Author’s Note: As I complete this now, between sessions of the Saturday sessions and having completed reading the Book of Mormon this morning, I am once again awed by the power and drama, but most of all the testimonies of Christ and personal messages for me. It is a miracle and a marvel, and a day without reading it is a day without light. I have gleaned much inspiration for my own healthy living that I have shared here at Meridian.
In my article two weeks ago, I challenged myself to be “sugar-free” by the start of Conference on March 31, knowing that I am happier, healthier and more in tune with the Spirit when I am not in the grips of chocolate and sweets. It is a peaceful thing to know that Conference will be much more meaningful for me as the healthy, simple foods I have eaten over the past two weeks leave me feeling better in every way.
In the concluding chapters of Moroni, Mormon tells his son that we each have “a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.” (Moroni 9:6) This vivid image of our bodies as something as earthly and destructible as clay, yet the vehicle by which we create our eternities, is a fitting conclusion to my quest for healthy living perspectives from the Book of Mormon. From Meridian readers’ comments on my last article, Things as They Really Are, I know that I am not alone in experiencing food and overeating as a tool of the adversary to keep me distracted and to limit progress in the areas that matter most in this life. Talks from the current General Conference have confirmed this emphatically.
What have I learned in the last two weeks as I have concluded my reading of the Book of Mormon?
For me, especially with this last reading, The Book of Mormon is clearly divided into three sections: 1) the 600+years before Christ appears, 2) the brief time of his appearance in 3 Nephi, and 3) the years after his appearance, with the book of Ether as a bonus prequel.
It is interesting to note that of the 531 total pages, there are 428 pages that cover the 633 years leading up to the magnificent three days when Christ appears in 3 Nephi 11:8. Then there are 37 pages (3 Nephi 11:8 to 3 Nephi 30: 2) that cover His teachings and time with them. It is followed by another 66 pages that cover nearly 400 years. About half of those 66 pages are the book of Ether, which occurred before I Nephi.
What is fascinating to me, more so in this last reading than ever, is the fact that the first two pages in 4 Nephi, the period after the Savior has appeared,cover well over 200 years!
Why? Because there simply isn’t much to say about people being good. There is no need for prophets when people are righteous. There are no wars when people seek to serve each other. When all is shared, none are poor. And the Lord’s approval was upon them as they were blessed in all things.
There were easily seven to eight generations that were born and lived their days in this time frame of perfect peace. (This is figuring that a human generation averages 20-25 years long, enough for one’s children to start having children of their own)
The two, very brief pages describe a glorious, near-perfect society where they lived with“all things in common”; that the Lord “prospered them exceedingly in the land; and that “they did wax strong and multiplied exceedingly fast and became a fair and delightsome people.” We are told that here was no contention because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
I can’t help but notice the exclamation point in 4 Nephi verse 18 “How blessed were they!”
They were busy building families and cities, happily … cheerfully … and there just wasn’t much more to talk about!
The first generation had personally and powerfully experienced the Savior’s love and mission in such a way that it eternally changed their lives! Somehow they were able to convey that experience and thirst for righteousness to the following generations effectively enough that for over 200 years there was perfectpeace and harmony. All enjoyed prosperous temporal circumstances as well.
In short, though we’d all love to know more and hear first hand of these years, I repeat: there simply wasn’t much to say!Two pages covered it all, and the details of this beautiful time is left to our imaginations. We do know it was a near-perfect society of righteous, loving, industrious individuals inspired by the Savior, and it lasted for a long, long time.
In an odd little parallel, when we are eating healthfully, (for me it’s being sugar-free and eating close to the Word of Wisdom) there’s similarly simply not much to say! There are no private battles, binges or feelings of failure. Instead there are simply the truths that one just feels better, with a lot more energy, with the emotional freedom and peace of being able to enjoy appropriate foods in appropriate amounts, while easily passing over the rich or junk foods that do not enhance health, without weird little anxieties. The day by day increase in vitality and peace alsovastly decreases the chances of acquiring the weight-related illnesses and complications that prevail in our current society.
My last routine doctor’s visits said the same thing in perfect evidence as my doctor looked at me with reports in hand and said, “Well …. I’m happy to say, there’s just not much to say!” (I do deal with a genetic predisposition to osteoporosis. I’m not saying I’m a perfect eater, although I have been blessed with good genes for longevity and health. I write these articles from the heart with a family history of obesity and addictive, compulsive tendencies.)
Can you imagine what would happen if, as a society overall, the greater majority simply started eating wiselyby reducing or completely eliminating the amount of foods that do not fuel the body and promote health?On a permanent, life-style basis?(The basic plan is, of course, the divinely inspired Word of Wisdom, which does not include the popular modern foods that curtail our health. My favorite books that elaborate on the Word of Wisdom as a way of life are in the links below.)
In a very positive way, similar to the first 2 pages of 4 Nephi, there would simply be not much to say about the health of our society related to obesity and it’s related diseases! There would be precious little to fill thenewsstands, TV and bookstores that are now constantly packed with reports, books and articles about weight problems, diabetes and diets.
No longer would time and money-consuming complications, frustrations, sadnesses, disturbances, expense and worry associated with bothweight-related illnessesand the lack of health that comes from a poor diet dominate our energies.Long-term and expensive medical care, intervention and medication that would be greatly reduced.Sick days from work and school, and the associated family disruption would be lessened Medical research time and money could be devoted to serious illnesses not associated with a poor diet and lack of exercise.
Of course, historically speaking, the modern foods that derail health simply were not available to the ancients or even very recent generations, but neither were the vaccines and scientific process that protect and promote health.