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280: Word Of Wisdom

Today we discuss the Word of Wisdom or better yet section 89 of the D&C.  Today we talk about the history of the Word of Wisdom, what it means to be Revelation or better yet what it means to be Canon, better yet what it means to be binding on the people.  And if Binding on the saints then what room is there without a revelation, without additional Canon, and without a vote of common consent; to create a standard that runs counter to that binding canonized revelation.


17 thoughts on “280: Word Of Wisdom”

  1. Recording seems to cut off and not be uploaded correctly at at the 22:19 mark. Looks like it last longer.

    Also, if you can add your references please, they are too good to not list.

  2. Bill,…you mentioned the church position is to throw out 80% of Bruce McConkie’s stuff. I know you were making a point, but can you explain more about why you said that?….

    I’m curious, because at one time, Bruce was “the man”…

  3. The hot drinks thing leads to absurd conclusions. 1. Decaffeinated coffee is NOT a violation 2.Caffeinated sodas are NOT a violation. 3. Coffee companies sell the caffeine they extract from coffee to soda companies You can drink the coffee with the caffeine removed and also drink the caffeine removed from coffee.

  4. This was an interesting episode. I dare say I value some of what Brother Brigham said about not making things absolute. However, some issues I have found with previous counsel on the WOW are prevalent in some statements by George Q. Cannon in the Journal of Discourses:
    “We are told, and very plainly too, that hot drinks—tea, coffee, chocolate, cocoa and all drinks of this kind are not good for man… We must not permit them to drink liquor or hot drinks, or hot soups or to use tobacco or other articles that are injurious.

    I believe in variety at different meals, but not at one meal. I do not believe in mixing up our food. This is hurtful. It destroys the stomach by overtaxing the digestive powers; and in addition to that it almost wears out the lives of our females by keeping them so closely confined over cooking stoves.”
    The concept of high temperature seems to have been of concern, and I wonder what the LDS-predominant communities would do if hot cocoa is out now of the question. I’ve learned recently that in Chinese tradition, hot water is so common and may be seen as preferable to cold, and that this is just cultural practice. It makes me think that refraining from “hot drinks” is likely just cultural on our side of the globe.

    I think generally that moderation in all things is not only good advice, but also in compliance with the counsel of the WOW.

  5. Bill,

    Interesting podcast. I just wanted to leave a few comments. And I intend this small critique to be loving and constructive. I think your use of the word “proscribe” in conjunction with mild barley drinks should actually be “prescribe.” Proscribe means “to prohibit, forbid. Prescribe means to recommend or to establish rules. Just a small point, but important.

    I would also recommend to all listeners, an excellent article written by Lester Bush in Dialogue years ago that provides an insightful look at the historical setting of the WOW. That article seems to indicate this did not come as something new, but was consistent with the medical/social ideas of Joseph’s time.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. The WoW is so frustrating in many ways. An otherwise healthy person, someone who excercises and eats wisely, can be barred from participating in temple activities, shunned at church, etc. for the sole reason of drinking coffee or having an occasional glass of wine/beer/alcohol; while the morbidly obese, diabetic, heart diseased, high blood pressured individual….one who does not drink coffee or wine, can answer fully they obey the WoW! Never mind the buffets and McDonald’s!
    This is ridiculous in so many ways. I am surrounded by members of my ward who fall into that category. and yet if any were to know I have an occasional black coffee or tea, shame and scandal would certainly follow!
    Bill, why do you think we focus solely on the do not of the WoW, and not so much on the do’s? I have my thoughts certainly, but am curious.
    Btw, I love the podcast! So very cathartic and much needed in my life. Thank you

  7. Thanks again, Bill! Another great podcast!

    Actually I do now finally see the Word of Wisdom as a True test of our ultimate faithfulness to Christ.
    Do we “have eyes to see, ears to hear” Him?
    Or, would we prefer to hand our accountability over to a leader?
    Nephi 8:5-8
    Would we hand our accountability over to a leader who’s superior plan is great enough to save us all, if we obey and don’t question?

