Episode 27: The Word of Wisdom for Dummies

59 comments on “Episode 27: The Word of Wisdom for Dummies”

  1. Jay Reply

    Great episode! The one thing I would have liked to have heard more is a clean cut explanation of what the general perception of the Word of Wisdom is now in the Church. Your podcast may give non-members the impression that all members know about the relative lax approach to the Word of Wisdom in the 19th century, when in fact most of them assume it has always been a requirement.

    I would have also like to have heard more about prohibition and the role that might have played in the timing of making this a temple recommend requirement.

  2. Jay Reply

    Great episode! The one thing I would have liked to have heard more is a clean cut explanation of what the general perception of the Word of Wisdom is now in the Church. Your podcast may give non-members the impression that all members know about the relative lax approach to the Word of Wisdom in the 19th century, when in fact most of them assume it has always been a requirement.

    I would have also like to have heard more about prohibition and the role that might have played in the timing of making this a temple recommend requirement.

  3. Scottie Reply

    Nyal, my man, you are coming across as an angry ex-Mormon who appears to do nothing but spew venom. It’s hard to separate the real and valid criticisms from the angry rants.

    Also, I once heard that the term “hot drink” was a generic term used for elixirs that snake oil salesmen used to sell. Has anyone else heard this, or can anyone verify this?

  4. Scottie Reply

    Nyal, my man, you are coming across as an angry ex-Mormon who appears to do nothing but spew venom. It’s hard to separate the real and valid criticisms from the angry rants.

    Also, I once heard that the term “hot drink” was a generic term used for elixirs that snake oil salesmen used to sell. Has anyone else heard this, or can anyone verify this?

  5. InvisibleChurch Reply

    Nyal – Do you have a reference/source for the Brigham Young statement on Scandanavians and coffee? That would explain a lot in my family – thanks!

  6. InvisibleChurch Reply

    Nyal – Do you have a reference/source for the Brigham Young statement on Scandanavians and coffee? That would explain a lot in my family – thanks!

  7. Swearing Elder Reply

    OK, someone email me an convince me to listen to this episode. I’m 26 for 26 so far in listening to the Mormon Expression podcasts. They have ranged from “pretty good” to “very good” to “fantastic!”

    But my snarky, knee-jerk response to seeing the title, “Word of Wisdom for Dummies” was “Yep, that about sums it up. Blindly following an 1830s health code in 2009 is for dummies.”

    OK, I’m ready to be convinced that I should listen! I don’t want to ruin my streak.

    Swearing Elder
    swearingelder@gmail.com

  8. Swearing Elder Reply

    OK, someone email me an convince me to listen to this episode. I’m 26 for 26 so far in listening to the Mormon Expression podcasts. They have ranged from “pretty good” to “very good” to “fantastic!”

    But my snarky, knee-jerk response to seeing the title, “Word of Wisdom for Dummies” was “Yep, that about sums it up. Blindly following an 1830s health code in 2009 is for dummies.”

    OK, I’m ready to be convinced that I should listen! I don’t want to ruin my streak.

    Swearing Elder
    swearingelder@gmail.com

  9. Brock Sampson Reply

    Hey all, I loved the episode.

    I just wanted to say that I think that the comparison between the observance of the Word of Wisdom and Jewish religious dietary restrictions is completely apt. I think that from the outside, it becomes quickly apparent how arbitrary and unnecessary it is. Can I have herbal tea? Should I drink Coke? Should I seperate my meal plate from my meat? In my opinion, it is religion at its worst.

    The WOW is well-intentioned (but short-sighted) invention of man, but taken as if from God.Thus the arbitrary, ambiguous, and hypocritical nature of its observance. Can’t God be explicit? If he wasn’t, then why the adding to what he said?

    I’ll even agree with Nyal, in that the WOW is a sort of a smoking gun, not from an evidence perspective, but from a hypocritical point of view. A belief system that loudly touts a “moderation in all things” and a “teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves” morality, is actually the exact opposite. It is a micro-management of your worthiness.

