Subject: Word of Wisdom - LDS interpretations
Date: Aug 16 11:40 2003
Author: rmw

I am confused at the way the LDS church has implemented the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89). I am aware the many if not most members of the LDS faith violated the WOW in early church history up until the time of Grant, which made it a "commandment" instead of advice. But I find it funny that the LDS church selectively chooses to emphasize and follow certain aspects of the WOW while completely ignoring others. Does anybody know of a particular reason for this?

The whole purpose of the WOW, as I understand it, is to help the LDS church's members live healthy lives and to avoid taking things into their "temple" bodies that may harm it. So why, in light of this definition, can a very fit and healthy person who drinks a glass of wine with his or her dinner (which, BTW is VERY healthy) be denied a temple recommend for violating the WOW while a very unfit, grossly overweight, overeating person who is, by any measurement, very unhealthy be given a recommend?

Why is it that the LDS church completely ignores the part about eating meat? (Should be eaten sparingly if at all) Somebody who drinks a small glass of wine is looked at as scum, while another who eats 2 pounds of prime rib is looked up to. Which is less healthy?

Has anybody heard explanations for this?

Also, what is the exact reason why some LDS owned facilities (such as BYU) prohibits "cola" drinks but allows hot chocolate and other "caffinated" products?

Subject: Those are good questions...
Date: Aug 16 12:08
Author: Newbie in AZ

some of the same questions I have wondered myself. All I can figure is because the WOW is a made up "revelation" and MOST members are cafeteria mormons that pick and choose which doctrine they want to follow.

The WOW also says something about certain grains being for us (humans) and certain grains being for horses/animals etc. Then why do we eat the grains that are set aside for animals? Well, DUH, cuz it is STUPID! Same thing.


Subject: On the Cola issue
Date: Aug 16 12:36
Author: Puli

What I recall about the cola issue from the 70's when I first joined, there was a rather heated argument in a quorum meeting with a visitor from Utah and local members. The Utah visitor claimed that nothing was official regarding cola drinks and that the idea came about because then President Spencer Kimball made a comment that he couldn't understand why anyone would drink cola because they took all the bad stuff from coffee and tea and put them into colas. The argument continued around the "spirit" vs. the "letter" of the law.

As far as I know, nothing is official regarding cola drinks, and I think it comical that BYU might restrict sale of colas on their campus because of an offhanded opinion of a long passed leader. I think it funny too because several general authorities have been know to drink Sanka and other decaffinated coffees.

I'll bet there is some economic reason. The church is probably well invested in the cola companies competition.

Subject: Actually, the Coca Cola investment theory has been pretty thoroughly debunked
Date: Aug 16 14:16
Author: Nick

Certainly, the LDS church is invested in hundreds of companies, including companies that make and sell caffeinated soft drinks (probably both Coca Cola and PepsiCo, at one time or another), but the oft-repeated tale of "Mormons weren't allowed to drink Coke, and then the Mormon church bought [fill in the blank] percent of Coca Cola, and now they can drink it" simply isn't supported by any evidence (e.g. records of large stock holdings or transactions).

Subject: Re: On the Cola issue
Date: Aug 17 04:04
Author: Adrienne
Mail Address:

As for the investment thing, they are not involved with any of the cola companies. One story I heard about colas is that somewhere some leader, maybe a GA once at a meeting opened a can of Coke and after drinking it, said, "I did not just break the WOW." I've only heard that once, and I distinctively remember either SS or sacrament where someone said that colas were recently taken off the banned list of stuff in the WOW.

As for the whole thing, I think it's only about control especially when there are health benefits to that glass of wine with dinner, plus the antioxidants found in tea that have been shown to reduce cancer.

Subject: It's because nobody has had any real inspiration since....
Date: Aug 16 12:40
Author: dimmesdale
Mail Address:

Joseph Smith was alive when he piggy-backed on all the health food gurus speaking out at the time (Kellogg, Graham, etc.)

And Joseph Smith probably had never heard of crack or Methamphetamine, etc.

