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Re: Word of Wisdom: The next change

Posted: 11 Jan 2019, 20:00
by grobert93
I view the word of wisdom as the 1800s version of social media and it's issues. It is 2019, smart phones are everywhere, everyone seems to have a facebook and twitter, people are snap chatting and tick tocking, and so on. Social media is objectifying both men and women, we are finding it easier than ever to hide our identity on the internet and bully others. It's easy to encourage and support questionable and disgusting immoral ideas such as someone wanting to hurt themselves or road rage and illegal trading. So much of the world is connected, not to mention the movies and TV shows that are available for all ages to view for free on any device almost anywhere in public or at home. With this said...

I ponder if the word of wisdom was the "social media warning" of the 1800s. As previously mentioned, the idea of chewing tobacco in certain situations was disrespectful and disgusting to those who had to clean up the mess. Getting drunk has always had it's problems, but was definitely culturally reacted to in a different light back then than it is now. Of course, they didn't have cell phones, the internet, social media or cultural propaganda. I wonder though, if such things were available back then, if the word of wisdom would have been expanded or even refocused more on mental, emotional and sexual health vs the physical health that was most understood. What would our word of wisdom contain? We see some of these ideas in the strength of youth standards, specifically movies, dating and other social events that contain questionable morals. Watching PG:13 movies or waiting until you're 16 to date. These guidelines have been intended, for better or worse, to prevent as much emotional, sexual and psycological distress as possible.

So I guess to summarize; I ponder if the word of wisdom was intended to help prevent problems for the early saints based on their current social struggles, and if social media existed back then, I wonder if we would see restrictions or encouragement to "access facebook sparingly"?

Re: Word of Wisdom: The next change

Posted: 11 Jan 2019, 22:54
by PazamaManX
As much as I would love to see a change to the WoW (or at the very least, specific clarification from on high) I have my doubts about it happening. Like it was said before, it's such a huge part of our cultural identity and is often pointed to as Joseph Smith having knowledge beyond his time. I don't see that being changed anytime soon. But, I've been pleasantly surprised before, like with 2 hour church :thumbup:
On Own Now wrote:
11 Jan 2019, 14:58
I think there are two changes the Church could make immediately that would not require anyone to raise an eyebrow:

- eliminated coffee and tea as prohibitions.
- eliminate WoW as a test for baptism, but keep it as a temple-worthiness issue (thus making the transition from non-member to member easier)
I think eliminating it as a requirement for baptism would be a fantastic thing. *warning mission story ahead* On my mission, there was a lady we were teaching who desperately wanted to join the church. She was a wonderful lady and loved the gospel. But, she had a hard life and smoking was a huge challenge for her. She tried quitting countless times but never could. She got things like patches and teas to help her quit, and my companion would inspect the ingredients on the back and tell her yes or no because I guess he was in the know on what chemicals were specifically okay and what wasn't :roll: . When challenging her to quit, my companion would say things like, "Do believe that faith can heal your addiction so you can get baptized?" And then when she relapsed, she felt like she was a worthless, faithless and sinful person who God didn't love.
Had smoking not been regarded as an immoral sin that restricts you from baptism, then she could potentially be living happily in the Gospel rather than feeling like a weak, worthless piece of garbage who God won't let get baptized.

Re: Word of Wisdom: The next change

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 07:44
by nibbler
Like PazamaManX, I can think of many, many people we taught on my mission that probably would have been baptized if not for an issue with the WoW. Usually coffee. Coffee. We're denying a saving ordinance from someone because of coffee. Besides, what's more preferable, having someone be a member of the church, attending our meetings, and learning as a coffee drinker or putting up a barrier to that kind of progress... over coffee? So we can continue to enjoy how peculiar we are.

I think WoW rules will relax in some way or other as the church opens up mission work in new cultures and countries. Relax as in removing a restriction as a requirement for baptism or removing a restriction for all members.

Rumin8's yerba mate example. I have no way of knowing, but a part of me says that allowance was made because the missionary efforts would have been frustrated in that area if not for the allowance. Who knows, relaxing the bans on tea and coffee alone could create a swell in convert baptisms. The temptation to get at those numbers may become greater over time.

If they relaxed the rules on tea and coffee I wouldn't start drinking them, I'm not lobbying for personal reasons, I just don't get coffee and tea. It feels like a silly hill to die on in 2019.

As an example, when I look at the nutritional content of a cup of tea it looks very similar to a glass of water (if you don't add a lot of stuff). When I look at the nutritional content of a can of soda I see about 140 calories and 40g of sugar. I see a lot of people that make sodas their primary source (and in extreme cases only source) of liquid intake. Yet all that sugar is somehow better than a drop of tea. Because...

It feels like the WoW needs a refresh. It feels out of balance. Now, we could take the tack of making it more strict. Add lots of stuff to the prohibited list like soda, energy drinks, sugar, salt, etc. Or we could relax it a little, remove coffee and tea and turn the law into one of moderation in all things. Don't go nuts on the coffee, don't go nuts on the tea, don't go nuts on the sodas. Find a balance. We will no longer police, we can't police your balance. If we want to live higher laws we've got to start trusting people to live their balance. Insisting on total abstinence and policing it feels like the opposite of trust.

