Category Archives: Word of Wisdom

Jesus drank wine

In elders quorum class yesterday, we had a discussion on the Word Wisdom. At one point, someone said he just tries to follow Jesus’s example, and since Jesus lived the Word of Wisdom, he would too.

I pointed out that Jesus drank wine. He countered by saying that it was “new wine”. I responded by saying that was a myth.

I mean for Pete’s sake. Why must we project our current practices on biblical figures? Seriously, why does it matter whether Jesus drank wine or not? The Word of Wisdom is a modern invention (very modern if you consider how long it’s been a requirement); it did not exist in Jesus’s time.

There is nothing wrong with accepting the fact that Jesus drank wine.

No to caffeine, coffee and tea

I run a Word of Wisdom Commentary website, and as a result I occasionally receive emails with questions regarding the Word of Wisdom.

A common theme in these emails is caffeine, and specifically President Hinckley’s mention of caffeine in a 1998 interview on Larry King Live. In it, this discussion ensued:

Gordon B. Hinckley: The word of wisdom covers many things. It covers the excessive use of meat, as I see it. It covers, in a very particular way, the use of tobacco and alcohol.

Larry King: By saying no?

Gordon B. Hinckley: By saying, by proscribing those things.

Larry King: No to caffeine?

Gordon B. Hinckley: No to caffeine, coffee and tea.

Proponents of the word of wisdom including caffeine use this as proof that it is church policy that we not partake of caffeine. All arguments aside of using a television show in a single country to introduce new policy, there is one thing to consider when reading this transcript.

Punctuation.

You see, when President Hinckley spoke, he did not indicate what punctuation he was using. As a result, all punctuation found in the transcript was introduced by CNN staff. Let’s look at the last statement of that quote with CNN’s punctuation:

No to caffeine, coffee and tea

See, this makes it seem like President Hinckley is listing off things we’re not supposed to consume. In other words, we proscribe caffeine, we proscribe coffee, and we proscribe tea.

Consider alternate punctuation.

No to caffeine: coffee and tea

In this case, President Hinckley is saying coffee and tea to quantify or clarify what he meant when he said caffeine.

Unfortunately, we don’t know what punctuation President Hinckley meant, so we have to make an assumption. Personally, I think the latter example makes a lot more sense.

Wine

We had a good supper tonight with pork steaks (and an amazing seasoning that included cinnamon), potatoes and corn (together, cooked with bacon fat and onions) and a garden salad. It was all pretty tasty. I was particularly interested in the flavour of the dressing I chose, especially since it said it was fat free. Sure enough, there was not a drop of oil in the ingredients. When I came to the end of the list, I saw it . . . “white wine”.

At least I didn’t drink the stuff.