    It may or may not be a great health code (I fail to really see any credible argument against the drinking of tea, as in comparison to say Energy drinks which are not regulated by the WOW), but spiritually it reduces morality down to drinking a beer. I know some of the most well-respected Mormons (bishops, etc) who have glaring character flaws, but who are “better people” because they don’t drink a coffee. It is a terrible system that promotes hypocracy.

    Also, I just wanted to mention something that I thought was missed in the conversation. There is the direct statement about using tobacco for the healing of cattle (which I assume was a common practice during Joseph Smith’s day). I’m not entirely sure, but I think that this is no longer practiced today (ie. we probably use vets and modern medical techniques to heal cattle). If the Word of Wisdom is actually from God, then why would there be a direct statement from him on a topic that would obviously become antiquated? If that part is negotiable, then why isn’t the whole thing?

  10. Brock Sampson Reply

    Hey all, I loved the episode.

    I just wanted to say that I think that the comparison between the observance of the Word of Wisdom and Jewish religious dietary restrictions is completely apt. I think that from the outside, it becomes quickly apparent how arbitrary and unnecessary it is. Can I have herbal tea? Should I drink Coke? Should I seperate my meal plate from my meat? In my opinion, it is religion at its worst.

    The WOW is well-intentioned (but short-sighted) invention of man, but taken as if from God.Thus the arbitrary, ambiguous, and hypocritical nature of its observance. Can’t God be explicit? If he wasn’t, then why the adding to what he said?

    I’ll even agree with Nyal, in that the WOW is a sort of a smoking gun, not from an evidence perspective, but from a hypocritical point of view. A belief system that loudly touts a “moderation in all things” and a “teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves” morality, is actually the exact opposite. It is a micro-management of your worthiness.

    It may or may not be a great health code (I fail to really see any credible argument against the drinking of tea, as in comparison to say Energy drinks which are not regulated by the WOW), but spiritually it reduces morality down to drinking a beer. I know some of the most well-respected Mormons (bishops, etc) who have glaring character flaws, but who are “better people” because they don’t drink a coffee. It is a terrible system that promotes hypocracy.

    Also, I just wanted to mention something that I thought was missed in the conversation. There is the direct statement about using tobacco for the healing of cattle (which I assume was a common practice during Joseph Smith’s day). I’m not entirely sure, but I think that this is no longer practiced today (ie. we probably use vets and modern medical techniques to heal cattle). If the Word of Wisdom is actually from God, then why would there be a direct statement from him on a topic that would obviously become antiquated? If that part is negotiable, then why isn’t the whole thing?

  11. Dan Reply

    I was disappointed that the last part of the WoW was not discussed. It’s a principle with a promise and while the do nots are “well defined” the associated blessings are left vague.

    “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; ”

    We know this can’t be literal. Leukemia , cancer of the bone marrow, is the most frequently found cancer in children. Children follow the WoW by default.

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

    What treasures are these? Joseph Smith was able to restore the church, priesthood, temples etc. without following the WoW. What treasure can we find that he couldn’t because we follow the WoW?

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

    Tobacco use reeks havoc on the cardiovascular system, among other but does moderate alcohol use? If not physical then perhaps it means spiritually. But then again some of the biggest spiritual leaders in the church didn’t follow it.

    “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”

    What does this mean?

  12. Dan Reply

    I was disappointed that the last part of the WoW was not discussed. It’s a principle with a promise and while the do nots are “well defined” the associated blessings are left vague.

    “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; ”

    We know this can’t be literal. Leukemia , cancer of the bone marrow, is the most frequently found cancer in children. Children follow the WoW by default.

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

    What treasures are these? Joseph Smith was able to restore the church, priesthood, temples etc. without following the WoW. What treasure can we find that he couldn’t because we follow the WoW?

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

    Tobacco use reeks havoc on the cardiovascular system, among other but does moderate alcohol use? If not physical then perhaps it means spiritually. But then again some of the biggest spiritual leaders in the church didn’t follow it.

