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Obey wow which is not a commandment


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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Doctrine and Covenants, section 89 (Word of Wisdom), verse 2 says "not by commandment or constraint".

From the beginning, That wording led to debates. Brigham Young called for a sustaining vote to observe the revelation at the Sept. 9, 1851 General Conference. I understand the delay was to give people a chance to adapt.

What is the official status now? It says it is not a commandment. Brigham Young says it is something that is observed. LDS church says it is something that should be obeyed. Maybe it is a guideline? It is easier for me to obey something if I know what it is.

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Obedience to the " thou shalt not " parts of the WoW is required for a person to become a member of the Church as well as to hold a recommend to the temple. No one, as far as I know , ever asks if one obeys the " thou shalt " parts of the WoW , which includes eating meat sparingly and fruits and veg in season, and wheat etc. My spouse would have serious problems because she is allergic to wheat and wheat products.

D&C 58:26 applies to D&C 89 

 

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Do you use: (a) alcohol, (b) tobacco, (c) coffee, (d) tea, or (e) harmful drugs, or "prescribable" drugs in nonprescribed ways?  No?  Congratulations!  You're keeping the Word of Wisdom well enough to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if you're not yet a member, or to receive a Temple Recommend and to participate in the faith's highest ordinances if you are a member. 

What about the "thou shalts" or any "unmentioned thou-shalt-nots" that may be read into the Word of Wisdom?  Well, I don't think the Word of Wisdom mentions, for example dairy products, specifically.  Certainly, while they can be overindulged in, they are not among the things that the Word of Wisdom recommends be "used sparingly."  But, in my case, if I happen to overindulge, I tend to reap negative consequences from such overindulgence.  So that's something I have to watch.  The same with sugar, fat, and numerous other things.

While most anyone here can give you the "broad strokes" (even nonmembers can read the "black letter scripture" in Section 89), no one here is going to be able to give you any advice with regard to the minute details, especially not as they apply to you when they may not apply to someone else.  Caveat Lector.  Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and follow it.  As our friend, Strapping Lad says, don't wait to "be commanded in all things" (Doctrine and Covenants 58:26).  And most discussions of the Word of Wisdom tend to get so caught up in the "thou shalts" and the "thou shalt nots" that they miss, completely, the most important part of the section, in verses 18-21.

I wish you well. :)

Edited by Kenngo1969
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4 hours ago, The Nehor said:

It is now a commandment but it is one binding only on members of the Church.

I don't believe it rises to the level of a "commandment". After all, violations of actual commandments (i.e. Ten Commandments) can typically lead to loss of membership at the extreme end. The instructions in the Handbook specifically exclude violations of the WoW as grounds for a membership council. 

WoW observance is more along the lines of what might be called a voluntary covenant. One that one must keep in order to be considered a member in good standing.

 

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4 hours ago, Megalodon said:

I don't believe it rises to the level of a "commandment". After all, violations of actual commandments (i.e. Ten Commandments) can typically lead to loss of membership at the extreme end. The instructions in the Handbook specifically exclude violations of the WoW as grounds for a membership council. 

WoW observance is more along the lines of what might be called a voluntary covenant. One that one must keep in order to be considered a member in good standing.

 

That is not the definition of a commandment.

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And the debate continues now in this forum. So I conclude there is no official status.
I simply wish to understand the WoW, not pick a side. However an official side would be nice to know. Reading your arguments give me a better understanding. Thank you.

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34 minutes ago, Wname said:

And the debate continues now in this forum. So I conclude there is no official status.
I simply wish to understand the WoW, not pick a side. However an official side would be nice to know. Reading your arguments give me a better understanding. Thank you.

It's enough of a commandment it will keep you out of the celestial kingdom and not live with God since in order to get a temple recommend you have to follow it.

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3 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

it will keep you out of the celestial kingdom

Pretty well breaking any commandment will do that if one refuses to repent. Now Wname wants to know if it is a commandment. 

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20 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

Now Wname wants to know if it is a commandment. 

Some think the WoW is a commandment and some think it's a commitment we honor to obey our covenant to the Lord. But the WoW is such a huge part of our lives I don't see how it can't be considered a commandment today. 

