guts that have been compromised to the point they cannot digest food properly. I've worked with one such person for two years. Bone broths help to restore minerals to the gut lining and promote the healing of a gut that is compromised. Unfortunately, GAPS also leads to an addiction toward eating flesh that goes far beyond a sparing use of flesh. 

The Word of Wisdom includes a series of instructions and invitations that are progressive in nature. It is impossible to even see and receive certain invitations that are contained therein until one has first "come unto the Lord" regarding preceding instructions and invitations. For example, first come the don'ts, then come the "dos." if I do not recognize and obey the Don'ts, it is likely I will not concern myself with the "Dos".

The invitation to eat meat sparingly, is an invitation to come unto the Lord to learn from him what this should mean to us.  If I never even bother ponder upon this thing, or ask in faith, with real intent to know how perhaps I ought to change my diet, then I will not receive instruction, nor will I make important changes, nor will I experiences the blessings from having made those changes, nor will I receive further light and truth through my obedience. And if I do none of these things, I won't recognize or receive his invitation to please him by eating flesh only in times of winter, cold, or famine. Until I obey this invitation with exactness, I will not ever learn how to satisfy my body's needs with a prudent combination of fruits, grains, and vegetables.

However, if I accept his invitation to please him, and follow his instructions regarding proper times to eat flesh, then I will have to ask him how to satisfy myself, and he will then lead me how to use the "staff of life" with fruits and vegetables to receive total satisfaction and nutritional strength. Once I have mastered these prudent principles, I might then be ready to fully see and receive his final invitation and instructions regarding the use of flesh. Only then am I even capable of seeing that he has said that these animals that use grain as the staff of life hath been made for our use, only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

If I obey that instruction with exactness, then he may open to my mind and heart all things dietary from the beginning of man to the dietary law that will govern man in the millennium. The Word of Wisdom is adapted to every saint, because every true saint will forsake all that is false in him as he discovers what is false. A true saint will then come unto the Lord to learn his mind and heart, with the intent to become like the Lord in the thing. A true saint will discover his weaknesses as he strives earnestly to follow the Lord's instructions, and he will call upon the name of the Lord (his advocate) for light, knowledge, and grace he needs to have his nature become like the Lord's, or to be made strong where he is weak.

And thus, as a saint progresses from a fallen diet to a millennial diet, the Lord will lead, guide, and give him the further light, knowledge, and grace he needs, as fast as he is willing and able to receive more light and truth. This means that with knew understanding we must be swift to learn how to apply it before we are ready to progress further to receive greater light and truth.. 

The Word of Wisdom will lead a person to live the dietary law that will be followed in the millennium, provided that person can receive each successive invitation of the Lord. In the beginning man was commanded to never shed blood or eat the flesh of animals. How long did this law exist? From Adam to post-flood, or about 1650 years. Only then was permission given to eat flesh, and this permission was given with the condition to eat it only to save one's life. Israel spent 430 years eating from the flesh pots of Egypt. By the time the Levitical dietary laws were given, many generations had filled their bellies from the flesh pots of Egypt. The Levitical laws were given to help Israel begin their ascension to the millennial dietary laws. In our dispensation, the law first given to Noah was restored and is known as the Word of Wisdom. 

It is written to a people whose dietary traditions include many generations that have eaten from the flesh pots of modern civilization. Brigham Young taught that the millennium begins first in one heart that has come to live every law that governs heaven, and then spreads to another heart, and another, until if fills the whole earth. But the Lord's ways are loving, and the more we love one another, do not judge one another, and are kind and inviting, rather than forceful, the more we emulate the Lord's pattern for giving instruction and invitations that lead others more fully to Christ and his perfect ways. I hope to better emulate his pattern. I may have to re-write some things I've written, so that they do not cause stumbling blocks to others.


Julie Greenman said:

James,

I am curious to know how you respond when someone says, "But have you not read all the scriptures that say, 'a land flowing with milk and honey?'" I have a brother and sister in law that have been on the GAPS diet for over two years, having gone from being vegan to eating huge amounts of dairy, homemade broth and meats. They have begun to raise more and more animals to feed themselves and others, including bees for honey, and feel they are creating a "land flowing with milk and honey." To me, it appears they are very happy, but their faces have lost much color and their children are gaining weight and looking stocky. 

Have you studied with the Department of Ancient Studies to understand what 'land flowing with milk and honey' meant in that day and what the King James English meaning of milk might have been in the 1600's? I am very curious. Thank you.

James, What a beautiful response. I appreciate the time you took to explain, but I especially love your last paragraph quoting Brigham Young. This has inspired me to continue on the path of eating the millennial dietary laws, along with learning how to live all God's laws correctly and at the same time loving all around me. My sights have been lifted today!

Thank you,

Julie

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