    “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”

    What does this mean?

  13. Aaron Reply

    This podcast really made clear to me the absurdity in the way the WOW is interpreted, enforced, and defended. I’ve always thought the “spirit” of the WOW was a nice guide for living a healthy life, but holy crap, it has become a major clusterfuk in how we use it.

  14. Aaron Reply

    This podcast really made clear to me the absurdity in the way the WOW is interpreted, enforced, and defended. I’ve always thought the “spirit” of the WOW was a nice guide for living a healthy life, but holy crap, it has become a major clusterfuk in how we use it.

  15. Scottie Reply

    Well, Nyal, the phrase “oh geez…” was uttered several times. I agreed with them.

  16. Scottie Reply

    Well, Nyal, the phrase “oh geez…” was uttered several times. I agreed with them.

  17. badseed Reply

    Great podcast. I love it when the whole crew is on— pretty funny stuff. It’s nice that the Nyal to Mike spectrum can slug it out in a fairly civilized way.

    I have to agree w/ Scottie a little though. Luv ya Nyal buddy, but you maybe need to cut down on the green tea a little. That said, I think understand some of what you were getting at. How can people claim prophets are ‘speaking as a man’ when it is uncomfortable and then use Brigham Young’s 1851 talk as a revelation to make the WoW a commandment? How does that trump Section 89?

    Personally I tend to see it as a long term doctrinal struggle amongst leadership in the Church in that eventually ended in Heber J. Grant’s favor. For me it appears to be a product of trends in the Church more than any single revelation or sermon.

    Also I found it interesting that Tom and Mike talked about not being black and white and members “governing themselves” in regards to an LDS commandment (WoW) that is in many areas very black and white and not open to interpretation. Mike also spoke of LEARNING to deny physical appetites. But the lines are pretty cut and dried and as was mentioned, you can’t really be a member in good standing if you do not ‘live’ the WoW (as defined by the Church Handbook of Instructions). It’s hard to see where the “governing themselves” plays in here.

    It’s like saying that members are allowed to govern themselves regarding extramarital sex. They are free to choose an affair but they will be disciplined if they do.

  18. badseed Reply

    Great podcast. I love it when the whole crew is on— pretty funny stuff. It’s nice that the Nyal to Mike spectrum can slug it out in a fairly civilized way.

    I have to agree w/ Scottie a little though. Luv ya Nyal buddy, but you maybe need to cut down on the green tea a little. That said, I think understand some of what you were getting at. How can people claim prophets are ‘speaking as a man’ when it is uncomfortable and then use Brigham Young’s 1851 talk as a revelation to make the WoW a commandment? How does that trump Section 89?

    Personally I tend to see it as a long term doctrinal struggle amongst leadership in the Church in that eventually ended in Heber J. Grant’s favor. For me it appears to be a product of trends in the Church more than any single revelation or sermon.

    Also I found it interesting that Tom and Mike talked about not being black and white and members “governing themselves” in regards to an LDS commandment (WoW) that is in many areas very black and white and not open to interpretation. Mike also spoke of LEARNING to deny physical appetites. But the lines are pretty cut and dried and as was mentioned, you can’t really be a member in good standing if you do not ‘live’ the WoW (as defined by the Church Handbook of Instructions). It’s hard to see where the “governing themselves” plays in here.

    It’s like saying that members are allowed to govern themselves regarding extramarital sex. They are free to choose an affair but they will be disciplined if they do.

  19. Nyal Reply

    I think I have been fairly corrected. I promise I will dial it down in future podcasts. In my defense, I lost my temper on this one. It struck me as so ludicrous in a single moment. I was not playing anything up. Thank you Scottie and Badseed for the feedback.

    Nyal will take his valium.

  20. Nyal Reply

    I think I have been fairly corrected. I promise I will dial it down in future podcasts. In my defense, I lost my temper on this one. It struck me as so ludicrous in a single moment. I was not playing anything up. Thank you Scottie and Badseed for the feedback.