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This is how Gospel doctrines and principles are taught to investigators and new converts:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-principles?lang=eng
 

For people investigating the church, I point them here as it provides a great framework of basic teachings with associated scriptures for which to build a more complex understanding on. 
 

Word of Wisdom is here:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-29-the-lords-law-of-health?lang=eng

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If you could explain your background and purpose here briefly, it would make it easier to know what resources and commentary would be helpful for you. 
 

Like are you interested at all in cultural understandings, history, doctrinal development, etc. 

Edited by Calm
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Obedience and the way Saints’ look at commandments is discussed here.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-35-obedience?lang=eng
 

Many Saints would assume any counsel from the Lord is to be treated as a commandment, especially if they have confirmed with their own spiritual witness the counsel is from God.   So to speak of what is and isn’t a commandment when we believe it is a revelation is confusing in the perspective. 

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Obey the WoW should not be an impediment for anyone.

It's not difficult, and anyone straining at a gnat about it should be looked at more closely.

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My purpose here is to learn enough so I can answer yes to the question Do you understand the Word of Wisdom. But as you can see in this forum, the WoW is debatable. If I understand some arguments, does that mean I understand WoW and do not have to pick a side? I have attempted to find current official sources. I found section 89, and the general handbook.

Here is a definition as I understand it from the general handbook. Word of Wisdom means Doctrine and Covenants 89. Prophets have clarified strong drinks (alcohol), and hot drinks (tea and coffee).

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22 hours ago, Wname said:

Maybe it is a guideline?

It might be more useful to consider the WoW as pointers to boundaries, rather than the boundaries themselves. The goal would be to move in a direction rather than trying to occupy a point.

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19 minutes ago, Wname said:

My purpose here is to learn enough so I can answer yes to the question Do you understand the Word of Wisdom.

Personally I think Joseph Smith wouldn't be happy the Word of Wisdom is used to judge our character and neither am I. With that said, I think the WoW is excellent advice and I'm glad I have not only followed the advice I've learned from it but I've probably gone way beyond, I'm a health nut.

    In my area, and I say that because what im about to say varies depending where you live, Mormons judge others harshly for drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and especially alcohol. Partaking of those three are seen as a sin, it's only been in the past few years I've heard someone say it's only a sin if Mormons partake and everyone else is off the hook. Mentally, when I walk into a 7/11, I still have a hard time not seeing the people pouring coffee as sinners. We were taught from birth that not only us partaking of those substances was sinful, that any of God's children partaking was a sin. I'm a lot better now at not judging people for what they put in their body, but man, when you learn something from birth, no matter right or wrong, it's hard to stop judging 100%.

 

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2 hours ago, JamesBYoung said:

It's not difficult, and anyone straining at a gnat about it should be looked at more closely.

Never had an addiction, have you?

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5 hours ago, Wname said:

My purpose here is to learn enough so I can answer yes to the question Do you understand the Word of Wisdom. But as you can see in this forum, the WoW is debatable. If I understand some arguments, does that mean I understand WoW and do not have to pick a side? I have attempted to find current official sources. I found section 89, and the general handbook.

Here is a definition as I understand it from the general handbook. Word of Wisdom means Doctrine and Covenants 89. Prophets have clarified strong drinks (alcohol), and hot drinks (tea and coffee).

Under the heading "commandments" in Preach My Gospel.

"Obey the Word of Wisdom. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith a law of health called the Word of Wisdom. This law teaches us what foods and substances we should and should not use to maintain the health of our bodies and to keep us free from evil influences. The Lord promises blessings of health, strength, protection against evil, and greater receptiveness to spiritual truths. Remember that our bodies are sacred. We should treat them with respect and reverence. The Word of Wisdom teaches that we are to eat healthy foods. It teaches very specifically that we are to avoid harmful substances, including alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee. We must also avoid harmful drugs in any form. To be baptized and confirmed, those you teach must give up these substances. People who obey the Word of Wisdom are more receptive to spiritual truths."

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5 hours ago, JamesBYoung said:

Obey the WoW should not be an impediment for anyone.

It's not difficult, and anyone straining at a gnat about it should be looked at more closely.

Tell that to my alcoholic, addict brother who was often homeless.  He had a very hard life.

