Word of Wisdom as an Apostate Barrier to Entry?

May 25, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 12:34 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

In the comments of my recent post on the timing of the Second Coming, a Bloggernacle regular that goes by the handle Steve (FSF) made some interesting comments regarding the Word of Wisdom. Here they are:

The LDS church doesn’t even seriously try to spread the gospel in the most populous areas of the world. We put up ridiculous non-scriptural roadblocks like the WofW in the way of entrance into the Kingdom. How could the second coming be close when we aren’t seriously trying to do as commanded to spread the word in urgent preparation for it? The present non-urgent caretaker mode of our GAs is very telling…

…I know this is a tangent, but the WofW evolving into a requirement rather than remaining a good practice is a clear example of apostasy from which the church needs reform. Moreover, it’s only a portion of it that we require/emphasize. How come we can reform on Adam-G-d, King Follet sermon, etc, but we can’t fix this much bigger error that keeps believers out of the kingdom? Making the WofW a requirement has made it for us what circumcision and other Jewish good practices were for the early Christians before Paul reformed the church on those issues. Any arbitrary and questionable road blocks we place to entrance into the true church of JC is very serious matter that better have substantial foundation, purpose and rationale behind it. The WofW as a commandment doesn’t even come close.

I figured those comments deserved a response so rather than threadjack that post we’ll talk about it here.

First, let me point out the parts I sort of agree with. He makes a good point about how the emphasis on the Word of Wisdom has increased in the last 100 years or so. It is rather obvious even in the revelation itself that the Word of Wisdom is not an eternal principle. The scriptures are full of example of saints, prophets and even Jesus himself drinking alcoholic beverages (wine) for example. It is also worth considering that we only really emphasize a portion of the original revelation now anyway. The fact that section 89 doesn’t even claim to be a binding commandment makes Steve’s claims that we have gone overboard in emphasizing it as a Church at least worth looking at.

That said, I think most of the sentiments he expressed are misguided. I’ll try to respond to some of them topically.

Is our current emphasis on the WoW apostate?

I think the answer to this is an unequivocal “No”. The reason I believe this is because the very same keys that Joseph held when the original revelation was given have been passed down to all of his successors. The very authority that makes D&C 89 scripture was used by later prophets to tell the church that the ban on certain substances was no longer optional. Now whether God thought of that plan or his servants thought of it is moot because God backs up his servants. You don’t have to take my word on that though – you can verify that with God yourself.

Is placing barriers to entry into the church a bad thing?

I think Steve is completely missing the point with his complaints about barriers to baptism. There is nothing magical about baptism. It is a crucial ordinance to be sure, but the key to it all is sufficient faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to lead to repentance and a willingness to take on covenants and obligations to be a real live saint and disciple of Christ. The Word of Wisdom is specifically adapted for the weakest of saints. If someone has not developed sufficient faith in Jesus Christ to change some habits that are physically bad for them anyway, what good would being baptized be to them? Joining the true church is not supposed to be easy. The real goal is to become exactly like Jesus Christ. If a person is not willing to deny some appetites up front that person is not ready to enter the gate anyway.

To put it more bluntly: God’s goal is not to get people baptized. God’s goal is to get people exalted. Barriers to being baptized will not keep anyone from being exalted. If a person can’t get past the easy hurdles up front then why join the true church? Why not stay in the minor leagues until they are ready to move up to the Bigs?

Reforming the King Follet Discourse?

I don’t know what Steve means with that. I consider the KFD one of the greatest and most enlightening sermons of all time. What has been reformed?

The present non-urgent caretaker mode of our GAs

What else are shepherds supposed to do while they await the return of the Good Shepherd?

Just a note to all: As far as I know Steve (FSF) is an active and faithful Latter Day Saint and his complaints are honest ones so please don’t bash him or anything. (And if you think he’s right don’t bash me either…) I just thought these were issues that were worthy of a response.

42 Comments »

  1. I love this site. Despite having little free time, I still try to come out here to read the good comments. It is so nice to dine on some Prime Rib after being fed milk for so long in Sunday School.

