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The Real "Word Of Wisdom"


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The first three verses were originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet.

Those first three verses were not part of the original revelation, but they were inspired, which is key. But knowing they were not part of the original revelation is also important.

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.

I note that this is, in the inspired words of Joseph Smith, the prophet of God, "adapted to the capacity of ... the weakest of ... [those] who ... can be called saints."

That means the Word of Wisdom is the barest threshold of a commandment, which explains why, I believe, we can safely use it as a gauge of who meets even the most minimal standard for membership in Christ's kingdom, i.e., those who are Saints (His name for us).

Much is made of the limitation on meat intake, and even of whether beer is a "mild drink". But if the Word of Wisdom is adapted to the capacity of the weakest of Saints, then it is reasonable to assume that these questions are superfluous: those of us who are not the weakest will have little of no problem setting a higher bar for ourselves, even if the bishop never asks us about it.

On the subject of meat, though, it is interesting that it is not the eating of meat. per se, the Lord sought to limit, but the eating of meat in warm seasons. In the period before refrigeration, meat often spoiled in the summer, and became dangerous to eat. I believe that refrigeration has eliminated this concern, and that meat is perfectly acceptable to Him as food for us today, with the caveat that He will require the blood of every beast at our hand. In other words (to me, at least), we ought not be wasteful of it, and we should be thankful to Him for providing it.

Lehi

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Part of what I posted in another thread in the Social Hall:

Now, I want to be careful not to say anything that will encourage you to violate your covenants. The Word of Wisdom was not initially given as a commandment. It attained that status by a vote of the general membership of the Church. I believe that occurred under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, there is much in the wording of Section 89 that is open to interpretation, and it has been freely interpreted by many. In the end, the Word of Wisdom is between you and the Lord. The temple recommend interview does not ask if you drink a glass of wine, or if you drink caffeineated iced tea. It asks if you keep the Word of Wisdom. You need to answer that for yourself, and to some extent distance yourself from the rhetoric of men. I know that my wife and I both do things that some on this Board, and perhaps even our ecclesiastical leaders, would condemn as violative of the Word of Wisdom. But in the end we are answerable only to the Lord, and if my wife can have the spiritual experience she had in the Temple, and that we both shared when we were sealed some months later, then I think we're ok. But again, you need to work that out with your God.

. . .

Read the scriptures daily. Pray always. And believe in Christ. You'll be ok.

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I have a few simple rules.

1. If you are allergic to it don't eat/drink it.

2. Coffee and Tea are no no's. If you want a Temple Recommend.

3. Eat healthy foods, from a varity of sources, in moderate amounts, and get plenty of exercise.

4. And on the eighth day God created chocolate and he saw that it was very very good. ;)

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So I've been gone for a very long time....what are rep points?

With luv,

Bd

The little green arrow to the bottom right of each post allows us to "thumbs up" a poster for his valuable input. Rep would be reputation. ^_^ MW and I both thought you deserve rep points for your post because you should have a good reputation for posting good insight!

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Ok, sure. Buuuuuut, the Church's authorities will let you attend the temple as a habitual caffeinated soda drinker but not as a, say, moderate coffee and tea drinker.

They might let you but you are only cheating yourself if you believe they are harmful to you and you continue their use at that level.

I had a very personal experience that put the Word of Wisdom in perspective for me.

My wife drank caffienated soda and didn't feel she was breaking the Word of Wisdom. When I did so I felt guilty about it. Long story short it turns out I have a wonky heart valve that is set off by stimulants.

The Lord answered my prayers and if I had listened I would have been spared a health issue and some serious fright about my heart. At the same time if I had insisted my wife obey the revelation meant for me I would have been guilty of overstepping my authority as a Priesthood holder (IMO).

The general counsel in the Word of Wisdom is something we need to pray about and apply to ourselves.

One who receives knowledge that they should abstain or moderate intake of something personally and does anyway is falling short of the revelation. One who receives knowledge that they should abstain or moderate intake of something personally and preaches it as general revelation is overshooting the mark.

And now for a treat... I've been waiting for a Word of Wisdom therad to pull this out...

Edited by DaddyG
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Ok, sure. Buuuuuut, the Church's authorities will let you attend the temple as a habitual caffeinated soda drinker but not as a, say, moderate coffee and tea drinker.

Let??? Anyone with a recommend can go no matter what they’re doing! Put that in your bahng and smoke it!

"Bishop, will you let me go as a habitual caffeinated soda drinker?"

"How badly do you want to go?"

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I think there are two "Word of Wisdoms." The one in the D&C is not the one referred to in the temple recommend interview. For example, nobody is going to be kept from the temple for eating too much meat. Likewise, one can be kept from the temple for taking psychoactive herbs such as cannabis, or drinking beer or other "mild drinks," which the D&C version actually says are okay.

No, the "D&C version" does not.

I keep seeing this silly old chestnut dragged out. It is false.

