Sarah is a student at Brigham Young University and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the “Mormon Church” by friends of other faiths). She is currently taking a class where she was asked to write a paper about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ and her specific discipline in school (which is exercise science) are related. Mormons are counseled in modern-day scripture to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118). She shares her thoughts and feelings concerning this principle below:
I have chosen to pursue study in the field of medicine. Medicine is principally based on science and research based data. Science itself is seen as a field of study in which there are clear rights and wrongs. Something is fact, or it is not. There is very little room for interpretation of chemical reactions, quantitative results, and physiological and biological processes; however, some explanation can be made in regards to why certain chemical reactions occur, why quantitative results appear how they do, and why physiological and biological processes occur a certain way. Medicine is such a broad and yet vitally important field of study, and many important and ultimately life-saving details can be learned. Incorporating religion and the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the study of medicine can only bring positive results.
Our Father in Heaven, the creator of all things on this earth, designed our bodies so that all physiological and biological processes would work according to His plan. Every cell in our body has a particular role, all of which is in alignment with the plan of God. Granted, there are exceptions with different diseases and such. Scientific research and medicinal practices take place when the body is out of homeostasis physically. Revealed knowledge from prophetic leaders, other church officials, and personal revelation and medicinal research should complement each other. The Lord also has a ‘game plan’ so to speak that allows us to remain in that sense of balance.
The Lord has provided us with revealed teachings from our prophets, including the Word of Wisdom outlined in Latter-day Saint scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 89, which provides counsel concerning the health of and how we should take care of our bodies. In this section, the Lord teaches the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jun. and others he was with of the consequences of tobacco, hot drinks, herbs, meats, grains, etc. and what blessings, both physical and temporal, will come from following the command given to abide by this law. The Lord promises that “…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…And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint” (D&C 89: 18,20). Scientific research has also proven that abstaining from tobacco and hot drinks, along with regulating consumption meats, herbs, and grains, the human body can remain healthy and strong.
Science strongly supports the Word of Wisdom. Sometimes however, science and the Gospel do not always connect well. When this happens, it is vital that the Gospel comes first. The Gospel, the plan of happiness, is designed that we can be happy and return to our Father in Heaven as healthy and strong as we can be. The Lord would not place a commandment or principle of the Gospel that would harm us or make us unworthy to be in His presence. Revelation from the Lord can assist in medicine greatly. Sometimes there is so much information that things get over looked, or doctors and physicians do not know where to start. Having the Spirit and ability to receive personal revelation can assist in diagnosis, research and treatment.
In medicine I have found that relying on scientific information is important. Data analysis and results from tests are crucial; however, it is just as important to rely on principles of the Gospel and commands the Lord has given us. God has our best interest in mind and by using all of our resources, both medicine and the principles of the gospel, miracles can happen. Medicine should be sifted through the gospel, not the other way around.
Read/watch/listen to “Healing the Sick” by an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dallin H. Oaks.