Should the Prophets take a new look at the WoW?

In the past year, Latter-day Saints have been amazed at the changes occurring in the doctrines, practices, and teachings of the Church. Eleven year old boys now pass the Sacrament. The Church has developed a new lesson plan to increase personal and family conversion in the “Home Church.” Over 200 temples are now in operation, under construction or announced. Sisters have more opportunities and power in the priesthood. The list goes on.

Many of the changes are because a review of previous practices has determined that those teachings and practices were based on tradition, and not on doctrine, per se. Three hour Church seemed inviolable, but now we all enjoy more time teaching our own families, while the Church benefits from being able to fit more wards in each chapel (freeing up funds for building temples, missionary work, etc).

So, how inviolable is the current reading of the Word of Wisdom? When the WoW first came out in 1833, it was sent as heavenly advice and counsel, not as a commandment. Even after the WoW was given, Joseph Smith continued drinking alcohol, and both he and Emma drank coffee and tea.

It wasn’t until 1851, almost twenty years later, that Brigham Young made it a commandment. It established who could be baptized, receive the priesthood, serve a mission, and enter a temple.

However, over time, unofficial statements by leading General Authorities seemed to give the WoW a new angle: If you drink caffeinated drinks, while it may/may not (depending on the authority or bishop) be a violation of the WoW, it would be a moral or spiritual violation of the law.

Then, in 2012, while Diet Coke drinking Mitt Romney was running for president, the Church finally gave an official statement that drinking caffeinated drinks is not violating the WoW.

So, a couple issues came to my mind in regards to this. If we are to keep the WoW so we may enter the temple, what of its teaching to “eat meat sparingly” primarily in winter and in times of famine? Isn’t that as important as the no alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee? Or is that part still not a commandment, but a literal “word of wisdom” to follow on an individual basis? If the whole thing is a commandment, why not state we can only eat meat twice a week, or literally only in winter time, making us vegetarian during the spring, summer and fall?

Or, perhaps we need to go the other way? I would like to see the Prophet revisit the WoW, and see how it should apply to us today. Which parts should be commandment? Personally, I can see alcohol, tobacco and dangerous drugs as things to be avoided completely.

But what about coffee and tea? They are forbidden, but why? We can’t blame it on caffeine anymore, so why? Why is it that I can’t drink black/green tea, but I can drink Chamomile, Yerba Mate, or other herbal teas (some have caffeine or other natural drugs in them). Should all these be forbidden? If so, why?

Today’s science shows that both coffee and tea have natural qualities that improve health. Studies have shown coffee to reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s Disease. Tea reduces heart problems.

Perhaps the command is for some spiritual reason? Yet, the WoW explains that we were given this guidance because of the evil workings of men. Does that still apply today in all these cases? I can see serious problems with both alcohol and tobacco. Are there evil men trying to overpower us by having us drink coffee and tea?

I am always a follower of the Prophet of God. And I do live the Word of Wisdom, believing that obedience is best. But I also love it when prophets consider whether tradition needs to be changed or adapted, as President Nelson has done many times in the last year.

Is it time to revisit the Word of Wisdom? Your thoughts are appreciated.




51 thoughts on “Should the Prophets take a new look at the WoW?

  1. Given the controversy over gluten and GMO in corn and soy, it might be wise to avoid giving particular dietary advice. I would obey whatever wording was used if the Word of Wisdom is modified, but the range of opinions would be really varied.

  2. We are commanded to be a peculiar people. Avoiding coffee and tea makes us quite peculiar in most parts of the world.

    I can also say I wouldn’t have have half the gospel discussions I do have on business trips if I drank coffee and tea.

  3. I do not believe that Brigham Young made it a commandment. If he did, it certainly did not stick!

    It was not until the early 1900’s that the general use of alcohol fell out of favor with the Church and its members. This was partly due to the Temperance Movement and Prohibition. Wine was used in the Salt Lake Temple until that time and tobacco use was not curtailed until the 1930’s.

    For more information see Tom Alexander’s “The Word of Wisdom: From Principle to Requirement” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14:3, 1981, pp. 78-88.

    P.S. My paternal grandfather was a bootlegger in Tooele, Utah during the Great Depression. Large numbers of LDS appreciated his efforts. My maternal grandmother distinctly remembered alcoholic beverages being served at ward parties in Summit County in the 1920’s.

  4. I just reread Tom’s 1981 article and it did not contain everything I noted. For even more information, see his book “Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890-1930.”