Re: Word of Wisdom: The next change

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 08:14
by dande48
nibbler wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 07:44
We're denying a saving ordinance from someone because of coffee. Besides, what's more preferable, having someone be a member of the church, attending our meetings, and learning as a coffee drinker or putting up a barrier to that kind of progress... over coffee? So we can continue to enjoy how peculiar we are.
I hope one day we can have a paradigm shift in the Church, where we start thinking of sins as "barriers to progress", rather than using it to lump people into categories of righteous/wicked. Being addicted to coffee, having it ruin your innards, is a "barrier" in itself. We don't need to add to it by telling coffee drinkers they aren't "good enough".

Re: Word of Wisdom: The next change

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 09:55
by grobert93
PazamaManX wrote:
11 Jan 2019, 22:54
As much as I would love to see a change to the WoW (or at the very least, specific clarification from on high) I have my doubts about it happening. Like it was said before, it's such a huge part of our cultural identity and is often pointed to as Joseph Smith having knowledge beyond his time. I don't see that being changed anytime soon. But, I've been pleasantly surprised before, like with 2 hour church :thumbup:
On Own Now wrote:
11 Jan 2019, 14:58
I think there are two changes the Church could make immediately that would not require anyone to raise an eyebrow:

- eliminated coffee and tea as prohibitions.
- eliminate WoW as a test for baptism, but keep it as a temple-worthiness issue (thus making the transition from non-member to member easier)
I think eliminating it as a requirement for baptism would be a fantastic thing. *warning mission story ahead* On my mission, there was a lady we were teaching who desperately wanted to join the church. She was a wonderful lady and loved the gospel. But, she had a hard life and smoking was a huge challenge for her. She tried quitting countless times but never could. She got things like patches and teas to help her quit, and my companion would inspect the ingredients on the back and tell her yes or no because I guess he was in the know on what chemicals were specifically okay and what wasn't :roll: . When challenging her to quit, my companion would say things like, "Do believe that faith can heal your addiction so you can get baptized?" And then when she relapsed, she felt like she was a worthless, faithless and sinful person who God didn't love.
Had smoking not been regarded as an immoral sin that restricts you from baptism, then she could potentially be living happily in the Gospel rather than feeling like a weak, worthless piece of garbage who God won't let get baptized.
As a missionary myself a few years ago, I was convinced the word of wisdom was essential to get into heaven, that it was the filter of which we could become clean physically and therefore allow the Holy Ghost to be with us more. Therefore, I testified and tried to convince my investigators that they wouldn't have the spirit in full if they kept drinking or smoking. And I wouldn't even focus on the physical health benefits and cons that are scientifically taught about smoking and coffee, etc. But the church (and specifically the MTC, more specifically the PMG) has taught missionaries that coffee is evil and that anyone who struggles with it is doomed until they use the atonement to stop drinking and be saved.

Law of chastity commandments make sense for baptism requirements. most of the other expectations make sense. But drinking coffee and declaring the word of wisdom as a commandment (while often not even covering eating healthy and managing your weight, addiction to non foods, etc) seemed to be the mormon thing to do.

Re: Word of Wisdom: The next change

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 10:15
by On Own Now
FWIW, this thread has caused me to pull out my Mate which I am drinking as I write this.

I had at one time heard from a later-than-me missionary that during his time, the missionaries weren't allowed to drink Mate. Ugh.

Mate (MAH-tay, for those of you unfamiliar with it) does have caffeine, but it doesn't have the same effect. I don't think of it as a stimulant, and it doesn't result in jitters or being wired. As a missionary, I used to routinely drink a couple of cups of Mate at 10PM, but I had no trouble going to sleep immediately as my head hit the pillow at 10:30PM. On the other hand, I understand coffee has a different effect on the body. There was that one episode of Seinfeld where George is dropping off his date and she asks if he'd like to come in for some coffee... George explains that he can't have coffee that late as doing so keeps him up at night.

Re: Word of Wisdom: The next change

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 12:32
by Rumin8
On Own Now wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 10:15
FWIW, this thread has caused me to pull out my Mate which I am drinking as I write this.

I had at one time heard from a later-than-me missionary that during his time, the missionaries weren't allowed to drink Mate. Ugh.
I had some yesterday as well. Love that stuff. I often have a cup in the mid afternoon as a mild stimulant. Heading to the store to get more.

In my mission it was prohibited, but many missionaries drank it anyway. I never did on my own, but definitely did drink it often when visiting with people.

Google the health effects sometime. It’s interesting.

Re: Word of Wisdom: The next change

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 14:05
by DarkJedi
I regularly drink mate since being introduced to it by my RM son, and so does my more orthodox wife. Mate was permitted in his mission and the MP partook as well. The MP also regularly and openly drank Diet Coke.

I too hope that someday we will see an end to the WoW as a baptism requirement (and all the baggage it brings). I wouldn't mind seeing it end as a TR requirement either, but that's just my mate and occasional iced tea (by definition not hot) drinking opinion.

Re: Word of Wisdom: The next change

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 18:04
by SamBee
It's barely a requirement now for baptism. How long do you have to observe it to get baptized? A week? Not long at all.

Re: Word of Wisdom: The next change

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 19:48
by DarkJedi
SamBee wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 18:04
It's barely a requirement now for baptism. How long do you have to observe it to get baptized? A week? Not long at all.
I think it depends on the mission. Last I knew it was 3 weeks here. (That's what it was on my mission, but my mission was on another planet that existed before the Earth and the Earth is made from parts of it - like the dinosaur bones and footprints :D ).