I like the quote nibbler posted. I think the lesson we are taught is to search the canonized scripture and see how what the leaders say are in line with scripture.
D&C 89:1 A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—
3 Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.
That is your justification, your sincere interpretation of scripture.
Katzpur wrote: I have an enormous probably with the idea that a revelation that was given by the Lord as "a word of wisdom" and not as a "commandment" has become such a defining factor in who's a "good temple-worthy Mormon" and who isn't. I have a glass of wine at Thanksgiving and another a Christmas, and when I go for my temple recommend, I always say that I keep the Word of Wisdom. I'm probably just trying to justify my behavior when I say that I keep the spirit of the law, but I fail to see what I'm doing as all that bad.
I have no problem with your approach. As long as you feel at peace with God as you sit in front of the interviewer...you are fine to answer according to your conscience and your interpretation.
I don't think you'll find support by leaders, and there are many quotes and handbook sections that would try to establish it is only "one way" to observe this properly with not even a single sip ever.
In the grand scheme of things...it just isn't that important, unless as you sit in the temple or in the interview you are squirmy and sweating about not feeling worthy. You don't want duplicity. You want to feel unconstrained to be open to God's spirit and revelation. I think only you can decide how you feel about it.
You're also allowed to repent. So...if you say a cuss word...you might feel the need to ask god to help you try harder, if that was important to you. Same for a holiday glass of wine. But a can of soda or a sip of wine at the holiday...I can't imagine it matters.
Perhaps do a test. Sip some wine. See if you feel God is in your life, if you feel spiritual, if you connect to whatever you believe, any differently than how you feel it when you abstain from alcohol. Or if you feel unworthy and dark and need to stop taking sips. Then follow your heart and conscience...no justification or mental gymnastics needed...simply answer the temple recommend question if you feel worthy or not according to how you feel.
I prefer my spirit guiding me rather than quotes from the 1800s as my justification. God knows my heart.