    Now to the topic: I agree with Steve that the WofW emphasis has gone overboard. It took my college years to get out of the mind set that people who drink alchohol are not inheritly evil. (I didn’t drink, but as you know about everyone else does at college). I still have trouble fully accepting this as scripture anyway; it just feels more like the response that Joseph knew his wife wanted when she complained about tobacco & alcohol. [But as Geoff says, God backs up his servents, but there's got to be some limitations and the question is what are those limitations. What if it was decided that zippers are bad like the Amish believe and that become a pronouncement by the prophet? This could get out of control.] I sometimes wonder if thats more of the reason why it was written as a recommendation rather than a commandment. I also find it very interesting that we’ll accept people on the Atkins-I-eat-a-ton-of-meat-all-the-time-diet as obeying the WofW when its quite clear that meat should be eaten sparingly. To be a requirement to get a temple recommend, its suprising that only half the WofW is really enforced. I still think that the allowed weak-barley drinks aptly applies to the weak beer produced here in the US like Coors (as opposed to the strong beer in Germany and elsewhere), but I still don’t bother drinking those, although I do enjoy O’Douls (non-alcoholic beer) to get the health benefits of a barley drink (I like the taste too). [on a side note, I found out how tasty O'douls was when a member offered it to me on my mission.]

    With that being said, I do have to agree with Geoff, if the WofW is whats keeping someone from joining the true church then how much faith do they really have? It really is an easy “commandment” when all you have to obey is the don’t’s.

    Also, Steve says that, “The LDS church doesn’t even seriously try to spread the gospel in the most populous areas of the world. We put up ridiculous non-scriptural roadblocks like the WofW in the way of entrance into the Kingdom.” STEVE: What other roadblocks do you think are being placed?

    Also Steve:
    I live in NC and so I’m not that up on what the GA’s really do. In fact I have no idea how they spend the bulk of their day. While the General conference talks seem non-urgent, are there other examples of non-urgency that you see in GAs?

    Comment by Speaking Up — May 25, 2005 @ 7:27 am

  2. Speaking up: You can get the barley in a nice Malta instead of drinking beer with a very low alcohol content; although it might have ‘some’ alcohol too. Not sure. Note: O’Doul’s is not Alcohol free; but ‘mostly’ alcohol free.

    There is no reform needed; just more obedience. In these latter-days, the Saints need their _wits_ and their _agency_ about them. Alcohol and other addictions destory this. Note, that addiction is emerging as one of the common roots of sin…whether it be porno, gambling, drugs, etc.

    The only ‘tweak’ might be to reinforce the “hate the sin, not the sinner” concept. I also had problems accepting people that drank/smoked, etc. However, this was just a passing thing…took a few days living among mostly non-members; and it was no longer an issue.

    Comment by lyle stamps — May 25, 2005 @ 8:25 am

  3. I think that our current emphasis on the WoW is way out of proportion to how it was intended to be. The same can be said, in my opinion again, of the law of chastity. On these two laws, according to many modern day mormons, hang all the laws and the prophets. One thinks of JS drinking beer on occasions til the end of his life. We think about how Sec. 89 itself condones ‘mild drinks’ made of barley, aka beer. We think of the spitting patoons which used to be in the Salt Lake Temple. While yes the church did talk quite a bit about it in the 19th century, they we never as fanatic about it as we are. Now we think that people who drink Diet Coke aren’t keeping the spirit of the law.

    The current emphasis didn’t start to emerge until Mormonism started to lose some of its more distinctive qualities (polygamy, theocratic rule, united order, etc.). It’s almost like we were compensating for something, trying desperately to find someway to remain a ‘peculiar people’. Well, we did it, but this doesn’t make it right.

    I think I’m gonna have to post on the WoW soon. In the mean time this is a good resource.

    Comment by Jeffrey Giliam — May 25, 2005 @ 10:26 am

  4. I do sometimes think that we are imposing our Salt Lake church onto the proverbial Kirtland saints abroad. I’m not so sure the Church would have succeeded in Kirkland with a Utah implementation. The church grew line upon line and I think that might help the Church abroad. There is the obvious rebuttal that there was extraordinary apostasy in Kirkland…but then, when hasn’t there been.

    Note: O’Doul’s is not Alcohol free; but ‘mostly’ alcohol free.

    I’m pretty sure that it is impossible to drink enough O’Doul’s to get intoxicated. It is not therefore verboten. Fresh bread has alcohol in it too.

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 25, 2005 @ 1:43 pm

  5. What do you guys think, Tiramisu: evil or okay? I personally think that it’s okay but this doesn’t change the fact that it tastes like garbage in my opinion.

