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Marginal Gains

Is much of the Word Of Wisdom merely advisory?

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Scott Lloyd, on a different thread, said:

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At the risk of taking this thread into a derail, I will dispute the above. Those things have not been defined by the Lord or his prophets as sinful. Only those portions of the Word of Wisdom covered in the temple recommend interview are. Much of the Word of Wisdom is still just that, a “word of wisdom”; that is, merely advisory in nature (see the opening verses of Doctrine and Covenants 89). You might have your personal opinions regarding what Section 89 says, but insisting they are binding on others is gospel hobbyism. 

Which begs the question (if one agrees with Scott) about how we differentiate between the bits of the Word Of Wisdom that are binding, and which aren’t?

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26 minutes ago, Marginal Gains said:

Scott Lloyd, on a different thread, said:

Which begs the question (if one agrees with Scott) about how we differentiate between the bits of the Word Of Wisdom that are binding, and which aren’t?

Binding for a temple recommend, those who have the keys to  formulate the questions. Binding for everything else, between a person and God depending on the additional light he possesses.

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1 hour ago, Marginal Gains said:

Scott Lloyd, on a different thread, said:

Which begs the question (if one agrees with Scott) about how we differentiate between the bits of the Word Of Wisdom that are binding, and which aren’t?

The prophetic intent was for it to be entirely advisory.

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51 minutes ago, Marginal Gains said:

At the risk of taking this thread into a derail, I will dispute the above. Those things have not been defined by the Lord or his prophets as sinful. Only those portions of the Word of Wisdom covered in the temple recommend interview are. Much of the Word of Wisdom is still just that, a “word of wisdom”; that is, merely advisory in nature (see the opening verses of Doctrine and Covenants 89). You might have your personal opinions regarding what Section 89 says, but insisting they are binding on others is gospel hobbyism. 

I just smile and shake my head when you take the text of D & C 89 and compare it with current Salt Lake  sect of Mormonism's view of it, there is a huge gap in what text says and what is culturally acceptable in the church today.  Meat anytime now is okay, and barley drinks are now forbidden. They great thing about Mormonism is that anything can change and everyone has their own personal revelation as well so you can really get out into the weeds on this one!

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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—

As a matter of current church policy for gaining access to the temple and other spiritual blessings, the WoW is absolutely commandment. But IMO it's not a commandment of God.

As we see in verse 2 it is NOT commandment or constraint. It is merely used that way ;) 

Edited by HappyJackWagon
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1 hour ago, Gray said:

The prophetic intent was for it to be entirely advisory.

Although when God is strongly advising something one probably should listen. And we should distinguish between original intent by Joseph and later revelation to other prophets. (Honestly I think the Church would have done much better had they pushed it more strongly earlier - there were many social ills due to alcohol and tobacco in the 19th century)

I tend to think what in practice we call the Word of Wisdom today and D&C 89 are pretty different. I think we should pay close attention to D&C 89 - more than we do. However abstaining from alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs does seem an unmitigated good. At best one could say Coffee is much more mixed and that the problem there was the 19th century tendency to drink it far too hot. However avoiding coffee isn't exactly a bad thing either. I probably should abstain from Diet Coke. Heaven knows my wife gives me a hard time about it. And undoubtedly I'd be far better off if I did. 

1 hour ago, snowflake said:

Meat anytime now is okay, and barley drinks are now forbidden. They great thing about Mormonism is that anything can change and everyone has their own personal revelation as well so you can really get out into the weeds on this one!

People should eat less meat, myself included. Barley drinks I've never heard forbidden though. (I assume you mean Postum) Most people don't like them but that seems a different matter. And of course the principle, frequently taught my mangling 1 Cor 6, is that we should care about our bodies and take care of them. The number of people who are overweight arguably does quite a bit here, as does eating too much sugar and refined foods, not enough greens or fiber and so forth. Get exercise and just be healthy.

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Although when God is strongly advising something one probably should listen. And we should distinguish between original intent by Joseph and later revelation to other prophets. (Honestly I think the Church would have done much better had they pushed it more strongly earlier - there were many social ills due to alcohol and tobacco in the 19th century)

I tend to think what in practice we call the Word of Wisdom today and D&C 89 are pretty different. I think we should pay close attention to D&C 89 - more than we do. However abstaining from alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs does seem an unmitigated good. At best one could say Coffee is much more mixed and that the problem there was the 19th century tendency to drink it far too hot. However avoiding coffee isn't exactly a bad thing either. I probably should abstain from Diet Coke. Heaven knows my wife gives me a hard time about it. And undoubtedly I'd be far better off if I did. 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I should say the intent of the revelation as written.