  5. I personally think the power of the questioned parts (meat sparingly, coffee and tea forbidden, fruits and vegetables consumed in season) of the Word of Wisdom is for the foreseeable but still distant future. These elements affect resource consumption.

    The caffeinated side part will potentially change overnight as consumers become aware of the resource cost.

    I note we aren’t suggesting that we embrace spirits, tobacco, or illicit drugs. Those elements of the Word of Wisdom that have been validated are easy to keep.

    Give the rest of the Word of Wisdom time to be proven wise. As far as I’m concerned, the data is already in.

  6. I think it would be very useful if the prophets asked God to give the version of the Word of Wisdom that needed to be a commandment in modern English. I obey the current understanding of the Word of Wisdom (according to the Handbook) with respect to the no harmful drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or tea; I fall down a bit on the meat (although I eat much much less than most of my LDS friends. But I thin it would be very interesting to see what God would give us if we asked for the commandment part.

    All that said I’m fine with the current “version” if nothing is forthcoming.

  7. Do we really need a reason why tea and coffee are forbidden? Isn’t it enough that the Lord’s spokesmen have made it a commandment? (“Whether by my own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”) I have a friend meeting with the missionaries who was challenged to stop drinking coffee. By accepting this challenge, he has noted improvements in his life, that he would not have seen otherwise.

    If we need a reason, I would propose that too many people around the world are dependent upon or cannot function without their daily fix of (read “are addicted to”) coffee or tea. We do stand apart from the world, despite the “proven” health benefits. These studies may be bought off by companies eager to rope in more coffee/tea drinkers. Not evil? We just don’t know. (For the record, my wife drinks a faux coffee called Pero quite regularly. No doubt she would be a coffee guzzler if she wasn’t a member.)

    Perhaps the WoW is worded in such a way that we must use our judgment, faith, and agency to determine what is appropriate to ingest–meat, drinks, even sweets. After all, it is not meet that He should command in all things.

    For me, a revisiting isn’t necessary. I quite like the predicated blessings from obedience to the current version as it stands.

  8. The WoW is exhibit A in the school of thought that holds that you have to obey a commandment for a while to understand the benefits. The text itself alludes to hidden treasures, and those are going to be a little different for everybody. For myself, I see a huge benefit to avoiding addictive things and eating wholesome things, and living the WoW makes me very cognizant of what I’m taking in and what habits I’m forming.

    That said, the meat bit is particularly interesting to me, given the growing body of research surrounding low-carb high-protein diets. There’s obvious health value out there down the Atkins/Keto path, especially for people who’ve blown themselves up on excessive grains.

    But if we’re buying squares on the next Nelson announcement that will send Utahrds to the fainting couches, my money’s still on “sisters in Sunday School presidencies.” 😉

  9. I have never seen the WoW focusing on caffeine. Even if you focus down on the “don’t drink coffee or tea” part, it has never been about caffeine. I understand the command as an outward sign of our faith.

    Take for instance garments. They are an outward sign for things we learn and covenants we made in the temple. It’s not about the fabric or even the symbols on it.

    I see tea and coffee in the same category. They symbolize somehing the world loves. Coffee and tea together are by far the most consumed drinks or beverages in the world. If you do not drink any of them you make yourself stand out from your fellow man.

    Yes, caffeine is a well known ingredient of coffee and tea … but also very common in other plants or drinks (coca, mate are only two of them). Caffeine in excess can be harmful … as almost any other thing. But I guess we all know this quite well.

  10. I’m with James Stone. We assume the purposed of the WoW is health, but I don’t think it is. The Lord has used dietary laws in the past to make his people stand out from the rest of the world.

    Lattertarian: Are far as high-protein/law card, I recently read a National Geographic feature on 12 (or so) societies in which people frequently live to be over 100. Their diets were all the same, grans and veggies, little or no meat at all.

  11. I would like to see marijuana, CBD oil, etc. addressed more clearly. Never? Only with a doctor’s prescription? Whenever you feel like it, because, hey, it’s natural? I think the church is officially against recreational marijuana, but it’s not well-publicized. I believe the general trend in our American culture to make it more acceptable has also affected some members of the church.

