Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Don't drink don't smoke - what do you do?

D&C Section 89
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

I was doing some reading about the Word of Wisdom and came upon something interesting. Before I get to my main point, I feel the need to give a little back story.

Now, after I graduated high School, I went to live with a former bishop of mine whose family had moved to Seattle. It was a chance to get away from Texas for a while and hopefully point my life in the right direction. While living up there, I was asked to speak at a fireside where different topics were being addressed. My topic was the WoW. In preparation, I asked Bishop for some insight on the subject. He asked me one question…”Is the WoW a commandment?” I thought about it for a second then I replied, “Yes”. He opened to section 89 and had me read the passage I quoted above. I was surprised to see that it says in very clear language, “not by commandment or constraint”. He explained to me how the revelation came about and that it was, at the time, a suggestion to the brethren. He left it at that and let me formulate my own opinions about it. I decided to ask his question to the group of youth there and they answered just like I had. I explained to them the same thing as best I could and then got into the traditional aspects of the revelation.

Over the years since, I have thought about that experience a lot. I could feel at the time how uncomfortable the leaders in the room felt when I told them that it was not a commandment. No one spoke to me about it but I always ask myself if I was right in saying that. After all, in the church today, you are asked very specific questions regarding the WoW and you must follow it to be considered a “member in good standing”.

Now, back to my current reading on the topic. I was again asking myself if I was right in teaching that so I began to read in Mormon Doctrine to see what McConkie had to say about it. I found what I expected. He states that it was not originally a commandment but was made one by Brigham Young. I then stumbled upon a quote by Joseph Smith made on April 7, 1838. The quote reads:

“No official member in this Church is worthy to hold an office after having the Word of Wisdom properly taught him, and he, the official member, neglecting to comply with and obey it.” (Teachings of The Prophet Joseph Smith p117)

The reason this quote struck me is because I read an account from History of the Church where, even up to the night before he was killed, Joseph Smith did not obey the WoW. The following account is from the night before his murder at Carthage Jail.

"The guard immediately sent for a bottle of wine, pipes, and two small papers of tobacco; and one of the guards brought them into the jail…Dr. Richards uncorked the bottle, and presented a glass to Joseph, who tasted, as also Brother Taylor…" (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 616)

At the time, the use of wine as part of the Sacrament was generally accepted but this was not the use here as confirmed by john Taylor.

"Sometime after dinner we sent for some wine. It has been reported that this was taken as a sacrament. It was no such thing; our spirits were generally dull and heavy, and it was sent to revive us." (History of the Church, vol. 7, p. 101)

Based on this account as well as others, and the quote by Joseph Smith in 1838, he himself should not have been worthy to hold the calling and office of Prophet.

This is just another example of the hypocrisy of Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church. I find it odd that in “worthiness interviews”, the only aspect of the WoW spoken of is abstaining from coffee, tea, and tobacco. They completely ignore the revelation that speaks of the good and healthy foods to eat and put no importance in being healthy as a requirement of worthiness. They choose to only follow/require the part of the revelation they want to enforce and the rest is just an afterthought in the last 2 minutes a Sunday school lesson. I have found that this is a typical practice of the church. They change their own doctrine to suit their needs at the time or to rationalize a behavior and then change it back at their convenience, acting as if nothing ever happened.


  1. Interesting and thought-provoking observations. As a vegetarian for almost 20 years, I was always curious as to why no one ever talked about not eating meat.

    But I see the bottom line as being following your own heart, questioning your beliefs (as you are doing), and respecting people for their differences in belief.

    But I've also seen so many scientific revelations that match up to the WoW that I don't question it so much anymore. :)

    I'll enjoy reading your journey, I think. Hope you don't mind comments!

  2. Kristy, nice to hear from you. I hope you are doing well. I welcome all comments here and am glad you enjoy what I write.

    The question I raise here is not so much about the health issues regarding the WoW but rather the hypocrisy evident in the way the church has dealt with and taught the principle. As it is with all scripture, it is up to each person to interpret it in their own way.

  3. I actually post on under yellowwallpaper. I just wanted to say that you brought up some really good points about the WoW. To most members of the Mormon church, it means that coffee and tea are inherently evil while gorging on a gallon of ice cream or eating a quadruple pounder at Burger King is no problem. How can people who are obese or very overweight, or even those that are anorexic or bulimic, say that their bodies are temples? Just because they don't drink or smoke, doesn't mean they're treating their bodies right. Why wouldn't that be an issue for a temple recommend?

  4. I think it is not an issue for a temple recommend because drinking and drugs can impair ones judgment and if you overeat you get full and sleepy and if you drink too much many bad things can occur to yourself or even others. Brigham Young made the WoW a binding law and so it is. From then on that was a law of the church and not simply an advisory deal. At that time everyone in the church and all around drank and did things contrary to the WoW. Sometimes the Lord will give us council to start us on the way down a righteous road and as we get stronger will add things to it to help us progress even more.

    I'm a little confused at why you keep studying "discrepancies" in Mormon doctrine and why you are not out searching and pondering all of the wonderful doctrines of some other church? I know for a fact that every church out there has tons of contradictions. But if you've found the One I'm sure all of us would like to hear about it and maybe you could post your reasons why so we could all study it and become more enlightened.
    I do agree with you that more emphasis should be placed on a healthy diet and living styles that encourage better qualities of life. That said, I do believe Mormons live 6-7 years longer than average and they have documented that the quality of the final years are much better.

  5. I agree with the last comment in that it is kind of a waste of time to spend all this time finding out all the reasons the mormon church isn't true. You already believe it isn't true. What's the point? Why not spend all your time focusing on which faith/church is right for you?