Regarding the different interpretations of it, I agree, I think putting all alcohol and tobacco into the treif category is a net positive for the Saints. On the other hand putting coffee and tea in that category is a net negative - both provide health benefits and no real negatives. This would have been particularly beneficial before the innovation of easily available sterile drinking water.

 

Edited by Gray

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14 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

People should eat less meat, myself included. Barley drinks I've never heard forbidden though. (I assume you mean Postum) Most people don't like them but that seems a different matter.

Um...that would be beer ;) 

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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

People should eat less meat, myself included. Barley drinks I've never heard forbidden though. (I assume you mean Postum) Most people don't like them but that seems a different matter. And of course the principle, frequently taught my mangling 1 Cor 6, is that we should care about our bodies and take care of them. The number of people who are overweight arguably does quite a bit here, as does eating too much sugar and refined foods, not enough greens or fiber and so forth. Get exercise and just be healthy.

 

Really Clark Postum? Barley drinks,.....the kind that have been around for thousands of years....Ale....beer.

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6 hours ago, Gray said:

Regarding the different interpretations of it, I agree, I think putting all alcohol and tobacco into the treif category is a net positive for the Saints. On the other hand putting coffee and tea in that category is a net negative - both provide health benefits and no real negatives. This would have been particularly beneficial before the innovation of easily available sterile drinking water.

Don't tell California that. They just passed a law requiring warning stickers on coffee sold in the state. 

3 hours ago, snowflake said:

Really Clark Postum? Barley drinks,.....the kind that have been around for thousands of years....Ale....beer.

Ah. I thought you mean roasted barley not fermented barley. It's not really the barley that's the issue in the latter. My misbegotten youth drinking Postum when my grandparents drank coffee comes back to haunt me.

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Don't tell California that. They just passed a law requiring warning stickers on coffee sold in the state. 

Ah. I thought you mean roasted barley not fermented barley. It's not really the barley that's the issue in the latter. My misbegotten youth drinking Postum when my grandparents drank coffee comes back to haunt me.

 

 

 

From the link:

 

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Coffee has been much studied over the years, and research has shown that it provides several health benefits, including lowering your risk of early death. It may reduce your risk of heart disease, multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's and even some cancers like melanoma and prostate cancer. However, a review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, found that drinking very hot beverages was "probably carcinogenic to humans" due to burns to the esophagus; there was no relation to the chemical acrylamide.

 

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It was a humorous post. I didn't mean to imply the bulk of the evidence said coffee is dangerous. Just that the news of California warnings came out as I was writing and I thought it funny. I wouldn't particularly trust California to decide what's safe. I don't particularly think the Word of Wisdom in the contemporary sense is about health, although that's part. I suspect it was more about a signifier that separates the group from the world once the 19th century signifiers (marriage, communitarianism) ended. Which isn't to say there isn't a ton of value in D&C 89. But as I said I think the coffee bit is more about the temperature damaging throats and possibly causing throat cancer. That doesn't really apply today. I don't drink coffee because I've covenanted not to do so, not because I think there's some health risk. (Indeed I might be opening a coffee shop and hot chocolate cafe soon)

Edited by clarkgoble
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4 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

It was a humorous post. I didn't mean to imply the bulk of the evidence said coffee is dangerous. Just that the news of California warnings came out as I was writing and I thought it funny. I wouldn't particularly trust California to decide what's safe. I don't particularly think the Word of Wisdom in the contemporary sense is about health, although that's part. I suspect it was more about a signifier that separates the group from the world once the 19th century signifiers (marriage, communitarianism) ended. Which isn't to say there isn't a ton of value in D&C 89. But as I said I think the coffee bit is more about the temperature damaging throats and possibly causing throat cancer. That doesn't really apply today. I don't drink coffee because I've covenanted not to do so, not because I think there's some health risk. (Indeed I might be opening a coffee shop and hot chocolate cafe soon)

Sorry, I missed the joke. :P

I agree, the WOW functions today in just the way you describe, not really as a health code per se.

 

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The Word of Wisdom was never a health code. It only became seen (over time) as a health code when it could be defended on that basis. And certainly some aspects of it are healthy (the tobacco issue for example). But we continue to try and defend every part of the policy of the Word of Wisdom as currently implemented as a health code when almost some aspects of it (especially the way in which it is interpreted in policy) simply don't correlate well with health issues.

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1 hour ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

The Word of Wisdom was never a health code. It only became seen (over time) as a health code when it could be defended on that basis. And certainly some aspects of it are healthy (the tobacco issue for example). But we continue to try and defend every part of the policy of the Word of Wisdom as currently implemented as a health code when almost some aspects of it (especially the way in which it is interpreted in policy) simply don't correlate well with health issues.

It seems to frame itself as a health code, but not just a health code. There seem to be spiritual and intellectual promises connected to it as well:

 

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18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

 

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23 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

As a matter of current church policy for gaining access to the temple and other spiritual blessings, the WoW is absolutely commandment. But IMO it's not a commandment of God.

