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Word of Wisdom Poll of Personal Beliefs


Word of Wisdom opinions  

66 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you personally consider the Word of Wisdom a commandment (regardless of Church position) as opposed to wise advice?

  2. 2. Which of the following do you personally consider prohibited by the Word of Wisdom (regardless of Church position)? Check all that apply.

    • Black Tea/Coffee - HOT
    • Black Tea/Coffee - ICED
    • Herbal Teas - HOT or ICED
    • Energy Drinks/High Caffeine Soda
    • Hot Drinks of any kind - to include Cocoa/Hot Chocolate, Pero/Caro, Postum, Chicory, and any others you can name.
    • Tobacco
    • Beer
    • Wine
    • Liquor
    • Strong drinks - to include ALL alcohol
    • Meat (not during winter/cold/famine)
    • Fruit and Vegetables out of season
  3. 3. Do you consider following the Church position on the Word of Wisdom more important than the instructions in the document itself?



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3 hours ago, Button Gwinnett said:

Sorry but I disagree.  A member can and will receive their temple recommend even if they drink caffeine free coffee.  So drinking "coffee" is NOT the issue.  And as I stated earlier, you can drink Hot beverages such as hot herbal teas or hot chocolate and still receive your recommend. So "HOT" is not the issue. And you can drink caffeinated soft drinks so "Caffeine" is Not the issue.  It seems that ONLY when you combine Caffeine to Coffee ,either hot or cold, are you in violation to the Word of wisdom.  I'm going to go out on a limb and state that if one were to combine their Caffeine free coffee with a caffeinated cola that that combination would be OK, Which frankly makes zero sense with the exception that it make LDS people peculiar which may be the only point of the ban.

Well, great, we disagree on that. What else is new?

Just because some members "can and will" get a TR if they drink decaf does not make it correct. I knew a stake president who would deny a TR to a coke drinker. He was wrong, and okaying decaf is wrong. Hyrum Smith, brother to the Prophet Joseph Smith and presumably knowledgeable about the matter, wrote in a Church publication (Times and Seasons) that hot drinks meant coffee and tea. The modern Church has said "coffee and tea". Caffeine isn't mentioned. Unless we want to start turning into Pharisees over this. You know how it is, since the Law of Moses says you may not light a fire on the Sabbath, modern day Pharisees decided that electricity was fire, so that meant that while you could let an electric light continue to burn on the Sabbath, flipping the switch to turn it on or off was proscribed. Look, the simplest, least pharisaic and most error-free principle in this is: don't consume coffee and don't consume tea (meaning camellia sinensis). Hang the rest of the it.

It's peculiar all right.

3 hours ago, Button Gwinnett said:

I second the obesity problem among the Saints, Why people are allowed to gain immense amounts of unhealthy weight and still qualify for a TR while the healthy coffee drinker is banned from temple attendance is beyond me.  Am I sounding like a rebel?  Sorry.  But this aspect of the WoW make no sense and the church ahs provided no logical answer or explanation except to trust and obey, but the entire WoW seems opportunistic and illogical and I can't imagine God being this illogical and nebulous. Did I say to much? I know I'm grandstanding. 

Because the Word of Wisdom doesn't contain a clause dictating the allowable body mass index range, that's why. We talk about Word of Wisdom as a health-related commandment, and following it will result in better health, but if you start looking "beyond the mark" for things to obey, past the things that the WoW actually says, then there we go on a pharisee ride again.  And the Pharisees would have a field day with this! You'd be having some saying that sky-diving is against the WoW because it's dangerous to one's health. Some Pharisee would decide that making more than 12 commercial airplane flights per year is against the WoW because of the excess cosmic radiation exposure. Another would come out with the solemn pronouncement that unless you walk at least 20 miles per month you're breaking the WoW.

The only part of the Word of Wisdom that has been designated and accepted by the Church and its members as binding as a mark of obedience for the purpose of determining worthiness is the proscription of consuming coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco.  The rest of the Word of Wisdom remains optional. The implication of keeping yourself healthy remains optional.

Don't borrow trouble. Stop complicating the matter.

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi's brother Jacob wrote of this matter in regards to the Jews:

"But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble." (Jacob 4:14)

And in connection with this I suggest a reading of Elder Quentin L. Cook's general conference talk "Looking Beyond the Mark".

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Hugh B. Brown:

Quote

The only way I know of by which the teachings of any person or group may become binding upon the church is if the teachings have been reviewed by all the brethren, submitted to the highest councils of the church, and then approved by the whole body of the church…I do not doubt that the brethren have often spoken under inspiration and given new emphasis—perhaps even a new explanation or interpretation—of church doctrine, but that does not become binding upon the church unless and until it is submitted to the scrutiny of the rest of the brethren and later to the vote of the people. Again, we are only bound by the four standard works and are not required to defend what any man or woman says outside of them. 