Edited by Rain
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33 minutes ago, Rain said:

Tell that to my alcoholic, addict brother who was often homeless.  He had a very hard life.

 Indeed, we all have our weaknesses.  Wow has never been a challenge for me until suddenly I have had a deep need for coffee.  It’s so easy to justify. 

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17 hours ago, AtlanticMike said:

Some think the WoW is a commandment and some think it's a commitment we honor to obey our covenant to the Lord. But the WoW is such a huge part of our lives I don't see how it can't be considered a commandment today. 

Some might consider driving on the right side of the road a commandment because it is such a huge part of our lives.

One can define words in any helpful way that conveys intended meaning. A commandment can be defined as something which is commanded. I can command you to never misuse the word "whom". Does this make it a commandment? If it does, you're all in trouble, because few seem to know how to use it properly these days.

We're talking about a specific type of commandment, which is a commandment (or law) given by God. <-- This is for @The Nehor.

Is the WoW a commandment? No. The Lord specifically said it was NOT a commandment. That the Church has chosen to require it of all who would be considered members in good standing does not turn it into a commandment. Driving on the left side of the road is likely to land one in traffic court in most countries in the world, but there are a few countries where doing so is required. As such, neither driving on the left or right, or imbibing beer, is a malum in se, but a malum prohibitum. If Christ could drink wine in his mortal life without committing a sin, this should make it abundantly clear that partaking of an alcoholic beverage is not sinful in itself. And therefore doing it cannot be violating a commandment -- or a commandment at the same level of the Ten Commandments, or the Laws of Noah. 

I keep the Word of Wisdom, not because it is a commandment, but because I have covenanted to keep it. It's also wise, which is another reason to do so.

And for those not familiar with the Latin phrases above:

Malum in se (plural mala in se) is a Latin phrase meaning wrong or evil in itself. The phrase is used to refer to conduct assessed as sinful or inherently wrong by nature, independent of regulations governing the conduct. It is distinguished from malum prohibitum, which is wrong only because it is prohibited.

The wrongs forbidden in the Ten Commandments are mala in se. Those in the Word of Wisdom are mala prohibitum.

Edited by Stargazer
Left out an important word
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11 hours ago, AtlanticMike said:

Personally I think Joseph Smith wouldn't be happy the Word of Wisdom is used to judge our character and neither am I. With that said, I think the WoW is excellent advice and I'm glad I have not only followed the advice I've learned from it but I've probably gone way beyond, I'm a health nut.

Would Joseph be unhappy with how we're using the WoW? I don't think he would. Doubtless he knows how we're using it now. But you know what? I think even he considers Russell M. Nelson to be the presiding high priest of the church, and would not consider the idea of intervening to reverse the current practice. Though there is no public revelation making the Word of Wisdom into a requirement on a par with a commandment, I don't think there needs to be. 

11 hours ago, AtlanticMike said:

    In my area, and I say that because what im about to say varies depending where you live, Mormons judge others harshly for drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and especially alcohol. Partaking of those three are seen as a sin, it's only been in the past few years I've heard someone say it's only a sin if Mormons partake and everyone else is off the hook. Mentally, when I walk into a 7/11, I still have a hard time not seeing the people pouring coffee as sinners. We were taught from birth that not only us partaking of those substances was sinful, that any of God's children partaking was a sin. I'm a lot better now at not judging people for what they put in their body, but man, when you learn something from birth, no matter right or wrong, it's hard to stop judging 100%.

Many Jewish authorities have held that Gentiles don't need to keep Kosher (follow the Law of Moses) in order to go to heaven. If they keep the Laws of Noah, then they're good to go. So, not keeping Kosher is only sinful for Jews. It's actually reasonable. How many people over the course of history have even known about the Jews and the laws that God gave them? How many people have known about the Word of Wisdom in the history of humanity?

Early in my "career" in the church, as it were, I recall another member making a remark about someone drinking coffee (who was a member, too) as if it were a great and distinguishing sin. That puzzled me even then.

 

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9 hours ago, Rain said:

Tell that to my alcoholic, addict brother who was often homeless.  He had a very hard life.

I am an alcoholic, sober more than thirty years now. Your brother's condition is so sad.

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