“When God, science, and logic all line up”

Greg WilliamsBy: Greg Williams

It is hard to communicate the love of junk food and meat I have maintained throughout my short 26 years. Because my mom was careful to ensure we had primarily healthy options at home, I frequently raided my cousins’ and friends’ pantry and cupboards when I was invited over for play dates or sleepovers. I relished the white bread and sugary cold cereal. I snarfed down candy bars and gobbled up anything with a hint of sugar. What a great treat after being restricted to whole wheat, home made bread, and oatmeal! For my birthday one year my mom got me a package of steaks, and a year later she gave me some beef sticks. She knew me well and was good enough to indulge me.

As a missionary my love of food grew. Serving in the U.S. I ate as much lasagna, burgers, and whatever I could each night and agreed to third and fourth servings of dessert. The members were always emphatic that “missionaries need lots of food!” and I was quick to agree with them. That was the life! Of course I gained 13 pounds after just 3 weeks in the MTC and nearly 40 pounds in the mission field. When I met and married my wife she often noted my funny way of choosing meals at restaurants. “How big is it?” was (and often still is) my primary question. While I had gained some weight, I wouldn’t say I was unnaturally big. Indeed I didn’t really even feel I had a problem. What I wasn’t as thoughtful about was how this way of eating might be influencing other aspects of my life, including my spirit.

Over a year ago, my wife and I made a drastic change (documented in a blog post, “Our New Diet”). My father had given us a copy of Jane Birch’s book, Discovering the Word of Wisdom for Christmas (2013). After reading it, we agreed to give it a shot for at least three months and see how it went. Remarkable things happened for me physically, including the elimination of headaches that were once prevalent, an abundance of energy, and a newly discovered joy in eating foods I had once considered beyond touching with a fork! I also continued to lose weight and settled down at a point that I was at in probably 8th grade. Often I would wonder, is this a good or a bad thing that I weigh so little?! I consider it a good thing since I have more energy than ever before, continue to exercise each day, and feel wonderful. I finished a triathlon earlier this year and have almost beat my mile time set my freshman year of high school. That is pretty crazy!

Beyond physical health, I feel closer to the Lord. I’ve learned to better manage my desires, and have come to rule my appetite rather than be ruled by it. To be a true disciple of Christ I feel it is essential for me to truly “lay aside every sin that doth easily beset me.” Eating meat, sugary junk, and other foods that are so common place may or may not be a sin in and of itself, but for me I felt like my addiction to those things was separating me from the Lord in a way I had not previously considered. While I don’t live this diet 100% (I use a little oil, have an egg once and a while, eat meat every blue moon, and have a piece of pie on special occasions) my 95% whole food plant-based way of life has brought me more in tune with my own body, and with my loving Creator.

When God, science, and logic all line up in a row, we should really pay attention!

(Here is a short video presentation on the Word of Wisdom Greg did for his speech class in 2014.)

Greg Williams is 26 years old. Jumping from education to video production with instructional design on the side, Greg is happily confused about what he is most excited about. He lives in Provo with his wife and son (with a daughter on the way!).

Comments

  1. I’ve been privileged to work with Greg in my work at the BYU Faculty Center, and now we are collaborating on a short video on the Word of Wisdom. He is an awesome and talented individual! Thanks for sharing your story, Greg!

  2. Greg, my wife Melva and I just returned from our High Priest Group’s annual feast held in our High Priest Group leader’s back yard on the other side of their very nice swimming pool. Each couple or single person who attended from our ward with a few coming from the Murray Utah Stake level, brought what they most like to eat. Although my dear wife, Melva is not eating the whole food plant based way that I do she brought things she knew I would appreciate eating. Others also brought some things I could eat, but many brought different kinds of meat that many attending were happy to eat. I appreciated Melva’s choosing to eat mostly like I was. No one seemed to pay any attention to the different way she and I were eating.

    As usual both of us enjoyed this annual ward event despite my having to be choosy about what I ate, but that’s the way it often is when we attend church events such as this one. I’m pretty sure that if I had told anyone there that I was eating “The Word of Wisdom Way” they would have scoffed at what I was saying. I have learned to not mention the Word of Wisdom when I’m eating with most other LDS people!

    I particularly enjoyed reading the following which I just copied from what you submitted above to my eldest child, Jane Birch:

    “Beyond physical health, I feel closer to the Lord. I’ve learned to better manage my desires, and have come to rule my appetite rather than be ruled by it. To be a true disciple of Christ I feel it is essential for me to truly “lay aside every sin that doth easily beset me.” Eating meat, sugary junk, and other foods that are so common place may or may not be a sin in and of itself, but for me I felt like my addiction to those things was separating me from the Lord in a way I had not previously considered. While I don’t live this diet 100% (I use a little oil, have an egg once and a while, eat meat every blue moon, and have a piece of pie on special occasions) my 95% whole food plant-based way of life has brought me more in tune with my own body, and with my loving Creator.

    When God, science, and logic all line up in a row, we should really pay attention!”

    I wish more of our ward and the few stake members who were in attendance at the event described above would always eat in accordance with the the Lord’s guidance given Section 89, verses 10 though 21 other than the about three others of us who I know eat that way who were there. I wish each one of my fellow ward and stake members who were there were eating just like you described you are doing in the preceding sentence/paragraph which was a part of my quote from what you had written that I copied just above!

    Neil Birch

    “When God, science, and logic all line up in a row, we should really pay attention!””

    • Yes, it would make this way of eating a little easier for me if our culture experienced a little shift! In time I think it can and will, if folks like you keep doing what you are doing in a spirit of humility and love. Thanks for your encouragement and kind words!

  3. I smile at what we consider “sparingly” to mean. I eat Brussels sprouts sparingly. I was not eating meat sparingly even when I thought I had “cut back”. I now “plan” not to eat animal products. I was recently invited to a friend’s house for dinner. Her main course contained meat. I said nothing and enjoyed the meal. After all, as my daughter pointed out, it’s not like I’ve never tasted meat before. I’ve eaten it in abundance all my life. Once in awhile we can consume what is presented to us without comment, eat seconds on the salad and vegetables and we won’t be harmed. Also our host won’t be embarrassed. For ward functions I coordinate with the few other vegans I know and we are assured to have plenty to eat. It’s been a challenge to make such a drastic change but my husband and I are seeing the benefits. He has stopped taking his blood pressure medication now. He checks it daily and has found that if it goes up, a little that exercise will bring it right down. Thank you for you book!

  4. I really enjoyed your story, Greg. Keep up the good work. Also, Brother Birch, I could so identify with your comments about the high priests’ group dinners. Fortunately, many of the sister bring lots of good salads we can eat as an alternative, like your Melva did for you. Maybe it’s time for you and Melva to invite over to your house some of those high priests and their wives to enjoy a WFPB dinner. I know when my daughter was married June 1st last year, her reception afterwards was entirely vegan. The guests were so surprised at how yummy the food was. I think lots of people think we just eat over-boiled carrot every day! They just might be pleasantly surprised! Again, Greg, what a blessing that you and your wife have listened to the words of the Lord and changed your way of eating to help you avoid some of the health pitfalls of standard American life. I, too, have found my mind clearer since changing to the WFPB diet.

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