In the 19th century there was a popular drink called "Barley water." It was a cordial, i.e. a non-alcoholic drink usually served cold. That's why it was a "mild drink" -- or, since there were multiple incarnations of it, "mild drinks." Beer is not a "mild drink," it is fermented, hence "strong drink." Most beers have similar alcohol content to wine.

Note also that there is one Word of Wisdom, not two. Only a subset of it -- specifically the "don'ts" -- has been adopted by the Church as a commandment.

Regards,

Pahoran

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No, the "D&C version" does not.

I keep seeing this silly old chestnut dragged out. It is false.

In the 19th century there was a popular drink called "Barley water." It was a cordial, i.e. a non-alcoholic drink usually served cold. That's why it was a "mild drink" -- or, since there were multiple incarnations of it, "mild drinks." Beer is not a "mild drink," it is fermented, hence "strong drink." Most beers have similar alcohol content to wine.

Note also that there is one Word of Wisdom, not two. Only a subset of it -- specifically the "don'ts" -- has been adopted by the Church as a commandment.

Regards,

Pahoran

According to your link, barley water is a British softdrink. Do you have any evidence that it existed in Joseph Smith's culture?

And why are you so sure that mild ale isn't a mild drink? It seems clear to me that "strong" drinks refer to distilled alcohol (e.g. 80-proof whisky), and "mild" drinks refer to non-distilled alcohol such as beer and wine. You'll note that D&C 89 says "That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you..." This implies that wine falls out of the category of strong drinks.

Edited by Analytics
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According to your link, barley water is a British softdrink. Do you have any evidence that it existed in Joseph Smith's culture?

And why are you so sure that mild ale isn't a mild drink? It seems clear to me that "strong" drinks refer to distilled alcohol (e.g. 80-proof whisky), and "mild" drinks refer to non-distilled alcohol such as beer and wine. You'll note that D&C 89 says "That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you..." This implies that wine falls out of the category of strong drinks.

Also, the revelations says that "strong" drinks are useful for washing the body. I haven't heard of anybody washing their body with beer. The use of relative terms like "mild" and "strong" implies a continuum. Also, excluding wine from the category of "strong drinks" implies that whatever a "strong drink" is, it has more alcohol than wine.

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According to your link, barley water is a British softdrink. Do you have any evidence that it existed in Joseph Smith's culture?

Who colonised North America? Barley water has been around for a very long time and is easy to make; it would be more than astonishing if it didn't make it across the pond. Since carbonated soft drinks (that originated in America) have pushed barley water into a small niche even in Britain, doesn't it stand to reason that they had a similar impact in the US?

And why are you so sure that mild ale isn't a mild drink?

Well, it calls itself "mild" so I suppose it must be. :mega_shok:

Your own source says that "In the 19th century a typical brewery produced three or four mild ales, usually designated by a number of X's, the weakest being X, the strongest XXXX. They were considerably stronger than the milds of today."

It also says, "The term mild originally meant young beer or ale as opposed to 'stale' aged beer or ale with its resulting 'tang'. In more recent times it has been interpreted as denoting 'mildly hopped'."

IOW, in the brewing industry, "mild" is a term of art referring to flavour, not alcohol content.

It seems clear to me that "strong" drinks refer to distilled alcohol (e.g. 80-proof whisky), and "mild" drinks refer to non-distilled alcohol such as beer and wine.

A convenient set of utterly arbitrary and self-serving categories that break right down as soon as we realise that whisky is made, inter alia, from barley.

You'll note that D&C 89 says "That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you..." This implies that wine falls out of the category of strong drinks.

For those of us who are not trying so hard to look beyond the mark, two facts emerge:

(1) 89:5 says: "That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father." Both wine and strong drink are advised against. What have wine (fermented grape juice) and your arbitrary "strong drinks" (distilled fermented stuff) got in common? Apply some "analytics" to this question. See what you come up with.

(2) Taking your strict constructionist approach, we note that 89:17 says that barley is used for mild drinks, "as also other grain." Isn't moonshine made from corn mash? Is that a "mild drink" too, just because it's made from grain?

A mild drink is mild because of what's in it, not because of some arbitrary category based upon what it was made from. Barley can be used to make both mild and strong drinks.

Regards,

Pahoran

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For those of us who are not trying so hard to look beyond the mark, two facts emerge:

(1) 89:5 says: "That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father." Both wine and strong drink are advised against. What have wine (fermented grape juice) and your arbitrary "strong drinks" (distilled fermented stuff) got in common? Apply some "analytics" to this question. See what you come up with.

The scriptural problem with wine was not its alcoholic content, but rather the fear that evil men had designs to poison Mormons by adulterating their wine. That is why, in D&C 27, the revelation told Smith that Mormons should only use wine produced by Mormons. And it's also why that same scripture said that Joseph Smith could look forward to the Millennium when he would be invited to a large wine-drinking party with Jesus, Moroni, Elias, John the Baptist, Elijah, and all the biblical prophets and apostles.

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(2) Taking your strict constructionist approach, we note that 89:17 says that barley is used for mild drinks, "as also other grain." Isn't moonshine made from corn mash? Is that a "mild drink" too, just because it's made from grain?

