We are all supposed to be a little amused at the fundy types who won’t drink cokes because tea and coffee have caffeine.

(Actually there’s no bad reason to not drink coke.)

The fundy approach is assuming there is a general principle behind the specific rules from the Word of Wisdom, trying to figure out what the Word of Wisdom general principle, and then applying it generally.

That’s their logic with caffeine. They reason that coffee and tea should be avoided because they contain lots of addictive caffeine and therefore maybe we should avoid other products with high levels of caffeine. And we are supposed to think this is stupid and low class. How ignorant to think that the commandments are unknowable and arbitrary. How nekulturny to trying to be an agent instead of just doing exactly what they are told and only what they are told. How pharisaical.

Whereas the Pharisees were doing something in the opposite direction. Putting a hedge about the law means making extra sure you try not to violate any arbitrary commandment. Generalizing means assuming they aren’t arbitrary.

The reality is that treating the commandments as arbitrary and unknowable is stagnant and small. Whether its in big areas like sex roles or the male priesthood or in little things like coffee and tea.

The real problem with the fundy approach is they don’t generalize enough. Instead of just looking at coffee and tea they should be looking at the entire thing.

They should be looking at addictive foods in general. They should be looking at the general principles that are stated in the Word of Wisdom itself.

In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days,

The best article I’ve read about the Word of Wisdom is this one. I think one of you linked to it.

it’s a contingent commandment, for here & now in particular – & it’s got to do with avoiding coordinated exploitation. That seems to be the way the Church understands the principle, too – it is generally taken to encompass most addictive substances (&, to some extent, behaviors, though those are less well-defined).

My intent here is not to demonstrate the revelatory brilliance of the scripture – it just got me thinking about just how much of the modern world can be understood as a conspiracy to exploit addiction.

Look at the next couple of lines in the Word of Wisdom from the one I quoted

That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.

6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

In other words, if you are going to have alcohol, have it for a limited purpose and make it yourself.

I’m not actually hankering to do this. I think alcohol is bad for you and causes liver damage even in small amounts.

But it would be a lot more faithful to the general principles of the Word of Wisdom to make your own beer and drink it on occasion than it is to scrupulously avoid alcoholtobaccocoffeetea while gorging on sugar and industrial seed oils.

Maybe we should only be eating sugar that we raised ourselves and only for special purposes.

The real appeal of homesteading these days is knowing where your food came from.

Continue reading at the original source →