I have heaps of respect for Jane Birch and all of the research she has done on the Word of Wisdom. Having corresponded with her by email on several occasions and reading her essays, I’ve been more and more impressed with what she continues to produce on the subject. Her “Doctrines, Principles, and Applications” series that can be found at Meridian Magazine (ldsmag.com) represents some of the best work that I have ever read on the Word of Wisdom.
Building on the foundation of Elder Bednar’s teachings concerning doctrines, principles, and applications, Jane takes us on an engaging exploration of the Word of Wisdom that speaks reason to the mind and wisdom to the heart. This revelation is needed now more than ever and Jane’s work does more than bridge the past with the present, it emphasizes those keys that unlock treasures, even hidden treasures.
Rather than take a dogmatic application-based approach that preaches to us what we should or shouldn’t do, Jane leans on the doctrine and principles as her guide while respecting individual applications that may vary from case to case. Her sober persuasion invites thought and self-examination without resorting to ineffective guilt and shaming.
While I respect the light she brings to the topic of the Word of Wisdom, I think Jane’s series has demonstrated a wonderful framework that can be applied to so many other topics in LDS theology. I offer the following links to her series for your consideration with my full endorsement:
- Distinguishing Between Doctrines, Principles, and Applications
- The Doctrine of the Word of Wisdom
- Rethinking Alcohol, Tobacco, Coffee, and Tea
- The Principle Behind Alcohol, Tobacco, Coffee, and Tea
- The Letter of the Law
- The Spirit of the Law
- Section 89 as Parable
- Why God Doesn’t Over-Explain
- Three Foods Ordained by God
- The Wholesome Herbs Ordained by God
- Animal Flesh is Ordained by God
If you liked those, you can find links to all of her published articles at Meridian Magazine here.Go to Comments
Back in 2011, I wrote a post about the Word of Wisdom. I had some things that were bothering me personally and decided to face them head on. I did a lot of study and research combined with soul-searching and prayer and out of all that came some powerful insights that propelled me down an unexpected, and to be honest, undesired path.
I’ve written a little about that back-story recently but now I’d like to share some things I have learned since then. While you may not agree with some of the conclusions I have come to, I think there are still some principles that are universal in nature.
First I’d like to emphasize the importance of not becoming a judgmental fascist because of your particular views. Next, are some other interesting and unexpected ideas that unfolded to me over time. Finally, I’d like to share some pictures of some of the tasty meals I prepare, because if there is anything I love as much as symbolism, it’s cooking!
Don’t be a Nazi
The revelation we know as D&C 89 was, “To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint,” so I’ve never felt that it was right to shame, scold, force, command or constrain my interpretations in any way upon those who apply the principle of D&C 89 differently than I do. I believe that doing so violates the spirit in which the revelation was given.
I’m all too aware (and maybe you are too) of those that are passionate Read Full PostGo to Comments
I wrote most of this back in 2014 but haven’t published it until now. In fact there was a lot more history before and after this but I feel like this one experience was a big turning point for me. Few people know about this experience, and even fewer know the details which I’m going to attempt to convey. This event happened about 15 years ago while I was a full-time missionary.
After I share this story, I want to wrap up by exploring what doctrine, principles, and applications relate to this subject.
Winter of 2000
My companion and I were trying to reach out to a less active young man on a small Idaho farm. We got on the conversation of animals and he mentioned that they would be cooking some goat soon for Christmas dinner. My companion, who was Fijian, mentioned that he was an expert at killing pigs and could kill the goat in seconds. The young man and I were impressed with the claim and decided to put my companion to the test.
The day came and we met out at the farm, I was anxious to witness this spectacle of my companion slaying a goat with the skill and finesse that he claimed. I came from Texas where hunting is a big deal and I wanted to see how they did things island-style. We walked out to the goat pen and a large goat was selected. I volunteered to take the rope and lasso the goat, and nailed him perfectly right around the horns. My companion had a habit of calling me “Texas Ranger” and my apparent skill with the lasso caused him to excitedly exclaim, “You ARE the Texas Ranger!”
We pulled the goat out of the pen as it struggled against us. I yanked him around like the dumb animal he was while his fellow-goats cowered away.
We pulled the goat down to the ground and my companion straddled it while I held its head to the ground. A medium-sized knife was handed to my companion. I watched as he took a deep breath, while aiming the instrument and Read Full PostGo to Comments
I wrote about this back in 2011. They’ve known cheese contains high concentrations of opiates (casomorphins) for a long time. Ever wonder why fast foods always have so much cheese (double cheese this, triple cheese that, cheese-lovers, etc.)? Yeah, might want to reread D&C 89:4.
Oh, and then there’s this.Go to Comments
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 Read Full PostGo to Comments
“And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word…
And out of the ground made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree, naturally, that is pleasant to the sight of man; and man could behold it. And it became also a living soul. For it was spiritual in the day that I created it; for it remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it, yea, even all things which I prepared for the use of man; and man saw that it was good for food. And I, the Lord God, planted the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and also the tree of knowledge of good and evil…
And out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and commanded that they should come unto Adam, to see what he would call them; and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life, and commanded that whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that should be the name thereof.” (Moses 3:7,9,19)Go to Comments
Back when I was studying the Word of Wisdom in depth, I became aware of potential patterns in the text. I began to wonder if D&C 89 was structured in a chiastic form. I printed out a copy and began marking it up.