    Comment by Jeffrey Giliam — May 25, 2005 @ 1:49 pm

  6. Tiamisu: okay.

    Those Belgian chocolates with the centers that burn as they go down?

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 25, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

  7. Belgian chocolates ……mmmmmmmm…… so good……..

    Diffinately okay. In fact all chocolate is diffinately okay.
    Tiramisu is delicious to me as well.

    I do wonder why the church hasn’t formally come out against the Atkins Diet with its emphasis on meat. Have they completely given up on that part of the WofW?

    Comment by Speaking Up — May 25, 2005 @ 2:23 pm

  8. If O’douls doesn’t fall under the heading of ‘mild drink made from barely’ then I don’t know what does.

    Comment by Jeffrey Giliam — May 25, 2005 @ 2:31 pm

  9. I assume you are talking about the little liquor chocolates? I personally feel that those are probably pushing it a bit. But that’s just me.

    Comment by Jeffrey Giliam — May 25, 2005 @ 2:36 pm

  10. Yes, Jeffrey, those chocolates. I think you are right about them…but oh, how they are delicious.

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 25, 2005 @ 3:18 pm

  11. Some sisters that we had done a favor for on my mission got us a box of chocolates as thanks. I didn’t eat any for a couple of days. I bit into my first (with my district leader present) and immediately realized that it contained alcohol (and how!). My companion, meanwhile, had eaten nearly half the box. When we told him the contents of the chocolates, he was genuinely shocked. He had never tasted alcohol before, nor knew that it burned going down. He had had no idea.

    Comment by John C. — May 25, 2005 @ 3:52 pm

  12. 10 pionts to anyone who can name the GA that said as missionaries, you cannot turn down a kirsch-drenched cake, but you cannot ask for seconds, and you cannot enjoy it.

    Comment by Steve (FSF) — May 25, 2005 @ 5:16 pm

  13. Tiramisu definitely doesn’t count. How ’bout Latte ice cream? :P

    Comment by Crystal — May 25, 2005 @ 6:40 pm

  14. Jeffrey refers to “spitting patoons” that could at one time be found in the Salt Lake Temple. That’s an interesting observation–when did “spittoons” become “spitting patoons”?

    Whatever their source, spitting patoons should be stamped out, and replaced with spittoons as soon as possible.

    Next we’ll have to deal with “spit ‘n’ image” turning into “spitting image.” The latter conjures up it’s partner in sculpture, the “pissing image.”

    Comment by Mark B. — May 26, 2005 @ 7:54 am

  15. O’Douls is approx 0.5% alcohol; most domestic are approx 5%, so it is possible to get drunk off O’Douls, factoring in tolerance, speed, and ability to hold large quantities of liquid in your stomach. I don’t think one could “accidentilly” get drunk off O’Douls, though.

    I think you’re right, Geoff, on the “is placing barriers a bad thing” question. That is, if one doesn’t have faith enough to voluntarily give alcohol/tobacco/coffee up, how would they have enough faith in Jesus. As a non-member, though, I will say this: the WoW may not be the final barrier to membership, but it is one in many people’s learning of the gospel. It seems to me (and many other non-members) that giving up these things is, well, pointless. Especially on the coffee/tea question. They don’t do significant damage, so the only reason really to give them up is obedience. But when we don’t have any reason to be obedient (that is, we don’t think the Church is True), then what’s the point of even looking at it?

    So, in this way, I do think that the emphasis on the WoW is a bad thing and an unneccesary barrier to learning about the gospel.

    Comment by Pris — May 26, 2005 @ 7:57 am

  16. O’Doul’s is NOT .5% alcohol. Its label reads “less than 0.5% alcohol by volume.” This is a legal requirement. O’Doul’s is for all intents and purposes alcohol-free. Even if it were 0.5% alcohol, that is equivalent of 1 proof. Most American beers are about 9 proof, which means you would have to drink 9 O’Doul’s to equal one weak American beer.

    From the Clausthaler (a non-alcoholic brew) web site:

    In the United States, the term “alcohol-free” may only be used for products with no detectable alcohol content. 0.45 (or 0.25*) % vol is such a small quantity that many other food products contain similar alcohol quantities. Nearly all fruit juices all have traces of alcohol. In Germany, grape juice is officially allowed to contain up to 1.0 % vol alcohol and soft drinks may contain up to 0.3 % vol alcohol.

