TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.

Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?

Yes
28
76%
No
9
24%
 
Total votes: 37

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wayfarer
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TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Post by wayfarer » 11 Jul 2012, 15:23

10b. Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?

My answer is "YES". Absolutely, I keep the Word of Wisdom.

And yes, I drink moderate amounts of fermented wine and beer on occasion, as well as traditional Indian, Japanese, and Chinese teas when appropriate to do so, and coffee when I need it. Because the substances I take have been proven to be beneficial and not harmful, I strongly believe I am keeping the spirit of the Word of Wisdom.

How do I know this? I have studied this out thoroughly in my mind, and the spirit has constrained me to understand the divine principle of the Word of Wisdom.

The Word of Wisdom has always been very significant to me in its spiritual significance. The physical aspect of the "Law" was made mandatory by Heber J. Grant as part of the TR interview in 1921, the year after Prohibition. In his interpretation, without citing any revelation, he made absolute abstinence from all forms of alcohol, from tobacco, and from coffee and tea mandatory at that time as a loyalty test for entering the temple. As well, we know that Brigham Young promoted following the word of wisdom several different times. I really don't care that it wasn't a divine revelation, nor that it never was an eternal principle (Jesus drank wine, so what). For me it was required as a test of obedience and that was enough. I dutifully abided by it.

So I have been convinced through most of my life that keeping the word of wisdom means absolute abstention to the designated substances. I've had my transgressions of this, and I thought every time that I had sinned. I always felt very guilty, and because of this, my relationship with alcohol in my 20s and 30s became obsessive. I'd stay away, then something would happen, I'd take a drink, feel guilty, and say, "I've sinned, so I might as well enjoy it". One day I woke up in San Francisco not having a clue how I got there or why. Fortunately I still had all my body parts, no tatoos, and no communicable diseases...but it scared me enough to go into AA for many years.

So for 24 years after that, I stayed absolute on the Word of Wisdom as Law. And I support this interpretation to most members of the church.

But as I worked in India with some very devout people of other faiths, who also are proscribed from these things, I had a very deep spiritual experience that changed my view of a lot of things. The details of that spiritual experience are quite personal, but the outcome was an understanding at a much more fundamental level what 'god' expects of me personally.

I learned, as with all things, there is a letter of the law, and the spirit of the law. With most things, the spirit includes the letter, but in this case I do not believe it does.

There are two fundamental definitions of "Keep". First, according to most dictionary definitions, "Keep" is not a synonym for "obey" or "exactly comply". It means to care for, to pay attention to, to heed, to reckon with. That is the first and primary definition of keep -- it is also the spiritual law. notice my emphasis -- this is very critical. The second definition, the physical letter, is to "dutifully abide by".

Why do I separate this? If the Word of Wisdom is a principle with promise, the principle is "health" and not "obedience". Yes, I said that: "health" not "obedience" is the spiritual principle of this law. The words of the principle were the best known things at the time around health in the 1830s. Nothing was original here, although apologists will try to say otherwise. Some of the things in the WoW are not factual: that Wine is not for the body, that Tobacco is for bruises and all sick cattle. Wine and beer in moderation are in fact quite good for the body, and tobacco is not scientifically valid as a treatment for bruises or sick cattle. The "TRUTH" is otherwise than the proscribed substances, but the principle still applies: If I care for my body as the temple of god, I will have health to my navel, and marrow to my bones.

These last nine words have special significance to me. In translating some ancient chinese texts, I found these words woven into a text written 2500 years ago. As well, the psalmist used them. The context varies, but in each case, they are a symbol of god's care for his people. The context was never about obedience. They are code words for a principle with promise, and that principle is caring for the temple of the body as the residence of god. This caring transcends all cultures, people and religions, the words are deeply embedded in the sacred texts of many cultures, and yet we find these same code-words in an LDS context.

The point is that the spiritual significance of the Word of Wisdom transcends the letter of the law. By focusing on the care for the temple of the body -- truly -- rather than trying to turn the word of wisdom into an obedience and loyalty test -- i have come to a place of deep spiritual significance.

There is so much more I could say, but let me just leave it at this.

I do not expect anyone to agree with me. I do not recommend my way to anyone else. I do not preach it, I do not teach it. I do not oppose the position of the church. Yet, this is the path I'm on, the one I feel the spirit has guided me to, and I have found hidden treasures thereby.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

bc_pg
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Re: TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Post by bc_pg » 11 Jul 2012, 15:33

If I remember correctly alcohol, etc. was actually included as a temple recommend in 1904 but not really enforced until 1921? It was more used to deny the known town drunk.

My wife's bishop actually asks: "Do you keep the word of wisdom including not drinking green tea and energy drinks?"

Which interpretation of the word of wisdom. The original or the current one?

I really don't see that there is any wiggle room of what the church means in keeping the word of wisdom. If you are drinking alcohol, tea or coffee it has been very clearly defined as against the word of wisdom. It is the church that is doing the gatekeeping to decide if you get to enter their temple based on their criteria. To secretely change their criteria when they have clearly defined it as in this case is in my opinion dishonest.

No I don't keep the word of wisdom - I regularly drink coffee.
Last edited by bc_pg on 11 Jul 2012, 15:56, edited 1 time in total.

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cwald
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Re: TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Post by cwald » 11 Jul 2012, 15:52

And here we go. Until this thread goes away, Ray will be lurking around every corner boys...be prepared. :smile:

Answer ---- No.

I had no problem answering yes to this question for years...even though I would reward myself with a beer most nights, and occasionally a glass of wine.

Today though, I don't think I could answer yes...not with what I know the church teaches as official WoW doctrine. I am a home brewer. I drink one cup of coffee everyday at work. I drink tea. I treat myself to liqueur on occasion, and I smoke a pipe 6-10 times a year. Oh yea...and I eat way too much meat, and not enough veggies.