    Nyal will take his valium.

  21. Swearing Elder Reply

    OK, I finally listened — over a good cup of coffee, of course.

    And I think I’m going to turn in my wife for eating peaches in December so she’ll have her temple recommend taken away and she’ll stop going to the temple!

  22. Swearing Elder Reply

    OK, I finally listened — over a good cup of coffee, of course.

    And I think I’m going to turn in my wife for eating peaches in December so she’ll have her temple recommend taken away and she’ll stop going to the temple!

  23. accidental Reply

    Totally off topic but what band plays the song at the beginning of the podcast? Its really good stuff.

  24. accidental Reply

    Totally off topic but what band plays the song at the beginning of the podcast? Its really good stuff.

  25. Jon Reply

    Nyal, I thought you were fine. (You’re just sayin’ what everyone else is thinkin’)

    It’s nice hearing some passion. 🙂

  26. Jon Reply

    Nyal, I thought you were fine. (You’re just sayin’ what everyone else is thinkin’)

    It’s nice hearing some passion. 🙂

  27. Walt Reply

    Awesome as always Nyal. The whole WOW thing is a trigger for my whole Hypocrisy tirade as well. How can you pick and choose which parts were actually important, and why haven’t “the heaven’s opened up” to straighten this (and other things) all out??? I thought we would never be left in the dark again?

  28. Walt Reply

    Awesome as always Nyal. The whole WOW thing is a trigger for my whole Hypocrisy tirade as well. How can you pick and choose which parts were actually important, and why haven’t “the heaven’s opened up” to straighten this (and other things) all out??? I thought we would never be left in the dark again?

  29. simplysarah Reply

    I’ve been inactive for going on 9 months, a self-aware nonbeliever for about 3. Not very long, so it’s probably not surprising that I haven’t yet tried coffee (why, when there’s hot chocolate?), or non-herbal teas (ok plus I’m cheap), I’ve missed my opportunity to consume excessive amounts of meat prior to winter (too lazy to cook it)…plus the thought of drinking any alcohol still scares the crap out of me.

    So this podcast is helping me mentally prepare for the first cocktail(s?) of my life, that I’ll be trying at a dinner party tomorrow…;)

    Anyway funny, funny stuff. I add my amen to Aaron’s comment. Thanks guys!

  30. simplysarah Reply

    I’ve been inactive for going on 9 months, a self-aware nonbeliever for about 3. Not very long, so it’s probably not surprising that I haven’t yet tried coffee (why, when there’s hot chocolate?), or non-herbal teas (ok plus I’m cheap), I’ve missed my opportunity to consume excessive amounts of meat prior to winter (too lazy to cook it)…plus the thought of drinking any alcohol still scares the crap out of me.

    So this podcast is helping me mentally prepare for the first cocktail(s?) of my life, that I’ll be trying at a dinner party tomorrow…;)

    Anyway funny, funny stuff. I add my amen to Aaron’s comment. Thanks guys!

  31. John B Reply

    Nyal, I enjoyed your spirited participation. You bring a unique perspective to the podcast. I am more able to appreciate your perspective since your interview episode. It helps to know where you’re coming from.

    Whoever was moderating this episode (can’t remember?), agree with other posters that the last part kind of was left out because the discussion got off track. I would have liked you to focus the discussion more. When I was in seminary a lot was made of the discovering of treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures. The curiosity was enough to make you want to obey! Wouldn’t find out unless you did it!

    Also, to those who don’t think they need the WOW for dummies, it’s worth listening to. You’ll probably learn something new, and more than likeyly be entertained. Having been raised outside the mormon belt (oregon), I was surprised at the variety of interpretation, especially the lax approach from the heavily concentrated mormon population.

  32. John B Reply

    Nyal, I enjoyed your spirited participation. You bring a unique perspective to the podcast. I am more able to appreciate your perspective since your interview episode. It helps to know where you’re coming from.