Do we think that the brethren would largely agree with this statement by Hugh B. Brown today?

If so, how does the Word of Wisdom measure up to this test of what is binding on the saints?

The WoW is said to have become a binding commandment on 1 Feb, 1852 during a conference of the church.  Here are the minutes from that meeting (“Minutes of the General Conference,” Millennial Star, 1 Feb. 1852, p. 35):

Quote

 

The Patriarch [John Smith] again arose to speak on the Word of Wisdom, and urging on the brethren to leave off using tobacco &c.

President Young arose to put the motion and called on all the sisters who will leave off the use of tea, coffee, &c., to manifest it by raising the right hand; seconded and carried.

And then put the following motion; calling on all the boys who were under ninety years of age who would covenant to leave off the use of tobacco, whisky, and all things mentioned in the Word of Wisdom, to manifest it in the same manner, which was carried unanimously. 

The Patriarch then said, may the Lord bless you and help you to keep all your covenants.  Amen.

http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/MStar/id/37879

 

What are your thoughts about that?

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

So you are complaining about the inconsistency in how the WoW is administered, but you aren't calling for any change in that inconsistent administration?

Well, okay.  You are criticizing how the Church, but you do not want the Church to change the behavior being criticized.  

Not sure why this is confusing for you. Yes, they are inconsistent in application of the WoW. That doesn't mean they must be more strict with every aspect. What is the alternative? Obviously it's that they can be less strict with every aspect.

Again, the WoW has components which are "Bright Line Rules" (no coffee/tea, no alcohol, etc.), and other components which are "Balancing Tests" (exercise, medical/mental health maintenance, healthy eating, etc.).

Yes. These bright line rules are a matter of current church policy, not scriptural revelation.

These are all discretionary matters left to those with stewardship and authority.

Nope. Bishops and stake presidents don't create commandments. By giving them discretion in how they apply the WoW you are essentially giving them power to create commandments in the name of God. Sounds like Taking the Lord's name in vain, to me.

And it's up to the individual's bishop and member of stake presidency, as well.  They are, after all, there to perform an adjudicative function through the Spirit and counsel, not just rubber-stamp the individual's personal preferences.

Nope. See above.

Again, these are discretionary matters left to those with stewardship and authority.  Do you . . . resent this?  Find it problematic?  You'd prefer to strip the boots-on-the-ground priesthood leaders of any discretionary authority, and instead impose stringent and specific (and, it seems, arbitrary) "guidelines?"  Is that what you want?

Nope

Hence the value of that individual, and the bishop, and the member of the stake presidency, all working together to discern the Lord's will and the best way to proceed.

With 30,000+ wards this could mean there are 30,000 variations of the WoW and how it is applied to a person's declared worthiness. That's not acceptable to me.

Thanks,

-Smac

So much Ughhh with these responses.

 

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

Hugh B. Brown:

Do we think that the brethren would largely agree with this statement by Hugh B. Brown today?

If so, how does the Word of Wisdom measure up to this test of what is binding on the saints?

The WoW is said to have become a binding commandment on 1 Feb, 1852 during a conference of the church.  Here are the minutes from that meeting (“Minutes of the General Conference,” Millennial Star, 1 Feb. 1852, p. 35):

What are your thoughts about that?

I completely agree with Hugh B. Brown.  The Church operates on Common Consent.  All must be approved by the leaders and membership to be considered binding.

I don't think this applies to every aspect of the restored gospel, but I also don't think every aspect of the restored gospel falls under Church purview.
Plural Marriage is a perfect example of this principle.  It was restored by God through revelation to his prophet and practiced by many of the prophets and apostles between 1840 and 1852.  
It only became binding on the Saints in 1852, and even that is a maybe as it was never put to a vote of the Church.
Then in 1890 President Woodruff issued instruction to the Church to cease plural marriage, which was approved by a Common Consent vote, and the priesthood leadership (apostles, stake presidents, etc) continued living, authorizing, and performing plural marriages for the next 14 years.
Plural Marriage was never a law of the Church.  It was never voted in, it was authorized and lived both before it was presented to the Church and after it was banned by the Church.  Were God ever to command the President of the Church to begin the practice again there is no guarantee it would be extended to the entire Church either.

As for the General Conference vote - The Word of Wisdom was accepted by common consent vote in 1852.  That made it a law of the Church, enforceable according to the policies of any particular administration.  The covenant members were placed under at that time which came outside of the vote of acceptance would only apply to those who entered into that covenant.

 

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6 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I cannot understand how you could possibly claim that current leaders apply the WoW dos and don'ts consistently. If they enforce WoW adherence for temple recommends by not allowing people who drink, smoke, etc to have recommends yet they don't deny recommends to the morbidly obese who eat a slab of ribs at every dinner, then obviously adherence to certain parts of the WoW are more important than others.