RANT WARNING:
Joseph Smith taught a GREAT principle and concept when he received REVELATION known as D&C 89 - the Word Of Wisdom. It explicitly states it IS NOT A COMMANDMENT. And the entire concept is based on "moderation in all things." PERIOD. THE END.

I think the WoW is one of the those man-made commandments...and quite honestly, I think the church leaders have done a great disservice to the people by insisting on it being a baptism and temple question. If this is the ONE AND ONLY TRUE CHURCH - why would we exclude so many people because they drink tea, a beer, coffee etc etc...which has nothing to do with health benefits. It is only unhealthy if it is abused and not done in moderation. Much like water. Water will kill you if it is abused and not done in moderation. It does not make ANY sense to me, AT ALL.

AND, I would like to see the revelation where God makes it a commandment...because it is CERTAINLY not in the D&C, ANYWHERE. Where/when did god reverse his previous counsel in D&C 89, and place so much emphasis on the WoW... SO IMPORTANT that your very exaltation depended it, and where/when did the church approve or accept this as the word of god? And why is it not included in the D&C with all the other commandments and proclamations etc etc?

What we have is a man/men, interpreted some vague phrases that JS mentioned in D&C 89 about hot drinks and alcohol, and decided to make it a commandment and requirement that tea, coffee, alcohol or mild barley drinks were prohibited ENTIRELY....to get baptized AND enter the temple...which....makes it a commandment to earn exaltation.

That is so wrong. I'm embarrassed by it...when my non LDS friends ask me about it. I can't defend it or the church's position or policy.

END RANT.

btw ---- Wayfarer. I liked your original draft better. :( Pun intended.
Last edited by Anonymous on 11 Jul 2012, 16:07, edited 1 time in total.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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SilentDawning
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Re: TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Post by SilentDawning » 11 Jul 2012, 15:58

The WoW is part of what attracted me to the LDS Church in the first place. I always gravitated toward clean living people and it was something that I really liked about the Church. I still like it. And as someone who has suffered from light depression, it stops me from turning to alcohol to bring peace to my spirit when I'm rankled and disturbed. I also don't mind one bit if the WoW proves to be a false commandment. There is no harm in avoiding the substances listed in the WoW.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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cwald
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Re: TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Post by cwald » 11 Jul 2012, 15:59

I kind of agree with you BC...except this last sentence.
bc_pg wrote: To secretely change their criteria when they have clearly defined it as in this case is in my opinion dishonest.
I'm not going to project my beliefs on another person...and I am very careful about calling someone out who struggle with finding a way to stay involved in the church, as being dishonest...especially when dealing with the church, which, I think likes to play a dishonest hand on more than one occasion.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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cwald
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Re: TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Post by cwald » 11 Jul 2012, 16:02

SilentDawning wrote:The WoW is part of what attracted me to the LDS Church in the first place. I always gravitated toward clean living people and it was something that I really liked about the Church...I also don't mind one bit if the WoW proves to be a false commandment. There is no harm in avoiding the substances listed in the WoW.
What! SD! Don't diss on my art. :lolno:

No. You are correct. There is no harm in avoiding these substances...but they, IMO, certainly add so much to life...flavor, aroma, culture, art, food, science, friends...
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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wayfarer
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Re: TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Post by wayfarer » 11 Jul 2012, 16:22

cwald wrote:Wayfarer. I liked your original draft better. :( Pun intended.
cheers!

i thought about it some more. i decided to state more of what i consider the spiritual side of what was for me a very hard decision. it would be much easier, as an "active" member, to simply avoid the proscribed substances. but the principle was made as clear to me as it was to peter when he was given the vision to end kashrut. i find it no easier to live the WoW as a spiritual principle than peter did in living the higher law.

i probably will bring out the other material as this discussion progresses.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

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mercyngrace
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Re: TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Post by mercyngrace » 11 Jul 2012, 17:14

I answer yes because I tend, probably like most members, to focus on the prohibitions. I need to work on living the spirit of the law.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

bc_pg
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Re: TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Post by bc_pg » 11 Jul 2012, 17:36

bc_pg wrote: To secretly change their criteria when they have clearly defined it as in this case is in my opinion dishonest.

I'm not going to project my beliefs on another person...and I am very careful about calling someone out who struggle with finding a way to stay involved in the church, as being dishonest...especially when dealing with the church, which, I think likes to play a dishonest hand on more than one occasion.
Please allow me to rephrase:

I personally would feel dishonest changing their criteria when they have clearly defined it as in this case.

Minyan Man
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Re: TR Question Survey - Question 10b: Word of Wisdom

Post by Minyan Man » 11 Jul 2012, 17:37

I voted Yes, even though don't completely live it yet.
How do you like that rationalization?

Each day I go to my favorite coffee shop & have (1) cup of coffee & read the Ensign magazine, Church history book & socialize with people.
It's a relaxing way to spend part of the day.
My Daughter-in-law's Father is a coffee grower in Mexico. They have some great coffee too.
I know that I will be having to give up coffee before I go through the TR process.
I know I could rationalize a yes vote & still drink coffee. For me, it would be dishonest. I don't want to be dishonest.
The biggest part I will miss is getting out of the house & socializing. (I will have to find a substitute for this activity.)
I don't think that members socialize well. From what I know, we go to meetings, have light conversations & go home.
(99% of the time it is soooo boring.) This site has helped to fill the voids too.

I think a more beneficial question would be to include moderate physical exercise as part of the WoW question.

Mike from Milton.

ps. I just heard on the news tonight another report about the beneficial use of the moderate drinking of alcohol.
Thank God for AA. Imagine how I could rationalize that.

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