Mormons and the Word of Wisdom
First off, I would like to respectfully request that this thread doesn't derail/devolve into an argument about the truthfulness or accuracy of the LDS faith, God, or organized religion in general. That has been discussed ad nauseum in multiple other threads. My intent is not to question the validity of the church, but rather to gain some specific insight from other perspectives.
So you understand, I'm happy in the church. I fulfill my calling, pay my tithing, do my home teaching, etc. This works for me, and my family, and I don't have any qualms with the basic doctrine, either. I have several minor issues with the culture that has evolved within the membership, particularly in Utah, but this is generally of little consequence in regard to my faith. I also have major questions about blacks and the priesthood, but have already pursued that to a dead end. I don't believe I will ever find a satisfying answer in this life. As it was "corrected", I'm willing (begrudgingly) to let it be, for now.
The Word of Wisdom, however, has me more than a little baffled. Basically, my concerns are related to interpretation of the WoW, and how it has evolved.
1. Is the WoW a commandment? It's taught as a commandment, and adherence to it is required to gain admission into an LDS temple. But verse 2 reads:
That seems pretty clear cut to me. What am I missing?
...To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint
, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days...
2. The membership seems to practice (and the authorities allow) selective obedience. Within the WoW, there are several items which are obeyed with militant zeal, while others are acknowledged, but largely disregarded. I find it funny, in a sad way, that some are willing (eager) to thrust judgement and derision on someone who would, say, start his/her morning with a cup of coffee, then discuss (read: gossip) the matter of the sinner's damnation with other pious souls over a double cheeseburger and triple thick Oreo shake. Hypocrisy, really. The Wow promises:
So, essentially, if you cannot "run and not be weary", you aren't living the WoW correctly.
18 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;
19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
3. Interpretation of the relative importance of the WoW has changed over the course of the history of the church. There is plenty of documentation that the WoW was initially observed casually, not only by the membership, but by church authorities, including the prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. B.Y. encouraged the membership, if they were going to break the WoW, they should at least profit in it also.
Also, I have read (I don't have any links to back this, nor do I know it to be 100% accurate) that the supplies "punch list" that was given to members preparing to trek across the plains included coffee.
I apologize of I'm overlooking something, but exactly what "mild drink", made from barley, are we talking about here? I know that mormons owned and operated breweries and wineries in the early history of SLC (well after the WoW was received). And that, historically, beer is considered a mild drink. Perhaps, I'm totally in left field with this one, so any insight is appreciated.
16 All grain is good for the afood of man; as also the bfruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—
17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks
, as also other grain.
For the record, I have not taken my concerns directly to my bishop. He is truly a nice guy, very understanding and compassionate, but I feel like I already know what he's going to tell me. I have, however, taken the matter to God. I have been praying about it, with real intent, that I would understand and/or be able to see some sense and consistency in it. So far, I haven't. But I plan on staying with that tactic for a while.
Like I said, my overall faith is not going to be shattered over this. And there are other questions which may be even more important. But this is what is nagging at me right now. TIA.
Hats off. It takes guts to be devout yet admit to having questions. I believe every believer, regardless of faith, has some number of questions. I appreciate the honesty much more than those that come off as being a perfect member within the perfect church/religion. We're all flawed.
For me personally I see it as a healthy life style code. I drink about 3 Cokes a day. Truth be told that is probably worse for me than a beer at dinner. I think the WoW has been interpreted by men the way all things eventually are. You have those that follow the letter of the law and those that follow the spirit. I think I lean far more towards the spirit of the law personally.
I see the people that drink 5 sodas a day as less adherent to the WoW than the guy that has a beer with dinner. Moderation my friends, moderation. Now I also think certain things are down right a violation of the WoW such as heroin.
Back then the leaders appeared to be more spirit of the law men and now they are more letter of the law. Just my perspective.
Bronco, for what it's worth, I'm with you regarding this subject. I would much rather my teen get up in the morning and have a cup of black coffee than drink a 32 oz. soda at lunch. No way you can tell me that the coffee is worse than the soda.
I agree with this completely.
Originally Posted by Scat
Its funny because I have been thinking about this alot lately. I think the church just totally bans stuff because they can be super super addictive.
-I enjoy a cup of coffee maybe 10 times a year
-I have had a beer on vacations maybe 3 times a year
-I will eat a hamburger 2-3 times a month if that.
-I dont do drugs, abuse prescriptions drugs, not addicted to soda, candy, foood etc.
-I can honetly say Im not addcited to anything and eat healthy and exercise. Even though Im not perfect I believe I probably live a healthier life then most members I know.
I absolutely believe (as Stoked pointed out) that moderation is the key.
You're already a pretty damn funny dude, Bronco. I bet you'll make one helluvan entertaining drunk & I look forward to seeing this.
Put some respeck in my paycheck
Yep, just get drunk in moderation!
Originally Posted by franklin
You can drink in moderation without getting drunk. Really enjoy an ale with your steak or a glass of wine with that italian food? By all means...
Originally Posted by PKM
Now if you are going to get drunk then you might as well go for it. No use half assing at that point.
Dangit. I was hoping you could get drunk in moderation .. you know, just not too often..
Originally Posted by Stoked
By the way, other than my posts, this has been a very good thread.
Yea getting drunk throws that whole moderation thing out the window.
Not to sure where I fall on this subject... I have a friend cough.. Eric.. Cough that has come to the idea that the WOW is completely open to interpretation and always tells me about stuff he has read about past prophets and apostles not obeying the WOW completely. He doesn't really go to much against the taught WOW now, he mainly enjoys an Ice tea every day or so.
For me there has been time I have consumed alcohol knowingly and unknowingly, when I drank on my senior trip in Australia I felt like I was breaking the WOW and fully repented before I went on my mission a year later.
Today I follow the word of wisdom the same way I taught it on mission, no alcoholic drinks, no smoking or chewing tobacco, no illegal drugs and don't abuse prescription drugs!
But I don't really get down on those who casually follow the WOW!! Free agency yo!!
I have met Zulu more than once. With all my faults I am extremely good at reading people and let me tell you a little about Zulu (relevant);
Originally Posted by Zulu
This guy I respect as much as I possibly could. He lives his convictions the best he can. He admits he falls short, is imperfect. He can see when others should be trying harder to live a bit better, but refrains from judging. Having said that, I can tell he is legitimately concerned, but lives with a philosophy similar to "if not for the grace of God, there go I."
He has no pretentiousness about being better for the way he lives, but does feel a sense of healthy pride in the fact.
Bottom line is, he tries, recognizes he falls short. He doesn't look down his nose at others ..
Because of this, imo, he is a wonderful witness for his faith.
(I have had ZERO conversations with Zulu about religion or anything I discussed above .. I can just tell.)
One of the rules of my mission was that the missionaries were not supposed to drink the tap water. However, when you've been walking all day in 98 degree weather with 90% humidity, and a local offers you a glass of ice water, it's mighty hard to (1) tell them no, and (2) do it in a way that doesn't make you sound like a douche. Needless to say this was one of those rules that very few missionaries obeyed. However, there was a time in mission where my companion and I decided to be 100% obedient and basically challenge the Lord to his promise when he said, "I, the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." So we did everything by the book, which of course meant that no more tap water. I didn't keep it up for my whole mission and to be honest I never noticed a spike in "spirituality". However, I will say that the most successful time on my mission was during that time.