    Whoever was moderating this episode (can’t remember?), agree with other posters that the last part kind of was left out because the discussion got off track. I would have liked you to focus the discussion more. When I was in seminary a lot was made of the discovering of treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures. The curiosity was enough to make you want to obey! Wouldn’t find out unless you did it!

    Also, to those who don’t think they need the WOW for dummies, it’s worth listening to. You’ll probably learn something new, and more than likeyly be entertained. Having been raised outside the mormon belt (oregon), I was surprised at the variety of interpretation, especially the lax approach from the heavily concentrated mormon population.

  33. Me_MyZelph_And_I Reply

    Strong Work Nyal! As to Scottie – “oh geez…” was muttered twice by Tom…you going to criticize him too?

  34. Me_MyZelph_And_I Reply

    Strong Work Nyal! As to Scottie – “oh geez…” was muttered twice by Tom…you going to criticize him too?

  35. Sara Reply

    It’d be nice to hear a female perspective. Listening to only active or inactive LDS men discuss doctrin is… nothing new.

  36. Sara Reply

    It’d be nice to hear a female perspective. Listening to only active or inactive LDS men discuss doctrin is… nothing new.

  37. John Reply

    Sara:

    Sigh. Why is that women keep saying this but none are willing to do it? It is not for want of trying on our part. We have reached out to many women and they are all non-committal. I think that Mormon women have issues with commitment, that is all. Do you have any suggestions?

  38. John Reply

    Sara:

    Sigh. Why is that women keep saying this but none are willing to do it? It is not for want of trying on our part. We have reached out to many women and they are all non-committal. I think that Mormon women have issues with commitment, that is all. Do you have any suggestions?

  39. Chris Reply

    Great listen guys. This episode reminds me of a political talk show where you have people from the far left (Nyal) to the far right (Mike). We also have a moderator (John) who tries to let each get their point across while bringing in questions to have all the parties think/defend their positions. This is fun to listen too. I for one really appreciate the time you all put in to do this. Thanks.

    I do have kind of a funny story regarding the word of wisdom. I was the first counselor in the bishopric while interviewing a 70 year old farmer for his temple recommend. I asked him if he kept the word of wisdom. His response to me was yes, but he did like to have his morning cup of coffee. My first reaction was how do you keep the word of wisdom if you drink a cup of coffee every morning? He went on the explain that the former bishop was o.k. with it and he didn’t see it as a real big deal. I thought to myself you know what your probably right. Who am I to say your unworthy for an outward ‘sin’ when I have so many inward ‘sins’ that probably make me much more ‘unworthy’ in the church’s sight. I went ahead and signed the recommend.

    My take on the word of wisdom. Joseph may have felt inspiration in dictating Sec 89. It has some wonderful advice. As with any ‘outward’ commandment we as members can’t help but be judgmental of others who are not be as valiant in keeping that commandment. It should be considered good advice, but not a measuring stick for worthiness. Coffee and tea should not be a consideration (like cola’s for instance). Alcohol could be used in moderation. I cant recommend tobacco knowing the health issues, but does the partaking of these things make me unworthy or less loved in Gods eyes? I have a hard time believing so.

  40. Chris Reply

    Great listen guys. This episode reminds me of a political talk show where you have people from the far left (Nyal) to the far right (Mike). We also have a moderator (John) who tries to let each get their point across while bringing in questions to have all the parties think/defend their positions. This is fun to listen too. I for one really appreciate the time you all put in to do this. Thanks.

    I do have kind of a funny story regarding the word of wisdom. I was the first counselor in the bishopric while interviewing a 70 year old farmer for his temple recommend. I asked him if he kept the word of wisdom. His response to me was yes, but he did like to have his morning cup of coffee. My first reaction was how do you keep the word of wisdom if you drink a cup of coffee every morning? He went on the explain that the former bishop was o.k. with it and he didn’t see it as a real big deal. I thought to myself you know what your probably right. Who am I to say your unworthy for an outward ‘sin’ when I have so many inward ‘sins’ that probably make me much more ‘unworthy’ in the church’s sight. I went ahead and signed the recommend.

