Water to wine

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Why is it we are told that alcohol is bad for us and one of the forbidden items when Christ drank wine all the time and even turned water into wine? Not that I want to drink it, I just came across some passages as I was reading my scriptures.

22 thoughts on “Water to wine

  1. Kim is on the money. The WofW (be it section 89 or the four don’ts), is a modern revelation. I would add that w/o refrigeration, grape juice becomes wine rather quickly. It was the drink du jour in ancient times wherever grapes grew well.

    My own opinion is making the WofW a commandment and replacing section 89 with the four don’ts were two mistakes we’re now locked into by the prevailing orthodoxy. I think many GAs are aware of this, our we’d have a new section of the D&C updating (not replacing) section 89 by now. Not canonizing the four don’ts conveniently leaves the door open for reform back to section 89 should future leaders so choose (not that I’m holding my breath).

  2. “Why is it we are told that alcohol is bad for us”

    We are? I thought section 89 said not to drink it in light of conspiring men in the last days. (In other words, its a time-dependant commandment.)

    The rest is after-the-fact rationalizing and putting reason to revelation, which reasoning may well be wrong.

    Drunkenness is bad. Alcholism is bad. I’m not willing to say “alcohol is bad” and I don’t think such a statement is justified.

  3. “in light of conspiring men in the last days”

    I understand Joseph was worried about these conspiring men to try and poison him.

    Correct me if I’m mistaken, but I believe previous to this change the church used wine in the sacrament.

  4. Actually, wine continued to be used for the sacrament (at least the sacrament held among the apostles themselves) through the 1890’s.

  5. Maybe the fact that they were imbibing explains some of the more “interesing” parts of the Journal of Discourses.

  6. “Drunkenness is bad. Alcholism is bad. I’m not willing to say “alcohol is bad” and I don’t think such a statement is justified.”

    Exactly. My opinion is that with alcoholism so prevalent today, the more non-drinkers there are, the better. Nearly everyone with an alcoholic in their family will tell you they would be willing to give up their occasional wine glass if the whole family did it- it would be worth it so that the family wouldn’t suffer under the hand of that one person who struggles. I don’t think alcohol in moderation is always a sin, but in this day and age, it is, and I think that’s why.

  7. Sally, I think there are several reasons the Lord had for giving us this guidance in our own time, even though it wasn’t given in other dispensations. For example, the age of automobiles presents hazards that didn’t exist before. That’s a good explanation for why the Word of Wisdom gradually evolved from being compassionate advice to being a covenant of all members of the Church.

    In Joseph Smith’s own time, some people were trying to poison him and other members of the Church. These were some of the “conspiring men” the section talks about. In my opinion, we have other conspiring men today–those who care more about our money than about our lives, and are willing to keep secrets about how their products will kill us so they can make more money.

    Another interesting part of the section is that it was “adapted to the capacity of the weakest of the saints.” I think there are two explanations of this phrase, both true. First, there were members of the Church who were simply not ready to adapt their lives to the Word of Wisdom, and the fact that it was originally given “not by commandment or constraint” was an adaptation to their weakness. In our own time, after President Young placed the Church under covenant to obey the Word of Wisdom and President Grant made it a test of temple worthiness, it is stilla dapted to our weakness in another way: A good example is that my grandfathers had struggles with alcohol thorughout most of their lives. I assume I may have inherited some of their natural tendencies to become addicted to alcohol or tobacco. But I’ll never find out. This commandment is adapted to my weakness–a latent weakness that will never harm me because I keep the Word of Wisdom.

  8. Itbugaf,

    I agreed with much of what you said, except the “………President Young placed the Church under covenant to obey the Word of Wisdom…..”. Yes, that’s the party line, but I believe it’s incorrect. BY encouraged all who attended a certain conference to commit to the WofW, which they sustained to do. Years later, other leaders encourage BY to do the same thing at other conferences, and BY refused saying it would only make liars of most of them and better they not live the WofW than to fall short of a covenant to do so. In short, the commitment you’re referring to applied to those in attendance at a certain conference who so raised their hands, not the whole church. You are correct that under HJG the four don’ts (not section 89), become a barrier to entry into the kingdom and temple and that remains the practice (unfortunately, IMHO) to this day.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think section 89 should be aggressively pushed as a good practice, but since the Celestial Kingdom is going to be full of people who consumed booze, tobacco, coffee and tea in life, I don’t get the rationale for keeping such people out the church. 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.

  9. Steve, there’s no need for a “rationale for keeping such people out of the church” because they AREN’T kept out of the Church.

  10. Really?

    I’m going to give that bishop hell for not letting me bring my Starbucks into that last sacrament meeting then…

  11. Rick, I appreciate your sense of humor, but my point is, I don’t see anyone being excommunicated for drinking coffee.

  12. “keeping such people out of the church” doesn’t sound like EXing it sounds like exclusion, which was precisely my tongue-in-cheek point.

  13. Rick, then perhaps you would feel more comfortable at my local mega-church, which has a Starbucks in the building.

    Are you honestly suggesting that the Bishop asking you to not bring your Starbucks into sacrament was exclusionary to *you*? It sounds like he was most welcoming to you, just wanted you to leave your beverage out, ie. excluding your beverage. Are you suggesting that’s unreasonable?

    If so, it’s only logical that people also be allowed to bring their favorite mixed cocktail, or hard liquor to sacrament or Priesthood/RS meeting? I doubt you would find any church/denomination that would allow that.

  14. Perhaps I can bring a ham-and-cheese sandwich to worship service at the local synagogue. :)

    I think they’d ask me to leave it outside, but not ask me not to come. That’s the difference Polly is talking about. Keeping coffee out of the meetinghouse is different from keeping a coffee drinker out of the Church.

  15. lt, I would pay to see you do the synagogue thing. I laughed out loud quite loudly when I read it.

    While the WoW is enforced during temple recommend interviews, it is effectively keeping people from being as active a member as they could be … not that I’m against that.

  16. Come-on guys, you know I meant what Jeff brings up. We require new converts to live the WofW as a condition of baptism (entry into the Kingdom). While, I think we should warn them they will be strongly encouraged to live it all their days in the church, I also think only unrepented drunkenness should be the only WofW related issue that precludes someone from baptism or temple attendance.

  17. There’s no requirement that a person must have lived the prohibitions of the Word of Wisdom for any specific duration of time before being baptized. Stopped smoking 15 minutes ago? The bishop (or mission president, etc.) can approve your baptism.

  18. Yes there is. I am unsure if it decided at the mission level or not, but every mission I have been in (live or served) has/had a requirement that one must be living the Word of Wisdom for a specified period of time.

    In the Utah Provo Mission, it was 7 days. In the Canada Calgary Mission, it is 14 days.

  19. Kim, you just illustrated my point. The mission presidents in those two missions used their own judgment–that’s why they differed. And since the 7-day or 14-day policy was set in place based on the discretion of the individual mission president, it can be changed or done away by him. Likewise for bishops. So as I said before, the bishop, mission president, or whoever has keys to approve a baptism, can approve it, based on his own judgment and the guidance of the Spirit, immediately.

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