What Does Living The Word Of Wisdom Really Mean?

What the Word of Wisdom Means to Me

Growing up LDS I was taught to live the word of wisdom. This means abstaining from Alcohol, drugs, coffee, and some forms of tea.

Growing up I was always under the asumption that if I avoided this things I was living the word of wisdom and that I was doing what I should to take care of my body. If I just avoid those things am I living the word of wisdom?

Today I think of the word of wisdom in a whole different light. It’s no longer a list of things I need to avoid. To me the word of wisdom is about taking care of my body. In the title you find the word ‘wisdom’ because when you live this law you are blessed with wisdom and health.

To me the word of wisdom is beyond the ‘do not use list.’ It’s about taking care of my body. Today I believe too much of soda, sugar, and other harmful substances should be considered harmful and unhealthy to our bodies.

I think it’s time we stop just looking at the list of do not’s and start fully understanding the logic behind the word of wisdom. It’s truly about finding moderation in all things and finding health and strength.

In my opinion just because a person does not drink alcohol, coffee, some teas, and does not smoke does not mean he is fully living the word of wisdom. The word of wisdom is much bigger than just the ‘do not use list.’ The word of wisdom is counsel to take care of our bodies.

Question to ask

8 oz coffee with a scoop of coconut oil vs. 64 oz soda/energy drink?

I’m not promoting coffee here! I’m not a coffee fan and I don’t like how addictive it is, but the point isn’t just to avoid coffee it’s to avoid addictive like substances. It’s important that we just don’t avoid the do not use list and understand that driving through swig in the morning defeats the purpose of no coffee. Just something to think about!

Harmful Substances

I think the word Harmful Substances has many meanings. Growing up I just thought that meant drugs and alcohol, but today that has changed.

Research has shown the scary truth behind fast food, soda, and too much sugar. Behind these things is a lot of harmful substances that can cause great damage to our bodies if not used in small amounts or moderation.

America’s obesity rate is growing and diabetes and cancer are at a all time high and I believe majority of this stems from the foods that we eat.

We need to find moderation in all things and look to food as a source of health and energy. The saying we are what we eat has true meaning.


More than just a ‘do not use list’

As members of the LDS faith I think we are so quick to judge people off the ‘do not use list’ instead of fulling understanding the meaning of the word of wisdom.

It counsels us to take care of our bodies and if we live off of soda and fast food and never exercise we are not taking care of our bodies.

Harmful substances are found in many forms and because some are not on the ‘do not use list’ we overlook their negative ability to damage our health and spirit.

Some of the promises of the word of wisdom are found in verses 19-20 in Doctrine & Covenants. 19  And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; 20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. Are you seeing these promises?

My hope is that after reading this you will look at the word of wisdom in a different light and understand that it’s more than just avoiding the ‘do not use list’ found in D&C section 89. Just because someone avoids the ‘do not use list’ are they really living the word of wisdom?

Are you really taking care of your bodies with healthy food and exercise? Remember you only have one body so why not take great care of it!?

What does the word of wisdom mean to you?


About Kyle

Kyle Collinsworth is a professional basketball player, currently playing for the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA. He is a also a health coach, motivational speaker, and author or multiple books on health and fitness.


  • Catherine

    Great article and thank you, it is very timely for me! I live part of the word of wisdom. I abstain for all those “do not use” list and I exercise 3-4 times per week. I am at a healthy weight and people who look at me think I am an ideal example of healthy living! But…..I can eat a LOT of candy, chocolate, and sweets. In fact, I don’t ever go a day without eating those things, they are literally an addiction. It’s not like I can eat a little and stop…I keep on going until I don’t feel well. This past sunday, I was fasting to know how I could have a clearer mind. I have been feeling muddled for quite some time and can’t think clearly. The answer came very simply, to cut out the daily over-consumption of candy and chocolate. So simple. Yet so hard right now. Your article came in a timely manner for me and gave me more answers and encouragement that this will really help. Thanks!