  12. I’ll just say that I’ve noticed very strong health benefits to eating a low-carb, high fat/protein diet. The inflammation I experience on a traditional diet is gone or nearly gone. My blood pressure is down drastically from where it is on a traditional diet. I have more energy. I find that I’m rarely hungry throughout the day and tend to only eat one meal a day. I’ve lost a ton of weight and I know that the lowered blood-pressure isn’t simply from the lost weight because when I’ve gone off my diet for a couple months my blood-pressure spikes up again. And last, but not least (at least to my co-workers), I have almost zero problem with flatulence anymore. 🙂

  13. I quote from the article you linked: “[But] there isn’t any question about whether tea in of itself is carcinogenic. It’s not about that, it’s about having a lifetime history of drinking very hot beverages.” And alcohol … as the article mentions.

    Do you have a link to a JS paper of sorts where he states, that “hot drinks” should be interpreted? Nevertheless we believe in continuing revelation.

  14. It’s worth raising water footprint with respect to consumption.

    Water footprint refers to the amount of water consumed to produce a product. This calculation includes irrigation, absorbed precipitation, and water required to dilute pollutants (to see amounts required, visit waterfootprint.org).

    Beef is extremely water intense. Chicken and fish are much less water intense.

    Leafy greens consume less water than the fruit of a plant. Fruits and tubers of a plant consume less water than seeds of a plant. For example, potatoes take less water than grains. The unprocessed form of anything takes less water per serving than the processed version (whole fruits vs. juices, wheat vs. pasta).

    Coffee is the commodity most responsible for what is termed virtual water transfer – the water wealth of one country is consumed to produce coffee beans, which are shipped to monetarily rich nations which don’t have to expend their own water resources for that product.

    People in America consume per capita roughly 240% of the water resource available per capita worldwide, much of it through these virtual water transfers. Despite inordinate American consumption of other goods, the water footprint associated with food comes in as 70% of that amount (food accounts for >90% of the waterfootprint for the entire world).

    As to caffeinated beverages, there is no formal prohibition on the part of the Church. But caffeinated sodas (of which Cherry Coke Zero is my favorite) require harvest of a caffeinated crop (e.g., coffee beans) to acquire the chemical compound. One cup of hypothetical caffeinated soda requires ~350 cups of water to produce the ingredients, dominated by caffeine (~30%), vanilla flavoring (~50%), and sugar (~15%, 5% for diet). For a discussion of this, see Hoekstra, The Water Footprint of Modern Consumer Society, 2013.

    Drink water, obtain protein from dairy, soy, fish, chicken, and occasionally pork, lean towards potatoes as your starch source rather than grains, and consume fruits and veggies in a form as close to the farm-grown form as possible.

    And of course realize that every food consumed out of season (that you have not preserved yourself) likely required shipping from thousands of miles away, adding additional water footprint expenses.

    Back to your standard quibbles over semantics.

  15. Every day 90 tons of our atmosphere is lost to space. Think how much air weighs. 90 tons of air is a LOT of air. Context is everything when we talk about squabbling semantics. Fortunately, we have 5 quadrillion tons of atmosphere.

    Anyone who tells much how many cups of water something uses without first talking about the water cycle and how much fresh water we have. There are 326 trillion gallons of water on the earth, at least according to caltech.

    Certainly, like oil, water takes effort to get and the faster you get it out of the ground, the more work you have to do to get it before it’s replenished. Fortunately, we have this thing called the ocean. We manage to extra oil from underneath the ocean and make it useable. We extra oil from rock and make it useable. We can extract water from ocean and make it useable. It’s not economic in most cases to do so now. At some point it will be.

    The point is not that we should be wasteful, but that water footprint of chicken nuggets is an interesting metric but not very useful. Everything is ultimately finite. Cities here and there will have water issues as they over use their resources — conservation won’t eliminate that, just prolong the day, in a sense.

    Eventually, if we are blessed to have a civilization long enough, we’ll make much greater use of the ocean. And we’ll find all sorts of other problems connected to that, and we’ll solve those too, which will lead to some other problems.

    It would be wise for states and cities to spend more time developing their water resources and less time guilting people about toilets — not saying we shouldn’t strive for efficiency, but resource development is of higher importance, and gets far less buzz than making cowboys feel bad using environmental water math.

  16. Meg, it’s also worth noting that you can raise beef cattle on ground that is too dry to do anything else with. Much of the State of Wyoming is in just such a situation. The climate is too dry to farm but you can raise beef, it just takes acres and acres of grazing space.