How can you claim otherwise. It's a nonsensical claim. Separate WoW requirements, as found in scripture, are not followed equally, which means some are being ignored. You can claim that ignoring it is justified because those with priesthood keys have the right to ignore it, but you can't claim it isn't being ignored. It simply is not being followed. 

The WoW is administered as a church policy based loosely on parts of a revelation.

Here's another problem with the obesity idea. Obesiety is a condition. Drinking, smoking etc. are actions.

Now if you want to deny TR to those who have cirrhosis, lung cancer, heart attacks, or alcoholics or addicts etc. then I get denying it for those who are obese. Those are all conditions that sometimes/often come actions against the Word of Wisdom. 

If you want to deny temple reccomends to those who drink soda, eat cake, chips, cookies, pizza etc. I get it. Those would be comparable actions of drinking and smoking. 

But the WoW/TR reccomends are set up with actions, not conditions. And the WoW items that are part of the TR or requirements are pretty easy to define.

4 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Very interesting.  Among the 45 members that have responded to my extremely scientific and accurate poll ;) 1 in 3 don't consider the WoW a commandment.

Imagine if this poll actually represents an accurate cross section of the general membership.  Millions of Church members who don't consider the WoW a commandment.

Setting aside standard issue debates over the kind of tea or meat in summer, this thread has provided some very interesting insights into the view of the Word of Wisdom held by members.

I wonder how different the poll would be if you asked instead of the WoW being a commandment; "Do you personally consider not drinking coffee* a commandment (regardless of Church position) as opposed to wise advice?"

* Or any of the other items. 

3 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

If you don't personally think beer and wine are prohibited in the WoW, why did you mark that you personally believed they are on the survey?

The survey is all about personal belief, not official Church position.

I realize you are asking someone else.

I didn't realize who voted for what would show up. I have to say that as I was pressing submit, I realized that I read some of it wrong and had a couple items marked wrong.

#2 was hard for me as well because just couldn't put an accurate answer on a couple of things as the question was written. Sorry.

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6 hours ago, Calm said:

I don't see people saying you are judging or believe it, they are just responding to the argument you are passing on that is used to include herbal infusions/teas in the forbidden category of the WoW.

Ok, well that may be where I am going wrong. I'm not trying to pass on the forbidden argument, but trying to explain why some may find it (what is forbidden) unclear. 

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34 minutes ago, Rain said:

Ok, well that may be where I am going wrong. I'm not trying to pass on the forbidden argument, but trying to explain why some may find it (what is forbidden) unclear. 

Why would it be unclear?

  1. The Revelation (God through his prophet) says "no hot drinks".  That's it, that's all.
  2. The first definition by a leader says "well, that must mean tea and coffee" with no explanation as why only those two drinks and not others other than prevalence in usage.
  3. An assumption is made that the statement "tea" by said leader can only refer to "black tea" varietals and not herbal options.
    Green tea, not being readily available  would be generally ignored.
  4. Subsequent leaders ignore both the revelation and the interpretation and continue to drink tea and coffee for the next near century.
  5. Then tea and coffee, but not hot drinks, are later made a disqualifier for a temple recommend.
  6. Theories abound as to why only tea and coffee and not cocoa, herbal tea, pero/caro, postum etc but no reason is provided.  
  7. Caffeine became the speculative scapegoat and cause Mormon culture (but not the Church) to generally avoid caffeinated soda as well.  The same idea also added "green tea" to the list coming from the same  Camellia sinensis plant as black tea.
  8. Church comes out and says caffeine is NOT the reason for the prohibition.  Soda makers enjoy selling more Coke etc at BYU than in years.
  9. Still no reason given why hot drinks refer to black and green tea preparations and coffee whether hot or cold, but no other hot drinks.
  10. So we don't drink Camellia sinensis or coffee, regardless of temperature, because a revelation told us not to drink hot drinks.

No, there's no reason whatsoever for a lack of clarity around a scripture prohibiting the consumption of hot drinks.

Sometimes I think God must find us very amusing.

Edited by JLHPROF
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12 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

If you don't personally think beer and wine are prohibited in the WoW, why did you mark that you personally believed they are on the survey?

The survey is all about personal belief, not official Church position.

I goofed up. I answered that I personally considered beer and wine to be part of the word of wisdom, when I don't actually -- even though I follow Church policy on that (except for occasional cooking, as another poster has mentioned).

But there doesn't seem to be a way to change one's vote after voting.

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15 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Why would it be unclear?

What isn't unclear, in Section 89 itself (when taken together with Section 107), is that the "council of high priests" has the prerogative of interpreting the revealed "order and will of God" and applying it under their keys in their responsibility as judges in Israel. This instruction given in 1833 was not directed only to those individuals on the council for their lifetime only (it's for "all saints in the last days").