    Such low alcohol concentrations have no effect on the body organism. Scientific research carried out in the Institute for Medical Law at the University of Frankfurt am Main has confirmed that the consumption of Clausthaler has no effect on one’s BAC (blood alcohol content) or on one’s ability to react. The conclusion of the expert opinion was that even the consumption of 1.5 l Clausthaler within one hour would not raise the natural BAC(blood alcohol content).

    Alcohol content of various foodstuffs
    Clausthaler Classic 0.45 % vol
    Clausthaler Extra Herb 0.45 % vol
    Clausthaler Radler 0.25 % vol
    Clausthaler Hefeweizen 0.45 % vol

    Apple juice 0.1 – 0.38 % vol
    Grape juice 0.15 – 1.0 % vol
    Sauerkraut 0.20 – 0.80 % vol
    Rye bread 0.34 % vol
    German chocolate cake 0.62 % vol

    So, if you are going to avoid non-alcoholic brews because they contain minute amounts of alcohol, on principle you should also avoid rye bread and apple juice.

    Comment by Eric Soderlund — May 26, 2005 @ 9:13 am

  17. Thank you for that Mark. ;-) I had a feeling I was messing that one up as I typed it.

    Comment by Jeffrey Giliam — May 26, 2005 @ 9:45 am

  18. Thanks for the info Eric & all. I wish they would put the exact amount in the bottles; but…I almost feel safe enough to go enjoy some FRE label non-alcohol wines…

    Comment by lyle stamps — May 26, 2005 @ 9:51 am

  19. Nice data points Eric. It underscores the problem with this WoW obsession of our in the Church — that these details are in fact spiritual mole hills and we insist on making mountains of them. While at the same time we take real spiritual mountains and treat them as small things. That is the point of my “Wasting Mormonism” post. I think it was also the point Jesus was making with his gnat and camels comment.

    Pris,

    Yep, that’s the idea I was getting at. I think it is a good thing that the bans on things like coffee and tea are enough of an annoyance to get your attention. As you have conceded, unless you are certain the Church is true you aren’t “taking the plunge”. That is a good thing. It forces you to either work hard enough to get personal revelation on the matter or to ignore it. If you don’t care enough to get personal revelation in the subject, Mormonism won’t really do you much good anyway. You already hang out with Mormons now — why actually join the Church unless you are going to actually utilize the advantages of doing so? That also is the point of my most recent post. And as I said in this post: God is not interested in our baptism, he is interested in our exaltation.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 26, 2005 @ 9:52 am

  20. I appreciate this post. I believe in the WoW and strive to live it. However, I do believe it is way overemphasized as a measure of personal righteousness, and even more so as a measure of “unworthiness.” It is amazing to me that active, temple-recommned-holding members of the church seem relatively unconcerned about 30% home teaching, but would have an absolute cow if they saw a fellow member drinking a double-latte at the local Starbucks. Don’t get me wrong. I think the Lord wants us to abstain from coffee, tea, strong drinks, and tobacco. But I think He is far more concerned about our failures to love our neighbors than Word-of-Wisdom marginalia. Give me a tea-sipping home teacher who visits, serves, and loves his assigned families every month over a teetotaller who can’t find enough time in the 720 hours a month he is given to serve as the Lord’s undershepherd. Just my $.02

    Comment by Eric Soderlund — May 26, 2005 @ 10:57 am

  21. I’m surprised there were no takers on naming the GA that said as missionaries, you cannot turn down a kirsch-drenched cake, but you cannot ask for seconds, and you cannot enjoy it. Hint, I believe it was circa late 1970′s.

    Seriously, I hope the following helps answer some of your questions and clarifies my unorthodox positions:

    Is our current emphasis on the WoW apostate? — Since the WofW (the part we emphasize) as a requirement isn’t scriptural, and there have been no attempts to canonize it (make it scriptural), yes, it falls into a category of apostate drift to me, just as Adam-G-d, Mark of Cain, anti-grace preaching, etc, was apostate. I gag every time some leader repeats the official BS explanation of the WofW becoming a requirement; it’s total rubbish. At the time it became a requirement, citing some past event of BY once challenging the people present at a conference to pledge to live the WofW as the time it became a commandment was completely bogus and intellectually dishonest. I have to believe, as smart as many of our leaders are, that many of them know the emperor’s naked on this one. That’s probably why they won’t canonize it, but then shouldn’t they have the ____s to lift the requirement?