    My take on the word of wisdom. Joseph may have felt inspiration in dictating Sec 89. It has some wonderful advice. As with any ‘outward’ commandment we as members can’t help but be judgmental of others who are not be as valiant in keeping that commandment. It should be considered good advice, but not a measuring stick for worthiness. Coffee and tea should not be a consideration (like cola’s for instance). Alcohol could be used in moderation. I cant recommend tobacco knowing the health issues, but does the partaking of these things make me unworthy or less loved in Gods eyes? I have a hard time believing so.

  41. Rebecca Reply

    Thanks for the hilarious podcast!

    I love the comment ‘weasely little dwebes (sp?) hide in the gray areas’! Hilarious, but it hits home too, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been counseled by peers that for greater spirituality I should kick cola out of my life!

    Love!! the comment ‘the ignored 2nd half of the section’! How true! Jeez there’s just never enough time in SS to talk about what we should do, only enough to make the list of ‘No’s’!!

    I want a drink after listening to this Podcast too! & Nyla I think we’d get along just fine!

  42. Rebecca Reply

    Thanks for the hilarious podcast!

    I love the comment ‘weasely little dwebes (sp?) hide in the gray areas’! Hilarious, but it hits home too, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been counseled by peers that for greater spirituality I should kick cola out of my life!

    Love!! the comment ‘the ignored 2nd half of the section’! How true! Jeez there’s just never enough time in SS to talk about what we should do, only enough to make the list of ‘No’s’!!

    I want a drink after listening to this Podcast too! & Nyla I think we’d get along just fine!

  43. Effej Reply

    Science has validated the importance of not using tobacco. Science has also proven that coffee and tea are very high in antioxidants. A non-pasteurized “small” beer will contain many vitamins and minerals as well as beneficial enzymes. Soda Pop is horrible for health for many reasons. These are some things I would like to hear in Part 2 of the WOW podcast please. Get a Weston A Price expert who happens to be LDS and allow them to lay out all the scientific evidence that validates or invalidates certain aspects of the WOW.

  44. Effej Reply

    Science has validated the importance of not using tobacco. Science has also proven that coffee and tea are very high in antioxidants. A non-pasteurized “small” beer will contain many vitamins and minerals as well as beneficial enzymes. Soda Pop is horrible for health for many reasons. These are some things I would like to hear in Part 2 of the WOW podcast please. Get a Weston A Price expert who happens to be LDS and allow them to lay out all the scientific evidence that validates or invalidates certain aspects of the WOW.

  45. Mister IT Reply

    Another great podcast!

    On the whole, “Where did the temperance come from since it clearly wasn’t Joseph Smith?” question . . . easy answer, it was Sidney Rigdon:

    WE THUS SEE the tremendous influence of Sidney Rigdon. An 1833 revelation, in fact, stated that Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams were “equal” with Joseph Smith “in holding the keys of this last kingdom” (D&C 90:6). It may be surprising for some readers to think that Rigdon continues to exert a major influence on their lives today: A primary reason why faithful Latter-day Saints drink no alcoholic beverages whatever (as opposed to mere moderation) may be found in the actions of the High Council on December 4, 1836, when Sidney

    Rigdon, a fanatical temperance enthusiast, . . . forced through a vote for total abstinence; Joseph bowed to public opinion, replaced wine with water in the communion, and let the High Council do its worst. The revelation [of the Word of Wisdom] eventually evolved into a great moral issue, the use of tea, coffee, tobacco, and alcoholic liquors becoming to every good Mormon the badge of the heretic and the unrighteous. [Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History (NY, 1945), p.167]

    This statement is backed by Wilford Woodruff, who wrote in his journal:

    4th [December, 1836] Sunday I went up to the house of the Lord to worship. Elder Parish Preached in the forepart of the day. Several spoke in the Latter Part of the day. President RIGDON called a vote of the Church to discountenance the use intirely of all liquors from the Church in Sickness & in health except wine at the Sacraments & for external Washing. The vote was Carried eunanimously. I spent the night with Elder Parrish.” [Scott Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal-Typescript, 9 vols. (Midvale, UT, 1983), I:110-11]”

    (see http://www.rickgrunder.com/VanNorman/rigdon41.htm )

    I hope this helps clarify the issue for everyone.