Subject: Wonderful Q. Have never seen answer. Cola has more caffeine than chocolate. nt
Subject: I had some TBM tell me i was violating the WOW by being a vegetarian
Date: Aug 16 13:18
Author: schleprock
Mail Address:

I guess they see eat a little bit of meat, and they consider a "little bit of meat" being a whole cow.

My MIL doesn't consider it a meal unless she eats a side of beef, entire chicken or loads of other kind of meat. It's icky to eat so much meat

Subject: I wonder if that same person eats meat SPARINGLY, ONLY in times of winter. FAT CHANCE! nt

Subject: It's not really about health, at least not anymore.
Date: Aug 16 13:24
Author: Stray Mutt

It's about obedience. It crossed that line when it became a litmus test for worthiness. That's why the WoW need not make much sense. The reasoning is that you do what the Lord requires, no matter what it is. Some religions believe God requires them to cut off their foreskin, Mormons believe the Lord prohibits tea and coffee. Why? It doesn't matter, just like it doesn't really matter why they wear special underwear. The Lord commands it, you obey, you submit, you conform. Religion isn't about making sense.

Subject: Precisely: the rules themselves are secondary; what's important is obedience to them.
Date: Aug 16 13:37
Author: Nick

A week or so ago, I compared it to the rules in Navy basic training (I'm sure it applies to other branches of the military as well): for the most part, the rules in boot camp are never explained; many are patently silly (e.g. folding your clothes in one specific way, and no other). They even change from time to time, with no explanation. The point is to turn recruits into rule-following machines, who listen to and carry out every detail of the instructions they are given.

Subject: Re: Precisely: the rules themselves are secondary; what's important is obedience to them.
Date: Aug 16 13:46
Author: Switz1
Mail Address:

The difference.
Navy: Learning to Follow the rules to the letter without question or hesitation just MIGHT save your life or the lives of your shipmates or others on down the road.

Moron: Cause GBH sez so and doesn't mean a damn thing.

Subject: WoW idiocy
Date: Aug 16 14:04
Author: some angel
Mail Address:

To clarify, I am not mormon, but...well...sort of an investigator. I have had numerous discussions with numerous mishies. This is their reasoning for the WoW: That look! JS was so right about caffeine and nicotine being bad! This shows that he was a TRUE prophet!!! He had all of our best interests at heart!

Subject: What the missionaries don't say (and indeed, what most Mormons don't know)...
Date: Aug 16 14:24
Author: Nick

... is that JS simply grabbed onto dietary and temperance theories of the time. And the fact that green and black teas have been shown to have significant health benefits, and a glass of red wine per day is beneficial for many people, completely escapes their attention (or, among the hardcore TBMs, is considered to be propoganda spread by Satan).

In my experience, most Mormons haven't even read the full WofW; they simply know that it proscribes alcohol and tobacco, and "strong drink" (which almost none of them can really define, but they all just know it means coffee and tea).

Subject: The Truth shall make you Fat.
Date: Aug 16 14:01
Author: Fly
Mail Address:

When people are told not to do something, they either do it surreptitiously to excess-- or compensate for their frugality in one arena by extravagance in another. (yeah, I've been listening to my Tao tapes this week.)

So...a Mormon wouldn't be caught with alchohol, but Prozac? Peachy. No coffee for them, thanks! They've got their Super Big Gulps filled with caffeine-free Coke.

TBM's love to point out how that somehow, Joseph Smith "knew" about the evils of tobacco, alcohol, etc. back in the 1800's, before alllllll the scientific research came out "proving"that he was right. God spoke to Joseph. The Church is True.

Unlike religion, however, science doesn't cross a finish line. And when you show a Mormon a study that contradicts the wisdom of the Mormon health code, you confuse and frustrate them. They have a stupor of thought: Shouldn't all knowledge be part of one great whole? Won't all truth justify their belief system eventually?

