Why Wheat for Man? (D&C 89:17)

By Jane Birch 

I have addressed the more general question about grain, wheat, and gluten in the following articles

See: Discovering the Word of Wisdom: All Grain Is Good

See: Discovering the Word of Wisdom: The Danger of Displacing Grain

See: Discovering the Word of Wisdom: Wheat for Man

Also: Gluten, Wheat, Grain (and other food sensitivities)

Why did the Lord specifically mention “wheat for man”? Out all the other grains He could have chosen, why single out wheat?

I love wheat. It is one of the important grains ordained by God to be the “staff of life,” and the only one He mentions specifically as being “for man.” I believe that for the vast majority of human beings, it is a health-promoting food, but when the Lord says “wheat for man,” I do not believe this necessarily means that wheat is the most nutritious of all the grains for human beings, or that we necessarily need to be eating wheat regularly, much less daily. I also do not believe people with Celiac Disease (or those sensitive to gluten) should feel guilty about not eating wheat. Nor do I believe it means that the Asian Latter-day Saints need to give up rice and start eating wheat instead.

I believe there may be several reasons why the Lord proclaimed “wheat for man.” I certainly don’t have a complete answer, but here is one possibility.

All grains are good, but wheat is especially good for long-term storage. It can easily last 30 years or even longer. Think of Joseph in Egypt, how he stored wheat in times of plenty for times of need. What a lifesaver that was! We have that story not just to inspire us of things that happened in the past but also to instruct us of how to prepare for the future.

We have been commanded by God to prepare food storage. Of all the things we store, wheat is one of the very best, if not the best. Many saints have lots and lots of wheat in their basements. Many more of us need to be buying much more wheat and other commodities to store. Whether we are gluten intolerant or not, we all need wheat for the future: to eat or to barter or to save the lives of our family and friends.

Satan surely knows all this. Some say that he is behind the “changing of the wheat.” I have addressed this issue in other articles. I will just say that it is more likely in my mind that he is behind the attack against wheat. I hope and pray that this anti-grain, anti-wheat message has not encouraged anyone to throw out the wheat that they (or their family) has stored over the years or discouraged them from buying more.

If you have wheat, no matter how old it is, I would encourage you to not throw it out. If you don’t have at least a one-year storage of wheat, I encourage you to get it now (see below). You do not know but when that wheat will be more valuable to you than gold.

Purchase wheat from LDS Home Storage Centers:

Find a local center or Order on-line


Don’t forget: All grain is good and ordained to be the “staff of life” *D&C 89:14, 16)

While I don’t think we need to necessarily consume wheat regularly, I do believe we need to make grains the “staff of life.” The Lord tells us in D&C 89 that they are specifically ordained for that purpose.

There are plenty of grains to choose from! If you can’t tolerate gluten, choose from among the many other grains. If you feel you can’t presently tolerate any grains, do all you can to eat a healthy whole food, plant-based diet. Focus on other starches if you can: potatoes, root vegetables, winter squashes, beans, peas, and lentils. Over time, most people in this condition will heal enough so that they can tolerate one or more of the wonderful grains. Some even heal enough to tolerate gluten with no problem!


See also: Discovering the Word of Wisdom: Surprising Insights from a Whole Food, Plant-based Perspective by Jane Birch

Last updated: June 30, 2016


  1. Thanks Jane. I agree with your ideas here. I have a couple tons of wheat, which I personally won’t be able to use. Still, I hesitated to give it away when we moved. Even though I can’t eat it, we brought it with our other belongings for the very purposes you outlined: barter and calories/nutrition for other family members. It is entirely acceptable to the Lord that I store other grains I can eat, since ‘all grain is ordained for the use of man.’

  2. After the grain has been processed into white flour with the nutrients removed and a few vitamins added back in it can hardly be called a grain anymore. It becomes tasteless, fiberless with little nutrition and a paste to the digestive system. Huge corporations doing everything to maximize profits put it in everything that you have to actually expect it to be in every processed food. Where there fiberless white bleached flour is, there sugar sitting right next to it. White flour and white sugar are like brothers or sisters. The food industry has been hijacked by big food industry to maximize profits and the expense of peoples health. Look at the obesity rates and people you and I know. I suggest you address the quality of the grains. The word of wisdom was written in 1833 and is a brief overview of dietary habits on a personal level and does not go into details. Science gives us the details

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