  46. Mister IT Reply

    Another great podcast!

    On the whole, “Where did the temperance come from since it clearly wasn’t Joseph Smith?” question . . . easy answer, it was Sidney Rigdon:

    WE THUS SEE the tremendous influence of Sidney Rigdon. An 1833 revelation, in fact, stated that Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams were “equal” with Joseph Smith “in holding the keys of this last kingdom” (D&C 90:6). It may be surprising for some readers to think that Rigdon continues to exert a major influence on their lives today: A primary reason why faithful Latter-day Saints drink no alcoholic beverages whatever (as opposed to mere moderation) may be found in the actions of the High Council on December 4, 1836, when Sidney

    Rigdon, a fanatical temperance enthusiast, . . . forced through a vote for total abstinence; Joseph bowed to public opinion, replaced wine with water in the communion, and let the High Council do its worst. The revelation [of the Word of Wisdom] eventually evolved into a great moral issue, the use of tea, coffee, tobacco, and alcoholic liquors becoming to every good Mormon the badge of the heretic and the unrighteous. [Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History (NY, 1945), p.167]

    This statement is backed by Wilford Woodruff, who wrote in his journal:

    4th [December, 1836] Sunday I went up to the house of the Lord to worship. Elder Parish Preached in the forepart of the day. Several spoke in the Latter Part of the day. President RIGDON called a vote of the Church to discountenance the use intirely of all liquors from the Church in Sickness & in health except wine at the Sacraments & for external Washing. The vote was Carried eunanimously. I spent the night with Elder Parrish.” [Scott Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal-Typescript, 9 vols. (Midvale, UT, 1983), I:110-11]”

    (see http://www.rickgrunder.com/VanNorman/rigdon41.htm )

    I hope this helps clarify the issue for everyone.

  47. Mister IT Reply

    And, I thought that you all might find this interesting as well:

    WORD OF WISDOM > early attitudes (1841)

    Source: Wilford Woodruff Diary, Nov. 7, 1841. There have been many opinions as to what constitutes breaking the Word of Wisdom. The view expressed in this quotation represents only one of several recorded views of that period.

    “After this meeting closed I met with the Twelve & High Priest quorum: the word of wisdom was brought up B Young says shall I break the word of wisdom if I go home & drink a cup of tea: No wisdom is justified of her children, the subject was discussed in an interesting manner all concluded that it was wisdom to deal with all such matters according to the wisdom which God gave that a forced abstainance was not making us free but we should be under bondage with a yoak upon our necks…”

    source = http://bit.ly/ahYpHt

  48. Mister IT Reply

    And, I thought that you all might find this interesting as well:

    WORD OF WISDOM > early attitudes (1841)

    Source: Wilford Woodruff Diary, Nov. 7, 1841. There have been many opinions as to what constitutes breaking the Word of Wisdom. The view expressed in this quotation represents only one of several recorded views of that period.