Sooner or later Mormons need to stop trying to tell people that the WOW is about "health," and start admitting it's about obedience. If Gordon told them tomorrow to start drinking Frosty Bacon Milkshakes, they'd do it.

Subject: Logic doesn't work
Date: Aug 16 16:09
Author: Tyler
Mail Address:

The WOW is a complex issue in the church and the most visible part of being a mormon. Firstly, the WOW is just that; words of wisdom. They have morphed into an obedience issue to be followed on faith without knowing all the "what for's and why's". Secondly, Mormons taking another teaching by the leadership which is to avoid even the appearance of evil have created a cultural condition within the church where an even more extreme position is taken to "avoid even the appearance".

If coffee has caffeine and is a taboo drink, then by association, Coke and its soft drink partners of ill repute are also guilty. Why this doesn't extend to chocolate is unknown. Perhaps the caffeine level is far less significant in chocolate. I drank Coke by the gallons on my mission as did most other missionaries. The abstinenance of Soft drinks with caffeine is mostly a self imposed practice by the more fundamentalist element within mormonism.

Also, Meat is not forbidden, but to be eaten "sparingly". That is too open to opinion to be nailed down to a right and wrong amount.

It boils down to faith as the final determinant as logic and good sense are obviously thrown out the door. If logic were part of the equation a temple recommend would only be granted if body fat or body weight were within certain parameters varying off normal body weights.


Subject: Re: Logic doesn't work
Date: Aug 16 16:28
Author: rmw

Tyler wrote:

> The abstinenance of Soft drinks with caffeine is mostly a self imposed practice by the more fundamentalist element within mormonism.

That is what I thought as well until Pres. Hinckley in his interview with Mike Wallace confirmed that "Mormons don't drink caffineted drinks." I was rather stunned because up to that point I thought it was "optional" and not mandated.

> Also, Meat is not forbidden, but to be eaten "sparingly". That is too open to opinion to be nailed down to a right and wrong amount.

Yeah, but it states after the "sparingly" part that "it is pleasing unto me (the Lord) that they (meat) should NOT be used. . . (except)in times of winter, or of cold, or famine." So I guess most Mormons don't want to please the Lord? That's pretty odd. It's basically saying that meat should only be used if there is no other food alternative because of harsh conditions. This is rarely the case today with modern transportation technology that allows all kinds of food to be transported from all over the world year round. There is plenty of non-meat food available regardless of winter, cold, or famine. Therefore there is no reason to eat meat at all and use the animals for that purpose. The Lord must be very angry at the Mormons right now.

Subject: Good points
Date: Aug 16 20:18
Author: Tyler
Mail Address:

I have been out for 8 years so I am a little rusty on the current status of caffeinated drinks. Here in Utah county, most of the LDS cats I know drink them with no shame.

As for the meat thing, that has always been a lesser part of the WOW and to my knowledge has never been part of the WOW to any real degree. Maybe it was just dumb luck or a little intution on the prophets part, but eating meat sparingly probably has many health benefits to it and is a commandment of GOD given to the children of men in these latter days that I think has an ounce of good sense to it.

Praise to the man!


Subject: When did the WoW go from 'advice' to 'commandment'?...
Date: Aug 16 16:21
Author: Randy J.

>I am aware that many if not most members of the LDS faith violated the WOW in early church history up until the time of Grant, which made it a "commandment" instead of advice.

The idea that the WoW was made a commandment long after Joseph Smith and his contemporaries indulged in tobacco and alcohol is an oft-repeated falsehood.

On April 7, 1838, this event occurred:

"Joseph Smith the Prophet gave the following decision which was unanimously accepted by the council: 'No official member in the Church is worthy to hold an office after having the word of wisdom properly taught him; and he, the
official member, neglecting to comply with and obey it."--April 7, 1838, "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith," p. 118.)

Six days later, on April 13, Joseph Smith used the above ruling to bring a "charge" against dissenter David Whitmer of "not observing the Words of Wisdom" ("The Papers of Joseph Smith," vol. 2, p. 230.)

