What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

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DevilsAdvocate
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What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 31 Mar 2017, 07:30

There was an article (http://local.sltrib.com/online/WoW/) in the Salt Lake Tribune a few days ago talking about the possibility of the Word of Wisdom being changed and the history of how it wasn't always this way. It also talks about how maybe the WoW isn't really primarily about health (other than the one clear-cut hit on tobacco) as much as a test of obedience and way to maintain a sense of LDS identity separate from the outside world which is the way I have started to view it since I lost faith in the Church. I thought some of the most interesting comments in the article were the following:
Patrick Mason wrote:“Mormons do not live in cloisters...They go to work and have neighbors who drink a glass of wine with dinner with no obvious adverse effect. They see that a moderate use of these substances do not lead to a life of misery...The nature of technology makes the persistence and cohesiveness of subcultures like Mormonism so much harder to maintain.”
That's sort of how I see it, the WoW is already one of the single biggest deal-breakers that currently prevents people from joining or remaining active in the Church long-term and it is only becoming more difficult to sell people on this idea permanently the less isolated members are from the outside world. And now the Church can no longer get away with alienating and excluding nearly as many people as it does as easily as it could in the past due to so many long-time active members losing their testimonies and leaving as well as the trend of smaller families on average. Even though it would definitely be a significant change to go back to interpreting this as more of a suggestion than a commandment I think it would still make sense from a relatively TBM perspective if Church leaders really pay attention to the history of it and what D&C 89 actually says as well as the fact that Jesus himself drank wine according to the Bible.

Also in practice it can often come across as excessively judgmental and self-righteous in a way that looks more like the Pharisees than what Jesus, Paul, etc. were orginally trying to teach (Luke 18:10-14, Matthew 15:11, Colossians 2:20-23). However, I'm not sure Church leaders feel any pressure to change it at this point the way they did with practicing polygamy and the racial priesthood ban because many Church members see it as something positive, that they are proud of, etc. so I'm not sure they have ever even seriously considered the possibility of changing it and tried to honestly weigh the possible advantages and disadvantages of changing the way this is currently interpreted and enforced in temple recommend and baptismal interviews and that's why I would be surprised if official changes are made anytime soon.
Last edited by DevilsAdvocate on 03 Apr 2017, 21:34, edited 3 times in total.
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DarkJedi
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Re: What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

Post by DarkJedi » 31 Mar 2017, 07:45

I read the article a couple days ago, and it is mildly interesting. I think your last paragraph nailed it - the church has no reason to change it so it's doubtful it will change any time soon.
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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Minyan Man
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Re: What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

Post by Minyan Man » 31 Mar 2017, 08:16

I've always liked the quote by JS (referring to the church membership):
I teach them correct principles & they govern themselves.
I believe that the church should NEVER be testing our faithfulness.

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Re: What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

Post by nibbler » 31 Mar 2017, 08:25

What are the chances the WoW will change soon?
About as much as a change to allow people to have a civil ceremony in a public place and be sealed in the temple later that same day.

For lunch I eat two McDoubles instead of one because they are only a dollar each and a large fry because it's only $0.25 more than a medium fry, the value man, the value! I also go with a large soda. No tea though, tea is bad for me. :twisted: :twisted:

Here's a question. If they did change the WoW do you think they'd make it more restrictive or less restrictive?
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Re: What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

Post by Roadrunner » 31 Mar 2017, 09:40

Chances are somewhere between zero and none of changing the WoW soon. Traditional Mormons treat the WoW as a badge of honor, not totally without reason since there is some evidence that it leads to a longer healthier life. There at least is some public clamor to accept LGBTQ and women more fully, but I've not read any pressure other than in LDS blogs to alter the WoW.

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Re: What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

Post by Roadrunner » 31 Mar 2017, 09:42

nibbler wrote:
31 Mar 2017, 08:25
What are the chances the WoW will change soon?
Here's a question. If they did change the WoW do you think they'd make it more restrictive or less restrictive?
That is an interesting question. Quite possibly it would change in ways that many don't like. If it were to become less of a test of obedience and more of a list of things to do to take care of your body, fast food, chocolate cake, and diet coke all might be prohibited. Now *that* would hurt.

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Re: What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

Post by Heber13 » 31 Mar 2017, 12:45

Because it is part of temple recommend questions and baptism standards, I think they have a hard position to back away from it too much at once. It is clearly about obedience and sacrifice and prophets words.

Is it possible they go this route of changing it to apply to our times to retain or attract younger people in church by focusing on more important things and giving on traditional rules and standards?

Possibly (actually...hopefully)...but the risk is that it just shows weakness. It suggests they were wrong in the past that it was important, or it suggests the church bends to the pressures of the world, and that spills over to many other areas.