    Is placing barriers to entry into the church a bad thing? — Once I’ve taught someone faith in JC, repentance, baptism and basic scriptural expectations following baptism such as the ten commandments and tithing, periodic fasting, avoiding drunkenness (one could include avoiding recreational drugs as a modern form of drunkenness), attending sacrament and priesthood, etc, and they wish to enter the kingdom,, it’s time to baptize them, immediately. To add on non-scriptural stuff like the WofW on top of everything else is just as arbitrary as the pre-Paul Christians who were processing converts in two steps by first making them Jews before making them Christians. Can you guys imagine getting our organ cut w/o anesthesia? I’m sure there were early Christians who thought the faith shown by male converts was marvelous, but the whole thing was misguided BS just like making the WofW a requirement is.

    Reforming the King Follet Discourse? — I’ll confess, I’ve never read the KFD, but isn’t it the non-canonized source from which the G-d was once a man stuff came from that we don’t teach (anymore)? If abandoning a past erroneous teaching isn’t a reform, I don’t know what is.

    What else are shepherds supposed to do while they await the return of the Good Shepherd? — Get off their duffs and aggressively spread the gospel dammit! The Good Shepherd doesn’t need to repeat himself on that one. If some GA’s are too old to get into action than they should resign and collect a pension. I’ve never meet an RM who served in India, a country of over 1 billion living souls! If we have any missionaries there it’s far too few. Yes, I know there’s religious violence there, but since when did that stop us before? I’ll tell you what, rather than this “raise the bar” nonsense, we could just take all the former fornicating youth and send them to the hazardous duties countries like India. I was one of those bad boys, and I made a great missionary baptizing several people and finding several others that joined later and that was in France, considered a mission hell hole by many LDS. And then there’s the other super populous country, China. Yes, the Chinese government isn’t yet enlightened enough to move toward freedom of religion, but there are many things we could be doing to encourage the process. Then there’s our completely ineffective methods we use in the countries we’re already in like having our bike riding missionaries wear that dorky white dress shirt w/ tie and sometime w/ suit jacket. Honestly, would you want to talk to two cultish looking weirdo geeky gay dorks about anything? I’m all for some kind of missionary uniform that fits a particular country’s culture, but we’ve locked into really stupid period clothing for our missionaries. I remember finding more people to teach on the golf course in the South of France on P-day than any other day of the week; I wonder why? In short, the GA’s are just a sleep at the switch and brain dead when it comes to running an effective missionary program.

    STEVE: What other roadblocks do you think are being placed? — At this time I don’t see anything non-scriptural besides the WofW. Although not a barrier to baptism per se, there was a time I’d rail against making kids and singles feel bad about masturbation, a normal behavior in my mind, but my kids say the bishops don’t bring it up w/ them, so I guess the church has dropped that nonsense. A long that line, the church continuously improves and has reformed on just about all my complaints over the years. So my complaint list is pretty short these days.

    There is no reform needed; just more obedience. In these latter-days, the Saints need their wits and their agency about them. Alcohol and other addictions destroy this. – No argument from me. The scriptures say the drunkard must repent. But drinking alcohol is different than getting drunk or being an alcoholic (an addiction). Oh, BTW, anytime I hear the words addiction and porn used in the same sentence, I just tune it out as hyperbole.

    I do wonder why the church hasn’t formally come out against the Atkins Diet with its emphasis on meat. Have they completely given up on that part of the WofW? — Good point that makes you wonder why the Temple Rec. question is “Do you follow the WofW?” when what’s meant is do you avoid coffee, tea, booze and tobacco?

    Well, I hope that helps answers some of the questions posed. Anyone want some kirsch-drenched cake?

    Comment by Steve (FSF) — May 26, 2005 @ 8:48 pm

  22. Whoooowheee! That was a humdinger of a comment Steve. I’ll start off with just two questions.

    First: Why do you always replace the word God with “G-d”?

    Second: Who stopped teaching that God was once a man? Whoever has taught something else in this Church has overstepped their bounds I’d say. Just because the focus is on the milk on any given Sunday doesn’t mean that the meat has been dismissed. (You really need to read the King Follet discourse, BTW)

    Comment by Geoff J — May 26, 2005 @ 10:48 pm

  23. Geoff J,

    “G-d” is a habit I pick-up on my mission while corresponding about faith with a Jewish investigator after I was transferred from his area. He did it to avoid the written equivalent of vain repetition. I’m not sure if the intent is accomplished, but it’s now a decades old habit for me, which at my age isn’t going to change.