  17. I tracked down a study that examined the difference between grass-fed beef and feedlot beef but the comparison used was farm raised beef where irrigation was part of the equation. As Stewart points out, there are wide swaths of America, particularly through the southwest, where the only practical agricultural product of the land is beef, sheep or game meat. Ruminants eat grass, which other animals find inedible, given their digestive systems. Grass is a particularly ‘innocent’ plant, in terms of lacking many of the vigorous defenses against being eaten in the form of various toxins that other plants employ. We were reminded of this when a grandson recently had a close call with death from eating tomatoes and peppers on a pizza. This is interesting in terms of a far older law than the Word of Wisdom. The dietary law given in ancient times advised the use of ‘clean animals’ which as far as land animals go, were ruminants, from the towering giraffe to the tiny dik-dik. Chickens and fish are also ‘clean’. If meat consumption were limited to the constraints imposed in this ancient law and the inclusion of a vast variety of chemicals used from everything from shelf life to inculcating corn products into yet another venue were discontinued, it could have a positive effect on health. The cost of the Standard American Diet is usually in the health of the consumer as the video posted by WoW demonstrated.

  18. Sadly it has become apparent to me that the wow Revelation was not a Sinai like Revelation where God told Joseph Smith what to eat and what to avoid, rather Joseph pulled things from the culture that he believed to be true.

    Cows health on corn is terrible, yet recommended by the wow. An omnipotent god would not be dumb enough to say that. Joseph Smith may have been. WE have the science about what happens to people who avoid animal products… Vegans health increase for three months while they lose weight (fasting), some time after that, then their teeth all fall out from their lack of fat soluble vitamins. The males become betas and the women lose their fertility, amped up on phytoestrogens from soy products. Either that or they cheat all the time (80%).

    Either way you slice the Apple, God created men dependent on meat, and humans evolved eating meat. That is reality. No amount of wishing it were different will change that fact.

    I’m done with idealogues telling me what to do. In some ways I’m glad that a surgeon like Nelson with his characteristic god complex is leader.. it makes it obvious that his leadership is not Divine.

    Ftr, cows raised through intensive grazing methods regenerate topsoil, reduce water, heal the land and sequester carbon. Eating meat grown responsibly will heal the planet. That’s why I’ve purchased a ten acre farm to grow my own meat. But you all go on virtue signaling about meat. When your teeth fall out we’ll sell you some healing broth…

  19. Weston Price,
    I’m leaving your comment here, though it seems borderline on its treatment of modern prophets. Millennial Star has just a few blog requirements, the main one is respect for the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ, even if we don’t agree with everything taught. Please be more circumspect in the future. This is your one warning.
    The WoW, though imperfect, has given active Saints lifespans that are a decade longer than other Americans. And I wager that most here marvel at President Nelson’s inspired teachings.

  20. I would love to see the citations for the benefit of raising cattle on arid ground. I’ve read the waterfootprint website and books and have corresponded with Professor Hoekstra. So I am thoroughly grounded in my arguments and would appreciate the chance to understand the science associated with your assertions.

  21. Meg,
    I have posted a link that can start you on it… But it hasn’t made it through the filter.

    Google: Forbes how regenerative agriculture can help climate…

    Essentially, when you grow natural grass, and allow it to grow tall, there is equal length of roots below ground as there is grass above. When you allow (force,) the cow to eat it down to six inches, (by limiting the area a cow is in -intensive grazing),; it causes a dramatic die back in root length (from 3 feet to six inches) which the worms then decompose into carbon rich topsoil. This enriched topsoil helps retain water better, reduces runoff, and erosion. The deep roots in the grass brings up water (and minerals) that are deep down. When you continue the process, the topsoil actually grows, the soil fertility increases, and the ground becomes more productive. There actually a reduction in the desert in areas where this form of agriculture is practiced.

    Add in activated biochar to make terra preta, and you literally solve all of the carbon sequestration problems.

    I don’t even believe in global warming. I don’t worry about water. But I am converted to good agricultural practices that reduce damage to the environment, and dependence on chemical interventions that are resource intensive.

    Y’all are severly deficient in understanding this stuff. You need to read the omnivores dilemma, the new farm, and anything by Joel salatin

    Wrt possible censoring…
    I’m grateful you have chosen to not censor my previous comment. I thought the following things were common knowledge…

    Russell m Nelson was ( is) a surgeon.

    Surgeons often believe they are smarter than everyone and have God complexes.

