Short Film: Discovering the Word of Wisdom
This is fantastic. The woman in this video, Jane Birch, contacted me a while back regarding her book “Discovering the Word of Wisdom” which I really enjoyed. I wrote a review of it here and wrote a testimonial for her site here.
I’ve studied this subject quite a bit and it’s worth our time to give it serious consideration. I think a lot of people read the beginning of Section 89 where it says, “sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint” (vs.2) and think, “Oh, ok, it’s just a suggestion then, I’ll just keep on my merry way.” But if you continue reading, this is a “revelation” that is “showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—” (vs.2)
If that isn’t enough to catch our attention, verse four gives us even more reason to take heed, “Thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—”
God isn’t going to constrain us with this, but I think it would be wise to take a warning from God seriously. As for me, I might not apply the principles in the Word of Wisdom the same as Jane or anybody else, I have adapted them to my capacity in ways that I feel are pleasing to God. It’s a learning process, it’s not black and white, and in many ways I have to adapt to the capacity of a particular situation!
The net effect is that I feel closer to God when I am trying to respect what I put into my body and how that affects the world around me including the lives of other beings in this world that were also placed here to have joy.
I started my journey before I ever met Jane and the reason I like what she’s advocating is that it meshes quite well with conclusions I have come to on my own. I don’t know if I’ve ever posted a picture of myself on this blog, but here’s what I looked like back in the day when I ate like a typical Texan, I maxed out at 232 pounds. Today, I weight in right at 190 pounds!
Almost all of that weight fell off with hardly any exercise. I grew up Texan and didn’t know if a human could survive without meat, so I gave it shot to see what would happen. I cut out meat cold turkey (pun intended) and increased my volume of raw plants.
The online availability of plant-based recipes is endless in their quantity and variety. I found that I didn’t need meat when there were so many other options that didn’t leave me feeling bloated and the results speak for themselves. The way I looked on the outside started to match the way I felt on the inside.
One particular quote from Joseph Fielding Smith really caused me to see things in a new light:
“…adults would be better if they would refrain from too much eating of meat. As far as I am concerned the eating of meat should be very sparingly. In fact I will be contented if the Millennium was to be ushered in next week. When it is, we will learn that the eating of meat is not good for us. Why do we feel that we do not have a square meal unless it is based largely on meat. Let the dumb animals live. They enjoy life as well as we do.
In the beginning the Lord granted man the use of the flesh of certain animals. See Genesis 9:1-6, but with so many fruits of the soil and from the trees of the earth, why cannot man be content? Naturally in times of famine the flesh of animals was perhaps a necessity, but in my judgment when the Millennium reaches us, we will live above the need of killing dumb innocent animals and eating them. If we will take this stand in my judgment we may live longer.” [In a letter to a member sister in El Paso, Texas, dated 30 Dec. 1966, quoted in Health Is A Blessing: A Guide to the Scriptural Laws of Good Health, by Steven H. Horne, advance publication copy (Springville, Utah: Nature’s Field, 1994), p. 34.]
One might say, “well that’s just his opinion, it’s not doctrine” and perhaps they’re right, however, I found these same sentiments expressed over and over by church leaders in the past so that got me thinking. I’ve tried to consider how the words of the Lord apply today: “In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you…”
Certainly there are many evils and designs out there, but one in particular got me thinking. Back in the day when you needed food, you could go out and hunt for a deer to feed your family, especially in times of winter or famine when nothing else was growing.
Today, we have huge factories and operations that raise animals in often deplorable conditions. They don’t get to enjoy the measure of their creation, and we take their lives by the millions, perhaps billions, not because we need to do it, but because we desire a particular taste or flavor. So many ads like Carl’s Jr. go so far as to sexualize their animal-based foods. Much of the standard American diet is to food what pornography is to sex.
I didn’t see any problem with this for years. I used to make fun of people that didn’t eat meat and whined about “animal cruelty,” I thought they were weak and stupid. Something in the back of my mind always nagged at me when I thought about slaughterhouses but I’d never watch any videos about them, I refused to.
I said to myself, “Hey, God gave us these animals to eat right?” Well yes, but I don’t think he intended us to enslave them, slaughter them by the millions, and turn them into an assembly line product. “Sparingly” is what D&C 89 says, “wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.” (D&C 49:21)
Could this be part of the evils and designs of conspiring men? We typically think of conspiring men trying to sell us drugs and alcohol, but what about the rest of the Word of Wisdom, could these conspiring men also be seeking to violate God’s standards for stewardship over animal life?
Check out the following video below, but be sure to watch it until the end because that’s the most sobering part:
Is this what is pleasing to God? Now this clip is pretty tame and pristine, you should see some of the other ones out there.
I used to think that my role didn’t matter. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I’m just at a restaurant eating a nice steak, I’m not hurting anyone, plus it has protein right? Well then I considered this verse in the Book of Mormon in a new light:
“And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.” (Helaman 6:38)
Whether we like it or not, every purchase we make increases or at least sustains a demand. It’s been sold to us as normal and even sexy! I think these evil and conspiring men have their hands in virtually everything!
I’ve made some big changes and to be honest it’s not that big of a deal. I can find great stuff to eat at any restaurant and nowadays, it is becoming more and more common to have healthy, plant-based options.
I don’t think I’m better than anyone or judge people who eat meat. Even in my own family, my wife and four daughters make their own choices. My wife largely cooks plant-based meals, and is very supportive of me. In return I give her and the rest of my family room to discover things on their own.
I still believe that this message is intended to be sent “greeting; not by commandment or constraint.” The way of the Lord is to teach by “persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge…” (D&C 121:41-42)
I share these things here not to try and beat them down anyone’s throat (another intended food pun) but to share some of my experience. I think we can all agree that the Word of Wisdom deserves our attention, and that there are still many hidden treasures remaining to be discovered.