WOW changed to commandment by BY?

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QuestionAbound
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WOW changed to commandment by BY?

Post by QuestionAbound » 05 Apr 2018, 13:01

Help me articulate.
That's a weakness of mine - putting my feelings into words.

So, I am part of a thread elsewhere about the WOW.

I pointed out that vs. 2 says it should be by way of suggestion, not commandment.

Verse 4 explains why following the WOW would be wise.

A few commenters said that the WOW was changed to a commandment by BY when he said that the saints should covenant to keep it.

I have issues with BY being the mouthpiece of the Lord at any time, so I kind of dismiss the claim. That said, I can't even find the claim...that he asked the members to covenant to keep it. Even if I found it, that in and of itself doesn't make it a commandment.

But then:
“Lesson 5: The Word of Wisdom,” The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part B (2000),34-42
Sometimes, for reasons we do not understand, our health does not improve, even though we are obeying the Word of Wisdom. We are still required to obey this commandment, however. Obedience to the Lord’s commandments always brings blessings, although we may not recognize them immediately. When the Word of Wisdom was revealed, [it was not considered to be a commandment but only wise counsel. Later, when the prophet Brigham Young spoke as the mouthpiece of the Lord, he asked the members to covenant to keep the Word of Wisdom. Today it is a commandment for all Latter-day Saints. As stressed by the First Presidency during general conference of October 1942: “It is God’s law of health, and is binding upon each and every one of us. We cannot escape its operation, for it is based upon eternal truth” (in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [1965–75], 6:172).


How do I say that if we take the WOW as something straight from the Lord's mouth - who gives BY (or anyone) the right to change it...to a commandment no less.
Is that where we claim modern revelation?

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On Own Now
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Re: WOW changed to commandment by BY?

Post by On Own Now » 05 Apr 2018, 14:33

QA,

I don't know if I can really give you any ammunition (articulation?) to use in your elsewhere thread, but I can provide a couple of mind-blowing thoughts:

- The WOW prohibits "strong drinks" but encourages "mild drinks". So, what are strong vs mild drinks? According to studies by the Community of Christ, they believe that strong drinks refer (in that era) to distilled liquor (gin, brandy, whiskey, vodka) and that mild drinks are fermented (beer, wine).

According to v7, "strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies."

Interestingly, v5 says "wine OR strong drink" is not good unless part of religious sacraments. It's just funny, because two verses later the prohibition on strong drink follows, so I guess that means wine is fine for the sacrament but never tequila. It's a bit convoluted.

According to v17, "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." Barley? Mild drinks? ==Beer. Barley is good for beer. Just sayin'.

- It's likely that the BY covenant request is part of the Mormon Reformation movement of 1856/57. This was a period of sort of puritanical (remember, BY was a New Englander) re-commitment to exacting obedience to God. BY gave a speech in March 1856 in which he discussed how God is so much among us that he knows what you are thinking at all times, so don't let yourself have any hesitation, etc, etc. Among many other uncomfortable statements in this speech, he said, "The time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet; when we shall take the old broadsword and ask, Are you for God? And if you are not heartily on the Lord's side, you will be hewn down." Yikes.

Many faithful were re-baptized at this time to demonstrate their commitment. In a way, it was separating the super-mormons from the regular mormons. Members were told to step-up their game, and this included taking the suggestion of the WOW to commandment status. If you think of it in that way, it kind of makes sense. As a suggestion, it's for the weakest of the saints. As a commandment, it's for the strongest.

The reformation was a form of zealotry. In a very tangible way, it laid the context for the Mountain Meadows Massacre in Sept, 1857.

- The WOW as a measure of worthiness grew slowly. It wasn't until the 1920's, that it was absolutely enforced for temple attendance.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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DarkJedi
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Re: WOW changed to commandment by BY?

Post by DarkJedi » 05 Apr 2018, 15:15

On Own Now wrote:
05 Apr 2018, 14:33
- It's likely that the BY covenant request is part of the Mormon Reformation movement of 1856/57. This was a period of sort of puritanical (remember, BY was a New Englander) re-commitment to exacting obedience to God. BY gave a speech in March 1856 in which he discussed how God is so much among us that he knows what you are thinking at all times, so don't let yourself have any hesitation, etc, etc. Among many other uncomfortable statements in this speech, he said, "The time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet; when we shall take the old broadsword and ask, Are you for God? And if you are not heartily on the Lord's side, you will be hewn down." Yikes.

Many faithful were re-baptized at this time to demonstrate their commitment. In a way, it was separating the super-mormons from the regular mormons. Members were told to step-up their game, and this included taking the suggestion of the WOW to commandment status. If you think of it in that way, it kind of makes sense. As a suggestion, it's for the weakest of the saints. As a commandment, it's for the strongest.

The reformation was a form of zealotry. In a very tangible way, it laid the context for the Mountain Meadows Massacre in Sept, 1857.
Fiona and Terryl Givens make this general point in The Christ Who Heals. The early church was more devoid of the puritanical kinds of teachings that were common in Protestant churches of the time. Over time these Protestant ideas have crept into our beliefs/theologies/doctrine (and thus we have lost the understanding of the Christ Who Heals).
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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SilentDawning
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Re: WOW changed to commandment by BY?

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Apr 2018, 19:25

Decrees like these are why I take the GA's comments with a grain of salt. Makes life easier, and encourages independent thinking, and adaptation of rigid-sounding policies to personal circumstances. Thank goodness for the Priesthood Ban Disavowal, Brigham Young, the evolution of tithing into a TR requirement, the final realization that the HT/VT program was a trainwreck, and the sometimes exaggerated focus on the temporal aspects of running a church etcetera. They all tell me that we're like any other organization -- subject to the same challenges as corporations, and that men invent "commandments" at times, make mistakes (as Uchdorft said), and have to figure out how to reverse what they said without losing face.

It makes it easier to feel independent in thought. Imagine how awful it would be if they were right all the time!!! You'd feel that you have far less flexibility in how to interpret "commandments" and "policy" as they apply to personal circumstances!
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

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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."

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Beefster
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Re: WOW changed to commandment by BY?

Post by Beefster » 06 Apr 2018, 07:53

The manual is being misleading with that statement. BY was not the one to make the WoW into a TR requirement. That came later, during Prohibition.

This is why I don't like the lesson manuals. They're insanely whitewashed and jump to conclusions not supported by the scriptures or actual history even when it's innocuous, as in this case. How do you expect people to develop a robust testimony if you aren't giving them factual history? It's exactly this disconnect that makes people have historical struggles in the first place.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

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Beefster
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Re: WOW changed to commandment by BY?

Post by Beefster » 08 Apr 2018, 09:27

It's also a lot more complicated than this. I read the article linked in some other thread (I forget which one) and discovered that BY actually did believe it should be treated as a commandment, but he did not change any policies and he actually focused more on the meat aspect than on the tobacco and alcohol parts.

Heber J Grant was the one responsible for making the modern application of the WoW a TR requirement. He was a hardline supporter of Prohibition, but he didn't really give a crap about anything else in the WoW. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that the shift to making the WoW a TR requirement was revelation; it was merely the hardline opinion of HJG.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

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Re: WOW changed to commandment by BY?

Post by nibbler » 08 Apr 2018, 10:21


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Beefster
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Re: WOW changed to commandment by BY?

Post by Beefster » 08 Apr 2018, 10:49

^ yep. That article.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

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