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Old 04-10-2012, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
12,899 posts, read 18,442,586 times
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So as a last ditch effort to save my failing marriage, I agreed to go sit with my wife in church every Sunday. Yes, I know it's like playing with happy, smiling rattlesnakes, but what can a gentile do?

Anyway, I was reading over some LDS doctrine and happened across the "word of wisdom"; the part that says mormons can't drink or smoke anything fun.

Doctrine and Covenants 89*

So read over this and tell me if I'm I crazy, but it doesn't say THOU SHALL NOT DRINK ALCOHOL at all!

Here's how it starts (from the same link)

"1 A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
2 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—"

I read this and hear: "Hey, this stuff isn't mandatory m'kay? but it is a good idea so listen up and at least think about it, so yea... wanna go down to the pub after church?"

Moving along...

So no strong drinks, no hot drinks, no tobacco (I'm OK with that one), can only drink wine you made yourself (Utah is still mad at California I guess)... but what about this?

"16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit 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."

Hmm... what is a "mild drink" made of grain?

Oh Yea, I remember !!!



So bottoms up Mormons everywhere, your own prophet and founder says it's OK! Just don't get toasted.

Of course it begs the question of why it isn't OK today when JS clearly said it's merely a "suggestion" in the first place and even goes so far as to say beer itself is actually good for mankind! Perhaps one of our resident LDS scholars could chime in (*ahem* that's your queue, Katz ).

Last edited by Chango; 04-10-2012 at 08:46 AM..
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
21,259 posts, read 20,859,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Of course it begs the question of why it isn't OK today when JS clearly said it's merely a "suggestion" in the first place and even goes so far as to say beer itself is actually good for mankind! Perhaps one of our resident LDS scholars could chime in (*ahem* that's your que, Katz ).
You don't want to involve me in this one, Chango. I've known for years that Section 89 of the D&C was given "not as a commandment," and have struggled with the importance the Church today puts on it. Personally, I hate beer and about 99% of drinks made with hard liquor, but I really would enjoy having a glass of wine with my dinner. I seriously think that, overall, the "Word of Wisdom" is a good thing. Statisically, practicing Mormons are healthier than the general population (this has been shown in studies done at UCLA), and avoiding alcohol completely would certainly prevent people who are predisposed to alcoholism from every ending up as alcoholics, but still, I agree that the revelation was given as "a word of wisdom" and not as "a commandment." (Don't expect your wife to buy into your logic, though. I think she's probably a bit more conservative on such things than I am.)
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
12,899 posts, read 18,442,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
You don't want to involve me in this one, Chango. I've known for years that Section 89 of the D&C was given "not as a commandment," and have struggled with the importance the Church today puts on it. Personally, I hate beer and about 99% of drinks made with hard liquor, but I really would enjoy having a glass of wine with my dinner. I seriously think that, overall, the "Word of Wisdom" is a good thing. Statisically, practicing Mormons are healthier than the general population (this has been shown in studies done at UCLA), and avoiding alcohol completely would certainly prevent people who are predisposed to alcoholism from every ending up as alcoholics, but still, I agree that the revelation was given as "a word of wisdom" and not as "a commandment." (Don't expect your wife to buy into your logic, though. I think she's probably a bit more conservative on such things than I am.)
But do you know where the absolute prohibition came in? Is it because of Prohibition in the 1920's maybe?
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
But do you know where the absolute prohibition came in? Is it because of Prohibition in the 1920's maybe?
I think this is pretty likely. In 1921, under the leadership of Heber J. Grant, "living the Word of Wisdom" became a prerequisite for receiving a temple recommend. The timing is interesting enough that I think you may be onto something.

(Sorry, I'm not much fun, am I?)

By the way, is this what you edited? "(*ahem* that's your queue, Katz )." A "queue" is a line; you meant "cue."
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
12,899 posts, read 18,442,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
By the way, is this what you edited? "(*ahem* that's your queue, Katz )." A "queue" is a line; you meant "cue."
I'm trying to post when I'm supposed to be working. There is no time for the proper use of the English language.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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Chango,

From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (Word of Wisdom - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism )

Quote:
The introduction to the 1835 printing of the revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants indicated that it was given as counsel or advice rather than as a binding commandment, though the revelation states that it was "adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints" (D&C 89:3). Compliance with its teachings was sporadic from the late 1830s until the early years of the twentieth century. The Church encouraged leaders to be an example to the people in abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee; but no binding Church policy was articulated during this time.
The prohibition movement, spearheaded by the Protestant Evangelical churches in America, focused on alcohol consumption as a political rather than a moral issue. The movement intensified the Church's interest in the Word of Wisdom. There is evidence that Church Presidents John Taylor, Joseph F. Smith, and Heber J. Grant wanted to promote adherence to the Word of Wisdom as a precondition for entering LDS temples or holding office in any Church organization; and indeed, by 1930 abstinence from the use of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea had become an official requirement for those seeking temple recommends. While abstinence from these substances is now required for temple attendance and for holding priesthood offices or other Church callings, no other ecclesiastical sanctions are imposed on those who do not comply with the Word of Wisdom.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hueffenhardt View Post
Chango,