To my delight, I began to find certain themes repeating themselves in opposite directions off of a central theme. As I analyzed the structure, I decided to try to boil it down to certain themes or principles and I found 3 that appear to be represented strongly in the text: temporal salvation, spiritual blessings, and stewardship over creation.
Theme & Color Key
Health, strength, wellness, energy
Revelation, clarity, blessings for obedience
Stewardship Over Creation
Respect for life, proper use, peace.
Flesh ordained for use when there is a legitimate need. Read Full Post
The following article was published at Mormon Interpreter. I’ve been waiting for someone to do the research and put together some good information on this subject and I think Jane did a great job. She’s the author of the book Discovering the Word of Wisdom which she wrote following her own personal journey toward health and wellness by seeking to follow the principles in D&C 89.
Of all the things going on in the world, the Word of Wisdom might not seem to be very significant, but when the revelation itself states that it is “showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days” and that “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”, it sounds pretty relevant to us today.
I don’t personally feel like it is my duty or obligation to tell people how they should live the principles of the gospel, but I do believe that giving people as much information as possible so that they can make their own decisions as guided by the spirit is my duty and obligation.
Abstract: The 1921 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants included an additional comma, which was inserted after the word “used” in D&C 89:13: “And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.” Later authors have speculated that the addition of the comma was a mistake that fundamentally changed the meaning of the verse. This article examines this “errant comma theory” and demonstrates why this particular interpretation of D&C 89:13 is without merit.
In 1921, a committee of five apostles who had recently completed a new edition of the Book of Mormon began preparing a new edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C). Elder James E. Talmage, a member of the committee, noted that previous editions of the D&C contained “many errors by way of omission.”1 The most significant change in this new edition was the removal of the “Lectures on Faith,” but the committee also expanded the headnotes, revised the footnotes, and divided the pages into double columns.2 Numerous smaller changes were also made. As one of the many changes published in the revised 1921 edition, a new comma appeared in verse 13 of section 89, [Page 134]also known as the Word of Wisdom. This comma was inserted between the words used and only:
Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. (D&C 89:12–13)
In his detailed analysis of the textual changes throughout the history of the D&C, Robert J. Woodford relates the following interesting story:
It [the comma] was never found in any text prior to the 1921 edition of the D&C. According to T. Edgar Lyon [prominent LDS historian and educator], [Apostle] Joseph Fielding Smith, when shown this addition to the text, said: “Who put that in there?” This is a significant statement since Elder Smith served on the committee to publish that edition of the D&C. Thus, the comma may have been inserted by the printer and has been retained ever since.3
This story supports what has become a very popular interpretation of verse 13, namely, that the inserted comma is a mistake that reverses the meaning of the text and that the true meaning is understood only Read Full PostGo to Comments
“…showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—…Behold, verily, 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—” (D&C 89:2,4)
The Word of Wisdom is something that will only become more and more relevant to each passing generation. Before I provide my review of Discovering the Word of Wisdom, I would like to give you some background.
Back in 2011, I wrote an article here on oneClimbs titled A Fresh Take on the Word of Wisdom. In an attempt to resolve some personal questions regarding the Word of Wisdom that had haunted me since my mission days, I spent six months studying, pondering and collecting Read Full PostGo to Comments
In an August 1972 article by Gerald E. Jones that I read recently, a powerful case was made for understanding the importance for respecting animal life. I believe that the principles expressed within this article provide valuable insight to the reasons why there are specific requirements about using the flesh of animals as food only under certain circumstances.
Boyd K. Packer has expressed that the Word of Wisdom is “only incidentally to keep us healthy” while the most important promise “is that you will have the key to revelation”. I feel that this article adds another piece to the puzzle. I don’t think we generally respect the stewardship that we have over creation and realize the profound respect that is owed to all life.
Now I don’t go around hugging trees and what not but I’ve had some incidents in my life Read Full PostGo to Comments
The Word of Wisdom is a revelation that includes many instructions from the Lord pertaining to the substances we consume that therefore make up our bodies. The promised blessings for obedience to the principles revealed to us are priceless and varied. But before getting to this modern dietary law, let’s start with a few examples of instructions concerning diet that God has given to man since the beginning.
A brief history of divinely mandated dietary laws
The Garden of Eden
We read, there was a garden eastward in Eden where Adam and Eve were counseled concerning that which they took into their bodies for nourishment:
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)
Since they were allowed to eat of every tree of the garden, we can assume that their diet in this case was strictly limited to vegetation. There is no evidence of man consuming flesh for food at this point. The only thing they were counseled to not partake Read Full PostGo to Comments
These videos do a great job illustrating the vast amounts of sugar that are in the sodas that most people drink. If this comes as a shocker to you, I’d do a little more research and you will be amazed at how much sugar is in the modern American diet. If you found this interesting, check this vid out too.Go to Comments
First thing every morning, Ellen Talles starts her day by draining a supersize Styrofoam cup filled with Diet Coke and crushed ice. The 61-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla., drinks another Diet Coke in the car on the way to work and keeps a glass nearby “at all times” at her job as a salesclerk. By the end of the day she has put away about 2 liters.
“I just love it,” she says. “I crave it, need it. My food tastes better with it.”
Talles sounds a lot like an addict. Replace her ever-present glass of Diet Coke with a cigarette, and she’d make a convincing two-pack-a-day smoker. In fact, she says, she buys her 2-liter bottles 10 at a time — more if a hurricane is in the offing — because if she notices she’s down to her last one, she panics “like somebody who doesn’t have their pack of cigarettes.” Read Full PostGo to Comments