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Meat and Mormonism

Discussion in 'Restorationists DIR' started by HankHill, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. HankHill

    HankHill Indian-American Ex-Hindu

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    Mormons are pretty well known for their avoidance of alcohol and often times caffeine and living a generally healthy lifestyle. However, when I tried to read more about this, I came across the fact that leaders in the LDS church have talked about eating meat sparingly though I haven't really heard of this in modern day Mormon practice. Could anyone shed light on this, any information would be appreciated.
     
  2. InChrist

    InChrist Free4ever

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    I am no longer a Mormon, but was at one time. In the Word of Wisdom section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants it speaks about eating meat only in times of winter, cold or famine, but during my experience in the LDS Church no one seemed to pay attention to that and most ate meat regularly. Although, we were friends with one family who were vegetarians.
     
  3. HankHill

    HankHill Indian-American Ex-Hindu

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    If you had to estimate, how much of the LDS community would you say is vegetarian? Also, why did people stop paying attention to that teaching?
     
  4. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Hi, Hank. I'd say virtually none of the LDS community is vegetarian. I'm sure there are a few LDS people who are, but they are likely so not because of what the Word of Wisdom has to say. The LDS Church definitely does not encourage people to be vegetarians, but it doesn't discourage it either. The Word of Wisdom is a health code which, if followed, generally does lead to a healthier life. It has been scientifically proven that practicing LDS people live longer than the average population (at least here in the USA) and it really can't be attributed to much else.

    When God first revealed the Word of Wisdom to Joseph Smith, it was given -- as are most revelations -- in direct response to a prayer. It specifically states that it is not a commandment, but "a word of wisdom." Whether fortunately or unfortunately, it seems to have evolved into a commandment in the minds of most LDS people. They clearly do, however, put much, much more emphasis on the "hot drinks" (tea and coffee), "strong drinks" (anything alcoholic) and "tobacco" parts of it than they do on eating a lot of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and just a minimal amount of meat. I think that's too bad, myself. Obviously, I think the things we are told to stay away from are, for the most part, bad for our health. But we shouldn't just be avoiding what's bad for us; we should be eating what's good for us. Whenever a member of the Church who is morbidly obese says something like, "Never has a drop of alcohol touched my lips!" I want to remind him that far too many other things not only touched his lips, but got right past them and that his health is probably worse for it.

    I personally eat very little red meat. I had a hamburger on Father's Day. It was, I believe, the second hamburger I'd had in three or four years. My husband and I eat mostly fish, and some poultry. I really admire people who are vegetarians, but that's because I'm such an animal lover. I just don't seem to have the self-discipline to avoid meat entirely. But to answer your question directly: I don't think there has ever been a time when the emphasis of the Word of Wisdom in Mormons' lives has focused on not eating meat.

    Here's The Word of Wisdom in its entirety.
     
    #4 Katzpur, Jun 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
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  5. HankHill

    HankHill Indian-American Ex-Hindu

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    Thank you Katzpur, I found that very informative. So I'm guessing the dietary choices of you and your husband aren't related to your faith then?
     
  6. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    To the extent of our choice not to eat much red meat, I'd say, "no." They're not so much health-related either. It's partly an animal welfare thing with me, and it's partly that we both generally prefer the taste of fish. When I do buy meat and poultry, I buy organic, cage-free, etc. if at all possible.

    My choice to avoid wine, on the other hand, is definitely related to the Word of Wisdom. I really like the taste of wine and if I were not LDS, would undoubtedly have a glass several times a week. As it is, I have a glass at Thanksgiving and another at Christmas, a fact which literally horrifies most LDS people I admit it to.
     
    #6 Katzpur, Jun 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  7. HankHill

    HankHill Indian-American Ex-Hindu

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    Interesting on the wine there, I thought Mormons were practically forbidden from drinking alcohol?
     
  8. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    They are. :eek: (Shhhh! It's just twice a year, but as certain people on this forum will tell you, I'm a terrible heretic!)
     
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  9. HankHill

    HankHill Indian-American Ex-Hindu

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    Haha, I get it. Not sure if this is relevant but I watch that show Polygamy USA on National Geographic about the fundamentalist Mormons of Centennial Park, AZ and it said that fundamentalist Mormons allow drinking in moderation and have shown members drinking wine and even hard liquor on the show. Any thoughts?
     
