Sunday, November 30, 2008

Some definitions in the Word of Wisdom promise

Did you know the Webster’s 1829 dictionary gives along with its definitions a lot of scriptures? It’s religiously oriented. I learned about it in Relief Society a few weeks ago and it was interesting to hear a few of the alternate meanings of common words as they were used back in 1829 around the time that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized. They bring some special meaning that I hadn’t considered before.

Let’s take the promise to those who follow the health code of the Word of Wisdom:
18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
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.
21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.
(Doctrine & Covenants 89:18-21)
One part that has always puzzled me was that part about “shall walk and not faint”. Here’s what I found out using the Webster’s 1829 dictionary online:

To walk

In Scripture, to live and act or behave; to pursue a particular course of life.[1]

To faint

1. To lose the animal functions; to lose strength and color, and become senseless and motionless; to swoon; sometimes with away. he fainted for loss of blood.
2. To become feeble; to decline or fail in strength and vigor; to be weak.
3. To sink into dejection; to lose courage or spirit.
4. To decay; to disappear; to vanish.[2]

So, if I understand correctly, it seems that along with the other well-known promises in the above verses, the Lord promises that by avoiding what we know we are supposed to avoid and by eating what we are supposed to eat, we will be able to act and behave as Saints without sinking into dejection or losing courage or becoming weak. This is a wonderful promise for times when opposition increases and we need an extra measure of courage and fortitude to do what is right.

I testify that I know that this promise is fulfilled. I have experienced it in my own life.

From Webster’s 1829 Dictionary (