When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 23 Dec 2013, 12:38

Roy wrote:
DevilsAdvocate wrote:Here in Utah I can't count the number of people that were raised Mormon that no longer want to have anything to do with the Church and the WoW is a very common reason why. My guess is that for every inactive member or ex-Mormon that actually knows about and cares about some of the historical issues there are several that simply did not like the Church in large part because they associate it with strict rules like the WoW and un-enjoyable meetings. Sure some of them probably lack the commitment and/or interest in religion in general to even go to church occasionally and almost nothing the Church could have done would have kept them around but I suspect that quite a few of them would have never had as much of a problem in Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, or various Evangelical Lite churches. But because the Church tried to force feed them doctrines like the WoW in an overbearing and intolerant way many of them were basically alienated by the Church before they ever had a chance to develop much of a comfort level with what it teaches and the environment it provides.
I agree to a point DA. We have a demanding church. A heritage church or lifestyle church. Our business model is very different than what many of the "Evangelical Lite" churches seem to be offering. I do believe that many people are benefited from these churches that would not do well in the LDS church. OTOH I also believe that there are some out there that are searching for some gospel with commitment and are happy with what they find in churches like ours...Many years ago I read a book that I believe to have been titled, "Why I am a Methodist." In the book the author has a conversation with a Mormon that doesn't seem to be convinced of the truth claims but is drawn to the lifestyle. The author goes on to talk about how much Mormons expect (and receive) from their youth and young adults. The author concludes that perhaps they are doing a disservice to the youth of their church by not setting higher expectations...IOW, in a free marketplace of churches sometimes the LDS brand condiment is just right for the individual - sometimes it is not. As long as we let go of the concept that all must come to God through the LDS church then 2 weights are lifted: 1) That people must meet us at our level in order to be saved. 2) That we need to meet them at their level in order to get them saved. I see us as a niche church. It is ok that we don’t meet the spiritual needs of all people.
I understand that there are many that like actually like the high standards and "clean-living" environment provided by the Church. I guess I just think this would be more appropriate for a church that didn't expect and depend so much on entire families successfully passing all these traditions on from one generation to the next in order to maintain a stable support base. Sure it was easy enough to get away with demanding this level of commitment and not worry about all the members that fell away as a result of this back when there were more families in the Church with five or more children on average and before information on the internet started causing a higher percentage of members that had already accepted the LDS lifestyle to reject the Church's official teachings but now I think it is mostly one more thing that will gradually bleed the life out of the Church and increasingly make it into even more of a fringe organization primarily for hardcore zealots than it already is. Also, having members fall away as soon as they leave home is one thing but having more temple married returned missionary long time active members lose their testimony than in the past adds a whole new set of problems because it can really lead to major family strife, bitter feelings toward the Church, etc. for an increasing number of members and it is now becoming more of a problem that a few things like the WoW make it hard for TBMs to get along with non-Mormons and less faithful members as well as possible.
Last edited by DevilsAdvocate on 23 Dec 2013, 18:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Ann
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Re: When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

Post by Ann » 23 Dec 2013, 14:29

DevilsAdvocate wrote:

It actually makes some sense why it would have ended up exactly the way it did if you view it mostly as a man-made tradition that has evolved over time. However, trying to defend it as coming straight from God as is was increasingly difficult the more closely I looked at it because of some of the glaring inconsistencies, unexpected side-effects of teaching it this way (self-righteousness, divisiveness, etc.), and cases where it is actually wrong in terms of its basic health advice. In reality, the amount of sugar Americans typically consume per day is actually more harmful on average than drinking a cup of coffee or wine ever was. So if it was really mostly about health then it would have been more prophetic to warn Church members about sugar than to make these few things other than tobacco completely off-limits. Also, there is plenty of evidence that eating moderate amounts of meat and especially chicken and fish is actually healthier than grains and starch unlike what D&C 89 suggests.
What do you think is the next step forward?