  10. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Well, we don't consider them to be part of our Church at all. In other words, they are to us as Lutherans are to Catholics. We're their "mother church" in the same way the Roman Catholic Church is the "mother church" from which Lutheranism broke off. At any rate, the fact that they may now drink in moderation is the least of their differences with us!
     
  11. HankHill

    HankHill Indian-American Ex-Hindu

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    I understand, is there any anymosity towards them because of the bad press that Mormons get from it since such groups are always referred to as "fundamentalist Mormons" by both the media and themselves?
     
  12. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Yeah, I'd say there is a ton of animosity towards them -- for the very reason you mention. They are separate from us, and while I suppose they have the right to use the name "Mormon" to self-identify, it sure does make things confusing.

    I remember a few years back when one of those polygamous compounds was raided and several dozen children taken from their parents for a period of time and placed in some sort of foster care. The LDS Church was asked if its members would mind acting as temporary caregivers for these children since the individuals removing them from their homes assumed that the "culture shock" of being placed with an LDS family would somehow be less than if they were placed with a Lutheran or Catholic or Baptist family. We basically said, "No way." We are not part of them and they are not part of us. Stop thinking of the relationship between us as being something like the relationship between the various Lutheran synods. They are pretty much as far removed from us as they are from any other Christian group, and it's very frustrating to constantly have people refer to us as being pretty much one and the same.
     
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  13. HankHill

    HankHill Indian-American Ex-Hindu

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    Hmm understood, but are those groups also different in terms of doctrines from the LDS church as well or is it mostly behavior? I mean they do buy into the Book of Mormon and the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and other distinctively Mormon things right?
     
  14. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Like us, they accept the Book of Mormon. They believe Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to have been prophets. The thing that separates them from us -- and to us, it's huge -- is that starting with the fourth individual to lead the Church (Wilford Woodruff), they believe all subsequent leaders to have been false prophets. So basically, they reject the idea that one prophet may receive revelation from God as to any given practice (in this case, that polygamy was to be authorized) and that a subsequent prophet may receive revelation from God that the practice be discontinued. We (and they) believe that Joseph Smith received a revelation authorizing polygamy to be practiced on a limited basis in the Church at that time (actually, only about 5% of Mormon men ever had more than one wife). The practice was continued until 1893 when Wilford Woodruff, fourth Prophet/President of the Church, received a revelation which stated that the time had come that the practice be discontinued, and that if it were not discontinued, the government of the United States would completely destroy the Church and it would cease to exist. (The government was well on its way towards doing this at that time, incidentally). At any rate, the founders of the FLDS Church rejected that revelation and all subsequent revelations, regardless of their nature or content. They believed that the Church Joseph Smith had founded had fallen into apostasy, and they wanted no more part of it. So, basically, they have rejected the last thirteen of the sixteen men who have led the LDS Church since 1830, and have reinterpreted the previously given revelations in the way that suited them.
     
  15. HankHill

    HankHill Indian-American Ex-Hindu

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    OK I get it, essentially a difference over succession from which the other differences orginated. What then is the relation between the LDS Church and groups like the Community of Christ. Forgive my ignorance, but I have only now begun digging into these other groups.
     
  16. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    With respect to the Community of Christ, (which is by far the largest of all the groups that broke off from the LDS Church), I'd say relations are "strained" but "tolerant and respectful." Actually, I think they probably hold a lower opinion of us than we do of them. Because they are headquartered in a part of the country where a lot of events important to our history took place, there is a certain need for us to get alone with each other. When people visit LDS historical sites, they are also -- in many cases -- visiting the Community of Christ historical sites. Of course, I suppose this could be said to be true with respect to the FLDS, too. But the Community of Christ, at least, is not involved in child sex abuse, etc. as the FLDS is, so I'd say we're not really allies, but not enemies either.
     
  17. HankHill

    HankHill Indian-American Ex-Hindu

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    Gotcha, well thanks for all the input, as always you've proven to be a very informative resource, friend.
     
  18. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    You are very welcome, Hank! I appreciate your confidence in me as a source of accurate information! :yes:
     
  19. HankHill

    HankHill Indian-American Ex-Hindu

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    And there's more questions where those came from too! :) Whenever they come to me.
     
  20. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    :D Okay! I'll be ready for 'em.
     
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