My five-year-old daughter came home from Primary one Sunday and told us all about her lesson the Word of Wisdom. Her teachers had creatively made pictures of things that were “bad” so the children could throw them away. They threw away images of cigarettes, alcohol, tea, and coffee – all the things that are restricted based on D&C 89 and other, later admonition from the prophets.

I usually have some grumble about her Primary lessons, as I seem to have about everything else, but I also let it go quickly, as I seem to everything else. But this one must have had quite an impact on my daughter because,  even months after the lesson, she still talks about it. In fact, it has become part of her play – she’ll be joking with her brother and she’ll say something to effect of: “you’re alcohol – I’m going to throw you away!”

I suppose I ought to be a proud papa; at least, I probably should thank her teachers for so thoroughly teaching her WoW principles. Really, it just made me laugh. Well, laugh until I heard her say of someone (within ear shot, as kids always do), “She’s drinking coffee – she’s bad!”

After the embarrassment cleared, the whole story gave me pause for thought. Sure those things are bad for you, but so is high fructose corn syrup – particularly in high quantities. In fact, we eat a lot of stuff that is technically “bad” for us, like potato chips, candy bars, and whatnot – often in excess – that the Word of Wisdom doesn’t mention.

Well, this could turn into another tirade on how we focus too much attention on some things (e.g., alcohol in the WoW) and too little on other things (e.g., meat in times of famine). But instead, another thought came to me.

What if the main reason God asks us not to drink coffee or smoke cigarettes has less to do with what is “good” or “bad”, and more to do with setting us apart from the world? What do you think?

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