Does anyone remember a Calvin Grondahl cartoon with the woman so large her chair has fallen on its back and her feet are facing the ceiling? The bishop behind the desk is saying, "While the Word of Wisdom doesn't specifically mention..." In conversations over the years, I've never been one to pounce on this inconsistency because it's uncharitable. But still, it definitely does glare.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

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"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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Re: When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 23 Dec 2013, 17:01

Ann wrote:
DevilsAdvocate wrote:

It actually makes some sense why it would have ended up exactly the way it did if you view it mostly as a man-made tradition that has evolved over time. However, trying to defend it as coming straight from God as is was increasingly difficult the more closely I looked at it because of some of the glaring inconsistencies, unexpected side-effects of teaching it this way (self-righteousness, divisiveness, etc.), and cases where it is actually wrong in terms of its basic health advice. In reality, the amount of sugar Americans typically consume per day is actually more harmful on average than drinking a cup of coffee or wine ever was. So if it was really mostly about health then it would have been more prophetic to warn Church members about sugar than to make these few things other than tobacco completely off-limits. Also, there is plenty of evidence that eating moderate amounts of meat and especially chicken and fish is actually healthier than grains and starch unlike what D&C 89 suggests.
What do you think is the next step forward?...Does anyone remember a Calvin Grondahl cartoon with the woman so large her chair has fallen on its back and her feet are facing the ceiling? The bishop behind the desk is saying, "While the Word of Wisdom doesn't specifically mention..." In conversations over the years, I've never been one to pounce on this inconsistency because it's uncharitable. But still, it definitely does glare.
Personally I think sometimes less is more and taking a step back from trying to spell out exactly what everyone should or should not do and simply recommending some common sense and paying attention to what does or does not work for you would be a major improvement. In the 1990s we heard about the food pyramid suggesting that people should eat many servings of grain, potatoes, pasta, etc. and greatly restrict the servings of meat, dairy, fat, etc. only to more recently hear that this approach is more likely to actually result in gaining extra weight and/or increasing the risk of heart problems, diabetes, etc. Another inconsistency that isn't necessarily related to health is that the Bible talks about Jesus and others drinking wine as if there was nothing wrong with it. So some of this makes the WoW mostly look like a left over product of fairly typical 19th century American thinking more than lasting and inspired health standards. The problem is that it is hard for the Church to admit when they are wrong especially because of the idea that they have already been guided by revelation all this time.
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Re: When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Dec 2013, 17:45

I have no real problem, at all, with Section 89 being inspired or even revelation - especially the way it is worded. If it went back to being a "word of wisdom" and the members were left to govern themselves, I would not ask for more. I absolutely don't want enforcement of the more subjective areas, like meat consumption or general health.

Simply reverting back to its original intent would satisfy me completely.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

church0333
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Re: When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

Post by church0333 » 23 Dec 2013, 19:31

It was mentioned that change is hard for some members, maybe they could institute a change like all members over 75 have to live the new standards and those younger will go back to the original and the members can pray how to do that. I think when the TR started including the WoW the said it only apply to those younger to 70 or some really old age.

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Re: When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

Post by cwald » 23 Dec 2013, 20:21

church0333 wrote:It was mentioned that change is hard for some members, maybe they could institute a change like all members over 75 have to live the new standards and those younger will go back to the original and the members can pray how to do that. I think when the TR started including the WoW the said it only apply to those younger to 70 or some really old age.
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Re: When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

Post by DarkJedi » 23 Dec 2013, 21:17

Ray Degraw wrote:I have no real problem, at all, with Section 89 being inspired or even revelation - especially the way it is worded. If it went back to being a "word of wisdom" and the members were left to govern themselves, I would not ask for more. I absolutely don't want enforcement of the more subjective areas, like meat consumption or general health.

Simply reverting back to its original intent would satisfy me completely.
Me, too.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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dash1730
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Re: When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

Post by dash1730 » 26 Dec 2013, 09:31

I mostly agree with the sentiment express here that moderation in interpretation of the WofW would be preferable. But it would be to jarring for many members who see the WofW as emblematic of our being a "peculiar people”. Personally, I will have an occasional glass of wine for medicinal purposes just like I would take cough syrup (which likewise has alcohol). But I don't think that is an issue for qualifying for a temple recommend.

McKay pointed out that the majority of Americans do partake, and judged that they do so responsibly. I’m sure that is true for the majority of partakers, but IMO that begs the question. What about the minority who don’t / can’t drink responsibly? What about the devastation that falls upon them and their families? What about those with addictive personalities?