The temple recommend interview text is not subject to common consent, but the canon is. It is interesting to me that the common consent of prior generations also binds us to the canon by covenant (not that it binds us to actually keep said covenant; that's another issue relating to the governance of the Church).

I encourage anyone feeling that Section 89 and the temple recommend question aren't clear, to keep them both to the best of his ability until the Lord gives him what he needs.

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9 hours ago, Button Gwinnett said:

Nope caffeinated coffee is the issue not coffee

"Doctrine and Covenants 89:9 says we shouldn’t drink “hot drinks.” The only official interpretation of this term is the statement made by early Church leaders that it means tea and coffee. Caffeine is not specifically mentioned as the reason not to drink these drinks."

https://www.lds.org/new-era/2008/04/to-the-point/is-there-anything-wrong-with-drinking-sodas-with-caffeine-in-them-is-caffeine-bad-the-word-of-wisdom-doesnt-mention-it?lang=eng

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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

"Doctrine and Covenants 89:9 says we shouldn’t drink “hot drinks.” The only official interpretation of this term is the statement made by early Church leaders that it means tea and coffee. Caffeine is not specifically mentioned as the reason not to drink these drinks."

https://www.lds.org/new-era/2008/04/to-the-point/is-there-anything-wrong-with-drinking-sodas-with-caffeine-in-them-is-caffeine-bad-the-word-of-wisdom-doesnt-mention-it?lang=eng

A few thoughts.

1. Decaffeinated coffee did not exist in the 19th century.  

2. I have never encountered a Latter-day Saint who thought decaf was permissible under the WoW.

3. These two articles do a very good job of compiling references and analysis of this issue:

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 hours ago, Button Gwinnett said:

Nope caffeinated coffee is the issue not coffee

Church has come out and said caffeine is not the issue.  Hence Coke on BYU now.

That means whatever reason we don't drink tea or coffee has nothing to do with either caffeine or temperature.

Which makes it anybody's guess as to why they would be prohibited.  We just follow our leaders with no justification for the prohibition.
We simply have no idea why we don't drink them except we were asked by Church leaders not to.

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59 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Church has come out and said caffeine is not the issue.  Hence Coke on BYU now.

That means whatever reason we don't drink tea or coffee has nothing to do with either caffeine or temperature.

Which makes it anybody's guess as to why they would be prohibited.  We just follow our leaders with no justification for the prohibition.
We simply have no idea why we don't drink them except we were asked by Church leaders not to.

I often just tell people it's like Lent and not to worry about the chemistry.

 

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12 minutes ago, mnn727 said:

 In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days

juan+valdez.jpeg

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

2. I have never encountered a Latter-day Saint who thought decaf was permissible under the WoW.

-Smac

My bishop of a few years ago drank decaf coffee.  He would also drink caffeinated Diet Coke.  It never made sense to me but he seemed to think it was fine. 

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As a believer I was word of wisdom hardliner in the areas that I saw as part of the doctrine.  Coffee, Drinks from the tea plant.  All alcohol.  All illegal drugs.

I had read the D&C section but I guess I never studied it. It was not until after I left the church that I realized that the way I followed the word of wisdom had almost nothing to do with D&C 132

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25 minutes ago, FearlessFixxer said:

It was not until after I left the church that I realized that the way I followed the word of wisdom had almost nothing to do with D&C 132

:) Not sure that was a hard realization to have since the WoW is in section 89 while 132 is about plural marriage...

Edited by SmileyMcGee
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48 minutes ago, FearlessFixxer said:

As a believer I was word of wisdom hardliner in the areas that I saw as part of the doctrine.  Coffee, Drinks from the tea plant.  All alcohol.  All illegal drugs.

I had read the D&C section but I guess I never studied it. It was not until after I left the church that I realized that the way I followed the word of wisdom had almost nothing to do with D&C 132

I don't know that I'd go so far as to say the current implementation of the WoW has almost nothing to do with section 89, but I would agree that it can be tough to see the connection between some of the ideas in section 89 and contemporary practice. Section 89 is beautiful to me; contemporary practice seems kind of silly (weird incentives, draconian punishment for what I consider some fairly benign behaviors). 

Edited by SmileyMcGee
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2 hours ago, SmileyMcGee said:

I don't know that I'd go so far as to say the current implementation of the WoW has almost nothing to do with section 89, but I would agree that it can be tough to see the connection between some of the ideas in section 89 and contemporary practice. Section 89 is beautiful to me; contemporary practice seems kind of silly (weird incentives, draconian punishment for what I consider some fairly benign behaviors). 

Tough is an understatement.
Anyone trying to match up current Church policy and scripture is going to have a hard time.

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