Seems to me the change might more likely be to remove it from temple and baptismal requirements. Not take away wine or coffee or tea...but keep it as it was interpreted for hot drinks and strong drinks...and emphasize the "words of wisdom, not by way of commandment". Let people keep living it who want to, but not require it. Let people govern themselves, as was said above.

Isn't that kinda how the church does things...slowly just starts to distance itself from a hard line...and it just kinda goes away?

Or is it possible the change comes from within. People just adhere to the spirit of the law...and not care so much about strict abstinence? The church can ask the question "Do you live it" and the answer can be "yes"...even if moderation means they live it. Kinda like Coke was once thought to be part of it, then just faded away.
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Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

Post by NightSG » 31 Mar 2017, 13:14

Heber13 wrote:
31 Mar 2017, 12:45
Seems to me the change might more likely be to remove it from temple and baptismal requirements. Not take away wine or coffee or tea...but keep it as it was interpreted for hot drinks and strong drinks...and emphasize the "words of wisdom, not by way of commandment". Let people keep living it who want to, but not require it. Let people govern themselves, as was said above.
This. The wording makes it pretty clear that it's more advice, and a simple deal with only earthly rewards, whereas virtually everything else commanded has eternal rewards. The rewards in the WoW couldn't even really work in any sort of afterlife I've been taught about; you're not supposed to get tired there.

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Re: What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

Post by DarkJedi » 31 Mar 2017, 19:50

Minyan Man wrote:
31 Mar 2017, 08:16
I've always liked the quote by JS (referring to the church membership):
I teach them correct principles & they govern themselves.
I believe that the church should NEVER be testing our faithfulness.
I agree. I think our own faithfulness (or lack thereof) is between us individually and God. I really think there should be only one question on the TR interview - the current last question.

I also think the WoW should be removed from the baptismal interview. At baptism we're agreeing to follow Christ, to repent or change. Change doesn't often come in an instant, it tends to be more of a process. Repentance (change) is very much a process, one that is lifelong. I don't think it would be wrong to ask baptismal candidates if they are willing to work at changing (especially concerning the WoW as opposed to other things) instead of asking them to have already quit things that are often addictions. The most recent baptism in our ward doesn't come because he went back to smoking and thinks he's not worthy or belongs. I think he's still working at it, but smoking is a toughie. On the other hand, I know why he feels how he feels and I understand. I probably wouldn't come either.

Frankly I don't really have a problem with WoW in the TR except that I don't believe the WoW is a commandment. FWIW I do eat meat in summer and during times that are not famines (since I don't think we've had a famine where I live in my lifetime).
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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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: What are the chances the WoW will change soon?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 01 Apr 2017, 08:51

DarkJedi wrote:
31 Mar 2017, 07:45
I read the article a couple days ago, and it is mildly interesting. I think your last paragraph nailed it - the church has no reason to change it so it's doubtful it will change any time soon.
That's the thing, I think there actually are some good reasons to at least consider changing the WoW interpretation such as the glaring inconsistency between what D&C 89 actually says and Jesus and Joseph Smith drinking wine as if there was nothing wrong with it versus it now being treated as an unacceptable sin that supposedly makes members that disobey these strict expectations "unworthy." And from a practical standpoint it unnecessarily limits the pool of potential faithful followers which can have a compounded effect because the Church currently depends so much on members being married to another active member and successfully passing LDS traditions on to their children to retain followers and doesn't do a very good job of attracting and retaining individual followers without family ties to the Church.

So, for example, if there are women in the Church that don't get married because there aren't enough "worthy" LDS men or if an LDS family only has 2-3 children and they all fall away then it's basically the end of the line for the LDS tradition in these cases which means many potential future grandchildren are lost. Sure some people are going to fall away regardless of what the Church does but the WoW is definitely a major sticking point that makes many feel like the Church is just not for them, they don't belong, etc. Of course, recognizing some of these points would probably require Church leaders to "think outside the box" more than what looks like their typical caretaker approach to leadership. And while there isn't necessarily much vocal activism to change the WoW the way we see with feminist concerns, LGBT rights, etc. (possibly because most members that drink and/or smoke have already voted with their feet) where I think the leaders already do feel constant pressure is simply the number of members falling away.

Basically it looks like the status quo is simply not going to produce the results they were used to seeing in past decades due to the more recent trends of the internet causing many long time active members to lose faith and leave as well as smaller family sizes on average. And to some extent I think Church leaders realize this and that's one of the main reasons they took action to lower the mission age limits and we hear them pleading for members to "stay in the boat", "doubt your doubts", and "give brother Joseph a break." Well what happens if the significant losses continue and the mission age change, the push to keep the Sabbath day holy, etc. are not enough to sustain a healthy number of followers? What would be the next steps? Treating the WoW like some kind of sacred cow already doesn't make much sense from a purely doctrinal stadpoint and it makes even less sense if the Church's overall health and relevence is threatened to the point that it needs all the followers it can get instead of being happy to exclude potential converts and so many members raised in the Church over somthing like this.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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