As we see in verse 2 it is NOT commandment or constraint. It is merely used that way

But God did make it a commandment for us for temple attendance, through His latter-day prophets.
"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1: 3)

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21 minutes ago, JAHS said:

But God did make it a commandment for us for temple attendance, through His latter-day prophets.
"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1: 3)

Yep- that is an awesome blank check church leaders have to make commandments on behalf of God without providing any revelation or requiring any common consent. It's a great power. Anything they say, goes.

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4 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Yep- that is an awesome blank check church leaders have to make commandments on behalf of God without providing any revelation or requiring any common consent. It's a great power. Anything they say, goes.

They have common consent among the the Apostles and they get common consent from all members every time we raise our hands to sustain them at conference or answer the temple recommend questions.

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4 minutes ago, JAHS said:

They have common consent among the the Apostles and they get common consent from all members every time we raise our hands to sustain them at conference or answer the temple recommend questions.

So common consent is only to be used to accept the individuals serving in specific callings, and not the specific issues or teachings? That's interesting. So when we sustain a person by common consent we are granting that individual a blank check and then renewing that authority with each subsequent sustaining.

What does that mean for someone serving in a position like... (the) prophet or First Presidency when they haven't been accepted by common consent?

 

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3 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So common consent is only to be used to accept the individuals serving in specific callings, and not the specific issues or teachings? That's interesting. So when we sustain a person by common consent we are granting that individual a blank check and then renewing that authority with each subsequent sustaining.

That is functionally how it has worked in modern times. 

If we did submit policy changes, commandment changes, or doctrinal changes to the body of the Saints (and I agree with you that we should, although logistically I think that could be a mess in practice), I don't think the outcome would be very different than it is without it. The default setting for Mormons is to raise their hand (some without thought, others as a matter of course) and sustain whatever is put forth. 

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44 minutes ago, rongo said:

That is functionally how it has worked in modern times. 

If we did submit policy changes, commandment changes, or doctrinal changes to the body of the Saints (and I agree with you that we should, although logistically I think that could be a mess in practice), I don't think the outcome would be very different than it is without it. The default setting for Mormons is to raise their hand (some without thought, others as a matter of course) and sustain whatever is put forth. 

With communication technology the way it is, it seems very possible to seek common consent from membership. There really isn't any way to know if the outcomes would be any different, but I suspect they could be, especially when you consider that only 1/3 of the church population is active. What would happen if there was a poll, email, or some other system for all members to place their votes of common consent? We live in an age where this could actually be done but I think it could turn the church on its head.

Also, consider how many other churches change policy. Membership doesn't merely get an announcement (if we're lucky) that something has changed. The change is proposed. Membership has time to consider the proposal, then there are conferences at which the proposals are voted upon by delegates. We have canonized requirement for common consent but don't follow it. Other churches have no such canonized requirement, yet follow it better than we.

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I don't know, the "church congress" model, or the Ross Perot, internet voting model, just kind of rubs me the wrong way. Yuck! Can you imagine actually having it work that way? Plus, the inactive who don't keep standards anyway would carry the day with the voting. 

It would be a boon for the "change from within" and "grassroots change" crowd, though.

 

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2 minutes ago, rongo said:

I don't know, the "church congress" model, or the Ross Perot, internet voting model, just kind of rubs me the wrong way. Yuck! Can you imagine actually having it work that way? Plus, the inactive who don't keep standards anyway would carry the day with the voting. 

It would be a boon for the "change from within" and "grassroots change" crowd, though.

 

I'm curious.

Should possible votes by inactive members be automatically discounted? Does their consent, as members of the church, matter? Or are the votes of active members the only ones that should matter?

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4 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I'm curious.

Should possible votes by inactive members be automatically discounted? Does their consent, as members of the church, matter? Or are the votes of active members the only ones that should matter?

Well, even in the "golden age," only those present voted. Then and now, you have to be present to vote. I don't think "balloting" to seek the vote of people who never attend is worthwhile.

As a side note, how would the Church handle balloting for the Address Unknown file? 

I do think you would have different results with anonymous common consent voting than with the group pressure of public meeting voting by the raise of hand. I could see there being a lot more "no" votes on bishops, stake presidents, etc. if it were anonymous. 

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14 minutes ago, rongo said:

I don't know, the "church congress" model, or the Ross Perot, internet voting model, just kind of rubs me the wrong way. Yuck! Can you imagine actually having it work that way? Plus, the inactive who don't keep standards anyway would carry the day with the voting. 

It would be a boon for the "change from within" and "grassroots change" crowd, though.

 

You could have voting rights tied to church attendance without too much trouble, I think.

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