    “After this meeting closed I met with the Twelve & High Priest quorum: the word of wisdom was brought up B Young says shall I break the word of wisdom if I go home & drink a cup of tea: No wisdom is justified of her children, the subject was discussed in an interesting manner all concluded that it was wisdom to deal with all such matters according to the wisdom which God gave that a forced abstainance was not making us free but we should be under bondage with a yoak upon our necks…”

    source = http://bit.ly/ahYpHt

  49. CAM Reply

    I know that this post is long after the fact, and I have enjoyed listening to most of the podcasts so far, but I had to stop listening after the first half of this podcast. It wasn’t specifically what was said, but rather the tone of the discussion. Clearly Nyal wasn’t being “nice” enough or responding in the prescribed manner of discourse. The responses from most of the rest of the panel were very dismissive. Some people were subtle and spoke to him as if explaining something very simply to a child, while others were fairly dripping with contempt. I was often an “out of the box” thinker and felt marginalized by the tone of the leaders to delegitimize my ideas. I have not been to church in over 20 years, I have never heard people outside of the church speak in such open disrespect to another. (except in the mainstream media of course.) I think that there might be something more subtly peculiar to the church than the doctrine and the culture. Nyal might not have been troubled at the tone taken in the responses to him, but I was immediately brought back to all of the lessons where I was lead back to group think. I could almost feel the eyerolling.

    Maybe I misunderstood the point of the panel. Maybe it was supposed to sound more like a Sunday news talk show.

  50. CAM Reply

    I know that this post is long after the fact, and I have enjoyed listening to most of the podcasts so far, but I had to stop listening after the first half of this podcast. It wasn’t specifically what was said, but rather the tone of the discussion. Clearly Nyal wasn’t being “nice” enough or responding in the prescribed manner of discourse. The responses from most of the rest of the panel were very dismissive. Some people were subtle and spoke to him as if explaining something very simply to a child, while others were fairly dripping with contempt. I was often an “out of the box” thinker and felt marginalized by the tone of the leaders to delegitimize my ideas. I have not been to church in over 20 years, I have never heard people outside of the church speak in such open disrespect to another. (except in the mainstream media of course.) I think that there might be something more subtly peculiar to the church than the doctrine and the culture. Nyal might not have been troubled at the tone taken in the responses to him, but I was immediately brought back to all of the lessons where I was lead back to group think. I could almost feel the eyerolling.

    Maybe I misunderstood the point of the panel. Maybe it was supposed to sound more like a Sunday news talk show.

  51. Jacob Brown Reply

    I’m reading through the missionary journal of Joseph Allen Brooks who served in Texas starting in 4 October 1899. The entry dated 28 March 1900 says:

    “When we got up in the morning, I felt a great deal better. The weather was very foggy. The man of the place brought out a bottle of whiskey. We took a little of it as I was feeling a little bad from my headache from the night before.”

    It is clear that this is not a mild drink. I don’t think he felt it was wrong. He didn’t seem ashamed of writing this event down. His journal is very formal and matter-of-fact. It doesn’t seem like he would record a blatant personal sin in this journal. (Unlike the missionary journal of Dr. Shades which goes on and on about women! I love it.) It could be that he rationalized the taking of whiskey by saying it was for a headache. I’m not sure.

    I highly doubt the force behind Brigham Young’s statement in the 1850s (quoted by Mike, I think) that he would kick out anyone who broke the WoW. This prophet seemed to have a tendency to hyperbole. There are several extreme quotes from him like killing people for inter-racial marriage, adultery, and the like. Most of these I think we can be sure he didn’t carry out. I think his WoW talk must have been about the same: lots of bark, but not much bite.

    I’m gonna stick with Mormons not taking the WoW really seriously until the 1920s when I’m guessing it was required to enter the temple. Before that breaking the WoW was probably like not doing your home and visiting teaching. 🙂

  52. Pingback: Episode 20: Non Sequitur (Part I) « NonTheology

  53. Keith J Wilson Reply

    I get a kick out of half truths and partial statements used to give those looking for an “EXCUSE” not to obey God, a reason to go off and do whatever they want too. I guess that is why you are “Anti” rather than reach out. Just find that odd is all. Those who have a love of Jesus Christ and a Testimony of Him, know what is right and wrong, that is why they are so “Nervous” about the things they are about to embark on, breaking the word of wisdom, sex outside of marriage, alcohol, and soon other things that they’re new found “Freedom” will bring them. Take Heed….

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