There are so many reasons I decided to start Project Love Your Body. I love fitness, nutrition, and living a healthy lifestyle. I love writing, and I love sharing things that I learn. I am also so saddened by the negative body obsession I see in so many women today, and I want to start a movement of women who love their bodies—love them enough to truly respect and care for them.
But it’s even bigger than that. I believe some things about the body—about OUR bodies—that make this project a mission for me, almost like I’ve been called to it. As a member of the LDS church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), I have learned and have come to believe some things about the body that I want to shout to the world! Things that I think are often misunderstood, dismissed, or taken for granted by many who have also been taught them. And so today I want to share some of my most important beliefs about the body, and how those beliefs motivate me to LOVE my body.
For those not of my faith, you may or may not believe all of what I share here. That’s okay! I love you regardless of whether we agree. But figure out what you DO believe about the body and how it relates to your spiritual journey. Then examine how those basic beliefs can move you toward a beautiful, healthy, more loving relationship with your body.
I believe that our bodies are a gift from God. In 1 Cor. 3:16-17, perhaps the most famous scripture about the body, we learn that the body is a temple, and that it is a holy place where the Spirit of God may dwell. A temple!! Imagine giving someone a temple. This is no small thing! And God gave every one of us a unique one, created in His image, but completely unlike anybody else’s. We “shouted for joy” (Job. 38:7) in response to the plan for us come to earth and gain a body. Our Heavenly Father knew that we needed to experience mortality in order to learn, progress, and ultimately be prepared to once again enter His presence. We did too. And we knew that “mortality” meant pain, illness, and even disability in our bodies. But we knew that this “mortality” was the only way we could also learn to have joy. Without struggle, there is no growth. And without sadness, there is no joy. We needed the wonderful gift of a mortal body to experience it all.
I believe that our bodies are ours for the long haul. I think this is one that we all can agree on. Because whether you believe that death is the end, or whether you believe in a resurrection, other than a short separation between death and the resurrection, you will live in your body for your entire existence. You won’t receive somebody else’s body after the resurrection; you will get your own. And you will be thrilled to have it back! In Doctrine and Covenants 138 it talks about what happens to our spirits during that separation from the body that happens at death. And while we often think of that separation from our body as a relief (as it may well be for those who have suffered horrible sickness and pain), I find it interesting that “the dead had looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as a bondage” (v. 50). Bondage! Apparently, there are things about being embodied that make us free. Good thing we will have them for the long haul.
I believe that at the time of the resurrection, our spirits and bodies will be reunited permanently, and our bodies will be perfected. It is only in this resurrected state that we can “receive a fullness of joy” (D&C 93:33). If you are LDS, you will be familiar with this scripture—Alma 40:23—which states that after the Resurrection, made possible by our Savior, Jesus Christ, “the soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.” We love this promise, right? We look forward to the day that our bodies will be perfected. Now, let me be clear—I’m going to put my own interpretation on this. So, from the gospel of Taffy, I don’t think this scripture means that when we are resurrected, we will all have a body that looks just like Angelina Jolie’s or (insert body idol here). No. Heavenly Father did not create just one perfect body, and mess up on all the rest of ours. I believe that the “perfect body” we will have will be our own body, with its own unique size, shape, eye color, skin color, and everything else that makes it only ours. However, it will have all the body parts—and yes, all the hair—and it will function perfectly. Because it will now be immortal, it will not be subject to illness, injury, or aging, which will be amazing! But if I am looking forward to trading my body in for somebody else’s, I think I will be disappointed. So love the body you have, and look forward to the day that it becomes your body, perfected.
I believe that our spirits are eternal, and that the spirit/body relationship we have here on earth will continue with us. We learn in Alma 34:34 that “that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.” The scripture is talking about being unrepentant when we die, and then suddenly wanting to repent afterward, and that that isn’t how it works. But I believe that it also means that if I am greedy when I die, I will still be greedy. If I am charitable, I will carry that trait with me. If I am negative and sulky, I won’t suddenly be a cheerful spirit when I get to the other side. Our spiritual self is developed throughout this life, and then we continue to develop it afterward. It doesn’t change in an instant. And so guess what? Whatever attitudes we develop about our bodies will not suddenly be changed once we are rid of them, or even after we are reunited with them. If we are waiting, just enduring this horrible body we have, and then are shocked in the resurrection that we didn’t get Angelina’s perfect body, maybe the resurrection won’t be as joyous as it was intended to be.
These beliefs are so incredibly motivating to me! I want to embrace this gift God has given to me. It is unique, it is mine, and it will be for eternity. I want to celebrate its uniqueness. I want to do all I can to learn to love it, to care for it, to respect it. I want my spirit and my body to be intimate friends—the kind that will miss each other greatly when we are separated, and then be ecstatic to be reunited eternally. I want to truly love my body, no matter how big the project. And I want you all to want to, too.
Love your body, and your body will love you. ♥