    Perhaps he’s still growing into his calling.
    I certainly don’t believe that God has removed his agency ( his tendency to move very quickly, and perhaps implement changes that he’s wanted for a long time).
    Perhaps you believe God has removed his agency, and he’s infallible. I don’t.

    I also didn’t know that m* was producing snowflakes who can’t allow anyone to have a different opinion than they do… Snowflakes culture exists in the self-described conservatives, how sad.

  22. It is difficult to separate the war of statistics that hedges the question of whether grass or cornfed beef are ‘greener’ but the wild ruminants of the Serengeti, particularly the wildebeest are key to the the health of the grasslands. By shearing down the grass from several feet to a few inches they prevent serious wildfires that kill young trees. The trees are not attractive food for wild cattle but their budding tops are just what giraffes require. With the buffalo herds in America’s grasslands decimated and unlikely to return, domestic range cattle likely fill the niche left empty by the harvest of buffalo hide that was uniquely suited for the drive belts of the age of steam. Closing public lands to grazing has a number of deleterious effects as the lack of grazing permits tall grass that feeds hotter brush fires that spread to forests, denuding the soil, permitting flooding and erosion. With modern population levels it is unlikely that animal protein and fat, however beneficial it might be, would be adequate unless vat meat goes beyond its current status as a curiosity. Meanwhile the evidence that refined carbohydrates are a health threat is inescapable. Sugar was a luxury in the era of Joseph Smith when honey and maple sugar were the most common sweeteners, both of which are relatively complex compared to corn syrup which was invented in 1812. I believe the Word of Wisdom was inspired, particularly in the warning in D&C 89:4.

  23. While reading through the comments, some thoughts have come to mind.

    There’s DC 58:26, “it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant.” Where the guidelines in the Word of Wisdom are vague, we’re supposed to use our best judgment, rather than expecting the prophet to give us a list of do’s and don’ts. And if we feel strongly about certain applications of the Word of Wisdom (vegetarianism, for example, or some of the fad diets out there) that doesn’t mean we should impose those on others. Joseph Fielding Smith was a vegetarian, for example, and almost made it to 96, but he certainly didn’t preach that to the membership at large.

    I’m reminded of a bishop I had who told of making a comment in a Sunday school setting, where 89:17 says “wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals.” In a somewhat glib tone he suggested that humans should only eat wheat and avoid other grains. A few months later during tithing settlement, one of the families in the ward told him how they had felt so blessed by following his counsel of only eating wheat. It was a mental facepalm moment for him.

  24. To Weston Price and Pat Chiu,

    I concur that organic farming with ruminants is better than spraying nitrogen and roundup on fields to grow dwarf wheat and GMO corn.

    But an article giving a fund manager and his hired PhD free advertising for their niche product is not on par with the kind of peer-reviewed scientific paper I was hoping to see.

    I spent a couple of years attending and presenting at Mother Earth News Fairs around the country, and I have talked with those advocating that all we need to do is make everyone eat bovine organs to improve health. This segment of the population is happy to promote soil enrichment as an ultimate good. These are the same people who vigorously fought letting the organic label apply to any plant growing method that doesn’t occur in soil, because they believe that only soil can produce the complex enviroment needed for true plant growth. We staved them off with science, but I think they were able to get all seaweed declared inorganic because it grows in water. Which is an irrational position to take.

    Pat knows me, but Weston seems to be assuming I am a clone of irrational conservatives he’s met, who haven’t heard of Joel Salatin, much less paid Joel to keynote at a conference.

    I am not a clone of whatever irrational person you think you are arguing with, unless you think you are arguing with Meg Stout.

    I am asking for data, and I concur with Pat’s point that it’s irrational to exclude natural processes due to ideology. But I am not impressed with facile argument that appears to be based on soil-worship and consumption of popular media alone.

  25. Meg,
    The problem is that people in the scientific fields often don’t understand an issue before planning their experiment, and thus their experiments are meaningless.

    An example: a paper recently showed that there was no benefit in a 3 month study to using uncharged biochar compared to regular fertilizer.

    The problem, the regenerative agriculture folks don’t make positive claims about the use of uncharged bio-char, nor do they make positive claims about the first three months. They integrate over a longer time frame, taking more externalities into account, and recognize the mechanism of biochar requires charging (microbe loading), first. If a newbie like myself can understand what is wrong with the premise of their study, and the person making the study didn’t, why are people so stupid? Because they think they know it all.