    • Kyle Collinsworth
      Kyle Collinsworth

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it! I recently just finished writing two ebooks! They are available to purchase and they will give you greater insight and help for overcoming bad eating habits and eating healthy food! Ebooks are sold here. https://www.teamcollinsworth.com/ebooks/

      Thank you for sharing!

  • Andrew Melo
    Andrew Melo

    not living the word of wisdom doesn’t automatically make you a bad person, but by living the word of wisdom it can help you reach your FULL potential.

    • Kyle Collinsworth
      Kyle Collinsworth

      Well said! I like that a lot! Thanks for the comment

  • Tyler GRegory
    Tyler GRegory

    Love your example and precedent you set for me as a 17 year old kid. My dad and I love in Virginia and are die-hard BYU fans, so we would stay up until 2am watching you and the COUGS play. Keep working and keep inspiring!

    • Kyle Collinsworth
      Kyle Collinsworth

      Thank a lot!! Appreciate all the support!

  • Joseph

    It is crazy how many people just think the word of wisdom is a list of things you shouldn’t do and don’t actually read the scripture! Thank you for sharing this!

  • Nate Kennedy
    Nate Kennedy

    The Word of Wisdom is good and once you have proven able to cut out all the negative items specifically listed in the actual language, then you can look to taking it a step further. For me that is trying to eliminate soda from my diet. It is nothing but empty calories. While I am still not perfect and occasionally still have one here or there, I think the effort to take a law and live it at a higher level as you are doing is the next step. hanks for sharing Kyle. Just out of curiosity, is there any one thing that you know you should not eat, but trips you up on occasion?

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous


  • StephanIe

    You’ve heard from me before regarding how eating better has impacted my health, but when I saw the email come through about the topic you posted on I took a special interest in reading and wanted to add to the conversation.
    When I was 15yo I received a Patriarchal blessing, which in the LDS faith as you know is a way by which the Lord gives us personal counsel for our lives. I was counseled to carefully study the Word of Wisdom and as I apply those principals in my life I would be blessed to “run and not be weary”. Even as a teenager, I never had a desire to drink or smoke. I grew up in NJ and recognized early on in life that the choices I made would set an example to my friends for how an LDS kid lived. As a result, they respected my beliefs and didn’t do those things around me. Because my choices made this aspect of the Word of Wisdom easy for me I never quite understood why it was mentioned in my Patriarchal blessing…that is, until Feb 13, 2008. After a hellish year of MRIs, a spinal tap, and many doctor appointments I received a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I was only 24yo and fears of wheelchairs and multiple disabilities filled my mind, but almost immediately following that appointment when I received my diagnosis I had that line in my blessing run through my head and I immediately felt comforted. Ive stayed true, to the best of my understanding, to the teachings of the Word of Wisdom and have seen how it has blessed my life. I just celebrated (yes, celebrated) my 9 year anniversary of being diagnosed. In these 9 years I’ve continued working full time, bought a 3rd level condo w/confidence (no fear of wheelchairs), and done so much with faith as a result of this counsel and seeing the promises fulfilled as I’ve lived by the Word of Wisdom. I was struggling with severe fatigue when I started following your basketball career and heard an interview you gave about healthy eating. It was then that I realized I needed to “carefully study” the Word of Wisdom again and as it states to avoid strong drinks I replaced my diet cokes with water and healthy smoothies. I still suffer from bad fatigue, but it’s WAY better since making the change. I’m literally able to “run and not be weary” I’m stronger because of it and thank you for sharing your insight because it really has directly impacted my life and ability to live better. Great post today, Kyle!

    • Kyle Collinsworth
      Kyle Collinsworth

      Amazing story! very inspiring for all of us to read! Keep battling and believing! Thanks for sharing and please keep sharing your stories and how healthy eating has helped you! Thanks!

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