Mormon apologists who excuse Smith's usage of tobacco and alcohol by asserting that "It wasn't a commandment then" are ignorant of the facts. And it should go without saying that Smith's above statement, along with his punishment of others for violating the WoW, made him a hypocrite. By his own words, Smith himself should have been forced out of office for violating the WoW.

Subject: Re: When did the WoW go from 'advice' to 'commandment'?...
Date: Aug 17 02:37
Author: stevenhall

Yes, they made it a commandment then. And indeed Joseph was a hypocrite on this issue, but they didn't push it long-term until Grant came along and made it a temple recommend requirement. True there was a 4 year period where high councils were excommunicating people for disobeying it, but only when a better reason could not be found. Also, it was pushed again during the revival efforts of Brigham Young in the 1860s, but since Grant the push has been steady and persistent with temple worthiness hanging in the balance.

Subject: Re: Word of Wisdom - LDS interpretations
Date: Aug 16 19:58
Author: Gatpomb

This is just one of the contradictions that I have discovered in my own reading of the D&C.

D&C Section 49, verses 18-19 read; "And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God.

For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance."

Then, D&C 89, verses 12 and 13 read; "Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine."

Hmmmm... direct conflict. So, which is the "true" revelation and which is the one of "man". And why are they both canonized?

Subject: Yes, it is contradicting
Date: Aug 16 20:28
Author: rmw

Me to LDS Leadership: "So, I understand that section 89 of the D&C states we should should only eat meat sparingly, if at all. Is that what the church teaches?

LDS Leadership: "I donít know that we teach it. I donít know that we emphasize it ... I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I donít know a lot about it, and I donít think others know a lot about it."

Subject: As it was explained to me its about obedience.
Date: Aug 16 20:57
Author: Lilith
Mail Address:

You must accept that it is from THE LORD, and if you haven't asccepted that it IS from THE LORD, then it would probably be a sin for you to follow it.

Subject: Re: As it was explained to me its about obedience.
Date: Aug 16 21:08
Author: Drinks Coffee on the sly
Mail Address:

My former SP and now present Stake Patriarch and temple sealer father knows I am not a Mormon now. He believes it is all in the interests of health.
Nevertheless, KNOWING I am not a mormon, he won't let me drink coffee in the house -- so I go out for it or drink it on the back porch when he's not here.
When he was told that coffee contains ingredients healthful to me, as an asthmatic, he shouted "bull." He is impervious to facts that contradict his beliefs. Because I continue to drink tea, he yells at me about "breaking the 'word of wisdom,'" as if as a non-Mormon, I had allegience to it.
From his behaviors about it I must conclude that it is primarily about control/obedience, secondarily about health, and in a very selective manner.

Subject: I just love being judged by TBM hypocrites...
Date: Aug 16 23:48
Author: Me
Mail Address: in family members when I enjoy a quiet cup of Chocolate Raspberry Cream coffee in the peace and quiet of my gazebo. Yet these same idiots think nothing of blessing all the chips, pop and other junk foods that they ingest during a July summer holiday lunch. LOL! Also, a TBM friend, who doesn't begrudge me having my little 'treat', knows of my 'coffee'. I told him that I don't like it really hot, so I let it cool just a bit to where it's at the high end of warm. Then I told him that nowhere did it say NOT to drink 'warm' drinks. LOL! Ya just GOTTA love 'them there' loopholes. LOL!

Subject: Heber Grant's tragedy becomes God's revelation
Date: Aug 17 02:20
Author: stevenhall

The emphasis on the WOW was a decision (according to Truman Madsen) made by Grant based on the tragic death of his brother in an automobile accident with a drunk driver. As Madsen tells it, he was at his brother's funeral when he vowed to his brother and to God that he would fight alchohol with all the influence he had. I think the other prohibitions were just added bonuses. Its just another example of how the church makes decisions based on the personal needs of the leader instead of the needs of the people. Because Heber Grant needed to avenge his brother's death your Great Grandpa had to put away his whiskey or risk losing his eternal blessings.



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