I want to do something a little different today.
If you've had the chance to read my personal history as far as some of the things that made me change my mind on the view of animal products as food, you've seen the short paragraph about my family history. I hope that my extended family on my dad's side won't feel like I'm overstepping boundaries as I share some of this with you. My dad included.
While my dad was on his mission to Australia (he's the youngest of 5 kids), his mother, my Grandma Norma passed away from cancer. From one of the tapes that I've listened to that Grandma Norma sent him on his mission, she was trying to be a voice of comfort, but I could hear that she was in a lot of pain--as anyone who's gone through that gauntlet would agree.
I never met her, but from the stories I've heard, she was an absolutely amazing woman who's turn on this earth, I feel, was cut unnecessarily short. For some reason, I've always felt really tied to her, and I've always wanted to meet her.
As I have dug deeper into my family history and found similarly fascinating women...who's lives ended before they should have, it's really moved me. Part of it has been fear. Fear of letting that happen to me. But part of that, has been a deep stirring of the spirit.
I've felt, as I've studied and learned more about the Word of Wisdom, that Heavenly Father is waiting for us to search it and see things as he does. He's giving us the agency...even with what we eat...to determine how long we'll be on this earth.
Now, I know that a car could come out of nowhere and kill me tomorrow. But what if it doesn't? And what if it doesn't the day after that? Or the day after that? What decisions am I going to make to lengthen my time here?
That's one of the things I love about the Word of Wisdom--it's a guide on food from a perfect being. It's not doctors and specialists and dieticians and nutrition experts. It's my God, instructing me on the choices that I could make in order to lengthen my time on this earth. To make the most of this imperfect body he's given me.
In the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 9:27, the scripture reads, "...wo unto him...that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!" And I'll come back to this scripture.
From Adam down to Noah, people on this earth seemed to live unnaturally long lives. Vampires? No:) But their life spans extended to almost 1,000 years. Methuselah reportedly lived to the age of 969. It was just before the great flood that God announced to Noah that a human's lifespan would be reduced (see Genesis 6:3). "...Yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."
There are only maybe a handful of places in the world today that mankind actually reaches ages close to 120 regularly. Even with all the medical advancements and technology available, the average age of death is 75.
What's interesting, is if you read Psalms 90:10, it's LAMENTED that life spans were down to the age of 70 ("threescore years and ten").
That lament was 2400 years ago. Before the modern day.
Brigham Young, who said some very controversial things in life, but was also a true prophet of the Lord, said, "It is an unusual circumstance to see a man a hundred years old, or a woman ninety. The people have laid the foundation of short life through their diet." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 187)
That was long before modern day. Before processed foods. Before the over abundance of meat and dairy. Before the overuse of sugar. Before all of that. Even then, meat and dairy was a staple of life. I've read letters and journals of my ancestors, talking about who made the best roast or the best dish centered around some type of meat.
It's become our culture.
Is that span of 120 years unattainable? Were the scriptures just taunting us? If we're not willing to pay the price by being strict to the guidelines of the Word of Wisdom...it will be unattainable.
However, I have a deep testimony that by strictly obeying the Word of Wisdom and verses such as Genesis 9:10-11 (the Joseph Smith Translation)...that meat is to be eaten only in times of famine or extreme hunger, that blood shall not be shed (only for meat to save our lives)...that that 120 year lifespan is not only attainable, but that those later years can be enjoyable with our children and grandchildren without being in horrible bodily pain.
God wants us to have as much time on this earth as we can until he calls us back. He wants us to show obedience. He wants us to show humility to his will. Let us not "waste the days of our probation." I feel we can attain a long life of HEALTH and HAPPINESS by doing so.