Moonshine is a "strong drink" because it is distilled.

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The scriptural problem with wine was not its alcoholic content, but rather the fear that evil men had designs to poison Mormons by adulterating their wine. That is why, in D&C 27, the revelation told Smith that Mormons should only use wine produced by Mormons.

Does it also say the nasties are planning to poison the Mormons' whisky?

If not, then it doesn't really provide an entire explanation for Section 89, does it?

And it's also why that same scripture said that Joseph Smith could look forward to the Millennium when he would be invited to a large wine-drinking party with Jesus, Moroni, Elias, John the Baptist, Elijah, and all the biblical prophets and apostles.

Only Joseph? A "wine-drinking party?"

Why is it that the more you post, the more you sound like a Walter Martin-esque anti-Mormon?

Regards,

Pahoran

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(2) Taking your strict constructionist approach, we note that 89:17 says that barley is used for mild drinks, "as also other grain." Isn't moonshine made from corn mash? Is that a "mild drink" too, just because it's made from grain?

A mild drink is mild because of what's in it, not because of some arbitrary category based upon what it was made from. Barley can be used to make both mild and strong drinks.

Regards,

Pahoran

You misunderstand what I'm saying. Distilling alcohol is what makes it strong. Beer and wine are mild because they have low alcohol contents. Whiskey, moon shine, and brandy (distilled wine), are strong because they have been distilled and thus have high alcohol contents.

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It is human nature to want to know why. As a result, there have been many speculations about why tea and coffee, and other things. We don't even know whether Heavenly Father has the same reason for everyone not using it. Do I think it is dumb to be scarfing soda, whether or not caffeinated? Of course. Doesn't show much respect for our bodies and is a huge part of the obesity issue, cannot help but be changing physiology if it includes caffeine, and interferes with taking in needed nutrition.

But the scriptures don't say that the prohibition has anything to do with caffeine at all. "He that must be commanded in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant."

Edited by rpn
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Ok… to take a piece from another thread… I want to know what others do with keeping the keep the word of wisdom? In reading another post, I'm hearing that there are some out there who have a lot of faith, love and commitment to the church but on occasion have a glass of wine or tea. My husband and were recently talking to the branch president about the coffee/tea thing… and he admitted that if he could drink coffee he would live off it, but instead he drinks mountain dew (personal aside: yuck). So it leaves us pondering is it the caffeine in coffee that is to be avoided (ergo decaf is ok?), and if so, should caffeinated sodas be off limits? In talking with others in the church, including missionaries, I've found there is great divide on exactly how this is interpreted and lived. What do you do? What do you think?

Caffeine has absolutely nothing to do with the Word of Wisdom and it has never had anything to do with the Word of Wisdom. Read the WofW and it will be quickly understand that any attempt to make caffeine a part of the WofW is nothing but the creation of foolish tradtions in a spiritual context. Having said that, people confuse healthy standards with the spiritual teachings of the WofW.

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Does it also say the nasties are planning to poison the Mormons' whisky?

The conspirators were feared to be capable of poisoning Mormon liquor, too. See D&C 27:3. But only "strong drink," not wine, was singled out as being "not for the belly."

Only Joseph? A "wine-drinking party?"

That's what it sounds like to me. A wine feast, like Jesus used to have with his disciples. Jesus frequently taught over a glass of wine as part of a communal meal, and he drank so much wine he was accused of being a "winebibber" (Matt. 11:9). So Smith obviously didn't expect that he would reform his ways during his second coming.

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I said that strong drinks are distilled, not that everything that is distilled is a strong drink.

Pahoran agrees with us that it's alcohol content that determines whether a drink is "strong" or "mild". The difference is where you draw the line--Pahoran thinks everything with an alcohol content above 0% is strong, while you and I think the line is a bit higher.

An interesting point is that a fairly strong beer (e.g. 5.5% alcohol content) is much closer to having the same alcohol content as Mountain dew (0%) than it is to having the same alcohol content as weak whisky (40% alcohol content).

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It is human nature to want to know why. As a result, there have been many speculations about why tea and coffee, and other things. We don't even know whether Heavenly Father has the same reason for everyone not using it. Do I think it is dumb to be scarfing soda, whether or not caffeinated? Of course. Doesn't show much respect for our bodies and is a huge part of the obesity issue, cannot help but be changing physiology if it includes caffeine, and interferes with taking in needed nutrition.

But the scriptures don't say that the prohibition has anything to do with caffeine at all. "He that must be commanded in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant."

We don't know what was behind the "hot drinks" phrase in the scripture. In Smith's day, writers were suggesting it was the temperature itself that provided the stimulating effect. A lot of people, including Mormons, advocated that people only drink cold water, and argued that any kind of hot drink was too stimulatory, and soup, too. I think that leaving it broadly as "coffee and tea" (as hot drinks) is a good compromise. But if you take the revelation in the spirit it was given, it's hard to say that Smith would have had an issue with iced tea, or tiramisu.

Edited by Cobalt-70
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