From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (Word of Wisdom - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism )
Interesting. I stand corrected. I thought it was in 1921, but you're saying 1930. (Just goes to show you can't always trust Wiki. )
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
Interesting. I stand corrected. I thought it was in 1921, but you're saying 1930. (Just goes to show you can't always trust Wiki. )
It does say "by 1930", which could include a big change in 1921. I never really cared enough to nail it down to an exact year. So, Wiki and the Encyclopedia of Mormonism may both be right.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
12,899 posts, read 18,442,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hueffenhardt View Post
Chango,

From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (Word of Wisdom - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism )
Hmmmm. So it really just boils down to a "club requirement" set in place by church leaders with political motivations rather than an actual moral "commandment from god" as it is otherwise presented to modern day rank-and-file members?

...And since it is a requirement for leadership positions, it ends up being just another tool to test the loyalty of members for prospective management and leadership postions in the church (i.e. the current power structure maintaining itself by choosing only people of like mind and opinion.)

I always thought it was more like the Jewish Kosher laws, interpreted directly from "ancient texts" as the "word of god". Gotta love bureaucracy.

Last edited by Chango; 04-10-2012 at 09:47 AM..
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,108 posts, read 2,422,797 times
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But, while we are on the topic of the Word of Wisdom, I thought I'd share a little about its possible origins.

Most Mormons have heard a familiar story about Emma, Joseph Smith's wife, being sick of cleaning up tobacco spit in the School of the Prophets. Below is a condensed version of the story from an LDS Sunday School lesson for children:

Quote:
The School of the Prophets met often to discuss the gospel and Church business. Many of the men smoked or chewed tobacco during the meetings. (You may want to explain that at this time people did not know that tobacco was bad for their bodies.) The first thing the brethren did when they gathered for meetings was light their pipes. They smoked as they talked, and when they were not smoking they would chew tobacco. As they chewed the tobacco, they would spit it all over the floor. Joseph Smith did not like teaching the school “in a cloud of tobacco smoke,” and Emma Smith did not like cleaning up the mess the men made with their pipes and chewing tobacco (Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 12:158).

On 27 February 1833 Joseph Smith entered the room where the School of the Prophets was held. The room was filled with tobacco smoke. Joseph had just come from the clean outside air, and the smell of smoke offended him. He left the room and asked the Lord what he should do about the situation. The Lord answered Joseph’s prayer with the revelation we now call the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89).
I don't dispute the story, but I did find this bit of history also informative. The following is from the Tanner's book, "Changing World":

Quote:
It has been suggested that the temperance movement led to Joseph Smith's "Word of Wisdom." Leonard J. Arrington, who has since become church historian, provides this enlightening information:
In recent years a number of scholars have contended that the revelation is an outgrowth of the temperance movement of the early nineteenth century. According to Dean D. McBrien .... the Word of Wisdom was a remarkable distillation of the prevailing thought of frontier America in the early 1830's. Each provision in the revelation, he claimed, pertained to an item which had formed the basis of widespread popular agitation in the early 1830's:

Quote:
"A survey of the situation existing at Kirtland when the revelation came forth is a sufficient explanation for it. The temperance wave had for some time been engulfing the West.... In 1826 Marcus Morton had founded the American Temperance Society.... In June, 1830, the Millenial Harbinger quoted ... an article from the Philadelphia 'Journal of Health,'... which article most strongly condemned the use of alcohol, tobacco, the eating intemperately of meats.... Temperance Societies were organized in great numbers during the early thirties, six thousand being formed in one year... On October 6, 1830, the Kirtland Temperance Society was organized with two hundred thirty nine members.... This society at Kirtland was a most active one.... it revolutionized the social customs of the neighborhood."
McBrien then goes ahead to point out that the Temperance Society succeeded in eliminating a distillery in Kirtland on February 1, 1833, just twenty-seven days before the Latter-day Saint revelation counseling abstinence was announced, and that the distillery at Mentor, near Kirtland, was also closed at the same time (Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1959, pp. 39-40).

In his book The Burned-Over District, pages 211-12, Whitney R. Cross points out that "the temperance movement ... began much earlier... During the 1830's it attained national scope. ... Further, if alcohol was evil because it frustrated the Lord's design for the human body, other drugs like tea, coffee, and tobacco must be equally wrong ... Josiah Bissell.... had even before the 1831 revival 'got beyond Temperance to the Cold Water Society—no tea, coffee or any other slops.' "
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