    I understand the need to get out your feelings about something you had believed in for so long, but can't that be accomplished just as easily in a personal journal or diary? Why a blog, unless it is to also serve the purpose of the convincing of other men/women?

    You mentioned in your last post about the fact that the church is either true or it is a fraud. What if it is true? Couldn't we then claim that what you are doing is "of the Devil?"

    Just some of my thoughts. I don't mean to be so blunt or curt. I respect you and Amy a great deal. And I appreciate the fact that you are exploring your spirituality and are now happier being outside the church.

  6. No Church,bishop,temples,rules or regulations will give you peace and ever-lasting life. This will only come from Jesus. Check Him out and see!

  7. Anon 5:120pm
    {You mentioned in your last post about the fact that the church is either true or it is a fraud. What if it is true? Couldn't we then claim that what you are doing is "of the Devil?"

    Just some of my thoughts. I don't mean to be so blunt or curt. I respect you and Amy a great deal. And I appreciate the fact that you are exploring your spirituality and are now happier being outside the church.}

    If you respect someone why would you say such things? Es pura mentira is trying to heal from all the indoctrination he has had since being a yound BIC. Most everyone who posts a comment also hosts their own blog which is based on what they are going through in life.

    Can you walk a mile in his shoes? Imagine what it would be like to find out after decades of being told the mormon church is true that in fact it IS NOT. It is a lie. The history is a mangled up bunch of goop. Do any of you posting comments know that Joseph Smith had tons of first visions. He had some with angels, some with god, some he was told different things.
    Do any of you mormons who are watching this trainwreck of Es puramentira's life know that Joseph Smith used a peep stone in a hat to translate the BOM? Not an urim and thummin but a peep stone.
    Do you know that that pearl of ever so great price was really a egyptian funerary scroll? That Joseph Smith translated as the book of moses.
    The point is ...the mormon church has covered up its past and has not been true with Espuramentira and that is why he shares his feelings with this personal blog. No one has to click on his one has to read.

  8. HT is correct. You have a choice to read or not and you have decided to read.

    You are taking your own time to view this blog and comment for a reason. Perhaps you have questions of your own.

    It is okay if you do. If you do not ask, you will never know. Why not learn why you believe what you do and the history of it? If there is a crack would it not be better to know why you support what you do?

    The main point is not to ever take your eyes off of Jesus Christ, the one and ONLY Saviour. The first, the last, and the ONLY Saviour we will ever need.

    Matthew 24:4-5 says:

    "4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

    5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."

    There is only one God, only one way to Heaven and it did not take any other man except the one sent from Heaven in the form of man to teach us that. He died on the cross for your sins and mine.

    John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

    He is the first, the last, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.

  9. I need to chime in here because it is common knowledge in the LDS church that the scrolls were egyptian funerary scroll. They were taken off of a mummy if I remember right. That is stated repeatedly. That is no Secret. The church has not hidden any of these facts.

    I do have a question to the last post. You proclaim that Jesus is the one that we shouldn't take our eye off and you say that so surely. I agree with you 100% that Jesus is the way. But in every church out there they have their own opinions of what that entails. I can't imagine a loving Father in Heaven having so many different ways to get back to Him when as you stated:

    Matthew 24:4-5 says:

    "4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

    5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."

    So which do you belong to that does not have this "Deception" in it? I would love to know.

    Also, if you want to find out more of these supposed errors in mormon theology you can go to any library and they'll have reams of it from every anti-mormon group there is. You just need a library card and you won't have to take so much time trying to find out why the church is so bad.

    In fact, I'd love you to tell all of us just which teaching of the mormon church is so offensive and which teaching brings people further away from Christ?? None of the clergy are paid or enriched for all of their service--can your church say the same? The prophet and quorum of the 12 do receive a living amount but there is none of them that wouldn't have done far better in their former private sector jobs. Can the leaders of your churches say the same? Just some thoughts that I would like to hear answers about.

    The name Es Pura Mentira is stating that It is Pure Lies. For every single post on this blog there are other sides to it. It is stated like there were no other sides to it when in fact there are. In one post he stated about David Whitmer. If David Whitmer thought the things Joseph had him do were so wrong why did he Never deny the Book of Mormon and why did he come back to the church if these testimony shattering events occurred like you state they did? Just reading that post I could, in my own mind, see why Joseph, then about 20 some years old and with nothing more that the equivalent of a 4th grade education, made that decision. Money was needed and he was trying to do something about it. Joseph never got rich off of the church and I'm sure after the first tar and feathering and repeated beatings anyone that had "made up" some story would have left that deal behind him. Maybe he thought the BoM would convert the person that would buy the copyright. Maybe being young and inexperienced he did not have the forethought as to what could happen. Maybe he depended on his own strength instead of asking the Lord for His guidance. You can see there are many reasons why what happened could have happened. So for you to narrow it down to it's all a lie is really presumptive and you have no idea what was going on in his life and how much pressure Satan was putting on him trying to destroy him and the church.

    Mistakes were made as it would be natural for anyone to make. We don't ask the Lord to help us in every decision we make and we make mistakes. It would be the same for him. The only difference is it's a lot easier to point the finger and say, Oh look he made a mistake-see it's not true. He never claimed to be perfect nor does the church say he was as we know he wasn't. He was an instrument in the Lord's hands at that time and the church progressed and still progresses each day and it learns from the past and continues on into the future.

  10. A little clarification on my earlier comment, if you don't mind.

    I have a strong testimony of the Word of Wisdom. I don't care how the church teaches it or how other people choose to follow it.

    I am responsible for my own actions, beliefs, and choices. I have a right to my choices, and my own relationship with my Heavenly Father.

    People: Doug has the same rights, too. Every individual needs to choose his or her own path, but we don't need to agree with those choices. Just respect his right to make them.