Sunday, May 23, 2010


When I stopped eating sugar in January, I did it to be healthier, thinking that I understood the intentions behind my actions. But recently, in conversations with friends and my own gospel study, I discovered that I had underestimated my desires.

Of late, I have been thinking about what I eat in terms of my personal stewardship over my body. If my body is the "temple of God" and has been "bought with a price" I have a responsibility to maintain its sanctity by what goes into and out of it. We are told to "glorify God in [our] body" and that proper treatment and use of our body will lead to its sanctification.

We learn that the "natural man is an enemy to God." Thus, in this life we are to "bridle all [our] passions" and subject our carnal desires. This, in my opinion, is one of the principle purposes of fasting - to learn how to allow our Spirits to gain traction over our bodily desires, to practice the arts of self-mastery so that we can be more in-tune with the Lord's guidance of our lives. I also believe this is a major theme in the Word of Wisdom. The Word of Wisdom provides guidance that can facilitate self-mastery and strengthening of the spiritual. By helping us to bridle some of those passions, we are promised the blessings of wisdom, knowledge, strength, and divine protection. It is for our temporal salvation, "that every one of [us] should know how to possess [our] vessel in sanctification and honor."

Eating is tricky, because so often we do not immediately see the effects of what we do, or we don't tie food directly to how we feel. While we often focus on certain facets of the connection between the physical and spiritual, we often miss that connection when it comes to eating. But the virtues of patience and self-mastery can be so perfectly developed in making decisions about what we eat. We live in a society of self-indulgence, even hedonism at times. We want things, and we want them now. I am reminded of President Uchtdorf's talk on patience. We are becoming so unaccustomed to having to wait for anything or postpone pleasure, and this includes our eating habits. "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." But how often are we ceding our rule over our spirit to our temporary desires? Do you know how sweet a strawberry is when you eat no other sugar?

I am not advocating that everybody stop eating sugar - it is simply my personal decision based on my feelings of my stewardship over my body. But, I feel strongly about my need for self-mastery and temperance. I feel that what I eat has an influence on my ability to feel the Spirit and communicate with God. As I practice self-mastery, my spiritual tendencies are refined and I feel I am a better steward over what God has given me. "The same is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body."


Chelsea M said...

Probably my favorite post you've ever done.


I wish the church members as whole would view the WoW in this light - as a command to exercise self restraint and treat our bodies as temples, not just abstain from a few major no-nos.

I think I know which Uctdorf talk you are referring to - and I remember thinking that our society is so used to instant gratification that one of the best things I can do for my daughter is help her learn to wait patiently.
Of course that means I'll have to do a better job of it myself first :)
Good luck with the no-sugar rule. I'd be interested to know where you draw the line... what about foods sweetened with honey/agave/stevia? Or other chemical sugar substitutes? I did several "sugar fasts" during my collegiate running days and was always unsure of those gray areas. The best thing that came from my self-imposed restriction was that I really did enjoy the taste of the natural sweetness in fruits so much more! And I honestly didn't crave cookies/candy/cake because I simply forgot what it tasted like.

Thank you - reading this will help strengthen my resolve to improve my diet - and not just for my babies, for ME. I loved your last couple sentences, and I agree - when I'm taking better care of my physical self, my spiritual self is greatly improved.

I'm forwarding this post to my mom. She just became her ward's RS Pres and gets to choose her topic for her next lesson. As long as she can phrase everything as non-condemnatory as you did, this would be a great message to pass on.

Kelly said...

why do i give this same speech 10 times a week? I hope it sinks in NOT that I'm perfect, I just believe in the importance of the message and feel passionate that others should strongly consider the impact of their decisions in this regard. Interesting no sugarness...I began the same trek in Feb. We're so in-tune :)

zlb said...

heather! it's been so long my long lost sort of twin. i haven't been to your blog for awhile, but why should it surprise me that you are writing about the very things I am thinking most of. I just resolved that for the summer I'm cutting out refined sugar and flour, and for very similar reasons. I think a lot about stewardship (and how I've done a horrible job of it this year!) and the need to express gratitude for the amazing gifts we've been given in how we care for them. you are an inspiration and a rock. love you.

girl-interrupted said...

Couldn't agree more. But it is so hard to keep the sugar away.

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t_roach said...

I was checking on my cob-web-covered blog and noticed a link to yours. Glad I did because this is an enriching, inspiring post!


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