    “Who stopped teaching that God was once a man?” — The doctrine was already on the decline if not dead, but GBH hammered the nails on that coffin. Perhaps it will come back in the first resurrection. I think the KFD is suspect and was never canonized because JS delivered it so close to his end when he was under pressures we can’t imagine. You’re right though, I do need to read it.

    Comment by Steve (FSF) — May 27, 2005 @ 12:28 pm

  24. Thanks for that “G-d” explanation, Steve. It had me scratching my head.

    Regarding God once as a man — Never take comments in a live talk show interview as the mind and will of the Lord. I suspect the President Hinckley would like to have another shot at a few things he stumbled over in that interview. I believe in that interview with Larry King he said something like “I don’t know that we are teaching that…” with regard to God once being a man. I take that to mean you won’t see it in any materials that have gone through the correlation department. There are lots of truths that we are aware of as a church that we don’t openly teach — take the temple teachings for instance.

    I firmly believe the KFD teaches true doctrine. Our dismissing it would be a serious mistake.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 27, 2005 @ 12:43 pm

  25. I agree. Taking an offhand comment on Larry King Live as a doctrinal pronouncement seems a bit strained. I know everyone is talking about it, but it seems much ado about nothing.

    Comment by Clark — May 27, 2005 @ 1:09 pm

  26. “…it seems much ado about nothing.” – Clark

    When the leader, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ pleads ignorance on a principle as important as godhood, I would say that it is very significant.

    He’s a communicator. I seem to think he would like to make us more like the other protestants and make little of our differences in order to no longer appear as a “cult”. I think his Larry King appearances show that.

    Comment by Speaking Up — May 27, 2005 @ 1:44 pm

  27. When the leader, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ pleads ignorance…

    He didn’t plead ignorance, he demurred. Admittedly is was a bit clumsy, but it was far from being “very significant” from a doctrinal standpoint. I’ve done a LOT of press interviews in my day (see quotes just this month here, here, and here) and I can assure you that it is commonplace to get a little stuck. It is far more tricky when you are being interviewed live in front of the whole world.

    I will agree with you that there has been an ongoing PR effort to help us as Mormons look less weird to the rest of the world. I suspect that this stumble occured because it put such a spotlight on some of the very doctrines that enemies ofthe Church love to harp on. We have become so used to shielding ourselves from those enemies that it seemed to me the questions got President Hinckley off guard for a moment. That is the risk one takes with live TV. His minor misstep in that interview should not be seen as a reflection on eternal doctrines, though.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 27, 2005 @ 2:42 pm

  28. Wow, KFD was kind of a side note for me. I thought I’d get beaten up first for dumping on the GA’s for our pathetic missionary efforts or my thinking that masturbation worries of old were silly.

    But on KFD, please correct me if I’m wrong but hasn’t GBH made follow-up comments rejecting the G-d was once a man concept as an unnecessary corollary to the concept that man may become like G-d via exaltation through JC and eternal progression. And if the KFD isn’t suspect, then why hasn’t it been canonized? As far as the unpublished Temple teachings mentioned above, those too have been greatly reformed as the church continuously improves.

    Comment by Steve (FSF) — May 27, 2005 @ 4:52 pm

  29. Don’t worry Steve, I’ll try beating you up over the GA bashing. It is such a good topic I think I’ll write a whole post to respond though (maybe tonight).

    Regarding the KFD, I know of no other comments by President Hinckley or any other GA that refute the idea of the Father’s former status as a man. I doubt they exist. I also don’t think that the question of whether that sermon will be canonized or not is very important. (It was a sermon after all so it might be more like a General Conference talk anyway. But since it came from Joseph at the pinnacle of his prophetic mission it holds some extra weight I think). The only question I care about is whether it is accurate or not. The same could be said for other doctrines like the existence of a Mother in Heaven. The MIH doctrine has a lot less official support than the idea that God was once a man. The real question with the KFD is not one canonization but one of truth. Not all true things are canonized you know.

    Thankfully we can ask God himself about the truth of those things and he will give his answer. I feel confident that both are true doctrines (though details remain fuzzy to me).