    The WoW is indeed a test to see if we will follow the commandments of men (refined down to 4-dont’s) or follow Christ’s own wholesome unrefined words = His WoW is never to be given by commandment or constraint – D&C 89:2. His words of wisdom are centrally a warning of Gadiantons changing thousands of His own wholesome foods and herbs (real medicines) into refined synthetic poisonous “foods” and “medicines” in verse 4, including vaccines which many LDS worship too. The full unrefined WoW indicates that all 4 don’ts have very healing God-given exceptions for good usage when they are used skillfully to nourish, strengthen, detoxify and heal (instead of the drugs and surgeries we are now “commanded” to worship) in verses 7 & 8.

    Jesus says that His WoW is really all about our free will to choose, in order to become wise and healthy (without judgment, shaming, guilting, punishment by leaders and members…) His real WoW is really about God’s own creations of wholesome foods and herbs for health and healing, verses 10,11. Then and only then can we hope to move on to His own wonderful promises of health and wisdom in verses 18-21, only if we have eyes to see and ears to hear Him before men and leaders we are now commanded to worship. Are we not getting these blessings because we just don’t get it or Him? Or, is that extra health challenge we have due to our need for a WoW-unrelated test?

    The real and wholesome WoW is hardly at all about 4-don’ts, and that is the test we fail when we worship and follow idols, blindly to find our way to Him.
    Nephi and Lehi knew this – Nephi 8:5-8

    Are we failing the real test by blindly and obediently not questioning all things, leaders and truths like Jesus commanded, while worshiping the commandments of men instead of Christ’s own living wise advice, True Words of Wisdom, which still stand as firm as ever and always will? Only man changes, contradicts himself/themselves and God, in His name, in the shifting winds. By their fruits…

  8. Hi Bill, I REALLY enjoy your podcasts and hope you keep them up! I just wanted to make a comment about a part of the word of wisdom that nobody ever even talks about. It’s so funny that people and leadership will fight and judge each other about whether they should get their recommends because they may drink tea, coffee or beer, while almost nobody in the church is actually following the word of wisdom in its entirety. So many members go around eating immense amounts of meat, while they’re not in famine or times of need in winter, and they answer the temple recommend questions with no problem and go right into the temple every time. I’ve even heard the excuse of the comma changing the meaning of the scripture, which is bologna and probably why Joseph Smith wrote it in multiple verses and even reiterated it again in a different way (d&c 49:21 and d&c 89:12-13,15) as well. I would love to get your take on how that’s justified by the bretheren.

  9. Bill, once again, that was a wonderful, eye-opening and wisdom filled podcast. Thanks for the inspiring and revealing quotes from history too!

    Now that I’ve listened to it again, I’d like to add: The WoW was never made binding on the church by common consent even though JFS said that BY did so in 1852 (very misconstrued, and thus contradicts his real quotes and actions from 1852 and after, revealing this misconstrued dilemma), and just part of that 1852 misconstual is in all of our lesson manuals today, misleading us in making tradition into doctrine, once again.

    Brigham Young’s history on the WoW and opposing it as a binding constrained commandment, thus supporting Christ (verse 2) will always apply, and goes even deeper than your pretty adequate quotes. The WoW was made binding by dictum, but only by JFS and latter prophets who were motivated by the evolving temperance movement and then by prohibition, as you said. Did they feel they must puts words in God’s mouth to save us?

    Lets also go back to the early temperance movement of the 1820’s where coffee and tea were also bad not just because they were hot, but bad because they were traitorous, supporting the unpatriotic British coffee and tea trade industry. Hyrum Smith taught that he supposed this was related to the Lord’s words of warning in D&C 89:4. In Hyrum’s famous sermon on the WoW he supposed we should not drink coffee or tea because the British could possibly poison them, possibly being the enemies or “evils and designs of conspiring men” so centrally warned of in verse 4, “Thus saith the Lord.”

