“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;”

D&C 89:18

We usually talk about this scripture when we are referencing the Lord’s health law, and talking about how beer, cigarettes, coffee, tea, and caffeinated diet coke (the last one only applies to BYU campus) are the stuff we should stay away from. This part of the scripture is where we are told that we will have physical health and strength if we obey the word of wisdom.

It is a bit interesting that the promised blessings for health are not strictly given by obedience to “these sayings” meaning the word of wisdom, but keeping the word of wisdom AND walking in obedience to the commandments. So, we can’t just eat brussels sprouts, carrots and spinach and expect to be perfectly healthy, its a little more than that.

But I want to concentrate a little more on the next two phrases in the promise, “health in their navel”, and “marrow to their bones”

Does this phrase sound familiar? Is there anywhere else that we hear this promise? If this promise does sound familiar to us, then it is likely that we are, in fact, “walking in obedience to the commandments” by being where we ought to be as often as we can, in the Lord’s house.

The temple teaches us what we are ready to learn, when we are ready to learn it. If we are casual visitors to the Lord’s house, we tend to learn and understand things taught there in a more straightforward way.  Like any relationship, it starts in a simple get to know you kind of way. We may feel a bit nervous when we speak, and we are worried about saying the right thing etc. But, if we go often, and attend regularly, the familiarity with what we listen to and say, allows us to concentrate more on the feeling we get there. We look for deeper understanding that comes when our “confidence waxes strong” This, in turn, allows our spirit to be the learner. We then maybe start to see or hear, or even say things a bit differently, in a way we didn’t quite grasp before.

Lets take the first one, “health in their navel” and think about it for a minute. Does this seems a bit odd for a belly button to be the body part associated with good health? I guess all the cool body parts were taken already? Health in their colon didn’t quite have the same ring to it, I guess. But maybe not. What is just below the surface? Could it mean anything a little more?

What is the navel anyway? besides an awesome place to collect lint, and a great place for kids to stick peas they don’t want to eat, it is a permanent reminder of the umbilical cord. That essential lifeline that once connected us to our mothers, this lifeline fed us, took care of us, helped us grow and develop. From a mother’s perspective, it is a connection, or link, to “posterity”.  Maybe “health in the navel” can mean more than a tummy that doesn’t hurt, or overall health. Maybe we can look at it as a healthy connection, or link to our “posterity”, or a “healthy” connection or link to those who have gone before us? We do learn about these important links in the temple each time we go.

Now, what about the second promise? “Marrow to their bones”. Most people know the basics of bone marrow. It is hugely important in many different ways for our bodies.  It produces red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and also where certain stem cells can be harvested.  If our body were a society, the bone marrow would be the only place where every car, or transport vehicle was built.  That would include all the cop cars (complete with police officers ready to arrest and execute bad guys) and every delivery truck that carries food, and fuel. It would also be where all the garbage trucks are made. It would also be where all the universal spare parts are produced that would be needed to repair any item anywhere. Without bone marrow, you are in a world of hurt. Having marrow in our bones, is really more like having life in our body.

These two blessings are just a drop in the bucket of what we can receive through God’s power and His priesthood. But, if we continue to be where we need to be, and do what we need to do, and visit His house often, He will bless us with His power, and we will be forever connected to our families both in the past and for the future. Just imagine the eternal chain we are creating! Next time we are in God’s house, lets pay special attention to the words we say, and contemplate and ask ourselves, “how do my words affect both me and my posterity”?