    Meg, I’ve known and read you a long time.
    Forgive me if I don’t trust your attitude of “I know it all” and “I speak on behalf of all science.” You don’t and You don’t.

    Google: Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change

    Google:
    Can Responsible Grazing Make Beef Climate-Neutral?

    From my reading, people who dismiss animals to address climate change don’t integrate over enough variables. Thus, their model (like all models), is wrong; but because it’s so limited, it’s also not useful. When they ignore the root die off and increase in bio-accumulation and increase in top soil, they show that they have no business evaluating the climate impact. It’s great that you have met Joel Salatin, why don’t you evaluate his works and arguments rather than name dropping him?

    Or perhaps you could address my initial claim.
    God created mankind dependent on animal flesh.
    Human’s evolved eating animal flesh.
    Length of intestines in cats vs humans vs monkeys/gorillas/apes.
    Is the human digestive system closer to a pigs or a monkey (what model does scientific inquiry use) hint, it rhymes with bacon.

  26. Our opinions on what the prophets will do are not really very relevant. Neither the prophets nor God are asking our opinions before releasing revelation. Just sayin’.

  27. You’ve asked, “Perhaps the command is for some spiritual reason?” The answer to this is found right in D&C 89: 3-4, “3. Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints. 4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—”

    It’s a warning and a protecting to us. It’s a gospel principle, which later was made a commandment to help us learn and to help us school our mortal bodies.

    The the promise of the revelation are repeated again, and expounded on, Verse 18 to the end:

    “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; 19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; 20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. 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.”

    Wisdom and great treasures of knowledge are things we learn and understand by the Holy Spirit — which is a blessing we’re promised as part of our baptismal covenants. So to answer your question … no it’s not time to revive the Word of Wisdom — that is doctrine. The changes that have been made over the last year are policy and procedure, not doctrine. I doubt the doctrines in the Word of Wisdom — or any of the doctrines eg: chastity, one man/one woman marriage, tithing, fasting, will change any time soon, so it’s foolish to even speculate or have these kinds of discussions.

  28. Meg,
    The problem is that people in the scientific fields often don’t understand an issue before planning their experiment, and thus their experiments are meaningless.

    An example: a paper recently showed that there was no benefit in a 3 month study to using uncharged biochar compared to regular fertilizer.

    The problem, the regenerative agriculture folks don’t make positive claims about the use of uncharged bio-char, nor do they make positive claims about the first three months. They integrate over a longer time frame, taking more externalities into account, and recognize the mechanism of biochar requires charging (microbe loading), first. If a newbie like myself can understand what is wrong with the premise of their study, and the person making the study didn’t, why are people so stupid? Because they think they know it all.

    Meg, I’ve known and read you a long time.
    Forgive me if I don’t trust your attitude of “I know it all” and “I speak on behalf of all science.” You don’t, and You don’t.

    Google: Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change

    Google:
    Can Responsible Grazing Make Beef Climate-Neutral?

    From my reading, people who dismiss animals to address climate change don’t integrate over enough variables. Thus, their model (like all models, is wrong), but because it’s so limited, it’s also not useful. When they ignore the root die off and increase in bio-accumulation and increase in top soil, they show that they have no business evaluating the climate impact. It’s great that you have met Joel Salatin, why don’t you evaluate his works and arguments rather than name dropping him? Also, your summary of wide traditions eating is fairly shallow, I hope your professional work is not quite as shoddy as that explanation was. Perhaps you deleted a paragraph about everything else they talk about instead of just organ meats?

    Or perhaps you could address my initial claim.
    God created mankind dependent on animal flesh.
    Human’s evolved eating animal flesh.
    Length of intestines in cats vs humans vs monkeys/gorillas/apes.
    Is the human digestive system closer to a pigs or a monkey (what model does scientific inquiry use) hint, it rhymes with bacon.

  29. Hi “Westin,”

    Thank you for emailing me directly so I have context.

    I’ll just note that you were the one to name drop Joel Salatin. I was merely responding that I am not as ignorant of those arguments and rationales as you asserted.

    Returning to the portion of the Word of Wisdom that Ram was discussing, I was pointing out that there are large-scale global resource issues that are addressed by the Word of Wisdom. So I opine that as written it is fine, allowing all sufficient freedom to choose the behavior on a local level that best aligns with localized realities while curbing global behaviors that are problematic.