    Comment by Geoff J — May 27, 2005 @ 5:20 pm

  30. I don’t think that the doctrines regarding God’s nature were the reason for the discourse not being canonized. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have it canonized and all of it. I think the main reasons were the doctrines concerning human nature: our being ‘coeternal’ with God as self-existent spirits. This flies in the face of our ideas concerning spirit birth which have been very popular since Brigham taught them. It’s actually pretty amusing to watch some of the CES and BYU religion faculty members try to wring out a reconciliation of sorts. While such an attempt can account for the appearances of both doctrines, reconciling the intent of both is hopeless. Joseph felt that the ‘self-existence’ of our spirits was the very foundation of the doctrine in that discourse, and we can’t simply isolate that one part hoping the rest will remain unaltered.

    Comment by Jeffrey Giliam — May 28, 2005 @ 8:18 am

  31. Very simply the Word of Wisdom was given for us as saints to show obedience. It is the same as tithing, it is the same as callings, it is the same meeting attendance. We sustain the bretheren, they speak to God, we pray and we speak to God. When we learn to live this LAW that has REWARDS (hidden treasures of knowledge and health) then we are simply actually doing more than just raising our hands.
    As far as it being a barrier to baptism, it is only a barrier as far as the investigator allows it to be, I have seen many who sacrificed their personal foibles for sanctification and then found the spirit a much better companion than their latte.
    Now just in case you are thinking this is some fanatic typing this out, my diet Coke is right next to me and I do use wine in my cooking,(I love good sushi). Understanding that I do live the spirit of the law and avoid even the appearance of evil when it comes to Barley Drinks, which by the way, should be of your own making.
    Remember the best reason for living the laws are for obedience to Him who gave the laws.

    Comment by Casey Blau — May 28, 2005 @ 11:05 am

  32. Great site, not very many places I would actually post anything.

    KFD has never been denied and except for pussy footing around the subject in public we still do teach that Eternal progression happens for all of us. That is the beauty of it. The Gospel is eternal, not that it does not develop as our needs or understanding does. I love Brother Brigham, but teaching the concept of Adam as the gate keeper for exhaltation, and that once God was only diety embryo as we are was a tough sell to the people then and probably should have been kept at the School of the Prophets with those who would not have strained at it as hard as they have at the Word of Wisdom. This is simple gosple folks and if you look at it, it only makes sense.

    As far as someone not teaching it, just because we don’t blare it to the world doesn’t make it untrue.

    As far as India is concerned. I lived in Athens, Greece before missionaries were allowed there too and trust me the church is alive and proselyting, just not with the traditional missionaries we see.

    One more thing, GA’s do not retire they are released or die! Just like we do not run for office, the Lord calls his servants!!

    Comment by Casey Blau — May 28, 2005 @ 11:36 am

  33. Good comments Casey. I’m glad you found the Thang.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 28, 2005 @ 4:49 pm

  34. I think the main reasons were the doctrines concerning human nature: our being ‘coeternal’ with God as self-existent spirits. This flies in the face of our ideas concerning spirit birth which have been very popular since Brigham taught them.

    – Jeffrey Giliam

    Actually I believe the coenternal with God as self-existant intellegences makes perfect sense and fits nicely with the Freemasonry, “As above, So below”. Just as when my wife gave birth, we helped a Spirit body move from one plane of existance to another; I believe that God in creating our Spirit bodies (which may had been done through/with a Mother in Heaven) , moved our intelligences from one plane of existance to another.

    Comment by Speaking Up — May 31, 2005 @ 8:27 am

  35. Speaking Up – It’s just that from what we have of Joseph Snith there is a pretty good case that he believed that spirits are uncreated. The whole intelligence/spirit dichotomy seems to be a later addition.