    Thus we suppose, and the WoW grows. Little did Hyrum or others realize that verse 4 is a warning even more for our own day, for these “in the latter days,” actually a warning of thousands of foods and medicines (herbs) refined, synthesized and chemically polluted by “evils and designs of conspiring men,” of the Food & Drug Industrial Complex, to our detriment of health and wisdom, hardly at all a warning of only the evil manufacturers of 4 products alone, or the British?

    The early prophets and leaders, esp JS and BY, often warned the saints to stay away from the chemical and surgery doctors (which have taken over in our day, and now commanded by the modern traditions of church leaders in this October’s conference, and before that: “Follow the doctor… don’t go astray?”).
    they said over and over to use foods and herbs for health and healing, like the WoW does (verse 10–, 11) and to seek these things even before priesthood blessings for healing. We may remain blind to this and so much more repeating in our day if we don’t search history and learn from it.

    Many herbalists like myself have also seen the warning in verse 4 as men conspiring to bring forth Thousands of Don’ts coming our way as dangerous “Foods & Medicines” as that verse 4 central warning, “Thus saith the Lord.” We also see the clear central admonition in verses 10, 11 of Thousands of Do’s, God’s own wholesome Herbs and Foods, real medicine, and… NOT by commandment or constraint (verse 2) and why that must always remain so, either in the WoW’s current refined (toxic) form, or in its original wholesome form, never constrained, which is all still miraculously in print, right in your own D&C.

    All 5 prophets of the 1800’s warned us of all 3 of these points, and refused pressures to reduce the WoW (refine it) and Constrain it as a Commandment, warning us that this “would become a stumbling block to the saints” if they did. But things changed in 1902 and after that. And has it ever become that stumbling block, as they forecast it would become. Has the commanded version blinded us to the damage we do by judging everyone, even by our changed version of the WoW? Has it also blinded and tripped us up ourselves today, to the actual and full keys to our own wisdom and health far beyond just 4 refined sacred don’ts? Were they right?

    Perhaps those who lived a little too close to dirty tobacco users or intolerable alcoholics had more reason to want to force the 4-Don’t style WoW as a commandment, “for the greater good,” to save us all, or to fix the ills of society?

    But, today, if we religiously “live the refined WoW” and still get ever increasing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, die from the causes of modern medicine (the 4th or 5th highest reason for death today), we can somehow ignore the relation of this to not seeing the full wholesome WoW as primarily pertaining to wholesome herbs and foods and staying away from all toxic foods and medicines, and choosing that freely of our own will and agency?

    Or do we still justify and instead somehow see these ever more common health and wisdom trials among us as just extra tests and trials in life which God is throwing at us unrelated to understanding and choosing His real and wholesome full WoW, not by guilting, shaming, coercing, punishing, commandment or constraint?

    Don’t we hear this all the time, “extra trials,” as our health ailments right in church? Isn’t the real or fake WoW indeed still a Test, of what and Whom we will choose to hear and follow, or if we will continue to chose to follow men and traditions blindly as doctrine?

    Have we painted ourselves into a corner and can’t get out?
    What Bishop Bill Reel does cover and document in this podcast is great.

    Perhaps our early prophets were Not WoW hypocrites after all who smoked, drank, etc, on occasion, but instead saw and taught the WoW very differently than we have refined and synthesized it for our latter day, and now have become commanded to see it with 4-Don’ts blinders firmly in place, and told to follow the chemical and surgery doctors they personally warned of, and warned of in verse 4, in case we missed that too?

    Perhaps this should be an eye-opener to how and what the WoW has turned into, line upon line (D&C 46:7)? We Were warned, and forewarned, too many times, and are blind to it? Perhaps the WoW isn’t what we thought at all?

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