  30. Quote: “I concur that organic farming with ruminants is better than spraying nitrogen and roundup on fields to grow dwarf wheat and GMO corn.”

    I do not want to discuss whether or not it is “better”. However I’m very thankful that we have nitrogen based fertilizers and GMO corn that can withstand harsh or unfavorable conditions much better than “normal” corn. Especially nitrogen based fertilizers have saved millions and millions of people from starving. It is one of the reasons why the number of people living in extreme poverty and threatened by malnutrition has shrunk so much in the last couple of decades. And I consider this a blessing.

  31. Sometimes what I had considered a “bug” (fault) in the church turns out to be a “feature” with a purpose that was not initially apparent to me. I have come to realize that the Lord does not always advertise/reveal his purposes behind his commandments, directions, policies, assignments; nor do the Brethren always state the purposes.

    Additionally, the Lord’s economy is not necessarily what looks efficient to us. He always plays the long game.

    These principles are illustrated in scriptures, even when they aren’t explicitly explained that way.

    How many centuries or millennia was there between the issuance of dietary laws (clean/unclean animals, washing, cooking, keeping separate vessels for cooked versus uncooked food) and when science finally discovered bacteria?

    I have come to suspect that the apparent ambiguity or impreciseness of the WoW (ie, is “hot drinks” solely about temperature, or is it the actual substance? etc. ) was intentional, perhaps with the purpose of seeing if we would turn to the prophets, and to test our own reasoning at the same time.

    The WoW has its own partial explanations, and promised blessings built in. But as our world changes, it looks to me like the WoW also has a built-in incompleteness that requires us to look to the living prophet.

    Therefore, since “looking to the prophet” is a good-thing, I suspect that whatever impreciseness/ambiguity/incompleteness we see in it might be a “feature” and not “bug.”

  32. Bookslinger, your last part is spot on. Except for core doctrine, teachings in the Church changes as it/we adapt to changes in the world and in our understanding.
    This is why there is continuing revelation. Unlike Weston, who seems to doubt inspiration and revelation thru living prophets, i believe they reveal better and truer things to us. Prophets aren’t infallible, which is why revelation continues. We move towards perfection line upon line, revelation upon revelation.

    President Nelson is implementing things that mostly have been in the pipeline for years. He’s just decided these changes were ready enough to implement now, in preparation of the Millennium.

    With all the science, including environmental science being discussed here, it may soon be time to officially update the WoW. Unofficial additions have been made over the years: hard drugs, white sugar and flour (Pres Benson), caffeinated beverages, etc.

    Perhaps it is time for new revelation to update the WoW?

  33. And what better prophet to consider praying over the WoW than a world renowned surgeon/prophet.

  34. I personally would not mind an update…

    However, I would just like some honesty about where it’s coming from.

    Because in most cases the advice church members have been given wrt the wow do not come from God, but fallible men who can’t tell the difference between the two. Let’s play a mind game, suppose Russell m Nelson, decides to update the wow using the nutritional advice the medical field gave out thirty years ago saying that eating cholesterol was bad. Now it was bad science when the advice was given, but it has now been thoroughly debunked. When the studies come out that absolutely refute that hypothetical advice, do we have to wait another 150 years for a new “Revelation” before we believe truth, or do we engage out own brains?

    Heck I’d love it if every church function weren’t a sugar carb fest, and if people cared about nutrient density rather than calories, but I find it doubtful. If Gerald gets his way, and say, President Nelson recognized coffee and tea as a source of antioxidants and heart healthy, and changed the word of wisdom, where does that leave the person who’s struggled with that for years…? The unchangeable God suddenly doesn’t care about that? I admit I don’t know.

    It’s unnerving. I wouldn’t mind a more science based understanding, but mormons are much better at thinking of things as fixed in stone rather than taking in New knowledge and making ones own decision.

    PS, my name is not Weston, it is a phrase, so say the whole phrase.

    Pps, I have sent meg a peer reviewed article on the environment of intensive grazing.

    Ppps. I did not name drop Joel Salatin, I’ve never met him, and saying his name was not a replacement for argument, it was a suggestion of who to read.

  35. WPWSTW: In order that the commenters here may ascertain how you view Pres Nelson,…. Do you believe the foundational truth-claims of the LDS church? (You don’t _have_ to answer that, of course.)

