Why Do I Choose Not to Smoke or Drink?

By Ryan

Anyone who has ever competed in sports could probably tell you that playing to the best of their abilities is almost impossible after eating multiple pieces of cake or pizza. I had this experience first-hand. A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to join my school’s track team. From the very beginning my coach told me that I would need to eat a lot healthier if I wanted to succeed and see improvement in my racing. At first, I followed my coach’s advice, and I continually saw improvement in my races. However, after doing well in several races I grew to be confident and maybe just a little cocky. I thought I couldn’t be beat. So, one night before a race I ate junk food to my heart’s content. As you may have guessed, I lost by quite a margin the next day.

I now know why my coaches set those eating guidelines for us during track. I learned from this experience that they knew more than I did, and they put the guidelines there to protect me. The leaders of my church have given me guidelines as well. I have been asked to refrain from tobacco, alcohol, drugs, coffee, and tea. They call these guidelines the Word of Wisdom. Just like my coaches, these guidelines are to protect me. We know that tobacco and alcohol have negative effects on our bodies. Although we may not see these effects right away, we know that they eventually will have a negative effect on us in the future. Many people think I am just limiting myself without reason, but I don’t feel the Word of Wisdom is a limitation. I feel that it is actually just the opposite. I feel that by not putting these substances in my body, I will have more opportunities in the future.

 We may not always see consequences immediately. Prophets have also directed us to not drink coffee or tea. These drinks do not affect us as obviously as alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. So why do we listen? I and other members of my church believe our leaders are given direction from the Lord. Just like my coach knows more about running, most of us know from personal experience that the Lord knows more than we do. It is because of our faith in Him, we do not drink coffee or tea because we are directed to do so by the Lord’s prophets.

 I know that I have and will continue to be blessed by following the Word of Wisdom. I know that my Father in Heaven wants what is best for me, and is trying to protect me. I believe that He will always guide me down the right path, and help me through difficult times. That is why I’m not afraid to follow these teachings.

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