Addictions of various kinds are often not easily identified before they take over. Whether it’s alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, gambling, anger or sex can slowly morf from an occasional dalliance to a disastrous lifestyle or worse. Distinctive brain wave patterns can be in people who are addicted. For some, but not all, it only takes one drink to get them hooked. Before we get to self-righteous about never tasting the forbidden, remember that Jews have a lower alcoholism rate than Mormons. The explanation given is that their cultural imperative to drink “responsibly” is more effective than condemning it entirely. It was with great trepidation many years ago, and while in the throws of my faith crisis that I first tasted alcohol.

I personally, had an unusual experience recently for which I was grateful for having followed the WofW. My doctor who had been monitoring a heart murmur annually, suddenly wanted to see me in 3 months, when they did a series of tests. To make a long story short, I had open heart surgery 10 weeks ago to repair a badly leaking mitral valve (40% of the blood flowing from the lungs to the heart was regurgitating back toward the lungs. In addition, they found a major artery feeding the heart muscle was 90% blocked.)
Despite all this I was displaying no symptoms. I was running 6 miles 2-3 times a week, no palpitations, dizziness, exhaustion, etc. And I was 67 years old. When I met the surgeon to be, he was delighted that I didn’t smoke or drink. Additionally my cholesterol was near zero. He said that would make a marked difference in my recovery.

Coming out of ICU, the medical staff expressed amazement at my physical fitness. On a stationary bicycle, they had to tell me to slow down. The second day I went for a walk with a walker but didn’t need an attendant at my elbow. The third day I ditched the walker and was soon walking a mile unattended within the hospital corridors. I started physical therapy immediately after getting out of the hospital, which includes light weight lifting and 35 minutes of treadmill. I’m now up to jogging 3 miles on the treadmill, my sternum has completely healed, my heart is doing well and the only thing left is for my chest muscles and tendons to rebuild.

Three weeks after in F&T meeting, for the first time in many years I felt the need to express my gratitude to God for keeping me from the effects of alcohol and tobacco, and the council to “walk and be not weary, run and not faint.” I strongly believe that promise is also an instruction to walk and run, or some other form of exercise. I know that not every senior citizen can do that, but 1/3 of Americans are seriously over-weight. And American Mormons aren’t any better. “He who is commanded in all things . . . “

Just sayin.
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Re: When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Dec 2013, 11:24

Thank you, dash, for that perspective. It's an important one to have included in a discussion like this.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: When Does Word of Wisdom get disavowed?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 26 Dec 2013, 14:40

dash1730 wrote:...McKay pointed out that the majority of Americans do partake, and judged that they do so responsibly. I’m sure that is true for the majority of partakers, but IMO that begs the question. What about the minority who don’t / can’t drink responsibly? What about the devastation that falls upon them and their families? What about those with addictive personalities?...Addictions of various kinds are often not easily identified before they take over. Whether it’s alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, gambling, anger or sex can slowly morf from an occasional dalliance to a disastrous lifestyle or worse. Distinctive brain wave patterns can be in people who are addicted. For some, but not all, it only takes one drink to get them hooked. Before we get to self-righteous about never tasting the forbidden, remember that Jews have a lower alcoholism rate than Mormons. The explanation given is that their cultural imperative to drink “responsibly” is more effective than condemning it entirely...
I'm not sure that trying to protect the relative few that don't know when to stop from themselves is really worth trying to force strict abstinence on everyone when you consider the sheer number that will simply end up drinking, smoking, etc. anyway and their overall impression of the Church and its members (judgmental attitudes, self-righteousness, etc.). In many cases rather than actually preventing drinking or smoking on a large scale the Church is mostly just preventing those that already drink or smoke from participating in the Church so it largely creates an exaggerated illusion of success that basically involves ignoring many inactive members and how they feel about the Church. My guess is that for every Church member that never once tries alcohol or tobacco mostly because of the Church's influence there is at least one or two that wanted to drink or smoke even more precisely because of being constantly told they shouldn't. I have seen so many Church members with extremely strict parents rebel so far the opposite direction that I honestly think some of them would have ended up much better off if their parents hadn't pushed them so hard. I also know active members that tried alcohol and didn't like the taste, hangovers, etc. but they still needed to decide for themselves that they didn't really want to drink anymore.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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