The Word of Wisdom lessons of last week spawned a slew of Bloggernacle posts and discussions
on the subject.
I don't want to be accused of following the crowd, so I'll claim that I came up with this question during Sunday School last week and that it just returned to me while eating lunch this afternoon. Because it's true. Honest!
When we go in for an interview with the bishop and he asks us whether we follow the Word of Wisdom, the gist of the question really is: Do you abstain from coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs?
But what about the meat? How come he doesn't ask whether we eat the grain that is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life
? Why doesn't he ask whether we use every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these...with prudence and thanksgiving
And above all, why doesn't he ask whether we eat meat sparingly
, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine
I don't have a problem with coffee or beer -- the smells make me nauseous. Alcohol in general? I was tempted heavily my freshman year of college, but after watching friends do stupid things while drunk, don't have a hard time turning it down now. Tobacco and drugs? Public schoolbusses in Alabama and the boys in the back chewing tobacco and the smell of weed that permeated my freshman dorm stairwells have completely turned me off to the idea.
In short, I don't have any problem looking my bishop in the eye and saying I obey the Word of Wisdom.
That is, until I read it over again.
Then I feel a little guilty.
Because I like steak.
I'm not an addict, but sometimes my mouth waters and I just want a juicy piece of bright red meat, seared to perfection, maybe blackened with pepper, or doused with BBQ sauce, or with a touch of soy, or above all, with a bowl of A-1 for dipping. Mmmmmmmmmmmm! Heaven, for me, would be a New York style steakhouse with some ginger-seasoned green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, and a medium-rare Porterhouse on a plate in front of me. And maybe a Capt'n Eli's
to wash it down.
Add to that the fact that I'm gluten intolerant -- which knocks many grains like wheat, barley, and rye out of the running -- and my diet largely revolves around beef, fowl, fish, fruits, vegetables, and chocolate.
I'm using my own diet purely as an example; most of the LDS families I've ever known eat meat at least once a day, usually more. I've known very few LDS vegetarians -- in fact, I've often heard the WoW used as a justification for not
being a vegetarian -- that is, the bit about the flesh of beasts and fowls being ordained for the use of man.
But how about the sparingly bit? Are verses 10-17 merely advice, while the rest is commandment? Should we pay more attention to them than we do? Does our lack of emphasis on these verses somehow emphasize the "this scripture is given as advice" portion of the second verse?
What do you guys think?
---Quotes for this post found in D&C 89:10-15.