Thursday, October 4, 2012

Balancing on the edge of the Word of Wisdom

WARNING:  opinions ahead . . .

Yesterday was the start of the debates for the presidential election.  I enjoyed hearing what the candidates have to say, or not say, for that matter.  Because of this race, Mormonism has been brought to the forefront for both good and bad.  Everyone seems to have their say.  There are a lot of topics that I could address and at some point might, but today, I wanted to address something that has been on my mind ever since it came out in the interview on NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams.  My comments are mostly directed at members of the church.

 Some of you have probably moaned at the thought of hearing about this again and I bet several have already switched to Pinterest or Facebook.  But seeing as that I don't talk serious near enough on this blog, I would like to put my two cents in and share with at least my family my point of view (as if they didn't already know).

The hot button is The Word of Wisdom and specifically caffeine.  The quote below was taken from the Church's Newsroom Blog written by the public affairs department after the interview as a means to clarify what had been said.  The blog states on its sidebar that what is written should "not necessarily be viewed as official statements from the Church."  
 Despite what was reported, the Church revelation spelling out health practices (Doctrine and Covenants 89) does not mention the use of caffeine.  The Church’s health guidelines prohibit alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco, and “hot drinks” — taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee. *
I wouldn't exactly call that an endorsement of caffeine.  But what's interesting to me is that members of the Church have taken that phrase and ran with it.  I've read all manner of stories where people feel that they have finally been released from the darkness to now be able to drink caffeine in the sunlight with everyone else.  One young man even took a cooler of coke to the BYU campus and started handing them out as a sign of their new freedom, that is until the campus police politely escorted him away (BYU doesn't sell any caffeine drinks).  Some seem bitter and some seem jubilant.

 The Word of Wisdom is a physical law with both physical and spiritual results.  It's true that drinking caffeine won't keep you from going to the temple unlike drinking coffee and alcohol.  But the way I see it and the way I was taught was that caffeine is a drug and is addicting.  But aren't we trying to keep ourselves from being in bondage so that we are free to choose?  Anything addicting lessons our choices and takes away our freedom.

I could go on with my argument, but that isn't the point that I want to make.  What I find concerning is that sometimes, we as members of the church sometimes try to find a way to justify living on the edge of a commandment, such as with modesty, and how to keep the Sabbath holy.  But,  if we are followers of Christ, shouldn't we try and stay well within the bounds He has set?   We are promised that if we follow  the Word of Wisdom, we will be blessed:
 18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, ashall receive bhealthin their navel and marrow to their bones; 19 And shall afind bwisdom and great ctreasures of dknowledge, even hidden treasures;
 20 And shall arun and not be bweary, and shall walk and not faint.
 21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that theadestroying angel shall bpass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.
Why would we want to give that up for questioning a healthy practice?  The same could be said of cutting down our sugar, meat, and overly processed food (more debate topics).  

I have many friends that drink colas and other drinks with caffeine.  They are good people.  As a matter of fact my parents have been known to drink a diet coke every now and then.  It doesn't diminish the love I have for any of them.  I have my own issues with carbs and sugar that I hope to overcome someday (they are addicting too).

But what keeps coming to my mind every time the Word of Wisdom becomes a debate is what the Lord says in verse 3:
 Given for a principle with apromise, adapted to the capacity of the bweak and the weakest of all csaints, who are or can be called saints.
If this was"adapted" to us based on the weakest among us, and we can't even agree on how to live by it, then why would the Lord give us any higher law?  That scripture tells me that there is more to it and we are giving up on the lesser part by trying to adjust it to what we want instead of doing our best to live the way the Lord wants..

 Safety comes from staying well away from the edge, not balancing on it.

That being said, I am not a perfect person and as I mentioned have my own food issues.  I hope someday to have conquered them as I have caffeine.  Thankfully, the Lord is merciful and allows me to keep trying, as he does for us all.

For a great blog that is written for living The Word of Wisdom go to Word of Wisdom Living.  He has great information and recipes.

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