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 31, 2005 @ 10:03 am

  36. No one even cared to guess. It was Charles Didier who stated missionaries cannot turn down a kirsch-drenched cake.

    Comment by Steve (FSF) — June 3, 2005 @ 11:05 am

  37. I accidentely came across this site. I wish that I had not. It frustrates me to find that such intelligent people waste their time ridiculing other peoples’ beliefs. I believe in the church with all of my heart. I know that some like to argue that the commandments are ridiculous, or that some people have a hard time obeying the laws of chastity, and the word of wisdom. The only point that I have to make is that these laws have been revelations by prophets who are able to recieve these promptings. These are not rules that the bishops contemplate. President Hinckley didn’t just think these up, they are promptings. These laws are directly from God. This is how he wants his children to live. The problem with alcohol is that is weakens your senses, and are likely to commit more sins. We shouldn’t ever put ourselves into a situation where we don’t have complete control of ourselves. Tobacco is unhealthy. Our beautiful bodies are sacred, we shouldn’t harm our bodies in any way. I realize that my comment will only be rebuttalled, however, I want all of you to know that President Hinckley is a true prophet, that he has the priveledge of talking with God. This laws are for your benefit, you don’t lose anything in following them. Abstinance builds character. One shouldn’t question why a law is set into action. If it is from Presidnet Hinckley, or another leader than I believe that it is from God, and can only benefit me. I find that when I struggle with understanding why I can’t do certain things that it is the power of satan trying to frustrate me. He wants you to think that you are missing out, that the church is too overpowering,etc. He wants you to be angry with the church. I know that I havn’t made a difference to any of you, but I hope that one day you realize that the church is true and get over the little issues that you have with the teachings and laws. I promise that by following the laws you are blessed for being faithful. I love you all, and hope that onlyu good things come to you. I challenge you to earnestly read the book of mormon and TRUELY pray and ask the Lord if the teachings are true. I PROMISE that if you earnestly ask that you will recieve an answer for yourselves that these are laws worth living.

    Comment by shelese — June 12, 2005 @ 8:36 pm

  38. shelese,

    You won’t get a rebuttal from me. If you re-read the original post (article) you will see that what you wrote was really the fundamental message I was advocating (though I said it in more subtle ways). In fact, I think most all of the commenters here are faithful Latter Day Saints — some just have more doubts or complaints than others…

    Comment by Geoff J — June 13, 2005 @ 8:59 am

  39. “One shouldn’t question why a law is set into action.”- Shelese

    I couldn’t think of a better sentence that defines brainwashing as that. If you were born in the Islamic faith you would die in the Islamic faith. If you don’t question, why should you ask others to question? (I’m supposing you believe in the Every Member a Missionary belief). If you ask others to question their own beliefs when you won’t even question why church laws are set into action, are you not being a hypocrite?

    Comment by Speaking Up — June 13, 2005 @ 10:32 am

  40. Thanks Up! She seemed too nice for me to dump on. I guess Up also means you’re up for the dirty jobs when they need to be done.

    Shelese — Geoff is right about most, if not all, are faithful here. I’m obviously one to the rebels, but I know the LDS church is where I belong. BTW, I do avoid coffee, tea, booze and tobacco as the church so encourages (which is different than the WofW). My beef is making what was intended to be a good practice an arbitrary barrier to entry into the Kingdom, that’s all.

    Comment by Steve (FSF) — June 13, 2005 @ 12:36 pm

  41. Hey Up,
    I am not afraid to admit that I am a hypocrite. I have had a lot of problems living how I feel that I should. I am actually on probation from the church. I’m not a missionary, I can admit that. I struggle even living the slightest of commandments. Let me rephrase what i was saying before. People should question the church and search for the spirit to allow them to know if the leaders are true. Any religion, every religion. Even people who are already members should question and gain a testimony. Once one recieves comfirmation that the church is true one can put faith in the leaders. I feel that if a member has a problem with some teachings that they can seek help in understanding why the laws are the way that they are. Whether that be through fasting and prayer, or even talking with a leader. I feel that if one is to seek an answer to these laws that he can recieve a confirmation as to why they are important. I believe that people should question and look for answers, if one doesn’t question one cannot grow and develop a testimony. Many people just decide that they don’t like the laws and don’t attempt to pray about them and just decide that because of one teaching they are going to abandon all of the teachigns. I undertand your arguement though. I’m being hypocritical, I know, I’m redundant but I have a hard time living that way too, there is a lot of pressures to fall into, it’s hard.

    I only read one comment before I commented. After I posted I realized that this was more of a discussion, I appologize for throwing in my two cents worth when I didn’t know what was going on. I was searching for a specific page and kept coming up with a lot fo anti pages and I was getting frustrated with it all. There are a lot of pages that people have spent a lot of time simply mocking the church and I am a little over sensitive. I had an emotional day and was looking for a way to release some tension I guess. Anyway, after I realized what this was I reread the comments and enjoyed the debates. Sorry! I’ll pipe down:) thanks guys.

    Comment by shelese — June 13, 2005 @ 8:51 pm

  42. Well welcome to the Thang, Shelese! We hope we you will come back and comment often. Lots of really great saints show up here and we end up learning some interesting things from each other pretty regularly.

    Comment by Geoff J — June 13, 2005 @ 10:46 pm

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