    For the other folks who are wondering who the referred-to Weston Price (b. 1870. d. 1948) is, he has a Wiki entry, and a foundation named in his honor, westonaprice.org

    And to give commenter WPWSTW his due, Price’s and the foundation’s research into food, nutrition and health are directly related to the WoW. I’m not saying I totally agree with Price or the foundation, or with commenter WPWSTW. And I don’t totally disagree either.

  36. Wow, now that you mention it, I remember that the folks at the Pennsylvania Mother Earth News Fair who were telling me about the benefits of eating bovine organs were also passing out pamphlets about Weston Price.

    Thank you for the March/April 2016 Research Editorial in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, which projected a reduction in greenhouse gases if all US cattle were grass-fed using regenerative adaptive multi-paddock (RAM) conservation grazing.

    Delightful as carbon sequestration using RAM might be, it doesn’t speak to water consumption.

    According to various papers cited by the United Nations at their water scarcity page, we already live in a world where 50% of the world population experiences water scarcity for at least one month out of the year. In 2013 that wasn’t projected to occur until 2030.

    Back to coffee, there is a nice summary of the virtual water exchange issue associated with coffee at the WOCAT wiki.

  37. Quote: “According to various papers cited by the United Nations at their water scarcity page, we already live in a world where 50% of the world population experiences water scarcity for at least one month out of the year.”

    That might or might not be the case. But it has nothing to do with eating beef, pork or any other meat from the U.S or Europe or South America.

  38. Seb,

    If I use my water resource to raise grain and grass for red meat and the buy my other commodities from parts of the world that are experiencing water scarcity but which are willing to damage their environment for my dollars, then I am exporting scarcity.

    Also, most of the area of the United States is supported by aquifers that are in an unsustainable rate of decline.

    We are like the college kid of yore who keeps writing checks, unaware that they are catastrophically depleting the resource that redeems written checks.

  39. The exported dollars you are mentioning help people on the receiving end (who sell us their products) to come out of poverty and improve their lives. Developed societies have the means to adapt to ever changing climatic and natural environments.

    Water is something we have in abundance. Fresh water can easily be produced from salt water. Energy is needed of course. Developed and adapted societies usually have the means for it.

    But maybe you have an example where farmers in the U.S. raise cattle instead of xyz and import xyz from a country where their is a severe water problem.

  40. Again, let’s go back to water shortage.

    There are 1.400 trillion barrels of fossil fuels in the Earth. 8 trillion barrels of water.

    Somehow we manage to turn fossil fuels into everthing from transportation, to heat, plastics, to clothing.

    But there are still people worried about removing salt from water.

    The sky is not falling. But a lot of money can be made from hyping the world into believing markets are scarce and supply is limited.

    You might as well tell us we need to charge money for breathing the air… Except that’s practically happening too.

  41. Seb/Sem,

    So you endorse economies damaging their environment to produce commodities, like coffee, which are optional luxuries?

    Again, I am not saying that any organization ought to prohibit folks from engaging in commerce as they please. I am just pointing out that there are ramifications.

    For fun, compute the costs to desalinate water to support crop production and how that impacts the economic viability of producing the crop. If you haven’t run these numbers, then you may not know that of which you are pleased to opine.

  42. Quote: “Again, I am not saying that any organization ought to prohibit folks from engaging in commerce as they please. I am just pointing out that there are ramifications.”

    That is good. And I thank you for that. So many people – especially politicians – think they have some kind of right to make decisions for other people. So, thank you.

    “So you endorse economies damaging their environment to produce commodities, like coffee, which are optional luxuries?”

    Who does decide what an optional luxury is? You? I? A politician? People trade what they want to trade. By doing this they decide … for THEMSELVES … what is important and what is unimportant or optional. My decision is not yours and yours is not mine.

    “For fun, compute the costs to desalinate water to support crop production and how that impacts the economic viability of producing the crop.”

    You’re right! That is called capitalism. If a good becomes more and more expensive to produce, demand will go down. So if crop production in country A becomes more expensive because water needs to be desalinated, country B will buy less from country A and will look for alternative less expensive crop sources. And that is not only true for country A and B but for all nations and all people.

  43. The WoW speaks out against the use of tobacco. Vaping usually does not involve any tobacco. So technically vaping is not covered by the WoW.

    Nicotine is a substance with mild to moderate addictive potential. The church clearly speaks out against the onsumption of any substance that you would become addicted to.

    If you vape something without nicotine it is up to your own decision whether or not you consume it. Nothing in the WoW is applicable to vaping harmless substances.

Comments are closed.